General ramblings, My Make Do and Mend Year

Live Below the Line-Day 2

So we survived Day 1 Living Below The Line.

Here is the excitement that is Day 2…


  • Toast with butter and homemade jam (taken from the store cupboard, but I have factored in some pennies for it) and mashed banana-maybe half of our 21p loaf? 20p
  • Milk for the Smalls-20p


  • 2x Sunshine Buns-with butter and jam-12p
  • Bananas x 2-8p
  • Hobnobs x 4-24p
  • Apples x 1-12p
  • Milk for the Smalls-20p
  • Bowl of porridge with raisins-20p
  • Popcorn-we caved, and I made some. I am really quite hungry…75g popcorn kernels+25g sugar works out at about 20p


  • Hubby took the left over portion of yesterday’s tea-42p
  • Smalls and I had carrot soup-made a big batch using 5 carrots (10p), 2 onions (10p) a tsp of curry powder (2p?), a stock cube (8p) and 100g lentils (from the storecupboard) (20p), and a glug of oil (5p)-55p-will do lunch tomorrow as well. We probably had about a third today so 17p
  • 2 rolls with butter-15p


  • Carrot and coriander falafels-recipe here from A Girl Called Jack-88p-I wasn’t sure the Smalls would eat these, but they were a HUGE hit! We will do these again-they look set to become a regular feature 🙂
  • Pasta-half of our 30p bag-15p
  • Tomato sauce-made witha glug of oil (5p) 2 onions (10p), two tins tomatoes (62p) and quarter bag frozen veg (22.5p)=99.5p. Used about a third of this-33p
  • Yoghurt with stewed rhubarb-10p

Total: £3.87

I also added to our supplies today, by buying another bag of flour-might make a banana loaf if we are doing ok for bananas, and a tin of tomatoes (which went in the tomato sauce). This brings the total spend so far up to £18.64. I would really like to be able to get a tin of tuna, and some more bananas/other fruit towards the end of the week.

We had had a chat with BigSmall prior to starting the challenge, and explained  that we could only have porridge or toast for breakfast this week. He was very good about it, but then completely lost the plot this morning when I said he couldn’t have peanut butter on his toast. It is very hard to explain to a 4 year old why he can’t have peanut butter when he knows there is some in the cupboard. Hubby managed to talk him round somehow, and he ended up happily munching on mashed banana on toast instead, but it was a bit tricky for a moment or two, and made me question whether or not we should be including the Smalls in the challenge. I guess BigSmall is at an awkward in between age-old enough to be able to express his opinions very forcefully and vocally, but not really ready yet for big discussions about world poverty or any kind of empathy for other less fortunate people.
He has also been on an eating mission today, and about an hour after breakfast announced he wanted something to eat. He had a Sunshine bun. And then about an hour or two after that he was hungry again and had a big bowl of porridge! After this I was fairly sure he wouldn’t eat much lunch, but had a bowl of soup and a whole roll. And I have never seen him eat as much as he ate at tea this evening…
As I said, I am starting to get a little concerned that we shouldn’t be including the Smalls in this, and I am determined that they will not go hungry, so have been making a concerted effort to make sure they have enough snacks etc, and chucked some lentils into the soup at lunchtime as I’m not sure they are getting enough protein. I know that for 5 days, it won’t do any long-term harm, but it makes you appreciate what a worry it must be if you are genuinely living below the line and you have kids to feed.

I am starting to appreciate how difficult it must be to live like this EVERY day. I find myself mentally calculating how much things cost all the time, and have been checking on banana numbers with alarming frequency. If the Smalls say they are hungry or want a snack, I start worrying about there being none left at the end of the week. To live like this ALL THE TIME must be very very hard indeed.

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  • Reply Thrifty Thursday | My Make Do and Mend Year September 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

    […] Day 2-another great recipe for A Girl Called Jack, falafels! […]

  • Reply Andy from Workshopshed May 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Your banannas are a lot cheaper than the ones we get in London. Typically it’s about a £1 for 5 in the local supermarket

    • Reply Jen May 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      We got these in the local greengrocers-they have bowls of stuff for £1, and then when it starts to look past it’s best, it gets moved to the 50p table-hence the cost. Otherwise I agree, bananas are expensive.

  • Reply jandouglan April 30, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    I thought the lentils were the magic ingredient in the soup. I’m going to make it too!

    • Reply Jen May 1, 2013 at 7:11 am

      It’s really yummy. And I had never really costed out soup before-ridiculously cheap!

  • Reply Jo April 30, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    As you say, it would be awful, such a panicky feeling to have to live like you are now, all the time. Even in our small, pleasant regional city, and with a welfare safety net, there are numerous kids going to school without breakfast. I can’t imagine how truly awful it would be not to be able to feed your kids properly.

    • Reply Jen May 1, 2013 at 7:11 am

      You are right Jo. Makes you realise just how fortunate we are.

  • Reply Heather April 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Well done Jen, another day done. It is hard with the smalls, especially at the tender age of 4. Mine are 6 and 8 and I know I would have trouble with them. They are very used to having the food they know and love and a plentiful supply of snacks. Having said that, your smalls don’t seem to be going without and I’m sure are not hungry. Children can adapt if they need to, and this is only in the short term. Keep positive, you’re nearly half way through the experiment!

    • Reply Jen May 1, 2013 at 7:09 am

      Thanks Heather 🙂

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) April 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I raised 2 kids through lean times when my hubby was made redundant TWICE then I was also made redundant ! We managed somehow to eat well but the TV was always on BBC so we didn’t watch any adverts. Menu planning & sticking to your shopping list with a few treats within budget worked for me. Cooking good homemade meals such as “Scouse” made with minced beef, Corned beef hash, Neck of Lamb hotpot always with a pudding cooked in the same oven. Washing dried on the maiden that was pulled up to the ceiling & it warmed the house before we had central heating. Crikey I sound like my Gran !!!

    • Reply Jen May 1, 2013 at 7:09 am

      I bet at the time you never thought you would be looking back on those tough times with nostalgia!

      • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) May 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm

        Fond memory of my son (now 33) sucking on the bones of the neck of lamb with one in each hand dipping them into the trough of his plastic bib !

        • Reply Jen May 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm

          You really should have a picture of that to embarass him with…!

  • Reply Hayley April 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    When I did the challenge last year I had the same thing with my 3rd daughter who was 3 1/2 and would only eat rice krispies for breakfast. By day 3 I let her. It didn’t ruin the challenge, we just didn’t need that argument every morning! My older girls were very happy to have flapjacks. You can’t do everything the way you want to with smalls!

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      You said it Hayley!

  • Reply TheMadHouse April 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    You are doing really well and are braver than me doing it with the children!

    You can find my thoughts about Live Below the Line here

    A big part of this for me is that the five days do not give long enough for people to understand the monotony of eating the same things day i, day out and the horror of an empty cupboard. It is possible to do this short term, but long term it is soul destroying.

    I have huge issues regarding waste and wonder if more focus should be put in to showing people just what could be achieved with the food they throw away and stop people wasting it

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      Some great thoughts on your blog. I agree with you about not wanting to buy cheap meat, which is why we aren’t really eating any meat this week. We did shop around, but all at shops within walking distance of one another, so no extra fuel costs. I don’t think we could do this if the boys were much bigger-teenage boys are reknowned for their appetites!

  • Reply Sue April 30, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Jen, you are doing brill….kids just get on with whatever happens…they don’t start moaning till their 10+! I have brought up 4 great kids and we had a meal called 2 day stew…1st day it had meat + veg in it, 2nd day just more veg went in complete with a constant supply of homemade dumplings! Now got 4 fab grandsons and they eat whatever Nana cooks. Keep up good work.

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks Sue! 2 day stew sounds fab. And who doesn’t love dumplings..?

  • Reply Hilary April 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Jen you are doing a marvellous job so far. It doesn’t sound as though the smalls are going without at all with the meals and variety of snacks. Im sure its something in our psyche that makes us want to eat more when we are trying to eat less. You’re right too that Big small is at the age where he knows something is happening but doesn’t have the capacity to understand it. Carry on as you are you’re doing brilliantly! 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Hilary you so right about the whole wanting what you can’t have. I have been noticeably hungrier today, and thinking more about food!

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