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Thread: My personal Live Below The Line Challenge

  1. #1
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    My personal Live Below The Line Challenge

    I found a site today that rattled my comfort zone. It's http://livebelowtheline.com/

    It's an international challenge to spend no more than $1.50 US per day for your food for five days.

    Below is a copy and paste from their 'about' page:

    Live Below the Line is an incredible awareness and fundraising campaign that empowers those who want to eradicate extreme poverty within the next generation. Started in Australia in 2010, the movement quickly spread across 3 continents and is now catching on in the US.

    1.4 BILLION people are forced to live every day on $1.50. Food, drink, health expenses, housing, transportation, education - all living costs must be covered by this amount. It's a feat impossible to imagine - but it's the reality for nearly one quarter of the world's population. The good news is we can effect change in this area.

    May 16 20, 2011, is Live Below the Line Week. During those 5 days, thousands of people across the US will spend just $1.50 per day on food. In doing so, they will bring the issue of extreme poverty to the attention of their households and workplaces.

    We'll all be challenged. We'll all struggle without caffeine. And we'll all have that not-quite-full feeling for 5 days. But we will do so because there are 1.4 billion people for whom doing without is not a choice, and that situation must change.
    _________
    Although the official challenge dates have passed, I am going to try this for a few days. I'm lucky as my freezer is almost completely full from the garden harvest and I have stocked up on flour, sugar, beans, rice...dried foods that we eat.

    I'm not sure how I'm going to figure costs on some things - like the garden harvest? Spices that are in my cupboard already? Eggs from my hens? I don't even know how much a dozen eggs or an onion cost from the store now.

    I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be eating some things that I don't care for that often - like lentils. But I'll sure try to figure in some coffee.

    I'm going to strive for a somewhat healthy (??) diet, not just ramen noodles and oatmeal.

    I'm not above grazing, but at this time of year, it's pretty sparse.

    I'm not going to ask DH to join in. He's out of town for a few days so that helps.

    Any suggestions are appreciated. And if you want to join me, better yet! Then we can share meal ideas! Updates to follow.

    PS - I never was impressed with Rachel Ray's $40 a day show. I'd be more impressed if she'd show how to feed a family on $40 a week. This is $45 a month.
    Marianne
    My lame blog: http://2atthefarm.blogspot.com/
    Eco Friendly Tightwaddery and the Fine Art of Substitution

  2. #2
    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    I wish you luck with this. Some people here are very good with extreme frugality--I am not. But beans, rice, and garden veggies are a good way to go for $1.50 daily. Plus an egg or two.

  3. #3
    Mrs-M
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    Marianne. I admire you so much for giving this a go! I would love to yes to this challenge, however having such a large family means I'd be faced with stretching myself even thinner than I already am. (i.e. Special meals for myself in addition to cooking/preparing meals for the rest of the family).

    P.S. I second Iris Lily's suggestion on concentrating on beans and rice and garden veggies and things to keep the cost down, which would provide for proper nutritional value and daily intake requirements. Will be revisiting this thread topic over and over and will post ideas as I think of them.

    Also, to add, oats.

  4. #4
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    August is such a good time to do this challenge as the produce is so cheap as the harvest takes place plus legumes. May would be much more difficult, I would think.
    Go for it and post your intake please so that we can all learn and maybe implement some of the ideas.
    Amaranth will have some ideas as well, I am sure.
    "How will you serve the world? What do they need that you can provide? The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is." (Jim Carrey)

  5. #5
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    Thanks. I already screwed up and started an entire pot of coffee out of habit. In trying to read the label too early in the morning, I couldn't find how many servings per cannister, so some of this is going to be guess-math.

    I decided to go with whatever I would have to pay to buy food now, even though I have plenty here. I'm heading into town this morning for a dentist appt, and will hit the store after that and jot down some prices.

    Dinner after DH gets home will be a challenge. He'll eat some vegetarian meals, so I'm lucky there. I have a veggie stir fry that he likes, also thinking about burritos/tacos. Make taco meat for him, bean burritos for me.

    How to figure costs on spices and some things still eludes me. I make so much from scratch, like taco seasoning mix, and all that is a lot cheaper than buying prepackaged things - so that will all be guess work.

    After I shut down the computer last night, I had a moment of 'what was I thinking!!', posting this thing on the forum. Later I thought that since I like simple foods, it might not be that difficult. DS#1 is an inspiration. He's the family nomad, eats as simply (and cheap!) as he can, mostly Indian food. When I asked him why, he said something about 3/4 of the world eating less than he does. He's a 245 lb. vegetarian weight lifter, so not skinny. I'm remembering how he cooks when he's here - huge pots of stuff, then eat it for three days.

    Now this is starting to be fun. In a weird sort of way.
    Marianne
    My lame blog: http://2atthefarm.blogspot.com/
    Eco Friendly Tightwaddery and the Fine Art of Substitution

  6. #6
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    check out these recipes from "the hunger challenge" for ideas

    http://hungerchallenge.blogspot.com/...e-recipes.html

    someone recently posted they were going to do the San Francisco hunger challenge which was to eat on a food stamp budget. It puts things in a different perspective if you realize that is about 3x your budget. Wow.

  7. #7
    Senior Member reader99's Avatar
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    I see the empathy side of it. The math bothers me. $1.50 in a rural area of a third world country is a different $1.50 than in the urban USA. When you live in a mud hut with no utilities, spending a larger proportion of your income on food just happens since there's no utility bill, no car insurance....

    Re food stamp budget - food stamps are scaled to income. A person with very little income will get $200 a month for one person (in Florida). That seems like plenty to me, not challenging.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the link, Flowers. I'll check that out.

    Reader, I agree with the math part. There's also cooking costs that could be factored in...I'm not going to build a fire outside to make some chow. Some third world people might have a cow or goat for milk, cheese, while others wouldn't. So many variables.

    The food stamp allotment in FL shocks me! I have no idea what it is in Kansas now, but a few years ago I had a friend living on SS disability, less than $600 per month. She got $16 a week in food stamps.
    I sure could make $200 a month work, too.
    Marianne
    My lame blog: http://2atthefarm.blogspot.com/
    Eco Friendly Tightwaddery and the Fine Art of Substitution

  9. #9
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    Im figuring $0.15 per cup of coffee, $0.05 to $0.10 (+ or -) for seasoning, depending on how much I use. Even though I have hens, Im going to consider eggs at the same price that a friend charges for hers.

    Heres how things went yesterday (Tuesday):

    Breakfast: I blew my breakfast budget by drinking 3 cups of coffee w/ a tsp of sugar - $0.45

    Started sour dough bread thats supposed to cost $0.50 per loaf to make. I already had the starter which consists of flour, water and time.

    Lunch: I scored some chicken hind quarters on sale for $0.68 per pound. I used one leg (drumstick) to make a pot of soup. I added chicken broth, some veggies from the garden, a handful of rice, some cabbage I already had and seasoning. I have an ancient cat with grain allergies, so I make her food using chicken. I always get a pint or quart of chicken broth from that to put in the freezer for cooking, so I consider that free. Im calling the meal $1.00.

    Supper: Leftover soup and a slice of sourdough bread - $0.05

    The total today was $1.50. I had plenty to eat, but I was eyeing the cookies in the cupboard later. I put the cookies in the freezer.

    I drank plain water during the day. So far, so good. Not nutritionally complete, but not too bad.

    Im starting homemade yogurt this morning.

    DH surprised me by saying that hed join me in the challenge when he gets home. When I told a friend about it, she asked (after a long pause) 'Does that include chocolate?' :o)
    Marianne
    My lame blog: http://2atthefarm.blogspot.com/
    Eco Friendly Tightwaddery and the Fine Art of Substitution

  10. #10
    Mrs-M
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    You're an inspiration to me Marianne! The ironic part of all this, as in eating for less than $1.50 a day, is that it's probably (by far) WAY more healthy for a person as compared to the normal (conventional) way we all tend to eat.

    One area I thought of, as a way of helping you on your $1.50 a day adventure, is suggesting that you drop by your local butcher shop or meat department (where you shop), and seeing if they have any fresh bones they'd be willing to part with (for free). Ours does, often, I just never ask for them anymore, because I find there is never enough meat left on them for them to be beneficial for what I require them for, but in the case of yourself who is looking to challenge yourself for a short five day period, the cost-free bones would be a welcome addition to a pot of homemade (garden fresh) vegetable soup!

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