About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Could I eat for £1 per day?

Mumma Troll has set a challenge: To feed a family for £1 per person per day for a week. I'm all for spending as little as possible on food (and everything else) and was about to sign up for this, but Ian stopped me. He thinks this is unrealistic and since he's the family in question, I suppose he has a right to say no.

This got me thinking - is it really that unrealistic? I'm pretty tight with the budget as it is, so what do we spend on food at the moment, on a cheap day?


Cereal, usually oats.
Oats, 75g : 7p (that took ages to find because I couldn't remember how big the bag was! Also, it turns out my 'portion size' is rather large ;-) )
Milk, 300ml : 19p
I'd usually have hazelnuts, raisins and half an apple with this, but to save money (and the faff of costing them) I'll just have sugar
Brown sugar, 10g (if I'm honest) : 2p

Breakfast total = 28p


A couple of slices of bread and butter. I'll skip the marmalade today because costing homemade marmalade is too much like hard work!
Homemade white bread, 1/5 loaf : 4p (brown would be 10p) [edited - I counted the yeast for the whole loaf before]
Butter : 5p? (That's a guess. I don't really know how much butter I spread on my bread.)

Lunch total = 9p


Pasta with tomato and bacon sauce.
Value pasta, 50g : 3p
Cooking fat rendered from saved bacon fat - I can't cost this!
Half a small onion : 7p
Half clove garlic : 3p (that would be cheaper if I hadn't bought organic)
Half tin value tomatoes : 17p
One and a half rashers bacon : 19p
Sprinkle of mixed herbs - too difficult to cost. Same goes for salt and pepper.
Squidge of lemon juice : 2p

Dinner total = 51p


Three cups of tea and one glass of cheap squash. I'll skip the 'fresh' juice today, to save money.
Three teabags : 20p (would be cheaper if I didn't buy fairtrade tea)
120ml milk : 7p
Squash, 40ml : 2p

Drinks total = 29p

Total for the day = £1.17

This isn't hugely over the £1 budget. If I cut the bacon from the pasta sauce (making it unacceptable to Ian) I'd be just under the pound, or if I drank only tap water all day, I'd be easily under budget. It's interesting to note what I've already cut, though. I chose white bread instead of brown because value flour is only available in white, and the same goes for pasta and rice. I cut the fruit and nuts from my breakfast and skipped the fruit juice. This is a fairly stodgy meal plan - I certainly don't have five portions of fruit and veg in it. It seems that refined carbs are a relatively cheap way of eating.

This little exercise has shown me that I could survive on £1 a day for food if I had to, which is nice to know. I don't fancy doing this for the whole week's challenge though (even if Ian would let me) and I'm not sure I'd even want to do it for a day. No tea? That is hardship indeed!


  1. Now that is interesting.

    I would dearly love to be more cost effective on food consumption, however, I genuinely don't think I could eat for a £1 a day, partly because I am so particular about what I will eat, organic wherever possible and if I cut out snacks, I would need bigger meals!

    I will look into costing it, I shall stat a food diary for a week and try and calculate.

    I love your blog! :-) Gets me thinking. C x

  2. if its about saving money, what do you actually save if you switch to refined foods!
    in the long run, your health will suffer.
    its very well possible I think to eat for that sum of money, while staying on a healthier diet, more rich in fibers.

    the best option is to eat more vegetarian meals.
    aside from that, pulses/ beans on the menu more often.
    I won't go for the one pound a day, but rather add up at the end of the week, so, for two people (us) stay under 14 euros a week (since I am in netherland).

    ack.....I just realized I won't make it then...I use double that at least...but then we DO eat meat.
    if daughter did no longer live at home, I could live MUCH cheaper...

    good luck on your challenge, I don't think its easy though....

  3. Wow, £1 per person per day is pretty hardcore - well done for getting so close.

    I think it's very interesting what you've already found yourself swapping out after just one day. Not a diet my body would like for more than a few days!

  4. Catherine - I'd be very interested to see your food diary when you've done it. Just a guess, but I think you'll probably save money with bigger meals and fewer snacks ;)

    Berti - I'm not sure whether you're saying you can do better than this or not, but if you can, I'd be very interested to see a costed meal plan for one day (or a whole week if that's easier). Allow €1.20 per day - our currency isn't quite THAT weak!

    I know that veggie food is a lot cheaper, but with a carnivorous husband this just isn't an option.

    Louisa - I agree £1 a day is hardcore, which is why I'm not going for the whole week ;-) I think my body would take some time to forgive me if I did - urgh!

  5. Thank for the mention, it's a shame you can't do the challenge, but it looks like you do very well anyway with your costed meal. I think the main advantage I have here may be the fact that I don't drink tea,lol although I do acknowledge the fact that i am rather strange on this point, no scratch that I just acknowledge that i am rather strange full stop.

  6. This intrigues me, gotta go do some math. Will be back later.


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