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Next week D and I are taking part in the Live Below The Line challenge.  Basically the ethos of the challenge is this: 1.2 billion people around the world are living in extreme poverty, and Live Below the Line believes we all have a responsibility to change this.

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Live Below The Line believe that understanding poverty is so vital, that they challenge us fortunate people who live above the poverty line to see what it’s like to live below the poverty line for a few days.  Understanding how difficult life is for those living in poverty may galvanize people into action and transform lives.  Each person or group doing the challenge raises money for a nominated charity.

You get a food budget of $2.25 per person per day, for a week.  That’s it.  (Here’s how they came up with that number.)

The rules are simple:

  • From the 23rd – 27th of September we can spend no more than $2.25 a day on food and drink.
  • This means D and I have a total of $22.50 with which to buy all our ingredients for every meal that week.
  • The full cost of all the items we eat must be included in our budget. This means budgeting for whole packets of food items such as rice, pasta, noodles and eggs etc.
  • For items such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices, we must work out the cost of each item per gram and budget our shopping proportionally.
  • We can share the cost of ingredients amongst a team, as long as no participant spends more than $2.25 a day or their total $11.25 budget. Working as a team allows you to pool together funds and do more with your cooking.
  • We can’t grab a cheeky snack from the cupboard unless we include the cost of buying the item new in our budget.
  • We can use food sourced from our garden as long as we can account for the price of production.
  • We can’t accept ‘donated’ food from family or friends, but monetary donations towards our fundraising goals are acceptable, and encouraged!
  • We are allowed to drink tap water.

Heck!  Now there’s a challenge.

D and I are donating any money we raise (plus our usual grocery budget) to Partners Relief and Development who have been bringing freedom and fullness to the children in Burma through relief, development, healthcare and education.  (I will be participating in their Run for Relief in November too.)  If you’d like to donate to us, you can do so here, it’s such a great cause.

D and I are meal-planning ninjas from way back (seriously, if you’ve never done it, you will save soooo much money and waste soooo much less), but this challenge will be my toughest meal plan yet.  We’re pooling resources with our Minister from Church and his wife to help stretch our budget a bit further.  Our Minister’s wife is a dietician, so I’m glad to be nutting out a plan with her!

I’m sure we can get creative, but just thinking about how little our money will get us, and the effort it will take to plan our meals has already given me even more compassion for those living in poverty.  It’s hard to eat well on that kind of money, and I imagine meals get very monotonous.

I can’t even begin to think about those unable to feed their kids without welling up with tears.   I must admit to times where being overweight utterly shames me when there are so many people out there who are dying of starvation right this second.

My low carb, high fat diet will go out the window for the week, as I imagine I will need carbs to feel full as I won’t be able to afford to eat protein, unless we can get some eggs dirt cheap (or do I mean cheep?).  One good thing is there’s definitely no room for sugary rubbish in that kind of budget, so perhaps a whole bunch of people doing the challenge may experience some withdrawal symptoms?

The day after the challenge I will be hopping on a plane to Australia to attend a wedding where my meal is costing the equivalent of our weekly food budget!  What a crazy world…

Have you done the Live Below The Line Challenge?  Would you?

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