General ramblings

Live Below The Line-Prep

This weekend saw us shopping in preparation for our 5 days Living Below the Line.

This meant we had £20 (four people, on a £1 a day, for five days) to spend.

In my last Live Below The Line post, I had done a basic meal plan, and a shopping list of sorts. Hubby had spent Friday evening visiting the various supermarkets in our local town and doing a bit of a price comparison (we know how to have fun…) so armed with this knowledge, and our shopping list clutched in our slightly sweaty anxious paws, we set off.

First stop was Lidl:

  • Bag of frozen mixed veg-£0.89
  • 2L semi-skimmed milk-£1.00
  • 2L whole milk-£1
  • 2x250g British butter-£1.96
  • 500g pot natural yoghurt-#0.55
  • 1.5kg white bread flour £0.79
  • 10 medium eggs-£0.89 NB. hubby was berated at this point as he failed to buy free-range eggs…
  • 2x400g tins red kidney beans-£0.42
  • 1x400g tin chickpeas-£0.69
  • 1x400g tin chopped tomatoes-£0.31
    Total spend in Lidl £8.50

Next we popped into Morrisons:

  • 500g pack Morrisons Savers pasta-£0.30
  • 1kg Morrisons Savers porridge oats-£0.75
  • 425g tin Morrisons Savers pineapple chunks
  • 1 bag Morrisons Savers apples (7 apples)-£0.82
  • 500g bag Morrisons Savers raisins-£1.19
  • 350g Morrisons Irish Cheddar-£1.70
  • 1 bag Morrisons Savers onions (10 onions)-£0.50
  • 12 Morrisons chicken stock cubs £0.99
  • 1kg caster sugar-£1.09
    Total spend in Morriosns £7.54

Then on to the local greengrocers:

  • Bowl of bananas (13 bananas)-£0.50
  • Bowl of carrots (25 carrots)-£0.50
  • Bowl of potatoes-£0.50
    Total spend in greengrocers £1.50

Total spend: £17.54

LBTL1Phew! In under budget, and a bit of wriggle room for the rest of the week…

This afternoon, I did a bit of prep:

  • Made a bread mix using 1kg flour (53p) 20g salt (1p), 10g yeast (9p) (both from stock) and water. Total cost 63p. From this, I will hopefully make 12 rolls, and 1 loaf of bread.
    So rolls should work out at 3.5p each, and the loaf of bread is 21p
  • I am a bit worried about snacks for the Smalls, as I usually have a stash of cheesy feet and hot cross buns in the freezer to grab when we are going out. I found this great recipe for ‘Sunshine Buns’ on the fantabulous blog A Girl Called Jack, so promptly made some. They worked out at 4p each.
  • I made a batch of 24 Hobnobs-they worked out at 6p each
  • And I have a bowl of porridge oats soaking in some milk in the fridge to try and mean that making the porridge in the morning is a bit quicker (we are always in a rush…!) I used 150g porridge oats, 350ml milk, 350ml water and 50g raisins, and I am hoping this will do the 4 of us (maybe with a chopped up banana or 2). This should work out at about 10p/serving
  • We went to visit my mum and dad today, and my Dad had been down to do a bit of work at their allotment, and came back bearing a bagful of rhubarb. It seemed churlish to turn it down, so we bought it home and I have stewed it with a bit of sugar, and will add it to the natural yoghurt for puddings in the week.

So, I think we are as ready as we will ever be…

Wish us luck!

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  • Reply Thrifty Thursday | My Make Do and Mend Year September 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

    […] The Prep […]

  • Reply Laura / No More Spending April 29, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Popping over from Sue’s blog to wish you good luck on the challenge 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm


  • Reply KnitNell April 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Excellent – v interested to hear how it all goes. When I first met my husband and had no money we always had a max sum of money we could spend on shopping each week. I think it is time it was re-introduced. I also think it is great for your 2 Smalls – help them to appreciate food and money.

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

      It’s so easy for the shopping to creep up and up isn’t it? I will keep you all posted!

  • Reply saraband April 29, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Sainsbury’s basics tinned spaghetti at 19p for a 410gm tin makes a quick, filling & tasty lunch.

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for the tip 🙂

  • Reply midnightlaura April 29, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Well done! I’ll be popping back to see how you get on. Having spent six months of last year on a meagre freelancing pay check (under £600 a month), whilst my boyfriend was unemployed I know I can do this challenge for a couple with bells and whistles on!! I found the key was to shop at my local greengrocer and cook large pots of stuff like soup/Chilli/stew etc however; you are the first I have seen try it with kids! I wish you luck and hope you find it fun- as I finally did- because I am sure it made me eat healthier 🙂 xxx

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Thanks for the good wishes. There is something quite rewarding about having to be so frugal, but I am sure that that would soon wear very thin. Well done you for toughing out a rough patch-hope things have improved.

      • Reply midnightlaura April 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm

        Improved immensely thanks! I came to quite enjoy it, the thing I learned after a while was to reward us every now and again with something ‘extravagant’ like a take out otherwise it can become very depressing. Also I found I was constantly cooking so the rest was nice!! Good luck xxx

        • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

          That’s great news!

  • Reply A Frugal Wife April 29, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I’m not taking part in the challenge this year myself but I just wanted to pop over and say good luck for the week ahead! It sounds like you’re prepared for your £1 a day week!

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Thankyou! Will keep you posted 🙂

  • Reply Hazel April 29, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Well done! I couldn’t quite get my head round this at the moment, maybe next year.

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

      I’ll let you know at the end of the week whether I would recommend it..!

  • Reply Fanny Charles April 29, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Good luck – my only suggestion would be to use dried beans and soak overnight – cheaper and you could have more tinned tomatoes or better still more fresh greens. Fanny

    • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 10:58 am

      I remember thinking, dried beans, dried beans, and then completely forgetting! DOH! Thanks Fanny-next time…

  • Reply clairelewisco April 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Great going Jen and I think I will be joining you, for 5 days that is. Now seeing as I live in Ireland it will be interesting to see if I can bring a 5 day food shop in under budget I will have to convert what £20 is in € and do it off this. I am also in need of a little weight loss and detox so this could kill a multitude of birds with one stone! I also want to do this because I am reducing my paid work hours and I need to reign my already frugal spending back and this is an excellent way of doing so. 😉

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Yay! Keep us posted Claire 🙂

  • Reply Hilary April 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    You’ve made good plans and done sensible shopping so I’m sure you will manage the next five days. Best wishes and good luck.

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Thanks Hilary 🙂

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) April 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    You could have got a lemon to flavour your water to drink hot or cold but well done buying normal priced food instead of reduced stuff like me. My latest haul were all marked down to 10p…3 packs of 6 wholemeal breadrolls, 2 packets of 2 cheesy bakes (like pasties but bigger) & a Hotcross Bun Loaf … total cost 60p :o))

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Great bargains! We did contemplate having a trawl round at 3.30pm this afternoon, but I am a bit of a control freak, and wanted to know that we had everything in place!

  • Reply sarahn April 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Impressive planning, you should make it alive :p Seriously though, this is an inspirational challenge, even if it does mean you buy the non-free range eggs.

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      That was a mistake-think hubby just had his ‘find the best price’ head and forgot to even check 🙁

  • Reply kimroper2010 April 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Good luck! Wow. Can’t wait to see how you get on. There’s always bread and butter pudding, my nan swore by it during the war, the cheapest pudding and very filling.

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      If I have enough eggs and bread left, we will definitely be having this at the end of the week!

    • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) April 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Also can be served cold as a substitute for breakfast cereal … as can rice pudding … so make enough for “leftovers” !

      • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 9:45 pm

        Good idea 😉

      • Reply Hazel April 29, 2013 at 5:46 am

        My mum still talks fondly about Sops for breakfast when she was a child- basically cubes of bread with warm milk and a bit of sugar. I did try it on the children once and I think they prefer it as bread and butter pudding 🙂

        • Reply Jen April 29, 2013 at 10:58 am

          Not sure mine will go for sops…and I think we will have an excess of porridge oats by the end of the week, whereas I am guarding the bread fiercely!

  • Reply manchesterflickchick April 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Brilliant! You are creating some nice things with basic ingredients and great bit of improvising.

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Thankyou! I am sure we will have to improvise more as the week progresses..

  • Reply Heather April 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Well I think you’ve done amazingly well so far. Your meal planning and your purchasing of food under budget is great. I wish you the best of luck for the next five days. I really look forward to hearing how you get on. I’d be really worried about trying this sort of experiement. Especially with smalls that need feeding and the fact that hubby isn’t really on board with this idea at all….

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Hubby is coming round Heather-he helped with the shopping! I am very aware that the Smalls really shouldn’t be affected by this, so I know that ultimately if anyone has to go hungry for the next 5 days, it will be me…

  • Reply Rebecca's Makedo&Mend 6months! April 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Sound’s like you have it covered!
    Good luck! xx

    • Reply Jen April 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm


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