For the past couple of years I have joined in with this wonderful Challenge, it's been brilliant to do and I've loved being able to raise money for such good causes as well as awareness about poverty around the world and here in the UK. The first year I raised money for The Salvation Army, International Development UK, last year I chose Restless Development, but there are many others you can choose to support if you are tempted to give it a go this year.
The basic idea is that to raise awareness of poverty and hunger both here in the UK and all over the world you live 'below the line' that is the £1 a day poverty line that is all so many people have to live on completely, not just for food as we are able to do during the challenge.
In Live Below the Lines's words this is how you do it -
So you want to Live Below the Line, but you’re not sure what you’re getting yourself into.
Ok so here are the basics:
- From the 29th April – 3rd May you can spend no more than £1 a day on food and drink.
- This means you have a total of £5 with which to buy all ingredients for your meals.
- The full cost of all the items you consume must be included in your budget. This means budgeting for whole packets of food items such as rice, pasta, noodles and eggs etc.
- For items such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices, simply work out the cost of each item per gram and budget your shopping proportionally. Separate your items before the challenge so there’s no need to be digging around in your cupboards.
- You can share the cost of ingredients amongst a team, as long as no participant spends more than £1 a day or their total £5 budget. Working as a team will allow you to pool together funds and do more with your cooking.
- You can’t grab a cheeky snack from the cupboard unless you include the cost of buying the item new in your budget.
- You can use food sourced from your garden as long as you can account for the price of production!
- No combination of meals on any given day can exceed the £1 spending limit. Remember this is a challenge to eat creatively and be enjoyed – don’t at any point deprive yourself of three meals a day.
- You cannot accept ‘donated’ food from family or friends, but monetary donations towards your fundraising goals are acceptable, and encouraged!
- You are allowed to drink tap water – remember you should try and drink at least 6-8 glasses of water each day.
- Remember that cigarettes don’t come cheap either! Can you Live Below The Line and still manage to smoke?
In 2011 when I did this I relied a lot on supermarket basics ranges, shopping carefully and making every penny count. I managed to buy a lot that year, but then food prices were a lot cheaper then.
Then in 2012, because I had kept notes and pictures from the first year (thank goodness for the Blog) I was able to refine what I bought and also use some Approved Foods things that I had bought.
Knowing how little I had growing the first year for this challenge I had purposefully thought ahead at the end of the growing season the previous year and tucked into the freezer things I would be able to use for the next years Challenge. The costings were amazing, I had things for less than a penny that would make a large chunk of a meal, it really highlighted for me the beauty of being able to grow your own foods.
Lovely Hubby joined in with the Challenge last year for each of his evening meals last year, giving me an extra 33p per day to my budget and meaning I was able to buy these extra foods.
For lots more information on how I did here are some links to the Blog posts written both in 2011 and 2012. If you read the first post and then click onto 'Newer Post' at the end of each one you will be able to read the entries in the correct order.
I learnt a lot from taking part in this challenge over the past two years and I am disappointed to be unable to do it again this year, but if there are any tips or advice you need if you are doing it yourself I would be more than happy to help if I can.
The Live Below the Line website is excellent for ideas and recipes and a good place to visit to be inspired by all the wonderful tales of other folk getting involved. I will leave the link at the top of my right hand sidebar for a while as well as links to some of the Bloggers that have let me know they are taking part this year. Please pop by and visit them and show your support, both with comments, encouragement and maybe the odd donation or two, every penny counts.
Wishing lots of luck to everyone who is taking part, and if you hadn't thought about it yet there is still time, this years week begins on Monday and runs through until Friday, so there is time to make lists and plan out your menu before shopping to get some bargains. If you can't make it in time for next week you can pick another week to do it, your donations will still count.
All the very best to all of this years Below the Line participants.