My £20 Grocery List | £20 Grocery Challenge

Categories Featured, Food
£20 grocery haul

Hi guys, if you saw my last post, you’ll already know what’s coming today. This is a breakdown of everything I got for my £20 Grocery Challenge.  As I mentioned in that post, I was planning this one for a while before I did it, so I planned my shop online. Doing it that way is a lot easier for budget shopping as you get a running total and it’s obviously easy to remove things if necessary.  

Disclaimer 

A little disclaimer, I priced my groceries up on the Sainsbury’s website. But, during the week I did this challenge, I did my shopping in store at Tesco. Tesco, for me, is always more expensive (like £15-£20 a week for a house of two, more expensive). This shop did end up costing slightly more than £20 when I physically went to the store. As I used a different store, not all items are the same, but I got the closest matches I could.  

Of course, you can see the itemised list of everything I bought and how I planned it out (the Sainsbury’s version). So, you can see that you can get these things for less than £20. Naturally, costs will vary depending on your area and chosen supermarket and any promotions at any given time.  

As always, I picked Sainsbury’s and Tesco as an ‘average’ shop rather than shopping at discount stores. The prices shown below are what they cost when I priced this up online, not what it cost in store at Tesco.

Oh, and I did this challenge at the end of October. Please don’t be alarmed if the products expired a long time ago.  

Product Choices 

I mentioned in my previous post that I planned my nutrition for this post very differently to the last time I did this challenge. Last time, I thought of cheaper meals and added the ingredients to my basket accordingly. This time, I started with protein sources and thought of meals I could plan around that, adding whatever vegetables I could afford at the end.  

One thing that didn’t change from last time is that I made plans with nutrition in mind. Some items I picked may seem more expensive or not necessary, but I’m going to explain why I chose them. Also, like last time, I haven’t included herbs, spices and stock in my budget. As those are things that most people build up over time rather than purchasing in one go, it doesn’t seem fair to my budget to include everything in one shop 

Last time, I ate gluten where necessary to make it cheaper. This time, I decided the bloat wasn’t worth it so this challenge is 100% vegan and gluten free. If you’re trying to save money and eat gluten, you can make this shop cheaper instantly by making those changes.  

Changes  

Originally, I picked some lettuce thinking I could maybe make a small salad with a few things. Then towards the end, I realised if I picked up a squash, I could make a nutritious meal that I would eat anyway. So, I removed the lettuce and my haricot beans (£1.10 in total) and added a butternut squash (£1.20). I forgot to take fresh screenshots after I’d made the changes, so I’m mentioning it now before I show my basket. 


What I got and why 

Breakfast 

£20 grocery challenge

Breakfast is really simple. As most affordable options contain gluten, I thought the cheapest and most filling option I could have was oats. I thought that I could mix them up a little by cooking them different ways so I wouldn’t feel like I was having the same thing every day.  

Oats – £2. The branded ones were the same price as the Sainsbury’s own brand for the same size bag, so I got these ones. 450g for £2. A half a cup serving every morning works out at 350g, so I would have some left for a snack or larger portion some mornings.  

Almond milk – £1.70. I know getting Alpro is a luxury, but Alpro is fortified with vitamins E, D and calcium. The own brand version is not, so I made the decision to get this one. Obviously, eating a challenge like this, I wasn’t sure what my nutritional intake was going to be. The fortified one seemed like the right choice even though it was slightly more expensive. Typically, it’s a cup of milk to half a cup of oats, so I thought I could do half milk/ half water and have enough for the week with one carton.  

Chia seeds – £1. I know that this is where I’m going to lose a lot of you. This isn’t an essential item. But I usually snack a lot on higher fat foods like nuts and Nakd bars. There’s no budget for things like that this week and there are no other sources of healthy fat in my cart. Chia seeds contain high amounts of omega 3 and adding them to oats is an easy way to get a little fat in my diet.  

Brown sugar – £1. I can’t afford syrup or dates to sweeten my breakfast. I didn’t like the idea of plain oats, I got sugar. That simple.  

Fruit 

This is sad. There’s one item here. As fruit is more of a snack food and isn’t really versatile in terms of making it a cheap meal, I couldn’t really afford it.  

Apples – £1.50 for 6. Apples are cheap, and I could add them to breakfast or snack on them. I’m not a fan of plain oats so I needed something else to add flavour.  

Protein 

£20 grocery challenge

As I said, I started with my protein and planned meals around it so this is a large part of my basket.  

Lentil pasta – £2.95, 500g. Yes, this is expensive and may not seem necessary. But this stuff has around 20g of protein a serving and I could see pasta and sauces being a staple this week. Lentil pasta is a lot nicer than regular gluten free pasta and not much more expensive, so this was an easy choice. The packet said a portion is 90g, so this bag would have been enough for a lunch every weekday if the budget was getting tight.  

Chickpeas– 90p for 3 cans. Chickpeas are amazingly versatile. I thought I could use them in a casserole, maybe a curry, depending what vegetables I could afford. They’re also great roasted as a snack, so I got a few cans as I could see me reaching for them a lot. 

Butter beans – 55p per can. I only got one tin for one specific purpose. Tomato and butter bean soup, it only needs a tin of tomatoes and beans, making it one of the cheapest meals ever. The beans add some protein to the soup and give it a thicker texture, both making it more filling.  

Red lentils – £1.15, 500g. Like the chickpeas, lentils are really versatile. I thought I could use them for a chilli or curry if I had the budget. But I also thought I could make a lentil dal if I had a really tight budget. That only requires lentils, stock and spices for a basic recipe and lentils are quite filling so they were a good basic to have. 

Vegetables  

I’m going to keep this bit brief as this is the longest grocery list ever. Everything I picked vegetable wise was for versatility.  Things like onions, peppers and peas had potential to go in lots of different dishes I’d thought of so I got them as basic ingredients.  

£20 grocery challenge

Chopped tomatoes – £1.50 for 5 tins. I know tomatoes are technically a fruit but putting them with the apples didn’t feel right. You’ve probably noticed most of the meals I’ve suggested require a sauce so these were an essential item. One tin usually makes enough to make two portions of things so I thought this would cover me in terms of the curry/ casserole/ chilli/ soup options. 

Butternut Squash – £1.20. This is quite pricey as far as vegetables go, but squash is bulky and filling. It was the only ingredient missing from my rustic winter vegetable casserole and I wanted at least one meal this week that wouldn’t feel like a compromise. 

  • Frozen peas – £1.30, 910g.  
  • 3 red onions – 85p 
  • 300g mushrooms – 65p  
  • 3 mixed peppers – £1  
  • 4 baking potatoes – £0.70. Potatoes are cheap and filling. I didn’t budget for anything like rice so I thought I could add some potato to that chickpea/ lentil curry I’ve been talking about to bulk it up. 

Total: £19.95 

£20 grocery challenge

£20 grocery challenge

£20 grocery challenge

£20 grocery challenge

For more information about how I planned this challenge, click here.

That’s everything for the week. I was quite happy with the potential meals I’d planned out and I thought I could make good use of everything I picked up. I’m confident I have enough food for the week, but we’ll soon see how that goes. What do you guys think of what I’ve picked up and my rough plans? Would you have done things differently? Look out for what I ate this week, coming Sunday, to see what I came up with. 

Until next time,  

Sophie  



28 thoughts on “My £20 Grocery List | £20 Grocery Challenge

  1. Wow, you actually got loads of food here, I’m impressed! £1.50 for 5 tins of chopped tomatoes is such a good find, I really like them and they add so much flavour to so many dishes. I need to check out this lentil pasta, 20g of protein a serving is great, I imagine that would keep you full for ages. I’m always looking for healthier snacks, so may have to grab some chia seeds next time I am shopping. Thanks for sharing Sophie, looking forward to see the meals you make <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  2. I was thinking I need to get back to spending a reasonable amount of money on food instead of ordering takeaway or picking things in the corne shop! You’ve got everything you need on your list!

  3. This is really interesting. I live with my boyfriend and I must say we both struggle to keep a week’s shop under £20. We used to do it back in 2016 and when shopping at Lidl, but as you probably know you can’t always get anything there and it’s pretty depressing too. I’ve come to realise that freezing things really does help. I try and make a big pot of soup that I can freeze and then re-heat whenever we’re lacking a lunch, or to but a bigger platter of meat (if you eat meat) at Asda and then freeze diced or filleted portions. Over-all this was really informative, thanks for sharing!
    – Alicja from populariswrong.co.uk

  4. Oh that sounds like a great way to plan weekly eats! We actually plan ours too, we spend around 50€/week for groceries and it’s for all three of us. It’s amazing how much money one can save by simply planning out everything.

    lots of love, Jasmin
    // littlethingswithjassy.com

  5. Well done! I did gawk a bit at chia seeds but you’re right, it can be hard to get healthy fats when you’re not eating animal products, and avocados are pricey! I always really like baked potatoes with either canned spaghetti hoops or a quick homemade bean topping makes a really good budget meal as well 🙂

  6. Wow you actually managed to pick up quite a bit for £20 didn’t you? Fruit is so expensive! Oats are a great option for a cheap breakfast- I love eating porridge in the morning when I have time, especially at this time of year!

    Soph – https://sophhearts.com x

  7. Super impressed with all the food you got for this price! The breakfast meal you’ve shared is pretty much exactly what I have whenever I make myself some oats; the only differences is that I also include flax seed, love that fiber haha x

  8. You got SO close to that budget and got so much stuff! You know how to shop girl! I see lentil pasta as a must, they are good! But yes they are pricey like that butternut squash!!

  9. i was looking forward to this post all day and am just now getting around to it, but i love this! you did such a great job at keeping to budget and got so much food! i really need to start planning out my grocery trips so I can be more efficient with my money. xxx

    mich / simplymich.com

  10. Quite frankly I’m amazed at how much you got for £20! I’ve never tried lentil pasta before, that sounds interesting. But I adore chickpeas, we had some curried ones for lunch the other day with chicken (sorry!). And I have tried chia seeds before but won’t be eating them again, haha. I’ll be interested to see what meals you came up with – but this is such a testament to meal planning and savvy shopping, thank you for sharing 🙂 x

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  11. I’m surprised you find Tesco more expensive! We always find Sainsburys worse! You got a fair amount here for £20 and there’s some great deals – I’ll never tend to buy Tesco finest something over Tesco value because I think there’s some really great Tesco value items. Can’t wait to see the rest of this challenge! xxx

  12. I’m just about to do my Asda shop (they’re the only ones who deliver to where I live in basically central London believe it or not!) and there’s some really useful tips here. Time to stock my cupboard and freezer!

  13. I find this kind of thing really interesting, so thank you for sharing and being so in depth with it. I know my husband and I spend way too much on food, and I’m always looking at ways to make my shop more affordable and versatile so this has really given me a few things to think about. Also, hell yes to all those chickpeas – so underrated and so delicious!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  14. This is so amazing and you got lots of options for different meals, I never actually knew they did lentil pasta but it looks so tasty and so much more healthy, I always have tins of chopped tomatoes in my cupboard so handy to add to meals! Xx

  15. This was a great post to read. I think that it is great on several levels: 1) For budgeting, it is great to see the thought-process and what can be created, 2) Educational – I feel that this is a testament to the challenges of why small budgets make it incredibly challenging to not just healthy, but to also have filling meals, and that there may be a lot of compromise that needs to take place. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

  16. I really enjoyed this post! I think there’s always that fear of overspending when supermarket shopping. This just goes to show that you can still buy a good range of food for a good price. What a great idea for a challenge!

  17. I love posts like this! I always try to plan out my grocery trips but when the boyfriend goes, it gets all mucked up. Haha! This inspired me to pay more attention when I grocery shop this week!

  18. I love that you put yourself through a challenge where you buy whatever you need with just 20 pounds. When it comes to buying groceries, sometimes you have to sacrifice certain options so it’s cheaper @__@…. Like buying from sustainable/ethical farms can get expensive really quick. Love that you got a good amount of groceries for cheap!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  19. I love these kind of posts. You got a lot of great food items for around £20, I usually shop in Tesco because it’s my closet store and agree it can be more expensive. I’m going to try the red lentil pasta as an alternative to whole wheat.

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