£1 a day

We're taking the challenge of living below the extreme poverty line, spending just £1 a day, to raise money for charity, but also to experience it and enhance our compassion. People all over the world have less than £1 a day to live on, which has to provide food, shelter and utilities. We have so much provided for us, but we are going to eat for just £1 a day. The challenge doesn't begin until May 2012, but you can read about last years experience here.

Midnight feast time!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Oh Ribena! How I have missed you!!!

We feasted tonight

Stuffed peppers, chicken kievs, spinach & rocket salad with mango chilli and lime dressing.

We followed it up with chocolate mousse (for Matt) and passionfruit for me.

Soooo grateful for fruits and Salad right now.

Irfan said he was going to hit mcDonalds drive thru.

- Kj
Today has been quite straight forward. Had only water. Even been to the gym and runaround with will this avo. Knowing there's not small meals in between doesn't tantalise you as much. Also I suppose knowing it all finishes at 12 makes it a bit easier too!!

I hadn't really felt hungry. Until now: sitting watching will eat a chips and cheese sandwich. Now midnight can't come soon enough...

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Final day fast


The final day. I have gone a bit quiet, there are only so many pictures of peanut butter on scales you can post.

As I've said before, I have become aware of how indulgent and instantaneous our eating habits are. I have conflicting emotions about spending our final 39p on a pack of cookies. We're indulging ourselves because we can. But did i est and enjoy them? Yep!
Plus will we have a nice big meal at 12.00 tonight? Probably. There is probably a part of us that thinks we deserve it after this week. It would be difficult to look someone in the eye who lives in actual poverty and justify our lifestyle I think.

If it went wrong or we had to feed the whole family, this would have been more difficult. I am eating nothing for the final 24 hours just to see what it may be like.

But then, I don't have to worry about where my whole family's next meals are coming from and i know at midnight I can just drive to 24hr tesco or get a cheeky takeaway.

Any way, no answers just questions. Thanks very much to everyone who sponsored me. Be sure it is going to a worthwhile cause.

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Mother's instinct

My mothering skills have been put to the test during live below the line, but never more so than last night.

I was having my standard plain jacket potato with salt and pepper and Will wouldn't stop asking for some, despite having just eaten a red pepper, cheese, spaghetti in tomato sauce, two oranges and a kiwi. I gave him a few bites, but on the fourth forkful I started to complain. Matt told him he could have a bite from his (identical) potato, but no; he only wanted mine.

I put my foot down and said no. He crumpled on the floor in a whinging heap.

The thing is, in this situation I felt quite justified. I only had a measured amount of food and I knew he wasn't starving. He could eat anything else in the house. But there are plenty of families all over the world where parents choose not to eat so that their children can.

As I was pondering this Matt announced that he was going to fast today, and that I should eat the extra food (I did lie on the floor during breakfast - not being dramatic, I was just really dizzy; it's hormonal and not hunger related, though I doubt this is helping). He would gladly fore go a days food for his sickly looking wife.

Now I feel like a really bad mum.

I'm not going to take the extra food (although Matt is still going to fast) mostly because I feel like it would be cheating my sponsors.

Besides, I'm planning a midnight feast, and I won't enjoy it nearly as much if I've eaten more during the day...

Below the line lunch

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Today we had our 'below the the line lunch' with some of our team from school.

We made Thai spiced rice with tofu.

There seemed to be loads more food to go around than normal. Cooking for a large group makes the 33p budget go much further.

In fact there was even 16p leftover, but I figure that can be used to account for the foraged herbs i used that I'm not really sure if I'm allowed.

I resisted the urge to put anything weird in there (like strawberry yoghurt or peanut butter) but still served kefir to drink, which i think Matt was slightly grossed out by.

The best thing to come out of the lunch (besides the obvious camaraderie) was that someone mentioned a contingency fund, and that's when it hit me - WE ARE STILL 40p UNDER BUDGET FOR THE WEEK!!!!!!

So this afternoon I went shopping for a little treat, and I found in lidl chocolate chip cookies for 39p!

So tonight I will be mostly eating these :-D



Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Being hungry makes me impatient.

Matt was five minutes late for lunch today, so I started without him. What's that about? Im pretty sure that makes me eligible for suckiest wife of the year. I knew it too, but I did it anyway. Why?

Because I had been thinking about lunch (salt and pepper baked potatoes) for the last two hours and only holding out because I knew Matt would be home soon. When he wasn't exactly when I expected him to be, I snapped in a hormonal hungry rage.

I'm not proud of that. But I feel like I got punished a plenty this afternoon.

Man training were having their last official meet up, and they invited me and the kids along to their BBQ, where they all ate crisps and burgers washed down with soda. Okay, it was cheap soda, but it was still soda!

To make matters worse, Will insisted on sitting on my lap and offering me a bite of his burger every few minutes.

Dinner tonight was pretty good. Started out as soupy rice with tofu, same as before, but this time I used 'wild mushroom' flavour cup a soup instead of 'Thai chicken'.

It basically tasted of nothing, so I put loads of salt and pepper in. It now tasted of nothing with pepper.

So, in the interest of making it taste like something I stirred in a teaspoon of peanut butter. Weirdly, because I hate peanut butter, it actually tasted pretty good.

- Kj

The legend of S&P sandwiches...

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

When my dad was a kid, his parents told him that if you made a salt and pepper sandwich and got the combination just right, it tasted like an egg sandwich.

He never did manage to get the ratio correct, so he came to the conclusion that it was impossible. His mum must have made this story up to try and save money on sandwich fillings (they didn't really have a lot).

He was wrong.

Last night I discovered the art of the salt and pepper sandwich. I think the trick is to make it on toast. I'm pretty sure I'm not hungry enough to be imagining this. It definitely tasted like a poached egg.


Unfortunately not as filling as a poached egg. An hour later I couldn't stop thinking about a snack.

- Kj
Now to tot up today's eating:

Breakfast: 2 slices of bread (7p) + 20g peanut butter (8p) + 60g yoghurt (3p) =18p

Lunch: Delicious meal made by KJ including stolen herbs = 40p (quite heavily rounded up for seasonings

Snack: 10g peanut butter sandwich = 11p

Dinner: 75g rice (8p) +seasoning and butter (6p) = 14p

Day's total = 83p (I want a sandwich now but I don't want too waste all our bread with another 3 days to go... think ill nick 60g yoghurt and a glass of water)

New day's total = 86p
Just finished on duty and feeling very hungry.

After a long afternoon, 75g of plain rice didn't quite cut it. Add to that giving the boys flakes and dairy milk for their suppers then buying the meat and drinks for the man training barbecue tomorrow and I am starting to feel pretty empty.

I am waking up to the fact that I snack a lot more than I realise. I am also waking up to just how instant our society is. We don't prepare or make our own food, Tesco has eliminated the need for that. No wonder recession is such a worry, all of our living is based on the easy and fast availability of cash.

As you can tell from my ramblings, I am a bit tired and hungry!! Off to bed

Feeling a little drained now. Since early lunch I have been to the gym, run to the track, coached athletics, run back from the track and bowled in the nets.

Nothing 10g of peanut butter, 2 slices of bread and a pint of water won't fix though!

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Is foraging allowed?

Today I made probably our most expensive meal of the week at nearly 40p a portion!! It's okay though, as Matt and I were both well under budget with breakfasts at less than 20p each.

I made us something I'm reluctant to call risotto, and more like soupy-rice. I did open a packet of tofu (which is where the expense came from) and we had Thai chicken cup of soup and rice with tofu and....

...Some foraged herbs. That's okay though, right? I didn't pay for them, and really if I was poverty stricken and the school was growing lemon balm right outside my front door I would definitely have some. And realistically, if we were to do this in the autumn, The kids and I'd definitely be spending afternoons at the priory country park eating blackberries.

I was quite proud of my creation until I tasted it.

Unfortunately the soup had far too much chilli in it (mental note, one sachet between two would have been fine, there was no need to add a second) and although there was a carton of creme fraiche taunting me in the fridge, I knew I couldn't have it as it wasn't on budget. So I used strawberry yoghurt.

I know, not the best combo, but you've gotta work with what you got.

Anyhow, it actually didn't taste too bad, and made some pretty sizeable portions. It's probably a bigger lunch than I'd normally eat (but equally decidedly less tasty) so I should be okay with something small for dinner. Not sure about Matt though. He's looking pretty hungry most of the time.

Finally, The most challenging thing so far has been watching Will drink delicious Welches white grape pear juice that I so desperately want for myself.

- Kj

Day 2

Well, early start in the gym and rushed breakfast to get to school on time. Feeling ok if a bit emptier than usual. Going to do a normal day's exercise: gym and run to athletics and see how it feels. Updates later....

Breakfast: 20g of peanut butter on 2 slices of toast and 60g of homemade yoghurt - that might just be the saviour this week. Another reason why Kj is such an awesome wife


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Day 1 nearly complete

Monday, 2 May 2011

Well, day 1 is nearly over. (just a yoghurty snack to come)

We have overcome our rules related difficulties.

I had 2 DELICIOUS PEANUT BUTTER sandwiches, and it looks like i'm gonna be eating a whole lot more!

I admit that I am feeling hungrier than I thought I would. What a weakling. But, despite watching all around me tucking into some fabulous ices courtesy of your friend and mine Mr Whippy, we are within budget and going to stay the course.

The bonus is it has helped my hydration no end. Who knew water could be a snack too?

Lunch, just 10g of peanut butter this time but complimented with a banana:

Dinner: (notice I had to watch Will scoffing chips whilst I had my 2 fairly plain tatoes)

SO day total:
Breakfast: 2 pieces of toast (7p) + 20g Peanut butter (8p)= 15p
Lunch: 2 slices bread (7p) + 10g peanut butter (4p) + 1 banana (11p) = 18p
Dinner: 2 potatoes (22p) + butter (2 knobs)/salt/pepper/italian seasoning/pizza spice (11p) = 33p
Snack: homemade yoghurt 50ml (3p)

Day total = 69p

Day one complete food diary - KJ

Here is my total food diary for today!

Toast x 2 with butter 12p
Large glass Kefir 1p

Cup of soup (thai chicken yummy) 8p
one piece of toast 3.5p

Jacket potato 11p
Salt & Pepper 1p
Butter 5p
Large glass Kefir 1p

60ml homemade yoghurt 3p

Total cost of todays food = 45.5p

Well under budget. Unfortunately, there's nothing else I want, given that we can only eat more off the list we already have and I don't fancy plain rice!

The new budgeting rules have scuppered my plans for rationing Ribena as the bottle cost nearly £4 so there is no way I can work it into our budget. I'm getting withdrawal just thinking about it...

Budgeting issues

Turns out we've been doing this whole below the line thing wrong. It's still salvageable, but it's not quite what I thought it would be.

We just read the rules (why didn't we do that before we agreed to sign up?) and you have to budget £5 for what goes in your shopping cart to last you five days. You can't buy a bag of rice and say 'I'll only use half' and count it as half the price. Although they do recommend buddying up with someone so that your shopping goes further (eg you and a friend could buy the rice together and pay half each).


Matt and I have £10 to share and we have to factor in WHOLE cartons of anything we've used so far. I suddenly resent the fact that he used peanut butter that has cost us £1.67 and I don't even eat it!!

Luckily I'm a very forgiving person. I probably won't hold it against him - for too long.

Working out what we've used so far means that we have spent:
Peanut butter £1.67
Bread 2 loaves £1.00
Butter £1.10
Cup of soups £1.00
Potatoes £1.49
Yoghurt £0.50
Rice £0.98
Kefir £0.15
Banana £0.11

We've got £2.00 left.

I want to spend £1.60 of it on 350g of tofu. Matt might not be keen, but then he did use peanut butter...

- Kj

Ice creams

We took a lovely trip to the park this morning. Unfortunately it would have been a day an a half's budget to buy an ice cream, so we had to miss out.

- Kj

Day 1 Breakfast

So here it is:



2 slices of bread = 7p (I love 2 loaves for 1.50 at Tesco now!)
20g Peanut Butter = 8p
2 Pints of tapwater
Total = 15p (18p added to later in the day. This is a piece of cake....)


2 slices of toast (7p) + 5g of butter (5p) = 12p!

Upcoming difficulties.....

About to go to the park and try to walk past the ice cream van. Even a Minimilk is 60p, hoping we don't sell out 2 days food for a Magnum...

Final day update

Matt here,

Just to update on yesterday's final day of above the line living.

At Matt and Mickey's house I had 4 cupcakes and a crispy creme donut and 2 glasses of squash and a cuppa. I didn't ask how much they cost!

After dinner we had some of KJ's home made truffles. I have to admit at this point that I may have stolen 2 of my son's jellybabies at quarter to twelve as a final luxury. Does that make me a bad parent?

Anyway bring it on.

My expectations are that it will not be that difficult. But I must admit that I am slightly embarrassed at how indulgent our lifestyle has become. If this week can add a bit of perspective to ours and other people's lives I will be happy.

Of course I will no doubt be proved wrong and be complaining about how starving I am by Wednesday.

Lets see....

(Eating our final dinner with Adam and Riika and a beer..)

Our Final Decadent Day of 'Above the Line' Living

Sunday, 1 May 2011

So today is our final day of living 'above the line' before our challenge begins. I thought it would be interesting to share what we have eaten as a comparison for the rest of the week so that you don't assume we all eat very little anyway.

We aren't including the kids in the challenge (horrifyingly we wouldn't even be able to afford formula for Elisha, let alone any food!) so here is what Matt and I ate so far today:

eggs x 2 - 40p
toast (with butter) x 3 - 21p
Bread x 2 - 7p
butter - 5p
cheese - 40p
onion - 15p
sweet chilli sauce - 12p
Krispy Kreme donut -83p
Hunters chicken casserole - £3
roasted veg - 40p
Potato au gratin - 75p
Toy story easter egg - £1.50
Ribena - 10p
Red Wine - 62p
Total = £8.60

egg - 20p
toast (with butter)x 2 - 12p
Krispy Kreme donut -83p
passionfruit kefir - 5p
Hunters chicken casserole - £3
roasted veg - 40p
Potato au gratin - 75p
Red wine - 62p
Total = £5.97

This is of course, assuming that we don't eat anything else today (I've factored in dinner which is already in the slow cooker). If we do, obviously I'll have to update.

We probably will as we are going to someone's house for tea and cakes this afternoon. How do you factor in how much a cake someone else made cost? Is it rude to ask them how much they paid for it?

Probably yes.

I'll just have to make an educated guess...

How much....

Saturday, 30 April 2011

In preparation for our 'live below the line' week, I thought I'd better work out how much our standard groceries cost so that we can be sure we are spending less than 33p per meal.

So here is my base list* so far (obviously, I'll be adding as I go):

Milk 100ml = 8.9p [1 ltr = £0.89]
Porridge oats 50g = 11p [1kg = £2.25]
Bread 2 slices = 7p [loaf = £0.75]
Rice 75g = 4p [1kg = £0.49]
Black Eyed Beans 50g = 9p [500g = £0.90]
Ribena 15ml = 5p [600ml = £1.91]
Eggs 1 egg = 20p [12 =£2.50]
Muesli 100g = 7p [1kg = £0.67]
Butter 10g = 5p [250g = £1.30]
Jam 15g = 1p [454g = £0.38]
Peanut Butter 10g = 4p [340g = £1.29]

Some more food from our final above the line shop:
Red pepper = 80p
potato = 11p
kiwi = 12p
cucumber = £1
lettuce = 79p
banana = 11p
corriander bunch = 99p
bowl of coco snaps = 10p
cup of soup = 8p
donuts = 83p

*Prices are based on grocery brand already owned, at their current value from Tesco.com where possible, otherwise at local supermarket prices.