Keeping the price of your weekly food shop can be a challenge for the best of us, but one mum has some incredible tips that means she feeds her family of seven on a budget.
Abi Hallam lives with her partner Colin and her three kids – Jacob, 10, Miley, eight, and Jackson, three – as well as with her parents Carolyn and Shaun.
The 29-year-old is a carer for her dad as well as sons Jackson and Jacob who have special needs. This means Abi has to shop around in order to find the cheapest deals she can.
“We get the reduced food we find from a few different shops, such as Morrisons, Co-op, Lidl and Tesco,” she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
Abi recently went to Morrisons and managed to grab some absolute bargains.
“I got curried thigh fillets reduced from £3 to 75p, topside beef reduced from £4.68 to 94p, roast pork leg reduced from £3.49 to 35p and roast turkey breast reduced from £2.79 to 70p.
“Then I went over to the deli and got two blocks of mature farmhouse cheddar, reduced from £2.20 to 44p and £2.14 to 43p.
“I also got four packs of four scones (16 total) with each pack reduced to 10p from £1 – that’s a saving of £3.60 in total and I paid 40p instead of £4.”
She added: “At the Co-op I managed to get Betty Crocker Vanilla cake mix reduced from £2.50 to 63p, then I hit the jackpot with four double pepperoni stuffed crust pizzas. They were initially £4.20 but had been reduced to 84p, so I should have paid £16.80 but spent just £3.36 instead, saving £13.44.
“I got a cheese and onion quiche reduced from £2.70 to 54p, and ham trimmings reduced from £3.50 to just 18p. In the bakery section, a pack of four all butter croissants was reduced from £1.70 to 34p – ideal for a treat breakfast.
“In recent weeks I have managed to save plenty on meat, finding minced beef reduced from £2.59 to 75p, sausages reduced from £2.50 to 19p, cooked chicken pieces reduced from £1.99 to 50p and chicken escalopes reduced from £2.50 to 25p.
“I also get reduced on-the-go food – including wraps reduced from £1.75 to 17p, scotch eggs reduced from 80p to 12p and sushi reduced from £2.20 to 33p.”
Abi says that her main secret to saving cash is choosing the time she visits supermarkets carefully.
“We usually go at around 6pm on a weekday and check all the reduced sections before doing our weekly shop. We then check back at the reduced sections before we go to the checkout. I would say we have saved hundreds of pounds by buying reduced foods.”
Once the food is home, Abi makes sure it stretches as far as possible.
“Most things we buy we put in the freezer and then buy things to go with them to make a meal the week after – unless of course we find reduced veg or potatoes to make up dinners.
“Our freezer mostly has reduced foods. Hardly anything inside was purchased at full price so most meals we eat have something reduced.
“We use the sliced meat from the deli on a Sunday dinner. It saves buying an expensive joint of meat and then spending hours cooking it. We simply take the slices out of the freezer and add to hot gravy.”
“Some of the food we donate to my brother-in-law and his family who spend their weekends preparing food to feed the homeless in town on a Sunday night. They make up lunch boxes so anything cooked can be donated.”
Abi says anyone can find a bargain if they know what to look for – and where.
“Find out when your local supermarket tends to reduce their stock, and where they tend to place them.
“In Lidl, for example, reduced items are placed back on the shelf as well as in a reduced section, whereas Morrisons have a specific place for all fresh reduced items.
“Don’t forget to check the bread or cake aisle for reduced cakes.
“We buy ready iced cakes which we either chop up into portions and freeze in food bags for lunchboxes, or we keep them whole and freeze them for a family member’s birthday.
“We recently used two packs of the discounted Betty Crocker cake mix to create a planets-themed cake for my son Jackson’s birthday and he loved it.”
Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: “It’s always inspiring to meet another member of the yellow-sticker bargains community, and Abi clearly has plenty of tricks up her sleeve when it comes to saving money.
“The best time to get heavily discounted foods from a supermarket often depends on the shop and where you live – why not try going at a few different times each evening, on different days of the week, to see when the best bargains become available?”
You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here.
Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on email@example.com.