— Rebecca Brandreth and Lucy Bingham contributed to this report.
It’s easy to spend more than £20 on a weekly shop, whether it’s due to buying expensive ready meals or unnecessary snacks.
But as money gets tight at the end of the year, The Linc‘s Rebecca and Lucy took the challenge of spending no more than £20 on a week’s food shopping – excluding alcohol – to see how easy it is to keep to a budget. Here’s how they got on…
After spending over £23 on food shopping last week, not including alcohol or eating out, I decided it was probably a good idea to stick to my budget this week of £20, and I did myself proud! I managed to spend only £16 and that DOES include alcohol and eating out… mainly as I was too ill to actually go out anyway.
I bought quite a lot for my money and it nearly lasted me all week. The most expensive food was surprisingly fruit and vegetables; it’s no surprise that students live off take-aways and pizzas when eating healthy costs so much. The least expensive foods were milk, cheese and tinned food including spaghetti – the most essential student food.
With my food shopping costing less than usual, I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to break the ‘students-eat-pasta-and-rice’ stereotype and make some really nice, filling meals. A couple of my meals were ready-made and cooked in the microwave, but I got a lot more variety than I would normally.
My typical meal contains either some form of potato or pasta, yet this week I had cous cous and teriyaki chicken. I also made a few salads with fish and vegetables with sausages.
After nearly giving myself food poisoning a few weeks ago because of under-cooked chicken, I’ve become a lot more particular on cooking times. But I haven’t been put-off by my little incident, instead I’ve been buying a lot more chicken and I would definitely recommend Morrisons’ ‘Ready To Cook’ chicken meals.
The good thing is that I only spent £11 on my weekly food shop at Morrisons. The bad thing is that I thought it would be a good idea to go to Tower Bar for lunch one day and then spend a silly amount on extra food I thought I needed, but I only went £1.40 over budget.
I didn’t get off to the best start when I thought it would be a good idea to spend £0.68 on a tin of ravioli – when am I ever going to eat that? I normally cook most of my evening meals with my boyfriend to try and save money so I think I eat quite well compared to some students.
I tried to save money by buying frozen meals that were on offer, including things like chicken kievs, a roast chicken dinner and a chicken curry. With the price of meat being so high there are probably the only time I’ll eat chicken all week. I added extra frozen vegetables to them as these meals aren’t the largest portions.
I barely eat anything during the day, just a slice of toast for breakfast and occasionally a small jacket potato for lunch. With both of these being relatively cheap, I could to spend more on my dinner so I don’t have to just eat ready meals and noodles.
From my weekly shop I managed to make my signature dish spaghetti bolognese, including value range spaghetti and bolognese sauce with mince on offer.
From trying to limit myself to £20 a week on food I’ve learnt that I have to compromise on some things. No more expensive meat, unless it’s on offer, no more fresh fridge meals and definitely no more snacks that only come in handy at midnight!Tweet