Day 1

Apr 28, 2014

So today was the day, the first of the 5-day long Live Below the Line challenge. 

An initiative conceived by The Global Poverty Project, the idea is to eat and drink on just £1 per day per person, the World Bank’s definition of “extreme poverty.”  It is estimated that today 1.2 billion people worldwide live in “extreme poverty”.

Having done the challenge in 2013 with our boys I wanted to tweak my approach a little, inspired once I calculated that the menus from last year were un-usable because prices had hiked over 6.5%. 

Therefore there are two big differences from our participation in last year’s challenge.  This time I am doing the challenge alone, and that is primarily because of the way I’m taking part.  Instead of the recommendation of the organisers to spend one’s allowance of £5 up-front for the 5 days of the challenge, I am looking at the issue from the perspective of those without anything to start with………..if I had to beg for the money to start the day, what would I buy for that day?   Also, if I had nowhere to go, I wouldn’t be able to store my food, it would have to be eaten that day. 

The second big difference therefore from 2013 is that I am going to the shop each day with my £1 plus any money left over from the previous day,  but  I am not carrying any food over to subsequent days.  This has posed a challenge when choosing what to eat this week, as it rules-out being able to buy a bag of rice, pasta, potatoes, carrots, etc., etc. to make a set of meals through the week.  Therefore I looked at what I could afford to buy that gave a reasonably balanced selection of protein, fat, carbohydrate and fruit/ vegetable for the day, but importantly as complete meal solutions which only needed a flame to cook (were I on the streets I’m assuming I could make fire somewhere).  I also needed to be aware of my danger time, the evening, when I usually crave something sweet.  On the plus side, given that I love drinking water and would rather have food than coffee, I haven’t costed in any drinks at all.  Ask me if that was a good decision after a couple of days without caffeine!     

So what were today’s goodies then?

For breakfast I had two Sainsbury’s Basics Pancakes.  Nibbled and savoured!  For lunch I had Basics Instant Chicken Flavoured Noodles followed by another Pancake.  Tea was a tin of Basics Irish Stew, a surprisingly potatoey, carroty stew with chunks of mutton (yeah, mutton sounds a bit grim, and I didn’t realise when I bought it; but actually it was very tasty and tender).    Notably, for £0.50 it was a great meal, quite nutritious and very filling, a real find for those on a tight budget.


Pancakes £0.20

Noodles £0.20

Irish Stew £0.50

Carry-over to Day 2 £0.10.

I have now entered my danger zone, blogging whilst watching TV.  But there are no worries as I’m now heading into the kitchen to collect my remaining three Pancakes to snack on before retiring to my bed.  All is well with the world.

If you would like to sponsor my efforts, I am raising money on behalf of Tearfund.  You can donate off-line directly with me, or on-line at

Many thanks for your interest.