...seen through a slightly smudged, secondhand pair of rose-tinted glasses

Monday, 11 March 2013

£12 Comic Relief Charity Challenge

..possibly a bit mad, but we're doing it again! It's been just about long enough since the last time for everyone to have forgotten what it was like...
So a quick recap if you're wondering what I'm on about - I've squeezed our weekly food shop down to  £12. £12 to feed four of us for 7 days. And that's it. Bar a few basics I have here.

Why? Well the why is for Comic Relief, because that's where all the money I'd usually spend on the groceries is going. We started on saturday - quite a good distraction because that's when my sister left for Australia - we finish at the end of the week on Red Nose Day.

I do like a good challenge and it's going to be interesting, planning, cooking and trying to keep the kids happy. But it wouldn't be much of a challenge if I raided the freezer and the cupboard for the week, so my self-imposed rules are no digging about in the freezer for meals, and no tins or packets except the ones bought with my £12 budget. I'm allowing myself to use up what's left of staples like flour, sugar, oil - and also the opened tub of marg in the fridge, tea bags, 3 onions, half a packet of split red lentils and a few wizened cloves of garlic I found at the back of the cupboard. It's not much extra, and sure, wouldn't it be wasteful to buy more when they're sitting there? Anyway, my rules and hey, it's for charity!

I think I'm pretty good at budgeting, but my grocery bills have been fluctuating a fair bit recently. The Challenge has made me take a long hard look at what I usually spend, and what goes into my trolley - as well as my rather slack approach to meal planning.
We're into our third day now, and the kids are still reasonably enthusiastic, but when they start moaning about the absence of treats and choices (and they will), it'll probably be a good time to gently remind them of the children who can never grab an apple or a biscuit when they feel like it; the children who have barely enough food to live on. Hopefully I'll get them to think about why we're doing this.

So my £12 list is reasonably similar to the one last year. I shopped at Lidl and Tesco's and bought the cheapest of the cheap. Quite a few are the same price as before which really surprised me, seeing as most of the things I usually buy are getting more expensive.

Doesn't look like much, does it..


Small chicken £3.09
milk £1.00
400g ham £1.65
cream cheese 50p
ball of mozzarella 40p
1 kg rice 40p
2x500g pasta 60p
1 kg potatoes 69p
loaf of wholemeal bread 47p
cream crackers 39p
2xtinned tomatoes 62p
passata 29p
1.5kg carrots 63p
4 bananas 32p
2xtinned peaches 58p
1.5kg flour 45p

Total £12.08

There isn't a lot in the way of fruit and veg. I'd thought about buying more instead of the chicken, but I can stretch the chicken to 3 meals, and we're only talking a week. I haven't included eggs because a very kind friend with hens has given me 8 lovely fresh ones, as well as 2 big leeks from her garden. The other advantage I have is I'm just feeding me and the 3 kids, because my husband's away. And I've only one milk drinker too, which helps cut costs.

Things seem to be going well enough, but it's early days! I'm trying to stay one step ahead and definitely doing more baking. I'll post my menu plan tomorrow so you can see what we've been eating. Some things crop up A LOT...Hard really to have much variety.

I think it would be fair to say homemade bread and muffins are the food glue that hold this Challenge together..

19 comments:

  1. Good luck - I too am a great believer in making the most from food and, like you, usually get three meals from a chicken. Looking forward to seeing how you get on.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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    1. Thanks Liz! There won't be a pick of waste this week that's for sure!

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  2. This is fascinating (no, really). Gosh, you get THREE meals from a small chicken? We get two: the chicken and the soup. Actually, probably two meals from the soup so that's three then! Interested to see your menu plan. Good luck! xx

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    1. :-) Had roast chicken yesterday, then stripped off every tiny piece left for savoury chicken rice later in the week and there's a lovely bowl of fresh stock in the fridge for soup. Would probably have been just two meals if my husband wasn't away! xx

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  3. Brilliant - I think this was about the time I found your blog last year and I was intrigued. Very brave of you to do it again. Your bread looks wonderful!

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    1. honestly R the bread is thanks to you and your tutorials. Making it isn't a chore anymore, really enjoy it, so I'm very grateful x

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  4. Good luck, keep us posted. And it's all for a good cause. We flucuate budget wise, good intentions dissolve, although we did make a success of foraging briefly and incorporated nettles into lots of recipes, adaptation of welsh rarebit a great success (although budget wise we blew it on the local cheese). I think it's great to do, apart from anything else, it stops us taking things for granted.

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    1. It really does - certainly focussed my mind on what we buy and eat. Hard to be consistent over time though, and takes quite a lot of effort to stop the slide back into old (bad) habits. I found that when I did the challenge last year! One of my problems is I'm very bad at sticking to a shopping list. Will try harder when this week's up! Like the sound of your foraging. We have loads of wild garlic growing around here.

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  5. Good luck, I will watch with interest. Are you needing to do packed lunches from that too? Tesco has a 4 pack of chocolate mousses for 21p (!!) if you need a cheap treat pudding for the kids - they're actually not that bad!

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    1. that's a good idea, we've had them before - could have got a pack instead of one of the tins of peaches, though the peach muffins have been going down well! The 8 year old has packed lunches all week, the other two have a mixture of packed lunches and school dinners - went ok today, they all said they liked the cream crackers!

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  6. Wow. I shall be fascinated to see your meal plan, as I think I would really, really struggle with this challenge.

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    1. it is tough, a lot more effort going into every meal, but interesting what you can do with very little. Almost halfway through now!

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  7. this looks like fun, I'll be watching with intrest. Well done for being so brave and giving it a go!

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  8. An excellent idea. Good luck! Great, as you say, for kids to be reminded of how fortunate we are foodwise here, even though we feel 'poor' as we're in a 'recession'. The bread looks very tasty! x

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    1. I've heard the kids talking to some of their friends about the challenge and explaining why we're doing it, which is encouraging! Good that they feel involved - think that's when things are more likely to sink in x

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  9. What an interesting challenge! Good luck! :)

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  10. this is an excellent challenge, good luck, the bread and muffins look great xx

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