Living Below The Line Challenge - iStreet GivingHere at istreet we set ourselves the Living Below the line challenge and for those of you who don’t know about the idea here is a brief synopsis...

Living Below the line is a charity challenge which has been around for a few years but hasn’t quite received the media attention that it deserves. "Live for 5 days on just £5 total."

There are three distinct versions and even within the three versions there are many little twists and turns which provide plenty of scope for chat and sharing ideas. None of them are easy and they will all result in you feeling very hungry at some point. This hungry experience is so you can empathise with millions of people worldwide who are living on a meagre hand to mouth existence. 

  1. Extreme Living Below the line is the version which requires you to start the first day with just £1.00 and then add a further £1.00 for each following day. Your first day is likely to be very hard and maybe just a bag of porridge or pasta with a piece of fruit. The second day you will probably still have the porridge oats so can then add to the meagre supplies of the first day. You can only buy food and you must not accept gifts of food or pick wild fruit and veg. You cannot utilise any oil, herbs and spices from your pantry.
  2. Standard Living Below the Line is the version, which gives you £5.00 to buy your shopping before the start of the 5 days. You can only buy food and you must not accept gifts of food or pick wild fruit and veg. You cannot utilise any oil, herbs and spices from your pantry. There can be many questions about pooling the £5.00 and how far can you travel to buy some bargain items. It all adds to the conversation and we used a simple rule that providing you were passing the shop/farm/supermarket on the way to work it was permissible.
  3. Living Below the Line budget version. In principle it’s as per the Standard version but you can cost items on an item-by-item or weight/measure basis.  So what does this mean? Well in the Standard version its unlikely you can afford to buy tea and coffee but in the budget version you could for instance include in your £5.00 budget 5 tea bags one for each day for an early morning cuppa and that would be 5 tea bags @ 2p each or 10p out of your £5 total spend for the week. You will quickly see that it enables a bigger diversity of items, which can be included in your weeks diet. It also requires a self discipline so that you don’t give yourself a generous splash of olive oil or big dollop of butter on a baked spud and then under accrue the true financial impact. (Would you do that?) As per standard and extreme you can only buy food and you must not accept gifts of food or pick wild fruit and veg. You can in this version use items from your pantry but they must be costed.

Finally there is the choice of what day to start and what day to finish. We decided that we would do it from Sunday night to Friday night. Naturally what you give as a donation to which charity is down to you but we would hope that it’s a charity that assists those who are poor and living below the line. We chose to support Ipswich Soup KitchenSave The Children and Action Aid

It’s a great fundraising idea and below are our three shopping baskets based on the Standard format:

Live below the line challenge basket selection 1H: Little unhealthy

  • Lidl Porridge Oats
  • Tesco Everyday Value Pasta sauce (Not recommended, very watery)
  • Tesco Everyday Value Curry Sauce
  • Tesco Everyday Value pineapple 
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Tesco Everyday Value spaghetti
  • Tesco Everyday Value coleslaw
  • Tesco Everyday Value potato wedges
  • Tesco Everyday Value ginger nuts
  • Tesco Everyday Value strawberry jam
  • Tesco Everyday Value bread

Live below the line challenge basket selection 2T: Healthy

  • Tesco Everyday Value bread
  • lidl long grain rice
  • lidl porridge oats
  • Tesco Everyday Value vegetable soup
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • 10 x Iceland eggs
  • 4 x Bananas
  • Tinned sardines
  • 1 x onion
  • Tesco Everyday Value peaches in syrup
  • Kidney beans

Live below the line challenge basket selection 3W: Meaty

  • Lidl Penne Pasta
  • Tesco Everyday Value marmalade
  • 2 x Lidl bread (white and brown)
  • Lidl long grain rice
  • 2 x onions
  • Chilli con carne sauce
  • Sainsbury's Basic bacon
  • Coleslaw
  • Pork and egg roll slices 

We probably all lost weight and we certainly enjoyed seeing what each other ate. Good luck if your going to give it a whirl and please do write up your own experience in the comments below, so others can benefit from your shared experience.

This Youtube vlog gives you a great run down of the live below the line challenge and shows Emma's experience over the 5 days.