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Savvy Mum Reveals Top Tips To Save £60 A Month On Food

DebsGC
17th August 2020, 11:00 AM
  • Annemarie Cook, 31, has plenty of savvy tips for saving money on food
  • She gets a monthly Too Good To Go box
  • Annemarie also recommends buying and cooking in bulk

Almost half of British households feel that they are spending more on their food shop since the start of the lockdown.

And at a time when we are all trying to cut down on our spending, one mum has revealed how she saves £60 a month on her food shop.

Annemarie Cook, a mum-of-one who works as an administrator for a commercial catering company, has revealed how her shopping and cooking tips keep food lasting as long as possible.

The savvy shopper, 31, who lives in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire with her daughter and husband, has plenty of tips up her sleeve for how to save money on shopping and cooking.

These include buying a monthly Morrisons “Magic Box” from the Too Good To Go app, bulk-buying produce - and using common sense about best before dates.

Annemarie says she saves at least £60 a month thanks to reducing food wastage.

Annemarie told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I found out about the Morrisons boxes last year, and have had five boxes now.

"I originally started to buy them as my husband was on Slimming World and I was spending a fortune on fresh fruit and veg, so was trying to find ways to reduce costs.

"They cost £3.09 and so far I’ve managed to use almost everything in them: if there’s bread I freeze it for toast, as well as any vegetables I think might go over before I use them.

"We’ve been very impressed with the quality, and it’s a great way to get us to try new food and reduce our supermarket bills.

"I try to get a box at least once a fortnight, and it has probably saved me £20 a month on fresh items.

"I wish more supermarkets would sign up to the scheme as I know that lots gets wasted in shops.

"Our local store only has a box a day and they have turned me away when they’ve not had anything yet shelves are full of reduced food.

"I think the stores really need to embrace the idea of supporting the service. I think staff need to be advised on the scheme more as there seems to be quite a lot who don’t know about it.

"I am not one who follows best before guidance on packaging - I worked for a well known supermarket for 10 years so I know how to tell if items are fresh or not.

"I only really check the dates on meat and will still use it past the sell by date if they smell ok - you can tell when meat is off!

"I tend to buy bulk meat and will split packets up to help them go further - a 500g pack of mince I will split into two and then I use in dishes like bolognese which I will bulk out with grated carrot or lentils to go further (a great way to hide veg from kids!).

"A lot of people I know really waste a huge amount of food, just because they rely on best before dates. I think it’s very much a cultural issue in the UK.

"Years ago our grandparents would never have chucked a bag of carrots away because Tesco said they can’t sell them past today!

"Potatoes for example last for months with the right temperature in a dark place - if they start sprouting this can be pulled off and last even longer.

“Similarly, eggs last for several weeks, and if you're unsure, put them in a bowl of water: if they float, chuck them, if they sink, they are ok.

"Your freezer is your friend, mine is always full, and I would have enough to last for about a month if I had to.”

Annemarie also recommends bulk buying and bulk cooking food where possible, as it makes planning meals cheaper and less stressful.

"My top tips for buying food in general is to bulk buy cupboard items like pasta and rice,” she adds. "I buy the big bags of rice for about £8 from the ethnic aisle which last at least six months.

“When it comes to tins of chopped tomatoes, I will buy the cheapest brands and will add seasoning to it to add flavour.

"When I buy meat, I will split them down into portion sizes so they can be defrosted ready for cooking. For pre-packed food such as pizzas or breaded chicken, I remove them from their packets to save space.

"Pre-lockdown I would cook bulk meals such as lasagne, pasta bakes and pies and freeze them in advance, so when it came to use them I could pop in the oven on the timer so they were cooked when we got home.

"Lockdown for us hasn’t been too bad, we only struggled initially with getting basics like pasta and meat, but our cupboards were due to be filled!

"We’ve had times where money has been tight with furlough and more recently, concerns about redundancy. But the way we buy groceries, we will rarely chuck food away.

"I would probably say I save at least £60 a month on reducing our wastage!

“Our average spend a month is about £180, and we used to spend about £250."

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “I’m always on the hunt for ways to save money on food, and considering that UK households waste 4.5 million tonnes of food a year that could have been eaten - and that this food is worth £14 billion! - we should all be doing a lot more to tackle food waste.

“Annemarie’s tips don’t just save the environment, but also saves her and her family a lot of money.

“Tips like using Too Good To Go, using your common sense about best by dates and bulk buying and cooking will help any family reduce their monthly spend on food!”

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