Thursday, May 10, 2012

Days 2-3 on Live Below the Line: What Counts?

Living Below the Line (see here)

By day two, we were already facing a big dilemma - what counts?

It's very difficult to determine what to consider part of the $1.50. For instance, if I have a bag of m&ms I got on clearance after Easter that cost me $.49 - I can eat 1/4 of the bag as a snack, right?
If my aunt gives us a dozen grapefruit and oranges from their backyard tree that I didn't pay anything for, or I pick broccoli, radishes or lettuce from the garden - do I calculate my $1.50 based on their value in a grocery store, or not factor them in to my cost?

Conversely ,we've made a [moral] decision to purchase only organic, cage-free eggs, which cost $3 a dozen. Can I pretend I bought the $.99/dozen version for the purpose of my calculations, because I could get eggs for that cheap? I can handle buying cheaper bread, non-organic milk, etc because those are a matter of nutritional value and personal preference, but do I change my moral standard for a week-long exercise?

The types of food you can eat on $1.50 a day are basically bland and/or carbs. Rice and lentils. Lentils and rice. Pasta and oats. Oats and more rice. White bread. Minimal spices, minimal vegetables. Basically no meat. I really wonder what kinds of food you can purchase in third world countries with $1.50. If it's much more or much less than what we can get here. The quality of food you can buy here on that amount is abysmal, so all we've really purchased is rice, oats, lentils, vegetables on sale, and combined that with whatever we still have in our refrigerator. Costco packs of crackers and cookies for snacks, because the only way to afford a snack is if it's processed, and purchased in bulk. I miss variety, and flavors, and meat!

This was a tough week to try living below the line, as E has all his final papers due, and he wasn't getting enough brain food to finish strong. So we've supplemented with extra  food we have on hand at home(I would still imagine he's under $2-$2.50 a day).

This whole thing it not easy and it doesn't feel that great, but it is a really eye-opening experiment!


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