GROCERIES can account for a significant portion of any household's regular spending - but one savvy shopper has come up with a smart way of making some major savings.

Kat Phoenix, from Blaenau Gwent, came up with the trick of buying reduced vegetables which are about to expire and immediately putting them in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh longer - a trick which she says has "reduced out shopping bill massively".

And this isn't all - the 28-year-old also plants some of the reduced produce to grow new, fresh veg for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them new.

South Wales Argus: Credit: Kat Phoenix

Kat Pheonix. Picture: Kat Pheonix

Speaking to money-saving website "I go shopping for bargain vegetables at ASDA Brynmawr every Friday and Saturday at around 7pm," she said. "I always end up getting five or six different types of vegetables.

"Once they’re home, I either freeze or refrigerate them until they are between three and five days past their best before date. It's reduced our shopping bill massively.

"Every three months or so, I get reduced potatoes, usually for 5-10p a pack. I put them in the back of the cupboard for a few weeks until they sprout and then plant them."

Ms Pheonix said she and her partner Amir recently moved into a house with a garden, and bought a plastic greenhouse as a joint Valentine's Day gift so they could 'grow together as a couple'.

South Wales Argus: Credit: Kat Phoenix

Picture: Kat Pheonix

They use containers left over from food such as mushrooms, peaches or grapes to plant their produce in, as well as seedling trays given to them by family members.

Ms Pheonix said: "I started growing vegetables like this a few years ago, planting garlic bulbs that didn't get used in time that had started to sprout.

"I then moved on to experiment with sprouting potatoes and onions, which I started putting into plastic trugs in the garden.

"The tips of leeks, spring onions, carrots and parsnips can be placed in soil of varying depths and go on to grow new produce. Spring onions are particularly useful as they can be placed on the windowsill in just a small amount of water.

"The tip I would give to anyone wanting to try is to just have fun and experiment. There are lots of YouTube videos about low cost planting which I have recently found. I'm hoping that, now we have a garden, we can make more of our own produce and reduce our shopping bill further."

South Wales Argus: Credit: Kat Phoenix

Picture: Kat Pheonix

Co-founder of Tom Church praised Ms Pheonix's idea.

"Those who have a garden - or even just a windowsill - can easily grow their own vegetables with a little practice and patience," he said.

"I recommend starting out with spring onions as you don’t need much space or equipment. Keep them in a glass or jar and top up the water regularly, changing it every few days. You’ll start to see growth in about a week."

Mr Church shared seven tips on how to grow vegetables on a budget:

  • Start small by growing vegetables in containers.
  • Check that you’re using the right planter and environment for your vegetable. For example, spring onions can be grown on a windowsill in a small tray, but the same is not the case for potatoes.
  • Practice growing with green vegetables or herbs if you’ve never gardened before. Rosemary, parsley and oregano are good places to start.
  • Label your plants with their name and the date you planted them. That way, you can keep track of how long it takes them to grow.
  • Save seeds from your crops and plant them to grow another round. That way you won’t need to buy as much to keep your garden going.
  • Don’t water your plants too often or too little. Keep up a routine where you do it in the morning or evening, as this is when evaporation levels aren’t as high.
  • Keep your crops protected. If you venture into an outside space, keep your plants protected from birds and insects by placing them in a greenhouse or covering them with netting.

South Wales Argus: Credit: Kat Phoenix

Picture: Kat Pheonix

"The average price for 2.5kg of white potatoes is £1, while leeks will typically cost around 50p for a pack of three," said Mr Church. "A bunch of spring onions could cost around 40p, while garlic is often £1 for a three-pack.

"Those who use these staples every month will spend around £2.90 each time, so a year of these supplies can easily set you back just under £35. Why not try growing your own and reducing your shopping bill each time you go?"