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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,