Welcome to our Live Below The Line Family UK Food Challenge. For 5 days the 5 of us plan to feed ourselves for less than 1,50€ a day per person.
Throughout 2018 we have been sharing our cheap family meals challenges with our readers. Well for five days only we decided to follow the live below the line challenge. I have always wanted to follow the Live Below The Line Challenge ever since I read about it a few years ago.
The idea behind it is that you educate yourself better about world hunger and poverty, by having a very small amount of money available to you for grocery shopping.
The “below the line” concept comes from the idea, that the amount you spend is below that of someone that is considered to be living below the poverty line.
It gives you a good education on how much you are spending on food, whether you could in fact spend less and how little many people around the world are expected to feed their family on.
To do the Below The Line Challenge in the UK you would be entitled to £1 a day to do the challenge. As we are based in Portugal and to convert money into Euros we are doing it based on 1,50€ per day, per person. We are also counting our 2 small children as ½ an allowance, giving us 30€ to spend on food for 5 days.
To us we often spend 70-80€ a week on groceries to feed our family of 5 per week so this will mean a 40% drop on our grocery spend, making it very interesting indeed!
Living Below The Line Cheap Family Meals Challenge
We have just returned from our holiday in Spain. Therefore, we welcome the opportunity to cut our grocery bill for a few days. Though when I think about it, I am wondering if we can really manage on 30€ for 5 days as it seems very little even by our standards.
Living Below The Line Groceries List
But I am sure what you want to know first, is EXACTLY how much we have spent on groceries and if it is possible to get enough food for us all on such a small amount. Well this is what we bought and where:
- 6 Large Eggs = 0,95€
- Bananas = 1,60€
- Carrots = 1,14€
- Total = 3,69€
- Corn Flakes = 0,99€
- Mixed Mince = 2,89€
- Cherry Tomatoes = 0,69€
- Broccoli = 0,89€
- Tomatoes = 1,29€
- Maria Biscuits = 1,09€
- White Potatoes = 2,99€
- Salad Bag = 0,99€
- Total = 11,82€
- Tinned Tomatoes*2 = 0,90€
- 6 Litres Milk = 2,76€
- Macaroni Pasta = 0,49€
- ½ Watermelon = 0,78€
- Courgettes = 1,30€
- 3 Kilos Chicken Legs = 4,77€
- 2 Whole Chickens = 3,29€
- Total = 14,29€
This leads to a total cost of 29,80€ for our groceries. BUT I don’t plan on using all the food over 5 days as this is a lot of food and some will roll over onto next week and some of it will go in the freezer for another time.
Plus when you look at what we bought, you will see we have a general mix of what all families need:
- Pasta or Rice
- Breakfast Supplies
- Kids Snacks
You will notice that I have shopped at 3 different supermarkets. Well I do this every week as I get good deals at each of them and would end up with crazy OCD if I didn’t. I always go to Mini Preso first as they always have mega fruit and vegetable deals going on. Then off to Lidl for general cheap eats and then I finish off at Continente. I love Continente most for the amazing deals they have on poultry. If you haven’t heard of Continente then they are the big supermarket chain in Portugal and have more stores in Portugal than Asda has stores in the UK.
Living Below The Line Breakfasts
Now first let me explain breakfast to you. We are not that bothered for exciting breakfasts therefore it will be Corn Flakes for the kids and Dominic and then for me I am happy with bananas, some air fryer tomatoes or some air fryer boiled eggs, depending on the groceries we buy.
Living Below The Line Snacks
I just say now that we are not big snack people. Our kids have some Maria Biscuits to hand and if I get hungry I might have some fruit, but that is about it. Therefore, we always make sure when we grocery shop that we have Maria biscuits and at least 2 types of fruit.
Living Below The Line Day 1
I am starting the challenge with dinner as we grocery shopped late in the day. We used the salad bag and the cherry tomatoes to make a quick salad and had it alongside a rotisserie chicken that was cooked in the air fryer.
It was so good, and we have been travelling so it was the first use of the air fryer for a few months and there was no food left at all!
Then for lunch the following day we had more chicken. I just love the cheap chicken we buy, and it tastes so good! We chopped up the chicken legs (3 out of the 9 from the batch we bought) and cooked them in the air fryer as chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks. Then we served them with our Air Fryer Skin on French Fries.
If you have not cooked skin on French Fries before then you must, it stops all that potato skin waste and saves on time too.
It must be one of the most economical meals ever and like the food of your dreams. I also normally serve it up on a big Pizza Tray and then its easy for a big platter of finger food.
I used a plain marinade for the chicken pieces of garlic, salt and pepper but here are a few more ideas:
Living Below The Line Day 2
For dinner I cooked a massive 500g bag of macaroni that I bought yesterday. It is less than 50 cent and will stretch quite a way. For dinner I made our Cheeseburger Macaroni and loaded it up with courgette and carrot to bulk it up a bit more.
There was even some leftover for later!
Then for lunch the next day we had the leftover cheeseburger pasta from yesterday (with extra cheese of course) and served it with leftover Air Fryer Fries from yesterdays lunch, along with a flourless quiche in the air fryer. A good mixture of food and very satisfying for budget cooking!Live Below The Line Family Food Challenge @recipe_this
Living Below The Line Day 3
For dinner tonight, we are using up some more of the cooked pasta from the fridge. We had the pastas mixed with some of the Philadelphia we had in and a little milk and now we have macaroni cheese!
Then this was served with some more of the chicken leg that had been chopped up again. Thanks to my kids being small, 4 pieces of chicken and some pasta easily goes 5 ways.
Then for lunch the next day we had pieces of chicken with fries. We were supposed to be going out and taking a picnic, but thanks to a poorly baby, things fell through and this is the best cheap and fast meal there is. Especially if you include your Air Fryer.
Living Below The Line Day 4
For dinner tonight, we are going vegetarian and have a big pan of veggie goodness. I love vegetables and can never get enough of them. There are courgettes, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. I would say it is closest to my Instant Pot Brazilian Potatoes recipe that is so yummy!
Then for lunch the next day we had some more whole chicken. This time though we had it with the leftovers from the Brazilian pot the night before. The best thing about cooking frugally, is the ability to make one meal stretch to two.
Living Below The Line Day 5
For dinner tonight, we had a Piri Piri feast. Living in Portugal means that Piri Piri chicken is always top of the agenda. But when we were visiting France we found that they wanted silly money for it.
So now back in Portugal we want the real deal.
We cooked Piri Piri chicken legs using the last of the weekly chicken legs we had. As we got 9 chicken legs on special offer, this meant that we had 4 left. We then served it with the rest of our salad, tomatoes and then served it with Mediterranean vegetables in the air fryer.
We also used up the rest of the potatoes for some more fries in the Philips Air Fryer. This bulked up the meal and meant we would have more spare chicken for tomorrow.
Then for lunch the next day we had the rest of the Piri Piri Chicken, the last of the salad and carrot fries.
Living Below The Line – Final Costs
Because we always have food already in that we use, plus food that we bought for the challenge didn’t all get used, we have done an extra final costing for our five days living below the line.
Groceries we didn’t use that we bought:
- 2 Large Eggs = 0,31€
- Small Amount Of Vegetables = 0,15€
- Maria Biscuits = 0,82€
- Tinned Tomatoes = 0,45€
- Total Leftover = 1,73€
Groceries we used that we already bought:
We bought a few items in Spain before we crossed the border on our way home. As well as this we had items in the pantry.
These of course need eating.
I would estimate that these items worked out at:
This would mean that we spent a total of 31,36€ to feed our family of 5 over the last 5 days.
Living Below The Line – Reflections
I am amazed that it never even felt like I was living below the line over the last 5 days. We have all been well fed and enjoyed our food.
Though a big part of this has to be the amazing prices that we got for our chicken when we went shopping, as well as shopping at 3 different supermarkets.
Plus, we did this without just eating pasta for 5 days, which is something I associate poverty with. We ate vegetables, had lovely fruit, plenty of chicken as well as pasta.
I am really pleased with how this has gone and glad that we gave it a go!
The $5 Meal Plan
If you are looking for even more cheap $5 meal ideas, then look no further than the $5 meal plan. Its easy. It is simple, and you can be feeding your family for a fiver.