Woman saves £20,000 with reduced items and hasn't spent a penny in two months11/13/2020
Civil servant Laura Gaga from London has been scouring supermarkets for bargains for the past nine years, after a colleague introduced her to reduced sticker groceries.
As a student, Laura frittered money away on clothes and socialising, regularly being overdrawn and taking out loans to repay her credit card bills.
The 40-year-old became more responsible in adulthood but was a fussy eater and would often spend £50 a week at the supermarket.
But once she discovered how to sniff out a bargain, shopping on a budget became a huge high and Laura began experimenting more with vegetables and spices.
Over the course of nine years, Laura estimates she has saved around £20,000 by drastically cutting back on her weekly shop, going from £50 a week to just £10.
If Laura doesn’t know a shop’s schedule for reducing food, she keeps track of staff with the yellow sticker guns, watches customers loitering in the aisle, and asks staff members to ensure she doesn’t miss out on a bargain.
After going vegan two years ago, Laura is quick to snap up staples like pulses, legumes and nuts when they are reduced.
In the last two months the thrifty shopper hasn’t spent any money on food as she uses app Olio which stops food from going to waste.
One supermarket reduced haul of fruit, yoghurt, houmous, sausages, cakes, Pukka pies and more should have cost more than £50, but Laura paid just £13.29.
Laura decided to see how long she could go without food shopping after she collected a haul of three large bags of food given to her by a woman moving to a new house.
As well as using Olio, Laura collects unwanted food from family and friends and has picked grapes and fallen apples at a local vineyard and orchard.
Laura says the key is to not be fussy and not have a specific shopping list. Instead, she keeps staples like frozen fruit and vegetables and chooses her meals around what freebies she picks up.
Laura said: ‘I was constantly telling everyone about my bargains and thinking about what meals I could make with them. It was such a change after being so fussy with my food.
‘Now that I am more limited by whatever is on offer, I experiment with what I can find and make a lot out of a little. I recently made homemade baked beans for breakfast using mung beans.
‘Shopping from the reduced crate has widened the range of foods I eat. Seeing the food marked down encourages me to buy them and create different meals. No one would consider me a fussy eater these days.’
Her shopping habits have now become a way of life for Laura, who says the money saved can go towards her love of travelling.
The Olio app has also been a huge help as it connects her to people who don’t want to throw food away
‘I was amazed at what I collected from the app. There was so much that I knew I couldn’t justify shopping for the time being,’ Laura said.
‘I decided to see how long I could go [without buying food] and I’m now in my third month. Some of it is from supermarkets at the end of the day, and other items are local people who have unwanted food that they don’t want to chuck. I also get surplus food from family and friends.
‘This is a way of life for me now. It’s become the norm, so I even take it for granted at times. When I see other people’s responses to my hauls I’m reminded of how impressive the savings are.’
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