Now that's credit munch! Formerly homeless mother’s recipes for how to feed yourself for £1 a day (including 4p pancakes and 2p tomato scones)
- Lesley Cooper, 62, lived on a tight budget while feeding her two daughters
- Claims to have 150 recipes showing you can feed yourself for under 50p
- Day begins with 4p pancakes for breakfast, followed by 17p soup for lunch
- She makes a bacon and sweetcorn pie with mash for 32p for dinner
- Was pregnant at aged 16 and homeless after leaving her first husband
When Lesley Cooper separated from her first husband, she was left to fend for herself and her two daughters while they had no roof over their head.
For four years in the 1970s, the family were forced to move from house to house and learned to feed themselves on the little money they had.
This meant the mother-of-two came up with various recipes which enabled her to make breakfast, lunch and dinner from the pennies in her jar.
Now, the 62-year-old has developed more than 150 of the cut-price methods which can now feed a family for less than £1 a day.
Bargain bites: Lesley Cooper, 62, claims she has more than 150 recipes which show you can feed yourself for less than 50p
Miss Cooper, who is retired, said: 'Without a roof over my head and no money at all, I learnt to budget. I know that when you’re struggling, having something nice to eat becomes even more important and I want to show it’s possible to have that.
'Most people I speak to say you can’t feed yourself for under 50p but I have over 150 recipes which show that well actually, you can.
'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.'
A typical day consists of 4p pancakes for breakfast, spiced parsnip soup for 17p with 2p tomato scones for lunch and a supper of bacon and sweetcorn pie with mash and peas for just 32p.
To top it all off, there’s a muscovado cheesecake for dessert which costs only 33p to make.
Tight-budget: She learned to make the cut-price meals while providing for her two daughters while the family was homeless in the 1970s
Penny pincher: Her specially-made vegetable crumble costs only 40p
Miss Cooper, who lives with her partner of 32 years, Mike Negus, admits: 'I get a thrill from a bargain. Although I don’t really have any major financial fears anymore, my early years were quite rough.
'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.'
At the age of 16, Miss Cooper met an older man and fell pregnant. She married him but realised it was was a mistake.
She left her husband while pregnant with her second child and returned to her parents’ house. However it was so crowded that her and her children had to sleep under a table.
She was homeless between 1971 and 1975 before she moved into a council house with her two children, Tracey and Sam.
A a daily meal plan from left to right: It begins with pancakes for breakfast, costing 4p, lunch is a tomato scone made for 2-3p alongside 17p spicy parsnip soup. Dinner is bacon and sweetcorn pie with mash and peas (32p) followed by Muscovado Cheesecake, made for 33p
'There was literally no room left at my family home and so for the next four years, my daughters and I ricocheted from place to place. We had nowhere to live and although we never actually slept rough, it came horrifyingly close.
The experience left Miss Cooper with an interest in ‘all things frugal’.
Even today, she will do anything to cut costs, making her body moisturiser from scratch by mixing glycerine and water together.
HOW LESLEY COOPER FEEDS HER FAMILY FOR LESS THAN £1 A DAY
THE CUT-PRICE SHOPPING LIST: WHAT THE CHEF LOOKS FOR AT THE TILLS
She also serves up her budget dishes - such as 15p gnocchi made from instant mashed potato - at dinner parties.
'My £1-per-day meals are lovely, they’re just as a good as a more expensive dish. I’ve made them for plenty of guests and no-one’s ever been able to guess the price.
'People always talk about needing more money to have a better life. But really if you just make better use of the money that you do have, then you can achieve the same thing.'
Miss Cooper has spent years designing the meals. She claims they follow the government guidelines and provide one person's five a day.
Her meal plans and recipes are recorded on her blog Thrifty Lesley.
TOMATO SCONES (2P A PORTION)
BACON & SWEETCORN PIE WITH MASH AND PEAS (32P A PORTION)
Money in the pocket: Miss Cooper said her early years were 'quite rough' but admits she now has 'no financial fears'