Do you need, or want, extremely cheap meals, to eat for 50p a day for a bit, or even longer?

May 19, 2018 | 2 comments


There is a  Facebook group set up for people expressing an interest for extremely cheap meals, not a £1 a day, but  an even more frugal 50p a day. So if you’re saving really hard for a house deposit, a special holiday, a new car perhaps, or maybe illness, redundancy, divorce, the immoral scourge of zero hours contracts or the ghastly benefit sanction have wreaked havoc on the household budget, or there is simply too much month left at the end of the money. This post may be the one for you.

Feeding yourself at such a very low level requires extremely cheap meals and a lot of discipline – no sneaky extra biscuits! I haven’t done a meal plan as such. What I’ve got here are many options to enable you to make choices that will keep you in budget. All the recipes are easy to make, don’t need complicated equipment and use basic ordinary ingredients. A basic store cupboard if you have one, would be helpful. Things like salt and pepper, basic self raising and plain flour, sugar and oil. Then there are flavourings that bring life to a dish, soy sauce and fish sauce, worcestershire sauce and mustard.

Table of Contents

Extremely Cheap Meals

I have scoured the Thrifty Lesley Recipe archives for anything cheap enough. I thought as a rough budget it should be split 10p for breakfast, 10p for lunch and 30p for dinner, and if you’ve managed it for less, as you will with many of these options, then there is a bit left for cake, or extra veg, or maybe a bit of fruit.

Breakfasts – budget of 10p

Sandwich Pastes

Many of the sandwich pastes cost up to 10p, or even less, with a couple of slices of value wholemeal, or white, bread

8 Sandwich Pastes for super cheap sandwiches and toast toppers

Jammy Oat Bars

Jammy Flapjack. This vegan oat bar can be savoury too

Raisin Pancakes

Raisin Pancakes

Cinnamon Toast

Cinnamon Toast for breakfast, 4p a slice

Carrot & Sultana Loaf

Carrot & Sultana Loaf

Lunches – budget of 10p

Lunches can also involve the sandwich pastes, perhaps in a sandwich, a home made penny wrap or a home made pitta. Much nicer than shop bought and they can all be frozen. These uber cheap wraps and pitta can contain many and varied delicious morsels. You don’t need much filling and it’s amazing what lovely little dishes can be created from this and that in the fridge


Flatbreads, less than 2p each. Versatile and very yummy

Cheapy Bread Rolls

or you might prefer rolls instead of wraps

Cheapy Bread Rolls. An hour from bag to table

Sparkling Water Tomato Rolls

or even tomato rolls made with no yeast, just sparkling water, and no kneading!

Tomato flavoured sparkling water rolls

Home Made Pitta

or delicious home made pitta, super cheap. Sorry about the closeup eyes, I was showing off newly acquired false lashes!

More wedding preparations, Greek Cuisine and 4 large pitta for 6p

Split Pea Soup

This split pea soup requires only 3 ingredients and is just 8p, (even cheaper than when I first  posted about it in January 2016!), leaving enough for a bread roll as well. Particularly delicious when made with chicken or turkey stock

Use it up meals, Roquefort tart, split pea soup. Soup just 13p

Hummus & Grated Carrot Sandwich


Beans on Toast

Or the classic cheap lunch, 2 slices value bread with half a tin of value beans, 16p

Dinners – budget of 30p

Many, many options cost up to 30p or even less, so lots of choices for dinner, even at 50p a day!

Pea Crumb Fritters

The cheapest dinner on Thrifty Lesley at 6p, although to be fair, you’ll need something else to go with it. So maybe a jacket potato (10p) and a knob of buttery spread (2p) and a portion of mixed frozen veg (10p), a total of 28p

A kitchen experiment, Pea-Crumb Fritters, 6p

Stuffed Potato Cakes

These stuffed potato cakes are really good, and certainly don’t taste like a budget basic meal.

Stuffed potato cakes

Salted Cashew Couscous

Salted Cashew Vegan Couscous Salad – warm or cold

Gajar Matar, Everyday Vegetables Wearing a Sari

Gajar Matar. Everyday vegetables wearing a sari

Gnocchi Made With Dried Mash

Gnocchi made with dried mash! Served with tomato sauce

Raw Chickpea and Carrot Falafel

These falafel are cheap enough to allow the addition of a portion or two of vegetables to go with them.

Raw chickpea carrot falafel, 15p. Delicious, with sweet variations too

Balti Spring Green Pancakes

Lots of spicy flavour in these balti pancakes. The spices used can be varied too for variety. A good strong tasting meal

Balti spring green pancakes for dinner, and one left over for breakfast

Pea Fritters

Meal plan 10 – Pea fritters and chips, vegan

Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn fritters, wedges & peas


Here are a trio of dahls, many different flavours can be made, these are suggestions to start you off

Tomato Dhal

Simple Vegan Red Lentil Tomato Dahl

Coconut Dhal

Coconut Dahl, from 17p to 23p a portion depending on if you use value or basmati rice

Lemon Dhal

Lemon Dahl from 18p to 24p depending on if you use value or basmati rice

Cheese & Ham Toastie

Cheese and Ham Toastie, 18p each

Home Made Sausages

Each spicy banger is 19p, leaving you with a bit left for chips and beans, or mash and peas, or a jacket potato with butter, or beans

Lentil Dumplings

Lentil Dumplings, with Tomato Sauce, 20-30p a serving, + green vegetable

Stuffed Pancakes

Pancakes filled with Carrots, Onions and Peas in Soft Cheese

Sardine Toast, Sandwich & Pasta

2 sandwiches, 2 toasty breakfasts and 2 pasta dinners from 1 tin of sardines. Just 83p for all 6 meals!!

Sardine Fish Cakes

Sardine and Tomato Fish Cakes, and Tuna Fish Cakes

More ideas for fishcakes

More Fish Cake Ideas

Things You May Never Need To Buy Again – Fish Cakes

Zombie Burgers

Zombie burgers using dead bread

Peanut Noodles

Peanut Butter Noodles. Add chicken or fish, or keep it vegan

Ham & Cheese Pancakes

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, Ham and Cheese Pancakes, 23p

Scone Based Pizza

Meal Plan 7 – Scone Based Pizza

Olive Drop Scones, Fried Onions & Carrot Ribbon Salad

Olive Drop Scones, Crispy Fried Onions & Carrot Ribbon Salad

Beetroot & Feta Tart

Beetroot & Feta Tart. As good cold in a packed lunch as it is hot for dinner

Tuna & Onion Pie

Tuna and onion pie, Meal Plan 9, 24p a serving, with sides

Chicken & Onion Pie

Rubber Chicken (2) Chicken & Onion Pie, 26p a portion. Spicy lentil soup, 18p

Pasta & Soft Cheese

Pasta, soft cheese and tomato purée, 25p a portion

Vegetable Crumble

Vegetable Crumble. Root veg in a tomato sauce, topped with oats, cheese and salted peanuts

Faggots & Gravy

Faggots and gravy

Baconey Tomatoey Pasta

Bacony tomatoey pasta

Lentil Nut Loaf

Lentil nut loaf vegan, versatile & rather delicious

Chole & Nan

Chole Masala & Nan

Broccoli Pesto & Pasta

Broccoli Pesto & Pasta – 28p a serving

Spinach Dumplings

Spinach Dumplings with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Olive Drop Scones & Garlicky Soft Cheese

Olive Drop Scones, Garlicky Soft Cheese, 28p a serving


Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto

Spaghetti with Beef & Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with Beef & Tomato Pasta Sauce – 29p a portion

Chorizo & Roasted Veg Pizza

Pizza, 32cm, chorizo and roasted vegetable

Fishless Kedgeree

Fishless kedgeree, 64p, or use it as vegetable rice, 25p

A Trio of Vegetable Hummus – Green Pea, Butternut Squash & Sweetcorn

A Trio of Vegetable Hummus


A 2nd Trio of Vegetable Hummus – Beetroot, Parsnip & Swede

Another Trio of Vegetable Hummus – Beetroot, Parsnip and Swede

Bacon, Olive & Cheese Savoury Loaf Cake

Bacon, Olive and Cheese Loaf Cake

34p a serving, so you’d probably need to have it on it’s own, but you get 544 calories and masses of protein

Lentil Ragu & Spaghetti

Lentil ragu with spaghetti

You’d need to omit the cheese to hit the 30p budget


Soup makes a perfectly acceptable main meal, especially with a fresh scone, warm from the oven. A filling and warming meal

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted vegetable soup, with a scone and roasted onion topping, 32p

Parsnip Soup

Christmas Meal Plan – Parsnip Soup, Scone & Mince Pie, 37p

Spiced Parsnip Soup

Spiced Parsnip Soup 17p a serving. Serve with tomato scone or herb bread

Spiced Broccoli Soup

Spiced Broccoli Soup. Delicious with tomato scone or herb bread



Herby Scones

Herby Scones, 2p a scone – Meal Plan 10

Rosemary & Mustard Scones

Rosemary, mustard and cayenne scones, 12 for 53p

Tomato Scones

Tomato Scones

Fruit Scones

Fruit Scones that happen to be egg free and vegan


Two Ingredient Cake

How to make a cake with just 3 ingredients, or maybe even 2! For when the SHTF?

Coconut Biscuits

Meal Plan 8 – Coconut Biscuits, 3p each, or 61p for a 24 biscuit batch

Bannocks, With/Out Roasted Veg Hummus

Bannocks with roasted veg hoummous




  1. Thrifty Lesley

    Great! So glad you like them xx

  2. Kim Tomkins

    Love them all
    Thanks Lesley

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I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.