A few bob in the jar from me
Good luck to you all.
PS Does roadkill count? (just asking)
The countdown to this year's Live Below the Line challenge has begun, and next week, the elite El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse will attempt to survive for five days on a food budget of just £1 per day. I did the challenge in 2013, and raised a good wedge of cash for Malaria No More UK. Magnificently, five brave souls have agreed …
The cheapest source of protein is probably milk, especially if you can manage to buy it at farm gate prices. Tesco want 89p for two pints whereas my uncle the dairy farmer gets 19p per litre.
Ask nicely and I'm sure he could give you 5 litres for a quid. Already pasteurised, too.
Your cheapest carbs are almost certainly potatoes. Veg probably goes with a big-ass bag of frozen peas.
I was told by the job centre words to this effect:
"The government has calculated you need £35 per week to survive. We are going to give you £27." WTF?
I only survived because a friend worked the night shift at a local petrol station. He gave me all the food that went out of date at midnight.
That the food most folk buy for these things seems to come mainly from supermarkets. If you're really on a budget then scouring street markets or, at a push, the likes of Aldi and Liddl (mostly for what's on special offer) seems a better bet. Shopping direct from farms, foraging etc also seem to be ignored. Your third world inhabitant doesn't have to feed the same number of middle men that we do.
It surprised me too. I did a lot of searching to see where I could get variety, cheaply - I had expected, for example, to get vegetables from my usual market stall who usually have lots of 'all these veggies in the tub for a quid' but this week everything seems to have increased to thirty bob.
Aldi turned up trumps on the veggies, milk, and eggs; well under half the price of the market. Some beans were from my local Turkish/Indian/Chinese supermarket but surprisingly Waitrose had the cheapest black beans. And the bacon was hideously expensive compared to what is available, but it's good free range bacon, properly cured, and *not* 20% water. I have to have some standards! The butcher did offer me pig's trotters which might have made more sense, but there are SPB traditions to be upheld.
My intent here is not to prove it can be done; it is to see how it can be done while still making a range of flavours and textures - hence different beans and a lot of spices. I can't enumerate those; they're all from the cupboard and we tend to buy in large quantities of which I will be using a tiny fraction. Jam is from last year's garden and woodland fruits, so there's just the sugar cost - and I make low sugar jam as I'm diabetic. And the slow-grown sourdough bread is not only better for me but it tastes a damn sight better than the sliced flannel that has been wished on this country since the Chorleywood process was invented. I could have used a cheaper flour but the taste and texture would have suffered.
We are a family of 4 based in the USA so our budget would work at at $1.50 per a person per Diem or $30 total. Although the exchange rate with the UK £ is close to $1.50 the purchasing power of the dollar locally is far greater. At the local supermarket, which caters for lower income customers, I had a look today and can buy a 4.5lb chicken or 4lb pork loin (rib end) or 2lb minced beef for $5. A dozen eggs are $1.99 and a pack of 8 franks are 79¢. Rice and beans are similarly cheap. Prices for fresh vegetables are a little higher than normal at the moment because nothing local is in season.
A 4.5lb chicken normally lasts us 3 days with the roast, left overs and soup combination. If you are cooking for one and want to make things from scratch most of the packets are too big even when spread over 5 days. A larger group means that you can buy staples in a normal sized packets and still have enough cash for meat and flavorings to perk up the taste.
Good luck to those taking part, I enjoyed the reports from last years challenge and will look out for them over the next week.
50 pound bags of rice & beans and other dry goods for ~US$20. Go in on the cost with your neighbors if you think it'll go off before you can get around to eating it.
Learn to bake bread. It's not exactly rocket science. My standard 1 kilo loaf costs roughly US$0.65 per loaf. Including heat, not including time. (My yeast & lactobacillus is wild-caught sourdough, from the old mining town of Columbia, California).
The herb garden I put in for MeDearOldMum 45 years ago is still alive & producing flavo(u)r. As is my own, started roughly 20 years ago.
Grow some veg. It's easy. People have been doing it for over 10,000 years.
I have enough space to grow my own animal protein (Eggs, milk, chicken, beef, pork, lamb, etc.). Not everybody has that option ... but I also have roughly 100 pounds of road-kill venison, turkey and wild boar in my meat locker. Make friends with your local sheriff, ask to be called in to remove road-kill, and learn how to butcher meat.
I doubt our food costs here are US$0.75/day/person for the wife & I, the foreman & his wife, and our four main field hands. Including fuel, critter feed & fertilizer.
I do admit to spending money at WholeSpice and SavorySpiceShop.
Proper pepper does not come pre-ground ... but proper spices cost pennies per day, if you know what you are doing.
I return the "no shit, Sherlock!", and remind you of the "but" option after the ellipsis. Please, do try to read for content.
As for 663 people per square mile ... It's not my fault that you lot have overpopulated your insular little island, to the point where you can't actually feed your own population. Sad, that.
If you think that the melting pot that is the US is insular on a human level, you have clearly never been here. Yes, there are puddles of gunk scattered about that are embarrassing ... but that's not really how most of us actually think. Our biggest problem is that not enough people get off their asses and vote.
 Would you PLEASE fix the b0rken time-stamp, ElReg?
Oh, I've been to the good ol' US of A quite a lot, jake, and often had to explain where the rest of the world is located.
And you, obviously, haven't been to the UK in quite a while. If you think the US is a "melting pot", you should try walking down the street in any UK city. You will see it is positively boiling over with different cultures.
Overpopulation is not the problem. Progress is, and it's not really a problem as such. If we all grew our own food there probably wouldn't be an online shop where you can buy nice spices. Neither would there be this commentards' section to exchange our views across the Atlantic and further.
jake, I admire your self-sustaining ability but a lot of people cannot or do not want to do the same. Of course, I could give up my job where I spend about nine hours in the office and another three commuting each day, save some time, earn less and grow my own food.
You mentioned Britain, but while the USoA might be able to feed themselves if they wanted, I'm pretty sure they couldn't without quite some imports, e.g. crude oil, while sustaining the current standard of living. Is it really that desirable to be able to feed the own population, to be self-sustained?
While Jake has admirable self sufficiency (though I am very quietly tip-toeing backwards from the roadkill butchery) I think his situation sounds to me to be far different from those whose plight this is highlighting.
It may well be possible to grow your own meat and veg and purchase the rest of your food needs wholesale - presuming you have enough land and a vehicle to pick up the wholesale goods etc. People who have farms or smallholdings in the 'Western World' rarely struggle for enough to eat. I imagine though that those in the world who have to feed themselves on a pound a day probably don't have those things. Or if they did they'd perhaps want to sell up and use some of the money for food.
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