Live Below the Line 2014

Apr 21, 2014


Many of you will remember in 2013 when I and our three little boys took part in Live Below the Line.  The challenge was to eat and drink for £1 per day per head for 5 days.  We found it a revealing and interesting experience, and one which still shapes how we shop and eat a year on.

So it was without hesitation that I signed- up for the same challenge this year.  Running between 28th April and 2nd May 2014, the challenge remains again to eat and drink for £1 per day.

In 2013 I and the boys pooled our money so we effectively had £20, some of which we spent up-front for the week’s supplies; the remainder was saved until later in the week for top-up milk and bread.  Out of interest I compared the prices for the same menus as a start-point, and was staggered to find that for exactly the same food and drink as in 2013, we would today have to pay 6.5% more.  Without cutting the amount of food, I would be spending over the £20 allowance.  This is bearing in mind that most of the items were from the Basics range;  a telling figure, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Having to re-think the menus therefore led me to ponder on an alternative way of approaching the challenge for 2014.  I wondered how it would be were I to not HAVE the money up-front to be able to buy my provisions, and likewise would perhaps have no place to store the leftovers for the next day.  I imagined the situation of the homeless who are living from day-to-day on whatever money they can gather. 

This led me to the Whiten challenge for 2014.  The thought was that if I could only get hold of £1 per day, as long as I could make a fire, I could heat water or heat-through tinned produce.  However I will not be able to carry-over any food, as if I were homeless I wouldn’t have my nice re-sealable tubs nor my fridge to store things in.  This rules out buying a packet of rice, a bag of potatoes, and so on.  Therefore each day I will have 3 meals which will cost me a maximum of £1, and I shall allow myself to carry-over any spare money to the following days, but no food. 

I will point out at this stage that only I shall be doing the challenge this year;  I did ask our 6-year old if he wanted to do it again but he wasn’t wholly convinced (it’s a little close to Easter I think!), and if he isn’t doing it I don’t need to battle with our other children about who doesn’t like what!   But indeed what a luxury to be able to consider this, and feed them out of the usual household budget.

I shall be blogging as I go through the week, should you care to find out how it’s going and what I’ve been eating.  Please don’t be alarmed about the menu content!  Whilst I am trying to get a balanced diet through each day, I’ve already figured out that doing it the way I am is not going to achieve the 5 (or is it now 7) portions of fruit or veg recommended per day!

Any money you wonderful readers would like to sponsor me will go to Tearfund, who are partnering again with The Global Poverty Project who run Live Below the Line.  Tearfund work globally across all faiths at a community level to raise people out of poverty, through sustainable farming, teaching business skills particularly to women and girls, and providing fresh water to villages so that children can go to school instead of walking miles for a few litres of water.

If you would like to sponsor me you can do so on-line at, or give me a shout and I can take an off-line donation. 

With my heartfelt thanks, Wendy