Mother saves £18,000 by ‘shopping like a ninja’ from the reduced shelf at the supermarket

  • Kelly Eroglu, 40, from South Wales had tighter budget after going part time
  • Started shopping from reduced shelf and slashed £90 weekly spend
  • Has started a blog to share recipes for as little as 50p a portion
  • Says trick is knowing times your local shops make their reductions 

A mother-of-two has saved up to £18,000 in the past five years by shopping only from the reduced shelf at the supermarket. 

Kelly Eroglu, 40, from Cwmbran, South Wales found herself on a tighter budget five years ago when she reduced her hours as first class cabin crew with a major airline to spend more time with her children.

She used to spend £90 a week on food shopping but has now reduced her spend to £20 a week, which feeds herself, her husband Stewart and two children, her stepson who visits at weekends and visiting friends and relatives. 

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Kelly Eroglu, 40, from Cwmbran, South Wales, pictured with her daughter Emma, has saved up to £18,000 in the past five years by shopping only from the reduced shelf at the supermarket

Kelly Eroglu, 40, from Cwmbran, South Wales, pictured with her daughter Emma, has saved up to £18,000 in the past five years by shopping only from the reduced shelf at the supermarket

Kelly with her son Arin and daughter Emma reduced her hours as an air hostess five years ago to spend more time with her children and found herself on a tighter budget 

Kelly with her son Arin and daughter Emma reduced her hours as an air hostess five years ago to spend more time with her children and found herself on a tighter budget 

Her saving of £70 a week amounts to over £18,000 and Kelly has recently started a blog Reduced Grub, to share low cost recipes for family meals for 50p to £1 a portion.

She’s getting more than 1,000 hits a day thanks to recipes such as lamb stuffed aubergine that serves four for 75p a head; sea bass stuffed with rice and chorizo for £1 a head and chicken kebabs for 50p a head. 

Kelly brands herself a ‘whoops warrior’, after the sticker which sometimes appears on cut price goods, who ‘shops like a ninja’ by learning all the times that supermarkets reduce their produce and shopping accordingly.

‘I’ve always had friends over for dinner and always done big meals and that hasn’t changed. I have a curry club and friends come over and I make a bit pot for £10 for six to eight people. Nobody’s got a clue how little it costs,’ Kelly told FEMAIL. 

Kelly's blog Reduced Grub features recipes for family meals such as Saucy Spaghetti and Meatballs for six people, which costs just £4 to make

Kelly’s blog Reduced Grub features recipes for family meals such as Saucy Spaghetti and Meatballs for six people, which costs just £4 to make

Sea bass stuffed with rice and chorizo costs £1 a head

Sea bass stuffed with rice and chorizo costs £1 a head

A minced beef tortilla tower that serves four people costs less than £3 worth of ingredients

A minced beef tortilla tower that serves four people costs less than £3 worth of ingredients

‘We have a really big table in our house and we’re always feeding the kids’ friends.

‘For my husband’s 40th birthday recently we had 40 guests and it cost me £50 for everything and everyone commented on how nice the food was.’ 

In 2011, Kelly cut down her flying hours as she wanted to spend more time with her children Emma, now 13, and Arin, now 10.

She has always tried to cook from scratch and make healthy meals with good quality ingredients – and she didn’t want to break the budget in the process.

Despite her tight budget, Kelly regularly entertains family and friends without spending a fortune 

Despite her tight budget, Kelly regularly entertains family and friends without spending a fortune 

Kelly's son Arin (left) tucking into homemade bread

Kelly’s son Arin (left) tucking into homemade bread

Kelly's daughter with one of the langoustines her mother bought for just over £1 reduced from £6 at Sainsbury's

Kelly’s daughter with one of the langoustines her mother bought for just over £1 reduced from £6 at Sainsbury’s

When Kelly's husband Stewart (pictured) turned 40 she threw a party for dozens of guests at a cost of just £50

When Kelly’s husband Stewart (pictured) turned 40 she threw a party for dozens of guests at a cost of just £50

‘That’s how I got into this bargain hunting in a big way so we could all still eat really well and nobody’s noticed the difference.

‘I always cooked from scratch but when I had a flexible budget I would nip to the supermarket and pick up a few things without really thinking about the cost. 

‘I could spend £90 a week in Sainsbury’s but now it can be as little as £20.

‘When you an air hostess, people always think of it as very glamorous and sometimes even pretentious, and I did ask myself: “Am I scabby or super savvy?”.’

Kelly's thrifty meals include sea bass stuffed with rice and chorizo for £4 and feta and spinach pie for just £1.50

Kelly’s thrifty meals include sea bass stuffed with rice and chorizo for £4 and feta and spinach pie for just £1.50

Lamb stuffed aubergine serves four and costs £3 to make, which works out at 75p a portion 

Lamb stuffed aubergine serves four and costs £3 to make, which works out at 75p a portion 

Feta and Spinach pie for four people costs just 37p a portion

Feta and Spinach pie for four people costs just 37p a portion

‘But why should I be embarrassed about being clever about my food? ‘I went to Waitrose last Sunday and got Duchy Organic sticky chicken wings for 69p, which I made with butternut squash and stir fry veg.

KELLY’S TOP MONEY SAVING TIPS 

  • Ask a friendly member of staff at your local supermarket what times they reduce produce at.
  • Look out for newly opened shops that will probably be overstocked to begin with and will have lots of goods to reduce.
  • Don’t stick to big name brands at the supermarket. Often the best offers are one brands you might not have heard of.
  • Look beyond the supermarket. You can get great bargains on store cupboard essentials at Home Bargains and B&M.
  • Seasonal products such as Easter and Christmas treats will be reduced after the event but many will keep for months.
  • Remember the sell-by date is often well before the use-by date so don’t be put off grabbing a bargain. 

‘It cost just £3 altogether for four of us. And last week I made roast chicken, which I got from Sainsbury’s for £1.99 and served with lemon and tarragon sauce.

‘From the leftover carcass I made soup and so I got two meals out of the one chicken.’

Kelly shares the reduction times at her local shops on her blogs, but she says that anyone can compile their own list by asking around.  

‘The best way to find out when your local supermarket reduces produce is to find the nicest, friendliest looking shop assistant and ask them,’ she said. 

People may think that they can’t get to the supermarket at the right time, but Kelly insists that anyone can find bargains as there will be at least one shop reducing at a time that suits their schedule.

‘My local M&S does it in three different waves throughout the day, whereas Asda will wait as long as possible before discounting anything,’ she said. 

‘My cousin in Newport finishes at the gym at 8.30 and goes to the supermarket and picks up big joints of meat for a fraction of the price. 

‘A really good tip is if you find a new supermarket that’s just opened where they haven’t established how much stock they need yet so there will probably be lots of reductions.’

The part-time air hostess says that anyone can take advantage of supermarket bargains if they know the right times to shop

Kelly's blog is getting more than 1000 hits a day

The part-time air hostess says that anyone can take advantage of supermarket bargains if they know the right times to shop

Slow cooked beef curry with homemade chips for costs £2.80 to make and serves four people 

Slow cooked beef curry with homemade chips for costs £2.80 to make and serves four people 

A tropical Victoria sponge made by Kelly's daughter Emma costs just £3

A tropical Victoria sponge made by Kelly’s daughter Emma costs just £3

Low fat, healthy chicken kebabs for cost just 50p per portion to make 

Low fat, healthy chicken kebabs for cost just 50p per portion to make 

Kelly also believes that anyone can cook great food from scratch and there’s no excuse for relying on more expensive processed foods.

‘I’ve done a few cooking courses. In India I paid £9 and did a half day cooking course. It’s amazing what you can learn,’ she explained.

‘But you don’t need to be a genius cook. Anyone can do it. On my blog I do step-by-step pictures to make it really easy.’

PAELLA WITH PRAWNS, MUSSELS AND CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 275G Paella or rissotto rice
  • 2 diced chicken breast 
  • 1 finely sliced onion
  • Pack of prawns
  • 1/4 chorizo sliced
  • A handful of mussels
  • One large red pepper sliced 
  • 2 chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 glass of white wine 
  • 1 1/4 pint of chicken stock 
  • A couple of strands of saffron
  • 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic 
  • Handful of garden peas 
  • Chilli flakes 
  • 1tsp paprika 
  • Parsley to garnish

 METHOD

  1. Put the onion, garlic and choritzo into a wok or large pan with a glug of olive oil, and fry on a medium heat until the onions are soft.
  2. Add the peppers and fry for a further two minutes. Make up the chicken stock and pop the saffron into the liquid.
  3. Coat the rice in the mixture and add the glass of wine, paprika, chilli flakes and tomato. Stir well for a minute.
  4. Add the chicken stock with the saffron, the diced chicken and stir well.
  5. When the rice has expanded, put in the peas and stir well. Do not cover.
  6. Stir frequently and add salt if needed. Just before it’s cooked add the mussels and prawns and give it a good stir.                                                                 Serves 4-6: £1.25 per portion

Kelly bought the ingredients for her Paella from the reduced produce shelf at the Co-op

Kelly bought the ingredients for her Paella from the reduced produce shelf at the Co-op

Paella with prawns, mussels and chicken serves up to six people for £1.25 a portion

Paella with prawns, mussels and chicken serves up to six people for £1.25 a portion

People have now become used to shopping for unfamiliar brands at Aldi and Lidl, and Kelly also recommends Home Bargains and B&M Bargains.

‘They are both little goldmines,’ she said. ‘B&M bargains recently had this Cattlemen’s BBQ sauce from the US that’s a really great quality product. If you go on Amazon people are paying £5 a bottle plus the cost of having it shipped. 

But another top tip from Kelly is to look out for lesser known brands at supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco. 

‘Because I’m travelling a lot I get to see different products so I’m more open to them,’ she said. 

SAUCY SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS  

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 packet of spaghetti 
  • Pcaket of Mince beef 
  • 1 large diced onion 
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped 
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 piece of stale bread crumbled 
  • 1 tbsp passata 
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped dried or fresh basil 
  • Tin of tomato soup
  • Glass of red wine 
  • 1/4 diced chorizo 
  • Salt and pepper

 METHOD

  1. Mix mince, cheese, onion, passata, garlic, paprika, basil, seasoning and bread.
  2. Roll into balls and put on a greased tray. Bake in a medium oven, shaking the tray after about 10 minutes. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Pour olive oil into a large saucepan. Add tinned tomatoes, soup, basil, choritzo and seasoning. Simmer while the meatballs finish cooking.
  4. Drain fat from the meatballs and place in sauce. Lower temperature while you cook your spaghetti.

 Serves six: 66p per portion 

Kelly purchased reduced products for Spaghetti meatballs and M&S

Kelly purchased reduced products for Spaghetti meatballs and M&S

Six servings of saucy meatballs with spaghetti costs just £4

Six servings of saucy meatballs with spaghetti costs just £4

Recently she picked up spices from Morrison’s for just 39p that she recognised as a high quality if little-known brand. 

‘You can save so much by experimenting with different brands,’ she said. ‘You get the best chocolate in Lidl for 30p a bar and I recently got really good Quiona for £1.79.’

Since setting up her blog two months ago, Kelly has been overwhelmed by positive messages and even TV presenter Lorraine Kelly. 

‘I met her on a flight and she was delightful,’ Kelly explained. ‘I told her about my idea and she said it sounded great and promised to take a look.

Yesterday, Lorraine tweeted about Kelly’s blog saying: ‘LOVE this! Great idea.’

However, Kelly hopes that her work can help anyone who is struggling to get by on a budget. 

‘One lady sent me a letter to say, “thank you so much for your blog”,’ she explained. 

‘She said that after her wages she had £15 a week to live on for her and her partner and she had to pay her electric out of that. 

‘If I can help even just one person like that it will be wonderful.’







Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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