5 of the best budget food bloggers – and how they help you live survive on £1 a day

Earlier this year, I did Live Below the Line, feeding myself on £1 a day for 5 days to raise funds for children’s charity Unicef and awareness of global poverty.

Faced with such a tiny food budget, I searched online for inspiration beyond beans on toast. You can find out my final shopping list here and the meals I cooked here.

These are my five favourite frugal food bloggers, for delicious recipes when money is tight:

1. A Girl Called Jack

Jack Monroe has gone on to great things as a cook, campaigner and author, including the cook book A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Recipes, but it all started when she was a single mother with only £10 a week to feed herself and her toddler. Her blog contains many carefully costed recipes using value range ingredients.

I regularly cook her Carrot, Cumin and Kidney Bean Burgers at 10p (NOT 9p as on the blog post) a pop, which are especially delicious served in a wholemeal bun with lettuce, tomato and mango chutney.

I also rely on Mumma Jack’s Best Ever Chilli, which is made from store cupboard staples when the fridge is bare, and introduced me to the delights of chocolate in chilli.

2. Thrifty Lesley

Lesley Cooper

Thrifty Lesley’s blog is all about how to feed yourself on £1 a day. The real problem with a tiny budget is stretching a short shopping list over several days. Thrifty Lesley provides fantastic meal plans, mainly designed to feed 2 people for 7 days with healthy food, sufficient calories and an understanding of the need for cake.

Alongside interesting ethnic food, Thrifty Lesley also explains how cut costs on every day recipes, like making pastry using just flour and oil, and her Tomato Scones come highly recommended.

Get inspiration from more than 240 recipes listed here.

3. Frugal Queen

Getty Images, Frugal Queen

Frugal Queen combines forthright advice on how to cut costs and get out of debt with recipes for hearty home cooking. Frugal Queen is also great on gluten-free recipes that won’t break the bank, and more recently, Slimming World meals for dieters on a budget.

I have definitely benefited from her practical advice on meal planning, food shopping, cooking in bulk, using frozen food and many other ways to shrink my food bill.

I love her step-by-step instructions and photos, and her posts made me brave enough to try my first attempt at Cornish pasties.

4. Feed Yourself for £1 a Day

Rather than a blog, this is a friendly Facebook group run by Pat Parker and a team of volunteer moderators, with links, recipes and advice on feeding yourself for next to nothing.

Members post examples of recipes they recommend and bargains bought, plus requests for help with everything from shopping, budgeting and cooking to inspiration for packed lunches and using up different ingredients. There are also files with recipes and survival shopping lists for when times get really tough.

This group helped me track down cheap eggs and porridge oats on Live Below the Line, and also provided a great suggestion for transforming an abandoned bag of pearl barley into Butternut Squash Risotto.

More recently there’s a linked blog run by one of the admin team, also called Feed Yourself for £1 A Day, which includes lots of recipe posts.

5. Skint Dad

Skint Dad writes a blog crammed with money-saving advice, based on his own family’s journey to conquer a mountain of debt. He also writes for Mirror Moneycheck out his articles here.

On the food front, I recommend his series of “fakeaway” recipes, like Veggie Curry, Naan and Onion Bhajis, Chicken Kebabs and Beef and Bean Burritos with home-made wraps.

The fakeaway recipes are not quite as cheap as under £1, but they do cut costs considerably compared to a trip to the takeaway on a Saturday night.

Other great food blogs

These are just five of the frugal food blogs I personally have found most helpful, but there is a wealth of great advice out there.

Other inspiring blogs include Penny’s Recipes with easy, cheap, practical home cooking, The Skint Foodie on eating fantastically with limited cash, even if he hasn’t blogged recently, and Miss South at North/South Food especially on slow cookers, food issues and nostalgic Irish food.

I also used a lot of Ceri’s advice at Natural Kitchen Adventures when doing Live Below the Line. Ceri’s blog is normally about whole foods and healthy eating rather than frugal food, but I still return to her budget recipes for cream cheese made from yogurt, eggs shakshuka, oat pancakes and making the most of a chicken carcass. Find them here under “Ceri’s Wholefood Recipes”.

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