We've had quite a lot of interest in our Live Below the Line Challenge! Check out the new tab at the top of this page for links to the most pertinent posts. Boyo has been busy getting the word out at work. I'm going to be talking with my lifegroup in a couple of weeks. We've had some fascinating conversations about what we are doing and why with people. Invariably they tell us we are very brave. I guess perhaps we are. I try not to think about it too much!
People are intrigued, it seems, by the concept. They want to know what it means, eating on less than $2.25NZ a day? "Is that for the whole family, or one person? What on earth will you eat? Perhaps you can come over for a free meal?" Ah, thanks so much for the kind offer, but no-can-do. It's against The Rules.
Here they are, in brief:
$2.25NZ per person per day, for 5 days. $11.25 total for all your food and drink. You can go out and buy everything up front with that $11.25 if you want (and it does makes sense to!). Note: it includes drinks. No extras. You can have your coffee if you really want, but you might get a bit hungry. That also means all the little things in our pantry we tend to take for granted are off-limits, unless you plan on buying them. I'm talking about things like oil, salt, and sugar.
You have to allow for the full cost of an item. No deciding to eat half the packet now during the Challenge, and half afterwards so you only have to pay for half out of your Challenge money! No scooping flour out of your floor bin at home and guessing it might be worth, oh, 50c or something. Nope, you have to BUY it. No buying ahead either. You have to buy at the beginning of the week. So if something happens to be on special, great. But if not, too bad. You have to pay whatever price it is on the Challenge week.
No grabbing from your cupboard. Unless you pay exactly what that item's full cost is.
No freebies. So if you want to go out for dinner, you'd better make sure you are prepared to drool over everyone else's meal without having any of it yourself. If people want to give food gifts, lovely, but save them for AFTER the challenge (chocolate, maybe?! Or a nice juicy mince pie?!?). No food donations allowed.
Gardeners? Food from your garden is okay, but again you have to pay what it is worth out of your Challenge money.
You can share food with other Challenge participants. This means equally dividing a packet of rice, for example, and its cost between you. It does not mean that someone decides they don't need all their Challenge food so they can give you some. No freebies, remember?!
Why so many rules? I think it is to try and make this as realistic as possible. Obviously, we have no idea what people living in extreme poverty actually go through, but we're hoping to get a little glimpse into their everyday struggles from doing Live Below the Line. We aren't going to do that if we allow ourselves too many concessions.
People living in extreme poverty very rarely have rich relatives who just happen to pop in with a piping hot meal, right when they have eaten the last of their food for the week. Nope, their relatives are usually in the same boat.
People living in extreme poverty usually aren't able to save. So that means they can't buy two week's worth of rice this week and keep some for next week. Having so little cash each day makes it really hard to put any aside. So they are limited in what they can buy.
They don't have a pantry overflowing with tasty morsels like we do either, so that's why it's off limits during the Challenge.
So there you go. The Rules. Anyone up for a Challenge?!
Live Below the Line suggests that if you don't think you'd manage a full Challenge, you can always do it for just one day. Why not have a go? Head off to the supermarket with $2.25 and see what you can come up with!