Mum shares hacks which mean she can cook family meals for as little as 75p

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A savvy mum has revealed the shopping and cooking hacks which let her to cook meals for her family for as little as 75p.

Alison Palmer, 48, set up a YouTube channel to show people how to cook "proper food" – even when money is tight.

The mum-of-one said she learned "proper cooking" from a young age after watching her mother cook fresh, home-made meals despite the family being strapped for cash.

Now on benefits herself, Alison cooks a wide range of budget-friendly meals for her and husband Barry Preest, 42.

She began filming the process to show it doesn't have to cost the earth.

Alison's top tips include using tinned or frozen veg, shopping for the budget own brands, planning out all your meals before you shop, and hitting the end of day reduced section.

Her meals include yummy family favourites such as toad in the hole, chilli con carne and even Cornish pasties – and costs per portion can be as low as 75p thanks to her savvy food shopping habits.

She said she aims to prove to people that, unlike many fancy dishes shown on Instagram tutorials and Saturday morning cooking channels, "proper, old-fashioned tasty cooking doesn't cost a fortune.

Alison, from Lydney, Gloucestershire, said: "Nowadays a lot of recipes can be so complicated and use expensive ingredients, but they don't have to be.

"But when I Googled recipes for people on benefits, not much came up – so I decided to film my cooking to show that you can make lots of great meals cheaply.

"As a child we didn't have much money but I always saw my mother cooking wonderful meals from scratch and I have carried that forward in my own life."

Alison's top five cheap and tasty home-cooked meals


Onion, garlic, own-brand lean mince, pasta, tinned tomatoes.

£1.07 per portion, makes four.


Four frozen basa fillets, home made batter (flour, milk, baking powder, salt), Maris Piper potatoes for home made oven chips.

£1.16 per portion, makes four.


Eight chicken thighs, tinned peas, tinned carrots and tinned potatoes.

£1.23 per portion, makes four.


Home made batter (flour, eggs, milk, oil) and eight frozen sausages.

75p per portion, makes four.


Turkey thigh mince, one onion, six bread rolls

£1 per portion, makes four

The mum, who is on universal credit, explained that savvy shopping habits can slash food bills without sacrificing on taste.

She added: "It's just about planning your meals and using the right ingredients – you especially shouldn't be afraid to pick up tinned and frozen food because it can be just as good!"

Some of Alison's other top tips include buying and freezing yellow-ticketed items, taking advantage of buy-one-get-one free deals, and planning meals so you never waste food.

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She also swears by own-brand products in supermarkets and does her shopping at ASDA, where she mainly buys from the 'Smart Price' section.

However, her number one tip, she says, is having confidence in your ability to make tasty, nutritious food – no matter how simple it is.

She continued: "There are so many possibilities once you have the knowledge and confidence to try," she told. "I want to show people that in my videos.

"My YouTube channel has had great feedback – one viewer said 'it's so good to see someone cooking proper food'.

"And that's what I want people to see – that proper, old-fashioned tasty cooking doesn't cost a fortune."

  • Money
  • Family
  • Food

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