Live Below The Line – How we did it

Live Below the Line

I knew that when I signed up to Live Below The Line between April 28th and May 2nd,  it would be tough. However I didn’t actually realise how tough it would be!

I roped Paul in to doing the challenge with me as there was no way I could do this on my own and I am so glad that I did.

The week was very tough and very long. I had zero energy and was snappy and moody.

We did our food shop on the Sunday and decided that even though we only had £10 to last us both the week, we wanted to try to eat reasonably healthy. Well, we soon discovered that having a healthy, balanced and nutritional diet when you are on a very strict budget is extremely hard!

We ended up buying:

  • Turkey Drumstick – £2.62
  • 1kg Baby Potatoes – £1.00
  • 500g Penne Pasta – £0.50
  • 2 x 500g Value Passata – £0.86 (43p each)
  • Loaf of wholemal bread – £0.75
  • 454g Value Strawberry Jam – £0.29

I already had lentils and garden peas at home but as per the rules we factored in the full cost of these items.

  • 500g Green Lentils – £1.09
  • 1.2kg Value Garden Peas – £1.35

So our total weekly shop came to: £8.46

I made a nice turkey soup which lasted us until Wednesday and then we lived on pasta and sauce. We ended up buying some value Custard Creams (£0.64) and Bourbon biscuits (£0.43) just as a treat because we were getting slightly bored and hungry. In total we spent £9.53 for the week.


Although I had been really hungry, had a headache for 3 days and had zero energy, this experience has opened my eyes to how 1.2 billion people worldwide are currently living. It’s taught me that there are so many people surviving on very little food and there is little or no chance of being able to have fresh fruit and vegetables every day! We often take it for granted that we have stocked fridge, freezer and cupboards. That we can just have something to eat when we want and don’t have to make sure that there is enough to last.

As Paul did the challenge too I wanted him to let you know how he found it, so I will pass you over:

Once we had bought our supplies for the week it really dawned on me just how hard the week was going to be. Not so much the amount of food, but the fact that it was literally just a couple of different meals. Even so I was determined to get started and be strong!

The first couple of days weren’t as bad as I expected, although the lack of a nice cuppa in the morning was not helping me concentrate at work. I didn’t feel too hungry and was enjoying the turkey soup followed by bread and jam for a little sweetness. However, by Wednesday lunchtime the novelty of our soup had worn off and I was glad to be moving on to our pasta that evening. An extra slice of bread and jam at lunch helped get me through the afternoon. As we had also decided to spend our remaining budget on some biscuits I also had a few custard creams to look forward to that evening.

Thursday was my worst day as I really was not liking the pasta with sauce at all. Whilst having lunch I was seriously missing the turkey soup, and it was only the couple of biscuits that got me through the day. This was also the worst day in terms of feeling hungry, again not so much by the lack of food, more by the lack of variation. I must admit by the evening I was seriously struggling as I couldn’t even finish my dinner, it was so bland. The only light at the end of the tunnel was that the next day was our last.

Friday was the best day because I knew it was not long until the challenge was over!! This kept me going throughout the day and after work. The sheer thought of different foods, and a cup of tea, spurred me on to the end.

The whole experience changed my thought process regarding food, and the amount we waste, where others are having to survive on just £1 a day.  My eyes have been opened to the struggles others have to face on a daily basis. It is also amazing how resourceful we can be when the budget is restricted. After our five days I am finding myself thinking more about planning lunches for work days ahead, and not being such a spendthrift. There are others who struggle due to poverty and we should all be looking to use our food wisely, and help others in need where we can


Both Paul and I would like to thank everyone who supported us during our week of living Below the Line and to every one who donated. We managed to raise £180.00 for Concern Worldwide!! THANK YOU!




  1. May 12, 2014 / 2:17 pm

    I honestly don’t know how you did this. The thought of living off the same things for days at a time makes me want to cry. I have real sympathy for people that have to live like that week in and week out x

    • May 12, 2014 / 9:10 pm

      Tbh, I don’t know how we did it either! Perseverance and knowing that it was for a good cause! x