I’ve done this twice (2019 and 2021) so am going to do it a little differently this time, spending £10 for us as a couple (although hubby isn’t keen to do it!) and then split the provisions 50/50.
Looking at my previous receipts, I will double some items (twice the pasta and soup and baked beans) but I think it will mean I can get some fruit or ‘pudding’ which I couldn’t afford on a single person’s £5. It’s definitely better value buying more, which isn’t always possible if you don’t have the cash up front of course. A small loaf of bread for example is practically the same price (circa 79p) as a larger loaf which a single person may not get through in a week. I have a freezer so could preserve that way, but not everyone does so that could create food waste for someone else.
Buying for 2, I do have to consider tastes and preferences – hubby has a food allergy which I don’t, so that needs to be catered for (and increases costs / reduces choice) and isn’t a big fan of fish which I can get cheaper than meat when looking at tinned items.
I did my shop – it took over an hour, just to spend £10! A lot of back and forth in the aisles, stopping to tot up again and again, scouring the shelf labels for price per gram and were there any other options.When I made a list of options of food for £10, I wrote a lot of suggestions, but quickly crossed off eggs and ham due to prices, sadly crossed off fruit although did manage one kiwi! I saved 1p by getting whole tinned tomatoes rather than chopped, 9p by getting lemonade instead of fizzy water and 20p by getting green tea instead of fruit because there wasn’t any and I definitely wanted an option for a hot drink.
After I’d got what I considered the essentials, I had 78p left. Cheap sliced ham and 5 bananas were 79p each and I considered going over budget by 1p, but if I had £10 cash, that wouldn’t be an option so I opted for biscuits and 1 kiwi which was 78p combined…
Very frustrated / sad that there were no own brand cuppa soups I’d previously priced at 46p for 5 so I had 92p to do both our lunches. No such luck. I walked to Tesco which was practically next door (I wouldn’t have driven) and the cheapest cuppa soups were 75p for 5 so that threw a big spanner in my budget and I really was flummoxed for a moment. I considered going back to Lidl another day to check, but thinking about my days, I wasn’t going to be passing so that would be extra time and petrol – another cost to consider. I therefore bought these soups…
Ironically, I then got petrol at £52 which seemed ridiculous as I had agonised over spending 1p more on bananas 30 minutes earlier.
I spent close to another hour (considering how much more time / effort / stress this would take if kids were involved!) doing the maths and portioning items for the week ahead. I have 9 slices of bread (half the loaf), 187g of cereal (half the box), half a tin of tomatoes, half a tin of meatballs, 8 carrots and 12 custard creams.
I’m discounting all the soup as hubby’s lunch (he’s not doing it, but I’ve spent £10 on 2 people’s food so trying to be realistic and fair) and I’ve got all the cottage cheese and the whole kiwi (!) and everything else is halved.
I’ve written out the dinners for the week, alternating meatballs with sardines, tomatoes and baked beans but all dinners will be pasta with carrots. I know I didn’t need to write it down as it’s pretty basic, but wanted to remind myself that the meat and fish need to do 2/3 servings each.
I already feel like I’m cheating as I had lots and LOTS of fruit and veg today, knowing I’d be without for the next 5 days and also not including a Saturday or Sunday purely because I did this last time and found it the hardest day. The routine was different and I still had ‘normal’ cupboard / fridge and freezer food in sight. At work, I only have what I have so that’s easier. I know I’m not doing it to make it easy, so I think I’m just confessing really!