Belfast woman's grocery tips after saving hundreds of pounds per month

Alia Gea Gea shares her low cost recipes on her Instagram page
Alia Gea Gea shares her low cost recipes on her Instagram page -Credit:Alia Gea Gea/Musclefood

A home cook from Belfast has shared her grocery tips that have helped her save hundreds of pounds per month.

Alia Gea Gea said buying in bulk has helped her make delicious meals at home for as little as £2.08 since learning how to effectively plan and budget.

The 38-year-old estate agent said the cost of living crisis, accompanied by rising food prices, means she's had to become much savvier when it comes to doing her food shopping. As a result, she is now able to stretch her shopping to last a month, ditching the costly weekly food shops, enabling her to save over £200 per month.

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Alia shares her recipes on her Instagram page Cookaliacarte, and makes delicious meals from scratch for herself and her husband. Some of her ideas include a chicken spice bag fakeaway at £2.98 per portion and Big Mac tacos at just £2.17 per portion.

She said her money-saving hacks are ideal for busy households looking to cook delicious and healthy meals on a budget.

Alia said: “I am way more aware of the cost of items in the supermarket now because groceries have shot up to ridiculous prices. In the current climate, we are all seeing a huge hike in costs and unfortunately, many busy professionals like myself and my husband can fall into the expensive grab-and-go culture.

One of Alia's favourite low cost recipes are her Big Mac tacos
One of Alia's favourite low cost recipes are her Big Mac tacos -Credit:Alia Gea Gea/Musclefood

"Planning meals, buying in bulk, reusing leftovers and checking cupboards to stop overbuying have helped me to slash my grocery shopping costs. Now, I can make delicious meals like Big Mac tacos and Piri Piri Chicken & Sweet Potato Salad Bowls for under £2.17.

"The best part about it all is I’m making restaurant-quality food for a fraction of the price, if I was eating some of my meals out it would be at least £30 a person, and I can do it for under £3."

To help keep costs down, Alia makes use of the MuscleFood Ultimate Freezer Filler Hamper for her meat staples, which means she can cut back on the mostly costly parts of her food shop.

Alia is keen to help share her budgeting tips with other people to help reduce shopping costs and cope with the rising cost of living. Among her other money-saving hacks are investing in versatile ingredients, freezing, making one-pot meals and cooking seasonally.

Alia has been making restaurant quality food at home for a fraction of the price
Alia has been making restaurant quality food at home for a fraction of the price -Credit:Alia Gea Gea/Musclefood

She said: "Investing in versatile ingredients means I can make multiple meals out of the same food which prevents waste, and I’ll always turn my leftovers into a one-pot dish or freeze them for another day. I also always freeze my meat and buy things like frozen fruit so it doesn't go out of date or lose its nutritional content and it is usually half the price.

"Shopping seasonally has also helped me to cut costs, so I plan my meals around what fresh produce is available. It’s cheaper, more nutritious and tastes better."

Here are Alia's top three money-saving tips for families in Northern Ireland:

  1. Invest in versatile ingredients: Investing in versatile and core staple ingredients helps with meal planning and makes it easier to make multiple meals. This will not only cut down food prep time in the kitchen, but it will also prevent waste and save a lot of money in the long run.

  2. Order in bulk from a delivery service: Pre-ordering and buying in bulk stops the costly grab-and-go habit common amongst busy families and professionals. It is also a great way to make shopping last for longer and helps people to cut down on shopping costs.

  3. Plan ahead: It is important to be organised when it comes to the food shop to stop overbuying and wasting ingredients. This will help people to stay within their budget and avoid impulse purchases. Consider planning meals and using seasonal produce. Not only will this improve the quality and taste of food but also bring the price down.

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