Having meticulously planned out my meals for the week in a spreadsheet, calculated the cost of each ingredient and been budget food shopping, I was feeling pretty positive about this week – but after just one day, there’s been significant things that I definitely wasn’t expecting.
The first thing was how genuinely hungry I felt yesterday. I had believed that I could get by on a very low food budget to save away a few pounds to go to a friend’s birthday party at the end of the week, so had planned to spend the absolute minimum. This has meant planning very cheap meals and not including many snacks, which I had thought would be fine, but after just one day I have realised that I will have to include more food than I had planned for.
Secondly, I have noticed the social difficulties. Having planned to meet a friend for lunch on Monday, I had to contact her to invite her over for a cup of tea instead. As I live very centrally, this wasn’t really an issue for me, but I am aware that for many people in this financial situation, this is just not an option. Another friend invited me out for a birthday dinner on Thursday night, an invitation which I had to decline as it would have taken a huge chunk out of my weekly budget – I was concerned that I gave the impression I just didn’t want to go, which of course I did, it just wasn’t a viable financial option.
Also – the repetitiveness of the meals! I managed to minimise my spend on food by having quite a small variation in the things that I am eating – even after one day, eating lentil bake after having carrot and lentil soup for lunch was very difficult to get excited about.
Finally, the recipe for my dinner tonight – pea risotto, adapted from a Nigella recipe although unfortunately without the parmesan cheese and white wine…
Ingredients (for 2 meals):
1tbsp olive oil 6p
200g risotto rice 44p
150g frozen peas 18p
1 white onion 15p
1 clove garlic 4p
1 litre vegetable stock (made with one stock cube) 1p
1. Chop the onion and garlic clove. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry till soft.
2. Add the rice to the pan and stir, before covering with a little of the vegetable stock. Keep stirring and adding more stock as the rice absorbs the moisture.
3. Cook half of the peas in the microwave for around 2 and a half minutes. Remove from the microwave, add 2 tbsp of stock and blend to a puree.
4. Once the rice has cooked, stir in the remaining frozen peas and cook till heated through.
5. Add the pea puree and stir until totally combined.