SHOPPING AND PREP: LBL 2014

Well, the Smalls went back to nursery this morning, so I dashed to the shops afterwards on an empty stomach, clutching my fiver for this year’s Live Below The Line challenge.

I no longer live in Southend on Sea next to the big orange supermarket that was my lifeline when I was living on an excruciatingly tight (and often non existent) budget. I now live in London, and my nearest large supermarket is a 20 minute walk away.

I darted into the two supermarket shops closest to me, a Tesco Express and a Sainsburys Local – and found that the T.E. had nothing from the Value range except a jar of coffee, at 57p. Nope, I definitely don’t need that, but I bought a bag of oats (68p, annoyingly I knew that the larger bags were 75p in the bigger shops), and 6 free range eggs for £1 – a pleasant surprise!

But woman cannot live on oats and eggs alone, so I wandered into the Sainsburys Local. And wandered out again with a large pot of Basics yoghurt, 45p. Almost half my budget gone already and hardly anything useful in either store.

I walked past a greengrocers selling bananas two for £1 and decided to give it a miss, but clocked the loose green and red chillies, and figured if there were any pennies left from my budget, I might be able to go and haggle for just one later on in the week.

So, I took my oats, eggs and yoghurt home, gulped down a glass of water and some yoghurt, and trekked back out to the bigger supermarket 20 minutes away.

I came back with this:

20140428-165324.jpg

Not what I planned for – I was originally thinking of baked beans, kidney beans and sardines, but the veg bag is 25p more expensive than last year’s one, and the stock cubes are twice the price. There wasn’t any fish paste, so I got chicken, and no mixed fresh veg bag of carrots and parsnips and potatoes and onions. I toyed with the idea of getting a 45p bag of flour and trying to make a sort of soda bread out of the flour and yoghurt, but didn’t want to risk it in case it didn’t work and I was left with no real breakfast option for the week. The trouble with doing this challenge on an annual basis, is that you notice and can compare the prices of things as they were, and how they are now. Food prices ARE going up, especially on the value branded goods – which is exactly where food doesn’t need to be getting more expensive…

So my fiver bought me less this year than last year – visibly less. I’ve spent half an hour juggling bits around the kitchen table, into groups of protein, carbs and veg, trying to plan some rough meals for the week and making some notes.

First, I diced and smashed those 10 stock cubes up with a sharp knife and a bit of bashing, and tipped them into a jar. 10 stock cubes makes a good half a jar of what I’ve christened ‘Live Below The Line Veg Rub Stuff’, and I’ll use it as the base for soups, rice dishes, and to season things as I go along. I used to do it a lot, finding I would get 15 servings out of 10 stock cubes, instead of the 10 I’d get from using one at a time. Plus they dissolve easier, not leaving that sludgy bit at the bottom of the pan to go to waste. It takes less than five minutes and is surprisingly satisfying, as well as better value for money.

20140428-165441.jpg

On a roll, I decided to sort my 1.3kg bag of mixed frozen vegetables into four separate bags of veg, to have some variety this week instead of just eating handfuls of the same finely diced vegetables. The second biggest thing on the table is a kilo of rice (40p), so rice-and-veg based dinners are going to be the order of the day… or night.

Fifteen minutes and some numb hands later, I ended up with this:

20140428-165549.jpg

…558g diced frozen carrots, 285g of peas, 315g of cauliflower, and 123g of broccoli, which by the way Tesco, makes 1.28kg of mixed frozen vegetables, NOT 1.3kg! Feeling slightly cheated and a little bit peckish, I slung a handful of carrots in a saucepan with some water and a heaped teaspoon of the vegetable stock to make a basic carrot soup, and added a tablespoon of yoghurt to serve. Surprisingly delicious, and worth the effort of separating it all out.

20140428-165915.jpg

So, my list for the five days, from a mixture of Tesco and Sainsburys:

500g oats, 68p
500ml yoghurt, 45p
75g chicken paste, 25p
1kg long grain white rice, 40p
Tomato puree, 40p
Lemon curd, 22p
6 free range eggs, £1
400g chickpeas, 39p
10 vegetable stock cubes (repurposed as ‘veg rub stuff’), 20p
1.28kg frozen mixed veg, split into 558g diced frozen carrots, 285g frozen peas, 315g frozen cauliflower and 123g frozen broccoli, £1.

Dinner to follow, I’ve got some planning to do…

To sponsor me for this year’s Live Below The Line challenge, see http://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/agirlcalledjack

Jack Monroe.
Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

Fundraising for Oxfam at http://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/agirlcalledjack

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84 thoughts on “SHOPPING AND PREP: LBL 2014

  1. I noticed a few things cheaper but generally, yes, more expensive all round. I am glad I have garden produce that cost next to nothing.
    Good luck with it, Jack. Well worth doing, isn’t it?
    J x

  2. It is shocking, is ALWAYS shocking how food prices rise perceptibly these days. I don’t remember it ever being like this. I have always preferred to use butter but that is rising in price, even from Aldi. Loaves of bread have topped £1,60 in some middle of the road stores. I have been buying raw milk to support a local producer whose cows get to keep their calves but I don’t know how much longer I can justify this. Where is this going to end?

    • I wonder would it be cheaper to buy some strong white flour and some whole grain and make a sourdough with water. I have made sourdough, the loaves were always enormous, taste more delicious than any bread ever and freeze really really really well. It is worth trying.

      • Here is a blog I wrote mentioning pricing of flour for sourdough early March this year: http://greengardengate.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/boris/

        The link I included at the time to mySupermarket showed the price of bread flour at 80p for 1.5 kg. This is now £1.10 for the same bag. It appears that there has been a problem with the UK wheat crop (probably due to the awful weather we had) so there is a lot of flour imported from Canada right now. Still, I can make a basic but tasty sourdough loaf for 55p – I’d rather make that than pay the same for a supermarket stodge loaf.

    • I don’t know about Aldi, but I have a LIDL only 200 yds from me and they do bread that’s perfectly fine – I get loaves of brown bread from them for 46 pence, they last about 5-6 days. If there’s a few slices left at the end of life that just start to get mould on them, it’s good news for the pigeons, blackbirds and starlings outside my flat!

  3. Dear Jack: I am so full of admiration for your culinary inventiveness. I particularly liked the idea of crushing stock cubes to make them go further. So simple, so obvious but I hadn’t thought of it. Thanks for all your recipes and tips. They — and you — are amazing. Luv from an OAP trying to stretch the pennies.

  4. I decided to give this a bash this year! We have a way more generous budget, because there are 3 of us, but to get the maximum food/money return I still had to spend hours comparing on the internet and visit 3 different supermarkets! I don’t imagine we’d be able to do THAT if our real budget was £15 a week, or if we didn’t have the car.

  5. Good grief, I was about to say you must have been mistaken about the rice for 40p (since I’ve just stocked up on rice with a Tesco shop and got two 4kg bags, each £4.50), but I just looked and you’re right! Well there’s a con and an ‘arf straight away – rice is rice in my book (‘specially when you’re on a budget) – I should have got 8 bags of 1kg “everyday value” rice instead and saved myself £5.80 !! Hmm… noted for future..

  6. I decided to take a look and see how your basket would add up in tesco ireland. I did this online so it is possible that you might find more products in the shop.
    £5 is €6.06

    500g oats, 68p 1.29 (1kg smallest)
    500ml yoghurt, 45p .55
    75g chicken paste, 25p .55
    1kg long grain white rice, 40p 1.19
    Tomato puree, 40p .95
    Lemon curd, 22p .79
    6 free range eggs, £1 1.69
    400g chickpeas, 39p .59
    10 vegetable stock cubes, 20p .99
    1.28kg frozen mixed veg, £1. 1.29
    Total is a whopping 9:88 euros for the same products (no value puree and more oats, so even allowing €1 for that it is still a massive difference.)

  7. Wow that really isn’t much food at all to last you a week! It humbles me who thought that I was being frugal spending no more than £5 a day on food. Best of luck.

    • No offence, but if you’ve never spent less that £5 a day on food,
      1. You’ve never been unemployed.
      2. You’ve never been in a low paid job.
      3. You’ll never understand why someone has to go to a foodbank.
      4. Actually, thinking about it, you’re probably a troll :)

      • There’s no need for that !! Glenn talks about being humble and wishes Jack good luck … and gets called a troll ….. not nice :-(

      • Lots of lazy value judgements made there kinnison41 and you accuse me of being a Troll! I do have a reasonable income now but it hasn’t always been so, I have been unemployed on benefits when I became ill with Bipolar Disorder. Oh, and one of the volunteering jobs I do now is assisting at a MIND drop in centre with a food bank. Perhaps concentrate on what you’re doing ‘to help’ rather than make unfounded accusations.

  8. I think you would struggle to make your 2,000 calories a day on £1 unless you relied heavily on carbs – especially cheap carbs, cheap rice, pasta, bread.

    • I went through a period of unemployment when I was having to pay back poll tax and other debts, and so I only had about £25 a fortnight to live on – I’d *splurge* £20 of it the first week, then be left with a fiver to live on the second week… Beans on toast got me through.. lol!

    • When I did my challenge last week, I worked out the nutrition and it came in at just over 2000 cals, 9.75 portions fruit and veg (counting the red lentils) and the carb/protein/fat balance was fine too. Admittedly it did feel like I was eating an awful lot of white flour, but it wasn’t too bad a diet at all. Wouldn’t want to HAVE to do it mind, that’s no fun at ALL. If you want to see it, it is at ThriftyLesley.com

  9. Yes prices are going up, and I certainly notice it effecting how far our money is going, but why do we expect people to grow us food for next to nothing? We need to pay what it costs farmers all over the world to produce, otherwise they aren’t going to survive and one day we’ll wake up with NO FOOD!

    • Watched an interesting programme tv last week – pig farmers in UK can now earn more selling to increasingly prosperous far East consumers than by selling locally, which will soon leave UK with imported, poor quality, non-British pork raised under less stringent conditions than we currently expect/have in UK.

  10. Jack,
    Love your attention to detail regarding the frozen veg. It shows you how much we pay for frozen water!

    Over here, (in the US) I am stunned by the amount there is in every chicken I buy! Good luck with this week, and congratulations on the move, which I had missed in the blog!

  11. Pingback: Living Below the Line 2014 – Day 1 | travellingcoral

  12. Great catch on the rice. Instead of stock, I buy salt and keep a plastic bag in freezer for off cast of veg bits and another for bones in order to make stock in the crock pot. I can’t bear to buy ready to go beans as the crock pot is my kitchen “friend”. Your blogs have helped me to keep a positive spirit when looking to survive on as little as possible. As a foreigner going to University in the UK with a young child (hence without any benefits etc)- my family seems to think that poverty is a choice I made! It doesn’t matter where you live- poverty is not a joking matter!

  13. Many of the basics/value range products have risen quite steeply of late and it’s very true…that’s the last place we need increases. Those of us who live (by necessity if not also choice) on an extremely tight budget are the ones who use these on a regular basis and we certainly don’t need to have increases added. Good luck (as always) with this Jack. Hope the new book is coming along too.

  14. I’m following along from New York City, and like Lynn in Ireland I’m comparing prices – astounding differences in food prices and which items are more expensive/cheaper. We don’t have the Tesco-equivalent huge grocery chains in Manhattan, they are in the suburbs – I suppose it’s similar to you now having to walk 20 minutes to a large grocery. We do have relatively large chain supermarkets that I think are only in NYC not in suburbia. Many city chains have created lines similar to Everyday Value but they don’t have a value priced version of everything, and the quality isn’t always equal to brand names lines – eg frozen broccoli is mostly stems so it’s OK if you’re making casserole or cream of broc soup but stir fry might be an issue. In my neighborhood it’s more usual for the grocery chains to promote discounts on a different set of items every week rather than maintain a broad array of value-priced basics. I check the weekly flyers online to make a shopping list & keep track of what’s in season. For example, about every 6 weeks boneless chicken breasts go on sale for $1.99/lb (£1.18) from $5.99/lb (£3.56). If you shop at the large grocery chains it’s hard to shop a week at a time within a budget, for me it’s a matter of buying in bulk when the sales come, which requires either having the cash available to buy 4-6 weeks worth of something or a credit card & the ability to pay it off before interest accrues. I find Trader Joe’s every day prices are lower or the same as the value lines and much better quality than even the full price brands, even though it’s a 2-bus trip.

  15. Yes I agree prices in the value range are going up. The other day I needed lemons, so I bought 5 tiny ones in the orange place for £1.10. Went to local farm shop a few days later and they had HUGE thin-skinned, juicy lemons at 6 for £1. Lesson learned!

  16. Wow, I can’t believe how much food you got for £5! Food in England is still very well priced. I use to live there years ago and marvelled at how cheap food was. I live in New Zealand and food is defiantly more expensive over here. For example I just brought chicken stock cubes on special for $3.00 (and thought they were well priced) so with the exchange rate would be £1.50! Massive difference in price.

    Love the challenge you are doing and will look to do it when the NZ starts, inspired by you!!!

    • I did the math!

      £5 is $ NZD 9:85
      500g oats, 1.35 (750g smallest)
      500ml yoghurt, 3.99
      75g chicken paste, 1,56 (1oo grams smallest)
      1kg long grain white rice, $2.85
      Tomato puree $1.45
      Lemon curd, $ 3:99
      6 free range eggs, $3 (from friendly farm)
      400g chickpeas, $1.49
      10 vegetable stock cubes, $1.21(pack of 7 cubes on sale. Calculated by finding out how much 10 cubes cost)
      1.28kg frozen mixed veg, $ 2.98 (priced on 1kg bag, added 300 grams)
      Total is $23.87 which is 12.11 £.

  17. For anyone joining in this week – Iceland 6 faggots £1, and a dozen mixed weight eggs £1 (10 + 2 free). I did the budgeting thing for the first day but doubt if my creative accounting – 25p for 6 hot X buns, reduced in Spar – would pass muster. I still haven’t forgiven Tesco for charging 20p for value noodles.

  18. Well done Jack on some astute shopping and inventive work arounds. (Wishing you happiness in your new home too, that explains the relative blog silence recently.)

    Your observation on the prices going up, whilst the amount per day to live on has stayed static is precisely the reason I’ve chosen not to do LBL this year.

    Two years ago it was quite an enjoyable challenge, but the fact that ‘yellow sticker’ goods are no longer reduced in the way they were, along with inflation has made it a slog and my already a bit dodgy health would probably suffer.
    I also wondered if a pound to live on at UK prices makes it a realistic exercise?
    I just looked up the cost of a kilo of rice in India and the numbers given are very close to the cost of a kilo value bag, 44 rupees at 102 rupees to the pound. However, some prices are lower in India. A kilo of fresh tomatoes is roughly 30p and a kilo of potatoes roughly 22p. A 500g loaf of bread is 22p. A litre of fresh milk is 36p. So one’s £1 to live on per day may well go a lot further in India.

    Hopefully next year the amount to live on for LBL week will be adjusted – in which case I may well give it a go again.

    • Interesting figures. The £1 a day (or less) that many people in lower income countries live on includes everything – rent, clothes, transport, school fees, food, medical care. So while the £1 a day for food LBL thing is trying to be a rough approximation, it’s not a direct comparison.

  19. You don’t need to bash your stock cubes. If you squeeze the foil cubes gently the stock crushes inside and you end up with a little foil bag full of powder. I always crush mine in the foil before use its a lot less messy. Good luck with the project. I think your gonna be hungry

    • Sueper, that works with the X-shaped brand named stock cubes; the cheapest I can find those is 18 for £1.
      Most of the value cubes have the look and texture of aggregate flooring, they are rock hard and impossible to crumble in the foil.

  20. I buy Marigold bouillon powder rather than stock cubes, and it truly works out less expensive and has that added pseudo posh factor. Mind you, throwing in more salt usually adds flavour, even if it isn’t currently fashionable to say so. Tesco and most of its brethren sell exceedingly cheap mixed herbs in their value range, which help a lot in flavouring.

    Our local shops all seem to be having an egg war, selling 30 (admittedly small and caged) eggs for £1.99. Eggs are a mainstay of my diet. In my richer days I always bought organic eggs, despite my acknowledged hypocrisy of feeding my cats expensive kibble which is, in effect, the dehydrated remains of intensively farmed chooks.

    Can I suggest a recent discovery? Shakshuka. Or at least a very inexpensive version of it. Mince up an onion (and garlic if it’s lying around), season and fry gently to a mush, add a smidge of cinnamon (important!), add a tin of the cheapest tomatoes and the tin’s volume in water. Simmer to a fragrant sludge in a shallow pan (that’s your old frying pan) and break in as many eggs as you have/can afford/fit, cover with an old plate for 4-5 minutes. Scoff the lot or share. The sauce actually makes enough for a lot of eggs, so it could last 2-3 meals.

    On the same note, that recipe is improved with a scraping of feta cheese, and I’ve just discovered that freezing your cheapo value-range feta cheese much improves the flavour of feta, extends its life, and seriously extends the amount you can finely scrape over your food (rice, spuds, eggs, couscous, etc). What I once used in a single meal I can now drag out seemingly endlessly.(especially given that leftover feta can go rank in the fridge faster than a pear can ripen when your back is turned).

    My local Tesco planted rosemary bushes as part of their car park shrubbery when it first opened. Still have a cutting thriving in my garden 18 years later. Just saying.

  21. I’m glad I’m not the only one who went through the ‘numb finger’ experience to make use of the different types of veg in different recipes (I did and blogged the challenge last week). I’m sure it made a difference to not always be faced with that orange/white/green mix. I felt somewhat annoyed that there were more carrots than anything else – but then I guess they are the cheapest of the 4 veg in the pack. Intrigued to what you will come up with your swag bag. Good luck, I shall be following!

  22. You can do it Jack! Followed you before last live before the line and really found last years interesting. Looks like this year is going to be even more challenging. Good luck Jack :)

  23. I live in The Netherlands, which is supposed to be one of the least expensive countries in the EU when it comes to food shopping. To be honest I do not really pay that much attention to my food shopping bills. I just buy what I think I need when I need it. But we don’t buy much junk food, soft drinks or ready meals so we get by that way. I do buy organic meat straight from the farm once every three months and when we’re out we’re out, so I try to make the most of the meat we’ve got in the freezer. I am inspired now though to try to live on a tight budget to see what I can do with it. To be continued

  24. Feeling exhausted from work and know I have to clean the fridge & prepare tomorrow ‘s dinner. How do people have the motivation to cook after a long day working outside the home? What works? I have a habit of making complex veg stews that take an hour to cook. What should I make instead with various veg stuff. I’m at work til late so preparing the day before is a must.

    • I work a lot, too, and often don’t have much time, but there’s a dish I could eat every day and it doesn’t take up much of my time: I simply fry some veggies with some cheese and an egg, not for too long, so that I get veggies “al dente” :-) Now, the reason I could eat that every day is I love vegetables and cheese, but also: I keep different fresh and also some frozen vegetables all the time. So I take a look at the fresh ones and take those that look a bit “aged” and then those I’d like to eat that day. Sometimes, I add frozen vegetables or I only use the frozen ones, depending on the time I have. I heat up some oil, throw the veggies in, add some salt and cover the pan. Then I do other things for appr. 10 minutes, like lay the table. Then I add any cheese leftovers or the cheese I’d like to eat that day, but not too much, and an egg. Stir and fry till the egg’s ready and that was that. Some days, I omit the egg, other days I eat it with bread … I don’t think I have ever eaten an identical meal, even though the idea stays the same. Oh and: of course some combinations are better than others, but that doesn’t bother me too much …

    • I find my slow cooker invaluable on days I’m working. Just sling in all the ingredients for your stew, casserole etc and hey presto, its ready when you get home!

  25. Good luck Jack. I don’t envy your shopping basket! Shame you don’t have a decent market close by. Cheap fresh veg, chicken livers and bacon bits kept me going through this challenge last year. I also made by own veg stock (using the peelings of the veg I bought) – it didn’t taste great mind!!

  26. Jack I did your kidney bean burgers for dinner with salad from Sainsbury’s basic lettuce & celery from Walthamstow market. The burgers were great – thanks for writing your book!

  27. what also annoys me is that the basics are often not available one week (even online) and when you have grown to depend on them in a weekly shop you have to spend almost double to replace them you can’t always afford it. A supermarket Should make sure the basics are always available and not keep swapping and changing them when we need them in our diet.

  28. Im doing LBTL for Malaria no more. Ive got a packet of soup and broth mix from Coop for 59p and have doen what you did with the mixed veg – separating (most of) the grean split peas and yellow beans for separate meals

  29. I am looking at those prices and it would NOT be possible to shop that cheaply here in Australia :( not even close. I did a quick search at our local grocery store and your shopping list above would cost us over $26 dollars. Its a huge problem here. I would have to go to the dollar stores here to get end-of-shelf-life products on some of those to bring it down a few dollars but to would not be much less.

  30. If you have a food processor or access to one you can process the oats to make a coarse flour which may give you some new ideas..makes good pastry if you had some fat…could it be made with yoghurt?
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful blog
    xx

  31. Wow that’s a tough list for five days’ worth of food. Really looking forward to seeing the meals you make.

    Don’t know if it’s remotely helpful for the oats and yogurt, but Ceri over at Natural Kitchen Adventures made cream cheese (Labne?) from yogurt, oat flat breads and oat pancakes on LBTL http://naturalkitchenadventures.com/category/live-below-the-line/

    and Miss South has just posted a recipe for skirlie, an oat-based savoury recipe:
    http://www.northsouthfood.com/wild-garlic-skirlie/

    Good luck!

  32. So have i missed some posts, thought you had a new flat in South End? So..London..where? Anywhere near Ripley Rd market Hackney? Great food bargains there.,

  33. Meanwhile, in New Zealand…

    £5 is $ NZD 9:85
    500g oats, 1.35 (750g smallest)
    500ml yoghurt, 3.99
    75g chicken paste, 1,56 (1oo grams smallest)
    1kg long grain white rice, $2.85
    Tomato puree $1.45
    Lemon curd, $ 3:99
    6 free range eggs, $3 (from friendly farm)
    400g chickpeas, $1.49
    10 vegetable stock cubes, $1.21(pack of 7 cubes on sale. Calculated by finding out how much 10 cubes cost)
    1.28kg frozen mixed veg, $ 2.98 (priced on 1kg bag, added 300 grams)
    Total is $23.87 which is 12.11 £.

  34. Love your dedication to this cause. Have just been online to see what I could get for a fiver. Got 16 items in tesco, sardines and chicken products included however going to struggle without herbs and spices….can I use my herb plants? Makes you feel really grateful that we have a little more than this but always good to challenge what we really need not want….only glad that I don’t have to take into account all the other bits, washing liquid etc then the money does go quickly. Keep it up well done and thanks for the inspiration for our family meals and lifestyle. Making us aware of others. X

  35. Frighteningly little to live on for a day let alone a week. Here in Mexico millions
    are below the poverty line. Last year I checked equivalents here and came out much more. Will so so again this year but wish you success and happiness Jack,you so deserve both
    and are an inspiration to so many of us.

  36. If you’re after an idea for a filling breakfast using your ingredients… Porridge pancakes!
    Soak about 20g porridge oats in a few big tablespoons of yogurt overnight. You could even add some lemon curd for flavour if you want.
    In the morning whisk 1 egg into the mixture and then dollop into a nonstick pan on a medium heat – makes about 4 small ‘pancakes’. You have to wait (and not poke them!) until they are more solid before you turn them over.
    I have this for breakfast all the time as it’s really filling!

  37. Had a look comparing your two previous years to this – I’m pretty shocked. I have found food prices going up also, and whilst I don’t need to live anywhere near only a 5er a week, I try for 10-15 euro, which often leaves me minus things like flour and butter – they cost a fortune these days!

    I am interested in your oats though. I probably wouldn’t have gone for them, BUT on reexamination have thought of how many things that you could do with them. Try oat and lemon curd pots, mixed with a tea spoon of yoghurt and water. Leave in the fridge overnight and it’ll be a yummy snack during the day.

    You can also blend the oats up and make pancake batter (with water). Using just one egg, you would have enough for about 15-16 pancakes, which would be cooked and saved for snacks in addition to breakfast/lunch/whatever you need it for!

    Veg can also be mixed with blended oats to make potato-cake like patties. You can fry these on a non-stick pan in water (as with the pancakes).

    You’re inventive. You’ll get through it. Very impressed and will watch with interest however! Good luck Jack!

  38. Best of luck to you Jack! I’m a bit of a ‘princess’ and far from making an effort to do something like this. I’ve never ‘had’ to but I find this inspiring and perhaps one day my ‘tunnel vision’ will point me in this direction. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.

    • Sounds as if there’s not an Aldi or Lidl nearby. I’d hate to be dependent on an ‘express’ style mini Tesco. They stock a deliberately limited range of the cheapest products like loo paper or teabags, so you end up buying higher priced items.
      Mean, but in their terms a good marketing strategy to extract maximum profit out of smaller purchases.

  39. I am doing my first lbl challenge next week. Here in Aus we get $10. I think I can do it, I’ll be bored but I’ll survive. (I hope)

  40. 2 bananas for a quid!? I’m staggered anyone has the brass neck to charge that. It’d be more like between 30 & 40p here in sunny Bristol. Thankfully I’m within walking distance of a Lidl and Aldi. No frills but cheap and good value.
    I tried working out a menu for a fiver & it’s so hard – I’d end up eating porridge for breakfast & lunch, then tomato & chickpea soup with dandelion and nettle greens for dinner, with the odd square of chocolate & dish of yoghurt here & there. Do-able but no apples, satsumas or – gulp! – no bread.
    Just watched a great film on frugalqueen.co.uk website about food poverty in Cornwall. Very moving and worth a look.

  41. I also used to search the reduced isles but noticed far less of this and far less reductions in the price, apparently shops can write off stock and it is more beneficial for them to bin than reduce :( this is according to a staff person

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