I was nominated by Cathryn at Little Paper Swans to complete the £2 Challenge. This is a campaign started by Voucherbox.co.uk and Zamcoc teaming up together to raise awareness and money for the most at risk children in Zambia. For every blog post published Voucherbox are going to donate £50 to Zamcoc to help their cause.
The other reason behind the idea is to try and encourage people to reduce their food waste. This is something I have been trying to do over the last six months anyway and I have been doing well but there is still room for improvement.
Well the challenge is simple (although not easy!) Feed your family for a whole day with £2 per head. So for us as a family of four our days budget was £8. Initially I thought this was actually a pretty generous budget… BAHAHAHA! I know… I can hear myself too! Well it is really difficult to feed us all for £8 or under. I use a lot of herbs and spices in my cooking, we don’t really have bland food. Now if you take the balance of economy into account I’m sure I could have added a little spice here and there. However I really couldn’t be bothered to stand there and work out how much a teaspoon of paprika costs!
So is it possible?
I went out and bought food especially for this. I know that sound a little against the point but I actually needed to go shopping anyway so it worked out well. Normally I shop online but since I suspected Ocado may not be the most suitable choice for this challenge (although I am happy to be proven wrong) I went to Morrisons.
Hubby and I are not breakfast eaters traditionally. I know that is ‘naughty’ and against recommendations but I find if I eat too early I get stomach cramps. And to be honest I’m very rarely hungry first thing in the morning. However, I felt skipping breakfast was cheating a little in this challenge so we sucked it up and ate our breakfast (and I dealt with the inevitable cramps that ensued).
I made porridge for us all, I had intended on adding a banana to mine but I just didn’t need it and nor did Hubby. The girls had porridge and half a banana each which was plenty. I made the porridge with 3 large handfuls of porridge (I forgot to weigh it) and a pint of milk. The milk wasn’t quite enough so I topped it up with water. This could of course been even cheaper if I made the porridge only with water but I like it with milk or not at all.
Porridge Oats (1/3 of the packet) £0.25
1 Pint of Milk £0.45
1 Banana £0.12
Breakfast total £0.82
Remaining Budget £7.18
We are usually a solid sandwich family in this house but I wanted to try something different other than the everyday cheese and pickle. I opted to make a humous and some pitta breads (recipes will follow). Usually I add lots of spices and some tahini to my humous but those are expensive so this one was a little bland to say the least. Same goes for the pitta bread, I would add garlic and herbs to the dough on a usual day. Although they still tasted pretty good!
250g Strong White Flour £0.16
Sachet of Yeast £0.14
Half a Cucumber £0.25
20 mls of olive oil £0.16
Lunch Total £1.43
Remaining Budget £5.75
Lunch went further than I thought but we were getting pretty hungry so I was glad we had, so far, only used 1 banana at breakfast. I prepared us the other 3 bananas and 2 apples for an afternoon snack.
Snacks Total £1.08
Remaining Total £4.67
(Currently a little baffled at how the snack is more expensive than breakfast! Apples are pricey in January)
This was an easy one to come up with. We make this rice dish on a regular basis and I have always known it is cheap but I have never calculated just how much it costs before so I was both intrigued and confident. This dinner always goes a long way and usually there is some left which I have for lunch the next day. I tried to be more conservative with the amount I made thought to see what I could do. The rice packet recommends 60g per person which is what I went with plus a little extra (just in case but I didn’t need to), I halve this for the girls since they are still little.
250g Rice £0.47
1 Egg £0.33
1 Medium Carrot £0.08
200g Frozen Peas £0.26
1 small tin of Sweetcorn £0.50
4 Rashers of Bacon £0.99
Dinner Total £2.55
Remaining Budget £2.12
We spent a total of £5.88
I used this remaining budget for Hubby and I to have a coffee and a squash. Otherwise we stuck to water which none of us a fans of to be honest.
I have calculated this according the amount of product used, I have tried to make as little food as possible whilst keeping us satisfied to attempt to reduce waste which I definitely achieved.
The total that the whole shop came to was £7.95 which is actually still under the £8 budget. I have used the lower price, not to be all smug but because there is still half a packet of rice left that I can use another day, 2 rashers of bacon that won’t go to waste and the porridge oats will do 2-3 more breakfasts. I don’t think we got our full amount of fruit and vegetables for the day but that is only because I didn’t realise we had so much budget left. If I had known I would have added carrot to lunch at the very least.
I could have saved even more money if I bought a few bulk items. The 500g bag of rice is actually pretty expensive per 100g compared to a large 5kg bag. But then I would need to find it a home in the kitchen somewhere.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised. I initially thought it was going to be a day of baked beans and toast but I didn’t want to do that because it isn’t the norm for us, more of an occasional necessity because I forgot to do the shop. I also appreciate that not everyone would make their own pitta breads but that is normal for me!
This has left me feeling pretty inspired! I’m going to see how much our weekly food intake normally costs and see what I can do from there. A little project because obviously I’m not busy enough already!