This is what I get for listening to the radio on the way to work. The dj starts talking about Josh Groban and how he wrote this song called about it. And this year Ben Affleck is going to live on $1.50 a day. These snippets of semi-attention while maneuvering through the DC commute got stuck in my head. They stuck enough that I googled $1.50 a day Ben Affleck Josh Groban – and up comes “Live Below the Line”
The premise – bring awareness of extreme poverty by living on $1.50 a day for 5 days. Now I can’t get to work on $1.50 a day (beyond straight up metro and parking costs, I don’t think $1.50 in gas would get me to the metro station) – but the challenge is to eat for 5 days on only $1.50 a day. I wondered if I (she who can drop $7.50 on a really good latte) could do it. So I decided to sign up and try.
Next thing I needed was a plan and to go shopping. Rice was a must buy. Beyond that, I was trying to get creative. $7.50 for 5 days – and not breaking into my overstocked-could-feed-dozens-in-a-zombie-apocolypse-pantry – was going to take some strategic thinking. Suggestions from friends included bananas, beans, canned tuna. I’ve seen ONE campaigns promotion of sweet potatoes – and beyond bananas I knew I wanted at least one other “fresh” food.
Here’s the final tally of $7.50 for 5 days
– 1.5 lb bag of white rice ($1)
– 1 sweet potato ($.96)
– 3 bananas ($.57)
– 2 cans of tuna ($1.36)
– 1 chicken leg quarter ($1.01)
– 1 can of black beans ($.59)
– 1 box of raisins ($1)
– 2 cans of corn ($.98)
I debated a $.50 1/2 pint of milk for quite a while but opted for the second can of corn. I’m wondering if was the right decision. Other options I considered and put back were a cucumber, a bell pepper, and a lemon (that many days of only drinking water is going to have me wishing for a lemon I just know it). I also debated the bag of dried beans over the canned beans.
But part of my problem is time. As I normally dash off to work in the morning, instead I’m writing this post while the rice for breakfast and lunch cooks. Since I haven’t picked up the bananas yet, there was no such thing as the usual quick breakfast and pick up lunch out today.
The average adult needs about 2000 calories a day according to webmd’s chart. Personally, with my height and frame and lifestyle, most apps put me at 1200-1300 calories a day. But if my math is right – when I go to stretch this over 5 days – I’m probably not going to reach even that each day. The package of rice says it contains 15 servings – just enough to get me through the week. I guess we will find out.
I normally am fairly careful about my food budget spending and watching what I eat. But looking at the small pile of food that’s supposed to get my through five days, I wonder how well I actually did. And it dawns on me the hard choices someone else makes – not just for one week – but day in and day out.
While the challenge is just that – a simple challenge. The bigger question is what can we do. For me the next step is donate the remainder of my usual grocery budget – and if you are feeling inspired to contribute – here’s my link https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/amworland
It’s not a lot – at least not compared to what most of us spend on everything else to “live” – but sometimes it’s just a matter of believing that small steps can make a big difference…