Have you ever found your bank account so low that you ask, “What the hell am I going to eat for dinner that costs a dollar,” before heading straight to Wendy’s?

Lesley Cooper learned to create her own thrifty meals out of necessity, when she had to provide for her two daughters while the family was homeless from 1971 to 1975. During those four years, the single mother-of-two came up with numerous recipes which enabled her to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for mere pennies.

Sixty two-year-old Cooper, who hails from England, has developed more than 150 inexpensive recipes that cost less than 50 pence (82¢), enabling someone to feed a family for less than £1 ($1.60) a day. She records her recipes and meal plans on her blog, Thrifty Lesley. Recipes include spaghetti bolognese (41 pence) and sweet potato and lentil soup (27 pence per serving).

Cooper tells The Daily Mail,

“Right now, there are a lot of individuals in Britain who are struggling. I’m just trying to get the message across that you can make good food for a reasonable price.”

Cooper has spent years designing the meals which she claims follow government guidelines for nutrition.


One of Cooper’s meal plans includes homemade raisin pancakes for breakfast, homemade lentil soup for lunch, and ‘chickpea crumble’ for dinner. Check out several of Cooper’s meal plans below:

Photo: Daily Mail

Photo: Daily Mail

Cooper, who lives with her partner of 32 years, Mike Negus, admits to the Daily Mail, “I get a thrill from a bargain. Although I don’t really have any major financial fears anymore, my early years were quite rough.” Cooper continues,

“I know what it feels like to worry about money – that memory never leaves you. So finding or making something that doesn’t cost too much is a real buzz for me.”

Cooper’s real money-saving strategy seems to be that she cooks from scratch, and buys little pre-prepared food. That means no pre-cut fruit in precious little boxes from Whole Foods, and no pre-made sushi, either.

As far as whether these meals actually meet the nutrition requirements of a human being is left to be determined. Cooper’s meals sound healthy enough, the only part that would concern us is the quality of low-priced supermarket ingredients, which tend to be pumped with preservatives and loaded with antibiotics and chemicals.

But is that something Cooper can change? No, not unless she gets into food policy. Regardless, the woman sure is saving a lot of money.

[via The Daily Mail]

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