'Frugal' mum feeds family of four for 50p per plate as cost of living crisis hits

  • ITV News Meridian's Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford met up with Amy to see how she lives on such a tight budget

A mother of two from Southampton, who was forced to skip meals to feed her children, has turned their fortunes around and now manages to feed the family for around 50p per plate.

Amy Follis and her husband are living life on a tight budget after their own bitter experience.

The family fell on tough times after her husband left the army. 

Amy said: "We were struggling to pay the bills, we ended up with bailiffs at the door. It was really really tough.

"We did have occasions where my husband and myself didn't eat so the children could.

"He was working, I was working and we were still in that situation.

"We just had to get ourselves out of it."

The family of four fell on hard times after Amy's husband left the army. Credit: Amy Follis

Amy managed to slash the weekly food shop from £100 a week to £30.

She now shares her survival tips with an online audience.

Amy said: "Planning every meal in advance, knowing exactly what's in your fridge and freezer so you don't buy things you don't need, and cooking everything in one pot to save on energy costs too."

Amy regularly visits food projects like Hampshire's Trash Cafe in Gosport where they sell surplus food from supermarkets.

It is increasingly popular and many now queue outside to collect hampers that sell for £10 a piece.

Amy regularly visits Hampshire's Trash Cafe in Gosport. Credit: ITV News Meridian

While some goods are sold at rock bottom prices, for most you are just asked to pay the amount the items are worth to you.

Amy said: "This gives me a chance to have different fruits and vegetables for the girls that we might not otherwise be able to afford.

"It keeps our budget down but it also is a brilliant way of helping the environment. All of the food here would have ended up in the bin."

There is also a Roger's Wholesale that sells products which have gone beyond their best before date for a fraction of the original price.

The food is still perfectly safe, and legal, but it can save families a fortune.

It all means Amy can keep her budget at home to an absolute minimum.

Amy and her husband plan their meals in advance to reduce the amount of food waste. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Amy says she's worried about what's around the corner as the cost of living soars. 

She said: "It's terrifying and it's not getting any better. More families are ending up where we did."

Her hope is that sharing her experiences and her tips might help make a difference.

"When we were in that situation I felt so alone. I felt like I was the first person in the world to go through it which obviously we weren't.

"It's everywhere, everybody is struggling and if I can help somebody with our experience, which was one of the toughest things we've ever been through, then that's what I want to do.

"I feel like it needs to be done. If I can help just one person not feel so alone when they are at a really rough point in their life, then it's worth it."