Super-saver mum does food shop a year in advance

Lindzi Bebbington-Colbourne is a shopping super saver. (Caters)
Lindzi Bebbington-Colbourne is a shopping super saver. (Caters)

A mum has shared her smart money-saving shopping tricks, which mean she's managed to stock enough meat to feed her family of four for the rest of the year.

Lindzi Bebbington-Colbourne, 47, from Lincolnshire, saved more than £1,000 when she bought food close to its use by date.

She plans to store the food in her five freezers and says the bargain buys should last her family until next Christmas.

The police officer has been buying reduced food for years and regularly shares her tips online to help other families on a budget.

Read more: Spend-savvy mum already has Christmas 2022 all wrapped up

The super saver mum regularly shares her sticker shopping tips online. (Caters)
The super saver mum regularly shares her sticker shopping tips online. (Caters)

Having been brought up in a poor household, Bebbington-Colbourne says she knows the value of a bargain and the importance of not allowing food to go to waste.

“I know how it feels to be hungry as a child and I thank my childhood for my bargain hunting ethic," she explains.

“I buy good quality food at reduced prices and freezing my shopping allows me to grab a bargain now and save money in the long run.

“Saving money is a huge buzz for me and I love seeing other people getting bargains too.

“The price of living has gone through the roof, so I like to encourage people to save where they can – and you can save money on your food shopping.”

Watch: Exactly how long to store leftovers before tossing them

Between Christmas and New Year, Bebbington-Colbourne went shopping twice and managed to pick a stash of festive meats and treats.

On Boxing Day, she spent £200 and bought food to feed 16 people originally costing more than £750, including individual turkeys.

“My annual tradition on Boxing Day is to bulk-buy reduced foods," she says.

“It was 50% off all chilled items, which should have cost £323 and I paid £159.

“Then I bought four huge turkeys which were originally between £85 and £100 each.

“The whole turkeys were £7.50 and the crowns were half the original price and then 50% off again.

“The turkeys should have been £441.95 but I got four turkeys and two crowns for £50.”

Read more: Woman made redundant during pandemic becomes full-time forager (and is better off)

The mum-of-three has bulk-bought so much reduced meat she has enough to feed her family for the rest of the year. (Caters)
The mum-of-three has bulk-bought so much reduced meat she has enough to feed her family for the rest of the year. (Caters)

Bebbington-Colbourne also bagged free fruit and vegetables and another bulk buy shop on New Year’s Eve saw her stock up on £250 worth of reduced items for just £89.

As a mum of three teenagers, Poppi, 12, Tobias, 14 and Elise 20, and due to her demanding job, Bebbington-Colbourne likes to batch cook and meal plan to ease the pressures of her hectic family life.

“Nothing gets wasted and it really does go a long way," she says.

She says her careful planning and bargain shopping means she won't need to buy meat until the end of the year.

“I have to be organised, I have a chest freezer for joints of meat, a tall upfront freezer for fish and separate drawers for sausage, chicken etc,” she explains.

Lindzi Bebbington-Colbourne loves saving money on her family's food. (Caters)
Lindzi Bebbington-Colbourne loves saving money on her family's food. (Caters)

Her bargain bulk buys means her weekly shopping bill is hugely reduced too.

“I spend around £50 a week to feed the four of us and my freezers are full to bursting," she adds.

“I do little shops once a week for basics like milk."

And the mum-of-three has learnt plenty of tricks for bagging a bargain on her food shop.

“I use all the main supermarkets, they all reduce items usually three times per day but the best reductions are at night," she has.

“People used to be ashamed of getting a bargain but now it’s something to be proud of and I am proud to provide good quality food for a fraction of the cost for my family.”

Read more: The foods you can and can't freeze

Freezing food is like pressing pause on it. (Getty Images)
Freezing food is like pressing pause on it. (Getty Images)

How to safely freeze meat and other foods

The NHS says it is safe to freeze meat and fish as long as you freeze it any time before its use by date, defrost it thoroughly before cooking: in a microwave if you intend on cooking it straight away, or in the fridge overnight so it doesn't get too warm if you don't plan on eating it straight away.

You should also ensure food is cooked until it is steaming hot throughout.

In terms of how to safely freeze meat and fish the NHS also recommend making sure meat is properly wrapped in the freezer to prevent freezer burn, which can make it tough and inedible.

You should also date and label meat in the freezer and eat it within 24 hours of defrosting.

In terms of how long you can freeze meat for, the NHS says you can freeze meat for a long time and it will still be safe to eat, but the quality will deteriorate so they advise eating it within three to six months.

"Do not worry if it's frozen for longer – try marinating it before cooking to improve texture or use herbs and spices to add flavour," the site adds.

The advice that meat can be frozen for long periods is echoed by the Food Safety Agency (FSA).

"The cold temperatures of a domestic freezer (-18°C) delay chemical reactions within foods and put any bacteria that may be present on pause," the site explains.

"The bacteria are still alive, but they stop growing or producing toxins, in effect pausing reactions."

The important thing to remember, according to the FSA, is that because the bacteria haven't been killed, they may be revived as the food defrosts.

"Make sure the food never enters the Danger Zone (most harmful bacteria will grow at temperatures above 8°C and below 63°C) because the bacteria may grow and make you ill," the site continues. "This is why you should defrost food in a fridge."

Additional reporting Caters.

Watch: Shoppers search for bargains in Boxing Day sales