Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Day Two - Living Below the Line

A quick update for today.

Unfortunately Monkeys opinion of the cornflakes hadn't changed this morning, and so I offered him a yogurt for breakfast instead, which he enjoyed. Even though he had to have the same lunch as yesterday he didn't seem to mind, but I'm sure he'd grow tired very quickly of jam sandwiches every day!

This lunchtime I hosted a lovely Live Below the Line lunch at work, 14 of my colleagues enjoyed (they really did!) some lentil soup and donated £26 for Tearfund. I meant to take some photos, but I completely forgot! Today has been hard at work though because I really wanted a cup of tea, but had to cope with hot water instead.

Tonight I went for a run, and although I felt quite sluggish to start with (probably due to quite a low calorie day so far) I actually ran quite well. Last nights curry and rice must have made a good carb store.
I decided to go on to calculate my calorie intake for today. Unfortunately its well below the 2000 calories recommended, and even if I was on a diet, its only just enough to be acceptable, as below 1100 calories can put your body in fast mode, and muscle mass may start to break down.

Here's my breakdown for today

I'm not sure what I could do to possibly get it anywhere near 2000 calories on this budget, I think I probably had enough money left today to afford a few more custard creams, but that's not really healthy calories!

Tonight I boiled the rice for tomorrows fried rice for tea, as it cooks best when its been chilled first.I'm looking forward to some pancakes tomorrow night too, as it Monkey.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Day One done

So we managed our first day of living on £1 each without too many hiccups.

The main issue we seem to have is that Monkey has deemed the own brand cornflakes a no go!
I chose the cornflakes over the porridge in the end as I thought it would be better for him, but apparently not.
This could be an issue, but I'll try him again tomorrow morning and see what he thinks.

For lunch at school Monkey normally has a school dinner, which costs £2.05 a day. When you look at that in the light of £1 a day it seems really quite a lot, but I don't think its too bad really. I did give him the choice as to whether he would have a packed lunch, as I was prepared to cut him out of this part of the challenge, but he seemed quite keen to try a packed lunch. Unfortunately the only thing I could send him with was a jam sandwich, pack of crisps and 2 custard creams.
The juice bottle is just one I refill with cheap squash!

  I would have sent a banana too, but he ate one for breakfast instead of the cornflakes! I had a terrible thought once I'd packed his lunchbox, that some schools are super strict, and they have people checking the nutritional value of the lunches. I feared my meager offering may not meet their approval, but since I didn't get a call from the school I'll assume they didn't check!
I mentioned last year that its ridiculous that a pack of crisps is 1/4 of the price of an apple, and I will say it again. I'm thankful that my son gets fruit as a snack at school every day for free.

This year has made me really appreciate how important free school meals are for some families, but I'm also aware that some people who are living on an extremely tight budget and working don't meet the criteria for free school meals.

Todays menu for me consisted of

Breakfast: 40g Cornflakes = 8p
Lunch: Lentil soup,  bread and 2 custard creams = 23p
Dinner: Butternut squash curry and rice = 41p
A cherry yogurt = 8p
Supper: A slice of toast with Jam = 4p

Total 84p

I'm looking forward to tomorrows lunch at work getting my colleagues involved, and hopefully getting some more donations!

Here's a picture of Monkey enjoying his curry! You can find the recipe here from last year.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Shopping Below the Line

So today I finished off the shopping for our 5 days living below the line.
Here is Monkey with our rations!

Here's what we got

Corn Flakes 46
Milk 85
Jam 29
Rice 40
Pasta 20
Frozen mince beef 140
Sweetcorn 35
Yellow split peas 70
squash drink 42
Mixed veg 89
Loaf of Bread x 2 94
Egg 100
Banana 46
Yogurt  x 8 66
Custard Creams 35
Crisps x 12 66
Stock cubes 20
Tin chickpeas 39
Chopped Toms x 3 93
1 kg onions 75
Butternut squash 89
Pancakes x 2 30
Total £13.49

Wow, you might think, we can spoil ourselves with £1.51! But we still have to count oil, garlic, spices, salt and pepper in, and sugar and lemon juice when we have pancakes, so that will take it up to about £14. The last £1 will be our emergency pound in case we need more milk, and I may even splash out on an orange or apple for James!
Tonight I've been making the lentil soup for the week, and have even convinced some of my colleagues to take part on Wednesday lunch, so will have more soup to make tomorrow night to feed another 12 people!
I'm off to eat a slice of my nieces birthday cake, and enjoy a brew, as it will be my last for 5 days! 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Live Below the Line 2014 - Preparations

Well the time has come again to Live Below the Line. The Line being the poverty line.

1.2 Billion people around the world live below the line every day, suffering from extreme poverty and existing on less than the equivalent of £1 (US $1.25).

Last year we decided to do this quite last minute, but as we live quite frugally anyway I found it not too bad planning our 5 day menu. The challenge this year was coping with inflation, and a much more astute child!
I explained to the Monkey (who is now 4) that we would be eating differently this week. I also broke the news that he wouldn't be allowed any apple juice, or treats/sweets for the week, as we were doing a challenge to live like people in other countries who don't have as much as we do. His response "I want that day to be over!", my response "its 5 days!".

 I had a very detailed spreadsheet from last year, which I was updating, and I'm surprised how many things have gone up in price. All the staple items (bread, milk etc) are the same, but others have jumped up. A pack of Asda Smart Price fresh mince beef and pork was £1.40 last year for 500g, this year its £1.82. Yellow split lentils were 58p for 500g , this year they're 70p. These small differences really add up when you're counting every penny. I've had to cut a few things off this year, we won't be enjoying bread and butter pudding, but we can stretch to a couple of pancakes one night!

We should be doing it Monday to Friday, but it's our church Mens night on Monday, and they're going out for curry, so we're postponing and doing it Tuesday to Saturday instead. We are fortunate that we can choose when we live below the line, some people don't have a choice.

I hope you will follow our journey, and consider sponsoring us as we support Tearfund.