A SAVVY mum has revealed how she manages to feed her family-of-three for £150 a month.
Bonnie Shaw, 23, from Manchester, said the key to cutting down food costs, especially with many families at home full-time during lockdown, is to batch cook.
Bonnie, who works for Network Rail, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: “There are only three of us in our household but we all eat different things – I’m dieting, the partner isn’t and my baby is very fussy!
"I batch cook because we are a busy family – we both worked full time prior to lockdown and cooking three different meals every evening after work became a nightmare.
“We started ordering food all of the time and it wasn’t good for any of us.
“Batch cooking is great for me because I can control my calories for each meal for the week, my partner can have a meal of his choosing every night without the mess of washing up, and we waste less.”
Aldi-lover Bonnie said she is also able to donate food to a local sheltered accommodation which helps people who are struggling.
She added: “I know I have food in my cupboards that will go to waste if not cooked.
“I waste less and do a good thing for others at the same time!”
Bonnie shares photos of her culinary creations on Instagram, @theweightlossmummy, and plans meals weeks at a time.
And her batch cooking not only saves money, but also time, as she simply defrosts her frozen meals in the microwave for dinner each night.
Before she overhauled her shopping, she would typically cook three different meals each evening and throw away two thirds of what she made.
She would go to the shops daily without a proper plan, and would end up spending money the family didn’t have.
Bonnie said: "Now everything we don’t use, we cook and donate or give away.
“My bins are never full any more!”
Bonnie said lockdown is the perfect time for families who want to try out her money-saving approach.
She commented: “I take advantage of the reduced section where I can through the week (there are some fab offers if you shop after 15:30) and then I base my meals for the week using the items I pick up.
“This means two shopping trips but I only do this every two weeks.
"My tips would be to make the most of the reduced section as there are some great bargains you can find there.
“Once you have your reduced items, make a plan of what you need to make the meals – make your list and stick to it!
“Shop at different stores to find the best bargain.
“I shop at Aldi for my staple items as they cannot be beaten, but make the most of Tesco’s reduced section.
“Your local meat markets will also have some fantastic offers on.”
She also advises people make larger meals and freeze leftovers for later.
Bonnie said: “Make the most of the time you have available – we have a lot more time to find bargains, and a lot more time to cook.
“My batch takes me a full day, but then I don’t cook for two weeks. Find a method that works for you and stick to it!
"No one enjoys being at home all day every day (at least most people) but I’m trying to make the most of the time at home, as we will probably never have another long period at home again.
“We’re getting odd jobs done and getting organised!
"Even if you don’t want to batch cook, planning your meals saves you money on your shop and reduces waste.
"At these difficult times, I try to waste less and give more – let’s help our communities where we can.”
How to save money
SAVING money can seem like a slog, but it doesn't have to be with our simple tips below:
- Cut down on your spending:An obvious way to save money is by cutting down on how much you spend each month. Go through your transaction history and set yourself a budget. Are there any bills that you don't need or use that you can cancel?
- Haggle down your bills: You should also try and see if you can get a better deal on any regular bills you’re paying. Do your research, see if there are better deals available for new customers. Then call up customer services and explain you want to leave because you’ve found a better deal but is there anything they can do for you?
- Open a savings account: The first steps to actually saving is then opening an account that will give you the most benefits – you can find the best options here.
- Download apps: There are loads of apps you can download to your smartphone, which can help you budget properly and save a fortune. These were some of the best apps released last year.
- Plan your meals in advance:By making a list before you go grocery shopping and then sticking to it, you'll avoid picking up products you don't really need.
- Pay off debts: The interests on your debts is always higher than the interest earned on your savings, so you should consider paying off any debts with your savings to be better off.
To make sure she eats food within their correct date, she writes the date on labels on her frozen food and sometimes adds cooking instructions too.
Typically, if stored correcting, dishes should last up to six months.
Bonnie added: "I used to spend over £300 a month on shopping without even thinking and now I spend half that – sometimes less if I’m being extra careful.
“Donating has been a new thing since the lockdown, but I will definitely continue to do it in future – it costs me nothing and I throw much less away!"
A mum-of-two has revealed how she saved £10,800 with simple cooking trick – and anybody can do it.
Previously, we revealed how a mum shared an idea for saving £780 a year by challenging herself on payday.
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