Mum-of-three reduces weekly food bill to just £30 thanks to batch cooking – here’s how she did it

IF you're struggling to keep your grocery bill down, and don't know what to cut, take a leaf out of this mum's book who halved her weekly shop.

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.

It wasn't long before she was able to halve her food bill to just £30 to £35 a week – as well as being able to spend extra time in the kitchen with her kids.

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."

Like for many families, Annmarie and her family struggled financially during lockdown, especially when it came to panic-buying, she said.

"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."

A tip that helped Annmarie keep her food costs down, is to avoid buying jar sauces and make your own instead.

She revealed: "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."

The mum-of-two revealed: "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."

Revealing her secrets, she said: "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."

And in order to get the best deals, Annmarie said she goes to the supermarket at around 9.30am, particularly 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.

If I didn't start to do this method, we wouldn't have eaten well during the pandemic.

"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.

"I buy my containers from Amazon: a pack of 30 is £12.99 and smaller clear ones are £1 from Poundland for a pack of eight.

“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!”

For more penny-pinching stories, a mum reveals how she saved £2.9k a year by slashing her grocery bill – and passing on her tips has made her a MILLIONAIRE.

We also shared how a mum feeds her family-of-four for £1.50 each a day and shares her monthly meal plan so you can too.

Plus a woman bags massive Tesco grocery haul for just £11.92 thanks to yellow stickers, then gets slammed for being ‘greedy’.

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