Eating on an Extreme Budget: How a Couple Can Survive on £15 a Week

£15 a week for food for two people, it really is such a meagre amount. But living this way is the reality for many people in the UK, with this little to survive on- week in, week out. With zero hour contracts, failing companies, benefit cuts and a high cost of living, many people in society are seriously struggling. Food banks are more widely used now than ever before, which really gives us a clue as to the state of of the system. The problem is, not everyone is entitled to use a food bank even if they genuinely are in need. For a start, in many cases you'll need to be in receipt of certain benefits- which at the very least can take many weeks to come through, leaving you in an unfortunate position for some time. If this is the case for you, you'll want to use the money you have as carefully as possible. Planning, preparation and portioning things are key- there's no denying that living this way isn't much fun but it prevents you from running out of the things you need. Here's how you can spend £15 on food to make it last for a week, and the meals you can make using it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. All products listed are from Asda as it tends to be the cheapest out of the bigger supermarkets, and are linked below.

Portioned correctly, this could feed two adults, or an adult and one or two children. The big bags of oats, rice and vegetables would likely last more than a week.

Total price: £15.39 (price correct 13th November 2018)

There are a couple of breakfast options you could make from the above ingredients. All of these are healthy and balanced, and would help you to start your day right. Remember, eggs are versatile, high in protein and can be served lots of ways; scrambled, poached, boiled or fried in a little of the spread. Based on the ingredients it would make sense to have porridge most days, but there's enough to switch it up every few days so that you don't get too bored. 

-Porridge with milk (optional add sliced banana on top)
-Baked beans and/ or egg on toast with spread
-French toast
-Toast with spread and an apple or banana
-Yoghurt with an apple or banana

All of the below options could be enjoyed with a piece of fruit, plus a yoghurt depending on your breakfast choices. It could be helpful to cook and chill a few pieces of the frozen chicken ahead of time, so you have instant access to it when you prepare your lunch. If you have any herbs and spices hiding out in the back of your storecupboard, dig them out and you can season it up and make it taste a little more interesting.

-egg mayo sandwich 
-chicken mayo sandwich
-banana sandwich
-chip sandwich
-baked beans and/ or egg on toast
-soup and bread
-plate of chips with mayo
-chips and gravy
-leftovers from dinners

The meals below are hearty and filling, so you shouldn't feel hungry. They're fair nutritional choices for eating on such a small budget. With the pasta and rice dishes, these can be cooked up in bulk and enjoyed again later in the week, or as a lunch the next day.

-Oven chips, egg and baked beans
-Omelette and chips
-Chicken and frozen vegetable curry with rice
-Chicken and pasta with pasta sauce and added tinned tomatoes 
-Chicken, chips, mixed frozen vegetables and gravy

-fromage frais
-apple/ banana

Variety is of course the spice of life, and all of us should aim to eat lots of different fruits, vegetables and mix up our meals. But if you're not in a position to do so, following this menu plan gives you peace of mind that all of your main food groups are covered. There are also a number of different options so you shouldn't get too bored. When you don't have much money, it's easy to walk into the supermarket and walk out with whatever looks tasty but do this and you'll almost certainly run out.

If you're ever in a position to stock up your storecupboard then always do so. Having some herbs and spices, big bags of grains like pasta and rice and tins of beans can really come in useful when times are hard. Until you're able to do that, careful planning will prevent you from running out and being left hungry.