MUM-OF-SEVEN Tess Giddings isn’t worried about running out of food if she has to self-isolate because of coronavirus – she’s been building up a stockpile for NINE MONTHS.
The former cleaning business worker, 31, already has 60 cartons of milk, 800 nappies and 500 washing machine tablets lurking in her haul.
Amazingly, her huge pile of food and cleaning products has only cost her £300, thanks to a clever use of vouchers and discount codes.
She is one of three mums who spoke exclusively to Fabulous to reveal their stockpiles as the World Health Organisation declares coronavirus a global pandemic.
With Boris Johnson urging anyone with a temperature of cough to stay at home for a week in a effort to stop the virus spreading, more and more people have been rushing to shops to buy extra in case they have to self-isolate.
But for these mums have a little left over in the pantry is the norm, not the exception, with some of their bumper stockpiles coming in at just £200.
‘I even have 40 toothbrushes in my stockpile’
Tess Giddings, 31, is mum to Jacob, 13, Savannah, 11, Zion, eight, Amiah, seven, twins Nevaeh and Hezekiah, four, and two-year-old Levi.
The ex cleaning business owner from Bournemouth, Dorset, has spent nine months building up a hoard of loo roll, bread, tinned food and pasta and spent £300.
I have always been a stockpiler and ensure we have at least two weeks’ worth of essentials in the house at any time. As a mum, it’s vital I’m prepared for anything.
Since news of the coronavirus hit I have slowly been buying extra items and now have a least a month’s supply of everything our family needs. I’m proud it’s cost me £300 plus vouchers and coupons.
I currently have at least 60 long-life milk cartons, over 4,000 wipes, 800 nappies, 12 bags of family size pasta, dozens of jars of pasta sauces, super-size bags of crisps, monster munches and dried fruit snacks.
We have a dozen tins of baked beans, tinned fruit, eight bottles of tomato sauce and at least 40 cartons of long life juice.
I have stockpiled 12 toilet cleaners, 500 washing machine tablets, ten bottles of washing up liquid, 12 bottles disinfectant spray, 12 bottles of shampoo, toilet roll, kitchen towel and soap.
We even have a stockpile of 40 toothbrushes.
Rather than panic buying I have been slowly shopping round for the best prices on a list of items I know I can cook basic meals from and the cleaning products we’ll need.
It takes work though. I spend at least an hour a day checking prices online at supermarkets and making lists of which shops to go to.
Then I have been doubling or trebling up on the discounted items and adding them to my bunker.
I also make sure I use discount vouchers, coupons, club card points and two for one deals.
I keep my menu plan with me at all times and itemise it into everything I need to buy and what I already have in my stockpile.
Doing this has been key to a slow build-up of my bunker.
When we use an item I add it to my ‘restock list’ and buy new ones when I do the next shop.
I make my own pasta sauces from scratch and store them in the freezer and bulk buy mince and chicken to freeze or batch cook.
I would never rush into a shop and panic buy either. It’s expensive and I know people come away spending hundreds and not being able to cook proper meals.
I have storage for my haul underneath the stairs, in cupboards and in the garage.
It’s critical everything is neatly displayed so I know instantly what is running low and what I don’t need to buy.
I make sure we always have a month’s supply of flour, dried fruit and nuts, cake mixes, frozen vegetables and canned vegetables.
Over the last six months my stockpile has cost me £300 to establish.
Then every week I spend £130 on shopping to keep myself, my husband Chris, 40, an engineer and the seven children going.
When I tell people that’s our weekly shop spend for nine people including topping up my stockpile they are shocked, but in our house nothing goes to waste.
The key to having a proper stockpile is making sure I know exactly what I am going to use every item for.
I have a set of meals and menus made up so I know if we had to self-isolate I could make healthy nutritious meals for my family using what is in the house.
- Check your cupboards make a list of what you do have, plan out simple menus using that and buy only the extras you need
- Always keep a list of what you have used and re-stock it
- Use vouchers and club card points
- I also use Amazon Prime and other bulk sellers and get discounted bulk deliveries of cleaning items and food
- Facebook money saving groups are brilliant for deals
- Be prepared to spend time searching and you can stockpile and save
- Call up friends and see if we can put money together to get big bulk deals
- Do swaps with friends if they have things you need and you have items they need
My menus are based around cereals for breakfast, home-made snacks during the day, sandwiches or soups for lunch and pasta or rice-based dishes for dinner. I bulk out the meals with lentils, beans and pulses.
I keep all the recipes on my phone and laptop.
It gives me a sense of pride that I have managed to do this and save money.
I am also not anxiety ridden about not being able to cope if supermarket supplies fall low.
My husband Chris thinks I can stretch a pound better than anyone in the Britain.
He knows not to bother me when I am stock checking my bunker or doing my lists.
We are a single income family and are proof you can stockpile sensibly and on a tight budget.
‘I’ve cut my grocery bill by 75%’
Catherine Norman, 26, married and has two-year-old daughter Macie.
The marketing executive from Lincolnshire has used batch-cooking to make sure she has 150 meals already prepped for her family, meaning they could feed themselves for a month without visiting shops – and it’s only cost her £150
I have been a bunker batching babe for seven years.
My mum taught me to batch cook and to hunt for bargains, so ever since I moved out of home I looked to constantly cut food costs.
Since news of coronavirus hit I have quadrupled my batch cooking stocking our chest freezer and fridge freezer with 150 meals and desserts.
I buy bulk chicken at discount from a nearby factory, I spend £20 and get six kilos of chicken which lasts us three months because I bulk out my pies and chicken dishes with beans and vegetables.
I make sure I visit the supermarket late each night and get the mince which goes out of date that day at a discounted rate.
This month I got three kilos for £15 and batch cooked it immediately.
I grate a kilo of carrots into 250 grams of mince to stretch it for Shepherd’s Pies and bolognese.
We’ve even bought a full salmon, had the butcher debone it for a tenner and cut it into 20 portions for fish pies and fish cakes.
I used one 250g tin of tuna mixed with peas, sweetcorn and potato to make ten fish cakes to freeze.
I spent £40 on meat and made over 100 meals, plus there was enough left that I didn’t cook for another 100.
What isn’t made up is frozen ready for my next batch cooking session which I plan to invite friends to so we can help each other build stockpiles.
I have also signed up for the 2Good to Go app which links you to local shops that have fruit and veg on their use by date.
I pay £3 at my local spar and get a huge box of vegetables which I then use to batch cook or par boil and freeze.
I never left anything go to waste.
- Most people have enough items in their home cupboards to batch cook for at least two weeks using simple recipes and buy buying some extra meat in bulk
- Get everything out make a list and then work out what you can make from it
- Join batch cooking groups on Facebook, get a stock of takeaway containers and extra freezer space
- Pool your resources with other families and have a group batch cooking day
In the last few weeks I have been putting aside six hours on the weekend to batch cook as much food as possible.
This includes hunters chicken, chicken pie, shepherd’s pie, spaghetti bolognese, Spanish chicken, lasagne, fish pies, fish cakes, and stews.
My discount purchases and using different apps means I have cut my grocery bill by 75%.
I can make 150 meals and freeze along with dozens of bags of frozen parboiled vegetables for less than £150.
I have batch made 40 toddler meals for Macie using purred vegetables and less spicy recipes.
I also make trays of cheesecake to freeze so we even have desserts ready.
Instead of having a weeks’ worth of batch meals I now have over a months’ worth.
I used loyalty points and wholesalers on rice, pasta and cleaning products to cut costs too, and have 500 nappies for Macie and a thousand wipes.
'I'm not panicking, I'm prepared'
Heidi Parish, 26, is from Norfolk and has kids Willow, two, Aria, one, and eight-month-old Eden.
She has more than 1400 nappies and wipes as part of her bunker stockpile, and she’s spent £200 boosting it over the last month.
With three children under three my partner, Declan Flaherty, 28, a farmer supervisor and I have been building up a stockpile to ensure we have enough for the kids and ourselves while keeping to a strict budget.
I refuse to panic buy and as I work nights as a carer it’s important I am always prepared.
When my son Eden was born in 2019 he suffered sepsis and group B strep. He can only eat certain foods and baby milk so I have stockpiled enough milk powder for him for six weeks.
I already had a supply of five half litre bottles of hand sanitiser which I can decant.
Plus I have 1,400 nappies and over 1000 wipes all bought at discount or wholesale.
My mum and dad taught me the importance of stockpiling and buying in bulk to cut costs.
In the past three weeks I have ordered three bulk trays of meat from the Muscle Food website for £50 each – that’s enough to last us three months.
I am now using old fashioned techniques to bulk out every meal I make so I can extend that meat to six months if needed.
I add rice to bolognese and extra vegetables and it allows me to freeze seven meals as well as feed a family of five dinner for a fiver.
Last night I only used eight sausages in a casserole and bulked it with grains and vegetables and that fed us all dinner and meant I could freeze an extra seven meals making the cost per meal just 50p.
I have a chest freezer stocked with meals, bulk frozen vegetables and meats.
My parents-in-law help me out with over flow storage so we can all benefit.
- Stocktake what you have already
- Calculate what you need for a week and multiple it by four
- Keep a spreadsheet on your phone and always check prices before buying
- Form a buying group of friends and send each group to a different supermarket once you know the best prices and what is needed
- Get access to a chest freezer or buy one with another family to share the cost
- Create a place for outside coats and shoes and ensure they’re wiped down each night
I visit the wholesalers every week and check the prices on my phone against the other supermarkets and have been trebling up on each item.
I keep track of it all on spreadsheets and it’s meant I have spent minimal amounts on adding to my stockpile.
Via stockpiling, bulk buying and batch cooking I feed my family of five, have cleaning products and nappes for £50 a week.
It takes me around five hours a week comparing prices and I rely on Facebook groups offering discount codes and vouchers for parents.
I’m not panicking but what I am is being prepared. If I don’t have to leave the house for three months I know that I have enough food to get us through.
'My gran had stockpiled food from the 50s when she died'
Lee Johnson, 38, is a mum-of-two from Chester
The former salon worker has a stockpile of food, medical products and even pet supplies which will last her family for six weeks.
Seeing the scenes of mass chaos in supermarkets has freaked me out.
People seem to be mass buying everything but aren’t thinking of how to use it.
I have an autoimmune disease as well as lupus and gluten free products are essential to my health.
Since the coronavirus hit Britain I have had to stop attending university as my immune system is too weak.
I tried wearing a mask but watching the coronavirus spread in Italy was too much stress and worry, so I am studying from home.
But I’ve always been into stockpiling anyway, as my mum and grandmother taught me about it.
When my grandmother passed away at 85 she still had canned food from the 1950s – so for me being prepared comes naturally
Over the last four weeks I have spent an extra £100 a week ensuring my family and I have enough food for four to six weeks.
My husband Jeff* 45, a builder, my daughters Hannah* 16 and Amber 15* and my husband’s two children have all been helping with stockpile lists and ensuring we have enough storage space.
I have used wholesalers, Amazon Prime and spent hours online looking for the best bargains, plus I cashed in club card loyalty points to keep my costs down.
I have 20 super-sized bags of gluten free pasta, 10 bags supersized bags of gluten free cereal and stockpiled dozens of gluten free pasta sauces. This can last me for three months.
I can add in frozen meat and frozen vegetables for extra fibre.
I have bought all my fruit and vegetables from wholesalers and what isn’t in the fridge has been cut up and frozen to ensure nothing is wasted.
I went to wholesalers for bulk cereals for the kids, as well as canned fruit, pasta and rice.
I have two litre containers of salad cream, a two litre bottle of ketchup and bulk size spices.
I spent £100 on meat form a local butcher who offers super cheap bargains and that’s enough for two months of meals if I stretch it for a family of six.
I have bulk bought ten kilo packs of dry dog food for six weeks because pets should not be forgotten.
I used online wholesalers for discounted home cleaning products and have over 400 toilet rolls.
I keep track of everything on a spreadsheet, it’s kept us in budget and there was no panic buying.
I have masks, gloves and sanitizers for the family and the kids all have kids in their bags.
Anyone who has a long term illness cannot be too prepared.
For me it’s critical I have peace of mind for myself and my family.
- If you are Gluten free find other firiends who are as well and increase your buying power
- Visit your GP and get medication in advance
- Visit your elderly neighbours and check if they need items
- Form a pet food buying group with friends to bulk buy
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