Can you feed your family for £2?

To feed and educate a child in Zambia, for just one day, costs £2, less than most of us would consider spending on a coffee, which really puts things into perspective.

This January, Voucher Box has teamed up with UK based charity Zamcog to present to you The £2 challenge, the idea being that we should feed our family for one full day, on just £2 a head. With two adults and four children, that brings our total to £12 a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and merely a fraction of what we spend per week on our shopping bill.

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Julie-Anna Uggia, 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.”

Having read more about Zamcog and the work that they do, I was more than happy to take part in the challenge and prove that it is possible to feed a family for just £2 a head. How hard could it be?

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And so it turns out that actually, £12 a day doesn’t stretch that far, and, at the supermarket, I instantly realised that I would not only have to substitute some of our favourite brands for the supermarket “value brands”, but I would also have to sacrifice some of our usual meals and snacks in the process.

Breakfast:

Supermarket wholemeal bread – £0.60
Supermarket margarine – £1

Total £1.60

Breakfast was easy, the children are happy with toast, it’s quick and easy and to be honest, it’s probably what we would have during the week anyway. With me being gluten free and unable to afford the GF loaf that I would usually buy (£3.00!) I had to make do with a piece of fruit.

Lunch:

Bread remaining from breakfast
Supermarket sliced ham – £0.60
Childrens fromage frais – £1.00
Apples – £1.00

Jacket potato £0.40
Cheese – £0.50

The children take packed lunches to nursery and school, and usually have the same thing each day – a sandwich, a yoghurt and a piece of fruit. Usually I will put in a small treat, be that a biscuit or a cake bar, but our budget wouldn’t allow it – much to the annoyance of the children! With me not being able to have bread, I had a jacket potato with cheese instead of my usual sandwich or gluten free wrap.

Total £3.50

Dinner:

Chicken breast – £4.50
Onion – £0.20
Curry sauce – £0.79
Rice – £0.59

Total £6.08

Dinner was by far our favourite meal. As a family of six we rely heavily on the slow cooker and we were able to enjoy a slow cooked chicken curry for a little over £1 a head. I did have to sacrifice making our own sauce as the added ingredients would have take us well over the budget.

Snacks

Bananas – £0.82

The children did complain about the lack of “goodies” during the day. Usually they are allowed a snack after school/nursery and turned their noses up at my offerings of a banana. There was similar complaints after dinner when they realised that there was no pudding either!

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Drinks

Water – £0

Grand total £12.00

In terms of feeding the family for £12 I did struggle to stretch the budget to accommodate our usual three meals, drinks and snacks. I think that the children found it harder than we did, which made me realise just how much they take for granted.

I actually felt quite ashamed afterwards, especially when reading about the children in Zambia, to think of how much we spend on food each day and, even worse, how much waste we have at the end of each week. Although I’m not sure we can continue to live on just £12 a day, I will definitely be making more of a conscious effort to meal plan, buy lower value brands and to have less waste at the end of each week.

Do you think that you could feed your family for just £2 a head?

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46 Comments

  1. January 28, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    I think experiments like these really highlight how much we waste on things we don’t really need, when others are struggling. Shows we can live much more frugally if we put our minds to it.

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      I agree, it’s shameful really how much we waste! xx

  2. January 29, 2017 / 8:26 am

    I could do it but like yours, mine would get bored very quickly

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      I know, I think one day was their limit!! xx

  3. January 29, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    Picture with banana is priceless:) That would be really difficult to do my daily shopping for 2 pounds only, despite the fact there are just 2 people and the dog in my household. Planning meals could be really useful to waste less each week.

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      It was so difficult, the girls really weren’t happy about no pudding! It has definitely opened my eyes to being more sensible with our shopping budget though! xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      I agree! It’s very hard to do but then I feel terrible thinking how £2 to those children in Zambia gives them so much! xx

  4. January 30, 2017 / 8:44 am

    Oh what an interesting challenge to have tried. It’s sad to think that homemade sauces and ingredients actually would have taken you over budget. It’s the kind of post that really does make you stop and think – I abide waste and try so hard to menu plan and only shop on line so that I only buy what we need. It is vulgar how much we spend on food and it is something that I feel very uncomfortable about #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 1:28 pm

      I completely agree, it’s shameful when you think about how much we spend each week! I do think that to eat well, you have to spend more. I could very easily feed us all something that I throw in the oven out of the freezer each day, and it would cost just a couple of pounds, but to feed my family fresh food and good quality meat would be impossible on a budget. A challenge like this is definitely, excuse the pun, food for thought! xx

  5. Tereza
    January 30, 2017 / 10:09 am

    This is such a brilliant post, well done! It really does put things into perspective!
    When I was at uni I tried eating for £5 a week and it worked for a bit but then I got really poorly because I completely stopped eating meat and it just wasn’t good. Having said that as a couple we spend about £50 a week which makes it less than a £10 a day but then it’s only the two of us! xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 1:24 pm

      I think that’s the thing, if you want to eat well then it does cost more. Good quality meat is expensive, and although it is possible to eat for less, it means sacrificing parts of your diet! It was a real eye opener though as to how lucky we are! xx

  6. January 30, 2017 / 10:38 am

    A great challenge to make you stop and think, I can do it but I cheat as we have our own meat from the farm. I’d struggle without this with 6 teens in the house. #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 1:23 pm

      Yes! Meat is so expensive, we would struggle if we had to cut it out of our diets! xx

  7. January 30, 2017 / 11:05 am

    I’m definitely considering my own wastage after reading this. There are only 3 in our family yet we manage to spend double, if not triple the budget others live on. It’s shameful really!

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 12:04 pm

      It really is. I feel embarrassed thinking how much we spend each week, I think we take it forgranted but when you see what £2 can buy a child in Zambia it puts it all into perspective! xx

  8. January 30, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    Such a good exercise to do because I think it really helps us be mindful of our purchasing decisions and how others have to live on so little or next to nothing at all x

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 1:16 pm

      Definitely Talya, I can’t believe how much we waste on food each week, it’s shameful really! xx

  9. January 30, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    As others have said, you could do but man alive the child would get bored soon enough!

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      Haha yes, the kids weren’t happy AT ALL!! xx

  10. January 30, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    You know when I first heard about this I thought it would be really hard – but I am sure if I just considered food then our shopping would come to less than £70 a week. I may have to give it a try now. We are already used to no puddings and drinking water so think that may help.

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      It’s easier than you think but I think in the long term it would get quite boring as your options do become limited! xx

  11. January 30, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    I think it would be a tough challenge. It’s surprising how much we take for granted. X

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 6:02 pm

      It really is, I think challenges like this are important to open our eyes to how lucky we are! xx

  12. January 30, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    I was born in Zambia and though I never experienced poverty I did see it in my neighbours and extended family. When I visit I know £1 goes a long way so I never take anything for granted.
    £12 would have feed my family for over 6 days.

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 6:01 pm

      I can’t even imagine. To think that we struggled on £12 a day is really quite shameful. That said, £82 a week on shopping would actually buy us far more than we had on just the £12 a day as we would buy in bulk and spread out the cost. Either way, we spend way more than that each week, I’m definitely going to try to be more mindful of that. xx

  13. January 30, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Cool experiment. We forget how privileged we are and at the same time don’t realise the price differences. I think it’s very hard to stick to that budget but perhaps if you only used canned food… or buy in bulk?

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:40 am

      I agree, buying in bulk would be easier, if I was to do it long term that’s what I would do! xx

  14. January 30, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    I would certainly give this a go, especially in aid of such a good cause and to raise awareness of how wasteful we are, but I think Inwojld be the one to cave if I am truly honest.

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:39 am

      Haha me too, I would miss my luxuries! xx

  15. January 30, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Wow, what an amazing challenge to take part in. £2 doesnt stretch very far at all in the supermarkets these days, I am always shocked by how much I spend at the checkout. I started reading your post thinking there was no way you’d be able to do it (based on me thinking theres no way we would be able to do it!) so was really impressed that you did. Definitely food for thought so thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays too. Emily

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:38 am

      Me too! It’s shameful when you look at it in this way, £2 wouldn’t even buy me a coffee and yet it can educate and feed a child in Zambia. I am going to try to be more mindful about our shopping bill! xx

  16. January 31, 2017 / 9:54 am

    That’s a really interesting challenge. I can just hear the moaning from my two already! Maybe I need to try it to show them how lucky they are to have the variety of food (and junk) that they have to eat.

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:35 am

      Haha yes, the kids definitely weren’t keen on the idea!! xx

  17. January 31, 2017 / 10:40 am

    This would be quite a challenge in our house – I think the way to go would be batch cooking and making things, but it would take a lot of careful planning… #marvmondays

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:34 am

      I agree, batch cooking would be the way forward, I think we could actually manage it if we planned in advance. I’m far too disorganised for that though! xx

  18. January 31, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Oh this does sound like a challenge! I could probably do it for a day or two, but I think you would quickly become bored of the same thing. I’m sure with lots of careful planning you could do it for longer, but would be very hard! Amazing though, just shows how expensive food has gotten, but how you could cope if you had to. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:30 am

      I agree, a day or two would be fine but long term it would get so boring!! The kids wouldn’t be too happy either! xx

  19. January 31, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    This looks like a really hard challenge. I can imagine it being really hard work as children have all their favourite foods and treats don’t they.

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Yes definitely, they aren’t used to having to be so strict! xx

  20. February 1, 2017 / 9:13 pm

    What a great challenge for such an important awareness campaign. Well done for being so strict and keeping to the tight budget x

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:29 pm

      It was hard work but a great cause! xx

  21. February 2, 2017 / 10:51 am

    Well done hun for feeding the family for £12 a day. It must have been fairly tricky especially not being able to provide the snacks. It’s amazing how much we spend on food and how much we waste. Something that I need to get better at. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:26 am

      It’s awful when you think how much we spend, I felt ashamed thinking about it! I couldn’t keep up with that budget every day, although I think long term it would be easier as you could buy in bulk and adapt your diets. Still, I do like our luxuries! xx

  22. February 20, 2017 / 9:14 am

    Thank you for your post! We will be donating £50 to Zamcog which will feed, educate and clothe an at-risk child in Zambia for 1 month.

    • Laura Dove
      February 20, 2017 / 10:28 am

      That’s so generous of you. Thank you. x

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