Thrifty dad explains how his family spends just £3 to £4 a day on food

A thrifty father who lived on yellow food bargains after his £ 300,000 trade debt forced him into bankruptcy shared his top tips for saving money. Al Baker, 48, was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2017 after falling behind in debt when his business went bankrupt.

The father of two ran a successful food import company selling American products in the UK and led a “comfortable” life until import rules were changed in 2014. “Life was pretty good: he had a nice car, money in his pocket, he had a house and he had a good holiday, “Al said

“Changes to the rule meant we could no longer incorporate our most popular ranks in the future, so our revenue fell by about 80% and the business went bankrupt. As I had personal guarantees, I was held liable for £ 300,000 for a large percentage of the debt. .

“Even though I did my best to keep up with the debt payments, I was in a situation where I couldn’t pay, so I had to file for bankruptcy.” Al was “barely scraping” after selling his house and moving into a rent that cost £ 1,500 a month.

Elements with yellow adhesive glued as a bargain by Al Baker. (Jam Press)

He said: “Every month we hoped for a new miracle that would give us enough money to pay the rent. I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety with no idea how the next bill would be paid and it affected me deeply. Little idea how things would get better. .

“As someone who experienced a better lifestyle when business was booming, being thrown into a new world of despair and poverty when everything crashed around me was a short, sharp call for attention. Somehow we got it, but it was tremendously stressful and challenging.

“We lived mostly on yellow adhesive bargains that were in our convenience store and rushed to try to save and earn every penny we could.” Luckily, a family friend let them rent their house, which allowed them to cut £ 400 a month and have cheaper bills.

Meanwhile, Al got a job creating an e-commerce platform for a local business, for which he still works, and his finances improved enough to cover his rent with less concern. Food bargains were an integral part of his cost-cutting plan, with Al buying yellow sticky foods like salmon fillets reduced from £ 6 to £ 62p, fruit rolls costing pennies and huge portions of meat for a fraction of the price.

Al said: “We were able to survive because of smart shopping and had a budget of £ 3 to £ 4 a day for food and shopping, which made it possible to buy yellow stickers, otherwise we wouldn’t have a chance. I suspect I saved close to £ 10,000 for the two most important years, when our finances were at their worst. “

Elements with yellow adhesive glued as a bargain by Al Baker. (Jam Press)

He has also started collecting various “secondary concerns” to try to set aside as much money as possible, and is now a year away from having his bankruptcy cleared from his credit record, which will allow him access to credit, loans and mortgages. Al shared his top three tips on how to reduce costs in one fell swoop using his tried and tested methods.


For Al, it was crucial to look for the best food bargains and buy discounted foods before their expiration date. He said, “Yellow stickers all the way! You’ll save up to 90% by making sure you get bargains that can stretch your food budget.

“Now I still buy food with a yellow sticker and look for bargains because it’s a way of life. I’m still a year away from my bankruptcy being removed from my record, so I continue to supplement the lack of access to credit with purchasing experts.

Al also uses food-saving apps like Too Good to Go and Oil to save money and help prevent food waste.


Another key area in which Al was able to save was in the form of refund applications and gift cards. He said: “Always use cash back apps to save money! If you’re buying something online, always go to a cash back site; why don’t you want to get your money back on something you need to buy?

“Use cashback sites to buy gift cards for purchases you need to make in-store, not online. For example, you can spend £ 250 a month at your local grocery store, so you’re unlikely to get a refund.

Elements with yellow adhesive glued as a bargain by Al Baker. (Jam Press)

“However, if you buy a gift card for your grocery store, you will usually earn between 3 and 5% rebate for buying the gift card, so it may be £ 12.50 a month in rebate, maybe more “If you buy fuel from the supermarket, you can also use a gift card to pay for it. My van costs me £ 100 a time to refill; fill up, and the more you use your car, the more you’ll save. “


In addition to being a numbers game, Al also says that your mental attitude is just as important when it comes to shopping. He explained: “Breathe when you’re looking to buy something! Don’t be impulsive – sleep with what you’re going to buy and you can think differently.

“But if it’s something you need to buy and you’re buying online, put the item in the cart and leave it. You’ll probably receive an email reminding you that you still have something in your cart. You’ll often get a discount code for use in your shopping, reducing the cost, and make sure you do not buy cheaper using Google Shopping to find out who is the cheapest.

“You can also install a browser extension like Honey, which will automatically apply discount codes to your car in an attempt to save you money.”

Al Baker (Jam Press)

Now, Dad is counting the days until he is no longer bankrupt. He added: “Bankruptcy is still upon me. Next year, my six years of having the record on my credit report will be removed, which will put us back in a more favorable position for credit, and we look forward to buying our own premises.

“We still have to be very careful, as many people do, and the extra costs of fuel and food increase mean that we are still far from comfortable. I started blogging about my experiences at The Penny Pincher as a way to help others find ways to save and make extra money, using the money-saving ideas I found during my toughest days.

“I had a hard time finding information and advice when I needed it and I thought it would be good to document it so that others could find it easier. As someone who needed help and knowing how difficult it was for a while and
The stress of having the whole experience helped me mentally know that I might be helping someone else who was in the same position. “

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