Watch: Savvy money saving mum shares her tips and tricks.
A thrifty mum has revealed how she managed to slash her family food bill by £1,400 so far this year.
After receiving a book on saving hacks as a Christmas gift last year, Heather LeMond, 37, from Malvern, Worcestershire made a New Year's resolution to “spend more wisely”.
Since then the mum-of-two has become an avid thrifter and says treating money-saving as an art form has helped her to save thousands on clothes and household goods.
After leaving her administration job in a building society and becoming a full-time mum in 2016, LeMond found managing the family budget on one salary tight.
In order to try and take control of the family's spending, she asked her husband for Holly Smith’s Money Saving Book for Christmas and has since discovered a wealth of ways to save money.
“Constantly having to replenish the kitchen cupboards is quite expensive," she explains.
“But following these thrifty tips has enabled me to do something that allows us a little bit more freedom as a family and makes us worry less.
“Before I started doing this, our weekly food shopping was costing upwards of £120," she continues.
“Now I’m shopping more creatively, it’s more like £70.”
“It’s quite fulfilling to feel like I’ve made a difference.”
From knowing where to find cut-price food as it approaches its expiry date, to buying in bulk to save money long-term, LeMond has learnt the tricks and tips to make the family's money stretch further.
“I started off using tips from the book I was given, but soon got the hang of things, one thing led to another and I’ve found lots of different ways to save money now," she explains.
On such example is something known as 'sampling' - when companies give out samples of new products to try, often accompanied by coupons giving money off - which she picked up on a Facebook page about money-saving.
“I got a massive box of toothpaste samples when there was an Oral-B campaign, together with lots of coupons, meaning I can save money going forwards,” she explains.
The savvy shopper also takes advantage of introductory offers from firms selling food boxes.
“With food boxes, which provide the ingredients for different meal recipes, I signed up to one company which had an introductory offer, then I tried another one,” she explains.
“Before I knew it, the first company came back offering me a hefty reduction to buy again from them.
“The introductory offers can be very good. My first box might even have been under £20 for the ingredients for evening meals for a family of four for five nights.
“As a result, we used these for family dinner during the week for quite a while.”
Registering with web pages like Supersavvyme, which is full of offers, competitions and opportunities to test and review new products, has also paid dividends for LeMond.
“I agreed to share the link to a washing tablet and fabric softener brand’s campaign on my Facebook page and got a really large box of samples,” she explains.
"I’ve also found companies will send you samples of a new product they are introducing, which you can share with your friends and family, then you write a quick review.”
Meanwhile, ‘yellow sticker shopping’ – buying food that has been reduced for quick sale – enables LeMond to shop in supermarkets that she would normally dismiss as being too pricey.
"I go to places like M&S, as they have great yellow sticker bargains, but I wouldn’t buy food there when it’s full price," she explains.
“You just need enough space in your freezer to keep things, as they are approaching their expiry date," she says.
“I bought sausages for 50p and a load of meat products that were reduced the other day, so they are all in the freezer now.”
Though she says there remains a stigma surrounding the practice, she believes saving money is something that should be celebrated.
“Some people are embarrassed to fill their trolley up with yellow sticker items, thinking people will presume they’re poor, or stingy," she explains.
“But being smart and savvy is a good thing. It’s not embarrassing.”
Watch: Money saving gardening hacks.
Shopping for clothes out of season is another money saving tip LeMond swears by.
“I buy my kids’ clothes and shoes in the wrong seasons," she explains.
“I’ve anticipated how much they will have grown and have already got their winter boots and jackets from TK Maxx at rock bottom prices.”
It also means the mum has a sack full of presents ready for Christmas 2021 already.
“I’ve been gathering gifts throughout the year," she says.
“I browse through Amazon when I have a spare half hour and if something pops up that I think would be right for the people I buy for and it’s a good price, I get it.
“I only normally go for things costing a few pounds and have snapped up a lot of amazing bargains.”
As well as helping with the family finances, LeMond says being thrifty has helped with her mental wellbeing.
“I have been a stay at home mum for a few years and I also struggle with my mental health, which affects my self-esteem.
"But knowing I am helping my family by saving money gives me a real boost.
“I get a little glow every time I save money now because I know that I am making a difference to my family’s budget.
“Far from being embarrassed about being thrifty, I find it quite exciting!”
LeMond's savvy spending tips:
Yellow sticker shopping - Find everything from bakery items to packs of vegetables and meat at supermarkets like Morrisons and M&S.
Food boxes – look for introductory offers from people like Gousto, HelloFresh and SimplyFresh
Search for bulk deals for household goods and cleaning products on sites like Amazon
Start a presents drawer and shop for Christmas bargains in advance
Join thrift conscious Facebook groups - such as Kids and Toy Deals UK, Hot Deals, Coupons and Freebies
Follow Facebook pages and websites like Holly Smith Extreme Couponing
Pick up Christmas decorations in bargain stores like B&M bargains
Additional reporting PA Real Life.