How to eat on £15 a week at UNI

how to survive on 15 a week blog title

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.

how to survive on 15 a week groceries how to survive on 15 a week groceries


Helpful Tips

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.

Health Considerations

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!

Meal Example

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).

how to survive on 15 a week groceries ramen bowl meal


how to survive on 15 a week pin


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  1. Hendrik
    December 13, 2016 / 5:44 PM

    Well when I actually try to recalculate how much I spend just for food a week here in Switzerland..better not telling 😀
    I am impressed, would have assumed it is impossible to do with just £15 but you proofed it right! Thanks for sharing your experience, Cheers, Birdie & Hendrik

    • December 13, 2016 / 10:49 PM

      It’s not easy but it’s definitely doable – with lots of sacrifice! Also depends on where you live 🙂

  2. The Soul of Seoul
    December 13, 2016 / 9:52 PM

    I always find these kind of posts interesting and it’s all about where you live too. I’ve found it interesting that in Seoul, a bustling city larger than NYC, farmers markets provide veggies and fruits for a fraction of the cost that they’re sold at the brand name markets here. All of it is cheaper than in the US and yet, it’s healthy. Maybe you can budget for some spices to add to your food… spices and herbs can go a long way too if you’re only using a pinch. ^^

  3. December 15, 2016 / 6:45 AM

    So great money-saving tips here although if I’m honest, some that I could really be doing with. Besides lacking discipline, my problem is always that I don’t have much culinary skills although I think I could manage to master some of these! Will try, at least to try and implement some of these ideas of the coming week

  4. December 18, 2016 / 3:22 AM

    I love whoever sacrifice to live cheaply while traveling. Just like me, when I was in Manila and Cebu City, I bought anything cheap. I went to traditional market and took public transportation. Haha! Btw, £15 is Rp 251298,45 in my country. I think it’s still expensive to me but living in England with 15 per week I think it’s totally cheap. 🙂 love the post so much.

  5. December 18, 2016 / 2:39 PM

    Love how you reveals your weekly grocery list and the breakdown of the costs. Iceland is a pretty expensive country to live and glad you find a place to shopping for the cheap products. I am guilty of spending too much on food, and weekly shopping in Walmart just does not do the trick anymore. I need to find a way to save up on the grocery expenses, but cannot stand to eat the same food all week. Like this post so much.

  6. lydia@lifeuntraveled
    December 19, 2016 / 1:29 PM

    Good on you for making travel a priority and finding a way to make it happen! Usually people spend a lot of money on packaged foods but if you cut all that stuff out it’s definitely easier to stick by a set budget.

  7. December 20, 2016 / 9:13 AM

    This was very useful. Will surely try to follow some of the things mentioned by you. Thanks for sharing.

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