Beg, borrow or steal: I lived off freebies for a week

I was very irritable

Student loans have started to run dry as we push into November, which means so have our food stocks.

So this week to see how cheaply I could eat, I was set the challenge of not spending any money on food. I could use any means necessary to get food, except buy it. To make this extra hard, I could not eat my own food leftover in my cupboard either.  I was told to beg, borrow or steal and being from South London (the ghetto), I thought this would be an easy task. How wrong and naive I was.

Here’s how it went:


Probably the day I did best. I got myself a free veggie burger from Jam Jar. Writing for The Tab has its advantages of a free dinner every Monday. The burger got the week off to a solid start, lining my stomach for an evening spent in Club Trop.


Tuesday morning was a struggle, foraging for food on a hangover was no easy task. All I wanted was something fast.

Therefore, breakfast consisted of secretly stolen, milkless, Crunchy Nut from my flatmates cupboard, which I wouldn’t recommend as a hangover cure. However, in my struggling state it was all I could be bothered to prepare.

I managed to get slightly more sustenance from a free sample at Thorntons whilst in town. Chocolate tastes better when it’s free and you’re hanging -even if it is only one button.

Healthy snack for me

Later that evening, I managed to blag some “dinner” from my brother but after an hour and a half training on a Tuesday night, a potato and wrap wasn’t exactly what I would call satisfying.

Can you see the disappointment?


The hunger really started to kick in by now. By 4 o’clock all I’d managed to get my hands no was some free biscuits from a MA introduction talk. At this point, my mood started to deteriorate. Being “hangry” (when you are so hungry you become angry, frustrated or both) is a real thing.  In desperation, I tried to get some free Chuppa Chup lollies using my O2 priority from W H Smiths. Painfully, they had none left so I settled with some sweets from the boys to try and improve my mood.

So happy with my dinner


I got a great little delivery in the post on Thursday sorting out my main meal. Your families might send you care packages of sweets, chocolate and money, but after hearing about my challenge my grandad posted me a home grown butternut squash. Legend. I’ve never been so excited to eat vegetables, ever.

I was going to pay a late night visit to Tesco just before they shut to see if I could have anything free of charge which was going to go landfill otherwise, but I was told not to bother by someone who worked there. They’re not allowed to give out anything for free, it is classed as theft and so goes straight into the bin. I wasn’t at the point of rummaging through bins… Yet.


The final day was my hardest. Breakfast was peanut butter on toast with a “borrowed” satsuma which was gratefully received by my stomach, getting me thought my ten to five at uni and then a five until close shift at work. It was donated by friends who were getting sick of me complaining about how hungry I was.

Luckily, I work at Fat Hippo Underground and chips are relatively easy to sneak out of the kitchen (sorry boss) which fueled me for a busy Friday night shift.  My final dinner came in the form of a Snickers bar kindly donated from another waitress at work at 11:30pm. Not quite the meal I needed but it was free so no complaints.

The last supper

This isn’t a diet that I would recommend. Living off £0 means a high carb, high sugar and low nutrient diet. I annoyed all my friends by either stealing their food, or complaining that I was starving all the time.

As you’d imagine, I spent all of the week extremely hungry. I was irritable, sleepy with my stomach awkwardly rumbling in lectures which lead to some funny looks.

But on the bright side, I saved a hell of a lot of money. A weekly shop, a post-night out Eat4less , a chocolate bar for the library – all the things I would normally eat really do add up. I was left with way more money for trebles and I could drink less as I got drunker having not eaten as much.

I was impressed by peoples generosity and my faith in humanity was slightly restored as I made it through the week without spending anything, but it is a sure fire way to piss off your friends.