Recently I signed up to Live Below The Line after being inspired by a friend who is also passionate about fair trade (you can read her blog here). It is a fund raising event, but my main objective was to challenge myself. To be honest I’m not a huge fan of aid; I believe in fair trade as a more viable solution to the alleviation of poverty. I signed up simply to experience what’s it like to live on $2 a day.
In the planning process, I calculated:
- how much a slice of cheese was
- how much a slice of bread was
- how much a cup of rice was
Such things never crossed my mind before. I also came to the realisation that I couldn’t possibly afford any meat at $2 a day. Mostly I relied on rice, weetbix and bread. Here’s what I ate on a typical day:
Two pieces of weetbix with milk as usual. This costs roughly $0.30.
Rice and frozen veggie come to the rescue! Frozen peas and corns cost $4 per kg. I used 200g per meal, that’s $0.80.
I had $0.90 left to spend on dinner:
- two slices of bread with peanut butter: $0.50
- one banana: $0.30
- one carrot: $0.10
After five days of living on $2 a day, I lost 0.5kg and I can honestly say that it’s not easy. On Saturday morning I had a chicken pie for breakfast 🙂
My main takeaway:
We can’t expect someone who’s financially stressed to take strategic steps to break poverty cycle. When our mind is constantly on how much a cup of rice is, it is extremely difficult to step back and think strategically. Only when basic human needs are met, then we can talk about the next step.