Cost of Living Crisis: The 25p Meal

Cost of living crisis: the 25p meal

We want everyone to eat well during the cost of living crisis. We very much hope this article will help with that.

One of the cheapest ways to pare your food budget right back is to find out what time your local supermarket marks down its perishable products and do your shopping then. This makes possible what we call the 25p meal: feeding a family of four for £1, or under, all ingredients.

Don’t forget to check the Olio app for free food being given away in your area too. Food Heroes collect the yellow stickered items that didn’t sell and share them in the community. Desktop version here. People also share things that they can’t use up in time from their fridge, or cupboard items that they no longer want.

Cauliflower in a Cheesy Sauce

Cost of living crisis: a 25p meal

Cauliflower (25p) in a white sauce (milk/marg/flour/water totalling 20p), and 30p worth of leftover rice made into herby tomato rice. We added:  1 onion (7p, not marked down but really cheap in Lidl) a squirt of tomato puree (5p), dried herbs (5p) salt (1p).

Cost of Living Crisis Spaghetti

Cost of living crisis: 25p meal

Above was a nice meal based around getting an organic unsliced wholemeal loaf for 10p. We added marg and garlic to make it into garlic bread. Cheap spaghetti (often around 20p for 500g in value ranges) mixed with a tin of kidney beans at 25p and marked down pepper and courgette, both 10p each. Salad was a 10p lettuce with a squirt of lemon juice. There was a LOT of garlic bread made with that one loaf!

Pizza Bagels or Pittas

A firm favourite now, actually considered a treat in this house, is the meal of pizza bagels, or pittas, or, as pictured below, pizza paninis. Made with 4 Paninis at 19p for 2, then with pizza sauce consisting of an onion fried in a tiny bit of oil, tomato puree, herbs and salt, totalling no more than 10p. They only need a few minutes in the oven or under the grill as the bread bases are already cooked. We paired them with a reduced salad bag at 10p, reduced hummus at 32p and a tub of pasta salad marked down to 26p. Over budget by 6p! If we’d used cheaper bread, such as one pack of bagels reduced to 20p, we would have been under.

It would be cheaper to use the pizzas as a side to homemade soup (see our many soup recipes). Of course, you can add any topping you like to these, but the sauce is delicious in itself.

Cost of living crisis: 25p meal

Porridge: cost of living crisis food

This next one pushes the budget again, though only by 10p. For a luxury breakfast! It’s porridge (20p worth value range oats) made with water, but with a huge box of blueberries (marked down to 75p) and half a bar of Lidl dark chocolate (bar is 30p, so 15p), smashed up. Yum.

Our local Tesco usually does a big mark down around 6pm. The one in the next town is a little later at 6.45pm and its prices go right down to 2p for many items. Asda starts much earlier in the day with its reductions. Lidl has many things, including a basket of bread, reduced to 20p first thing in the morning. Martin Lewis wrote an article on the different supermarkets and their reduction times here.

Unless we’re going to use them that day, we tend to avoid ready chopped things which go off quickly. Whole vegetables and fruit will keep for a few days and bread will be good for a couple of days or can go straight in the freezer. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve filled our freezer with 10p loaves and buns!

Also see:

Our Sourdough bread for pennies post here.

The Free Food section about gardening, giving and foraging.

And check out clearance food sellers like Low Price Foods  and Approved Food for stocking your cupboards with low priced staples.

And all our frugal recipes.

It can be fun to use your imagination and ingenuity to make best use of what’s available on any given day in the reduced section. Please feel free to share your ideas and successes in the comments below. Let’s weather the cost of living crisis healthily together!

Ailish Sinclair‘s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, and featuring the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, is out now. On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.

The Mermaid and the Bear Cover

Potato Broccoli Croquettes, a #nowaste recipe

potato broccoli croquettes, a no waste recipe

These potato broccoli croquettes are absolutely delicious, frugal and a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

The Frugal Story of the Plate

The mashed potato we’ve mentioned, but the broccoli came from an Olio Food Hero who had been given 78 heads of the stuff by Tesco. (Olio is a food sharing app, search for it on your phone or it’s on the web here). We took a box from her for the compost (compost post here) as there was no way she could give all that away, but we used as much broccoli as possible in our meals during that week! The cornbread in the picture also came from Olio; the food heroes always have LOTS of bread, much of which gets binned if it doesn’t get requested quickly enough.

The hummus on the bread, we won in an Instagram competition. See our sister site’s account here where we share a lot of these tag and like competitions on the story. Feel free to tag us if you want! The chilli contained 2 peppers from one of those £1.50 big veg boxes Lidl sometimes put together. They usually contain at least £10 of food. In our local Lidl they seem to only appear early in the morning at weekends. The chilli also had a tin of mixed beans from Lidl and we used the water from the can as well as the cooking water from the broccoli earlier. There’s nothing particularly frugal about the salad…

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Potato Broccoli Croquettes Ingredients

  • Mashed Potatoes (we used roughly a soup bowl sized amount for four people to have 5 or 6 croquettes each)
  • half a head of broccoli, lightly steamed or boiled
  • a tablespoon of chickpea flour (gram flour). Other flour will do too.
  • optional: other leftovers. We had a small amount of veggie haggis in there too.
  • we also put in a little sourdough starter discard in to save wasting it (sourdough post here) but it’s not actually required.
  • a teaspoon of mustard, but you can use any herbs or spices you like to flavour these up.
  • a little salt and pepper
  • breadcrumbs to coat. Crushed potato crisps also work well.
  • a tablespoon of oil for shallow frying

Method

  • Chop the broccoli into small pieces and mix it into the mash with any other leftovers and mustard/spices/salt you’re using.
  • Prepare some breadcrumbs on a dish for rolling the croquettes in.
  • Form the mixture into small sausage shapes – if it’s too wet and sticky, add more flour.
  • Roll them in the crumbs and lay on a plate ready for frying. These can be prepared earlier and left to sit in the fridge until needed.
  • Shallow fry them, turning at least once during the frying process, until nice and crispy brown.
  • We served them with a homemade garlic mayo dip (recipe here). It went really well with them.

If you liked these potato broccoli croquettes, check out our other frugal recipes here.

Other no waste recipes on site:

In other news, the Jerusalem Artichokes we mentioned in our frugal living basics post finally got planted! Check out our free food and gardening page here.

Jerusalem Artichoke in the ground

The Secret Gardening Club always have great offers of overstock from nurseries:

Books

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen.

Set in a castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations and a love story.

Paperbacks and kindle on Amazon UK and  Amazon Worldwide and all good book shops and even the library!

“Ailish Sinclair spins this Scottish tale filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society

Food Glorious Food: cheapest, fastest, free

food glorious food, starry beans

Food glorious food. We want it. Nay, we need it. And obtaining our food has all gone a little bit strange in the last couple of years, from only being allowed out to buy essentials during lockdown to facing empty shelves in the supermarkets in 2021.

It’s good to keep abreast of changing ideas and new concepts as they pop up in these strange times.

This is our wee rundown of alternative food purchasing/obtaining methods from a buy now pay later supermarket to groceries on bikes, short dated shops and a free food app.

Buy Now Pay Later

Flava is the UK’s first and only Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket. Everyone gets £100 credit and there are no fees, no credit checks and 0% interest is charged. This is not a discount store but there are always some special offers available for pennies. Well worth a check!

£10 off your shop with code FREE10!

Flava Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket

Cheapest: Short Dated Food

Old favourites of ours, Low Price Foods and Approved Foods sell clearance and short dated food and household products. Many items do actually have quite a long date on them. This is a great way to stock up the cupboards.

food glorious food, low priced food

Fastest: Gorillas on Bikes!

If you live in one of the areas Gorillas cover (at the time of writing: London, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading, Southampton and Cambridge), you can get a grocery delivery bicycled to you in 10 minutes! Standard retail prices.

Bulk Ordering

SAS sell direct to the public in packs of 6. Prices offered are at discounts of up to 50% off either price marked products or RRP. SAS stands for Share and Save, encouraging customers to work with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to save money together.

bulk food ordering

Food Glorious Food for Free: Olio

Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. It does have a desktop version too. People share things that they can’t use up in time from their fridge, or cupboard items that they no longer want. Food Waste Heroes (which you can volunteer to be) collect yellow stickered or surplus food from businesses and then share it on the app.

food glorious food, wee potato star

If you liked this article on Food Glorious Food, go see the list of our other food related pages and posts here.

Food Sharing, Cheap Seeds and Websites

Food sharing…

Olio is a food sharing app that you can download to your phone to give or receive food in your local area. It does have a desktop version too. People share things that they can’t use up in time, while farmers and gardeners sometimes offer produce that they have too much of. We’ve added this information to our free food section but you can just search for the app!

Cheap Seeds

Thompson and Morgan have an amazing seed deal on: 10 packs for £10. Go here for the seed selection which contains over 300 types of fruit and vegetables, many usually costing £3.99 each. Offer ends midnight 25th of August 2021 or as long as stock lasts.

Use code TM_TAW61W at checkout to make sure you get the offer price for the seeds.

Making Money From a Website

We’ve updated this information on our make money page. Base it on something you’re passionate about and we’re sure you’ll fly!

In case you missed it last time

House and/or pet sitting can be a great way to get cheap holidays. Trusted Housesitters are active in over 130 countries and you can register as a sitter here, or look for a sitter of course! See all our other frugal holiday and days out tips here.

All Our Frugal Recipes

For all our soups, sides, mains and puds go here.

Cheap Food and Clothing

Clearance food outlets Low Price Foods and Approved Foods are well worth a regular check as they get new products in often.

Everything5Pounds: the £2.50 sale is still ongoing.

Happy food sharing, and seed gathering!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!