Thrifty cook Limahl Asmall was sick of eating boring meals while he was living on the breadline, so he taught himself how to cook tasty dishes for next to nothing.
See also: Easy ways to cut your food bills
Here the 31 year old Londoner exclusively shares recipes from his new book Tiny Budget Cooking so you can feed your family healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for less than £20 a head a week- that's under £3 a day.
Over the course of the week, stay tuned here, as we'll be bringing you your meal plans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stick to Limahl's ingredients list and you're guaranteed to have no wastage left over.
Limahl's tips to stop you overspending
"All you need is a simple kitchen, this recipe plan and the confidence to give things a go"
I've spent the past 10 years eating my way to budget-food happiness and now I want to share my knowledge with you.
I'm on a mission to show you that good, fresh home-cooked food is easy and fun to make, and – most importantly – can be personalised to your taste buds and lifestyle.
All you need is a simple kitchen, this recipe plan and the confidence to give things a go, and you'll be feasting on delicious meals each week, all made on a tiny budget.
Nutrition is so important for body and mind, and my plan loosely follows an 80:20 rule: 80 per cent of the time you'll be feasting on balanced nutritious food and, well, for the other 20 per cent, let's just say we all need the occasional heap of fluffy pancakes or a hot chicken and cheddar melt.
I recommend making a big batch of the Granola at the start of this week. It will keep well in a sealed container for a couple of weeks and makes a delicious breakfast or snack.
Basic ingredients are not included in the shopping lists so make sure you always have chicken, beef or vegetable stock cubes, salt and pepper, caster sugar and olive oil in your store cupboards. Happy cooking.
1. Buy in season
The good news is that when fruit and vegetables hit peak production they are often lowered in price. From carrots to courgettes, cucumbers to parsnips, if you shop seasonally you will save money.
Seasonal produce grown locally will also save on air-freight miles which reduces the impact on the planet. That's win-win!
2. Where to shop
Many of us don't live near a supermarket and will make frequent trips to the local corner shop throughout the week.
I agree we should all support our local shops, but if you are on a tight budget, making that one weekly trip to a large supermarket will bring down the cost of your food bill and give you a better choice of own-brand ingredients.
You can always shop locally if you missed something – in cities, head to your local fruit and veg market as you'll often pick up fresh produce cheaper than at the supermarkets.
3. When to shop
Ask when supermarkets discount produce, then search out the reduced-price aisle for meats with a day left on their 'use by date'. These meats are perfect eaten straight away or for buying in bulk and freezing for up to 3 months.
Freeze immediately, then, once defrosted, use them on the same day.
Don't go food shopping when hungry. It's been proven that you'll end up spending more – usually on stuff you don't need.
4. Check the price
An excellent way to save money is to compare the 'per kg' price and choose the cheaper option.
This is an especially good tip when deciding between packaged or loose vegetables, as you're likely to find the loose veg cheaper. It's also better for the planet; less packaging equals fewer mountains of landfill waste.
Pre-trimmed vegetables or pre-grated cheese will certainly be more expensive. Why buy these when you can do this at home in seconds? Add it all up and you could easily save £100 a year.
5. Buy big flavours
Budget cooking is all about the clever use of ingredients. It's a game of flavour combinations, where the addition of 'big flavours' can transform recipes from mundane into mouth-watering.
A good tip is to identify the big flavours that you like, make a list and start adding these ingredients into your recipes. Examples are mustard, tinned sardines, bacon, feta cheese, lemon or lime,
If you cook like this, expensive meat doesn't have to be the centre of a meal. You can use less and still eat well.
6. Buy in bulk
If your weekly budget can stretch to it, buy bigger packs of long-life ingredients such as rice, canned goods, frozen produce and toilet paper.
This can often reduce the per-portion price, and unlike fresh ingredients they will not spoil before you get around to using them. If you live in shared accommodation, why not join together and bulk-buy household items? This is a good way to save money.
The shopping list: What you'll need for the meal plan
Here I've made up a shopping list which you can use to follow the mealplan.
It's a big ask to cook breakfast each morning, so I've split the shopping lists into two.
The first list is for lunch and dinners only. The second list is the additional ingredients you would need to follow the complete Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner plan.
What you'll need for lunch and dinner
1 head of broccoli
700g cherry tomatoes
3 bulbs of garlic
6cm piece of fresh ginger
1 large leek
1kg frozen peas
3 peppers (mixed colours)
1 small red cabbage
360g spinach leaves
250g spring greens
2 bunches of spring onions
1 small white cabbage
Meat and dairy essentials
250g salted butter
200ml crème fraiche
12 free-range eggs
6 pork shoulder steaks
(600g in total)
whole chicken (1.4–1.7kg)
1 x 270g pack of filo pastry
Store cupboard essentials
5 bay leaves
*800g loaf of bread
1 x 400g tin of butterbeans
12g chilli flakes
200ml hoisin sauce
300ml clear honey
100g English mustard
500g orzo pasta
300g peanut butter
300g rice noodles
150ml soy sauce
1 x 150g tin of sweetcorn
500g paella rice
6 plain tortilla wraps
What you'll need for breakfast
500g frozen forest fruits
Meat and dairy extras
500g Greek yoghurt
500g porridge oats
100g sunflower seeds
150–200g mixed fruit and nut