Struggling to stick to your lofty 2020 savings goals?
Look to mum-of-one Andrea Harte for your cost-cutting inspiration.
Andrea, a beautician and sports therapist from Plymouth, made a New Year’s resolution to try meal-prepping. So far she has saved £30 a week on her food bill – of £120 a month.
The mum makes healthy and budget-friendly meals at the start of the week then sticks them in the freezer, so she can quickly heat up meals in the evening after work.
Andrea, 31, told LatestDeals.co.uk: ‘I started preparing the meals at the beginning of January. I started doing these meals as my partner and I both work full time so it can be tricky eating healthy meals with limited time.
‘I started making things like stew (without the potatoes and gravy, I add that once it’s defrosted), lasagne, spaghetti bolognese and pasta dishes, and I have also been cooking jacket potatoes and freezing them along with mash – this way I can come home and just reheat a nice meal that I have taken out in the morning to defrost.
‘I used to just buy veg and chop and freeze to make things easier, but I started following loads of food pages on Instagram and Facebook and came across lots of different ideas.
‘I came across a page for batch cooking and I was inspired as a lot of people actually do it.’
Andrea soon began to work batch cooking ideas into her regular cooking schedule and found it easier than she had expected.
She uses cheap veg, such as grated courgettes, carrots, and lentils, to bulk out meals and keep each dish nutritious, and will cook more than one bulk-amount meal at a time.
As a result, Andrea is able to feed her family of three for less than £30 a week.
‘Since doing this, my food shop has gone down a lot and I have started pricing up my meals to see how much money each meal has cost me so I know how much I can budget to a day,’ she says.
‘Meat meals do cost a bit more but I can cook a lasagne tea for as little as £1.45 per person and also pasta dishes for lunch for as little as 38p.
‘I started shopping online instead of going in store to buy as I won’t be tempted to buy things I don’t need or want just because they are on offer.
‘I have saved about £30 a week and can feed all three of us for less than £30 a week on a food shop all because I have planned my meals and only buy the essentials.
‘I would definitely recommend batch cooking because I have time to play with my daughter again, I have time to relax and I don’t have to think about what we’re going to have for tea or when we’re going to have our next healthy meal.’
Andrea is sharing what she’s learned so far to help other people change their lives (and their bank balance) by planning out their meals and making them in bulk.
Andrea’s cheap meal ideas:
- Mince x2 £7.40
- Lasagne sauce x2 £1.30
- Lasagne sheets- already had
- Cheese- already had
- Added peppers, onions and mushrooms which I already had
- Made 6 portions = £1.45 per portion
Chorizo and German salami Pasta
- Pasta- 29p
- Chorizo- £1
- German salami £1
- I used the left-over lasagne mince and sauce
- Made 6 portions = 38p per portion
- Beef £2.55
- Veg pack £1
- Carrots 57p
- Already had oxo cubes
- I’ll add potatoes and gravy when we want it
- Made 6 portions= 68p per portion
She said: ‘If someone is looking to batch cook, I would recommend cooking in freezer bags and placing kitchen rolls between so they don’t get stuck together and you can separate easily – I use plastic tubs for some meals as I find it easier to reheat.
‘A lot of people batch cook different flavoured soups to save time and money, which is a brilliant idea but my family aren’t really soup eaters unless they are poorly.
‘I also bulk buy good deals with veg and meat as this can go a long way.
‘I feel great pride after cooking as I know my family are going to get home-cooked meals that I have already made in advance.’
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Have you found a cost-saving trick that works? Get in touch to share it by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.