This (final) live below the line blog post finds me tucked up in bed with 15 meals for a total of £5 under my belt (literally!!) and looking forward to a nice big fry up, proper coffee and some juice in the morning!
The menu for today was (guess...?) porridge and a coffee for breakfast, broth, toast, an apple and two biscuits for lunch, and a plate of egg fried rice with frozen vegetables for dinner (and a couple of biscuits to help me along the way); and the total is about 82p...
Today, I have kept finding myself almost reaching for a piece of cake; or having a glass of wine; or having some chocolate for pudding and having to stop myself! I guess this means I am getting used to it and not thinking about my diet constantly.
On the other hand, I have noticed this week how much it consumes you to have to think about how much you are eating. We have weighed, and divided, and added, and costed, and counted, all week to ensure we are within budget. If you are doing it for real, I know you don't have the luxury of choice and of counting the cost of different ingredients to work out the cheapest in the same way - you have what is there, and you make it last. But it must also consume you - the worry of where the next meal will come from, of whether it will stretch to feed all the family, of the rising costs of your staple food, of the lack of anything different to eat.
I did have a mini-meltdown eating my porridge this morning. Because it's pretty boring, I found that having the internet on over breakfast helped distract me while I ate it! I was looking at some of the videos on the #belowtheline hashtag which told of some people's reasons for doing it. Together with this, and remembering a friend pointing out yesterday that for many people it's way below £1, and a bowl of porridge is all they get, every day, day in, day out, I suddenly looked at my bowl of uninspiring oats, imagined what it would be like to know no other food, and blubbed like a baby!
I know it's contrived, because I can go back to 'normal' tomorrow. And because I still have electric light, heating, transport, gas to cook on, shampoo, cleaning products, new clothes. But I really do think it has given me the tiniest insight into what it might be like to have to survive on so little, with so little variety.
I have been surprised and blessed by everyone's reactions to it - everyone I have told has been really interested in what it is and what the point is. No-one has told me it's a stupid idea, and most people have said 'oo I could never do it, well done!'
So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for supporting me and sponsoring me (I've raised nearly £300 so far for Christian Aid, a great charity who plug away at reducing world poverty year after year... if you'd like to still sponsor me please go to www.livebelowtheline.com/me/alisonely )
Same place next year?! Who's in?
The Garth Brooks Dilemma.
2 years ago