The Miracles’ songbook.

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Tonight, I go out for a swanky meal to raise money for charity. I am excited about this.

Next Monday, I start living on $1.75 a day. My weekly food budget will probably not cover a cocktail at tonight’s event.

This past Monday, I started to do some shopping research. I went to the bulk food store downtown (a hippy food shop) and bought a few things. Please note, that these may not be the things on which I base my eating next week – although Live Below the Line is not a competition, if I find a better bargain, I will take advantage.

I do not have a picture of the receipt, which is fine because a) it only listed things as ‘BULK’ rather than ‘CHICKPEAS’ or ‘RED LENTILS’ anyway, b) I have since lost it, c) I wrote the per kilo price of everything on the bags.

As the photos clearly demonstrate, my kitchen scale is not the fanciest, most precise thing, so this might be off by a penny or three.

Here’s the breakdown:

Quick cooking oats
$2.33/kg
280g (approximately 2 cups): $0.65

Long grain brown rice
$2.10/kg
310g (approximately 1.5 cups): $0.65

Red lentils
$2.77/kg
300g (approximately 1.5 cups): $0.83

Chickpeas
$2.92/kg
240g (approximately 1 cup): $0.70

Whole wheat flour (pastry – whoops)
$1.66/kg
320g (approximately 1.66 cups): $0.52

Total: $3.36

Which isn’t bad.

I still have to figure out how to make these blandy things palatable with the $5.39 I have left and/or decide whether to seek out lower prices elsewhere and eat this stuff before the challenge begins (or save it for after). I think I’ve figured out budgeting for herbs and spices: buying a teaspoon of a handful of different things seems unweighable/super pesky of me – maybe I’ll charge myself five cents for a shake of cinnamon, cumin, or red pepper flake, and 10 for something fancier like garam masala? Or maybe I should get over my WASP-y guilt about being an annoying customer.

Someone suggested that budgeting 20p a week for oil and salt is about right, but I’m going to ‘charge’ myself 50 cents for adjusted Canadian food prices.

Phew. This is already quite difficult. And I have a lot of tools (and, apparently, time) to figure these things out, which feels/is cheaty.

If you want to sponsor me to be hangry about 1.2 billion people worldwide who live in a state of extreme poverty, you can do so here. If you can only offer encouragement, that is also very much appreciated. Thank you for your support!

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