A MUM-of-one has revealed how she saves up to £180 a month by bulk cooking up to four days' worth of meals for her family in one go.
Andrea Harte, 31, a beautician and sports therapist from Plymouth, used to spend £300 a month - or roughly £75 a week - on food her herself, partner Matthew, 34, and daughter Lily-May, 8.
But now on her cheapest weeks, she spends only £30 on food for the family - adding up to £120 a month and saving her as much as £180.
This can creep up to £50 if the family run out of meat, but Andrea says she tends to bulk buy joints to use at a later date, and says she doesn't throw anything away.
Andrea started meal planning in January as part of her New Year’s resolution to save money.
She now spends one or two evenings a week cooking up to four days' worth of meals at a time, with some of the family’s favourites including lasagne and spaghetti bolognese.
The money-savvy mum also cooks and freezes jacket potatoes and mash, which she defrosts and cooks up when she gets home to save time.
She told The Sun: "I was spending about £300 a month on food but since I've been preparing and cooking it myself, it has worked out so much more cheaper.
"Some weeks I only spend £30 on food. It can go up to £50 depending how much meat we have left from the weeks before."
Andrea also credits online shopping for helping her cut back on costs, as it means she avoids splashing out on impulse buys and supermarket offers that she doesn't need.
She would be lured into picking up products that were on offer, but weren't essential - only to then find the same item cheaper in another supermarket.
In fact, just last year supermarkets were found to still be "misleading" customers by pushing up prices before launching an offer.
After sharing her tips on the LatestDeals Facebook page, Andrea told the money-saving site: "I started shopping online instead of going in store to buy as I won’t be tempted to buy things I don’t need or want just because they are on offer.
"Since doing this, my food shop has gone down a lot and I have started pricing up my meals to see how much money each meal has cost me so I know how much I can budget to a day."
Another benefit to cooking a lot of meals in one go is saving money on her gas bill, says Andrea.
She said: "I try to cook more than one thing to save on gas, so while my lasagne is cooking, I’ll add in some jacket potatoes to save on time and money.
"I would definitely recommend batch cooking because I have time to play with my daughter again.
“If someone is looking to batch cook, I would recommend cooking in freezer bags and placing kitchen rolls between so they don’t get stuck together and you can separate easily - I use plastic tubs for some meals as I find it easier to reheat."
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Andrea isn't the only shopper to have her money-saving tips - this saver cut her food bill by £1,800 a year by ditching junk food, shopping online and meal planning.
Meal-prepping also helped account manager Charlotte Deniz to loose six stone in 10 months.
First-time buyer Luke Beasley used the money saving meals to help him raise the funds for a deposit on his first place.