Well, today is finally my last day of living on £1 and I have to say I’m pretty excited about going back to normal tomorrow! Over the last seven days I have heard the same few questions over and over again so here are the answers…
You’re doing what? Why?!
I’m living off £1 a day for a week. This includes all food and drink but, unlike most people living on such a tight budget, I don’t have to worry about how much it costs to get to the supermarket, to cook the food or to keep myself entertained when I’m hungry! The money I save on my weekly food bill is donated to Save the Children (http://www.justgiving.com/JCIUKpoundaday)
No! People, very kindly, keep offering to buy us drinks or to have us round for dinner. I have a freezer full of food. I thought this would make it more difficult but it actually just serves as a reminder of how lucky I am. What did you eat? I was determined to get my 5 a day, not to eat low welfare meat or non free range eggs, and to use the diet as a way to offset some of the Christmas excesses! The plan was to have cereal and dried fruit for breakfast, and then vegetable and lentil soup for both lunch and dinner. Turns out lentils are quite expensive so we settled on yellow split peas. All good for the first few days until we realised we hadn’t actually considered how many calories we need to live on. Luckily we had enough spare in the budget to buy some bread and eggs (thankfully free range ones were on special offer this week).
Is it unhealthy?
I’ve actually eaten healthier in many ways. Mainly because I can only afford one coffee a day and no alcohol, chocolate, cakes etc. I also had to plan all meals and eat at home so ensured we had plenty of cheap vegetable like carrots. The mid week supermarket trip was a huge eye opener though. Processed rubbish is so much cheaper than fresh food. This challenge would have been so much easier if I lived on carbs and artificial flavourings. To get a full calorie intake (say 2000) every 10p I spend has to equate to 200 calories. Fruit and veg really don’t help with that. Smartprice noodles, cheap crisps, clearance shelf junk food suddenly seem more appealing.
Yellow split pea soup and bread
Will you keep it up?
No, definitely not, and I’m beyond grateful that I have that choice. But I will be making some long term changes as a result. More planning, eating cheap healthy food where possible, no alcohol in the week, cut down on caffeine and processed food. Buy as much as I can from local shops – moving to big supermarket own brands made me think about how much suppliers actually make. I’m lucky to be able to decide to spend a bit more on milk, eggs, bread etc to support them. Overall, I want to keep my monthly food bill as low as I can and to keep using the difference to support the people who have to live like this every single day.
JCI UK TOYP (Ten Oustanding Young Persons) Director
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Soraya Bowen