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
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
1.5kg carrots 63p
4 bananas 32p
2xtinned peaches 58p
1.5kg flour 45p
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..