A mum has shared her top tricks for getting free food from high street brands like Pret A Manger.
Laura Bailey, an NHS PA from Leeds, uses the food-waste app Olio to find food that’s being given away at the end of the day.
And, it saves her a fortune on lunches and easy dinners.
Olio works with supermarkets like Tesco and cafes like Pret to get rid of their surplus food that’s still good to eat, but would otherwise be thrown away.
Volunteers go to the shops and collect the waste food before listing it on Olio so locals can drop by and pick up the goodies totally free of charge,
And, you can download the app through the Apple Store or Google Play which is also free.
The app also lets people give away clothes, toys and household goods that they won’t use or sell.
Laura told LatestDeals.co.uk that she recently picked up two loaves of sourdough, three rolls, two bags of mixed pastries, three cranberry cookies, a box of flapjacks and six sandwiches through Olio.
She said: “I am a big fan of the Olio app. No payments and no swaps. It’s great if you live far away from a charity shop or don’t drive.
“Everyday there is free bread going. Sometimes pastries and sandwiches. Also plenty of fruit and vegetables too.
“You simply request what you would like and go to the person’s house to collect it. Sometimes you can pick up fancy sandwiches or tasty salads from places like Pret A Manger.”
And, to top up her food shop cheaply, Laura always goes to the supermarket when she knows the yellow sticker discounts are about to be put out.
She claims that the best times for reductions in Tesco are between 7pm and 7.30pm Monday to Saturday and around 3pm on Sundays.
However, not every Tesco store will reduce at these times so pop into your local throughout the day to try and figure out the best time for discounts near you.
Laura said: “When I go to any supermarket I go to the reduced section first. It is important to have good knowledge of food so you know what you can make with it.
“One summer I picked up several cucumbers at 3p each and lots of tomatoes. I made gazpacho and froze it in containers which I then took to work, and had the perfect chilled soup.
“Sometimes I just cook any vegetable I have to hand, chuck in some herbs with homemade stock and blend for a quick cheap hot soup in winter.”
Laura also uses the Two Good To Go app where you can pick up “magic bags” of treats from places like Costa and Greggs.
You don’t get to choose what you’re given, but the bags only cost between £2 and £5 so are usually a bargain.
Laura added: “I sometimes use Too Good To Go but only for buying from The Junk Food Project (a charity that redistributes food past its sell by date).
“You get a huge bag of fruit and vegetables plus eggs, drinks, sweets and other groceries for just £4.25 for a single person, or £9 for a family bag.
“It is important that you plan what you will do with the food before it goes off, like make some jams or chutneys or even batch cook meals in advance.
“I don’t let anything go to waste. I boil up chicken carcasses and make stock for soups, gravy, paella and risotto. I even fry potato peelings to make snacks.”