Day 1: Live Below the Line Campaign


I signed up as a UNICEF volunteer last year. So I frequently get emails about different initiatives and campaigns they are planning. The recent one was a Live Below the Line Campaign.  This campaign basically encourages people to live on $1.50 a day for 5 days. According to the Live Below the Line Campaign, “it changes the way how people think about poverty and makes a huge difference by challenging everyday people to live on equivalent of the extreme poverty line for 5 days“. I thought this was an interesting challenge especially for me who tends to eat out a lot and as we all know eating out can be pricey.  So I decided to sign up. At first I thought it was almost impossible to survive on that much money but my thoughts have completely changed at the end of my first day of challenge. You just have to be very selective on what you buy and where you buy. You do need to portion out your food and also cook everyday. And one major thing, you need to control the urge of visiting the vending machine!

live_below_the_line_tytb_1Here is a summary of Day 1:

Breakfast: Breakfast cereal with milk and a banana.

Lunch: Ramen noodles with sausages and cut green beans.

Dinner: Brown rice with cabbage and carrots stir fry.

And a lots of water and of course the free coffee at work. Thank goodness for free coffee at work!

It might sound like I might have gone over the budget looking at what I ate. I did but it wasn’t a lot! Here is a break down of the overall food and their cost.

The breakfast cereal that I bought cost $2.50 a box but that box will last me for 2 weeks. So if you divide $2.50 by 10 weekdays, that’s approximately $0.25. A big gallon of milk cost about $2.00, divide it by 10 again, that’s $0.20. Bananas were $0.54/lb and  5 bananas costed $0.97. So 1 banana is $0.19.

Total cost for breakfast: $0.25 + $0.20 + $0.19 = $0.64

Ramen cost $0.20 a pack. I brought frozen green peas for a dollar. I am pretty sure if I mix them with my ramen like I did today, it will last me 4-5 meals. So for each meal it will cost $0.20. Chicken sausages were sale in Wal-Mart for $0.98. It has 8 sausages and I used 2 of them today. So for this meal the sausages cost $0.12.

Total cost for lunch: $0.20 + $0.20 + $0.12 = $0.52

For dinner I made brown rice with vegetable stir fry. Brown rice came in for $0.88/ pack and each pack will last me for 7-8 meals. Hence cost for 1 meal is $0.11. For vegetable stir fry, I used carrots and cabbage.  Carrots were  $0.74 and each pack had 6 big carrots. I used 2 today so total cost would be $0.24. Cabbage cost me $1.29 for the whole thing. I am going to assume that the whole cabbage is going to last 8 meals. So for one meal it will cost $0.16

Total cost for dinner: $0.11 + $0.24 + $0.16 =  $0.51

Total cost for the whole day…..DRUM ROLL PLEASE……..$1.67 …..OOPS  a little over the budget but I think I am pretty close. The best thing is I didn’t skip any meal. I portioned out my food which was a good thing.  I shopped at Wal-Mart since it is fairly cheaper than other grocery store. But I have to admit that I am a little hungry now :/  Anyways I am hoping day 2 will be much better than this! Stay tuned 🙂

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