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Small budget, what should I buy just incase?

34 replies

Bohomie · 10/03/2020 10:53

Just that really
I've got £20 max
Really haven't got any extra money to spare
I need to use it wisely
What would you buy?

OP posts:
DownWhichOfLate · 10/03/2020 10:58

Depends what you already have! I’d buy for the height of illness: paracetamol; a frozen pizza; ice lollies; loo roll.

Snog · 10/03/2020 10:59

Loo roll 😉

Bohomie · 10/03/2020 11:03

I don't have much in. We buy shopping each week, use it then go shopping again the next week iyswim
I have lots of spices/herbs
No pasta, a bit of rice, a bit of flour, 2 tins of soup, beans and tuna. 1 box of cereal
Me, Dh and 2dc 1 primary, 1 secondary

OP posts:
Snog · 10/03/2020 11:03

Imagine what you would need if unable to leave the house and buy that. It's quite individual as to your own situation and preferences.

Snog · 10/03/2020 11:07

Maybe paracetamol, cheap ice lollies for the freezer, other items with a long shelf life that your family like or can be frozen.
Maybe meals that are easy to make eg UHT milk and cereal. Do you have much freezer space?

Snog · 10/03/2020 11:09

Food will still be delivered if you can't get out though, I don't think anyone is going to starve

Squashpocket · 10/03/2020 11:14

I think I'd spend it on the assumption that you get ill and the whole family have to stay in for 2 weeks.

Do you have fever medication for yourself and dcs? If not I'd buy a couple of packets of paracetamol and generic brand calpol for the cupboard. Also tissues/toilet roll.

What do you normally like to eat if you're sick? Personally I like to have tinned soup, crackers, lucozade (own brand knock off) and ice lollies, so that's what I'd get, but obviously depends on your preferences.

I'd also get something easy for the dc eg. Spaghetti hoops, nuggets, potato waffles, stuff that I know they'd eat and wouldn't take much effort to cook. Id also try to have a few sweet treats and new movies on hand to keep them quiet.

TweetUsOnFacebook · 10/03/2020 11:17

Get to Aldi/Lidl where your £20 will go further.

Paracetamol, long life fruit juice, tins of beans/spaghetti/soup/tomatoes, rice, pasta, biscuits, bread for the freezer, bag of frozen veg, frozen sausages/chicken.

michaelbaubles · 10/03/2020 11:18

For £20 I'd go to Aldi or Lidl, or Tesco now they're doing price match and buy:

  • 2 boxes of cheap cereal
  • 3-4 bags of cheapest pasta
  • 2 jars pasta sauce
  • a block of cheese
  • 4 tins beans, 4 tins soup, tinned fruit and veg
  • packets of savoury rice and couscous (can be a meal on their own)
  • couple of cartons of UHT milk
  • couple of loaves of bread to freeze

    That way you've got about a week's worth of (boring) meals to hand.
Hugglespuffed · 10/03/2020 11:20

Can you buy a big bag of carrots and an onion, do you have stock in? You could make a big batch of soup from that.. a cheap loaf of bread or some of those part baked. Beans for beans on toast. Bag of pasta. I think we will be ok though. Try not to stress.

Thescrewinthetuna · 10/03/2020 11:20

I go a few extra tins of soup, a couple of tins of beans, a bag of pasta and a few extra tins of chopped tomatoes. Just some extra things that will keep so no money wasted, they’ll be used eventually. I’ve made sure the freezer is full too. Again, nothing that’s a waste just more of the things that will get used eventually.

randomsabreuse · 10/03/2020 11:23

Easy to cook stuff for the freezer. Also easy to eat stuff that appeals to DC. So frozen peas, other frozen veg, jam, bread for the freezer.

Most likely scenario is (as usual) DC bounce back much quicker than adults so stuff like pizza, nuggets, that you just need to put in the oven.

Frozen as you'll eat it eventually.

Iliketeaagain · 10/03/2020 11:26

I'm not really prepping at all, but I have added the odd few things on my shop just in case we end up having to self-isolate. I bought a couple of big bags of pasta, tinned tomato's, frozen veg, frozen mince and some frozen fish / chicken, some bread for the freezer, and extra box of cereal and some UHT milk. I also have lentils and kidney beans etc which could fill out the mince. Would be a boring week, but would keep us fed and have enough vitamins etc. Mainly stuff that we would eat anyway, just a little bit extra that would get us through a week or so, especially as the supermarket delivery slots seem to be getting booked 5 or 6 days in advance at the moment. Although I'm well aware that if the uk shuts down, supermarket deliveries would also be a problem! But, I don't think there is much point in stocking up with huge amounts of food, because I personally don't believe that there's going to be a shut down.

VegetableMunge · 10/03/2020 11:27

Food will still be delivered if you can't get out though

You have absolutely no idea whether this is going to happen or not. Also, if OP is on a limited budget, there's no guarantee she will be in a position to pay for delivery or meet the minimum order thresholds.

I would agree nobody should be starving, but I think what OP wants to do is put some preparations in place so she isn't fully reliant on whatever provision is made for people who need to rely solely on whatever can be delivered. That sounds pretty sensible to me.

OP what shops do you have access to, and what level of storage and freezer space? I think in your shoes what I would want is a couple of packets of painkillers first of all. Then for food, fortunately you have spices etc to tart things up so you can focus on what will fill you. I would get a couple of packets of pasta and rice each. Have you got oil? Then tinned veg and whatever protein is cheapest: tinned meat, tuna etc. Can you put bread in the freezer, would there be space?

SurpriseSparDay · 10/03/2020 11:31

It’s a really good question.

The rich are escaping on private planes to tropical islands or their own bit of desert. Well off preppers appear to have spent hundreds, if not thousands, on filling their barns and garages with water purification tablets, medicines and loo roll. And everyone else has to read about all this while knowing that even a slight deviation from the weekly budget means hours on the phone pleading with landlords and fuel providers, and endless explanations to disappointed children ...

As everyone else has said, OP, start with what you’ll need if you’re too ill to get to a shop. Breakfast - tea, coffee, milk to store in the freezer. Bread takes up room, but if there’s a baker in the house then extra flour has a million uses. Plus oil/butter. Sugar. Oats. You’ll want fruit - either storable, like apples, or frozen.

I’d stock up on beans and pulses for soups and casseroles that can be made in advance and frozen.

Do you have a garden or anywhere to grow stuff? Invest in seeds. Growing some vegetables and herbs will provide entertainment if you’re all stuck at home - and you’ll be glad of the produce to add variety, eventually.

KarenTookTheKids · 10/03/2020 11:33

Like you, I usually only buy stuff as we need it. I gradually have built up so we have unopened packs of all the basics, pasta, rice, teabags, coffee, biscuits, crisps, crackers. I have around 2 weeks worth of ingredients in the freezer/cupboards for dinners and plan to maintain that for a while just in case. I always cook from scratch so cannot bear to stock up on things we don't normally eat, like tinned soup, because I hate waste and of course there's a good chance we won't need them. I did stock up on some pot noodles as the kids love them but only get them when I am unwell or we are on holiday or something, the teens will gladly eat those so they won't be wasted either way!

I always have baking stuff in and the teens are able to make pancakes and scones etc so we won't starve.

Oh, I am also keeping a bigger stock than usual of eggs, cheese, milk and bread, normally we buy these only when running very low but I am trying to keep buying it sooner so that if we suddenly have to self-isolate, we should have a few days worth anyway. I don't have room in the freezer for bread unfortunately.

Firecracker2019 · 10/03/2020 11:40

Oats - cheap and can make porridge with water or milk

UHT or non dairy milk

Baked beans
Packet soups - cheaper than tinned and serves more

Cheap peanut butter - nutritious

Tinned fruit - the stuff in syrup is cheaper than the stuff in juice and you can rinse it before serving to reduce the sugar content

Basics paracetamol

Red lentils - cheap, cook in about 20 mins




Tinned tomatoes

Curry powder

Dried mixed herbs

Tube of garlic paste

LoonyLunaLoo · 10/03/2020 11:45

I did a small stock up yesterday. I didn’t want to go mad and have loads of stuff that we wouldn’t normally eat left over so I went to ALDI and bought:

Tea bags
2 bags of pasta
2 bags of rice
3 jars of pasta sauce
3 tins of chicken soup
3 tins of tomato soup
3 tins of hot dogs
3 tins of beans and sausages
A 4 pack of beans
3 tins of rice pudding (both filling and a sweet treat)
A couple of packets of cheap biscuits
2 cartons of long life milk
Porridge oats
4 frozen pizzas
Frozen peas
Frozen potato waffles
Fish fingers
A spare loaf of bread for the freezer
A big block of cheese
A big bottle of bleach
Anti bacterial wipes
1 spare pack of toilet roll

I did spend £44 in total but that’s including a few teas for this week so I’m not sure how much my specific prep stuff came to but I bet you could get most of that for £20 in Aldi! This should keep our family of 3 going for at least a few days. The only thing is that I bought loads of rice but nothing to go with it 🙈 it’ll get eaten though and if the worst comes to the worst, we can just have the rice!

I prioritised long life, easy to make and filling foods.

LoonyLunaLoo · 10/03/2020 11:46

Oh and 2 packs of their cold and flu tablet which are very cheap!

bellinisurge · 10/03/2020 11:57

Food delivery services are not cheap. Even if they remain fully functioning.

Porridge can be made with water. Sounds grim if you've never done it but cooked slowly and stirred on the hob as it cooks it's very thick creamy - think how oat milk "works".
Add jam or Nutella-type thing (Aldi version is fine) for a crowd pleaser. If a bit less of a crowd pleaser after a day or two.

Try some of the recipes on

bellinisurge · 10/03/2020 12:08

Loo roll is actually a good idea. This is kind of why people have been stocking up. Not because they believe it has magical virus battling powers.

If it looks like you are running low and you can't get any delivered or dropped off, there are alternatives for arsewiping - even if just for wee. Not saying it's delightful but Precious loo roll can be kept for poo. Cut up old T-shirts or similar can be used for wee. And put straight into a bag for a fahigh temperature wash. Or use the shower. Again. Not saying that's a first choice. Or even a second choice. But as a last resort, should you need a last resort, there it is.

bamboo0 · 10/03/2020 13:20

As others have said don't rely on delivery, I'v just had my Waitrose order and they do say on their site that they'll deliver if you are in self quarantine but min spend is £40 I think off top of my head. Think about what you'd like to eat with a really bad cold, soup, ice lollies, whether you would want specific drinks. I wouldn't go mad on cleaning products, buy a bottle of bleach and mix your own solution to use in a spray bottle.

ScrimpshawTheSecond · 10/03/2020 13:54


goingoverground · 10/03/2020 15:53

Food delivery services are not cheap

Ocado and Tesco both offer free delivery when you first sign up, I would guess the other supermarkets do too. If you ask on here, OP, Ocado offer free delivery and a £20 off voucher if a customer invites you. I'm sure you won't find it hard to find an Ocado customer on MN Grin As long as the entire country doesn't grind to a halt, you can have that as a back up plan if you need to self isolate.

Squash with sugar is another cheap item you could add to your list. It's cheaper than long life fruit juice but still has plenty of vitamins and calories. Eggs last for ages and are cheap. You can freeze them too (not in the shell).

Judystilldreamsofhorses · 10/03/2020 16:14

We've been adding a few extra bits to shopping as we go along, per PP's lists, all stuff that we use anyway. The only thing I've deliberately bought more of than usual are tinned soups, because personally if I have a bad cold then that's really all I'm up for. We always keep a decent stock of eggs/milk/bread/cheese, which would allow invalid food like eggs on toast, and I've stuck a loaf of bread in the freezer as well as having one "on the go".

We also stocked up on cat food - our cat is super-fussy, and while we could make do with freezer roulette, she would not be happy with a change from her usual food!

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