Updated shopping list August 2018 – £49.16 = £12.29pp per week
Why did we try this meal plan?
I was talking with my friend who volunteers at our local local food bank recently and she mentioned that they sometime have to give clients food that doesn’t need to be cooked or even warmed up as they don’t have enough money to warm their homes or cook food. This phenomenon is being called ‘fuel poverty’ and we are seeing more and more of it as family’s struggle to bring in enough money to pay for even the most basic living expenses.
This meal plan and menu is aimed at people struggling with fuel poverty or perhaps someone living in a bedsit without a proper oven to heat meals. Maybe even a student that can’t afford to waste money on using the cooker. Whatever your situation, these recipes are delicious and easy.
After a little research into the amount of electricity it takes to cook an average meal in the oven, it turns out it can cost 30p for an hour to use an electric or gas cooker. In comparison using a slow cooker, that although takes longer only costs 5p to cook the same dish or the microwave that although cost more per hour to use only takes 5 minutes to do the same job so costs also only 5p.
So even if you aren’t in fuel poverty, this is a great way to save money on electricity and at the same time use a bit less of our planets resources. You can be green while saving money too.
Although many of our homes have some or all of these appliances, I have listed the cheapest items I could find in case you are starting from scratch. Of course if you can afford better versions do so, as they may last longer and could be even more energy efficient.
You could always look on eBay or in charity shops for even cheaper finds, or maybe borrow from friends or family until you can afford your own.
Argos Microwave oven £31.99
Argos Slow cooker £19.99
Argos Toaster £4.49
Argos Kettle £4.99
Argos hand blender £6.89
Argos breadmaker £39.99
Now if you don’t have a breadmaker don’t worry as you can of course buy ready made sliced loaves of bread at 36p.You will still come in under budget as you won’t need to buy the strong flour or yeast, but we like using our bargin £20 ALDI breadmaker. I haven’t seen any at that price since we got ours though unfortunately, the cheapest one I could find was from Argos.
Although we don’t normally go quite as extreme as these budgets, we do keep an eye on our spending and try not to waste money. The more we save on unnecessary food waste while still eating nice food, the more money we have for family treats.
This challenge is more than just about saving money, it’s about eating well too. As well as giving you the nutrients you need and filling you up, food should also be a pleasure to cook and eat. Otherwise I could just do a cheaper shopping list of porridge and multivitamins, but I think that would end up be a very short and very boring blog.
Although this blog contains a mixture of meat and meat-free recipes, I will write another fuel poverty blog of just meat free food later in the same way I did for the £1 a day challenge.
This week is also a challenge for trying to keep it cheap too. I could just buy a load of ready made microwave meals to last the week. Just bung them in and wait for the ping, but again I don’t think that would make an interesting blog. The challenge I’ve seen online this January is living for £10 a week each, including your entertainment and all your food. Therefore as well as meal plans, I have added in a few free actives you could do. These are London based, but you could look online for free actives in your local area. London being an expensive city to live in, its always good to find free and interesting things to see and do.
January is always a hard month for people, the excess of Christmas spending catches up with you, plus often you will get paid a bit earlier in December but still have to wait until the 31st of January to get paid again. It can be a long cold month.
Of course if you can save a bit of money every month throughout the year, maybe setting yourself a tight food budget one week in four, you could put the little bit extra away for holidays or even next Christmas. Or if money isn’t super tight right now how about thinking of giving some or all of that money you save to a chosen charity, maybe even to your local food bank. It always feels good to help, and those guys are providing help to really hungry people right now.