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‘Plan your meals around offers’: Mum-of-three Karen shares her tips for saving on the Big Shop

Karen Manning – aka Mother of All Deals – uses SuperValu Real Rewards to save on her weekly shop.

FOR MANY OF us, doing the food shop is a non-negotiable weekly or fortnightly task. 

Considering meals for the week is a large part of many household budgets and, with the cost of living rising, making the products you buy go further is no longer just an environmentally-friendly decision – it can also greatly reduce your food bill.

Mum-of-three and savvy shopper Karen Manning at Mother of All Deals is no stranger to hunting out the best bargain. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s that now is the time to look at what we’re spending on our food grocery bill,” she says. “I want to get every scrap of value I can from my weekly shop.”  

Below, Karen shares her top tips for making the most of your food shop, from using loyalty apps like the SuperValu Real Rewards app for weekly vouchers and money off coupons to being strategic with where you start your shop. 

1. Do a stock take of your kitchen

“Check your cupboards, fridge and freezer before you do your shop to see what you already have,” says Karen. She also advises keeping a set amount of non-perishable ingredients in the cupboard, such as spices, tinned foods, rice and pasta, so there’ll always be something on hand to put a meal together with. 

unnamed-695 Karen Manning checks for vouchers and coupons before doing her food shop for her family-of-five. Supplied Supplied

2. Check rewards apps for coupons, vouchers and offers

Rather than waiting until you get to the supermarket to see what offers are available, Karen highlights the benefits of knowing where you can save money before you go by checking loyalty apps like the SuperValu Real Rewards app. 

“The food budget is an area of my household costs that I’ve seen some rise in recently. Checking the SuperValu Real Rewards app for available weekly vouchers or money off coupons and planning my shop around them is a great way to save money,” she says. 

“In advance of my shop, I check the app to see what weekly vouchers are available and see what new coupons there are every Thursday. There are weekly deals and promotional offers on the special offers leaflets too. This is a great way to get ideas on what to put on your meal plan.”

3. Make a meal plan before you go

One of Karen’s most important pieces of advise is making a meal plan before hitting the shops. “Good meal planning is a great way to save money,” she says. “If you plan your meals by using available coupons and the products that are on offer, in addition to using the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day, it saves time and money – and reduces food waste. 

“I plan recipes that have some ingredients in common, and maximise my time by cooking ahead, making bigger quantities and having partially completed meals in the fridge or freezer. The freezer is your friend – use it.”

Karen also recommends looking at your family’s schedule for the week and planning meals accordingly: “I make sure my meal plan works in any events so I’m not spending on food for it to sit in the fridge.”

youngwomanshoppinghealthyfoodinsupermarketblurbackground-female Shutterstock Shutterstock

4. Write your list in the order of the shop layout

Many of us are familiar with the struggle of attempting to efficiently do the food shop, only to end up going back up and down aisles repeatedly for forgotten ingredients and products. 

Karen recommends starting with the freezer aisle to “stock up on freezer veg and fruit”, and then making your way through the store as usual and checking out the weekly deals on fresh fruit and veg.  

“Frozen food is great when on a budget,” says Karen. “Frozen veg is very handy because you can throw it into the pan and bulk up any dish – even if it means blitzing it before cooking so younger kids can’t see!”

5. Make the switch to own-brand products 

You might be familiar with buying the same branded products week in, week out, but an easy way to save money is switching to own-brand products, says Karen.

“Own brand products cost a fraction of what the branded products cost,” she says. “I find SuperValu own brand products are such great quality. Also, don’t forget to look at the bottom shelves where cheaper products are generally laid out.”

unnamed (1) SuperValu SuperValu

6. Stick to your list

While you might spot an item or two that you forgot to add to your list as your browse the aisles of the supermarket, Karen says sticking to your list is key to sticking to your budget. “It’s too easy to get distracted by other items that you don’t have on your shopping list, or by items you already have in your food cupboards or freezer that you have forgotten about.” 

Karen’s favourite budget-friendly meals 

To minimise food waste and maximise the ingredients you already have, Karen recommends planning meals that use up whatever’s left over. Below, she shares her go-to choices…

Roast dinner 

“If you make a big dish like a roast chicken or beef dinner, you can use the leftovers in loads of different ways,” says Karen. These include in sandwiches, baked potato toppings, stir fries, soups and curries.

Pasta carbonara 

A pasta carbonara is an easy dish to make at home – and leaves you with ingredients to make dessert. “Put the leftover egg whites in the blender with caster sugar and quickly make meringues,” says Karen.

Spaghetti bolognese

Even making something as simple as a bolognese provides the opportunity to use the same ingredients in a different way. Karen recommends making extra tomato sauce before adding the mince, and putting it aside for later in the week. “It’s lovely on a pizza base,” she says. 

Whether you are a weekly trolley shopper or just popping in for daily essentials, you can scan your Real Rewards App for weekly money off vouchers and coupons resulting in great savings and better weekly budgeting when it comes to being a savvy shopper. Download the app now and make real savings each week.

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