Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A £20 shopping list

Thank you to everyone who commented with suggestions after yesterdays post  about my theoretical ponderings on what you can buy with £20.

I came up with a list but I'm not particularly happy with it. I was trying to find ordinary things  and although it would be filling it's not really very healthy - too much bread and pastry but if you only had £20 (which is after all what a lot of people would spend on just one meal) at least you wouldn't starve! If you are already vegetarian or vegan maybe it would be easier as you would have more ideas for meals without meat. If I could have swapped lentils for the meat it would have been cheaper but I can't eat pulses.
 Dc said why snacks and a dessert? Without the dessert and biscuits there would be a few more pence for fruit but not enough to last all week and surely everyone needs a biscuit now and again? Or is it just me!
 Someone suggested a good green grocer but not everyone has one of those. Our one greengrocers in one town and Wednesday market stall  in the other town both have  no competition so I find they are not cheap. Someone else suggested a farmers market but around here they are all 'Artisan' produce and the one time I went a loaf of bread and some local cheese cost £6!!
Yellow ticket reduced produce were suggested but once again around here the one chain supermarket just does NOT reduce to pennies like I see on other blogs. Of course having a garden and growing things would stretch the budget too but many people don't have that luxury.
Frozen fruit was suggested, that's something I hadn't thought of because I've never bought it as we always have some of our own in the freezer.
And someone is bound to say " you could make a big pan of vegetable soup and eat it for lunches and dinners everyday and that would be much cheaper". Yes that's true but it would be a bit boring and I was trying to plan a normal sort of week.
I think this would be easier if you had the £80 for the month all in one go but of course a lot of people don't have that either.

So..........£20 to spend/ 2 shops/only a few things in the cupboard/3 meals a day + snacks

My £20 shopping list using the My Supermarket comparison website for Tesco and Aldi

500g value cooking bacon 80p
750g.value beef mince £2.69
400g sausage meat £1
1kg value porridge oats 75p
454g value milk powder £1.15
250g.value butter 95p
250g value baking fat 39p
1.5kg bread flour 75p
1.5kg SR flour 45p
yeast 59p
value eggs (15) £1.25
1kg value rice 40p
value spaghetti 20p
2½ kg potatoes £1.15
celery 69p
1kg carrots 55p
1kg value onions 79p
pkt value mashed potato 28p
2 tins value baked beans 48p
2 tins value tomatoes 68p
2 tins value peas 42p
pkt value stuffing mix 15p
jar value mayo 40p
jar value marmalade 27p
bag of value apples 89p
bag of value pears 89p
from the cupboard mixed sweet spices and curry powder, sugar stock cubes, sunflower oil, salt and pepper, tea and coffee for drinks.

This makes
3 loaves bread to have for lunches and toast for breakfast if needed
porridge for breakfasts / and or the toast
some homemade spice biscuits for snacks 
bread and marmalade pudding for one dessert if you need it

main meals
  a bacon/onion quiche feeding 2 people for 2 days,
 a pan full of beef mince/tinned tomatoes/onion/carrot/porridge oats mix to  make 2 portions spagi bol,  2 portions shepherds pie (using the packet of mash to make the potatoes last all week and probably into next week too) and 4 portions to freeze for  2 days next week 
half the sausage meat/half stuffing mix/grated apple/shortcrust pastry makes a sausage plait for 2 portions with veg and some for lunches
a vegetable curry using onions, carrots potatoes and celery
A scalloped potato meal with a little bacon in for flavouring

That's 7 main meals all served with some of the veg either tinned or carrots. I would prefer frozen peas to tinned but that is a bigger outlay.

lunches of 
vegetable soup -twice                          }                     
beans on toast                                       }            With a small piece of fruit each to follow - 
scrambled egg on toast                         }             half a pear or apple each
poached egg on toast                            }              depending on how many were in the pack
bacon sandwich                                    }
sausage plait with grated carrot salad   }

 There would be several things left so that the next week it would be possible to buy
a chicken and cheese instead of the meat
different breakfast cereal instead of porridge for variety
some dried fruit and more veg instead of some of the other buys

This is actually a lot more meat than we would eat in one week but many of the non-meat meals need extra ingredients that it wouldn't be possible to buy in the first week with only £20...if you see what I mean. I rarely use bacon in a quiche but a red pepper or something similar to bulk it up costs more than a pack of cheap bacon.
Phew..............all that working out has worn out my poor brain, I shall have to go and lie down!

*   *   *   *   *

On a totally different subject - I came to conclusion that listing the books I've read this year over in a side bar would be such a long list it would push all the other things right down the page. So I've opened a separate page and if you click on Books Read 2015 at the top just under the picture you will find what I have read. Thanks to Dc at Frugal in Norfolk for giving the instructions for adding pages. I got lost when it came to tab colours etc but at least I got the page up there! If you've never read Dcs War Diaries that she has on a tab at the top of her blog - I can recommend them for a good read.

Back Soon



  1. If you are shopping in Aldi this week, there is a £5 voucher off a £40 shop in the Daily Mirror (Record in Scotland). Would you be able to do two weeks shopping at once and use the voucher, hence getting £5 (less price of newspaper) worth of food? You could freeze milk and some veg, and stew fruit if you couldn't shop the following week.

    1. Our nearest Aldi is 25 miles away and we are not going there until Feb
      The shopping thing is only theoretical and we have more than £20 a week in reality

    2. Our nearest Aldi is about 25 miles away too. We tend to stock up big time whenever we go, then use the more local shops for top up milk, veg and fruit. I tend to go when we get the newspaper voucher (I only buy the paper for the voucher) which helps towards the cost of the fuel. Also the savings we make buying in bulk there justify the cost of travelling to Aldi every so often.

  2. Your meal plan sound alright to me, you got alot for your £20.

  3. what would your equivalent be in America (US) realize that I think groceries are cheaper here. It would be interesting to find out the difference.

  4. It just goes to show it can be done and fairly decent menu as well with plenty of variety, so in theory family's who have to manage on benefits could easily eat well, well done for all that research now go snuggle up with a book and rest your brain :-)
    I think its easier to feed a family of four on £40 than feeding a couple n £20

  5. We have £100 per month for all groceries( not just food). At the moment it is for 2 of us, when KL is home from uni it's for 3 and when her ex was here most of the time it fed and kept 4 of us clean ( for almost a year). We're fortunate as we have the front garden which we dug up to grow veg, and we have an allotment for the stuff which needs less attention such as potatoes, onions and fruit.Hubby and I are plant-based eaters and KL is mainly vegetarian with an occasional fish meal. It's much easier to stick to the budget since we became plant-based. This month I've spent £59.18 with no need to buy anything until hubby gets paid next week. We had no leftovers from Christmas as I only spent around £10 on ' extra' food, but the cupboards and freezers are full so next month should be a similar amount. I'll need almond and soya milks (both of which are more expensive than cow's milk), baking and bread making supplies, teabags and some nuts,fresh fruit and veg) I've had this budget for 3 years now, but growing our own and not eating meat, fish and dairy make a huge difference to our ability to live on much less than most people.

  6. I couldn't sleep last night, and was going through this in my head. I think it would be porridge for brekkers, and I would consider a chicken which would provide a roast, a curry, perhaps a stir-fry and carcase for stock for soup. Bag of potatoes, 1lb onions, bag of frozen mixed veg, bag rice, 2 x cheap tinned tomatoes, cheap cooking marg, 3lbs S-R flour, for baking, 1lb cooking apples (puddings with crumble topping, and apple dappy, which should last all week. Cheese and onion pasties. 2 lemons (floating pudding and in the apple dappy). Pizza with scone base and tomato/onion/cheese topping.

    Those were the ideas coming through my head, and not properly priced or worked out fully like yours. Well done - and you'd have some to carry over mealwise into the next week!

  7. Wow, super interesting 2 day post.
    Was looking forward to see what you came up with.
    I know carbs fill you up but as I am trying to cut out any extra carbs I would really have to think about this.

    cheers. parsnip

  8. A good .. thought provoking exercise .. I'm not going to list mine .. its almost identical to your ..lol! Perhaps we were sisters in another life!
    I included some baked pots with colslaw .. and I would buy the bread .. I try not to eat it .. and just buy a little for hubby p . But it would be difficult .. like you say .. no store cupboard .. and not able to buy small amounts at a reasonable price .. and I for one would be sick of mince!
    Thank goodness we are able to work and earn and keep a roof over our heads.

    Vicky x

    1. I looked up small packets of things but they were always more expensive overall. I like the idea of you being my sister in a past life!

  9. Sue that was a lot of working out. Being a vegetarian I could do this shop easy, but my children are not! They are not big meat eatters but like all the expensive
    rubbish quick and easy meats and I also have a 17 year old boy who eats little but often so I have to have lots of snack bits to keep him going.Which are expensive.

  10. Well done! its not exactly gourmet but it is filling food and the quiche and veg curry sounds nice. I haven't had tinned veg and packet mash since we went on caravan holidays as a kid! Shame about your local markets being pricey.

  11. You could not get all of that food in the US for $20...for starts, our food is packaged in larger amounts than yours...

    1. I'm not sure what the exchange rate is at the mo. so it might be more than $20

  12. A good weeks worth of food, well worked out. I'm not surprised your brain got tired ;-)

  13. I have only just found your blog and am finding your posts over the past two days totally fascinating, I am off to bed now, but just know that I shall lie there thinking about this and trying to work out meals etc. We are a family of 4, with a teenage son with the biggest of appetites, I can't keep up...

    1. We have 3 children and our son seemed to be permanently opening the fridge when he was that age. They are grown and flown for several years now. Ages 34,33 and 27 -time flies

  14. As you say it would be easier to work out meals over a month for £80 rather than a week for £20.

  15. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, as we live in a high cost of living, coastal California town. Farmer's Market produce here is also "specialty" and/or organically grown, so therefore very expensive. Meats (beef in particular) and dairy are also outrageously priced these days. One simple can of soup costs more than $1. Our area also has a high percentage of the population in retirement age, and I often see little old folks with just a few packages of food in their carts, sometimes commenting that they aren't sure they can afford the diet a doctor has recommended. Our next door neighbors are in their 90s, the wife had a stroke a few years back (so can't cook), and I cook for them each week along with my own family. Pasta, rice, potatoes and breads are low cost staples that help stretch meats and produce. Nowadays it's considered a poor diet to have much starch in meals, but what else is one to do? Eggs are a (relatively) low cost protein, so I add those to lots of on-the-fly recipes.

  16. Good post! I will pass this to DD1, who has decided to move into a flat with a friend and is about to find out the hard way how difficult it is to live on a serious budget :)

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