back to article Reg hack to starve on £1 a day for science

As of next Monday, this hack will live for five days with just £1 a day to spend on food, having rather recklessly signed up for the "Live Below the Line" challenge. Inspired by the news that Ben Affleck will starve himself for charity - and also we presume in penance for his part in cinematic outrage Pearl Harbor - I decided …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'and also we presume in penance for his part in cinematic outrage Pearl Harbor'

    Don't you mean 'and also we presume in penance for his part in cinematic outrage $film'?

    1. JC_

      Re: 'and also we presume in penance for his part in cinematic outrage Pearl Harbor'

      Affleck went to the New Zealand and UK embassies asking for food, but they turned him away...

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: 'and also we presume in penance for his part in cinematic outrage Pearl Harbor'

        He should have gone to Equadorian Embassy here...

  2. Alister

    The question is, are you starting from nothing, in terms of food stocks you're allowed to have, and are you only allowed to spend one pound per day, or a fiver at the start of the week?

    If the former, and starting with nothing, I really doubt you could successfully buy a meal a day with just a pound. You could probably buy a bag of rice (just) on your first day, but that would be it, no meat or veg or sauce.

    If you can spend a fiver at the start of the week then It would probably be doable.

    1. DragonLord

      According to the rules, you can spend all of you r money at once, you can even club together with other people as long as noones daily expenditure is more than £1. So if 4 of you got together and bought a 25KG bag of potatoes (last checked price £7 from the farm shop) you'd have to divide that cost between you and over the week

    2. DragonLord

      Oh, and you can also buy stuff out of your store cupboard as long as you pay a reasonable price for it.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Makes no sense

    Is that 1 GBP at "western" price levels or 1 GBP in the boondocks of Somalia?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Makes no sense

      I agree that your £ will get you more in impoverished countries, and there are other things to consider, such as, are you still using electricity / gas heating, are you still living in your nice big home etc etc....

      BUT it is already a big first step in raising awareness, and really whether you are living for £5 a week or £10 or £15 a week it is still going to make a huge difference to what the normal western standard of living is.

      Lester, good luck and good job!

    2. The BigYin

      Re: Makes no sense

      It makes perfect sense.

      Why £1

  4. Piro Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    11p noodles from asda, maybe 21p stuff if you're feeling rich. (don't know about Spanish supermarkets).

    You could have 9 packs a day! Sure, I doubt that would be much good nutritionally, but it would probably chase away hunger, and you wouldn't use up energy doing all that cooking.

    Maybe someone else can root an even cheaper 'meal'

    1. Terry Blay
      IT Angle

      Spain - not cheap.

      I've got some experience living in Spain, and food is generally more dear, and whilst UK supermarkets have their own brand, and then the cheapest-of-cheap 'white packet' brands, Spain knows not the latter. You'll be very hard pressed to find noodles for under 80 cents.

      I did, however, spend a month or two, living (more like clinging on desperately) with about 10 euros a week, which isn't a lot more than a quid a day, but for sure, you can survive.

      If you spend the whole 5 quid in one go, I'd recommend lentils, a couple of onions, rice, perhaps some eggs and bread, and maybe a little cheap chorizo - if it stretches.

      You can whip up a big pan of lentils with rice and eat that + egg sarnies every day. Not very pleasant by day 4, but at least you won't go hungry. Drinking the tap water was a must as bottled water was unaffordable in my budget. that bad.

      I got a lot of sympathy for anyone who has to live like this for an extended period of time.

      1. Steve 13

        Re: Spain - not cheap.

        Why would drinking the tap water be an issue (in a 1st world western country anyway). I don't buy bottled water and compared to £1/day my food budget is basically unlimited.

        1. Cameron Colley

          Re: Tap Water.

          Did you do any research?

          I know the above is only one link or opinion, but the general impression seems to be that Spanish tap water varies from good, through "a little manky, but safe" to "possible pesticide contamination". Meaning it's hardly picky to talk about bottled water as a necessary precaution rather than a silly affectation.

          I'm willing to bet that other first world western countries have worse water quality than Spain.

          1. Rampant Spaniel

            Re: Tap Water.

            The spanish have a rather unique approach to tap water, for many parts of Spain drinking it straight from the tap is a little risky unless you have a backlog of books next to the throne. I would suggest at least boiling it first.

            Just out of interest, do you have to pay for a fishing rod etc? You can live pretty well for next to nothing if you live off the aina \ land. Crab can make excellent bait for free. Even these days there is plenty of good quality food to be had for free if you have a little knowledge and skill.

            I will be interested to see how this experiment goes, good luck and well done for giving it a shot!

            1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

              Re: Tap Water.

              In Madrid, the tap water is generally excellent (although a little pricy). In fact up in the mountains, you can drink the well water too, passes all the European tests without even boiling it first, although I wouldn't recommend that unless you get the tests repeated every week; you never know when things might change.

              Elsewhere things may be different, and some zones & islands use desalinated water and it's not quite as nice to drink.

              1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

                Re: Re: Tap Water.

                We've got a fountain here in the village - excellent water, so no problem there.

                1. EddieD

                  Re: Tap Water.

                  Didn't you also make a well?

            2. Anonymous Coward

              Re: Tap Water.

              If i'm catching crab it aint getting used for bait!!!!!!

              You have crab(s), you may or may not catch fish with crab(s).

              Therefore. eat crabs....

              PS, please, no silly pubile (sic) jokes.

              1. Rampant Spaniel

                Re: Tap Water.

                That depends on the type of crabs, aama are ok if you are starving, but given the chance to catch a kala or aweoweo I'll take the chance every time :-) Plus plenty more crabs where they came from. If I were in the UK then it probably wouldn't be so easy a choice.

          2. Gordon Fecyk

            Northern Manitoba.

            I'm willing to bet that other first world western countries have worse water quality than Spain.

            Like over here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was just about to post about the legendary 9p ASDA noodles, but inflation has done to them what it did for Space Raiders.

      I pretty much lived off four packets a day for three weeks at one point at University. By then end I was starting to doubt whether life was actually worth living any more.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Asda do soup pots. The ones on roll-back are £1, and each gives you two meals of soup. Lunch and dinner.

    1. auburnman

      Re: Soup.

      Leaving you with no money for breakfast... all week...

    2. stu 4

      Re: Soup.

      hmm... I'd suggest actually MAKING soup.

      leak, potatoes, etc. You can make enough for 5 days for 3 or 4 quid. - I do often.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Soup.

        Yes, make soup, have some rice, tomatoes and maybe some dried fish - should enable you to survive more or less indefinitely. Buy only the ingredients - i.e. no pre-processed products (other than dried fish).

        Are you allowed to catch a pigeon or two? They'd be a free supplement...

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Soup.

        I'd suggest actually MAKING soup.

        leak, potatoes, etc.

        I tried this recipe, but all the soup leaked out, so I substituted leeks.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Some of us don't live on much more than that anyway, it's amazing what you can buy from supermarkets if you shop at the right time of day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some of us don't live on much more than that anyway

      Bollocks. Anonymous, unverifiable, and calculated to sound like this isn't a difficult thing to do when in fact you've never, ever had to survive on anything near as little as a pound a day. You sound like millionaire IDS with his "I could live on 35 pound a week if I had to" crap. Get back to the Daily Mail with your anonymous BS, they love it there.

      1. FartingHippo

        @AC No.2

        Your psychic powers are amazing. You knew all that was true just by reading his (or her) post!

        If you do spoons too, then you are truly the successor to Uri Geller.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @FartingHippo

          Just pointing out that anonymous BS is valueless actually. You point counts for the first AC as much as the second....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some of us don't live on much more than that anyway

        Oh dear, please check facts first, Tesco, yellow labelled meat can be as low as ten pence a pack, I've bought five pork chops for that price, punnets of strawberries for 2 pence, half pound blocks of cheese for 50p, bread for ten pence, veg for pennies as well, picking the right time and with a little luck you can fill a small trolley with enough food to feed one adult for a fortnight for under a tenner.

        Anonymous because, quite honestly, I'm ashamed that I have to do this to feed myself and my family.

        Admittedly it's not predictable and it really does depend when you shop but if you can cook and have a freezer you can eat well extremely cheaply.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Easy

      Yes and no. I unfortunately ended up in this situation for some time a couple of years ago and it was not fun.

      It can be done but you will likely find you won't be living healthily. You won't be able to turn your nose up at store brand 'basics'., but you do get the pleasure of being a real vulture fighting your fellow man at the reduced price counter. Try not to get too enraged or hateful at those with full trolleys who grab things simply because they are cheap while depriving you of what you are relying on to live. If you are lucky, you will discover the absolute joy of finding a five pound note lost in the street.

      Don't forget to spend one of your pounds on leccy and gas or turn those off. And don't forget to make at least one trip to the dole office; a ten mile round trip on foot or lose three days or more food spent on bus fare. Get a local to scream and shout at you if you don't get there for 9 o'clock in the morning.

      To really experience the pain of what having little money means make sure you have no more than that £1 for food, a mortgage payment and council tax demands and a couple of utility bills in front of you. Maybe ask a debt collection agency to give you a couple of calls every day to encourage you to get a job.

      A £1 a day for food is probably the least of the worries. Many people don't realise they are just one or two pay days away from losing everything.

      1. Zmodem

        Re: Easy

        when you do loose everything, you will know how to live on your giro money, and have all your vitamins so you can blip about on your after your put a new crank on and made it freeride, and have the energy to take all the shortcuts

      2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Easy

        Try not to get too enraged or hateful at those with full trolleys who grab things simply because they are cheap while depriving you of what you are relying on to live.

        I hate those people!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just look at the rich boy downvoters!

          Don't tell me, you were unemployed once too. Of course, you didn't have to sign on because you lived off savings, but nevertheless, that gives you a perfect understanding of poverty.

    3. Brenda McViking

      3:00pm Sundays

      In the supermarket- last chance for them to remove their perishable stocks before closing at 4. I used to hate doing "reductions" at this time on the 'floor because people act like vultures.

      That said, I knocked EVERYTHING in fruit and veg that was packaged to 10p (full sacks of potatoes, bags of fruit, mother's day boquets, the lot), and half of the items would be fine for a week, the other half might want to be eaten within a day or two. You had to be quick - people would literally snatch items out of my hands once the sticker was on them.

      It's luck of the draw though - at least one of my colleagues used the "reccommended reduction" button on the printer which knocked 10-15% off - resulting in a much larger loss for the store as we didn't sell it and had to pay for disposal, storage and the faster perishing of other food stocks sat close to them. Fine for use during the week, rubbish when you have 1 hour to move a quarter-tonne of produce.

  7. Martin Budden Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    Depending on where you live, there's a lot to be foraged for free if you know what to look for. There are websites about foraging with lots of info for the UK (I assume you are in UK as that is where £ is most commonly used).

    1. Martin Budden Silver badge

      Re: Forage.

      Here is a good resource: the Downsizer forum.

      1. N2
        Thumb Up

        Re: Forage.

        Looked at the forum, clicked on Mushroom ID & saw picture of a mushroom next to a champagne cork for scale - how those 'downsizers' rub along on the other side of the pond!

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: I assume you are in UK

      because reading the whole article, where the author states he's in Spain, would be too tricky?

      1. Harvey Trowell

        Re: foraging @ Lester

        This idea has merit, but why not expand it to a bit of hunting? IIRC, your donkey burial was made more difficult by a resident mutt pack with a taste for wild boar. Perhaps this could be a time to harness the power of man's best friend and get your pork on? Having freed up your fiver for a nice box of vino collapso, you could channel your recenlty discovered drunken caveman heritage by dressing in a loincloth, covering yourself in mud and running around in the moonlight brandishing a spear with a pack of howling dogs. All in the name of science, of course.

    3. Andrew Moore
      Thumb Up

      Re: Forage.

      Wild garlic is going mad right now if you know where to look for it.

      Here's a great resource:

    4. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Forage.

      You'll also have to forage for an internet connection as, once you add in the landline, most UK broadband costs about £1/day

  8. wowfood

    Dear God

    I could not do that. I honestly could not, I mean, my diet consists of

    protein shake > turkey meatballs with pasta and sauce -> turkey sandwiches -> meat and veg

    and any other snacks I have throughout the day, and that's just food, there's drink too!

    Lets see, what could I get if I went down to £5 a week... Okay after going through asda several times, it just isn't possible, I eat far too much to be filled by bread, rice, and not much else.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Dear God

      You need to learn about the reduced section and when the fill it up. I know a married couple who lived off £10 for their groceries as their regular life, and it wasn't even like they were just surviving, they could rustle up quite nice meals.

      1. peter 45

        Re: Dear God

        Could be talking about me and my Missus. We gave up our jobs last year (our own choice so dont claim dole or anything) and challenge ourselves to find/make our main daily meal for less than a quid for for the two of us.

        Best value is potatos/onions/rice/carrots bought by the sack. (2.50 for a 25kg of grade 1 carrots was my best deal). Our treats consist of anything we can get off the 'final, final reductions before we throw them out' counter. Had a smoked salmon starter the other day for 10p. Mmmmm.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: Dear God

          What would Margo and Jerry say!

          One possible avenue for cutting costs is a decent animal feed merchants. Something like Armstrong and Richardson, one that hasn't been turned into a horsie girls version of Victorias Secrets. We used to get sacks of rolled oats and carrots for the animals and plenty of it may have found its way onto our plates. The 'horse carrots' differed only from supermarket ones in their size and shape. Usually larger and wonkier, such characterists plainly make them toxic, if not explosive! Now I'm not advocating you eat them due to the risk of being sued by anyone traumatised by a larger than normal carrot, but they're insanely cheap and often locally grown. Also whilst they can't be sold as organic, they are usually free of the vast majority of pesticides etc because it's simply not cost effective to use them.

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    How about going for 5 days without 't internet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tokenism

      I'll be doing that on holiday next week.I'm looking forward to a whole week without the damn thing...

    2. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Tokenism

      That's not hardship - that's a luxury

  10. Zmodem

    do it all the time. if you have a £5 note, then its just a bag of potatoes £2.30, a 1kg bag of mixed veg £1.50, and 4 birds eye chicken fillets/steaks £1 in morrisons, if you get a small bag of veg, you can probaly get some beef and onion gravey for 60p at morrisons

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worthwhile charity

    I've no doubt that Malaria No More UK is a worthwhile charity and the people working for it are nice people, but the charity sector has got way out of hand.

    As an example, the Malaria No More charity had an income in 2011 of just over £1m. Of this, about £400k went on staff costs and £650k went to other charities. Those other charities will have their own staff costs which will further dilute how much of the money actually ends up getting spent on preventing malaria.

    Most of the charities appear to be the same. Raise money, take their cut, pass the remainder onto the next charity who take their cut etc..

    At the end of the day, very little of of your £1 will actually be spent on what you want it spent on.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Worthwhile charity

      Wait....40% went on staff costs? I thought there were rules and regs on how much went on "administrivia" and how much actually went on, y'know, the "charidee" bit?

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Tap Water.

        It's just as bad stateside. Many 'worthwhile causes' operate as not for profits (I can think of quite a few companies are that in all but name). They get away with robbery. One local cause, with very decent aims, uses contractors to arrange fundraises, one lady of questionable parentage actually has the nerve to take a 25% cut off the top of all funds raised. Now remember all she actually does is coordinate \ manage, volunteers do all the actual work in planning and prep, companies donate a venue and products and services for sale and auction(asked by volunteers) and a quarter of all the money raised goes in her pocket before the charity even begins to look at its own expenses. Yes charities need staff, and some need to be paid, but some folks have no shame.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: rules and regs on how much went on "administrivia"

        Rules and regs always vary from place to place.

        In the US, the regs are actually that you can't profit from holding an elected position within the charity. After that, you can spend all your money on staffing and not technically run afoul of the law. You might get into serious trouble with your donors, but that's not a legal issue. It's one of the reasons financial planners recommend checking with agencies that rate the effectiveness of charities before donating.

    2. peyton?

      Re: Worthwhile charity

      In the states at least, we have It can't tell you everything about a charity, but it's a worthwhile start.

    3. Anomalous Cowturd

      Re: Worthwhile charity

      Not only that, but that £400+k was divvied up between just seven "employees", two of whom earned over £70k.

      And WTF is Social Security payments about? If it's National Insurance payments, call it that.

      Does the lowly secretary earn fifty grand a year?

      This is not a "proper" charity in my book, and the ten quid I was going to sponsor Lester with will be going to National Coastwatch Institution's local branch. Nobody gets paid there. In fact, it costs them money to help.

      Sorry Lester.

  12. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    I've got a top tip for all you pound a day guys who are smokers too...

    Just buy a pack of rolling papers but scrounge all your tobacco from the pavements outside commuter rail stations and at bus stops - there's always plenty of dogends about for the taking!

    This top budgeting tip brought to you by Money Saving Paris

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've got a top tip for all you pound a day guys who are smokers too...

      Are cigarettes classed as food?

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        Re: I've got a top tip for all you pound a day guys who are smokers too...

        Fags do suppress the appetite so it could be an aide to staving off the hunger of living on a quid a day. The other advantage is the high risk of an early death which will cut costs in the long run too!

        You need to focus on the positive side!

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch

          Re: I've got a top tip for all you pound a day guys who are smokers too...

          Fags do suppress the appetite so it could be an aide to staving off the hunger

          You'd be better off getting some garlic and rubbing a bit in your mouth. Apparently it's good at staving off the hunger.

          Some other thoughts...

          Various people have mentioned potatoes and rice, which is a great idea. You do need to make sure you're getting some protein, though, Dried beans, lentils and split peas are the best value, along with TVP (textured vegetable protein). Oils and fats will probably be your most expensive outlay.

          Someone else mentioned foraging, but it's not practical if you're either living in the city or don't know what you're looking for out in the country. It also tends to be seasonal, but if you know what you're looking for you can get plenty of fruit and maybe mushrooms (requires knowledge and caution!) and definitely some plants like wild garlic and even dandelion or nettle that are easily identified and easy to find.

          In the city, foraging is pretty hard. You could follow a squirrel back to its lair and steal his nuts, I suppose. Much easier is to find a supermarket where they're offering free samples of stuff. You could steal a copy of "Steal this Book" and get some ideas for other ways to get free stuff, or invite some friends around for some "stone soup" (you provide the stone).

          Surviving on £1 a day sounds very hard, unless you "cheat" by relying on getting free stuff (like sugar and ketchup packs and butter pats from restaurants). As an awareness-raising exercise, though, I'd have to applaud it. Good luck with it!

  13. mamsey

    Road kill... a bit of foraging and you're into a profit deal.

  14. Khaptain Silver badge

    Short term doesn't count

    As much as I admire the general idea I feel that it is important to realise that 5 days hardships means nothing when you know that at the end of the period you can go back to living normally.

    If you were to perform the same thing without knowing when it would stop that would be an entirely different matter.

    In general those who have little, generally, can never see an end to their problem and it takes courage to create an appropriate exit.

    Thumbs up for wanting to do something.

    Thumbs down because it will end up just being a poor media stunt.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Short term doesn't count

      It's an awareness exercise - which is a perfectly valid kind of stunt. If taken seriously then you'd have to look at purchasing power parity. People who live on £1 a day, but also live on farm land and don't have jobs, are going to spend some of their time growing stuff to eat, and their £1 is going to go a lot further than it does in Spain or the UK. Not that I recommend subsistence farming as a lifestyle, but it's not the same as trying to live in an industrial society on the same kind of money because you're in a different kind of society with barter and cooperation.

      If you look at the industrial revolution you'll find an awful lot of nostalgia for the 'good old days' pre-enclosure where villages were very inefficient at growing crops and most people were still basically subsistence farmers, supporting a few specialist trades. It was a much more cooperative society, as it had to be. The village would share tools, labour, and expertise. As well as some big parties. All things that in a modern industrial society you might need to use money for. So they'd be massively financially poorer, but that wouldn't capture their actual standard of living.

      The idea is that it's supposed to make you think. The world is complicated, and people are busy so this is a perfectly fine idea.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Short term doesn't count

        I agree with what you are saying but I wonder if there are not better exercises that could possibly achieve a little more than a very shallow insight into other lifestyles.

        Some extrapolation : Anyone that lives on £1 per day has a lot more to worry about that just eating, they also have to think about clothing, heating, sleeping, bills, fighting of the banks and debt collectors, lack of capacity to integrate into society etc etc etc etc ..... The list is so very long , will Lester also face all of these other "challenges".

        I would suggest that it would be a far better exercise to give the people that do live that way a voice, a means of expression and that we sit down and "listen" to what they have to say. this would give a far better understanding of what it means.

        In my most humble of opinions, it is not possible to pretend to be poor, it does not give a true reflection of what being poor really means.

        I remember a photographic exercise that I was doing as a personal hobby in London a few years ago, I would take photos of the tramps and then sit down with them for a while listening to their stories. It was very revealing and their world was completely different from what I had previously imagined it would be.

        I could have pretended to be a tramp for a week but it would never have taken me anywhere near the reality of what it truly means to be homeless.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Short term doesn't count


          Well I certainly agree that being more informed about the world around us is a good thing. And so listening to people from the poorer bits of the world would be a great idea.

          But most people who live under the £1 a day line don't deal in a cash economy. So that figure of £1 a day is misleading. A lot of them won't be paying for services in the same way, or buying all the food that they eat. The lack of money really shows up when it comes to things like healthcare, because then cash is important and something they don't have.

          It's pretty hard to get people to vote, or follow the news so they can make an informed decision when they do so. And that's for elections that directly affect them. So it's going to be even harder to get people to listen to voices from other countries. Therefore a bit of harmless publicity in the form of getting people to eat less food seems like a good thing. And perhaps puts into perspective that whole debate in the UK last week about living on £53 (which ignored housing benefit anyway). I do agree you can't pretend to be poor.

          It would also be interesting to see whether we could get a debate going as to solutions. Getting the EU (and the US) to stop subsidising our farmers quite so much for example, or at least doing so in a different way. That alone would probably help more people in Africa out of poverty than any amount of aid we could plausibly give. This might also be a time to sing the praises of globalisation. Something that's not got a good press with the current economic crisis. But there's a lot of people in Asia who're a lot better off because of it. Even if it's made 'the West' a bit poorer, partly because finance and politics hasn't adjusted fast enough for the economic changes. But it's probably still a huge net gain to world happiness/wealthiness/less-dead-poor-people-iness.

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: Short term doesn't count


            If there is one thing that I definately agree on it is the fact the we need to find solutions and then find a means of putting the solutions into action.

            I believe that one of the major problems is due to the fact that we in the West have a very large share of the worlds wealth and we do not want to relinquish the luxuries that come with it. Although judging by the way things are going we are going to lose it anyway, and probably in the short to mid term..

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Short term doesn't count


              There's no reason we need to get poorer in order for the rest of the world to get richer. So long as we don't run out of natural resources anyway. So obviously we're going to need some better energy sources. If they get richer, then they'll buy more stuff, as well as selling us more stuff. That expansion of the world economy should allow everyone to do OK.

              One of the reasons for the current problem is the speed of the growth of China. And that they held their currency down. Doing this allows them to avoid inflation and keep their workers pay lower. So it was probably more about out-competing India and Vietnam as us. But even this may not work, so that they'll still have got richer, but won't get to keep all the extra gains this gave them. That's because the money has to go somewhere. And about $4 trillion of it went into Western stock markets and government debt. Helping to inflate a massive bubble for the last 15 years that went pop. There was a similar amount from the big oil exporters and a bunch from other Asian exporters. Well now, we're going to either default on some of that debt, or inflate it away. That should hopefully allow Chinese workers to afford more stuff, and if their economy can take off then the next candidates can get going, without being out-competed by China.

              Obviously though we currently have limits on resources to solve. But nuclear fission then fusion and maybe capturing a few asteroids could help with that. It's been a break-neck pace of developments since the Industrial revolution started in the 18th Century (economic historians debate the start date by over 100 years). Maybe that's unsustainable. But the pace of change seems to be getting quicker at the moment. So if we can avoid resource bottle-necks maybe the whole world can keep getting richer. Populations with more cash grow less quickly as mortality and birth rates drop. So in some ways it's environmentally sustainable to globalise as well. We may put more strain on oil supply and C02 levels, but probably take the strain off marginal agricultural land.

  15. Bruce Hoult

    trivially easy to do as a 1 off

    And I have a few times.

    A bit tough if you're only going to have one quid on the first day. Easy if you get five pounds at the start. If you've only got to achieve a £1/day overall spend rate then you can have your choice of rice, pasta, potato, flour each day. Ingredients for a home made loaf of bread are about 30p. Spices to make it interesting are dirt cheap once you acquire them as you use very little.

    Avoiding feelings of hunger will be easy.

    Getting enough energy intake will be easy.

    Even getting enough protein will be easy with eggs and cheese.

    Getting a long term healthy balanced diet won't be at all easy, but doesn't matter if it's only five days.

  16. Dave 62

    Good on you and good luck.

    So does this £1 a day include your electric, water, gas, internet, phone and council tax (or similar) bills?

    Or is it just for food?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The first sentence of the article includes the words: "with just £1 a day to spend on food".

  17. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Bread beans and flour...

    Not knowing the prices in sunny Spain, it has to be UK prices: but a 1.5kg bag of flour is 45p in Tesco: it'll make you three loaves of bread (you left it a bit late to start a sourdough, so you'll have to buy yeast - 65p for 125g, of which you'll use about 30g so you can probably fudge the numbers there if you have to.)

    Dried beans? £1.09 for half a kilo, will feed you all week. Spaghetti, 19p for half a kilo.

    That leaves you £2.62 for some flavour - an onion or two, couple of tomatoes, an egg perhaps.

    Pudding is unlikely you be an option...

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: Bread beans and flour...

      "Pudding is unlikely you be an option"

      It's in no way healthy (except perhaps psychologically?) but two litres of supermarket own-brand fizzy pop can be had for about 17p and would give you something sweet(-tasting) to round a meal off if you really wanted.

      Alternatively we're just about getting to the point where fruit will be forageable.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Bread beans and flour...

        Not unless we hang around till September... round here, even the gages and cherries are still in flower; the apples haven't opened their leaves yet.

  18. JDX Gold badge

    Not representative

    "By living off just £1 per day for food for 5 days, you will be bringing to life the direct experiences of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty and helping to make real change."

    In many of the poorest countries, £1 would buy you 3 meals... hell in some countries you could buy 3 beers with £1!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not representative

      This is true - it's not a matter of what the numeric value is, but what that dollar a day buys you. If it buys you enough to live, then it doesn't matter whether it's a dollar or twenty quid - provided that you have it in the first place.

      It's certainly not reasonable to compare cost of living between two countries with completely different infrastructure and cost bases. In particular its unfair to compare food prices when the price of food has so much loading for dragging it halfway around the world...

    2. The BigYin

      Re: Not representative

      The £1 is calculated from purchasing power, not exchange rates. I jumped to the same initial conclusions, but had a dig on the site.

      Why £1

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Eugene Crosser


    Cross the sea, and settle in Morocco (or something) for these five days. I think you can get more rice for £1 there than in Spain. Maybe even some lamb.

    Then again, in some remote Indian village, with £1/day to spend, you'd be a rich man. Probably.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Morocco

      Try reading the site, huh?

      Why £1

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you allowed to accept food parcels?

    I have a couple of kilos of fresh truffle and a few bottles of Chateau Lafite '59 I wouldn't miss.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    6 bottles of Evian costs £3.80 in Tesco.

    So after water you have £1.20 for the week.... and a pack of Werthers Originals costs £1.25.

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Hmm

      You can get free Werthers Originals by sitting on the laps of pervy old granddads apparently.

    2. Colin Miller

      Re: Hmm

      Asda's SmartPrice bottled water is 17p/2litre

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm

        "Asda's SmartPrice bottled water is 17p/2litre"

        But how much water would you need to use to wash yourself after going to Asda?

  22. JDX Gold badge


    For social justice surely.

  23. 0laf

    Just hang around Tesco's hot deli bit for the mark downs. Pasty for 5p.

    Ok it's nasty processed meat of dubious origin but hey it's 5p.

    Flame for heartburn.

  24. Omgwtfbbqtime
    Thumb Up

    One word


    Liver and kidney are phenomenally cheap usually, have a good calorie load and lots of vitamins and minerals.

    Cow heart if you can get it - its like beefy venison.

  25. Colin Miller

    Helpful article from Auntie - how to feed yourself for £12/week. Now, this is about 1.5 times your budget, so you'll need even more careful planning.

    1. Colin Miller

      and a second one

  26. trashbat
    Thumb Up

    Oh Lester

    It's a true measure of your resilience and character that you are unafraid to make such personal sacrifices in raising awareness of poverty. I mean, larks tongues from a *tin*?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Air and Sunlight - Yogi Lester.....

    To show you how sorry I feel for you, I will eat extra fried eggs, with bacon and cheese on toast, every day, as a token gesture of my honouring your gnoble cause.

    Of course BBQ and extra tasty Thai nut and sesame sauces, chillies, etc., will be lavishly applied and dipped into, with every mouthful.

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Mmmmmmmmm boiled rice again.!

  28. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    Best of luck!

    I hope your challenge goes well.

  29. James Gosling

    Invest in....

    A big stick. Then use this big stick to intimidate those with smaller sticks (or no stick at all) into giving you their £1's. Way of the world unfortunately! Before you know it you'll be the stick salesman!

  30. PyLETS

    ultra cheap homebrew

    1kg sugar - 67p. I sachet dried baking yeast (much cheaper about 5p in bulk). 1 litre UHT apple juice (60p needed for acidity and yeast nutrient. 3.5 litres clean tap water. Get water and apple juice to 25c, use discarded 5 litre water container. 1st 3 days cover with clean tissue and rubber band, then once fermenting with clean plastic bag and rubber band to let CO2 out.

    Siphon carefully clear wine off sediment after 25 days, let settle for further 5 days, or filter through 1 sheet kitchen roll in seive if you don't have any plastic tube for siphon.

    Result - 4.5 litres that's 6 bottles of just about drinkable light dry white wine in about 30 days at about 22p/bottle.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: ultra cheap homebrew


      [cue music and over orgasmic voiceover]: This isn't just any just about drinkable light dry white wine. This is Marks & Spencer's just about drinkable light dry white wine. At only £22 a bottle...

    2. James Gosling

      Re: ultra cheap homebrew

      Presumably you are also eating stuff during these 30 days?

      1. PyLETS

        Re: ultra cheap homebrew

        "Presumably you are also eating stuff during these 30 days?"

        Well yes, assuming you don't want your liver to pack up. But at 22p a 70cl bottle per day you still have 78p for food, or you can have half a bottle a day for 11p and spend 89p on food. Lentils, pasta, boiled potatoes and carrots are likely to seem somewhat more satisfactory when washed down with a little booze, the calories from which are not wasted.

  31. bag o' spanners

    Day 1: Value style pot noodle x 2

    Day 2: Value spaghetti with tomato puree and a hint of pot noodle sauce.

    Day 3: Value mushy peas and a baked potato with a hint of tomato..

    Day 4: Value spaghetti with tomato puree and pea/potato sauce.

    Day 5: Microwave Lidl egg fried rice. (properjob luxury!)

    Breakfast toast for the week from a 50p Lidl large wholemeal loaf. Think of the fibre.

    Asda Value teabags at 20p for 80 ought to slake the caffeine thirst (four to a cup), and a scout through the supermarket bins should turn up a past-its-sell-by pud or two. Just peel off the blue bits.

    Place a sneaky £1 bet on yourself at 200/1 against, and you'll still have 30p left over to celebrate your good fortune.

  32. ecofeco Silver badge

    Good luck

    Been there done that.

    You're going to need it.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £5 a week? Easy!

    ASDA smartprice long grain rice - 1 x 1Kg @ 40p each: 40p (one cup rice, 2 cups H2O, microwave 15min30s)

    ASDA smartprice mixed veg - 1 x 1Kg @ 75p each: 75p (simmer & blend for soup, grill, stir-fry or steam)

    ASDA smartprice cooking bacon - 1 x 500g @ 81p each: 81p (stir-fry and add to veg, or chop and add to soup)

    Kingsmill 50/50 Pitta Pockets - 1 x 8pk @ 50p each: 50p (stuff with stir-fry bacon plus salad)

    ASDA Smartprice Seasonal Salad - 1 x 180g each: 44p (use in pitta pockets or as desired)

    H & P Bakers Sultana Scones - 1 x 10pk @ 60p each: 60p (for breakfast or snack)

    ASDA Lime cordial with sugar & sweetners - 1 @ 58p: 58p (to put some taste into that tap water)

    ASDA Smartprice Variety Pack Crisps - 12pk @ 68p: 68p (because everyone needs a snack!)

    ASDA loose bananas @ 68p/Kg : 24p (you'll get 2 or 3 maybe)

    Fresh meat? Check!

    Carbs? 2 types - Check!

    Veg? Fresh and frozen - Check!

    Fruit? a bit, but Check!

    Snacks? Check!

    Something to drink? Check!

    Tough times call for tough measures!

  34. heyrick Silver badge

    This is a flawed test

    Kudos to you for trying; however a reasonably well nourished person can make it a week on penny bread, beans, and all the bargain bucket foods.

    If you really want a test for science, do it for a month. You'll start noticing the difference after 2-3 weeks (depending on your build) and a week later you'll feel sluggish and it just doesn't improve as you start to realise just how crap the quality of the food if you think you can live on a pound a day. I would change the world "live" to "survive".

    1. bag o' spanners

      Re: This is a flawed test

      In punkier times, it was somehow possible to live on brown rice with marmite, and wholemeal chapatis. Frequently, for weeks or months at a time.. Fruit and veg scavenging on the bigger markets added a bit of much needed variety. A veggie diet is unlikely to break anyone's bank, unless they're into overpriced fad foods from exotic places.

  35. Dave Bell

    Good publicity, but a little unrealistic

    I've seen a few web pages on this theme, and the recipes can look rather good. But I'm not sure the pricing is realistic. Price an egg according to the cheapest supermarket price for a box of 30. Have a recipe with component prices taken from four different supermarkets.

    How long before all this feeds into the shirking benefit skivers meme that plagues the press in the UK?

    Because of pack sizes, food storage, and transport costs, this can become an intellectual challenge rather than any practical assessment. And I recall that J. Hickory Wood made comedy out of the idea, over a century ago, with an account of how a young man may live in London on a minimal budget.

  36. Zmodem

    do it all the time. if you have a £5 note, then its just a bag of potatoes £2.30, a 1kg bag of mixed veg £1.50, and 4 birds eye chicken fillets/steaks £1 in morrisons, if you get a small bag of veg, you can probably get some beef and onion gravy for 60p at morrisons

    is all you need to vitamins, or after a few days if you have a life, you will just get psychosis

    you do not need breakfast and tea time, and all the other pompus meals most posts in here cannot live without

    just the urban pie a day

  37. Aron

    You just buy milk. You will still get more nutrition than people in poor countries. It is a futile exercise.

  38. Juillen 1


    I tend to enjoy growing veg in the garden (the stranger stuff, like purple podded peas, white/purple carrots, many colours of tomato and so on; the stuff you don't often see in a shop).. Would that count against the £1 a week?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Garden...

      Apparently you have to offset the cost of growing your own against the budget.

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