Living below the line: Day 2Home » Blog » Lynda Brendish » Living below the line: Day 2
Lynda Brendish contemplates a week of living on $2.25 of food a day to understand living below the extreme poverty line.
Well I've made it through one whole day of living below the line to raise money for Oxfam.
Here's what I've learned so far.
- Caffeine withdrawal is real. Oh god, it's real.
- I crave food when I'm bored, or when I need creative stimulation, or a break. Without that excuse to get up from my desk every couple of hours for a gingernut and a cuppa tea, I actually think I'm less productive.
- Budget tea is 3c per teabag, and coffee – even instant – is too expensive for my budget. *shakes fist*
- Carbohydrates are my friend, but protein is even better.
- Fair trade, free range or organic? Fuhgeddaboutit.
- I hereby pledge my official support to any government initiative to knock GST off fruit and veg.
- Life is better when there's someone to go halves on the food with.
Yesterday I went shopping with my flatmate to the Pak'n Save in Mt Albert for our Live Below The Line week. We probably should have gone on the weekend, but we were too busy enjoying the natural wonders of Hot Water Beach to contemplate supermarkets.
So it came to pass that we didn't do our grocery shop until 1pm on Monday. I was surprised to find bulk bins are often quite a bit more expensive (per 100gm) than packaged food. Red Lentils were 69c/100gm in bulk, but only 54c/100gm when you buy 500gm in a packet.
We did pretty well though, overall. Carrots worked out to 10c a piece (exactly!) and we bought both the silverbeet and the kiwifruit in pre-packaged lots for $2 each. This is the kind of stuff that's great when you can split the purchase with someone else, like I was able to, but terrible when you're shopping for one.
Here's what we came away with. A week's worth of food for two people living on $2.25 a day:
Clearly it's possible to live on this little in New Zealand, even if it's not desirable. As you can see, we even managed to force some green, leafy vegetables into the trolley - but eating healthy isn't easy on this kind of budget.
Here's the rough meal plan I have for the rest of the week.
- One cup of rolled oats with water, and one kiwifruit for breakfast. ($0.29)
- One carrot and one kiwifruit for snacks throughout the day ($0.15)
- One Budget tea bag ($0.03)
- One scoop of brown rice and daal for lunch ($0.73)
- Spaghetti noodles, chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic and silverbeet for dinner ($0.99)
That's a grand total of $2.19. Maybe I'll even treat myself to a second cup of tea today.
My rough calculations of the caloric intake have the day's food come in around 1200 calories – fantastic for losing weight, but possibly not for long-term healthy living.
Just don't mention coffee to me.
I'm Living Below The Line to fundraise for Oxfam. Check out my page at livebelowtheline.com/me/lynbren