By Lucy Notarantonio
A mum has been forced to feed her family on £1.80 per day budget thanks to universal credit.
Becky Bouzguanda, 23, has no more than £12.50 per week to spend on food for her family after she has paid her rent and bills.
The mum-of-two from Croydon, South London, was previously a waitress but is unable to return to work due to the cost of child care – while her husband, Mohammed, only picks up one or two shifts a week.
The struggling family eat mostly pasta and frozen vegetables every day after spending their weekly allowance in supermarkets such as Asda or Lidl.
Becky is blaming universal credit for their crippling bank balance and is sharing her survival tactics in a bid to help others.
She said: “It’s frustrating walking around the supermarket and seeing food items that I haven’t ate for years, sometimes I pick up lamb and think this will be a nice treat on Sunday.
“But I always end up putting it back because it isn’t worth going hungry for the six other days for the sake of one dinner.
“We are lucky to eat meat twice a week, I usually just buy one pack of chicken which has two breasts in and then dice it so there is enough for all of us.
“Most of the time, we eat pasta which does get pretty boring, but it is all we can afford.
“As a treat for the kids I buy a 30p cake mix that just needs one egg and some milk adding to it.
“Typically we have porridge for breakfast as it lasts the longest and for lunch baked beans and jacket potato and tuna pasta for dinner.
“I manage to buy everything we need by avoiding branded products and by keeping my eyes open in the reduced section.
“It’s a shame that I can’t go back to work due to childcare being so expensive as I’d love to have a job to make our lives easier.”
Mum-of-two even has to budget when it comes to baby essentials buying own brands such as Asda smart price for 18-month-old, Mahdi, and Alfie, four years old.
Becky has lived off benefits for the past two years and often has no option but to go to a food bank.
She said: “I would rather eat dry pasta than go to a food bank but sometimes we are left with absolutely no choice.
“There has been times when my baby is sick and I have missed a claimant commitment appointment with universal credit to check we’re looking for employment so £75 was deducted from my budget.
“I was left with literally no option but to go to a food bank.
“Universal credit has caused me a never ending cycle of debt, I am always having to borrow money off friends or family.
“I feel awful that I can’t stock up on nibbles or even meat, but I am slowly getting used to it, I have to.
“I can’t go back to work until my baby is two because universal credit expect you to pay two months of child care fees upfront and then it will be reimbursed.
“It is impossible for me to scrape together that as it would be well over £1000.
“I can’t even afford to go into high street shops, I mainly get my clothes from a local charity shop where items are £2 for adults and 50p for children.
“Sometimes I go to Primark but that is very rare and would be a treat.”
Full break down of weekly shop:
ASDA SMART PRICE Baked beans 0.23
ASDA SMART PRICE Bananas 1.50
ASDA SMART PRICE Bread 0.36
ASDA SMART PRICE Biscuits 0.34
ASDA SMART PRICE Beef 0.89
ASDA SMART PRICE Cereal 0.74
ASDA SMART PRICE Chicken burger 0.97
ASDA SMART PRICE Eggs 1.18
ASDA SMART PRICE Ketchup 0.38
ASDA SMART PRICE Flour 0.45
ASDA SMART PRICE Frozen veg 1.00
ASDA SMART PRICE Juice 0.55
ASDA SMART PRICE Soft cheese 0.69
ASDA SMART PRICE Snacks 0.59
ASDA SMART PRICE Tuna 0.65
ASDA SMART PRICE Pitta bread 0.49
ASDA SMART PRICE Pasta 0.30
ASDA SMART PRICE Potatoes 0.34
ASDA SMART PRICE Wafer 0.40
ASDA SMART PRICE Water 0.37