Live Below The Line 2014: Shop list done, game face on

 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!

For more information about the campaign please visit the Live Below the Line website. Please visit the Child Hope website too, for more information about the charity I’m raising funds for!

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