Live on £1 a Day: Imelda Shop & Day 1

My husband and I accepted to undertake the foodbank’s Lent appeal of living for five days on a food budget of £1 per day each to highlight the struggle many people face on a daily basis.

The money we save this week will be used to supplement the donated food we use to provide hot meals and basics for the homeless of Norwich, as part of the Anon Street Team.

Today is the beginning of this journey. We agreed to adhere strictly to the brief if we possibly can, so no dipping into our own cupboards or using any produce from our allotment! To prepare for this, we decided to select main meals for the 5 days, as these would form the major intake each day. We could then make a shopping list and see whether it was possible with the pooled resource of £10. We would also need to buy staple food such as milk, bread, margarine and tea (we had decided to abandon coffee for the period as it’s too expensive and Chris disliked ‘cheap instant’.

The best resource here was a Jack Monroe cookbook which our daughter-in-law loaned us on hearing our plans. This book is amazing! It was written by Jack when she was struggling as a single unemployed parent and is full of healthy budget meals prepared using simple cheap ingredients. Apparently our children use some of these recipes as family favourites and particularly recommend the burgers (made from kidney beans) and the chick pea and peach curry!

So, with our five menus chosen and shopping list in hand, I am off to Aldi in the hope that I can purchase everything I need for the £10 note I have in my purse…

Well that was an interesting shopping experience! I bought ‘basic’ in everything I could and the bill came to £10.28. I was planning to add on teabags (40 for 29p – (I had previously bought a box of 160 for £1.15 & planned to take a 40 pack out). Also, I planned to split a previously bought multipack of tuna to get my can at the best price. Decisions have to be made! I have decided to dump the tuna bake, normally our cheapest meal of the week, and replace with jacket potatoes & beans. Now I could remove pasta & sweetcorn and add another tin of beans. I already had the potatoes as an extra for a lunchtime! Also, as we are only doing 5 days I decided to be more realistic with the quantities we would be using of the packets we bought and reduce costs accordingly (every penny matters when you are on such a slim budget). The adjustments made, I am left with 86p. I would love to afford some fresh salad or green veggies; let’s see how we go!


We’ve mentioned in previous blogs about our relationships with FareShare and Norwich FoodHub and we’re so glad to receive fresh fruit and veg through these collections – as Imelda says, this is something that she wishes her strict budget could allow for. The foodbank parcels are nutritionally balanced and all include tinned fruit, vegetables and beans, but it’s really nice to supplement this with extra, fresh items as supplies allow.

Lots of other charities and groups – including the Anon Street Team that Chris and Imelda volunteer with – also use donations from FareShare and FoodHub to provide meals to many in need around the city of Norwich. We’re very grateful to our volunteers who collect and distribute these donations, but also to all those who volunteer with FoodHub and those who coordinate the FareShare collections to help all those who ultimately benefit from this food.

Live on £1 a Day: Angie’s Shop

The shopping trip went well.  I managed to spend just under budget although I had to
retrace my steps after finding I was 1p over the £10 allowed for myself and partner.  I had a list and knew what I was going to buy as I’d planned my meals.  I know that I could have got a couple of items cheaper in Tesco than I did in Lidl, but that would have meant a drive to a different shop (I live in a village and have to drive 7 miles to get my shopping) and I figured that defeated the object.
Soup for lunch every day with some bread and spread; beans on toast two nights after
running (we will be late home); pizza and two pasta dishes.  I know that I can make three loaves of bread and a pizza base out of a bag of bread flour so we can have bread
with our soup and enjoy the luxury of a pizza one night.
We made the decision not to buy anything for breakfast as I have recently started
eating in a shorter window each day (usually between 12 and 8pm).  How I will
manage without snacking through the afternoon
I don’t know, as I usually still eat three meals in that period.  However I have just realised that I have bought a large bag of potatoes and will only need them for thickening the soup, so I am going to treat us to oven chips with one of our pasta meals.  It may be a bit carb high, but chips go with
anything right?
We also went without tea or coffee.  Although this scares me a bit, we have followed Hannah’s thought process and decided that if anyone offers to make us a drink at work we will accept, but we won’t make any ourselves.  I drink a lot of water anyway
so this won’t be too much of an issue, although I fear I may miss an occasional bottle
of beer in the evening
I have a confession to make; I am going to cheat a little bit.  As we were away
camping at the weekend, I haven’t been able to use up all the perishables in the
fridge.  There are a couple mushrooms, a few small tomatoes and a mini pepper;
they were all supposed to be used by the 6 March so I know they can’t be left.  As food waste sits so badly with me, I have tried to find them other homes, but as they are past their best they seem to be unwanted.  I have made the decision that I will use them on the pizza and while I do feel slightly guilty about the cheating, it’s not as bad as how I would feel putting them in the bin.


National charity FareShare and local charity Norwich FoodHub, both work by redistributing food ‘waste’ to charities and groups who can make use of items that day, including passing them on to people they work with or see. National charity FoodCycle also collect food ‘waste’ and pass it on to people in the form of a free community meal in a particular place (in Norwich, it’s Friday night at the Quaker Meeting house in the city centre).

Norwich foodbank collects / receive donations from these charities a combined total of 7 times during the week, meaning the non-perishable food parcels are supplemented by fresh items including bread, cakes, fruit and vegetables.

The waste is in inverted commas, because it’s food that’s best before that specific date, but still perfectly safe to eat – therefore not really waste at all! We’re delighted that we’re both saving edible food from the bin and supporting our clients with a little bit extra.