Tomorrow (Monday) I will be starting the Live Below The Line challenge, raising money for Christian Aid, and spending £1 a day or less on food and drink (apart from water), travel and socialising for five days.
One of the reasons Live Below The Line say they set the challenge is because they think it will allow “people in the Global North to better understand the daily challenges faced by those trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty.” The Extreme Poverty Line is defined as £1 a day.
Now, I am under no illusions that by spending £1 a day for just five days, while my rent and utility bills are still being paid, and I can go back to my normal life at any time, is anything like living on the Extreme Poverty Line. 1.4 billion people around the world have to live on this for all their needs, many of them have families to feed and live a lot more strenuous lifestyle than I do. I am never going to know what it is like and I am doing this by choice, not necessity. However, I do think that in a society where we consume so much, much more than our share, it is good to take a step back and take stock.
I also love challenges and, having done a similar challenge before, have been feeling pretty cocky. But last time I did this I was living a student life in Cardiff, a city a lot cheaper than London. I also had my fingers in a lot of pies and hung out with a lot of people who were also into alternative ways of living meaning meaning that through a sharing culture, volunteering, and group outings to skip food from bins, I managed to get a lot of free food anyway. At the moment, although I live on less than the London living wage, I am definitely not living so much of the free lifestyle, although it is something I would like to get back to.
Today I scouted out some prices and was pleasantly surprised at how cheap some food was when you looked for it. I could definitely feed myself for under £1 a day, it would be quite unhealthy but doable. But the pleasantness wore off as I started to question how shops managed to sell their bargain ranges so cheap. I’m sure someone is loosing out along the way, probably a lot of people. I’m going to have a lot to think about this week.
Keep checking the blog for updates throughout the week and a spending diary for each day.
If you have some spare cash and want to sponsor me, you can visit my fundraising page here.