Day 5! Potato/egg scramble for breakfast, banana chips for a morning snack, peanut butter sandwiches, carrot sticks, and an orange for lunch (left over gnocchi, a carrot, a banana, and an orange for Dave), saltine crackers for an afternoon snack, and black beans, rice, tortillas, a banana, and an orange for supper. Since we had one dollar to spare, we bought some blueberries for a special snack tonight! They were delicious!

If it looks eerily similar to Tuesday’s dinner, that’s because it is eerily similar. This rice was crunchy, though. We burned it.

We did it! We lived below the line (sort of!) for 5 days. I am so proud of my children. They had no idea what we were doing and honestly, couldn’t even tell a difference. Besides the few exceptions we made for them (applesauce on pancakes, jam on sandwiches, the free sample granola bar at the store), they went right along with everything without even complaining. (Don’t think my children are perfect – they find many other things to complain about, but I am happy food is not one of them!) They simply ate what they were given. If we all took life with such simplicity and satisfaction, it would be a different place.  I am also so proud of my husband! If you know Dave, you know he loves treats. And not just one treat, lots of treats! This man just went 5 days without sugar (except for the banana chips). That is a huge accomplishment for him. If we set attainable goals more often and worked for them, I’m sure we could accomplish a lot.

I don’t know that I gained any wonderful insights into the lives of people who live below the line daily by doing this experiment, but I feel like one of the biggest differences in what we did and what those in poverty live like is the level of certainty. We knew what we were getting ourselves into. We knew how long it would last and that it would end. We know that tomorrow we are eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and flavorful food. People who live in poverty live in uncertainty each day of their lives. They may not know if they will have anything to eat the next day, when the next pay check might come, or what catastrophe could ruin them. That is heartbreaking. Yes, the lack of variety and feelings of slight hunger were difficult for us, but I cannot imagine the difficulty of living a life of uncertainty EVERY DAY. There must be a way to break the cycle of poverty for these people and help them live with more certainty in their lives.

Global Poverty Project is the organization that puts on this Live Below the Line Challenge. The idea is to sign up and get people to sponsor you in your challenge. We did not do that (because we don’t really like asking people for money). But, if you have been following our little challenge and feel so inclined, please donate time, money, whatever you can, to a charity of your choice that aims to lift people out of poverty. Several have been highlighted on this website, but there are probably hundreds more. There’s something that each of us can do to lift people above the line.

We made it without much discomfort. Much of this was do to our ability to pool our family’s resources together. Imagine if we, as a human family, pooled our resources to solve this solvable problem.

What we purchased with our $30 ($1.50 per person per day):

  • 5 lb white flour $1.99
  • 5 c oats $1.59
  • 1 lb brown rice $.79
  • 1 lb lentils $1.69
  • 1 lb black beans $1.39
  • 5 lb potatoes $1.25
  • Yeast packets $1.79
  • Baking soda $.99
  • One can of tomatoes $.69
  • 10 oranges $2
  • 10 bananas $2
  • 1 lb broccoli $.99
  • 1 lb margarine $.89
  • 2 packs ramen $.34
  • 12 eggs $1.49
  • 1 gallon milk $2.99
  • Salt $.47
  • 2 lb carrots $.99
  • 18 oz peanut butter $1.99
  • 1 onion $.30
  • 6 oz banana chips $1
  • Saltine crackers $1
  • 11 oz blueberries $1.08

TOTAL $29.70