Last year Kathy Barton took part in the ‘Live on £1 a day for 5 days’ event, to help raise funds for a worthwhile cause and to see if it really was possible. Can we live on £1 a day?

Cathy local food pledge

I started off by shopping around to see  where I could buy the cheapest foods on  my menu. I wasn’t sure if there were  hard and fast rules but being a  vegetarian, I knew I couldn’t live  without my veggies.  I visited the  market at closing time and hit lucky.   A  whole box of tomatoes was being left for  rubbish collection.  I then ventured onto  the canal towpath.  Grateful it was  Spring, I gathered young nettle shoots  and Mustard Garlic.  I cooked these  “spring greens” with my tomatoes to make a sauce to liven up the week’s tea time meals.

Each day started with 50g of porridge cooked with water but topped with 50 ml of milk and a spoon of cheap jam.  For lunch I allowed myself 6 tortillas made from scratch with cheap white flour, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of oil.  2 plain, 3 with peanut butter and 1 with jam.

In the evenings I alternated between rice, spaghetti and couscous with split peas in tomato sauce and a boiled egg.  Fortunately I make my own yogurt, so using a starter from my last batch, the remaining 750 ml of milk (not used at breakfast for porridge), made 5 yogurts for a daily dessert. I had enough jam to add sweetness.

Snacks were limited to two dates each day and either mint or sage tea from the garden.

I was never hungry but bored, yes!  No spices, no coffee, no alcohol, and not much variety.  I am so used to selections from around the world every day.

“Wake up” I told myself, “Some people have rice 365 days of the year and not much more.”

I then pondered on how ethical these special priced foods were?  Do the growers earn a decent wage?  How can they produce it so cheaply?  If you have the answers please let me know.

Do you have any thoughts or answers to Kathy’s questions?

You may also want to try living on £1 a day during this years challenge from the 27th April- 1st May? Go to to find out more.


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