Living Below The Line – Eating and drinking for less than £1 a day!

When Oxfam in the North got in touch regarding the Live Below the Line campaign I really wasn’t sure what to think. I kind of fancied the challenge, but the thought of eating badly for a week really didn’t appeal. But then I started thinking… about ham hocks, pig cheeks, other bits of offal and the bargains I can get hold of down at Castle Market. I also wondered just how healthy a diet on £1 a day could be. And… before I knew it, I was replying back to say that I would take up the challenge and I was asking people to sponsor me.

For me, there’s quite a lot that I can take from this kind of challenge. Firstly, a bit of an understanding of what 1.4 billiion people worldwide go through every day, and I do say a bit, coz, well, let’s face it, I still have a roof over my head. I just cannot begin to comprehend what some people go through day in, day out, just to survive.Secondly, I want to know if it’s actually possible to live on £1 a day and I want to challenge myself into making my week as healthy as possible. Thirdly, I could do with revisiting a few of my budgeting tips and making sure I try and shop to a budget (admittedly, a bit more than £1 a day) in future.

Being a bit OCD I knew that I needed to plan my menus before starting the week. I know some people doing this challenge just buy produce as and when and decide what they’re going to eat as they go along. This wouldn’t work for me; I’d blow it all in the first day. And as I’ve gone public with this challenge there’s no way that I want to fail!

So, using Tesco’s online shopping site, I set about planning my meals, ensuring that I included a good range of carbs and protein whilst getting in as much veg as I could. I didn’t even look at fruit or dairy products and my diet will be seriously lacking in those areas next week. Once I’d sorted out what I was going to eat, I went shopping. Working on the basis that I could buy anything I saw as long as it was either the same price as, or less than, Tesco I bought some items from the B&M store and Castle Market. Sadly, the rest is from Tesco.

Once the staples were sorted I started thinking about how I could save money on herbs, fat and stocks. I sent the husband out to forage for wild garlic, thyme and bay leaves (admittedly the last two did come from a friend’s garden). I couldn’t afford any oil or fat so I’ll be using the fat from cooking the bacon and the oil that the sild is packed in. For stock I decided to peel and trim all my veg today so that I could use the scraps of veg to make a one. It’s not brilliant, for a start there’s no seasoning in there, but it’s saved me 15p on a pack of Tesco value stuff.

So, here’s what I’ve bought along with a meal planner for the week. I’m going to try and blog each day to let you know what I’ve eaten, how I’m feeling and the decision process behind each meal. Wish me luck, better still click here and sponsor me!

2 400g cans kidney beans 42p (4 portions, 10.5p each)
120g pack savoury rice 26p (2 portons, 13p each)
500g bag Pasta 30p (5 portions, 6p each)
6 pitta breads 40p (6 portions, 6.66p each)
Tinned potatoes 15p (2 portions, 7.5p each)
411g jar lemon curd 22p (13.7 portions, 1.6p each)
400g can chopped tomatoes 29p (2 portions, 14.5p each)
110g tin sild 49p (2 portions, 24.5p each)
2 medium onions 16p (8p each)
3 carrots 28p (9.33p each)
11 small tomatoes 50p (4.54p each)
15 sticks celery 50p (3.33 each stick)
1 rasher of bacon 38p
250g chicken livers 50p (2 portions 25p each)
1 tsp paprika 5p
1.25 tsp dried chilli flakes 6.25p (5 portions, 1.25p each)
Wild garlic – foraged (free)
Fresh thyme – foraged (free)
Bay Leaves – foraged (free)
Veg stock – made up from all the trimmings of the veg (free)
Water for drinks
£4.96

Monday 90.23p
Breakfast – Pitta (6.66p) and Lemon curd (1.6p) 8.26p
Lunch – one portion of pasta (6p) with sild (24.5p), 2 tomatoes tomatoes (9.08p) and thyme (free) 39.58p
NOTE – SAVE THE OIL FROM SILD
Dinner – one portion of Bean Casserole with kidney beans (10.5p), half onion (4p), 1.5 sticks of celery (4.99p), half carrot (4.65p), tinned tomatoes (14.5p), wild garlic (free), thyme (free), bay leaves (free), paprika (2.5p), 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (1.25p) 42.39p

Tuesday 91.47p
Breakfast – Pitta (6.66p) and Lemon curd (1.6p) 8.26p
Lunch – one portion of pasta (6p) with sild (24.5p), 2 tomatoes (9.08p) and thyme (free) 39.58p
Dinner – portion of Chicken Liver Casserole with chicken livers (22.5), 1.5 sticks of celery (4.99p), half carrot (4.65p), veg stock (free), tinned potatoes (7.5p), half onion (4p), wild garlic (free), thyme (free) NOTE COOK THE BACON FOR WEDS LUNCH FIRST AND USE THE FAT FOR THE CASSEROLE. 43.63p

Wednesday 99.19p
Breakfast – Pitta (6.66p) and Lemon curd (1.6p) 8.26p
Lunch – pasta (6p) with bacon (38p) and 1 tomato (4.54p) 48.54p
Dinner – one portion of Bean Casserole with kidney beans (10.5p), half onion (4p), 1.5 sticks of celery (4.99p), half carrot (4.65), tinned tomatoes (14.5p), wild garlic (free), thyme (free), bay leaves (free), paprika (2.5p) , 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (1.25p) 42.39p

Thursday 95.36p
Breakfast – Pitta (6.66p) and Lemon curd (1.6p) 8.26p
Lunch – Beans and rice with half can kidney beans (10.5p), half packet of savoury rice (13p) 2 tomatoes (9.08p), 1.5 sticks of celery (4.99p), half carrot (4.65p), 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (1.25p) 43.47p
Dinner – portion of Chicken Liver Casserole with chicken livers (22.5), 1.5 sticks of celery (4.99p), one carrot (4.65p), veg stock (free), tinned potatoes (7.5p), half onion (4p), wild garlic (free), thyme (free) 43.63p

Friday 68.06p
Breakfast – Pitta (6.66p) and Lemon curd (1.6p) 8.26p
Lunch – Beans and rice with half can kidney beans (10.5p), half packet of savoury rice (13p) 2 tomatoes (9.08p), 1.5 sticks of celery (4.99p), half carrot (4.65p), 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (1.25p) 43.47p
Dinner – pasta (6p) with 1/4 tsp chilli (1.25p) 2 tomatoes (9.08p) and wild garlic (use some of the oil from the sild) 16.33p

If anyone wants to read about the whys behind this campaign click here. If you want to know more about my chosen charity (Oxfam) click here.

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