Living #BelowTheLine

After getting a bit of negativity out of my system, I’ve decided to focus on gratitude moving forward.

Right as I started to focus on being truly thankful for everything I’ve got, I heard about the Live Below The Line campaign. To raise money and awareness about global issues of poverty, participants pledge to spend only $1.75 per day on food.

I mulled it over for a bit. I hesitated to take part because the start date was just a couple of days away and I hadn’t done any fundraising, research or preparation. I have the added challenge of needing to stick to gluten free items, and most of the suggested low-cost meals contain bread or flour.

But I think this challenge came along at just the right time for me, and at the last minute I decided to jump in. I signed up and chose to fundraise in support of Make Poverty History.

So, it’s Day Two of the five-day challenge and I’m learning some humbling lessons. Here are a couple of them:

When you have little money, fresh food becomes a luxury item.

As a new Ottawa resident, I was interested in finding out what kind of food box programs exist here. Delivery services like Mama Earth Organics are pretty popular in Toronto and I hoped to find something similar here.

I happened to meet someone who volunteers with the Good Food Box program. When I realized I lived right down the street from one of the drop-off locations I decided to try it out. I signed up for a small box.

For $11.50 (including a $1.50 fee for ordering online) I got a load of produce including potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, bananas, oranges, and a few other essentials. They lasted very well and I still have a few carrots and onions left.

Even with the amazing savings I got by purchasing produce through a food box program, I still managed to go over budget on my first #BelowTheLine meal.

Yikes. When I thought about what my simple meal would have cost at regular grocery store prices, I started to realize just how difficult this challenge is.

Small budget, small portions.

I like to think I’m pretty eco-concious, and that I don’t take the food I eat for granted. I like to think I’m pretty thrifty too, and that I don’t waste what I don’t have to.

But to survive on $1.75/day, I’ve had to re-evaluate my portion sizes. When I realized I’d gone over budget on my first meal, I halved it and realized I still had enough left over for at least one more meal.

Soup, veggies & rice.

Soup, veggies & rice. Not bad!

You can follow my progress on my #BelowTheLine fundraising page. Please leave me a message and consider making a small donation to support my efforts.

Do you have any advice on how to maximize your food budget? How do you practice gratitude when simple things in life, like having food to eat, are so easy to take for granted? Please share!



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