When we first decided to take part in live below the line we thought ‘this will be really easy’! Up until last week we held the same opinion! Just a few days to go and Team Pugh (well the grown up girl member) is starting to feel a little uneasy.
So…… as you know we are not meal planners (heck we are not planners full stop!) but even we admit that our live below the line shopping needs some thought and planning! EEEKkk! So what better way to start than to see what the guidelines say and what others who have done it before say! That done and we feel slightly sick. In most other people’s mentions of it are the words ‘supermarket’ and ‘basics’! For obvious reasons this is not an option. Becksie starts to feel worried that she will not be able to feed Team Pugh 3 meals plus snacks for 5 days on £15! She feels an actual cold sweat and then……. she sits back, tries to plan and….. feels worse!
From this panic comes some realisation that she is making the assumptions that many people make when they hear about our year without supermarkets and this is very silly given the fact that we have so many times answered that in actual fact supermarket free life doesn’t mean more expensive. We guess this is a real test of our theory. As we have said before there are items that are more expensive in our way of shopping but…. there are also options that are cheaper so…… if we box clever we will be ok.
The hardest part of this experiment for us is that we like to add lots of flavour to our food and this luxury will need to go next week but…… this is meant to be hard. Just as Becksie was mulling all this over we got an email of encouragement from the charity that we have chosen to support – Child Hope! The email said the following:
‘Before you embark on your challenge, we wanted to share a reminder of why you decided to take part, and why we are so grateful!
At the age of 12, David is the breadwinner for his family. His father died. His mother earns what she can by selling vegetables. Unable to afford the fees, he does not go to school. Instead, he earns a living by drying fish and unlocking fishing nets.
“I normally get around 2,000 Shillings (50p) a day which I take to my mother at 3pm so that she can prepare our food. Sometimes I do not even get this money because the people I work for do not give it to me. If mother has not earned anything, we will go to sleep on empty stomachs.”
ChildHope is supporting David and thousands of children like him to escape the daily experience of hunger, poverty and abuse’
Wow! Ok…. We are doing this for David and the thousands of other children like David. This is going to be hard we might feel hungry but….. we are doing this for David!
The next thing that hits Becksie is that there is no way that we can let this mission impact on Lizzie! How? Should we not include Lizzie? No we very much should include Lizzie and we should very much make sure that Lizzie doesn’t feel the impact of this – this means only one thing – Ian and Becksie must make sacrifices of their food to ensure that Lizzie has enough. As Becksie makes this pact it hits her that for lots of parents this is a stark reality. This actually makes her feel sick to the pit of her stomach.
So….. we haven’t even started yet, we haven’t shopped for this, planning it seems hard, we’re not yet hungry but…. this is already having a huge impact on us! Add to the mix the changes that our year without supermarkets has had on our food shopping conscience and we are in for one hard week next week!
Yikes! Ok regroup – we need a plan!
Time to think outside the box…… as we’ve mentioned before Beckie is interested in wartime food and this was a time of living in a hugely resourceful way! Time to consult the war cookery books, Rose Higgins might offer some help. Ok what do we need?
Milk – An ongoing source of supermarket free stress – we like to buy what has become termed ‘good’ milk from happy cows and cringe when we have to purchase what we term ‘cr@p’ milk) – so here’s our first dilemma? Consume less, pay more! Buy the cheaper milk and feel the guilt! Wow – this is very stressful!
Flour – We think if we purchase one bag we can make lots of things….. self raising / plain! Our heads are spinning! Plain wins as we can then make bread and will have to box clever should we do any baking.
Eggs – Ok….. easy – we have chickens who are laying but……. we have to work out the cost per egg and include this in the budget – so not even eggs are easy as eating them involves sums!
Meat – what to do? Now we do have a pheasant and some venison in the freezer which were free meat! Somehow eating venison on this week feels a little decadent and we can’t seem to find out what the rules of Live Below the Line state about ‘free’ food…..anyone know? Should we spend some of the budget buying a small chicken from the butcher and then making it last for lots of meals?
Butter – well we need some kind of fat / oil in order to be able to bake bread (or other cakes) – how much should we buy or…… should we buy cream and make our own!
Fruit and Vegetables – phew this one’s ok – off to market we go and we’ve decided that half our budget will go on fruit and vegetables – actually half our budget might not be possible if we buy happy milk, a happy chicken etc etc! Flip flop what are Team Pugh to do!
Carbs – ok another issue – Rice? Pasta? Potatoes? Pulses?
Salad – we totally should have grown some ready – epic fail! We can however factor in the cost of cress seeds and hope that they grow really really quickly!
Tea / Coffee – after careful consideration it has been decided that for one week both Ian ad Becksie will…….. go without tea and coffee as they are an unnecessary expense.
Sugar – we were also thinking that this should go but then we remember that if we want to make bread we need sugar.
Salt – We need this for bread as well and we feel we should have a little bit of flavour.
Yeast – or……should we just make and eat flat breads?
Ok – we’re in a pickle so…… after careful thought and trying to plan…… we are giving up and are going to market tomorrow with our £15 and a healthy dose of optimism! Wish us luck!
Sorry we know this has been a long old post but….. just a few more things:
A) It’s not too late to get involved in Live Below the Line
B) If you have a spare few pennies and fancy sponsoring us we’d be very grateful
Ps – don’t forget to head on over to the BiBs shortlist page – if not to vote for us in the Inspire category then simply to find some amazing blogs that are totally worth a read.