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How to bag yourself a bargain

SAVVY SHOPPER: Eliza Morris from Ripley likes to describe herself as frugal, and has set up a blog to teach other people how to save money.
SAVVY SHOPPER: Eliza Morris from Ripley likes to describe herself as frugal, and has set up a blog to teach other people how to save money. Rob Williams

FIRST homeowner Eliza Morris reckons the frugal life chose her.

She's a savvy shopper and started saving money for a house deposit about five years ago.

Now she's put all her best tips into a new blog called The Frugal Life Chose Me.

Her blog's introduction reads: "Welcome to my blog on being a frugal AF person. Some people roll their eyes at my eagerness for a bargain, but I just can't shake that thrill of saving money, especially on food!”

Ms Morris uses a budgeting service, which takes her money and allows a small amount to spend each week.

With just $50 a week for food, she feeds two people gourmet items like lamb back-straps, chicken bacon and mushroom pasta, spicy vegetarian curry and fish.

There's other staples like budget-friendly bolognese on the menu.

Breakfast includes Burgen grain toast and cereal, while lunch is often leftovers.

"I don't buy meat unless it's reduced to clear,” she said.

Ms Morris said she even checks the dates on meat and returns to the store close to its use-by date to get a reduction.

"It's 70-90 per cent off and if you freeze it, it's fine as long as you defrost it properly in the fridge.”

She also makes a list of meals to cook for the week, using pantry staples. And she portions out lunch when dishing up dinner.

"I have a huge selection of herbs and spices and don't buy pre-packed.”

Instead, to save money, Ms Morris cooks everything from scratch.

"Crumbed chicken is so much more expensive than regular chicken breast and it's so easy to crumb chicken,” she said.

"Curry is really easy to make. You just need the spices on hand, it's a fraction of the price.

"I buy only what I need on the list and keep the freezer full.”

Her tip for high-quality mince is to buy it at Costco in bulk.

"I don't like cheap mince.”

Ms Morris buys premium mince in bulk at Costco for $8.99 a kilo -which she stores in 500g portions -instead of spending up to $15 at other supermarket chains.

"It's a fallacy that pre-made chips are cheaper than fruit and vegies. It's not, a bag of apples can cost less than a bag of chips.”

She owns a new home in Ripley and is paying it off with one income.

"My partner is an international student and can only work up to 20 hours a week,” Ms Morris said.

"It limits the budget.”

The budget includes $40 a week for fuel, $25 for clothing and $25 to spend on entertainment and eating out.

Some goes to pets and medication and the rest bills, home loan and savings.

To save money, she buys clothes from the op shop, uses vouchers and does a lot of free activities.

She's found places where you can get a decent cheap meal.

Ms Morris said Sushi Train and Ramen were her picks.

"I find a lot of freedom in it (being frugal),” she said.

"I'm getting all my bills paid off.”

Blogging

Ms Morris said when she looked up ideas on how to be frugal she could only find sites telling her what not to do.

"I still get my nails done and buy coffee,” she said.

"I wanted to give people ideas on how to save.”

For her tips on how to buy the best op shop clothes and other tips on being frugal see her blog at frugallife645343050.wordpress.com/

Ripley Today