back to article Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse chap in 'desperate' cash shortage

As the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse nears the finishing line of the Live Below the Line challenge, Stateside member Richard Jacob reports that he and his family are "desperately short of money", reduced to just $1.52 to fuel them to the finishing line. It's been quite an adventure for the Jacobs over the last week, and with a …

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I can recommend Neil's bacon & lentil recipe - although as we had them in the cupboard I replaced the red lentils with green and the tinned toms with cheap passata.

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"I can recommend Neil's bacon & lentil recipe - although as we had them in the cupboard I replaced the red lentils with green and the tinned toms with cheap passata."

I may very well take up that recommendation later, though I will probably replace the red lentils with fish, and the tinned tomatoes with chips. ;)

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Tomorrow, I'm going to follow suit, but replace your fish with more bacon. I'll have the chips, though, with a nice pork chop as well.

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@VinceH

Fancy a change from your usual do you Vince?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Not-Insects-Vincent-Holt/dp/0946014124

:-)

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Re: @VinceH

Yummy!

Also: I didn't notice the bacon mentioned in the original recipe. I replaced that with tartar sauce.

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Thanks Vince, have an upvote for making me nasally evacuate my coffee - priceless!

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oh the horror!

leftovers?! what horror is this?!

oh wait. no big deal for most of us.

This whole "challenge" looks like "what most people did to survive college". With less ramen.

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Re: oh the horror!

We ate a lot better than that at college and most other people I know did, I doubt you'd find many college students who could live on a quid a day, its not an easy challenge from what I can see.

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Re: oh the horror!

Although, if you have a college-age sproglet about to, say, leave for college, I can thoroughly recommend 'Food for a Tenner a Week' by, er, damn, the name escapes me...

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Re: Re: oh the horror!

Yeah, what was his name?

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Cheers to those who've tried this

Not that I want to lessen the impact of people's trying the quid-a-day challenge.. but a lot of areas do not HAVE room for a garden, and are a cement desert where there are unlikely to be any edible weeds to scavenge (if there are any weeds at all, perhaps there'd be enough to have one serving of salad.) Just saying.

I hate to say it, but I'm sure not going to try it -- the local stores? This city seems to have abnormally high prices, I'll hear radio ads for stores (in other towns, like 50 miles away) discounting stuff 50% or more, only to find locally the discounts are more like 10%, if that (and for that matter, normal prices here seem about 25% higher than "normal" too.) For some reason, people locally seem to be willing to pay full price for older pastries, bread, and so on, when there are "fresh" ones right next to it; the local stores will move this stuff in a clearance section but not discount it so much as a single penny as near as I can tell. No local store allows any of the "creative" uses of coupons couponers use, strictly one coupon per item. They seem to favor carrying tiny, overpriced containers of spices (VERY overpriced, other than salt and pepper they typically have like a 1 ounce container for about $5), I bet spices alone could amount to not pennies but like $1 a week, since rice, beans, etc. would need some nice spicing. Finally, the practical matter, my work involves physical labor for 8 hours, so I couldn't play this game of "Oh, well, maybe I only need like 1000 calories a day." I'd probably pass out if I tried it. Cheers to everyone trying this!

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Re: Cheers to those who've tried this

Your observation about food prices is supported by a study I read that discovered that the poorest communities had the highest food prices. The authors of the study concluded the reason was simple: poor people can't afford to travel too far to price shop and so are stuck with their local markets, which stick it to them.

P.S. It sounds like your Nosh Posse was getting pretty desperate towards the final day. I'd like to ask all of them if they could have continued on for another month, or perhaps indefinitely, because it appeared to me they were destined to bump up against some health issues, some of them perhaps serious, especially for growing children.

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Re: Cheers to those who've tried this

I lived on the tenner a week for a couple of months when I was researching the book; I wouldn't want to live on the quid a day for much longer.

The thing about doing it for longer is that it's seasonally dependent. Calories are easy[1]; taste is harder; vitamins from fresh fruit or vegetables are pushing it unless you can find them in the wild. I'm lucky in that I can get apples, plums, blackberries, and nuts from the woods close to the house, hence the jam this year - but obviously that's unlikely to be the case for someone living in a sink estate. Working the markets and the supermarkets at closing time when stuff is cheaper is going to be critical, I think.

[1] I was low on calories this time round because I was deliberately pushing variety; a couple of kilos of rice would supply 7500 Calories for 80p and pasta is about the same - but my word it's boring. Even a couple of loaves of bread would get 5000 for not much more.

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Re: Cheers to those who've tried this

Even a couple of loaves of bread would get 5000 for not much more.

Just out of interest, does it work out cheaper if you buy flour and a bit of yeast instead of bread and bake the loaves yourself?

EDIT: you don't even need to buy yeast if you make sourdough, and it's a lot tastier than rice.

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Re: Cheers to those who've tried this

See chapter one of the book :)

Using quality flour at retail prices, an 800g sourdough loaf comes out at £0.37. Aldi's generic 'value' bread is £0.40 - but of course you'd have to include the cost of cooking the sourdough versus getting to Aldi.

Sourdough is a superior product - in my humble opinion - in taste, texture, keeping properties, and its improved low-GI properties over Chorleywood bread, without exception. Curiously, if you want to make a fast loaf at home, it will cost you a further five or six pence for the yeast. All the sourdough takes is time.

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Re: Cheers to those who've tried this

Just noticed that Aldi have a strong white flour - you need a strong flour for bread, rather than the cheaper 'cake' flour - at £0.75, which would bring the cost of a sourdough loaf down to £0.25. Their strong wholemeal is £0.99 so the 50/50 sourdough loaf I make would be £0.29.

Damn, could have saved a couple of pennies there!

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Neil, do you think you could raise a healthy family on a quid a day per person? Especially a family with maybe a pregnant woman, or nursing mother, or a couple of teens actively engaged in physical sports?

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Possibly, but not easily. And not without medical supervision and a lot of research; I would not care to experiment on my granddaughter, and would not consider it ethical to do so on someone else's. If I had to, of course, I'd give it my best shot.

A lot of the work has been done already - look at the rations for the second world war in the UK (and the ten years after). That ran to a very low protein load, very low sugar, and very little fat - but all the carbs you could catch. It also expected you to grow a lot of non-ration food, and no rabbit or pheasant was safe, according to my mother[1]. That was calculated as 2500/3500 Calories per person, depending on sex and occupation, and the common observation was that Britons have never been so healthy.

On thing that this shows every year is that it is essential to have the cash up front. I choose to aim for variety using fractional packs but others are probably closer to the spirit of the challenge spending their fiver in one hit and living off that - and kudos to them. Spending a quid a day on the day that you eat it is going to be, um, tricky.

Going back to the family, the increased daily spend that comes from that does help, particularly with bulk purchases; if you can buy two kilos of rice or pasta or flour on day one, then you're half way there. But when four pints of milk costs £0.89 and a pint costs £0.85, good luck getting that on day one.

[1] who, in the early sixties was still feeding us occasional 'treats' such as tinned whale or kangaroo imported from the antipodes which I have no desire ever to repeat

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It's always interesting to see those reasonably well off trying

what we actually lived on some years ago.

Leftovers were lunch for work and school.

Whatever was left became part of the next evening's dinner or filling for a morning omlette.

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Re: It's always interesting to see those reasonably well off trying

That's how I grew up too, Wzrd. There are few foods which cannot be served for breakfast after the application of an egg and a frying pan.

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Your observation that Brits were quite healthy in spite of rationing accords well with Dr. Michael Mosely's observation that during the Great Depression in America, the average life expectancy increased by six years, this during the so-called Hungry Thirties. Apparently a calorie restricted diet causes little to no harm to the general populace, just eat the right things.

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