As the cost of living continues to soar, many of us are strapped for cash and trying to find means of making ends meet.

From rocketing fuel prices to high energy bills, we are surrounded by demands for money.

This week alone I was reminiscing the halcyon days when a full tank of petrol cost £30 before I was swiftly brought back to earth when my total read £50 – for just over half a tank.

Coincidentally, I also had an appetite for cheap and tasty food that was accessible from my doorstep.

Enter online sensation Too Good To Go (TGTG).

Surplus food saved

For those of you who have not previously heard of the well-loved app, all you need to know is that it connects customers to restaurants, supermarkets, cafes, and independent businesses in their area that have an unsold surplus of food.

After opening the app, you can find a wide range of places near you that offer food at cut prices throughout the day.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: My £10 Too Good To Go haul My £10 Too Good To Go haul

You pay in advance (your food normally costs one-third of the original price of the items) and collect your aptly named 'magic bag’ at a designated time.

What makes the bags ‘magic’ I hear you ask? The fact its contents are a surprise every time – which means it can be hilariously unpredictable.

Despite having the app on my phone for about a year, I have never used it – until now.

I decided to take the plunge and see how much food I could get for £10.

READ MORE: Vegan fish and chips? Yep they're real and we've tried them - Full review here

Daisy Cake Hampshire

Total spent: £3.39

The first listing that popped up when I opened the app was independent cake business Daisy Cake Hampshire.

I barely looked at the price before adding one of their ‘magic bags’ to my basket. Who can refuse surplus cake?

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: £3.39 worth of cake from Daisy Cake Hampshire on TGTG£3.39 worth of cake from Daisy Cake Hampshire on TGTG

I ventured five minutes down the road to collect my ‘magic bag’, a term used lightly by this business.

It would better be described as a ‘magic load’ the bag was so heavy – something I was extremely pleased about.

Like a child on Christmas morning, I delved into my bag and hoisted out two very heavy containers and opened them.

To my delight, there were copious amounts of cake.

In the first box were two chocolate and salted caramel cupcakes and two white chocolate and raspberry cupcakes.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The cupcakes from Daisy Cake HampshireThe cupcakes from Daisy Cake Hampshire

In the second were two types of delicious sponge cake; lemon and strawberry and champagne. The latter flavour was new to my tastebuds and the firm favourite of my impressive cake haul.

All of the cakes were delicious and although I am a massive cake fan, I accepted defeat early in my journey and shared my stash with my grandparents, who were equally delighted as I was.

Overall, this ‘magic bag’ was exceptionally good value for money and I am eagerly awaiting Daisy Cake’s next listing.

Starbucks

Total spent: £4.50

A popular choice for TGTG users, Starbucks is renowned for packing surprises in its ‘magic bags’ – from tales of bags jam-packed with cheese toasties and pastries to bags containing a few meagre items, I was excited yet anxious to see what my bag would have in store for me.

I drove to my closest branch in Hedge End and collected what seemed to be the last TGTG bag for the day.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I delved into my bag as soon as the café doors closed behind me.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Reporter Maya George with two of her Starbucks items Reporter Maya George with two of her Starbucks items

My ‘magic bag’ contained three items, all of which were savoury, breakfast or lunch-style sandwiches.

The first, a steak and cheese ciabatta. Not a great start for a vegetarian but I ploughed on and, to my delight, discovered two vegan options at the bottom of the bag.

The first was Starbucks’ Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwich and No Meatball Marinara Wrap, both of which I enjoyed, although the breakfast sandwich was a bit dry. However they did compensate for the ciabatta I could not eat, so I can’t really complain.

Suitably relieved I didn’t pay nearly £5 for three meat sandwiches, I got back into my car and headed towards my final destination of the day.

Toby Carvery – Vegetarian Carvery

Total spent: £2.29

If I’m being completely honest, this offering from Toby Carvery is one of the main reasons I wanted to try TGTG and write this review.

Every time I have perused the app in the past, this is the listing that has stood out for me (mainly for its lovely low price) so I was pretty excited about collecting my ‘magic bag’.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: My vegetarian carvery from TGTGMy vegetarian carvery from TGTG

After driving up the road to Bishopstoke to collect my bag, I returned home with my haul and opened the box containing my roast dinner.

The box was jam-packed with boiling hot vegetables and four decent-sized roast potatoes, but I was quite underwhelmed by the lack of meat alternative.

I did hope I would receive a few slices of nut roast or similar but digging around the large pile of vegetables proved me wrong.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: My vegetarian carvery from TGTGMy vegetarian carvery from TGTG

Regardless, I enjoyed my roast dinner but I would think twice about buying from Toby Carvery again because, at the end of the day, it was just some potatoes and vegetables in gravy.

Verdict

Total spent: £10.18

My haul was not to be sniffed at. From it, I gained three meals and a number of desserts (thankfully I do not grow old of cake) so I would say Too Good To Go is great value for money.

If you are lucky enough to receive food with decent sell-by date, or you have a hungry family or a freezer, you can save a good amount of money.

Otherwise, you'll likely get a bargain but might literally end up biting off more than you can chew or receiving something you’d rather not eat.

The risk lies in the fact you don’t know what you are going to receive in your bag, but that is the ‘magic’ of it, in my opinion.

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