Finally – the food

You know you’re on Live Below the Line when you swap an apple for more milk to put in your tea, and the chance to buy value tea bags to make it.

So, finally, here’s a pic of my Live Below the Line shopping
for 2014, after much planning, head scratching and staring at a spreadsheet.

Food for the next five days. Apart from one of the apples, swapped for extra milk.

The shopping list in full:

£1.50     1.1kg whole chicken, reduced at Iceland

£1.00     12 eggs, Iceland

35p         400g can East End chickpeas, Iceland

45p         125g Great Scott Scotch Broth Mix, ASDA

9p           540g tin of potatoes, reduced
Sainsbury’s Basics

40p         1kg rice, ASDA Smartprice

45p         800g loaf brown bread, ASDA Smartprice

45p         1.5kg plain flour, ASDA Smartprice

24p         400g peeled tomatoes, reduced Sainsbury’s

29p         70g tin De Rica tomato puree, local

£1.00     900g frozen mixed veg, Iceland

19p         1 lemon, local supermarket

11p         1 bulb of garlic, local supermarket

42p         5 onions, Iceland (9 for 75p)

20p         4 carrots (300g), Iceland (1.5kg for

28p         2 bananas, Iceland (5 for 68p)

17p         1 apple, ASDA (6 for £1)

14p         40 tea bags, ASDA Smartprice (80 for

15p         Half a jar of strawberry jam, ASDA
Smartprice (29p for 454g)

66p         1.5 litres semi skimmed milk, Iceland
(2.272 litre bottle for £1)

25p         10 cheese singles, ASDA (half a 400g
pack for 50p)

50p         125g butter, Iceland (£1 for 250g)

12p         75g lard, Sainsbury’s Basics (40p for

10p         80g porridge oats, Sainsbury’s (65p for 500g)

34p         2 x 7g sachets Hovis fast action yeast,
Sainsburys (6 sachets for £1)

7p           5g dried mixed herbs, ASDA Smartprice
(18g tub for 25p)

3p           5g TKS garam masala, 100g for 60p

1p           teaspoon sugar, Sainsbury’s (1kg for

TOTAL: £9.96

I was keen to try some different recipes this year, but when
your budget is restricted to £10 to feed 2 people for 5 days, I discovered I
still had to rely on many of the same cheap staples.

The biggest changes were buying the chicken, the flour and a
bit of butter.

The other new elements are a lemon, a couple of bananas, a
couple of sachets of yeast, a bit of lard and a tiny tin of tomato puree for
pizza topping, along with some Scotch Broth Mix for soup purposes.

Otherwise frozen mixed vegetables, carrots, onions, tinned
potatoes, tinned tomatoes and apples remain some of the cheapest fruit and
vegetables at this time of year.

Eggs and chickpeas return as sources of protein, plus cheese
and milk.

Wholemeal bread, cheap white rice and a few oats again
provide staple carbohydrates, while tea bags and jam were regarded as essential
for morale and made the cut.

I was still keen to insert some flavour to the blandness, which
accounts including a few pence of dried mixed herbs along with the garlic and a
couple of teaspoons of garam masala, plus a teaspoon of sugar for breadmaking.

The few remaining pence in the budget also mean I can
justify adding some salt and pepper, which were sadly missed before.

To make room, I ditched mushrooms, kidney beans, Red
Leicester cheese, tinned pineapple, stock cubes and (reluctantly) cooking

Next steps: the meal plan and the recipes!

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Below the Line challenge by donating to UNICEF here:


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