Tuesday, 29 January 2013

£1 a Day Challenge - Previous Attempts

Hello all!

Thank you for all your comments so far. I really like Angelsey Allsorts' idea of making oat cake/chappaties to go with meals. I'll give them a go tomorrow!

A few people have suggested extending the challenge to £28 for four weeks, to enable the purchase of eggs, flour, fruit and other items to make a more balanced diet. Interestingly, this is sort of what my Mum's doing this week. She's made a spreadsheet of the cost-per-serving of all the food in the house so that she can calculate the total cost of what she eats during the week. This means that she can take advantage of buying in bulk at a cheaper price. It will be interesting to compare menus at the end of the week!

I've been doing the challenge for two days now. Here's how it's going so far:

Breakfast: porridge made with half a cup (~45g) of porridge oats, half a cup (125ml) of UHT milk and half a cup of water. No sugar :(

Lunch: lentil soup (made with two carrots to bulk it up a bit!), two slices of bread "buttered" with baking fat.

Dinner: stew (one can of new potatoes, two carrots, a parsnip, onion and some leftover stock from lunch made two portions), with one slice of bread.

Snack: one sixth of the chocolate swiss roll. (Glad this made you chuckle, Tania. It wasn't very exciting though!)

You might notice there's only one day's worth of food up there. That's because I've eaten the EXACT SAME MEALS twice in a row! Don't worry, dinner will be different tomorrow!

So far, I haven't really been hungry because I've been eating such bulky foods, although my energy levels have taken a hit. I'm not sure if that's due to lack of calories or caffeine!

Since that food wasn't too exciting, I thought I'd tell you a bit about similar challenges that have been done in the past!

The first challenge I found was by Stuart Jefferies of the Guardian. He was challenged to live on £10 for a week, but somewhat underwhelmingly he just ate food he already had in his cupboards and spent the entire week moaning about not having enough to buy wine. He blew the majority of his budget on a meal deal in Marks and Spencer.

Dannielle is a student who "read his (Stuart Jefferies') account with slight disgust". She took the same £10 challenge and was much more successful, scouring Tesco, Asda and Lidl for the best deals. Whilst she did eat rice, pasta etc. from her cupboards, it was a much more admirable attempt at eating on a shoestring budget.

The best attempt by far was by Kath, from Bristol, who lived on £1 a day for an entire year! This covered everything apart from rent and utilities (as far as I can tell), and even stretched to a trip to France (hitch-hiking and staying with family)! She recommends finding toiletries as freebies from magazines, attending free events for food/entertainment and hosting a clothes swap with friends. It's amazing that you can live on £365 for a year in the UK!

Do you think you could survive on £365 a year? How would you do it?


Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Sorry to be a bit late with this ! I make lentil burgers. Cook a handful of lentils in half a pint of stock made with stock cube til softish. Strain (keep juice for another day) mix with a crated carrot if you have one, a finely chopped onion and a handful of oats. Season and shape into cakes and fry in a very small amount of fat. Won't be too long and the food for free should be bursting in the hedgerows !

Donna S said...

I love Kath Kelly's book - I've re-read it for inspiration several times (makes me nostalgic for those cheapo 2007 pre-crunch deals, now though!)

Kearnygirl said...

That certainly is a challenge living on that small amount of money. I don't think I could do it. Everything here in the US is so expensive. I went to get sliced bread yesterday at the supermarket and stood there stunned for at least 10 minutes because every loaf I picked up was $4 or more! I finally found a loaf that was on sale for $3.59 (US). It is ridiculous. I give you alot of credit for being able to stick to this challenge.

Pamela said...

I have thought about trying something like this, but $1 a day (or $1.50 if we go by the exchange rate, lol) doesn't cover much. There are a lot of people stateside who've done it and blogged about it. Some came away with a new appreciation for how much energy and planning it takes to live on next to nothing, others used coupons and got lots of cut price convenience foods. Chef Karl Wilder tried to feed his family for a month on a food stamp allotment and found that while he lost weight, his actual health (blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.) was worse. He's now trying to do it, but with a focus on cooking and eating foods that are supposed to be good for diabetics. It's been quite a challenge. (His website is www.fusiononthefly.com).

It sounds like you're eating healthful meals, though your energy may be taking a hit because you're likely eating reduced calories (even though the root veg are filling you up).

Honestly, I'm not sure I'm disciplined enough to do what you're doing! I am making a concerted effort to eat only what I've got stocked up, these days (though I will break down and buy some flour so I can make bread).

minimiser deb said...

I think if you use 4 weeks money to buy a big shop to last the month your diet can be more varied.I dont take sugar in drinks but keep the little packets when in a cafe, can I send you some for your porridge?

gillibob said...

Thought you might like this as a help. http://www.cheap-family-recipes.org.uk/index.html

This was based on £25 a week for four people, but can easily be adapted.

Eco Thrifty Living said...

This is a really interesting challenge. I think it is great to show that surviving on very little can be done, however does that mean that all your meals have to be comprised of the cheapest ingredients you can find in the supermarket?

What about taking on would be food waste from friends and family? Ask them to clear out their cupboards and give you anything they aren't going to use that is near it's sell buy date (you didn't pay for it)! Even fruit and veg past it's best can be great used in pies or cakes!

Frantic's Antics said...

I love this post- I am (ahem) a bit older than you, but am having porridge for breakfast and lentil soup for lunch too! I am doing it to get some weight off, but I will be reading your posts on living off a quid a day with interest. Good luck with your PhD