How to eat on £15 a week at Uni
My stint abroad was truly the first time where I had to consistently purchase my own food. While in the States I was lucky enough to live with James’ parents during college and they were kind enough to provide my meals. Therefore, my stint abroad was truly the first time where I had to consistently purchase my own food. James and I quickly decided we wanted to spend our money on traveling, rather than eating out all the time, so we made a budget and figured out how to eat on £15 a week at Uni.
The Hard Truth about Eating on £15 a week
Now I’m not going to lie, living on £15 a week was tough, especially for two people. It’s definitely do-able as long as you’re willing to sacrifice luxuries like eating out often.
James and I went food shopping every week, on Wednesday’s after class. Everything we bought had to last us until the following Wednesday, no exceptions. This was a great motivator for us in the overeating department as well.
We price checked a variety of stores in order to truly find the best prices, and purchased items at different locations rather than one. Some weeks we spent closer to £20 if we were purchasing an item that would last us more than one week, i.e. a jar of hot sauce that has lasted us four weeks.
Typical Grocery Shopping List
Total Cost: £16.19
- *3 kg bag of Pasta – Iceland – £2.50
- *1, 2k bag of sausage (40 sausages total) – Iceland – £2
- 2 cartons of eggs, 20 eggs total – Iceland – £1.50
- 4 pint carton of milk – Iceland – £0.94
- 2 frozen meals – Iceland – £2
- *1 kg bag of frozen chips – Iceland – £1
- *2 bags of 1 kg uncooked rice – Tesco Metro – £0.90
- 1 stew pack (four carrots, 1 parsnip, 1 swede, 1 onion) – Tesco Metro – £1
- 1 loaf of bread – Tesco Metro – £0.50
- *2, 340 g jars of peanut butter – Tesco Metro – £1.20
- *1 jar of curry sauce – Tesco Metro – £0.25
- 1 jar of pasta sauce – Tesco Metro – £0.80
- 2 cans of crushed tomatoes – Tesco Metro – £0.60
- *9 rolls of toilet paper – Tesco Metro – £1
*Denoted items lasted us anywhere from two to four weeks.
TESCO METRO has a reduced to clear section where they essentially have reduced prices for items that are nearing their sell by date. The food is still perfectly fine to eat, however they’re not legally allowed to sell it after it’s sell by date. We visit this every time we went shopping, we’ve found a carton of mushrooms for £0.80, or fake butter for £0.23, once we even found cheese singles for £0.42!
Once we’ve purchased the toilet paper that will last us 2-3 weeks, the 3 Kg bag of pasta will last us about 2-3 weeks, the sausage lasts James about a month, the 2 bags of uncooked rice lasts us about a month, and the frozen chips will last us about 2 weeks.
With that in mind the next time we go food shopping we don’t need to purchase those things and we’re able to buy a carton of juice at £0.60, or 5 chicken drumsticks for £1.69, or 300 g of beef which lasts for two meals at £1.79, or a bag of 10 plums for £2. Sometimes we go simple and just get more frozen meals at £1 ea.
While it is easy to keep us fed, I wouldn’t say we necessarily have the healthiest meals. We do eat a lot of pasta and carbs, with not a large amount of protein thrown in there. However, with the limited food options and smaller portion sizes my snacking appetite has been curbed tremendously and my jeans are all loose!
Pictured below is one of the meals I made when James and I decided to do a Ramen week. We had regular pasta left over from a previous shop. We then spent our £15 on our regular essentials like bread and eggs and then bought two bags of ramen noodles, fresh vegetables, 6 chicken broth cubes, and a hot sauce(that we still use 6 weeks later).
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