Live Below the Line – Day One

The first day of my Live Below the Line challenge of living on less than $2 a day or five days went well.  I was surprised by this, in a good way, as I really struggled last year to get through the first day.

My ingredients for five days - doesn't include parsley or pumpkin
My ingredients for five days – doesn’t include parsley or pumpkin

Last year my diet was based around oats and flour.  This year I splurged – a whole $2.29 for one kilo!  at ALDI – on brown rice.  I also augmented it with some home grown pumpkin, tomatoes & parlsley. I was actually offered some vegetables for free.  This was not related to Live Below the Line and normally I would say yes. But in the interests of following the rules, I offered some payment for them.

Condiments is always a big challenge on Live Below the Line.  The cheapest commercial option I could find was stock cubes at 99c a packet.  As I was pondering this, I visited my local cafe (Cafe Brindabella) and I suddenly realised they had large piles of salt, pepper, sugar and soy sauce sachets.  These are all free for the taking, but again, in the interest of not accepting free food I approached them, explained the challenge, and bought a handful for 20c.  I have never been so appreciative of having salt in my life.

Condensed milk was bought half price on special because the tin was tented.  The contents tasted fine, so the dented tin did not worry me in the slightest.

Condensed milk 0.85
Chicken drumstick 0.41
Brown rice ALDI 2.29
Eggs 2.59
Butter 1.39
Salt, pepper and soy sauce 0.2
Pumpkin 0.5
Apples 1
Tomatoes & parsley 0.5

Breakfast was a huge serving of brown rice topped with condensed milk.  I cooked the rice well so that it was more like porridge.  Brown rice is naturally sweet, and this was seriously yummy. It filled me up nearly all day.

Lunch was a sort of fried rice, made with butter, tomatoes and one egg.  It was nicer than it sounded. I had a huge bowl and I couldn’t finish it all at lunch so kept some for the afternoon.  Never happened before on a Live Below the Line Challenge.


In the afternoon I had one hard boiled egg for a snack, but that was it. I cooked a big batch of chicken and tomato and rice hot pot for dinner and had a few taste tests of that (it was much nicer than I expected).  But I actually wasn’t that hungry.

I kept the bone from the chicken drumstick and made soup from it.  So all set for when my pumpkin arrives from my friend today.

Many thanks to everyone who has donated to me – I have raised $473 already!








  1. Hi Serina. Thank you so much for detailing your shopping for the week, I was wondering what you would select after seeing blog posts of others doing the challenge. Great work on stretching that single drumstick to make soup with the bones. I look forward to your next update 🙂

  2. Thanks Kirsty. I haven’t eaten the soup yet! But waste not, want not. So far it is lucky that I like brown rice! I don’t know anyone else who is doing the LBL challenge. I am always interested in seeing what others eat.

  3. So inspiring!! I love that you could make so little stretch so far so deliciously. 🙂

  4. that’s quite a challenge you set yourself up to do, looks like you are eating well despite the constraints.

    1. The amazing thing on this week is no waste. Having been off it for a week I was shocked to go through my fridge and just throw out a pile of things that had gone off. I hate food waste. Yet so easy to do as it is so tempting to buy.

  5. You are amazing, and how wonderful that you are actually full from your food, that would make your day easier to get through without the grumbly tum. Very creative with your meals too.

  6. It would be hard to live on $2 a day, things like this challenge do bring some much needed attention to the issue.

  7. I am extremely proud of you for doing this.
    I grew up in poverty, so I know what it’s like to live below the line.
    I love the idea of your blog and being frugal, it does help! 😀

    1. Thank you Krysten. It sounds like you had a very difficult childhood – did it influence why you love food so much? I grew up in a very affluent environment (at least in some ways), so I never had to deal with poverty as such – although I did have my share of financial challenges post separation. I think partly for this reason this challenge really helps me to realise what the reality of food insecurity be like for many people. There is nothing like having to ration your food to teach you to be grateful.

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