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Mum reveals incredible money saving tips to feed family-of-five and pooch on just £38 a week
Savings queen Danielle Ross has gained 22,000 followers on Facebook after sharing her incredible tips
Danielle has always been a saver and calls herself a "budget queen" (Photo: SWNS)
A thrifty mum-of-three has won over the hearts of thousands of hard-up families after wowing them with her healthy budget meals. Savings queen Danielle Ross is able to feed her family of five including her pooch for just £38 a week. The master scrimper has gained 22,000 followers on Facebook after she shared her tips on social media.
Danielle, 30, is a host at a local spa, has three young sons and is married to 35-year-old David. She said: “If I wasn’t sticking to a budget I would be spending £600 a month. And my friends spend that much. “For parents it’s the snacks for kids.” Danielle set up a Facebook page to show just how cheap a packed lunch can be. The Colchester-based mum explained: “You can just have sandwiches, carrot sticks, apples but really I don’t buy more than one loaf of bread a week. “A loaf is much more than a bag of pasta because that’s 30p per bag. “So they can have sandwiches but then they will get cold pasta for lunch."
Danielle gives £1 to eight-year-old Ollie and five-year-old twins Sam and Max when she goes shopping each week so they “learn the value of money” and work out how to budget. Hubby David is banned from spending money on £3 meal deals at chain stores and must also bring a packed lunch to work. The couple hope to eventually have enough money to buy a house and saving the £780 annual spend on meal deals could help them get there. She even manages to save on food for her beloved dog Chester. She said: "Chester has Royal Canin dry food in the morning and some dog pate-style food with his dry food at night.
"We get it all once a month at £25 all inclusive. You get a Pets at Home VIP club status which means you get a magazine every month. They send deals and coupons which means you can get Royal Canin for a discount." Danielle has always been a saver – despite her husband wanting to spend more – and has her mother to thank for her thrifty ways. She said: “At my local shop they used to sell 2p cans of beans but it was limited to five cans per person. “So my mum would get people in the queue to stand there for her.
“So saving has always been with me – I’m just a budget queen.” Bringing children up to be savers means Danielle includes them in her cooking. “My eight-year-old Ollie is really fussy but when he cooks with me he can try new things more readily because he’s cooked it,” she said. “My twins, however, have been eating curry since they were really young. I just couldn’t have another fussy eater.” Danielle tries taking her three young boys out as often as she can. But she refuses to go anywhere without a voucher.
The quick-thinking mum refused to take her three boys to Chessington World of Adventures until she found the best voucher online. She said: “I have people on my Facebook page, Healthy Family Meals on a Budget, have people all over the world commenting on it. “They ask for advice all the time for me but I’m not a nutritionist though but now there are so many people on there other people give advice to one another about gluten-free or whatever. “I’m just a normal mum but it would be nice to start a movement I guess.”
That scrimping and saving means she can make fake-aways without noticing the difference. She said: "We make pita pizzas. That's literally pitta under the grill or in the toaster to warm them up. "Then spread tomato pure and grate some cheese on the top. Then you can add whatever topping you like. "Or sometimes we have a Chinese. Getting dried noodles for 40p and then some chicken, spring onions, peppers, mushrooms, baby corn and mangetout." Mrs Ross' super saver menu have been featured on her Facebook page, Healthy Family Meals on a Budget.
She said: "I have no idea how I gained the followers. Before Christmas, around end of November, I had just 250 followers. Now I have 22,000 it's just exploded and got bigger and bigger. It's huge now."
Danielle's Top Tips
- Cook with your kids. They’re always much more likely to eat it when they know what’s in it – or at least they think they know what’s in it.
- Having said that you should blend your vegetables. If you blend or grate them into your sauces it’s a great way to bulk out meals on a budget.
- Never deviate from the shopping list. Everyone has shopping lists but never ever deviate from it.
- Always set aside for splurges. Every one deserves a treat now and then.
- Stay away from deals. Deals are always encouraging you to buy things for £2 but the own store brand will be something like 60p.
- Packed lunches. You can always save using packed lunch rather than buying lunch every day.
Source: Mirror, UK