After much deliberating about the best way to approach living on £2.10 a day, I feel ready to tackle FoodCycle’s Breadline Challenge next week. Well, kind of ready…
Clearly the basis of the challenge is that you only have £14.70 to spend on your weekly shop, and in some ways whether you spend more than £2.10 on your meals one day, and less than that another day isn’t as important. The point is, many people have a low weekly food budget and need to consider, firstly, how best to make their money go as far as possible and, secondly, how to then eke out the food they buy.
Initially, I was going to plan my meals in detail and think about what to eat for dinner every day. But as that’s not the way I tend to cook (I like to be spontaneous!), I decided I would simply figure out what food I could buy that was cheap and nutritious, and work from there. Being a vegetarian and somebody who cooks from scratch, I feel like I might have a head start on other people. I don’t have any expensive food habits that will need curbing either, like buying sandwiches or coffees at work.
Having spent £14.50 of my £14.70 budget, I’ve tried to include some staples, like brown rice (£1.49/kg) and porridge (75p/kg), along with vegetables such as frozen sweetcorn (99p/kg), tinned tomatoes (31p/tin), chickpeas (40p/tin), some protein in the form of tuna (62p/tin) and mozzarella (43p/packet), and things like bread (50p/6 pittas), milk (89p/2 pints) and teabags (39p/80 bags). I’ve calculated the cost of my food based on shopping in Asda and buying from their Smartprice range.
I’m very conscious that on Monday when the challenge starts, I’ll essentially be ‘playing’ at living on a low budget and that for some people the calculations I’ve sat down and made about my spending are what they need to do week in and week out in order to survive. But I’m convinced that the challenge still has value and am looking forward to hearing about other people’s experiences and trying to be creative with what I cook to make the best of my budget.