As the cost of living continues to increase, many of us are trying to find some useful tips to save the pennies where we can.
Luckily, frugal mum from Melbourne – Alison Said – has revealed her top saving tips after she started meal prepping to try and cut back on food waste two years ago.
Since she started becoming more strict the mum has discovered a new “way of life”, and it's led her to allowing her family to save a massive $15,000 AUD (around £8,500) a year.
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“I started meal prepping back in 2020 when I was on maternity leave,” she told news.com.au.
“I was really motivated to become a better cook for my kids, provide them with meals they would actually eat, while saving money for my family.
“It’s become a way of life and has helped us save around $15,000 yearly.”
Before she started to prep and plan, the mum said she could cough up at least $250 (£141) a week on food shopping, together with an another $150 (£85) a week on takeaways.
Now she only spends around $100 (around £56) a week on food, which means she shaves up to $15,000 (£8,500) a year.
The savings see Alison spend only $14.20 (£8) a day on feeding her family, which means her meals come in at around $3.57 (£2) per head.
Alison said some of the super savings were discovered when she started bargain shopping at Aldi, which she says offers some of the most reasonable deals in comparison to other supermarkets.
The finance professional said it can be easy for anyone to cut back on splashing the cash.
She recommends scouring catalogues for bargains, shopping for seasonal produce at markets and buying in bulk to save money.
Then when looking to save money, freezing goods can be a life-saver.
“If you have unused bread approaching the expiry date, freeze it. Use for lunch box sandwiches or toasties,” she continued.
“I organise my pantry, fridge and freezer regularly, so we create more space for bulk-buys and can easily see what we already have and don’t waste food.
“Chop fruit and vegetables ahead of time, it will help avoid the temptation of ordering takeaway.”
Alison also said she makes sure her family meals are always no-fuss and don't bust the budget – she'll even prep some meals in advance to help her save both time and money.
Some of her favourite family dishes, that don't break the bank, include spaghetti Bolognese, pasta bakes and nachos.
She also often cooks an entire roast chicken and uses the meat for multiple days.
Then Alison advises using leftovers to bulk up kids' lunchboxes, which saves time and prevents food waste.
If you're a parent who is trying to cut back on the spending, Alison's last two tips are pretty straight forward.
She added: “Never go shopping when you’re hungry and try to leave the kids at home if you can.
“It’s better not to be rushed and distracted, as it will save you from throwing whatever you can in the trolley just to get out quickly with your screaming toddler.”
Alison's top tips for the ultimate budget shop
1. If you can manage it – never pay full price. Just wait until items are on special offer
2. Fill your freezers with certain items like meat when they're on offer so you save in the long-run
3. To get the best deals on fruit and vegetables head to your local green grocers
4. Invest in a vacuum machine to help food stay fresher for longer
5. Whatever you do – never hit the supermarket when you're hungry
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