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 :

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