Savvy shoppers share their best budget-slashing tips… like stretching one trolley load for three months & 10p spuds
WITH the pandemic destroying the financial sector, a growing number of households across the world struggle to make ends meet.
Over the last few years, the cost of living has sky-rocketed, leaving many finding new creative ways of keeping purchases within their budget.
The soaring petrol, energy and food costs haven't scared these savvy shoppers, who've managed to find potatoes for 10p and cucumbers that cost them only 3p.
The members of the money-saving forum, Latest Deals, say that most of their savings come from picking up discounted items, planning shopping in advance, as well batch cooking.
According to Gemma Brooks, 32, from Hertfordshire, not only can meal planning cut the cost of grocery shopping, but also save the time taken doing a weekly shop.
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The 32-year-old, who doesn't spend more than than £50 a week for all their shopping needs, says planning your meals is easier than it sounds.
“I write mine up on a whiteboard in the kitchen.''
“If you plan ahead and get creative you can make food stretch,'' she claims.
“I always know what meals I am buying ingredients for ahead of time so I can find the cheapest options,'' Gemma explains.
To start your money-saving journey, Brooks advises to carefully inspect your fridge and cupboard to note down what's missing.
This ensures you don't waste money on items you don't need.
Once a list has been created, the savvy shopper also points out that frozen food is often more cheap than fresh produce, so where possible, buy frozen.
"A pack of frozen fillets costs me £3.30 in Tesco but buying similar amounts in the chilled section easily costs a couple of pounds more."
Anything you don't end up using, she adds, can then be put into the freezer for another day.
Lauren Roddick, 33, is another savvy shopper.
The elderly care assessment nurse from Glasgow also relies on her freezer to cut the costs.
"In a Too Good To Go bag I recently got passion fruits, so I scooped out the pulp and put it in ice cube trays, then added them to cocktails which was lovely!''
If you have loads of bread you don't think will be finished anytime soon before the expiry date, Lauren suggests chucking it in the freezer.
"I always freeze my bread so I will make sure it's sliced before it goes in the freezer."
The mum-of-one, Laura Bailey, certainly knows how to find a good bargain and, more importantly, what to do with it.
"One summer I picked up several cucumbers at 3p each and lots of tomatoes. I made gazpacho and froze it in containers which I then took to work, and had the perfect chilled soup, as it defrosts during the day.''
When it comes to cooking in batches, these shoppers also point out that as well as saving time, you will also save energy bills.
How long does a meal batch cook usually last for in your household?
After spending a mere £137 at Aldi, Liane Greenly, 38, claims it took her and her partner three months to finish all the food!
Her secret: "I made meals which were all similar in their base ingredients and altered by the herbs.''
"For example, spaghetti, lasagna and cottage pie are all similar until the last few ingredients.''
If you have a garden, make the most of it, as this will also slash food costs.
"Every three months or so, I get reduced potatoes, usually for 5-10p a pack," says Kat Phoenix, 28, from Blaenau Gwent.
"I put them in the back of the cupboard for a few weeks until they sprout and then plant them,'' she explained.
One summer I picked up several cucumbers at 3p each and lots of tomatoes.
"The tips of leeks, spring onions, carrots and parsnips can be placed in soil of varying depths and go on to grow new produce.''
"Spring onions are particularly useful as they can be placed on the windowsill in just a small amount of water,'' Kat adds.
Don't own a garden? No worries, as there are plenty of food coupons to help with the costs.
Jo Bohm, 36, is a mum-of-two and finds discounts by going to money-saving websites.
"It’s always worth checking if you can get cash back on a purchase from Quidco.''
"By combining all of these tricks I have saved loads of money over time," she says.
To save money, it is also worth looking out for discounted items, according to Karen Kirton, 59, from Newbury.
The grandmother-of-four says: "I'll usually shop in Sainsbury's around 2pm on Wednesday or Thursday.''
"Yellow stickers are being applied for the first time that day, so not the best bargain but still cheaper than if I'd shopped an hour earlier.''
She adds that shopping in the evening can be even better.
"I'll buy yellow stickered everyday vegetables and meat and fish that I can put straight in the freezer once I get home."
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