5 things I’ve learnt about living on £5 for 5 days #LIVEBELOWTHELINE2015

Image courtesy of http://itmagazine.org/

1) I can do this! We_Can_Do_It! The first thing I learnt about taking the Live Below the Line challenge this year is that I can stick to something and be disciplined. This has boosted my sense of well being and determination.  I’m the type that makes 10 new years’ resolutions and by mid January I’ve quit and ‘given up’ on my goals. But by doing the Live Below the Line Challenge I have proved I CAN do it. I can sit with my friends in a pub and just have water, not cave when the delicious lemon drizzle cake that my friend has made is staring at me and when my hob stopped working on the first day of the challenge I didn’t throw in the towel like I wanted to, I just cooked my dinner in the microwave. Do I want a medal? Hell no, because millions of people in this world don’t even have a microwave, a tap with running clean cold water, a beautiful flat to live in, good health….need I go on?

I started the challenge a few weeks ago and completed day 2 and threw in the towel as I wasn’t feeling well, but  I was determined to complete the challenge so I re-thought my shopping list, visited agirlcalledjack.com for some much needed ingredient inspiration and headed to Tesco’s because you get a fair bang for your buck there. The rice and eggs were a real tum filler and the lemon curd gave my monotonous watery porridge a much needed kick. Thank you Jack Monroe – you’re epic and I salute you.

food shop
My food shop for 5 days: Lemon curd, mixed frozen veg, 6 eggs, milk, tea, rice, porridge, x2 tinned peaches & x 4 pots of yoghurt = £5

2) I am incredibly blessed. I know I should be grateful for my life and most days I am, but we all have those days where we play the victim and it’s the ‘woe is me act.’ Well, completing this challenge has given me some much needed perspective and sometimes we loose perspective – we can get so absorbed in our own lives. Well I do anyway.  Also gratitude makes me feel GOOOOD!! gratitude 3) We can all do something in our own little way that helps others and in effect helps ourselves. Whether that’s donating to the local food bank, giving our unworn clothes away to charity or friends or the zillion other random acts of kindness that we can carry out.  It might not feel like we’re affecting much change individually but the collective impact is HUGE. And damn it even our individual acts can change someone else’s life in ways we cannot fathom. We are powerful as individuals but even more so together. I was really moved by everyone that supported me throughout the challenge – friends offered kind words, I received lovely texts, donations flooded my fundraising page, and one of my work colleagues made me muffins which were scrumptious (no I didn’t eat them during the challenge as donated food aint allowed!) I would have found the challenge alot harder without all these wonderful people in my life.

4) There is NO way people who live below the poverty line are able to have a balanced, healthy and nutritious diet, let alone excess money for anything they want to do – like grab a coffee from the local café because that would be half the weekly food budget blown right there on one drink.

5) I hope I’ve learnt to be more mindful as a result of completing this challenge. Mindful of food wastage, mindful of how much ‘stuff’ I actually need in my life, and mindful of how I can be more generous towards other people.

A big thank you to everyone that’s sponsored me. Here’s my fundraising page if you ‘d like to sponsor me – all the money raised goes straight to Unicef.  There’s still time to sponsor me between now and the end of June.

The pictures below sum up what I ate during the 5 day challenge.

Bircher (oats mixed with yoghurt) a typical breakfast or lunch
Bircher (oats mixed with yoghurt) a typical breakfast or lunch
A typical breakfast and/or lunch - porridge made with water and a dash of milk with lemon curd
A typical breakfast and/or lunch – porridge made with water and a dash of milk with lemon curd
snack – tinned peaches
dinner for 5 days - egg, rice & vegetables
dinner for 5 days – egg, rice & vegetables
on day 5 I made oaty & lemon curd cakes - courtesy of Jack Munroe's LBTL 2014
on day 5 I made oaty & lemon curd cakes – courtesy of Jack Munroe’s LBTL 2014

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