Sunday, 28 April 2013

What is it like living in absolute poverty?

Luckily for me and my family I don't know, but this week I am having a taste of what it might be like.  For 5 days all the food and drink I consume will come to no more than £5 a day.

When I signed up for this challenge by the Global Poverty Project I thought it was a great opportunity to spread awareness of absolute poverty and I am confident that I have done so.  Through sharing the challenge at work, home and with my friends I have got 100s of people talking about whether it is possible to live on £1 a day. Unfortunately due to rising costs of basics such as gas, electricity, water and accommodation many people are having less and less money to spend on other essentials  such as food and clothes.  There are many people who have no choice, but to make every penny go as far as they can.

I have just finished my shop for the week after spending several weeks planning and comparing prices at several supermarkets.  
A bag of food shopping
Food glorious food
Here are my thoughts:
  • Adding up and comparing prices in store takes ages: it took 2 hours for a week's shopping!
  • Shopping for 5 days is hard because some items (such as oil) were too expensive to buy, but the cost could be spread over several weeks
  • Cheap means less variety: often the value packets are larger size. Avoiding waste with fresh products can mean eating the same thing several days in a row.
  • Shopping for 2 or more is cheaper and allows more variety.  Luckily my husband agreed to eat the same dinners as me so I could have more exciting food.

 Hints for saving money when shopping
  • Shop around: there are large differences between supermarkets. I went to Tesco because their cheapest products (Everyday Value) were cheaper than Asda and Sainsburys for many products. I found this out by using comparison site
  • Buy loose products: large packets of carrots may seem a bargain, but how many do you actually need? Most supermarkets have scales which allow you to calculate how much things cost.  Tesco made it super easy as they had an electronic scale which told you the cost (no maths required). It's not always cheaper, but it can be.
  • While the meat counter allows you to have a piece cut to size the meat was better quality (and more expensive) than the cheaper packaged versions.  A cheaper option would be to buy a big pack and freeze some.
  • Have a plan, but look for offers.  I had planned to buy a value pack of meatballs, but they had mince on offer.  I knew I had enough money to buy the more expensive option and thought it would be worth the "treat".

Tesco receipt
Some of my shop
My meal plan

Breakfast (just for me)
5 Eggs, 5 slices of toast, 2 sausages to be spread out for 5 days
9p per egg, 4p per slice of toast, 7p per sausage

Lunch (just for me)
Jam sandwiches on brown bread or left over dinner
7p + 3p = 10p per sandwich

Snacks (just for me)
Bananas x 4 (11 p each)
Rich tea biscuits  x 15 (1p each)

Dinner (for J and I)
Pearl barley in chicken stock with carrot and value sausages
20p, 2p, 12p, 28p = 62p or 31p per person

Penne in (ready made) pasta sauce, cheese, garlic bread
15p, 20p, 20p, 32p = 87p or 44p per person

Rice, kidney beans, onion and pork belly
10p + 21p + 5p + 90p = £1.26 or 63p per person

Spaghetti Bolognese (spaghetti, mince, passata and onion)
10p + 62p + 15p + 5p = 92p or 46p per person

Mushroom omelette followed by pancakes and tinned peaches
50p + 28p + 15p + 32p = £1.27 or 64p per person

I love food and having to spend so long planning every meal, cooking with few ingredients will be hard.  Most of all though I am worried about 5 days without chocolate.

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me.  It means a lot and it is all going to support the work of Save the Children

I start tomorrow and you can sponsor me here :

Friday, 5 April 2013

My Blogging Break

In my mind a "blogging break" conjures up something akin to an artist retreat, but unfortunately it was nothing so romantic that kept me quiet (on my blog) for the last few months. My life has been crazy busy over the last few months with work, life, volunteer work, studying. At the beginning of this year my mental to do list was so long that I spent more of my time feeling guilty that I wasn't doing half of it, than doing any of it. So I made a decision to reprioritise and one of the things that lost out was my blog.

I fully intended to post and say the reason for my absence, but as time drifted by it was one more thing on my to do list that didn't get done. Anyway, I'm back now.

I'm still super busy, but I've missed blogging. I'm determined not to let guilt get to me so I will blog when I can and not worry when I can't. My blog also has had a bit of a facelift.

Thank you for coming back and having a read: I hope to see more of you in the future (not in a naked way, well, probably not in a naked way...).

Love Kate x