Savvy mum saves a fortune on food shop by making small change

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Laura Light is a mum of two who cooks up family favourites including carbonara, chicken chow mein and slow cooker peach chicken for less than one pound and managed to bring her food shop down from £215 a week to just £40.

She did so by shopping at discount retailers, buying supermarkets’ own brand products and getting meat in great hampers from online food retailer MuscleFood.com.

Laura meal plans each week, always shops with a list and checks her fridge and freezer to make sure she’s using everything.

The mother of two explained: “When we first seriously looked at our finances eight years ago, I was shocked at just how much we were spending.

“We went from two salaries to one so we had to make some serious savings.

“I found that making small changes was the best way for us to cut costs. Small things like my husband taking leftovers for lunch saved £3 a day, switching to the budget own brand lines saved us a fortune and buying in bulk to keep costs down.”

She continued: “Now, with food prices going up all the time, my strict budgeting and everything I’ve learnt over the last eight years is really helping us keep costs down.

“Buying our meat in bulk from MuscleFood certainly helps. I’ve always bought chicken in bulk and the quality from the online retailer means I use less meat than if I was buying frozen, essentials chicken from the supermarket.

“For example, I use two chicken breasts for the four of us in my chicken chow mein. That provides enough for all of us for dinner in the evening with leftovers for the next day. I’m making that for 77p a portion so it’s a really cheap, healthy meal.

“My children love chicken nuggets and chips, just like all kids, so rather than buying them frozen, I’m making them from scratch and saving money.”

Laura also recommended cooking from scratch as it can “really can save you cash and it doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as people may think”.

“When I recently made beef lasagne I compared making my own sauce to buying the cheapest, own-brand sauces from the supermarkets.

“Mine worked out at 15p cheaper. Those 15s soon add up,” she said.

“Cooking and eating on a budget is now more important than ever so I’ve put a few tips together to help people wanting to save a few pounds on their weekly shop.”

Laura also recommended other budget cooking tips including always checking your cupboards and freezer before going shopping.

“Tinned and frozen veg are great staples to have – you can use them in anything and they taste good too. There’s also zero food waste,” she said.

The mother of two also advised to use the slow cooker and “you’re short of time, throw it all in before you head out and cook on low for around eight hours”.

“You can prep and freeze bags of meat and veg to pop in the slow cooker.

“Just remember these will retain moisture so finish off the last 30 minutes to an hour of slow cooking with the lid removed,” she suggested.

Buying the supermarket’s own brands is also essential to save hundreds and Laura recommended trying different ones and “moving up to the next one if you don’t like it”.

“Most people can’t tell the difference. This is a no-brainer with pasta, rice and budget vegetables,” she said.

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