Home Lifestyle I tried the £10 food challenge and nearly drowned in my tears

I tried the £10 food challenge and nearly drowned in my tears

I tried the £10 food challenge and nearly drowned in my tears
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Being a student is tough. The perpetual conflict between eating well and seshing hard leaves little time to worry about anything else. According to the NUS, the average student spends about £24.32 on food per week. That’s almost £100 a month- a hefty blow to my bev budget. So, I took one for the team and decided to embark on the £10 food budget challenge. This meant that for a whole seven days I had just £10 to wine and dine myself. Let me tell you now, it was doable, but it was HELL. No Deliveroo, no pints at the SU… my happiness quickly became a thing of the past. Alas, acting as a martyr for my cause I persevered and documented my results for all you lovely readers. You. Are. Welcome.

The set-up
Having just £10 to fill the infinite void that is my stomach, I quickly ascertained that home cooked meals were the way forward. After taking inspiration from the legendary feat of this Save The Student article, I nicked a few recipes and hoped I would be able to pull off the challenge to as higher calibre.

I planned, I cried, I set my task into action.

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The shopping list
I ventured into Asda’s online groceries and filtered all my results from ‘most relevant’ to ‘prices: low to high’. I filled my virtual basket with the bare minimum and wept as I checked out my weekly shop of just £9.98. My purchases were as follows:

Porridge Oats- 75p for a massive old bag
Pears – cheaper than apples, coming in at just 70p for a bag.
Rice- 45p for 1 kilo. A steal.
Onions – 57p for 3.
Garlic granules – 59p (fresh garlic cost 60p but at this stage every penny counted).
Tinned tomatoes – 34p per can.
Bread – 59p for one wholemeal loaf.
Baked Beans- 23p per can.
Tinned Mushrooms – 38p per can (compared to a whopping 68p for the fresh variety. Thatcher’s Britain!).
Peppers- 99p for 3.
Soft cheese- 69p (rolled back from 80p. Result.).
Carrots – 30p per bag.
Spinach – 70p per bag.
Eggs- 70p for 6.
Milk- 99p for 4 pints.
Coffee- 78p for a jar.

Total cost- £9.98.

The worst week of my life

Breakfast- This was the easiest meal to manage as having purchased a massive fuck off bag of porridge and pot of coffee I was set. Was plain porridge with milk enjoyable? No. Was it cheap? Yes. I had made my decision and, in actual fact, you get used to a flavourless life pretty quickly.

Lunch- this started off pretty well. Beans on toast lasted Monday and Tuesday, egg and soldiers Wednesday and Thursday. Come Friday, I was sick of the sight of toast, but settled for a creamy hell of knock-off soft cheese and past-its-peak bread. A cruel reality, but the path I had chosen.

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Life was looking grim but I just had the weekend to power on. An omelette with spinach on Saturday and scrambled eggs on Sunday saw me through. Every meal was finished off with a pear, even though they went a bit mushy towards the end.

Although boring and monotonous, life somehow seemed simpler. Had I digressed? Was this dietary compromise what it’s really like in ‘adulthood’? All I knew was I was counting my lucky stars this string of Satanic dieting was but a week long and not an indefinite feat.

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Dinner- This was unquestionably the worst part of the challenge. 1) Because I hate cooking. 2) Because I love the social aspect of eating out/ordering in with my pals. Nothing screams ‘friends bonding’ like the doorbell’s sweet melody caressing my ears as our Nando’s arrives. For this week, however, I was confined to my cupboard, and thus, a life of solitude.

Meals I cooked included rice with a tomato sauce (using the onions, peppers, garlic granules and tinned tommies). Whether it was the blandness of my meal or crushing sense of FOMO as my housemates ordered Dominoes, I did not know, but what was certain was I that I was DONE with this shit and it was only Monday. The next day I tried to spice up my life and create a creamy soft-cheese sauce with mushrooms, whacking in a dash of garlic powder for good measure. I added a few spinach leaves as it was increasingly looking like a grey gloopy mess, although I was strict not to use more than precisely four leaves- they had to last me the rest of the week, after all.

Both these meals saw me through to Friday as I cooked in bulk and froze the leftovers like my life depended on it (which, in a way, it kind of did).

It was the end of the week, and simultaneously, my patience. Saturday was a low point as I munched on some dry toast with carrot sticks, weeping at the memory of optimism. I realised on Sunday, however, that this noble sacrifice had been totally unnecessary as I had a fuck tonne of veg left over. I whipped it all up into a stir-fry extravaganza and gobbled down the lot, with the knowledge that this was my last supper making the incorporated garlic granules taste all the sweeter.

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My Conclusions
Ultimately, the task was achievable. Would I do this again? FUCK NO. In fact, I can think of a long list of things I would rather do, including sticking pins in my eyes and repeatedly banging my head against a brick wall.

I can honestly say I would rather dedicate all my part-time salary to sweet, sweet cuisine/delve even further into my overdraft then make this challenge from hell a regular occurrence. I’d done my bit for humanity and was ready to revert back to my ready-meal ways.

Have you done the £10 challenge? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!

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