‘I have cut the weekly food bill for my family of four to £80’

I’ve recently noticed a significant increase in the cost of dairy products including butter, milk and cheese,’ says Natalie Ormond, from Leeds, who is trying to reduce food costs to £80 a week for her family of four.

Natalie, who left her social work job to run her new business selling children’s items, Small Kind, needed to cut back on bills. ‘We spend around £80 a week on food now. In the past we have spent a lot more. We used recipe boxes for convenience and were less conscious of budget.’

Natalie now uses apps such as Olio and Too Good To Go to pick up food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

‘When we had a children’s party I got a big box of snacks, biscuits and drinks for £5 and often local bakeries offer fresh bread and baked goods at the end of the day at less than half-price,’ she explains.

‘We have also bought boxes from the Real Junk Food Project and Food Revival, which are initiatives in Yorkshire to redistribute food that would otherwise be thrown away.’

As well as using apps, Natalie, whose sons are eight and six, now cooks with vegetarian mince, tofu and pulses.

‘These cost a lot less than meat, are a good source of protein — and eating less meat is better for the planet,’ she says.

‘I try to use every part of the food. I will buy a whole organic chicken rather than individual cuts and then as well as using the meat in the meal I make stock for soup or stew with the carcass.

‘I use vegetable peelings and scraps to make stock or blitz them up in a pasta sauce, and anything that’s past its best goes into a soup or sauce.’

The family also saves money by foraging.

‘We live in the inner city but have a small woodland nearby, so we have found raspberries, blackberries, wild garlic, rosehips and elderberries close to home when they are in season.

‘Last year we managed to freeze some berries to enjoy in the winter. Blackberries are really expensive to buy in supermarkets so you can actually save a lot by picking them and they seem to grow anywhere and everywhere at the side of the road.

‘Things like chillies, herbs and tomatoes can easily be grown on a windowsill and will save money, too.’

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