FILLING up your fridge has never been more expensive, but shopper Elaine Wishart saves £960 a year on her grub by being part of a food club.
Elaine, 54, from South Field, Bristol, is currently unemployed and living off her savings just to get by.
She’s concerned about how she will afford her weekly shop as food prices rocket, so joined a local food club to more than half her bill.
“ I went to Tesco yesterday and saw the juice I get went up by 30p,” she said.
“You can see at supermarkets that prices are going up by nearly 50%.
“I’m living on savings at the minute, and I will be struggling in a few months if I don’t get work.”
Food clubs are usually run by charities, who sell food at big discounts at public places like community or church halls to hard-up households.
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The clubs work by linking up with local supermarkets, who donate food nearing their sell-by date that would have been thrown away anyway.
They differ from food banks because you don't have to be referred in order to use one.
Elaine’s food club is run by local charity BS3 Community, and it runs once a week in Bedminster’s church hall.
You need to pay £1 for an annual membership, and then £3.50 on the door every week.
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Shoppers have an hour and a half window to visit the club.
You go around different stations set up in the hall, which are: a tins section, vegetables, fridge items and fruit.
Volunteers dish out the food to you to make sure there is enough for everyone.
Elaine said she can get the bulk of her shop from the club all for £3.50 but will go to the supermarket to get her meat and treats, bringing her total bill for the week to £10.
“My weekly food shop was £30 a week – now it’s down to £10,” she said.
That means her monthly food bill has been slashed from £120 to just £40 – which over the year, tallies up to a healthy £960 saving.
“Last week I got chickpeas, lots of veg including tomatoes, spring onions and butternut squash, four pies, and a big bag of pasta as well as lemon squash,” she said.
“You could easily live off it if you were really strapped, but you would still have to get a few little basics like oil and butter.”
She said that her club has got much busier recently as households battle against a crippling cost of living crisis.
Millions are strapped for cash as bills from energy to fuel and transport spiral.
“It’s definitely got busier. I had to queue for a good 20 minutes to get in last time.”
How to find a food club
Whether or not there’s a local food club in your area will depend on whether there’s a charity in place providing the service.
Family Action runs food clubs around the country – you can find out whether there’s one near you by checking its website.
Otherwise you could try contacting your local council, foodbank or community charities to see if they can give you information on if there’s a food club in your area.
How else can I lower my food bill?
There are government schemes in place run by local councils, such as the Household Support scheme, which provide support in the form of vouchers, one off payments and more for food bills.
You can also apply for the welfare assistance scheme which helps low income families with necessities like food and other bills.
If you're pregnant or responsible children under four, you could get healthy start vouchers.
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