I tried living off £1 a day for a week

AKA The Hunger Games


My spending habits are, to put it lightly, extravagant.

My flatmate has long been given orders to physically restrain me if I’m seen within 50 metres of Topshop and, in my first year, on gleefully seeing all of that money roll into my usually barren bank account, I’m ashamed to admit that I spent a good portion of it in one day. On clothes.

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I didn’t actually have the heart to do this

So inevitably, one month into second semester, like many students, I’m again feeling the pinch of my shopping addiction.

In what turned out to be both the hungriest and most boring (alcohol free) week of my life, I decided the best way to conquer this would be to attempt to live off £1 a day for a whole week.

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Teviot nachos were a thing of the past

To put the week into context here is one day’s worth of food:

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One sausage, one potato, two eggs, one muffin, some oats and half an orange: 96p

Depressingly, this same £1 can also get you:

  • 2/3 of a single Edinburgh bus ticket
  • 1/3 of a Starbucks latte
  • Less than a slice of Domino’s pizza

So, resigning myself to the fact that Starbucks, Domino’s and pretty much anything not bought from Lidl, Farmfoods or Sainsbury’s basics were off the menu, I started to plan my food for that week.

Admittedly as I came to realise how difficult this challenge would actually be, my feelings of regret were off the scale.

Most of what I ate was strongly reminiscent of school dinner, with sausages, mashed potato and 12p per portion Tesco baked beans heavily featuring.

So if I could score this week for nutrition, it would get a strong 2/10.

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Definitely not getting my five a day

A particular highlight was Lidl’s “chicken roll”, which despite costing just 3p per slice was in fact, on further inspection, only 60 per cent chicken, and 40 per cent unpronounceable chemical.

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Lidl surprises

But in all honesty, reconstituted chicken and chemical mix aside, Lidl, a veritable cornucopia of unbelievably cheap food, saved my ass.

On day five, downtrodden and malnourished, I almost cried with happiness on discovering they sell bagels for 19p.

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And although I was forced to give up all things organic and free range, I discovered that they sell eggs for 8p each… EIGHT PENCE.

Free range organic Sainsbury's eggs are a distant dream

Free range organic Sainsbury’s eggs are a distant dream

This means that if I have taken anything away from this week, it’s that I have now tried pretty much every egg-based dish known to man.

I also probably got scurvy.

Someone get me a Starbucks.