A thrifty mother has revealed the budgeting tricks that mean she can spend just £10 on a whole week of lunches for the whole family.
Nicola Metcalfe, 35, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, has been told she should be on TV after her TikTok videos helped viewers slash hundreds from their food bills.
The mother, who is a senior administrator, has been with her husband Chris since they were 17, and the pair share two sons, Dylan, 16, and Fyn, 6.
In a recent video, Nicola managed to buy a week of lunches for her entire family for just £10 from Aldi.
The haul included 19 items for the week of lunches, and incredibly, it came to just £9.98.
Nicola (far left), her husband Chris (far right) and their children, Dylan (left) and Fyn (right) enjoyed a week of lunches for under £10
The food haul included, a packet of penne pasta, a packet of chorizo, two garlic baguettes, two bags of mozzarella, two tins of pasta sauce, two tins of baked beans, two tins of spaghetti hoops, 2.5kg of potatoes, tortilla wraps, a loaf of bread, Yorkshire puddings, and three boxes of fish fingers.
As a result, the family enjoyed chorizo pizza wraps with home-made chips, fish finger sandwiches, chorizo pasta and garlic bread, spaghetti hoops on toast, jacket potatoes and baked beans, and fish fingers with roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.
Nicola also added staples such as margarine, gravy powder, and tomato ketchup to make the meals.
She began budgeting by putting cash aside in envelopes for specific expenses – known as ‘stuffing’, explaining: ‘I started doing money wallet stuffing, trying to save money for the future and pay off debt. When looking at all my expenses I realised that food is the biggest expense that we have.
‘I decided to create meals that cost just £5 or under for up to five people so I could share them with everyone and hopefully help anyone that would see it.’
‘More recently I wanted to go bigger and show people how to do breakfasts for a week for £5 and lunch for just £10.
‘Some people may find it extreme, but this could be a life saver for others.
‘It is also hard seeing other content on social media, with five-star meals… it is just not real life for most people.’
Nicola managed to buy 19 items for Aldi for £9.98, which made up 7 days of lunches for the family of four
Her shopping haul, which included chorizo, Yorkshire puddings, baked beans and garlic baguettes among other items
Nicola shares her extreme food budgeting tips on social media, and fans think she should have her own TV show
Nicola, with her youngest son, Fyn, said she learned to budget after becoming a young mother
Nicola said growing up fast after becoming a young mum helped her to learn these extreme budgeting tricks, adding: ‘I have been with my husband Chris since I was 17 years old and had our first child very young.
‘It was extremely challenging financially and took us on a path that we wouldn’t ideally choose, renting, getting into debt, having to grow up really fast.
‘It has taken a long time to get back on our feet, but even through the stress we have had a very good life and are very fortunate compared to others.’
Nicola is flattered by all the lovely comments she gets, particularly when they say she should have her own show.
This shopping trolley of food made a number of meals, including chorizo pizza wraps with home-made chips, finger finger sandwiches, chorizo pasta and garlic bread, spaghetti hoops on toast, jacket potatoes and baked beans, and fish fingers with roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings
A few trolls have criticised Nicola’s meals, calling them ‘beige’, but she says families on a tight budget don’t always have the luxury of fresh fruit and veg
Nicola and Chris had their first child, Dylan – pictured with his dad – while they were teenagers
The mum of two, who is a senior administrator, started doing money wallet stuffing to save money for the future and pay off debts
‘I think my most complimentary comment was that I was amazing and should be on TV and Martin Lewis should be in touch,’ she said.
‘Honestly, whenever someone says I have helped them through a difficult time or just thanking me for simply making a video, it is so overwhelming, and I am very grateful for the support.’
A few trolls have criticised her meals, calling them ‘beige’, but she says families on a tight budget don’t always have the luxury of fresh fruit and veg.
‘Some people had things to say regarding lack of veg and fruit, but this can easily be incorporated into snacks if you are in that position,’ she added.
‘If people have to go to food banks, they are given mostly tins and packets and don’t even have the luxury of choosing what they are going to have for lunch that day.
‘But 90 per cent of the comments are amazing, and I have had some touching, tear-filled comments that I would have never expected.’