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A frugal family of four spends £3 a day on groceries, saving £10,000 in two years

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A thrifty dad, who made a living on yellow-sticker grocery bargains after his £300,000 business debt left him bankrupt, has shared his top saving tips.

Al Baker, 48, of Aldershot, Hampshire, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after defaulting on debt payments when his company went bust.

The father of two ran a successful food import business that sold American goods in the UK and lived a “comfortable” life until import regulations changed in 2014.

“Life was pretty good – I had a nice car, money in my pocket, owned a house and had nice vacations,” Al said.

“The rule changes meant we could no longer offer our most popular ranges going forward, causing our sales to drop by around 80% and the company going bankrupt.







Al said he makes a living mostly off yellow-sticker bargains at his local supermarket
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Picture:

Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)

“As I had personal guarantees I was liable for a large percentage of the debt up to £300,000.

“Even though I did my best to keep up with the payments on the debt, I was in a position where I couldn’t pay, so I had to bankrupt myself.”

Al “barely came by” after selling his house and moving into a rented flat costing £1,500 a month.







Al ran a successful food import business selling American goods in the UK and lived a “comfortable” life until import regulations changed in 2014
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Picture:

Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)







“Every month we hoped that there would be a new miracle that would give us just enough money to pay the rent.”
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Picture:

Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)

He said: “Every month we hoped that there would be a new miracle that would give us just enough money to pay the rent.

“I suffered from severe depression and anxiety with no idea how the next bill was going to be paid and it hit me deeply.

“I had little idea how things were going to improve.

“As someone who had experienced a better lifestyle when business was booming, being thrown into a new world of despair and poverty as everything was collapsing around me was a brief and sharp wake-up call.

“Somehow we made it, but it was incredibly stressful and challenging.

“We made a living off mostly yellow sticker bargains we found in our convenience store, while trying to save and make every penny we could on the side.”

Luckily, a family friend let them rent their house, saving them £400 a month and allowing them to have lower bills.







Al said he suffered from severe anxiety and depression and wondered how the next bill would be paid
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Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)







Al shared his top three tips on how to use his proven methods to save money in no time
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Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)

Meanwhile, Al got a job building an e-commerce platform for a local company — which he still works for — and their finances improved enough that they could pay their rent with fewer worries.

The grocery bargains were a key part of his cost-cutting plan, which saw Al slashing yellow-sticker groceries like salmon fillets from 6p to 62p, fruit hauls that cost pennies and huge cuts of meat for a fraction of the price.

Al said: “We were able to survive by shopping smart and had a £3-4 a day budget for eating out and shopping – which the purchase of the yellow badge made possible, otherwise we wouldn’t have had a chance.

“I reckon I saved around £10,000 over the key two years when our finances were at their worst.”

He also began taking up various “side hustles” to try to put aside as much money as possible and is now a year away from having his bankruptcy erased from his credit file – giving him access to credit, loans and a mortgage will allow.

Al shared his top three tips on how to use his proven methods to save money in no time.

It was crucial for Al to hunt down the best grocery deals and buy discounted groceries before their sell-by dates.

He said: “Yellow stickers all the way! You’ll save up to 90% by making sure you grab bargains that can stretch your grocery budget.

“I still buy yellow sticker groceries now and shop for bargains because it’s a way of life.







Al also uses grocery saving apps like Too Good to Go and Olio to save money and avoid food waste
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Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)







The grocery bargains were a key part of his cost-cutting plan, which saw Al buy yellow-sticker groceries like salmon fillets, which were reduced from 6p to 62p
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Picture:

Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)

“I’m a year away from having my bankruptcy erased from my file, so you’re still supplementing a lack of access to credit by shopping smart.”

Al also uses grocery saving apps like Too Good to Go and Olio to save money and avoid food waste.

Another key area where Al has found savings is in cashback apps and gift cards.

He said: “Always use cashback apps to save money!

“When you buy something online, you always visit a cashback site – why wouldn’t you want to make money for something you need to buy anyway?

“Use the cashback sites to buy gift cards for purchases that you need to make in-store rather than online.

“For example, you can spend £250 a month at your local supermarket that you’re unlikely to get cashback on.

“However, if you buy a gift card for your supermarket you will generally get between 3% and 5% cashback on the purchase of the gift card, so maybe £12.50 a month in cashback, maybe more.







Al said you should use cashback sites to buy gift cards for purchases you need to make in-store rather than online
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Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)

“If you buy fuel in the supermarket, you can also pay with a gift card.

“Fueling up my van costs me £100 a time; I get 5% cashback on a £100 gift card so I save £5 every time I fill up and the more you use your car the more you save. ”

Aside from being a numbers game, Al also says your mindset is just as important when shopping.

He explained: “Take a deep breath if you want to buy something! Don’t be impulsive – sleep on what you’re going to buy and you might think differently.

“But if it’s something you need to buy and buy online, put the item in the shopping cart and leave it there.

“You will likely receive an email reminding you that you have something left in your cart.







Now the father is counting the days until he is no longer broke
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Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)

“Often you’ll be given a discount code to use with your purchase to cut costs – and make sure you can’t buy it cheaper by using Google Shopping to find out who’s cheapest.”

“You can also install a browser extension like Honey that will automatically apply discount codes to your cart to try and save money.”

Now the father is counting the days until he is no longer broke.

He added: “Bankruptcy is still hanging over me.

“Next year, my six years of having that entry on my credit report will be removed, putting us back in a more favorable position to borrow and we hope to be able to buy our own home.

“We still have to be very careful, as a lot of people are doing, and the added cost of increasing fuel and food costs means we’re nowhere near comfortable.







Make sure you can’t buy items cheaper by using Google Shopping to find out who’s cheapest
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Picture:

Jam Press/@thepennypincheruk)

“I started blogging about my experiences on The Penny Pincher to help others find ways to save and make extra money using the side hustle and money saving ideas I came across during my toughest days was.

“I was struggling to find information and tips when I needed them and thought it would be good to document them so others can find them more easily.

“As someone who needed help and knowing how difficult this time was and how stressful I was finding the whole experience, it helped me mentally to know I could help someone else who was in the same position.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thrifty-family-four-spend-3-27011986 A frugal family of four spends £3 a day on groceries, saving £10,000 in two years

Fry Electronics Team

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