Welcome to our next ‘Live on £1’ participants:
Hi Everyone, we’re Archie and Sophie. We’ve both supported Norwich foodbank in various ways for a while, and as it’s Lent we decided to do the £1 a day food challenge.
We’re both students at UEA (Sophie is studying Natural Science (maths, physics and biology), and Archie is studying Paramedic Science). We both ‘go’ to Kings Community Church in Norwich, and at the moment Sophie is part of the foodbank warehouse teams on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.
We’ve decided to do the challenge for 7 days rather than 5, because surprisingly we thought that this might actually make it a bit easier – there was a little bit more wiggle room for buying extra bits like herbs, and the packet sizes worked better for 14 portions of meals than for 10!
We chose to do our supermarket shop at Asda, firstly because it’s the supermarket we normally go to (so we know where things are!), secondly because they are fairly cheap for the basics anyway, and also because they have some cracking yellow-sticker bargains on a Sunday afternoon! We are so lucky to have the means to even get to a cheaper supermarket though – our nearest Asda is 3 and a half miles away – not fun when you’re carrying tins and on foot, and we’d have had to double our shop to make it eligible for delivery. We worked out that if we had bought our £14 worth of supplies at our local supermarket (a medium sized Co-Op) it would have been much more expensive at £28.24!.
We spent a bit of time before we went looking online and budgeting what we would eat each day so we had a rough framework for when we were in the shop. We started off by listing some basics that we definitely wanted to include – onion, garlic, herbs, sugar, milk and tea bags – those came to £3.51. Then we added breakfast – a pack of cornflakes at £0.53. Lunch, which was limited to bread, butter, lettuce and cucumber, a filling and a piece of fruit came to £5.80 leaving us £4.16 for dinner, which means 29p per portion – not easy! We settled on a bag of pasta, a bag of rice, 3 tins of tomatoes, a few tins of beans and a bag of carrots, which left us with £1 spare to spend on anything we saw that was on offer.
When we actually got to the shop we were surprised to find many cheaper options than what they advertise online. Nearly all the smart-price range seems to be absent from the Asda app / website – which is awful at the moment when people for all sorts of reasons may not want to / be able to get to a physical shop and so would have to spend more. Luckily for us this did us a few favours – we ended up £1.43 under budget, leaving us room for a few extras. We decided to go shopping about an hour before closing time, thinking that we would get better deals – which we did, but unfortunately that meant the stocks of the things we actually needed were quite low! We couldn’t get any teabags (no 40 packs in stock, and 80 packs were far too pricey to fit in), and no semi-skimmed or skimmed milk (we had to opt for less whole milk and watering it down).
We called in at Aldi, a Co-Op and a Tesco Express on the way home but none of them had any cheap teabags (although we did spend some of the remaining money on cheese sauce, biscuits and another loaf of bread)- so an early start is in order tomorrow! I don’t drink tons of tea, but I know that when I don’t have any for a few days I get really awful headaches so we decided it was worth trying to find some because (theoretically at least), teabags are cheaper than paracetamol!
We made a big effort to try and include enough fruit and veg to get 5-a-day but we found it really almost impossible on such a budget. I think we’ll just about manage 3-a-day if we try! We also took into account 20p for salt and pepper. We weighed this out from the salt and pepper we already have (from Asda, using their prices = 3p for 75g salt and 28p for 10g pepper) – mainly because we didn’t want to end up with another half-used pot of each – but even this is a luxury many don’t have.
Norwich foodbank has collection points in most major supermarkets acorss the city – Asda, Co-op, Lidl in Sprowston, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose – all of which, thanks to generous donors, are empited and collected at least once a week by volunteer drivers. The charity’s website http://www.norwichfoodbank.co.uk is kept up to date with what it’s needs are (currently fruit juice, tinned fruit, toilet roll and 40s / 80s teabags!) and it is incredible to see these items come in, without fail, after the website or social media has been udpated with these items. Project Manager Hannah says, ‘We are constantly humbled and delighted at the support we receive – from donations direct to us or via collection points, volunteers supporting us all day every day, financial gifts coming in by cheque or BACS and we know prayer and advocacy is being done all the time too. For ALL this, we thank you.’