As mentioned, I am going to Live Below The Line from 28 April to 2 May, hoping to raise funds for ChildHope. You can help either by joining or by sponsoring me here.
So after three shop visits, much recalibration, and a lot of patience this is what I’ve stretched £5 quid to:
1. Tea (27p) – I’ve read stories of people who’ve gone cold turkey on caffeine through the campaign which I didn’t think I could do, so the first ‘purchase’ was a jar of ‘value’ coffee for 50p. I then saw a box of tea for 27p and some rich tea biscuits for 23p so I exchanged my coffee for those two products. But then I thought 23p could buy me other important things so I left the biccies on the shelf *TEARS*.
2. Frozen veggie sausages (75p) – I was so worried about protein. I don’t eat egg and a can of tuna alone already costs more than the daily £1 budget. When I saw these marked down from £1.49 I was so chuffed I got teary. I like vegetarian sausages anyway (Linda McCartney’s frozen ones at least) so this will be my source of protein for the next five days.
3. Gravy granules (20p) – Seasoning is going to be a bitch as every gram of herbs and spices would be accounted for. I figured I can season my food with gravy granules – either use it as a sauce, aromat or stock.
4. Cous cous (68p) – My friends recommended pasta but I’d need more ingredients (ie oil, sauce, etc) for that. Also, I didn’t want to compromise nutrition so instead of getting something starchy, I picked out this easy-to-cook whole wheat grain. It’s easier to make and I know exactly how to jazz it up as I cook it loads.
5. Half-baked baguettes (45p) – A loaf of bread is priced similarly but I never really go through a whole loaf so to avoid wasting food, I chose to buy these baguettes. These were surprisingly massive; I can actually cut them into 5-day lunch portions. 6 to a stretch.
6. Frozen casserole vegetables (£1) – This was “expensive” but I figured it would help me through hunger. It’s a mix of carrots, onions, suede, celery and turnip. I think this is a more filling choice than getting some random loose veggies which can sometimes add up to more than you think.
7. Garlic sausage (60p) – This was the only deli meat I could afford, given the budget, for my lunch sarnies. It says 80% pork anyway so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s all legit meat.
8. Bananas (36p) – This was one of the ‘smart’ options I thought, because instead of getting them from the shops, I decided to get my fresh stuff from the local fruit grocer. I know they sell products on the cheap anyway so yay!
9. Lettuce (20p) – Again, I bought this from the local fruit/veg shop. It only had a few leaves in there and it’s not as crunchy as I would have wanted (tastes rather bland too) but it’s green and I needed something to lift my sandwich lunches!
10. Apples (40p) – These are the tiniest apples in the world and I was surprised they were more expensive than the bananas. At this point I was regretting not buying those rich tea biscuits.
That’s a total of £4.91 spent which means I’ve got 9p left for spices/herbs. I don’t normally use salt in my cooking anyway but I’m hoping that’s enough to afford a pinch of chilli powder here or a dash of pepper there.
It will be tough… but five days is nothing compared to what others are experiencing. I mean at this rate I actually still have the benefit of having options. I get to say “No I don’t need you biscuits!” or “No I’d rather have two baguettes than a full loaf of bread!” and that’s a real privilege to have. Most people just take what they can get, compromising health for the chance to eat!
So here’s to the next five days. I hope I can stop thinking about this (last night’s pre-LBTL dinner!):
I’m glad I’m doing this with Alex – it’s always good to have someone to help you get through the challenges of life!