Day 1 Budget week cooking: Living on £20 for the week

Budget week cooking – day one

So this morning we began our week of cooking and living on £20 between us for the week. I know that this is still a lot more than some people have to live on for a week but I thought as this was the first time we are doing a budget challenge £20 sounds a reasonable amount to try and get through the week on. As I said in my post yesterday having looked into others doing these challenges it looks like others who have done this also raid their cupboards, fridges and freezers for anything lying around. So as I said yesterday I will be acknowledging where I have raided a store cupboard for ingredients whilst keeping a tab of what I have spent so far and how I am getting on living on a budget of £20 for the week.

I think the biggest challenge and the biggest bit of preparation is just planning what you are going to be cooking in advance. Maximise what you can use from food you already have in and employ a good old bit of home economics.

Budget Breakfast.

Budget cooking week - breakfast.

Budget cooking week – breakfast Photo: Russell Bowes

Breakfast today came straight out of the cupboard and the fridge. There is a half full/ empty box of Special K serial in the cupboard, some yogurt in the fridge and some bread and butter. The bread was made by me on Sunday evening using ingredients from the kitchen cupboard. I followed this recipe by Paul Hollywood on the BBC. I figured a loaf of bread can be breakfast, snacks and go towards Hana’s packed lunch. The bread cost about 50p to make a small loaf following

Hana had free croissant Monday at work for her breakfast.

Mid- morning snack

More bread and butter from last nights homemade bread baking endevour.


Budget Cooking Sausage pasta

Budget Cooking Sausage pasta Photo: Russell Bowes

I made Hana a packed lunch of half the loaf of Maneesh flat bread I had made and two half used tubs of dips we had left over from Sunday lunch. My lunch came from the fridge, cupboard and part of a jar of pasata I bought from the supermarket for £0.99p, my first purchase of the week and made a lunch of budget sausage pasta.

Afternoon snack

Yep, you guessed it. Some bread and butter from yesterdays loaf and a little later some blackberries from the fridge.


Budget recipes: Tofu noodles

Budget recipes: Tofu noodles Photo: Russell Bowes

Again this was a little bit of a raid of the kitchen cupboards. The other day we had a lovely stir fry cooked by Hana and as still we had a lot of the ingredients to make it we went for that. Again I have to acknowledge how much harder this would be if we didn’t have a well stocked kitchen already. Even so, when you haven’t done this before or for a long while it takes a little bit of getting used to!

Hana’s tofu stir-fry

Budget cooking week: Tofu Noodles

Budget cooking week: Tofu Noodles Photo: Russell Bowes

This was a really lovely dinner, I enjoyed it last week and I enjoyed it again tonight. Luckily we had everything in we needed apart from a carrot, which is not a huge expense really and not much off the budget.

So what have I spent so far this week?

1 jar of pasata – £0.99p
1 jar of Lemon curd – £.22p
1 jar of peanut butter – £0.69p
2ltrs value Lemonade – £0.17p
1 carrot + 2 apples – £0.75p
Sponges for washing up – £0.19p
Washing up liquid – £0.59
Total spend £3.60

How am I doing so far. Well I have gone over budget for my daily allowance of £2.85. I guess I did spend 78p on washing up supplies and bought the cheapest sponges and the washing up liquid on offer. So without that my spend would have been £2.82, just under the goal. I’ve taken stock of what I have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and it should help getting through the rest of the week without going over the £20 for the two of us.

I’ll be posting the recipes I cook through this week with a costing as well so you can see what I spent on each meal.

By Russell Bowes

Find me on Google Plus, Listen to my musings on Twitter and see great pictures on Flickr


6 responses to “Day 1 Budget week cooking: Living on £20 for the week

  1. Good luck! I think the toughest thing is working out how to budget for things that you might buy once a month or so like washing up liquid.


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