Live on £1 a Day: Kathryn’s Shop

Live on £1 a Day: Kathryn’s Shop

The Pitch

It all started with a question – would I be interested in taking part in a project to showcase issues around food poverty, budget shopping and healthy eating?  Yes of course I would – happy to participate in any way. Great in theory and the premise of it – you have £5 to feed yourself for 5 days. On paper that sounds easy – simple maths told me it was £1 per day. And then I started to ACUTALLY think about it – and comparing to my current lifestyle, I found myself analysing my current decisions, my current food habits, how I shop and what the impact of this would mean…

The Questions

Once I started to think about it many questions popped up:

  • If I drink more water (which is good for me) would I need to budget for more toilet paper?
  • Would travelling to a ‘budget’ supermarket out-weigh the costs of shopping locally – and, often, more expensively?
  • Can I stick to a rigid plan – without the freedom of changing my mind?
  • Can I be organised enough to plan ahead for meals?
  • In ‘reality’ I don’t have to worry about money on my electric meter – what would I do if that was an issue too?

The Support

I was annoyed at first that a couple of people that I spoke to about this forthcoming period immediately said to me “don’t worry, I’ll take you out for lunch one day” – my first reaction was that they had missed the point of doing this appeal. However, on reflection I have realised that I have an amazing support network around me – family, friends and neighbours.  I know that, should I be in dire straits or needed help, it would be available. I’m also acutely aware that I am blessed to be in this situation – many are alone and don’t have this network around them. Furthermore, I am sure not many people would announce they only have £5 to last them the next 5 days….!  

The Slimming World Dilemma

I’ve been a member of Slimming World for a couple of years and achieved my 2.5 stone loss award and was working towards by 3 stone loss certificate. Very quickly it became clear that following SW plans and meals wasn’t going to be possible – trying to replace low fat foods (meat products) and increasing fruit and vegetable intake has been my focus for so long.   With a very limited budget these principles can’t be met. For those on tight budgets and trying to lose weight, I can see the two don’t marry up. It should not be more expensive to eat healthily – rather than have convenience food – but that is a debate for another time!

The Shop

I have to say, doing the shopping for my 5 days was, probably, one of the most stressful shopping trips I have ever had!

Again reflecting on my current shopping habits – I tend to shop online and have it delivered. I’ve found over time if I go into a supermarket I buy more as I’m easily influenced by items on sale etc  However, I appreciate there is a luxury of having my shopping appear at my door.

Constant checking of prices and re-evaluating choices meant it took a long time to ensure I had enough food (I hope) that came under £5.

Total spend:  £4.85.

(FYI – couldn’t find anything to buy for 15p!).


If you follow Norwich foodbank on social media, you may see that the Carrow Road collection brought in a huge amount of donations – both money and food – and we’re extremely grateful for the support we receive. If you would like to support the foodbank in this way, our current needs are: instant mash, high content meat products (corned beef, ham, etc), toothpaste and Easter Eggs. Please do visit our website for details of where to donate.

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