Woman saves £10k in two years by exclusively buying reduced food

·Deputy Editor, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read
Jamie Tait loves batch-freezing her bargain food finds
Jamie Tait loves batch-freezing her bargain food finds (Mercury Press)

Shocked to discover her weekly food shops were costing between £170 and £200, with lots of food being wasted too, Jamie Tait, a hairdresser from Aberdeen decided it was time to take action.

Along with her husband Alan, 50, a telecommunications technician, they brainstormed ways to cut their weekly food spend, through clever bargain-hunting.

Tait, 44, has now managed to halve her food bill for her family of four, by only buying ‘going out of date’ items instead of choosing fresh, full-price produce. “The difference in spending is crazy!” enthuses Tait.

“When the pandemic hit, my husband and I both took a huge dent in our wages, but we were shocked at how much money we were wasting,” she says. “I have two jobs and I’m self-employed for both.

“Our weekly shopping bill would be £175 or more and we found ourselves doing several shops each week so the cost could sometimes be a lot higher.

Tait's supermarket weekly shop now only costs £70, so the family of four – husband Alan and their two children, Bradley, nine and Naomi, six, eat for just £10 a day. (Mercury Press)
Tait's supermarket weekly shop now only costs £70, so the family of four – husband Alan and their two children, Bradley, nine and Naomi, six, eat for just £10 a day. (Mercury Press)

“I started shopping for just yellow sticker items and bought a freezer from Facebook Marketplace so I could store meats, baked goods and any other food I could find.

“Throughout the pandemic, our spending was so little, that I was saving £100 a week by not spending it on food. Once restrictions were lifted, I did end up going a bit mad with spending again but have since reverted back to yellow sticker shops.”

Read more: Woman's savvy money-saving tricks have helped her save £5K

Tait’s supermarket weekly shop now only costs £70, meaning the family of four – husband Alan and their two children, Bradley, nine and Naomi, six, eat for as little as £10 a day.

She loves stocking up on weekly discounted bakery items, fish, chicken and plenty of fruit and veg, happily shopping around various supermarkets for the cheapest deals.

“Every time I buy a loaf of bread now, it costs 10p or less, I can’t bring myself to buy full price loaves anymore, especially when you can freeze the reduced ones,” she admits. “I get a lot of my fruit items from the Co-Op. I can get blueberries, parsnips, raspberries and asparagus for £1.93 in total, reduced from £7.15.

Mum-of-two Tait now fills her freezer with bargains and never spends more than 10p on bread. (Mercury Press)
Mum-of-two Tait now fills her freezer with bargains and never spends more than 10p on bread. (Mercury Press)

With 3.6 million tonnes of food being wasted by the food industry every year in the UK, according to WRAP, the sustainability NGO working with governments, citizens and businesses to tackle food waste, Tait is doing her bit to address the issue, hoping to inspire other households.

“Fresh fruit and vegetables last for ages – people are always so quick to throw things out by their ‘use by date’ but I actually had some fruit on my porridge that is over a week old and it tasted perfectly fine,” she says. “I’m a bit of a food snob, so I do like to get the best quality produce and try to avoid junk food. I get a lot of my discounted items from M&S, like steak link sausages for £1.20, down from £3, or fillet steaks for £1.90, down from £4.78.” Tait also manages to pick up treats like fresh doughnuts for 50p and hot cross buns for 10p.

Read more: Woman who only buys second-hand shares her thrifting tips

Certain times of year like Christmas mean rich pickings. “Just after New Year’s Day in 2021, I actually stocked up a whole freezer of reduced items for about £50,” she says excitedly.

Alongside her frugal yellow sticker shopping, Tait has also cut back on takeaways and eating out, meaning the whole family lead healthier lifestyles.

As well as saving £10,000 in two years, Tait feels healthier than before. (Mercury Press)
As well as saving £10,000 in two years, Tait feels healthier than before. (Mercury Press)

Losing weight while saving cash

“I’ve found that it is so much easier to buy reduced loaves of bread and fillings than it is to get a meal deal sandwich,” she says. “I’ve found that since I started discount shopping, we’ve all eaten much healthier, and I’ve even managed to lose 7lbs.

“Yellow sticker shopping has stopped us constantly buying junk food, as we focus on fresh produce to cook big meals with instead, especially when it comes to batch-cooking meals to eat the day after.”

“A lot of our spending was on takeaways,” she admits. “We’d be spending £50 or more for each takeaway, and we’d be having two a week."

Read more: Woman previously 'drowning in debt' takes control of finances with budgeting strategy

The Scottish couple are thrilled that thanks to their thrifty shopping, they’re now able to afford some home improvements.

“It’s my goal this year to finally have our house renovated with much needed upgrades,” says Tait. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this, if our shopping spend was still through the roof.”

Additional reporting by Mercury Press.

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