Many of us are cutting back after Christmas and as the bills thunk onto the doormat this January, but could you manage to feed each member of your family for just £2 a day, forever? For a family of four that would be a £56 weekly shopping bill, whereas the 2016 average was £83.60. How much do you spend?
This January, Voucherbox have teemed up with UK-based charity Zamcog to present The £2 Challenge: Can you feed each person in your family for £2 per head per day?
At first, with five of us making the total weekly spend £70, it didn't seem too much of a challenge to be honest. A lot of our meals are vegan, based on cheaper products like lentils, beans etc, and only come in at £2-3 per meal for all of us. For cheap, healthy meal inspiration, try our chickpea tagine recipe or this hotpot recipe which puts canned foods to good use (yep, I was dubious too!)
But when we really thought about it, living on just £2 a day would mean an end to our daily berries fruit and salad quota, costing at least £40 a week; definitely no monthly take away; and no more treats like coffee shop trips, ice creams out, even bought cakes or biscuits at home.
Hardly necessities any of them, but I truly believe that the vast quantity of fruit, raw vegetables and other healthy foods the girls eat is the reason they are so rarely ill. We average 8-10 portions of fruit and veg each per day, and that can be pricey if you want to go beyond carrots, broccoli, apples and bananas! Would I want to reduce that to save money? No.
So how did we get on with our £2 daily challenge?
We did manage it:
Toast with butter or value marmalade
Apple, chocolate & banana bread
Cheese spread and cucumber sandwiches, carrot sticks
By visiting the supermarket at price reduction time, I picked up a bag of browning bananas which were OK for banana custard (value range custard not good though!) and baking. The cucumber and apples were also reduced, and everything else I bought was the cheapest value stuff. Very hit and miss in terms of quality, but a reasonable menu for the cost: £9.83.
Could I do it every day? No way!
And of course, we are talking very first world problems here. I had little idea what a Zambian child might eat, but a quick Google search reveals nshima to be the staple food, a thick starchy porridge made from maize. This tends to be eat for both lunch an dinner with a vegetable, beans, eggs, fish or meat dish alongside, if a family can afford this 'luxury'. Yet even this simple food may be beyond those living in extreme poverty.
Charity Zamcog works with the poorest and most at-risk children in Zambia. They have established Shitima School, above, which has 446 day students, 96 residential students and sponsors 15 external students. All are provided with an education, fresh clean water and food, for just £2 per day. I expect many of us will throw away that much money in unwanted or out of date food today! Shocking.
And you can help. Head over to Zamcog to find out how you can make a donation, or even sponsor a child. And if you are a blogger, write about the £2 Challenge and Voucherbox.co.uk will make a £50 donation on your behalf! You can find more details here, and you have until the end of February to take part.