It’s finally here! This week I am taking part in the Live Below The Line Challenge to raise money for Concern Worldwide. The challenge is to live on a food and drink budget of £1 per day for 5 days. So yesterday I took my £5 to the shops with a shopping list that had been scrutinised over and over and a sense of hope that I would get everything I needed (and maybe a little extra). In preparation I did some cost comparisons online and printed them all out so that I could compare prices when walking around to make sure I was getting the cheapest option. I also planned some meal options using these ingredients to make sure I could stretch everything I buy as far as possible.
I have to admit, walking around the supermarket with only £5 to spend made me feel a little sorry for myself but it also totally opened my eyes to the price of food. I would usually spend £40 per week on my food shop but after this I did stop and think about why I buy the things I buy. Why do I go straight for the same brand each time even if its more expensive and why don’t I try more of the basics range? As I shopped I thought about the people in the Western World who have to come into supermarkets and stick to such a low budget whilst ignoring the vast amount of colourful expensive packets decorating every aisle and I also thought about the people living in extreme poverty across the world who do not have things like supermarkets, who have to walk for miles with an empty stomach to find food and water. It helped me realise how lucky we all are.
I was incredibly excited and proud when I got to the till and I had only spent £4.72! 23p under budget, that gives me room to buy a small amount more in the week and use a few spices if need be! Right now I am torn between buying a potato to make chips or a cheap packet of rich tea biscuits to help me through the day!
I have just moved house this weekend too so this challenge comes at an awkward time for me, however I feel this also made it easier since I had nothing in my fridge anyway and I have plenty of unpacking to be doing to distract myself!
This was my shopping list:
1 Bag Porridge – 65p
5 Bananas (Fairtrade) – 60p
1 Bag Yellow Split Peas – 53p
1 Onion – 15p
2 Carrots – 12p
2 Cans Tomatoes – 62p
Vegetable Stock Cubes – 20p
1 Can Kidney Beans – 25p
1 Can Spaghetti Hoops – 20p
1 Bag Rice – 40p
1kg Bag Frozen Mixed Vegetables £1
Today I had a bowl of porridge made with tap water for breakfast. I would normally have breakfast around 8am but I decided to hold out until 9.30am so I didn’t have too long to wait until lunch! This wasn’t too bad, I usually eat porridge so it was fine!
For lunch I made a pan of split pea soup using the split peas, onion, carrots, 1 can tomatoes and 2 cubes of vegetable stock. It made 5 and a half portions so this will be my lunch every day as it is filling and healthy.I was feeling pretty hungry by this point (probably because I have been thinking about food) so I decided to go for a walk to distract myself and then I ate half the soup at 1pm and the other half at 2pm to stretch it out a bit.
I had a banana as an afternoon snack then for dinner I cooked rice with some tomatoes, mixed veg, kidney beans and stock. Again, this is a meal I will probably repeat a few nights in a row. I don’t mind repetition and it made it cheaper to buy ingredients to bulk make a meal rather than try vary the meals throughout the week. I am taking medication for a health issue at the moment which must be taken on a full stomach so I really bulked up my meal with the rice to ensure this could be taken with minimum effect!
I reached a point of hunger in the afternoon where I began getting headaches and feeling very distracted but other than this I feel my day went ok. On a normal day I would have had a salad pitta or some rice cakes with my soup and I would have eaten a few pieces of fruit along with some nuts or seeds as an afternoon snack. I really feel so much more aware of the effect of food and hunger already and it’s only day 1! I can’t say I’m feeling excited about tomorrow but I certainly feel humbled to be taking part, plus thinking about the cause makes it easier to ignore the hunger pangs!
To sponsor me for this challenge please visit www.livebelowtheline.com/me/beckycotter