Live for just £1 a day: Day six – An unwelcome result ends the challenge but vital lessons learned

By Jess Wilson

It’s day six of my seven day challenge to live on just seven pounds.

You can find out how I was cohersed into making the decision here.



I have officially run out of food.

Well, I have oats, lentils, soup mix and half an onion left.

And although it’s enough to keep me alive, I really don’t want to eat onion-y lentils for the next two days.

So much to my disappointment, I didn’t manage to live on a £1 a day.

But, as the cliché goes, I have learnt a lot.

The smaller, independent markets have cheap vegetables in abundance, and if you have the time to shop around then you get so much more for your money than you would in one of the bigger food stores.

Convenience food is a bit of a no-go if you’re trying to eat well on a budget. Cheap pizzas and ready meals tend to be riddled with nasty additives and fats and have little goodness in them.

And the healthier convenience options tend to be extremely expensive.

I think it’s fair to say that my Friday M&S lunch habit has well and truly been broken. I can no longer justify spending the same amount of money I lived on for a week on one single meal.

One of the biggest things I have learnt this week is about cooking in proportion. I have a terrible habit of cooking much more than I need.

I then pretend I’m going to eat it, either by freezing it or packing it for lunch the following day, and then more often than not, I end up making excuse not to eat it and throw it away.

It’s also the first time in a long time that I have felt really hungry. I often eat out of boredom and never really let myself get to a ‘desperation’ stage as I constantly snack.

And it was actually really refreshing to really feel like I needed and deserved food when it got round to dinner time.

The whole challenge has definitely shown me that I’m far too frivolous with food, and that it’s feasible to eat well and nicely on a small budget.

I feel quite annoyed with myself that I didn’t last the whole week, but in a sense, I think it’s made me more determined to stick to the new ethos of cooking I have developed in the future.

I think if I had managed the challenge, I could have gone into a mindset of ‘well I know I can do it, so I don’t need to worry about my food budget now’.

Instead I plan to spend tomorrow going to all the small food markets and getting myself some more cheap and wholesome goodies for the week.

And next year, when the Live Below the Line week comes around again, I’ll get it right.

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