Hull-based mum and journalist Lucy Leeson typically spends £80 on weekly groceries for her family of four, and found cutting her budget to the 2012 average of £58.60 a “struggle”.
Image: Lucy Leeson)
A woman managed to buy her family’s weekly grocery shopping at Aldi for the same rock-bottom price a shopper would pay in 2012.
Journalist and mother Lucy Leeson challenged herself to keep costs down to £58.60, the average price of a weekly visit a decade ago.
Lucy admitted that she usually spends around £80 each week to feed her family of four and her pet dog.
But this week he turned to budget retailer Aldi, the supermarket voted the UK’s cheapest by Which? last year – to see if it is still possible to live on such a small sum.
To help her “budget style” go to the store prepared, with dinner ideas that would last through lunch the next day, she told Hull Live.
He splurged on £13, almost a quarter of the budget, on ground beef, sausages, chicken breast and meatballs in the meat aisle.
She then went fruit and vegetable shopping, spending £11 on salads, onions, potatoes and fruit, including blueberries and bananas.
This cost £11, bringing the budget down to £34 and there are still packs to buy.
She added: “I picked up four cans of tuna and some cooked ham and chicken for sandwiches, and then headed to the bakery aisle for bread and eggs as well.
“On the way I bought some yoghurts for the kids, along with some cheese. My husband had already bought some milk the day before.”
Lucy works full-time for the publication and has two young children, so she says frozen items are “essential for us sometimes.”
So for those emergency meals, Lucy bought some chicken nuggets, a meal prepared for the night shift, and a pizza for her husband.
The family was hit by Covid just a week ago, so he needed to stock up on other essentials, including packets of rice, cereal, pasta and sauce, he said.
And to keep her boys happy, Lucy released a “six-pack of teddy bear fries and party snack packs, which are ‘kid necessities.’
Although she was pleased with the extent of the money, her cart “didn’t seem half as full as it used to be.”
Lucy added that she was lucky to have some big-ticket items like diapers and wipes stocked at home, with essentials like canned tomatoes and baked beans already in the pantry, too.
To keep the 2012 limit, it had to get rid of Diet Coke and Fruit Shoots for the kids.
Lucy’s Prosecco was also struck off the list, as was her husband’s beer.
Weekly shopping came in at £59.92, just above planned spending.
Some of the home cooked meals they had this week included:
Breakfast – Baked oatmeal with blueberries and coconut (homemade recipe)
Lunches – Cheese, ham, tuna or salad sandwiches
Dinner – Sausage and Mash, Chilli-con-carne, Skillet Turkey Nacho (a weight watcher classic), Chicken Stir Fry
At the end of the week, Lucy said she felt the family was much more careful about what they ate, but it would be a “struggle to stay within this budget”.
She said: “My youngest son goes to nursery at the moment for four days a week and has a hot meal there, which I am very grateful for.”
“But anyone who has children knows that they still eat you out of the house and home.
“Overall, I felt like we were a lot more careful about what we ate and not as wasteful, which can only be a good thing.
“It would be a struggle to maintain this budget.
“I know we’re lucky too, as both my husband and I work full time, so we’re probably getting an average income, but of course we have to add childcare fees to this.
“I really feel sorry for those who are struggling to make ends meet and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse.”