Things that are too expensive

So the rules of “Live Below the Line” boil down to the following: I can spend a maximum of £5 for all my food and drink for a 5 day period. If I need an ingredient, I have to buy the whole pack, unless it is seasoning and then I can factor in the proportional cost. And however nice you guys are to me, I cannot accept free food.

So my budget looks something a bit like this –

Breakfast = £1.66, Lunch = £1.66, Dinner = £1.66

So definitely no pudding! And certainly no snacks.

One of the things that I have been learning in trying to work out a menu for this challenge is that “cheap” food is often prohibitively expensive.

This is a list of foods I’ve considered and discounted because my budget simply will not stretch to them. The prices are the cheapest I could find on the Tesco website –

  • Butter  – £0.86
  • Margarine – £0.89

I will probably be buying some lard.

  • Decaf tea – £1.49
  • Squash – £0.42

It will have to be water – hot or cold.

  • Bread – £0.45
  • Rice –  £0.45

I’m thinking a bag of flour for (hopefully inventive) lunch and dinner carbs. And maybe the cheapest spaghetti Tesco offers at 20p.

  • Cheese – £1.31
  • Chicken – £2.24
  • Corned beef – £1.50
  • Beef mince – £2
  • Lentils – £1.15

Protein may well have to be beans or pork liver. Eggs could have been a possible for breakfasts, lunches or dinners (15 for £1.20), but I refuse to help fund battery farming even for a challenge like this!

  • Frozen mixed vegetables – £1.00
  • Tomatoes – £0.65

So definitely no salad! Affording vegetables will be interesting – maybe a trip to the market is in order.

  • Honey – £0.99
  • Chocolate – £0.30

I think I will be going sugar free!

So, as you can tell, working out a menu is proving to be really difficult! I am trying really hard to include fibre, iron, vegetables, calcium, and some level of variety, but I think I am going to be hungry and completely fed up with my food ‘choices’ by the end of the five days.

But this is every day life for 1.5 billion people who live in extreme poverty. Actually it’s much worse. Their £1 has to cover everything. This means that vital things like clean water, vitamin-rich food, and three meals a day, may well be luxuries out of their reach. This inevitably impacts their health, well-being and futures in profound ways. That’s why organisations like Send a Cow and Tearfund are so brilliant. They work to positively impact families and communities from within, helping them to work themselves out of extreme poverty. Organisations like these really does transform lives and communities.

The challenge for today

So I want to challenge you guys! Before you move onto the next website or Facebook post, please watch just one YouTube video from Send a Cow or Tearfund. The more I watch videos and engage with people’s stories I realise what I already knew: there is no them and us. They too are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers and nieces just like us, trying to live and survive and maybe even thrive in a tough old world. Their issues should be our issues. So let’s get to grips with those issues, and passionately stand with them, fighting against poverty.

If you want to give, my giving pages are here –


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