Iím going to try live on a pound a day in January. Anything that isnít toothpaste or mouthwash or medicine that passes my lips needs to come into this budget.
Iím going to treat water as free ( for the purpose of the plan ), and attempt to stick to tap water where possible for the duration - obviously with occasional business meetings, I may have to stray onto bottled occasionally. Iím not sure if this is possible, and to make matters more complicated, Iím going to start with a proverbial ďbare cupboardĒ.
In order to keep to budget Iíve decided to base this diet around the products available at Aldi - the price sensitive supermarket chain that should need no introduction.
I do anticipate the possible need to calculate the edible left-over meals and ingredients at the end of January and deducting the value of my total in order to meet this challenge. Letís see how close I can get!
Whilst Iím not doing this for charity ( see below ) It seems remiss of me not to use this opportunity to facilitate charitable giving.
This article mentioned the Trussell Trust ( Registered Charity Number 1110522 ). The Trussell Trust works to empower local communities to combat poverty and exclusion in the UK and Bulgaria. It seems to be an appropriate organisation to promote via this ďstuntĒ.
Iíve set up a ďjust givingĒ page for anyone who is left feeling that they want to make a difference!
This is important. As a sanity and perhaps life saver, Iím building in a cheat mechanism - a get out of jail card to give me a few meals off.
The idea is that if I prepare a meal for two out of my budget, I get to have the equivalent meal outside of my budget - and by equivalent Iím referring to the time of day, rather than expense.
How will this work? I have £2 for two days. On day one, I have breakfast for 20p, but for lunch I prepare lunch for two for 70p, and for dinner I cook a meal for 45p. On day four, I have breakfast for 15p, dinner for 50p, and have lunch at a michelin star restaurant, washing down a couple of bottles of red in the process.
My total ďon planĒ spend for the above example is £2 - as despite eating at a michelin starred restaurant, I've cooked 6 meals in two days on £2. I should add at this point that Iím not planning to eat at michelin starred restaurants in january - itís just an exaggeration to prove a point.
Iíve got to start this with a very important detail - I make a decent living and have no financial need to try to live on this budget. I am not trying to emulate poverty. I am not seeking to prove anything about the cost of living.
This idea started sometime ago - stimulated by articles about food waste in the UK such as this one in the telegraph claiming that the average British family throws away 6 meals a week, despite reports of food inflation.
Every January I try to give up beer ( and often caffeine ), so this year I decided to add to the challenge, and to see how little I can live off of. A reporter for the Independent had difficulty living off of £31 for a week, after essentials - but the BBC reports that itís possible to live off of £12 per week with carefull planning "on a healthy, balanced diet".
So thatís it - a challenge based on the simple desire to reconnect with the cost of living - to appreciate every pound spent on food and to attempt to set me up for a year of reduced waste.