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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Can you "Live Below The Line" on $1.50 per day?

Recently there has been a lot of attention directed at food stamps and food stamp recipients. Mostly, people are concerned about the abuse of government benefits.  But the world poverty line is even lower than you'd expect.  Many people only have $1.50 a day to spend on food.  April 27 to May 1 many people will try to do just that.  Live on $1.50 per day through the Live Below The Line Challenge.  You can also choose to donate to groups such as Heifer International, The Hunger Project, and Poverty International.  The kids at my church put money in a piggy bank so they can sponsor a poor beast for Heifer International.

Personally, I think this is better than the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Anyone can dump a bucket of ice over their heads.  ALS is a rare disease.  World hunger is more universal.  I think I might actually just go ahead with a donation.  Commit to the plan with friends so you can pool our resources.  It always goes a little farther that way.  Unfortunately, there's just the two of us, so we get $15. 

Some ideas:

Ramen noodle diet:
I can't use this option because I think I might be undiagnosed with Celiac disease considering the amount of problems I've had from eating wheat products.  If you search around, you can get Ramen noodles for as low as 25 cents each.  You can buy a dozen eggs to add some protein, cabbage for some vitamins, and some Sriracha rooster sauce for flavor.  This actually can get expensive and the high salt content is not very good for you.

Lotsa Pasta
Similar to the Ramen noodle diet, you can buy plenty of pasta for relatively little coin and get multiple servings.  However, if you are restricted from eating wheat products, this is not for you.

Tacos Mexico plan:
$5       1 family pack of chicken drumsticks (usually $1 a pound for conventionally raised caged fowl.)
$2       Family pack of tortillas (Less if we made from scratch.)
$2       Brown rice
$1       Farmer's market cabbage

$1.50  Farmer's Market carrots (ditto)
$1       Spices from home, jalapenos, garlic
$1       3 Onions
$1.50 soft tomatoes (cheaper at the Farmer's market

Unfortunately, the stuff I was trying to grow will not be ready for the challenge.  This would not necessarily save costs, since you are supposed to account for any expenses, such as water. You can use things you already have, but you have to account for their costs.  In a way, this isn't fair. If you buy some bulk pack at Costco, you are not going to have the same costs per pound.  Since my current family is only 2 people, I can't justify bulk purchasing on that level.

The smaller your "group" the harder this is.  If you have a large family, you can buy more food to distribute with a greater number of people, hence the cost per person goes down dramatically.  This makes the food stamp challenge alot more realistic.

Actually, I think I might need to give more thought to the diet for this week...  I'm obsessed with what I'm going to eat and if I really want my meals to be those things for an entire week. I'm also very concerned about sustainable and ethical sourcing.  Once I go with the $1 a pound chicken, I'm sure I'm taking a step down from free range and organic.

Anyone else thinking about this?  Drop me a comment.

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