Live Below the Line 2012

This week I’m participating in a great awareness campaign for global poverty and hunger called Live Below the Line.

Live Below the Line is challenging individuals and communities to see how much change we can make out of $1.50. By living off just $1.50 per day for food for 5 days, we will be bringing to life the direct experiences of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty and helping to make real change.

Think about that figure – 1.4 BILLION – that’s over 4 times the population of the United States – living every day in extreme poverty.

The rules of the challenge are:

  • From May 7th – 11th, you can spend no more than $1.50 a day on food and drink.
  • This means you have a total of $7.50 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 packages of food 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 ounce and budget your shopping proportionally. Separate your items before the challenge so there’s no need to be digging around in your pantry.
  • One of the easiest ways to partake in the challenge is to share the cost of ingredients amongst a team, as long as no participant spends more than $1.50 a day or their total $7.50 budget. Working as a team will allow you to pool together funds and do more with your cooking.
  • You can’t grab a snack from the pantry 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 $1.50 spending limit. Remember this is a challenge to eat creatively – 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.

I came across this challenge after praying for something that would both cleanse me and help others. I love the idea of an awareness campaign I can blog about and raise money for. In the past, I’ve concentrated most of my philanthropy to animals and cancer research, so I’m happy to be expanding.

The challenge doesn’t start until tomorrow, so I went grocery shopping today. Buying everything I needed with only $7.50 is almost impossible. Luckily, a lot of items were on sale and I got things I can stretch. I bought:

  • 2lb bag of brown rice
  • 1lb bag of lentils
  • 2 cans of beans (1 black, 1 red)
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 baked potatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste

Total: $7.42

So, the bad news is I was supposed to leave some room to account for spices and oil. I may try going without, but we’ll see.

I’m planning on having eggs every morning for breakfast, maybe with sweet potato some mornings. I’ll do beans and rice for lunch and then I may try making a lentil-potato-veggie stew of some sort to serve over rice for dinners.

This is probably going to suck a bit since I usually snack all day and will be craving chocolate and wine all week, but it’s definitely worth it.

If you’d like to support UNICEF, please visit my page and donate. Every little bit helps, even if it’s just the $2 you’d spend on coffee one day this week.


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