In order to do all the traveling I wanted to do in England and Europe, James and I decided to maintain a budget and stick to it strictly so we could have more discretionary income for traveling. In order to do this we decided we would sacrifice eating out and live on the cheap when it came to weekly groceries and spending.
Our goal: How to survive on £15/week.
How on earth does one person, nonetheless two people live on £15 each week? My flatmates ask us this daily, and are always dumbfounded that we spend so little. Realistically it’s quite do-able, you just need to be willing to sacrifice.
Every Wednesday we go food shopping, and whatever we purchase that Wednesday must sustain us till the following Wednesday. We go to a variety of stores, rather than doing all of our shopping at just one for convenience and only buy necessities. Our meals become quite repetitive and bland and often lack meat, but they do the job, fill our stomachs and keep our bodies going. Some weeks I will allow us to spend £20 if we’re purchasing an item that will last well past just one week, such as a jar of hot sauce that has been lasting us for about 4 weeks now. Below is an example of our average grocery list, price and where we buy it.
Total Cost: £16.19
- 3 kg bag of Pasta – Iceland – £2.50
- 1, 2k bag of sausage (40 sausages total) – Iceland – £2
- 2 cartons of eggs, 20 eggs total – Iceland – £1.50
- 4 pint carton of milk – Iceland – £0.94
- 2 frozen meals – Iceland – £2
- 1 kg bag of frozen chips – Iceland – £1
- 2 bags of 1 kg uncooked rice – Tesco Metro – £0.90
- 1 stew pack (four carrots, 1 parsnip, 1 swede, 1 onion) – Tesco Metro – £1
- 1 loaf of bread – Tesco Metro – £0.50
- 2, 340 g jars of peanut butter – Tesco Metro – £1.20
- 1 jar of curry sauce – Tesco Metro – £0.25
- 1 jar of pasta sauce – Tesco Metro – £0.80
- 2 cans of crushed tomatoes – Tesco Metro – £0.60
- 9 rolls of CHEAP, sandpaper like toilet paper – Tesco Metro – £1
*TESCO METRO has a reduced to clear section where they basically need to get rid of food because its expiring soon, but its perfectly fine to eat. We visit this every time we go shopping, we’ve found a carton of mushrooms for £0.80, or fake butter for £0.23, once we even found cheese singles for £0.42!
Once we’ve purchased the toilet paper that will last us 2-3 weeks, the 3 Kg bag of pasta will last us about 2-3 weeks, the sausage lasts James about a month, the 2 bags of uncooked rice lasts us about a month, and the frozen chips will last us about 2 weeks.
With that in mind the next time we go food shopping we don’t need to purchase those things and we’re able to buy a carton of juice at £0.60, or 5 chicken drumsticks for £1.69, or 300 g of beef which lasts for two meals at £1.79, or a bag of 10 plums for £2. Sometimes we go simple and just get more frozen meals at £1 ea.
While it is relatively easy to keep us fed, I wouldn’t say we necessarily have the healthiest and most nutritionally sound meals, and definitely not the tastiest of meals. When we run out of our pasta sauce, we end up eating a lot of pasta with butter, which gets old if you eat it 5/6 nights a week. Additionally, it can get quite difficult when we’re sitting there eating a portion of chips for lunch and watching our flatmates eat a nice steak. Also, the quality of the food may not necessarily be best, there is something to say for food purchased at less than a pound, but we haven’t gotten sick, and we managed to travel every weekend we’ve been here, in addition to all of our upcoming trips in December without breaking the bank. Additionally, with the limited food and limited options, my snacking appetite has been curbed tremendously and my jeans are all loose! So there is a benefit to the cheap life.
Pictured below (sorry for the snapchat quality photo) is one of the meals I made when James and I decided to do a Ramen week. We had regular pasta left over from a previous buy. So we spent our £15 on our regular essentials like bread and eggs and then bought two bags of ramen noodles, fresh vegetables, 6 chicken broth cubes, and a spicy broth sauce(that we still use 6 weeks later). We ate homemade ramen the entire week in an effort to change up our regular routine, but then quickly got tired of the ramen by the end of the week.
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