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Our 2013 Live Below The Line Challenge was supposed to start today: Monday, April 29th. I’d spent the weekend in London, though, and only travelled back on Monday, so we’ve decided that Tuesday to Saturday will be our 5 days of living on just £1 each per day – to include all of our food and drink.

After getting home on Monday, we finalised our shopping list and headed out to complete our shopping. We’d already decided that the bulk of the ingredients would be Asda Smart Price, as Asda’s close and a bit of searching through their online shop showed us that we could bulk up our meals quite cheaply with their budget range…albeit at a much lower quality than we’re used to.

Having decided that the week should be quite carb-heavy (Chris has an enormous appetite, so I think he’d struggle otherwise…!),our Asda list included both rice and flour: I’m going to be using last year’s tactics and making flatbreads for breakfast and lunch. 15 eggs set us back £1.34 (I don’t even want to think about the quality of life of the hens that laid them…), while three cartons of Smart Price passata, cheap butter and a big bag of frozen mixed veg were also added to the trolley.

We stocked up on cheap table salt and mixed herbs, as lack of seasoning was an issue last year, while a jar of Smart Price jam means that we’ll be getting a sugar fix too. Milk, cheese spread and teabags used up more of our budget, but the latter could be interesting for me: I gave up caffeine a year and a half ago, but when you’re looking at over £1.30 for the cheapest decaf teabags and 27p for 80 Smart Price caffeinated teabags, it’s a no-brainer. Might well alleviate the energy slumps I’m expecting too…

The biggest coup was in the reduced section, where we found a tin of Heinz baked beans reduced to 30p for no other reason than that the label had come off and had to be stuck back on!

We left Asda to pick up 2kg of value potatoes from a greengrocer on Bedminster’s East Street for just £1.49, which left us with a total of £1.01 remaining. Back to Asda where we decided to try out their Smart Price cooking bacon for 81p (not sure if this is a good idea…) and our remaining 20p was spent on a jar of red pepper and feta paste that had been reduced to clear!

So…our full shopping list for 5 days’ worth of food reads as follows…


  • Self-raising flour: 45p
  • Rice: 40p
  • Baked beans: 30p
  • Salt: 29p
  • Passata: 29p x 3
  • Jam: 29p
  • Mixed herbs: 19p
  • Butter: 98p
  • Milk: £1
  • Frozen veg: 75p
  • Cheese spread: 37p
  • Teabags: 27p
  • Eggs: £1.34
  • Potatoes: £1.49
  • Bacon: 81p
  • Red pepper and feta meze: 20p


Grand total: £10 exactly. It may look like a lot from the photo, but a) it’s going to be boring, b) I live with someone with a ridiculous appetite, and c) I’m really not looking forward to trying out so much of Asda’s budget range.

This evening’s going to be spent planning the menus for our five days in meticulous detail – the rules of the challenge state that no more than 33p per person can be spent on each meal, so we’ll be weighing out ingredients to the gram…

As previously mentioned, the main reason I’m doing this is to raise money for Health Poverty Action – a charity whose mission is to tackle poverty and improve the health of mothers, newborns and families in the poorest communities worldwide. I’d be grateful for any sponsorship that Bites readers can provide – it’s all going to a fantastic cause! Simply click here to visit my profile page and make a donation.


Live Below The Line 2013 - Shopping

Live Below The Line 2013 - Receipts


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