Voucherbox got in touch to ask if I’d like to take on their #2poundchallenge, which basically challenged me to feed my family for a frugal £2 a day per head.
The voucher publisher teamed up with UK-based charity Zamcog to raise awareness of the fact that it costs £2 to feed and educate a child in Zambia every day.
And, in an effort to change the way we think about food, Zamcog challenged the blogging community to cut down on their food spending and waste for one day – and write about their experience.
For every blog post documenting the challenge, Voucherbox would donate money to the charity.
So I had to ask myself one question: could I be super frugal for the day AND convince the family to take part in the name of a good cause? Absolutely!
So here goes…
My first thought about the challenge was ‘This is going to be a cinch!’ I'm a pretty thrifty person anyway and as my kids have become older, they're a little less fussy about what they eat.
However, not only was I signing myself up for the thrift challenge, it suddenly dawned on me that I also had to bear in mind that I'm on the Slimming World plan and, for me, one little cheat would mean a ride on the slippery slope to piling on the pounds again.
So I had to give this some serious thought. This would mean a frugal challenge that EVERYONE in our family could stick to – and a sensible plan that wouldn’t steer me off the Slimming World plan.
I also wanted to be creative, but sadly my creativity as a cook extends to buying a microwave meal and sticking something on top of it (cheese) or dressing it up with a salad. Yes, really.
So I consulted VIP, the master chef of the household – and someone who is great at cooking meals and being versatile.
As we were doing this challenge at the weekend, we had the luxury of time on our side, which mean that the kids didn’t have to be sent to school with a packed lunch. Instead, we could take our time to shop around to get the best prices for our frugal day – and make some wholesome meals too.
After a few days pondering what we could have, which involved doing all the calculations with how much things cost and how much to buy to feed the four of us (that’s 12 plates of meals in total for just £8!), here's what we decided on:
Everyone in our family likes omelettes, so omelettes it is. Actually, my youngest doesn’t like eggs, but she seems to accept them as an omelette (maybe she hasn’t yet worked out that omlettes are made of eggs…?!)
So from Lidl we purchased Woodcote Free Range eggs 12 large- £1.75, 750g Oaklands Red Onions 56p and Lovilio grated Mozzarella (200g)- £1.08
Fortunately the kids had got used to having baked potatoes as a canteen lunch choice at school, so it was an easy choice – this, mixed with baked beans.
From ASDA we purchased Grower’s Selection Baking potatoes (pack of 4) – £1
And from Lidl we bought Newgate baked beans 29p
Dinner needed to be warm as the temperature (at the time of taking the challenge) was freezing! Everyone in the household liked spaghetti bolognese and it worked with my Slimming World plan a treat.
From Lidl we purchased 1 x 500g of Birchwood Farm Beef Steak Lean Steak Mince 12% fat at £2.29, 240g of Freshona Chopped Tomatoes for 25p, 500g Simply Spaghetti for 20p and 1kg of carrots for 43p.
We also used the onions we purchased for breakfast and found a clove a garlic in the cupboard to add a bit of flavour.
Total – £3.73
The Grand total of all our meals came to….(cue drum role)…
Yay! We Did It!
AND….check this out (she writes with a huge beaming smile) we even had change – 15p!
So how was it?
Once I’d explained to the kids what we were doing and why, they were up for the challenge – I think it helped when I told them it would give them bragging rights at school!
Throughout the day I kept praising the kids to tell them how well they were doing – and when they were peckish in between meals I improvised with the ingredients purchased. For example, I cut the carrots into small sticks for them to nibble on.
In fact, this would be one of my top tips if you’re doing something similar, this along with drinking lots of fluids!
I have to admit, it was a tough challenge. A couple of times I caught myself absent-mindedly reaching for a yoghurt or boiled sweets and I had to stop myself.
But all in all, it was mission accomplished and I felt quite smug about getting through the day without any major hiccups.
In fact, if I’m honest I’d even go as far to say that it’s been a bit of a learning curve for all of us, highlighting how much food we really do waste – as well as questioning whether we really need that bag of crisps in between meals.
And if the new us means a more frugal family, that can’t be a bad thing.
Information about the work of Zamcog and the #2poundchallenge Julie-Anne Uggla, Founder of Zamcog says “We’re delighted to work with Voucherbox.co.uk to raise awareness to one of the integral aspects of Zamcog’s work. At the Shitima School we not only educate children to improve their lives but also provide basic needs such as food and clean water. Any money raised from this campaign will go directly to funding nourishment at the Shitima School. The blogging community are incredibly influential and with their help we can raise money and awareness for Zamcog and continue to support our children.” Shane Forster, General Manager at Voucherbox.co.uk says “The work that Zamcog does is truly inspirational and we’re very happy to be able to support the charity and raise awareness for their cause. Voucherbox.co.uk are all about saving money - challenging people to live frugally for one day and cutting down on their spending is what we’re all about. On top of that, we get to support a fantastic cause and really give something back.”
* This was a collaborative post, but in support of this initiative I have chosen to support Zamcog by donating my fee.