Feed Your Family: More From Less. Shop smart. Cook clever.


Meet Lorna Cooper – the mum of four who managed to save a massive £4,000 on her shopping bill and still feed her family of six. These are the secrets of her success

Lorna Cooper (pictured on the right) feeds her family of six for just £20 a week

“People always thinks it’s impossible to feed the six of us on just £20 a week,” Lorna Cooper, from Paisley, said. “But once you’ve bought your staples like rice and pasta, meat and spices to flavour things, then the rest can come in pretty cheap.”

Lorna started trimming her food bill two years ago. Before that she was spending £100 a week feeding her husband, three children and one step-child.

Now her food costs just a fifth of that.

No single trick, but lots of tips 

Sadly there’s no single secret to turning £100 a week into £20. Rather a series of methods.

Buying in bulk, cooking from raw ingredients, shopping around, bargain hunting, using more than one supermarket, making full use of your freezer and planning your meals are just some of the techniques she uses.

Fortunately, the pay off is worth it.

“It can be time consuming,” Lorna admitted. “I do shop around for the best deals, trawl websites looking for offers and shop in discount retailers and Asian supermarkets for the best buys. But to save around £4,000 a year just on food is worth the time and effort.”

Start with the biggest expense
Lorna Cooper with her family – and a LOT of value meat

For Lorna, meat was a big cost. Fully a quarter of her original food budget went on protein alone and to bring that bill down she looked outside traditional channels.

Where? To a body-building supplies site. Body builders and other athletes need a lot of protein to replenish (or grow) their muscles after exercise, and so there are sites dedicated to getting a lot of protein (be it chicken, beef, eggs, or fish) for less money.

Sites that mums can use just as easily to feed a family as a weight lifter can use to build their pecks.

“The growing mum fans took us slightly by surprise,” said Darren Beale from Musclefood.com. “Most of our customers are body builders, sports people or fitness fanatics.

“We knew we were offering premium products at low prices and keeping the cost down by selling in bulk. For mums that works perfectly – a hungry family with growing kids always needs good quality, fresh meat and if mum wants to freeze, then she can.”

And the savings can be big. Lorna’s cut her meat bill for a family of six from £25 to £10 by using the site.

Additionally, by buying meat in bulk or when it’s on offer and freezing it, it means she can cut that expense from her shopping bill for weeks – if not months – at a time. Needing just fresh fruit and vegetables to go with it.

You can see a selection Lorna’s budget recipes here and tips here – or check out her Facebook page for more inspiration.