A New Mindset

I have been following articles concerning the Live Below the Line project with great interest. Jack Monroe provides stark realism that poverty is alive in our country today with her honest and eye opening blog posts. And posts from the Moving Foodie proves that necessity is the mother of invention when it comes to creating flavoursome meals out of practically nothing. If you would like to know more about the challenge, the website is here.

            I didn’t undertake the challenge myself, but reading about it made me consider my own position on food and waste. By society’s standards, I am not wealthy. I am a student sharing a house with four other girls and all my worldly possessions occupy one room. But as I looked closer, I realised just how lucky I am to even own those possessions. This sort of relates to my post, “Am I poor?” from January. When reading A Girl Called Jack, I noticed Jack had spent some of her precious pennies on a small jar of mixed herbs. I have eight of these jars, all various contents. This realisation prompted me to write a list of all the food I own in my limited storage space. This is what I owned on Thursday.


2/3 bottle chilli sauce

2/3 bottle sesame oil

2/3 bottle balsamic vinegar

Box of gluten-free crispbreads

¾ jar smooth peanut butter

¾ box cornflour

Nearly empty jar of honey

10 eggs

1/3 tube tomato puree

Jars: sage/thyme/basil

Jars: mixed herbs/herbs de provence

Jars: cinnamon/ginger/chilli

Packet of Cajun spice

2 garlic cloves

Bay leaves

½ tube vanilla extract

¾ jar Marmite

Salt and pepper

1 plus ¼ tubs of Bouillion powder

¾ tub gluten-free gravy mix

40g pasta

4 bananas

5 mini apples

½ bag gluten-free museli

¼ bags of flaked almonds, almonds and seed mix

¾ bag caster sugar

¾ large Kilner jar plain flour

136 tea bags



6 roast turkey slices

½ bottle gluten-free soy sauce

2/3 block butter

7/8 block Parmesan

½ jar caramelised onion chutney

¼ jar mild salsa

½ bag spinach

8 sticks celery, plus heart

7/8 block cheddar

7/8 block smoked cheese

1/3 orange pepper

¼ tin sweetcorn

Half a cucumber

4 carrots

2 strawberry yoghurts


2x200g pork mince

4 bacon rashers

1 portion strip pork

1 portion diced chicken

1 salmon fillet

10 slices gluten-free bread

Knob of ginger

Filing larder: (I keep food in the top part of my filing cabinet)

2 FreeFrom rolls

1/5 bag popcorn kernels

½ box risotto rice

4 portions brown rice noodles

Jar mincemeat

¾ jar cocoa

Dried yeast

Purevia box

1/3 box Truvia

1/3 tub brown rice

19 Whittards tea bags

2 red onions

1 carton chopped tomatoes

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 small sweet potato

1 can peach slices

500g bag red lentils

1 packet Basics savoury rice

1 packet Brilliant Bread Mix

2 packs snacking Brazil nuts

2 broccoli and stilton cup soups

1 large can sweetcorn

500g polenta


            This is for one person on a limited budget and limited storage space. Look at the list, it’s a long old list. Why on earth do I go shopping every week? I clearly have enough food to last me a whole week, maybe even longer. This week, I’m only allowing myself to buy fresh food and I won’t allow myself to spend more than £5. I’m making more effort to by frugal with my own foodstuffs. I plan on using up my unopened bags of lentils and polenta before I buy anymore unnecessary items.

            I prompt this challenge to go forward. If you write down everything you own foodwise, then compare it to one of the weekly shops of a LBL participant, I guarantee you will feel very lucky.

            I’m hoping my frugal endeavour will make my appreciate the value of food, help make me a more experimental cook and save me money. I hope you will join me on my quest for a simple life.


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