It is estimated that 13% of the population (2.9 million people) are living under the Australian Poverty Line. These people have approximately $2 a day to survive on. Live Below The Line is an organisation that promotes awareness of the Australian Poverty Line with two challenges: two or five days on only $2 a day for food. I chose to do the two-day challenge with the groceries I had in the fridge and it was hard, to say the least.

The Supplies

mustard, sweet
Betsy Chilcoat

I used what I'd previously purchased so I wouldn't be wasting food. My supplies included eggs (16 cents each), tomatoes (35 cents each), white bread (85 cents for a loaf), two minute chicken-flavoured noodles (99 cents for 5 packages), and baked beans (85 cents a can). 

Day One

egg, chicken, duck
Tommy Galfano

I woke up late, so I skipped breakfast #unilife. After class, I was starving so I went back to make my first meal of the day—a tomato and egg sandwich. Calculating the costs and trying to make a recipe with so few ingredients was hard, I really wanted to put some cheese on my sandwich. This first meal ended up costing 75 cents.

For my second meal of the day, I made instant noodles (19 cents) topped with a hard boiled egg (16 cents) and a side of baked beans (85 cents). I didn't have the money to spend on buying spices and couldn't use the spices I already had in my kitchen, leaving me with a dish that wasn't the most flavorful. This meal cost $1.20 and left me with 5 cents left over for the day.

Day Two

fried egg supernova

MattHurst on Flickr

The key to this challenge is drinking lots of water, otherwise your stomach is constantly empty. I woke up the next day hungry and knew I had to start planning my meals better. For breakfast, I had three fried eggs (48 cents)—something simple but satisfying.

tomato, spaghetti, vegetable, pasta
Betsy Chilcoat

I was able to sustain my hunger longer because of my protein-packed breakfast. My lunch was similar to yesterday's dinner: another package of instant noodles (19 cents), an egg (16 cents) and a sliced tomato (35 cents).

butter, bread, sandwich, toast
Betsy Chilcoat

For dinner, I was left with a whopping 82 cents left to feed myself. Cravings were hitting me hard and I was unbelievably glad that this was my last day. I made an egg (16 cents) sandwich (8 cents for two pieces of bread) with a tomato (35 cents). All I wanted was to put butter or bacon on it, but sadly, I couldn't. I was still hungry so I made my third package of instant noodles (19 cents) for a total of 78 cents. 

The Outcome

I managed to use only $3.91 on food for two days. Because I'd started the challenge with ingredients I already had, the cost of food was higher than it would've been if I'd started this challenge at the grocery store. Mentally, eating the same food for every meal was hard, however, the insight I gained from experiencing how people live under the Australian Poverty Line was truly eye opening. I have a newfound appreciation for food and won't be taking my groceries for granted again.