Minnie is going to live below the line

Posted by Minnie Rahman Activism Assistant in Oxfam's North of England office

18th Apr 2013

Have you ever thought about how much you money spend on food in a single day? It's an unusually sunny afternoon in Manchester and I have realised that eggs and toast for breakfast, two cups of tea , a sandwich and a drink for lunch have already cost me £12. And it's only 2 o'clock. I will definitely have dinner and some snacks in between so I will have spent at least £25 on food and drink in a day.

To put this in the perspective, 1.4 billion people across the world currently live on less than £1 a day. That's not just to feed their families, but to pay for healthcare, transport, education and EVERYTHING else. I can barely comprehend having so little to spend.

In a bid to try and get closer to understanding what people living below the poverty line go through every day I am taking part in the Live Below the Line Challenge.  I will spend £1 a day for 5 days on all food and drink. I think that it's going to be a lot harder than it seems. Tap water is the only freebie in my budget so I'll have to cut out most of the snacks that I take for granted. Goodbye chocolate and tea, hello plain boiled rice.

I'm not the greatest cook at the best of times so finding inspiration and getting recipes from others is really going to help me in my challenge. I've already come up with a simple recipe for vegetable curry that can be split over two meals: half a bag of rice for 20p, a jar of curry sauce for 40p and a tin of kidney beans for 27p. It may not be the healthiest or most ethical meal but being picky about the type of food we eat is not a luxury that those on the poverty line can afford. 

To share my experience with living on a tight budget, I'm going to create a photo blog of everything weird and wonderful that I'll be making. I'll juxtapose my photos with pictures of other things which normally cost £1 to get us all thinking. As some of my colleagues in the office are also taking part in the challenge, we will be having a combined group lunch. And to raise awareness among my friends and family, I am hosting a Come Dine with Me Below the Line evening and will spend only 33p per person.

I'm really looking forward to sharing and comparing my experience with everyone. It's an invaluable opportunity to reflect on our fortunate lives. I'm really excited to start the challenge as I know it is going to be just that - a challenge!

Does this sound like something you could do? If you decide to take part in the challenge you can come up with your own great ideas for blogging, events and other ways to share your experience. Join me and thousands of people who already take part too and sign up to Live Below the Line at www.livebelowtheline.com/uk.

Would you like to get more inspiration right now? Check out Lucy's LBL story on how she lived below the line.

 

Blog post written by Minnie Rahman

Activism Assistant in Oxfam's North of England office

More by Minnie Rahman