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Cheap Food Shop (UK) – Cooking on a Budget

How to feed 2 people for £20 a week (3 meals a day, 7 days a week!) Shopping list included

Our food bill is often one of our highest outgoings after rent/mortgage so it’s not surprising so many people look to the grocery list first when trying to save a few pennies. Feeding 2 people on a budget without eating warm up every single day can be really challenging. So, In this post I’m going to show you how you can feed two people, three meals a day for just £20.00.

As we enter into the last stretch of the year you may be wondering how you can save a bit of money. You might want to put some money aside for Christmas, save up for something important, or maybe gather more financial resources to put into your business.

Or like me, all of the above!

This weekly meal plan, shopping list and tips are how I’ve managed to but my food bill by more than 50% !!

And unlike other meal plans out there, this super simple meal plan isn’t just dinner recipes. This is how you feed you both for less than £3.00 per day.

Keep it really cheap

Think about the things that cost the most when we shop for food (I’m looking at you chicken) and see if you can substitute with a cheaper option.

Feeding two people decent, healthy meals for a week doesn’t have to be expensive. You can do it on a tight budget. You may have to give up some of the variety and get used to using the same ingredients again and again but let it just be a test of your creativity.

Plus, the meal plan doesn’t have to be forever, but it does show you that £20.00 is enough to keep you both fed and you can rinse and repeat as often as you need.

I use a lot of carrots in this meal plan as they are one of the cheapest most versatile veg and you can throw them in anything. But feel free to mix it up a bit.

Top tip: when looking for recipes, look for things that have small ingredient lists, or use spices you will use often or already have in your cupboard.

I cooked meals for 2 people for £20.00 shopping at Tesco.

Tesco is my local store and its own brand food (or their budget partners like Grower’s Harvest & Eastman’s food) is super cheap but still good quality. Great for eating well on a budget. But you can implement the meal plan at other stores too.

You can also adapt any of these recipes to suit your tastes, if you don’t like carrots substitute the vege for another cheap option – the frozen food isle may be the best place to look.

You don’t need loads of spices or fancy equipment for this plan, just use what you have. The only thing you might want to invest in is a good blender or a soup maker, we have this soup maker from VonShef and it’s fantastic.

Top tip: A jar of chopped chillies lasts so much longer than fresh chilli’s in the fridge.

Below is an overview of the meal plan followed by the grocery list. I’ll include links to the recipes where appropriate.

BreakfastLunchDinner
MondayCereal – WeetabixHam sandwich Tomato meatball pasta
TuesdayCereal – WeetabixHam sandwichMexican baked eggs
WednesdayCereal – WeetabixHam sandwichSausage & carrot chips with potatoes & gravy
ThursdayCereal – WeetabixParsnip SoupBean burgers with carrot chips
FridayCereal – WeetabixParsnip SoupTomato pasta & sausages
Saturday Eggy breadBreakfast hashSweet potato and bean stew
SundayBeans on toastBanana pancakesTomato meatball pasta
This plan allows you both to have a banana as a snack each day. The recommended cereal is Weetabix (Tesco’s own) as its the cheapest healthy option.

Feel free to rearrange stuff to make it work for you and your schedule. I actually made the eggy bread and beans on toast for breakfast on Thursday and Friday as they are my non-working days.

The 2 person shopping list:

My master shopping list to make extremely cheap meals (UK).

Top tip: try ordering online as your local store might not have everything you need; slots might be scarce at the moment but click and collect is often easier to get – cheaper too.

I’m not assuming you have anything in your fridge/cupboards apart from maybe some butter for your butties, some oil to cook with and vegetable stock cubes.

As you can see there is no chicken and your protein comes from beans, lots of eggs, cheese, ham, sausages and sausage meat.

The ham is in a 30 pack, that’s 3 slices each for 5 days.

Cheese is a bit of a luxury here but I like it on tomato pasta dishes, and it adds protein, but you can omit it if you want.

I do feel really bad for buying caged eggs, it’s something I never thought I’d do and to be honest, as the pack of cheese lasts us two weeks anyway so the following week the money we save not buying eggs or more Weetabix can go on buying free-range eggs, win!

The Recipes

So I’m not going to tell you how to make cereal or a ham sandwich, but note there is an Iceburg lettuce on the shopping list, use this on your butties to add a little crunch.

You’ll have some frozen sausages left over by the end of the week so add them to one of the dishes to bulk it up, have a sausage buttie one day or save them for the next week.

Tomato meatball pasta

I didn’t follow a recipie for this one its just a simple tomoato pasta dish. I make this on a Sunday night and we have it for leftovers on Monday night.

Make the sausage meat into about 16 small balls. Chop an onion and add to a large saucepan to soften it, add 3 cloves chopped garlic, add 2 carrots chopped really small (or grated). Add the meatballs and cook until browned.

Add a slosh of balsamic vinegar if you have it.

Pour in a carton of passata and a can of chopped tomatoes and flavour with salt, pepper, dried Italian herbs if you have them.

Cook 75g pasta per person and serve with the meatball sauce on top and a little grated cheese.

Mexican Baked Eggs

This one is based on this recipe but instead of serving with tortillas, I used 1/2 bag of the tortilla chips (the other half is for the sweet potato and bean stew). I also don’t add the yoghurt, lime or avocado. Lemon juice works fine if you have a bottle in the fridge and if you don’t have coriander you can add some mixed herbs.

Sausage & Carrot Chips with Potatoes & Gravy

A super easy, super cheap meal. Just cook 2-3 sausgaes per person in the oven. Make some carrot chips by chopping carrots into chunky battons, drizzling with oil and baking (theres instructions on the bean burger recipe). Cook the potatoes however you like, make chunky chips, boil them or mash them. One large or two medium potatoes each should be enough.

Serve with gravy.

Bean Burgers with Carrot Fries

Another one based on a recipe – I omit the bread and allow 2 burgers/patties each. I also don’t add any of the faff – the cucumber or pickled cabbage.

Instead of using a bread roll in the mix I used a crust of bread.

The chilli is optional but gives nice flavour, I don’t buy fresh chillis, instead I buy Very Lazy Chopped Chilli as the jar sits in my fridge and it lasts ages, you only need a smidge.

Just serve the burgers with the carrot chips, you can add any other veggies you’ve got in the freezer. We used some of the Iceburg lettuce with ours.

Tomato Pasta & Sausages

The same as the tomato meatball pasta above, but instead of sausage meat cook the frozen sausages until nearly done and chop them into chunks before adding to the pan.

As this is just one meal I use just the passata, no chopped tomatoes. I also only add 1 carrot.

This meal is based loosly on this recipe.

Sweet Potato and Bean Stew

This easy stew is tasty, filling and cheap. It’s based on this recipe and goes great with the tortilla chips.

I don’t add black-eyed beans or the red pepper if I don’t have one. Use sugar if you don’t have honey, and leave out the sweetcorn if you don’t have some in the freezer – you can add a carrot or two instead.

Parsnip Soup

There are plenty of recipes you can follow, this one for example. I just fill my soup maker with chopped parsnips, an onion, garlic, a few carrots if I’ve got them spare, a couple of sweet potatoes and cook it all with stock.

Sometimes it helps to soften the veg first in a pan before adding the soupmaker.

Once blended and heated through, add the double cream and whizz again to mix.

Banana Pancakes

We’ve been making these little ‘pancakes’ for a while. You can see the recipe here but its basically one smushed banana per 2 eggs. I also add cinnamon into the mix instead of vanilla essence.

They are amazing with maple syrup, but a dusting of sugar and cinamon works great too.

Breakfast Hash

You can see a full recipe here. It serves 4 so adjust as necessary. I don’t add the peppers unless I’ve got some handy and my partner wouldn’t eat the peas so I don’t add those either.

It goes nice with a fried egg!

The best ways to save money on your food bill are:

Don’t waste anything

  • Pop your bread in the freezer as soon as you get home, defrost in the toaster
  • Save the crusts and make some bread and butter pudding
  • Leftover brown bananas make great Banana Bread
  • Keep an eye on use-by dates, freeze what you can

Adapt to use what’s already in your cupboards

  • Already got a bag of pasta? You don’t need to buy it that week, spend the savings topping up something else in your food cupboard, or better sausages!

Portion control

  • It’s so easy to overeat, so be easy on your wallet and your waistline by only cooking and dishing up what you need.

Cheaper protein

  • Eggs have 5-6g protein each
  • Butchers Choice Frozen Sausages have 10.2g protein per 2.
  • ½ can red kidney beans = 9.3g protein

Don’t buy fast food

  • It seems obvious and everyone says it. But making this meal plan has really put it into perspective for me, we can spend around £12-14 at Maccies on one meal, or we can spend £20.00 and feed ourselves for a week!

Remember, water is free

  • You’re already paying your water bill so don’t ‘waste’ money on juice or fizzy drinks. Maybe only get them every now and then as a treat.

And because we’re British and have a sweet tooth

Here are some REALLY Cheap Puddings:

Prices are just a guide and estimated based on the ingredients

Rice pudding can £0.20

Add a little sugar if you want it sweeter. Cinnamon works well too.

Pancakes £0.50 (makes about 8)

  • ½ pnt Milk
  • ~ 100g Plain Flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Lemon and sugar

I don’t weigh my flour I just tip until the mixture is about double cream consistency.

Eggy bread £0.20 for 2 pieces.

Bread dipped in beaten egg and fried. Served with lemon and sugar or cinnamon. What’s not to like?

Use one egg per slice of bread and let it soak for a minute.

Bread and butter pudding £0.50

  • Bread crusts (4)
  • Sultanas
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter/spread
  • 1/2 pt milk
  • 2 eggs

Again I don’t follow a recipe here. Butter both sides of the bread and layer bread, with a sprinkle of sultanas, sugar, and cinnamon. Then pour over an egg custard mixture made with about 1/2pt milk: 2 eggs. Takes a while to bake on 160c and depends on the size of the pud, but start with about 30 mins and keep checking the middle until its set.

Tip: Use the crusts of your bread, about 4 crusts in a smallish oven proof dish will feed 2 people.

Tesco Apple Strudel £1.35

Says serves 6 but I’d say 4 so £0.34 per serving.

I hope you enjoyed this weekly meal plan for two on a budget. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve got any other tips or know some super cheap meals!

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