- Being a student’s tough, especially when it comes to emptying food cupboards. Megan Pengelly writes about her tough week with no money and no food.
Skint, broke, bust, penniless, pauperised: words that many of us find all too familiar in the last week of the month. Yep, it’s days before payday and we’ve just realised that one too many trips to the chicken shop have made even an Oyster top-up an extravagant purchase.
But we must eat and sustain ourselves as human beings if we are to continue to live, so I thought it’d be interesting to see just how far a fiver can go.
Four days before payday I made a trip to Sainsburys with my five pound note. All I had left in my cupboard was two bagels, dried basil, a can of tuna, coffee, some full fat Philadelphia, six cherry tomatoes, and a half litre of cod liver oil gifted to me by concerned relatives. I bought: Sainsbury’s Basics Instant Chicken Noodles (20p), 2 tins of canned ratatouille (69p each), a lettuce (60p), 2 packs of sausages (2 for £2) and 500g Sainsburys basics pasta (30p).
I returned home feeling optimistic and relatively certain I could get creative with my culinary efforts… this is what happened:
Sunday Brunch: Off to a good start. Bagel with (not much) cream cheese, and just one of the tomatoes.
Sunday Tea: I had some sausages. They were probably undercooked; I’m not especially worried, the pork content was minimal. I combined the sausages with instant noodles (surprisingly delicious).
Monday Breakfast: With great sadness I ate my last bagel. The days ahead looked bleak.
Monday Lunch: A hideous amount of coffee was consumed. Budgeting is really bad for my skin.
Monday Tea: Sausage pasta with philadelphia and aforementioned basil.
Tuesday Breakfast: Found some bread in the freezer and made a sausage sandwich. Wished for the magical appearance of a fine steak and mash.
Tuesday Tea: Made a dash to Sainsbury’s Local for tortilla chips. Partnered with lettuce, yet more sausages and can of ratatouille. My ‘inner Nigella’ had, by now, packed up and run away to seek a better life.
Wednesday: The last day of budget living! I had leftover sausages for breakfast (and vowed not to eat another as long as I lived) and instant noodles with lettuce for lunch (an unlikely but delicious combination). Tea consisted of yet more ratatouille and leftover tortillas – a fine final tea for my budget week.
Thursday: Half a litre of codliver oil. Don’t ask.
Looking back at my four days of budget eating, I did learn some lessons. While I strongly recommend ratatouille in a can, I can’t say the same for budget sausages. Furthermore, I would recommend budgeting throughout the month and not just in the last few days before the arrival of money. And having said that, I am now off to find some Moët and a steak….