Hi everyone, today I’m coming at you with something a little different; this week I’m going to be attempting the £20 grocery challenge. I’ve seen so many people do this on their blogs/ YouTube and thought I’d give it a go. I was very intrigued as to whether I could do this and still love somewhat close to my usual life. I will be doing this shop for two people not one, I thought about upping the budget to £40 as logically, two people doing the £20 challenge = £40. This felt a bit too easy so I’m going to aim for £30 with £40 being the upper end of the budget.
How I Usually Eat
Many of you will know that I follow a plant based diet. Lots of people think vegan diets are expensive, many vegans claim the opposite because the base of most meals are quite cheap. With the core ingredients like rice, beans and potatoes being more affordable options, it shouldn’t be that hard.
However, I’m going to attempt to do this challenge and not change my usual eating habits. I like to eat a varied diet, I typically don’t eat the same evening meal twice in one month and I hope to be able to do that this week. Yes, I’m making this harder for myself. I know that I could do this challenge very easily if I just ate different variations of rice, veg and beans for a week but I’d hate doing it and I’m pretty sure that would be boring for you to read as well.
Of course, this means I will not be doing this challenge as cheaply as physically possible.
In addition to that, health is very important to me and I’m a big believer in being aware of what is in your food and where your vitamins and minerals are coming from. I want to try to do this and maintain a high level of nutrition as much as possible. Another reason this challenge will be extremely hard. I may also buy a few slightly more expensive items that appear to be non-essential for this reason. I’m sure I will still have to make sacrifices but I’m going to try to keep my levels as high as possible.
How I Usually Shop
So, I’ve already said I’m not a fan of repeating meals that often and when I sat down to plan my shop I realised a couple of things. When I usually plan my shop, I plan for 5 days. I don’t do strict meal plans as in Monday I’m having this and Tuesday I’m making that, but I do plan 5 evening meals for the week. The logic behind this is that if I eat out or end up having leftovers of anything, no other food is getting wasted and there’s no harm in popping to the local co-op towards the end of the week if I’m running low. So not only do I have a restricted budget, I also have to buy more food than usual within that budget.
There’s another thing too. I have no idea how much my food shopping usually comes to. I obviously know how much the total is each week but like most people shopping in a supermarket, that total also includes a few cleaning products, maybe some toiletries and almost definitely some wine. I most certainly will not have room in my budget for that. Despite knowing the Tesco bill is around £70 each week, I don’t know how much of that is food. Meaning I have no idea how much I need to cut back and save.
And…. I’ve never shopped with a strict food budget in my life. I’ve been very fortunate that even as a student, I was never that poor that I had to restrict myself too much. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t eating out every night and eating caviar for lunch and my shopping wasn’t THAT expensive. BUT, I was always comfortable enough to be able to have a proper meal for dinner, not toast from the discounted bread bin, without having to worry.
We’re getting off to a great start.
I usually keep my pantry stocked. Seriously, if I had no interest in eating fresh fruit or vegetables I could probably live off what’s in my pantry for a month. Keeping it stocked is a habit that will be hard to break this week. I know fine well that if I need to buy one tin of chickpeas I’m probably going to pick up three from the shelf and I’m definitely going to struggle remembering not to do this.
What I Think I’ll Be Buying
To complete this challenge, I won’t be buying absolutely everything I’ll be eating as I already have large amounts of rice and lentils etc. I’m going to buy everything I’ll be eating this week and also keep a running total of the items I would have bought if I didn’t already have them at home.
Although I will be doing a rough meal plan this may change depending on the offers they have on in store as I’ll obviously be making the most of those this week. This way the running total will be more realistic as well.
I’ll keep my receipt from the store and add up everything I would have spent if I’d bought everything and compare the two in my next post.
I think I’m going to end up with something along the lines of oats for breakfast, but oats are not my favourite so I’m hoping I can afford something like granola. However, I would usually eat my granola with some Alpro yoghurt and I doubt I’ll be able to afford that.
I don’t usually eat lunch. I’m small and so is my appetite. I’m only 5ft tall and I’m a UK size 4, it does not take a lot to fill me, that could be my saving grace this week. Instead of a meal at lunchtime I would usually eat something like fruit with some nuts or a Nakd bar. All of those items are on the more pricey side so I’m going to have to think about this in store and see what I can afford when I’ve bought everything else.
As for dinners, I’m going to try and stick to meals I would usually eat, maybe with less variation and added extras than normal. I’m not expecting to be able to afford many fresh vegetables so I’m probably going to be buying beans and chopped tomatoes, then cheap and versatile ingredients like onions and peppers alongside my starchy foods. Hopefully this way I’ll still be able to get a decent number of vitamins and minerals even if I’m not reaching the full RDA.
My Plan For This Week
I think that pretty much covers everything for the ‘planning’ stages. In my next post I’ll be going through what I managed to buy, what deals I found in store and my rough meal plan as well as my total spend. My final post this week will be Sunday. I’m doing this challenge Sunday-Saturday, so I’ll have already started by the time you’re reading this. On Sunday I’ll go through what I ate, and I’ll be tracking my intake on Cron-o-meter this week, so I’ll also go through my nutrient intake and see if I’m meeting nutritional targets and whether this is maintainable.
Wish me luck!
Until next time,
To see my last recipe post click here.