Savvy Mum HALVES Food Bill By Batch-Cooking Through Lockdown
- Annmarie Hodgson, 39, halved her food bill to £30 to £35 a week
- Her trick was to start batch-cooking during the lockdown
- Batch-cooking saves her time and money, and also helps her bond with her family
Annmarie Hodgson, 39, a mum-of-three and a housekeeper from Meden Val, began to batch-cook during lockdown as a way to save money and make the most of the food she bought.
Annmarie soon managed to halve her food bill to just £30 to £35 a week - and also got to spend some more quality time with her family as they all got more involved with the cooking.
Annmarie told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I started batch-cooking one month into lockdown due to my daughter wanting to just snack.
"I batch cook so my kids still get all the nutrition that they need daily. I'm a housekeeper at Centre Parcs so when I'm on my eight rota days, I get really tired.
“It’s a very demanding job and I don't want to spend two hours cooking different meals.
“This way, the kids choose what they want out the freezer. It makes my life so much easier and we are all eating healthily.
“Lockdown hit us hard and we really struggled financially especially because of all the panic buyers.
"I had just changed jobs as lockdown hit so I didn't qualify for furlough pay.
“I did shopping for myself and my children and also for my mum and dad who were sent the 12-week letters.
“The only meat I could get was mince and sausages.
“When I batch cook I don't often use jar sauce. It's cheaper to buy chopped tomatoes for your base sauce and add herbs and seasoning.
“If I didn't start to do this method, we wouldn't have eaten well during the pandemic.
"I've cut my shopping bill to roughly £30 to £35 per week including fruit and vegetables for a family of four, and that does include a few treats.
“Before starting batch-cooking, I was spending anywhere from £65 to £70 a week.
"I buy a lot of mince and sausages as these are my kids’ favourites and they freeze really well.
“Mince can make a big variety of meals: homemade burgers, spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, shepherd's pie, pasta bake with sausage or mince and chilli.
“BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker is also really easy. When it's cooked, I put it in freezer bags in portions.
"I always label meals but they are never thrown away as I cook for two weeks at a time.
"A really easy soup to make is either vegetable or what I call pit man's soup. You use half a bag of yellow split peas and a pack of cooking bacon from Aldi for 90p. It's a good portion and that's our favourite soup.
"I try to go to the supermarket at around 9.30am, especially Morrisons as you can get their best mince reduced to a quarter of the price.
"I picked up eight packs of Richmond sausages for 10p a pack which were great.
"If you go to Morrison's at 9.30am, there are always good deals in the fridges. Tesco’s reduce down from 5.30pm and ASDA from 6pm.”
Annmarie says that not only did batch-cooking help her to save money during the lockdown, but also helped her kids get more involved in cooking as a family activity.
"We coped really well during lockdown when I started to batch cook, but it was roughly six weeks in when I started,” she adds.
“Having the kids here all the time was using all the spare money I had!
“Two are grown-up and aged 18 and 21 so have a healthy appetite, and my youngest is nine so was snacking all the time and I couldn't fill her up.
“It was due to boredom - we were all the same! We went on our daily walks but it was really hard, so cooking in batch got them involved more and they can now all cook good meals.
"In our spare time we now play more games and spend time together as a family - batch cooking definitely has bought us closer.
“We have hardly any waste now - it’s brilliant! And batch-cooking has given me a lot more time to help my daughter with her homework.
"On my days off, I don't always cook unless we are having fish or chicken. We like that fresh and would never freeze chicken, but I always make too much so I have spare meals.
"I do my batch cooking the same day that I buy my meat so it's not frozen twice.
“Chicken korma or tikka wraps are perfect for the following day with no re-heating required.
“The BBC Good Food website has loads of really easy wrap ideas even if there is anyone with allergies.
“One good tip is to never underestimate yourself and never give up.”
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Batch-cooking is a failsafe way of saving money, making the most of your time and not wasting food.
“There are loads of websites with free ideas to get you started - even if you’re not a great chef, you’ll quickly get the hang of it and you’ll soon see positive results in your bank balance!”
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