LBTL: Lessons from Day 1

I’m at the end of Day 1 of Living Below the Line, and am pretty happy to say I’ve been doing well so far! I’m sure this might change, as my menu is going to involve essentially eating the same meals everyday.

I planned my menu pretty carefully though, and am lucky enough to live reasonably close to a Tesco Superstore, which had the ‘value’ version of most things I needed. I did trek to both Tesco and Lidl, and harassed the sales staff at both to find what I needed even if it wasn’t on the shelf.

£4.92 for all this!

£4.92 for all this!

Everything came to a total of £4.92, with the remaining 8p left over for salt/pepper. Incredibly happy I managed to work tea and milk into my budget, because working full-time without caffeine would have been a nightmare (for me and my colleagues…)




My meals for Day 1:

Brunch on a budget

Brunch on a budget

Surprisingly good pasta/questionable hot dogs

Surprisingly good pasta/questionable hot dogs

Brunch on a budget worked out pretty well and so did my pasta.I also had a slice of toast mid-afternoon, which kept me going until dinner.

Top Tip: Flavouring is vital on a budget – 20p stock cubes and 35p tomato paste made all the difference to this dish. On the other hand, 50p tinned hot dogs genuinely taste like reconstituted cat food. Might have to give those a miss for the rest of the week…

Poverty and the brain
I also came across this amazing infographic from the Social Work Degree Center, which shows the ways in which poverty affects the brain and how malnutrition can impact every aspect of your life, from employment to education  to mental health and even sex. It’s US-focused, but definitely worth a look to think how living in extreme poverty creates challenges in every aspect of your life.

I expect that hunger at work will make me more grumpy, less focused, and probably less efficient this week, but I (and my boss) know that this will only affect me for 5 days. Having to deal with this long-term however would create far greater challenges, ranging from poor health to potentially reduced cognitive ability.

The work that International Service is doing aims to alleviate this kind of extreme poverty, by finding ways to empower the people it most effects. I’ll talk about the work I will be doing in Palestine in my next post.

I’m so grateful to have reached my minimum fundraising target(!), but want to raise as much as possible for the charity, so please donate here:

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