A Facebook user has shared her top tips on how to become a savvy food shopper – including using the oven just once a month, the best times to find supermarket deals and unusual freezer foods.
Chezza, 45, from Chorley, Lancashire, was shocked after hearing about the increase in the cost of living, which has caused outrage across the UK.
After the price hike was announced, she researched to find the best gas and electric companies, where she came across a deal with Scottish Power.
She was offered a monthly rate of £61.25, which was less than double her original monthly cost – but she knew there were other areas where money could be saved.
One of those areas was food, as she knows people spend hundreds on their weekly shop, without realising that they’re throwing money down the drain.
Chezza has revealed her top tips, which has helped her save £300 a month and keep afloat.
Once a month, Chezza does her food shop where she buys everything she needs to keep a balanced diet – all on a tight budget.
“My average shop comes out to less than £21 a week, which includes fresh fruit and veg, cakes, bread, milk – the list goes on,” Chezza told Jam Press.
“Most supermarkets have three times a day where they reduce items and at each time, the discount is greater than the last.
“Between three and four in the morning, items are discounted by 20%, moving to half off at around three in the afternoon.
“By six in the evening, these items have dropped to nearly 90% off.
“People turn their noses up [at reduced items] as they think they’re cheap and no good.
“In fact, quite a lot of the stuff is generally the best out there – extra special and premium.
“Typically, no one can afford to buy these items, hence why they end up in the reduced section.”
Chezza is known by her friends and family for her various freezer foods, which many question as they believe that certain items can’t be frozen.
However, she says that near enough anything can be stored in the freezer and used for months past their sell-by dates.
She said: “These dates are commonly mistaken for being when you need to eat a certain product, but that’s not the case.
“I’ve been asked if you can freeze milk before, to which I reply: ‘What do you think ice cream is?’ and this leaves people questioning everything.
“I often buy several four litre bottles of milk, which are reduced to 10p. I freeze these and they last me for months.
“Anything can be frozen – when you purchase a cake from the freezer section, you don’t question this and there’s no real difference with a freshly bought one.
“You can freeze fruit, vegetables, meat. Think about the freezer section in shops and you’ll realise that food can be stored however you like.”
However, Chezza also believes that while on a budget, you shouldn’t need to stop eating fresh and compromise on getting the nutrients you need.
At the beginning of each month, she’ll whip up six joints of meat and a range of fresh vegetables which last her for up to eight weeks.
Chezza added: “All morning, I’ll be cooking away either using my oven or my two slow cookers.
“I start by prepping all my vegetables, which I portion out and freeze for my dinners. I cook chicken, pork joints, gammon – any type of meat I fancy.
“Once cooked, I allow the meat to cool and use a carving knife to portion this out. Usually, I turn this meat into sandwiches, curries or simple dinners with rice or potatoes.
“If I’m unsure what to do, I research online and try to vary my diet as much as possible.
“These meats are enough to feed a family of four or five for one meal, but for me, this can last for at least 10 meals.
“I take this time to use my oven, as I do sometimes prefer my food oven cooked. However, as this costs a lot of money, I only use this once a month.
“Other times, I use my slow cooker as this is the cheapest way to prepare a hot meal.
“I also use an air fryer if I fancy something like chicken and chips, as this is very cheap to run or my microwave to heat up the frozen batch cooked meals.”
Chezza’s number one top tip? Don’t pay full price for anything – unless you have to.
She decided to share her top tips on Facebook, as she wanted to help others who are struggling to afford daily costs.
She has received hundreds of likes and comments from users to thank her for her tips.
“Fantastic tips, thank you,” one person commented.
Another user added: “Thank you some good tips there appreciate your taking the time to pass them on.”
“Very well thought out ideas and suggestions here. Well done you!” someone else wrote.
One user said: “Well done Chezza. You certainly have made a difference to your outgoings.”