08 May 2012

Live Below the Line: Day 1

Here's a breakdown of what I ate yesterday.

  • 1 Linda McCartney veggie sausage [16p -- I stock up on them when they are £1 or less for a box of 6]
  • 1 slice of garlic toast [3p -- 2p for the slice of bread (20 slices/loaf and it was on sale for 39p) and ~1p to spray the toast with a little olive oil, rub a cut piece of garlic on it, and sprinkle on a wee bit of salt]

This is pretty much my breakfast every morning, along with a cup of tea.  However, I felt like having a second cup this morning and did before realising it was Day 1 of the Live Below the Line challenge.

  • 2 cups of tea [4p -- 2p each -- I got a box of 50 bags of Clipper organic white tea for £1]
And, just as a treat, I had

  • 1 rich tea biscuit [1p -- they were 24p a pack and there are at least 24 biscuits in each pack].
I was already up to 24p.  I really wanted another cup of tea while I was fixing lunch, but I decided to really be frugal and poured hot water over my old bag.  I know a lot of people do this all the time and it is no big deal to them, but I generally am not into double-brewing my tea bags.  I didn't really enjoy the double-dipped tea bag tea, but it warmed me up.  I made lunch in the slow-cooker and did the dishes while it cooked.  I really started fancying a little snack while I was doing the dishes, but decided I couldn't "afford" one.

For lunch, I really splurged with a butternut squash and lentils dish (it was delicious and totally worth it, but cramped my budget for the rest of the day).

  • Slow-cooked butternut squash, lentils, and onions with herbs and spices [50p for 1/2 a squash (I ate all of it, too, even the peel, which softens up quite a bit once cooked and is perfectly edible), 5p for half an onion, 6p for the lentils (which I got really cheap from  http://www.approvedfood.co.uk/) and 1p for the herbs and spices (I've mentioned this elsewhere in my blog -- always try to get your herbs & spices either in bulk or from a Chinese or Asian grocer or the 'foreign' section of the grocery store -- do NOT buy spices marketed toward middle-class white people because you are totally getting ripped off), so a whopping 62p total!!]
I did get a bonus snack out of all that, though.
  • Dry-roasted (in the oven) squash seeds [free!]
I was now up to a whopping 86p.  Only 14p left for the rest of the day.  Later in the afternoon, I was starting to feel desperate for a snack or a hot drink.  I let one of my sons feed me a piece of his pasta.  I had 3 bites of my son's cereal.  I debated eating a stale biscuit I found hidden under one of the dishes on the table.  Eventually, I caved.
  • 1 cup of Barleycup and a splash of soymilk [2p]
Only 12p left for dinner.  I decided to take drastic measures.  
  • 2 bowls of popcorn [5p]
  • Small handful of dates [3p]
If you think that sounds crazy cheap for the popcorn and dates, it is.  I bought a 50 lb bag several months ago for about £14.  I have made popcorn several times a week ever since and it doesn't even look like I've made a dent in it.  I also bought 10kg of dates for £15 (it usually costs about £18-20, although I've seen 10kg for as cheap as a tenner before).

So, I was doing really well.  But then...
  • 1 wee clementine [8p]
I picked it up and started peeling without even thinking!  By then, I was committed to eating it.  I could have fed it to the kids, but they were getting ready for bed and, besides, that's kind of like cheating.

Grand total for the day:  £1.04

Whoops, I went over by 4p!  That's not too bad, though.  I think tomorrow will be easier because I am planning on having a much cheaper lunch.  The hardest part about this for me is not snacking and not having a cup of tea whenever I fancy one.  I also sometimes have a small glass of wine or a measure of whisky (or bourbon or brandy) before bed, which is clearly not in my £1/day budget.  In this case, I didn't even consider a nightcap because I fell asleep getting my kids to sleep, which happens 2 or 3 nights a week, no matter how badly I want to stay awake!


  1. I love that you focus on all meals. I never eat breakfast, rarely eat lunch and so mine was pretty easy. Maybe bland and plain but I also figure, those people who live in poverty, aren't eating 100% organic food. So, I ate my half cup rice, spinach, carrot shavings, homemade teriyaki sauce, coffee with almond milk (b/c it's cheaper) and ended up at $1.17. :)

  2. I have never been able to skip breakfast -- or any meal. The best I've ever been able to do is delay them by an hour or two.
    $1.17 is good -- I think the US's Live Below The Line is at $1.25.

  3. The US limit is $1.50/day or $7.50 for the week.