Day 6 Budget Week: Living on £20 a Week

Day 6: The end’s in sight!

'Beans and bangers on-pot' Photo: Russell Bowes

‘Beans and bangers on-pot’ Photo: Russell Bowes

So this is the last day of my £20 challenge and it’s time to look at how I did this week. Did I make the £20 budget I started with on Monday or did I go over? What was it like living on quite a restricted budget and what have I learned from the experience that I’ll take into the future? I will discuss all that a little later in the post, but first let’s have a look at the final day of the challenge. I made Saturday the last day as on Sunday we were intending to do some DIY and with lots of paint fumes flying about it’s not a good idea to start cooking or preparing food. With that in mind I can see ready-made food or a takeaway featuring on Sunday’s menu and just couldn’t happen in the budget week challenge.


Breakfast from earlier in the week Photo: Russell Bowes

Breakfast from earlier in the week Photo: Russell Bowes

Cereal and the last of the milk. Black coffee

Cost for two people 70p


Budget tuna pasta bake 88p per serving Photo: Russell Bowes

Budget tuna pasta bake 88p per serving Photo: Russell Bowes

Thanks heaven for small mercies. There were still two portions of last nights Tuna Pasta bake left and they were our packed lunches as we headed out to Ealing for the day. Hana had studying to do and I wanted to hit the gym and then work on a few recipe posts from my budget week, which hopefully I should be sharing with you next week.

Cost for 2 portions £1.76 / 88p per portion

Mid-Afternoon Snack

Here’s where I give in completely. The local library in Ealing is lovely and a great space to work in. I just has a couple of problems, a distinct lack of either plug sockets for laptops and more importantly no WiFi. I have no idea why it wasn’t installed and what’s more annoying is that I can’t get a phone signal to create a hotspot from my phone. The upshot was I went to Starbucks where they have an over abundance of plug sockets and fast WiFi. I treated my self to a mug of filter coffee which comes with a free refill. Between two big mugs you can kill an afternoon and before this week I thought the £1.50 price was a bargain. Now I can make a meal for two for less than that I’m not so sure. Cost £1.50 for a mug of filter coffee and a refill.


'Beans and bangers on-pot' Photo: Russell Bowes

‘Beans and bangers on-pot’ Photo: Russell Bowes

For the last supper of the budget week challenge I really was out of ideas on what to cook; Hana couldn’t think of anything either, so I turned to my old friend, BBC Good Food and found this recipe for a “Bean and bangers one-pot“. It was quite easy to make, though I found it took longer than the instructions given. That might be because I grilled the sausages to get rid of some of their fat. I served it with the remainder of a bag of value pasta I bought for the tuna pasta bake.

Ingredients for 2 servings

7 sausages                                 – 39p
1 carrot                                      – 10p
2 onions                                     – 20p
2tbsp Red winene vinegar – 16p
1 can haricot beans              – 49p
1 can borlotti beans             – 49p
1/2 chicken stock cube     – 5p
Frozen peas – 40p Pasta   – 13p

Total cost £2.31 Total cost for Saturday (including my cheat coffee) £6.27p Youch!

So how did I do for the week, well lets go back and take a look.

Monday – £3.60
Tuesday – £1.68
(+ my main shop of £7.14 which was used during the rest of the week)

Wednesday – £3.05
Thursday – £1.53
Friday – £3.01
Saturday – £6.27

A grand total of £19.14 for the six days.

So yes I fed us for under £20 for the week, but only because I stopped short at 6 days. If I had gone into Sunday then it would be been way over as there was pretty much nothing left in the fridge and not so much in the cupboards. What I have I learned from doing this challenge? That living on a tight budget is difficult. It’s not much fun trying to cook when you have few resources and if it wasn’t for what was in the store cupboards and fridge then I’d have failed miserably.

I also learned that I often overspend with our weekly shopping because I don’t really plan what we are going to eat that week and what we actually need. So often I go shopping when I’m hungry and just grab a lot of things off the shelf which I’d like to eat there and then. I also think we can save quite a bit by planning lunches for me and sending one off with Hana in the morning. This week she too several packed lunches to work, which must have saved a bit of cash!

Thank you to everyone who commented and ‘liked’ my posts this week, its been fun sharing them with you. 

I hope you have enjoyed following this series on budget cooking. I will be sharing more of the recipes next week, so come back to see how they turned out.

Unless stated, recipes, text and photos By Russell Bowes

Find me on Google Plus, catch up and message me on Twitter and see more great pictures on Flickr and Pintrest


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