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BBC: How to Eat Healthily on £1 a day
April 30, 2013 7:36 AM   Subscribe

"Starting on Monday 29 April, 5,000 Britons will be challenging themselves to live on just £1 a day for five days, as part of a campaign by the Global Poverty Project. But is it possible not just to survive, but also to eat a balanced and healthy diet on that sort of budget?"

"Over five days, I set out to see if it was possible to include sufficient fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates in my food to do that, spending no more than £1 a day - while trying not to lose sight of the fact that eating should be a pleasure, not just a necessity."

"Coffee, alcohol, cakes and even salad are just too expensive. But there are plenty of surprising goodies that are very much on the menu."

Comments worth reading: you can view them by date/highest rated/lowest rated/editors picks.
posted by marienbad (78 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or not .... Here is a detailed analysis of how much the reporter actually spent, and it's about £40. This sort of reporting buys into a pernicious attitude that poor people are unhealthy / eat badly because they don't budget.
posted by Gilgongo at 7:44 AM on April 30, 2013 [57 favorites]


Hm, I don't know. The project seems like a great way to raise awareness, but given that many of these people will be able to turn back to their Waitrose scones and locally farmed bacon at the end of the 5 days without anything having changed, it smells a little like poverty tourism. Surely this time and effort would be better spent challenging the government on benefits and welfare cuts.
posted by fight or flight at 7:46 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good comments on how you have to start by stocking up...you can't buy 1p worth of butter anywhere, and you also need someplace to store ingredients.

These stunts may raise awareness on some level, but I don't know if it does anything other than make the participants feel better about themselves.
posted by xingcat at 7:48 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's weird, I see 'is it possible to have a healthy diet on £1 a day', and it reads to me as 'can we make it slightly more palatable to our readers that some people live on £1 a day'. Like, 'oh, it's not THAT bad, they totally got 100% of their daily thiamin with 17p left for luxuries!'
posted by FatherDagon at 8:06 AM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


I also appreciate the awareness that these projects bring but realistically, there's so much privilege involved in these projects. The people living on SNAP or relying on other programs often don't have the time and resources to spend preparing fully scratch meals. They might not work at a place with a refrigerator and a microwave that allows them to reheat leftovers and then sit at a breakroom table to eat them. They might not have time or transportation to shop carefully. There are just too many variables.

And I'm speaking as a kid who ate government cheese for many years--we were able to do a lot with it because my mom was a great cook who taught us to cook when we were really young, and between us, we were able to manage really healthy balanced meals every day. And instead of working two jobs to support us, my mom was able to go to school on grants and scholarships, so she had a little more time to spend shopping and planning than other families in our situation. And we had emotional and sometimes financial support from family. And, and, and. Even my childhood poverty was so layered with privilege that I feel like it has little relationship to what I think of as "real poverty".
posted by padraigin at 8:08 AM on April 30, 2013 [27 favorites]


"But is it possible not just to survive, but also to eat a balanced and healthy diet on that sort of budget?"

As ever, the simple answer to this overly-simple question is no.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:09 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


It really bugs me that the government is promoting the idea that people can survive on a £1 per day food budget. It feels like they're promoting an unhealthy lifestyle and trying to give terrible, unhealthy and impractical advice to poor people.

First of all, it is possible to spend £30-50 on groceries and then portion it off for £1 per person per day. But is it the right thing to do? Living on that diet probably wouldn't be particularly nutritious or high in calories. It would definitely be high in ingredients people shouldn't be taking in, like sodium. I would guess that it's probably impossible to do this long-term if you have kids. They have specific nutritional needs that shouldn't be skimped on, fat, carbs, minerals, vitamins, etc.
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on April 30, 2013


This is Pulp's Common People transposed down a class octave.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:14 AM on April 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


Or not .... Here is a detailed analysis of how much the reporter actually spent, and it's about £40.

Well, that makes me want to burn things. The link illustrates clearly that the reporter is a lying asshole.
posted by jaduncan at 8:14 AM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Starting on Monday, 5,000 Britons will be challenging themselves for five days to enter their homes through their catflaps rather than their front doors. I set out to see if it was possible, and it turns out that it is, provided you turn yourself to the right angle, have sufficiently strong arms, and haven't yet entered puberty. The Global Doorway Project was inspired by Coalition policies to eliminate full-size doors from all council housing as an unnecessary extravagance, and to replace them with more cost-effective openings designed for horizontal rather than vertical ingress and egress."
posted by rory at 8:20 AM on April 30, 2013 [27 favorites]


The comments are fun.
594. Golgotha
27th April 2013 - 21:30

You want to know how you can eat for free? Go to your local high street and catch a pigeon, not that hard if you practice. Seagulls are bigger but it's not wise to tangle with those beasts. Don't even try a Raven. If you've got some capital and ingenuity you can devise a snap trap to catch foxes but you have to know their runs. Rabbits aren't worth the effort.
Alternatively, one could develop a taste for long pork....
posted by zarq at 8:22 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The rules of the challenge include the following: "The full cost of all the items you consume must be included in your budget. This means budgeting for whole packets of food items such as rice, pasta, noodles and eggs etc."

Brian Milligan was directly lying when he stated that he'd successfully completed the challenge.
posted by jaduncan at 8:23 AM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


This reminds me of the couple who tried to live on a buck a day (each) for a month. They managed, but it was rough. Of course, now they have a book out. You can google "One Dollar Diet Project" for more on them; I feel weird linking to a site selling the book.
posted by custardfairy at 8:24 AM on April 30, 2013


I'll be impressed when they actually take all the food out of someone's house and dole out £1 each morning for food, and make them do all their shopping at the local 7/11 type of store, because there is no real grocery store within walking distance.

These kind of events must infuriate those that actually have to live on that type of budget. I liken it to the High Schoolers who spend one night sleeping in a box on the football field so they know what it's like to be homeless.

How about taking all this energy used to replicate the "plight" of disadvantaged groups and put it into actually helping them.
posted by HuronBob at 8:26 AM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I get that the “eat on a dollar a day” or “live off public assistance for a week” things are coming from a well-intentioned place, but I can’t shake the feeling that the people doing them honestly don’t understand the level of privilege that they’re taking into their experiment.

Doing it for a week makes the person doing it feel physically crappy, and, presumably, at least moderately virtuous. People seem to feel like that experience of feeling crappy means that they now know what it feels like to be poor. But poverty is more like chronic pain—if you break your leg, that’s really shit. But your experience with a broken leg doesn’t mean that you suddenly know what it’s like to have rheumatoid arthritis, or other diseases that wear you down, day after day, so that even your good days have the constant undercurrent of pain.

That’s what being poor’s like, really. It’s a constant undercurrent. You know how much is in the bank, and you know how many days until payday. It’s how even when you’ve just gotten your tax rebate or won $500 or lucked into some extra work, you’re simultaneously desperate and terrified to buy yourself something nice—or buy something, full stop, niceness not really required. It means that every day, every thing you do, in the back of your mind you’re wondering if you can afford this, and how it’s going to affect you later, and if someone’s going to be mean about how you’re spending whatever money you’ve got.

It means living with uncertainty. Not just once in a while, but all the time. It means you ignore the rattling sound your car’s making, and pay off a mechanic to get your car to pass the state's "safety inspection". It means that you hope the strange mole that’s growing on your torso isn’t skin cancer, and you try not to think about it. It means that you actively don’t think about the possibility of something else going wrong—someone getting Seriously Ill (because health care isn’t a right), or losing their job. You don’t think about the future, either—you’re never going to be able to retire, and thinking about spending the next fifty or sixty years living like you are now is too depressing to contemplate.

The stress of being poor is constant and unrelenting, even when things are going more or less ok for you right at the moment. Living off benefits for a week doesn't begin to convey to people how poverty actually feels, and how it wears you down, day after day. Yeah, it sucks that you've eaten a baked potato for lunch four times this week, but you have a cutoff date. People doing a poverty experiment know that they're doing this for a week, or a month, and that after that, they can go back to whatever. I don't think it can be overstated what a luxury that is. You can put up with almost anything if you know that it'll end. But for most people who are poor, it's never going to end.

Even at the most superficial level, these experiments don't convey what it's like to be poor. The reporter shopped at four different supermarkets. Try doing this experiment when you have no vehicle and your neighborhood has no reliable public transit. I can promise you that the odds that your crappy local foodmart has kale or brie at any price is nearly nil. Try doing this when you leave the house at seven in the morning and get back at seven at night, and you've spent an hour and a half of that time on transit, and half an hour standing around waiting for the bus, and eight hours on your feet. Try doing this when you've got a small child or two--bonus points if they're in a picky phase and won't eat anything that's green, and won't eat tomato sauce, and think that pasta tastes like worms. Try to do this for a few months without money, food, and the lack thereof becoming the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think about at night.

Go on. I'll wait. I imagine I'll be here a long time.
posted by MeghanC at 8:33 AM on April 30, 2013 [129 favorites]


How about taking all this energy used to replicate the "plight" of disadvantaged groups and put it into actually helping them.

I get the feeling that for some people the challenge is to prove that the disadvantaged people could do fine if only they were as smart as their betters* and thus the poor can go fuck themselves.

* premises adjusted until success over the short term is assured
posted by jaduncan at 8:34 AM on April 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Thank you, Gilgongo. Propaganda disguised as journalism makes me see bugs, and the implication that being poor isn't so bad because this person can live on a pound a day (more like lose a pound a day, amirite?) makes me really, really angry - it basically comes down to a way to ignore people who don't have enough money to eat.
posted by Mooski at 8:36 AM on April 30, 2013


Well said, MeghanC.
posted by HuronBob at 8:37 AM on April 30, 2013


The body is a system; survival is not merely filling a caloric quota. Can you prevent starvation for 1 major unit of local currency per day? Probably. While doing that, can you also prevent stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, vitamin deficiency, increased risk of adult-onset diabetes, increased risk of other illnesses, and the soul-crushing knowledge that you only have one pound to your name for the next 24 hours?

Hell, maybe you just shouldn’t eat at all, and save that money for when you’re REALLY hungry.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:38 AM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm going to write an article about how to sail a racing yacht for $15/day. It's easy: buy beer, bring it on your friend's racing yacht! No problem, done and done. Clearly this will work just fine for everyone.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:38 AM on April 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


The body is a system; survival is not merely filling a caloric quota. Can you prevent starvation for 1 major unit of local currency per day? Probably. While doing that, can you also prevent stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, vitamin deficiency, increased risk of adult-onset diabetes, increased risk of other illnesses, and the soul-crushing knowledge that you only have one pound to your name for the next 24 hours?

Then we can totes save money on benefits, because the NHS is there and surely no extra health care costs will arise!

I just have an uncomfortable feeling that the Tory plan to deal with this is to kill the free NHS.
posted by jaduncan at 8:41 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Prices are just not comparable internationally in a straightforward way. See the Balassa Samuelson effect I would be still very poor, but I could feed myself on £1 OK in rural India. I remember buying four (good) samosas from a guy at a rural station because he had to go and find help to "break" a Rs100 (around a £ then) note.

Living around the dollar or two dollar a day line is not about eating cheaply: it is living in a different world with lots of limits and low horizons.
posted by hawthorne at 8:41 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


People on assistance do not receive a X a day for food, they receive X amount per month. This actually would allow them the possibility of buying in bulk if they choose. This makes the critique of the reporters accounting a bit more complicated. In the real world, few are faced with spending X per day, they are faced with spending X per month or X per week, which can potentially result in a considerably more efficient strategy. That being said, it takes an educated, motivated person with considerable discretionary free time and access to reasonable resources to be able to eat healthily on a food stamp budget. Very few people on assistance have all four of these characteristics, if they did they would be less likely not be on assistance for long.

One thing that would help is removing non-food items from being eligible for food stamps. Coca Cola etc is NOT FOOD. Allowing food stamps to be used on non nutritional items is extremely expensive from the point of view of nutritional opportunity cost. This is not an issue of human dignity, it is an issue of using extremely finite resources with a reasonable degree of efficiency. Controversial point, with compelling arguments on both sides I think.
posted by jcworth at 8:43 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Alternately, food stamps should be replaced with cash payouts, because paternalism is demeaning.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:47 AM on April 30, 2013 [14 favorites]


What? Why £1? Why not 1p? Why not £10? Is this related to the less-than-$1-a-day global poverty figures?

OK, the company website says:

We're passionate about equipping people to make a real difference in fighting poverty, and so we focus on connecting people up to the organisations and issues that have the biggest impact. We run Live Below the Line because we think that to really fight poverty, we've got to try to understand it - and what better way than by spending just a few days below the poverty line.

So it's a figure you're not supposed to be able to survive on. As opposed to a figure that anyone is surviving on. So I don't see its benefit, to be honest.
posted by alasdair at 8:48 AM on April 30, 2013


Those of you complaining about the privilege of returning to Waitrose scones and having a full block of butter when 1p-worth is not available are underestimating the people doing the experiment.

First-hand I have taught this activity to undergraduates in the US (1 week, $2 per day) and YES they become aware of their privilege. Almost every post-experiment briefing includes the small hardships (walked downtown instead of taking the subway) and the larger (turning down what at the time seem major social events), people who had to get creative (pooling their money for one big bag of beans), etc. Maybe not every participant gets every point, but the experiment definitely scratches the brain somewhere deeper than "awareness raising." Those who cheat on the experiment, for example by spending £40 in a week, are only cheating themselves out of a sympathetic learning experience.
posted by whatzit at 8:48 AM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


This makes the critique of the reporters accounting a bit more complicated.

Not hugely. For an example, he booked the price of 1.5 leaves of lettuce instead of the entire thing. You can't do that because the shelf life of the remaining lettuce means that you either fail to write off the rest of the cost or will be eating lettuce dishes for a week. It isn't for no reason that people find fresh veg hard to get.
posted by jaduncan at 8:51 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hawthorne, the £1 figure was arrived at through Purchasing Power Parity calculations. A single pound per day in the UK has roughly the same purchasing strength in that local economy as what the world's poor have to buy food with in the local economy in their respective countries. You're simulating only having enough money to buy the same amount of food as what the poor are able to afford with what few Zambian Kwachas they earn. Even though local prices are less, they earn proportionally less as well.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:57 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


First-hand I have taught this activity to undergraduates in the US (1 week, $2 per day) and YES they become aware of their privilege.

Oh, fair enough! I'd have thought it would benefit from being related to some kind of real-world value, but if you've used it successfully then that's great.
posted by alasdair at 8:58 AM on April 30, 2013


Do read Gilgongo's excellent link. The author points out that (even aside from the real expenditure being more than one pound per day) when Brian Milligan consults a dietician, she assesses his diet as well short of his necessary caloric intake. What Mr. Milligan ate is not a "healthy diet." Long term, it's starvation.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:58 AM on April 30, 2013


watzit this report is in the context of an ongoing assault on poor people in the UK with people like the former PM and current Work and Pensions Minister Ian Duncan Smith claiming to be able to live on £53 a week. It's not that the exercise (done properly) can promote an empathic and ethical understanding - it's that the reporter is explicitly buying into and promoting blaming the poor for their failure to manage what he has so easily and untruthfully succeeded in doing. The claim that "there are plenty of surprising goodies that are very much on the menu" is, of course, nothing more than victim blaming at its worst.
posted by Gilgongo at 8:59 AM on April 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


The cola thing is bugging me. I realized when I had a short-term budget crunch a while back that store-brand cola is absolutely ideal if you're trying to maximize calorie per dollar. Completely unhealthy, but it'll fill out meals until the next paycheck comes in. It might be a stupid choice, but I was glad to have the option.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:59 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


From the live below the line project website:
Why £1?

The international Extreme Poverty Line was defined by the World Bank as $1.25 US dollars a day, in 2005. If you live on less than that every day, you’re recognised internationally as living in extreme poverty.

Our usual response to this would be, "that's not so small, US$1.25 actually buys quite a lot in most developing countries". Unfortunately that's not true - the US$1.25 figure is calculated using Purchasing Power Parity - which works out how much you would have to live on each day if you were living in extreme poverty in the United States.

Converting this to the 2005 equivalent for the UK and adjusting for inflation, living below the Extreme Poverty Line today would be the equivalent of us living on £1 a day.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:00 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's a thing: I have a friend with a baby daughter. She's on food stamps. She can't afford childcare and does, basically, odd jobs while living with her [awful] parents because even with the odd jobs she can't make rent. She's out of food stamp money until the 8th. She has enough to eat until then, sort of. And I have lived with her and the baby - she is a meticulous cook who makes everything from scratch, no junk ever, not least because she has a lot of health problems and the baby has allergies.

She is out of shampoo and conditioner. The sole peeled off her good [still pretty cheap] shoes so she's roaming around in unsuitable ones. She has lost the baby weight but her pre-baby clothes were few and cheap and have mostly disintegrated, so she's walking around in the baggy old baby/post-baby clothes. I did not do an entire run-down of "what else are you out of", so I don't even know - but I imagine that it's plenty of things.

And of course, she doesn't even have the option of spending the food stamp money on shampoo, because it's such a restricted benefit. And the idea of giving poor folks like $50 additional a month to cover non-food necessities like soap is just too socialist for our generous state to even think of.

How is she going to get shampoo? She's going to get shampoo because I'm going to buy her some fucking shampoo, and we're going to hit the thrift store and - we hope - find a few suitable pieces of clothing, maybe hit Target for a pair of ultra-cheap shoes that will also fall apart pretty quick.

God knows I don't mind doing this, but the poor kid shouldn't have to depend on the random charity of friends just to be able to wash her hair.

She's a great mom, but that doesn't really matter to anyone, and there seems to be almost no way out of this until the baby is old enough for school.
posted by Frowner at 9:01 AM on April 30, 2013 [26 favorites]


For those curious, as of 2005 the World Bank estimates that 1.4 billion people worldwide live at this level of poverty.

Some progress has been made since the 90s in trying to alleviate this number, which is why we now have an additional 2.4 billion people worldwide living on up to $2 per day - just high enough to get them out of the bracket that the poorest-of-the-poor development programs are targeted at.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:04 AM on April 30, 2013


"The full cost of all the items you consume must be included in your budget. This means budgeting for whole packets of food items such as rice, pasta, noodles and eggs etc."

That's a fair enough rule for lettuce or courgettes, I don't think it makes as much sense for longer life items. Obviously the poor have liquidity as well as income problems, but those are distinct, I think as long as you disallow buying in bulk (which someone spending £1 a day couldn't do) it isn't unreasonable to only account for part of the cost of something like butter or pasta.

Seems strange though that he didn't mention in the article that he was doing this though, as the rules of the challenge are set up the way they are.

The really realistic way of course would be to do this challenge for way longer than five days, but no-one would want to do that on account of being poor not actually being any fun.

The claim that "there are plenty of surprising goodies that are very much on the menu" is, of course, nothing more than victim blaming at its worst.

It's pretty mild as far as victim blaming goes, hardly at its worst.
posted by atrazine at 9:04 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


ceribus peribus, I understand PPP calculations. But typically a sub component of a bundle bought for a dollar in one country cannot be bought for a dollar in another.
posted by hawthorne at 9:06 AM on April 30, 2013


I feel this is a fairly stupid "experiment."

If you want to feel virtuous for what it feels to live in poverty, donate $1/day to your local food bank. It'll be far more useful and appreciated by the people who really live this way, day in and day out.
posted by docjohn at 9:07 AM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


That's a fair enough rule for lettuce or courgettes, I don't think it makes as much sense for longer life items. Obviously the poor have liquidity as well as income problems, but those are distinct, I think as long as you disallow buying in bulk (which someone spending £1 a day couldn't do) it isn't unreasonable to only account for part of the cost of something like butter or pasta.

I agree with this. I'd say that one should amortise the cost of the entire item over the shorter of consumption rate or shelf life as a finance journalist, although I admit this is too much to ask for a simple challenge for the general public.
posted by jaduncan at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2013


This is basically first-person poverty tourism, and frankly the money is the least of it. Most adults without kids can scrape by for a week just fine on a greatly reduced budget.

I'd like to see this reporter spend a week giving up one meal a day so that his kids could eat. Or take a crap job on his feet all day and be banned from using a car so he has to take the bus (involving a long walk to and from the bus stop of course, because they're never near). Or tackle the task of preparing one of his lovely recipes at 8:30 at night after a day working said job and taking said bus.

All this exercise seems to have done is made him more smug than he was before.
posted by ErikaB at 9:13 AM on April 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't find the explanation.

The good news is that the proportion of the world population that lives below the Extreme Poverty Line is continuing to fall: about halving since 1980. Of course, the population has grown, so absolute numbers remain huge, but still, the right direction:
Extreme Poverty

This has come about through economic development, notably of China. The downside has been a loss of employment in the West in traded goods, notably manufactured goods.
posted by alasdair at 9:19 AM on April 30, 2013


You use to be able to buy small or micro amounts of goods back when shops were small and independent. There are always lettuce leaves, small potatoes and other crud leftover and shopkeepers would sell you it if you really wanted it. They also were more likely to extend informal credit as they knew the families in question. The rise of supermarkets has made living poor much harder in Western countries because these things are gone.

My father remembers begging old Bob West for cracked eggs on credit in the 1950s, promising that his mam would pay come wage day. My own mother used to work in a place which sold butter cut from a slab, and customers simply asked for how much they wanted in weight or price. Even if the customer asked for the smallest amount possible the rule was never to quibble as when you're that poor the last thing you need is somebody arguing about how little you can afford.

Also, Giffen goods. There's a reason why poor people once lived on bread, butter, and potatoes. It's the cheapest way to have anything like a filling and nutritional diet.
posted by Jehan at 9:33 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


The cola thing is bugging me. I realized when I had a short-term budget crunch a while back that store-brand cola is absolutely ideal if you're trying to maximize calorie per dollar. Completely unhealthy, but it'll fill out meals until the next paycheck comes in. It might be a stupid choice, but I was glad to have the option.

then you'd be delighted to discover how much a 5 lb. bag of sugar costs....

First-hand I have taught this activity to undergraduates in the US (1 week, $2 per day) and YES they become aware of their privilege.

One of the more important insights from Marxism is the idea you can't divorce yourself from your connection to the means of production. "Awareness" doesn't change anything; it's false consciousness all the way down. From that perspective this is like a "scared straight" program for the middle class: this is what it's like to have your potential labor completely commoditized i.e. to be poor, so don't ever forget what it will be like to fuck up and not get that job, keep that job, etc. all the little petty decisions people have (usually without even thinking too hard about it) to make if they want to keep their place on the social ladder, or even advance a little.

I just had my food stamps renewed after dropping out of the program because in order to re-apply I needed to either file my taxes, which I couldn't do yet, or fight with the "Department of Transitional Assistance" for weeks/months because my unemployment takes the form of being "self-employed" i.e. I'm not technically unemployed at all, just destitute. If you aren't suicidal, a nice way to get a sense of the feeling is to find yourself going back time and time again to the food stamps office with different pieces of paper, begging some overworked middle-aged lady to help you afford food. A lady for whom a job in the Dept. of Transitional Assistance is really one of the only sure paths out of being in the same position as the people she services (see above: connection to means of production.)

Which is all just to say that how many dollars a day you can live on is completely irrelevant. The only question is whether you are sure you have enough to eat or not: how much money it takes to be sure is different for different people. And everyone will kick the next person down on the ladder to keep on being sure. That's the society we live in.

Now, design a safe little exercise to teach socially climbing kids in the education system the lesson you need to take from that....
posted by ennui.bz at 9:38 AM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I really like the takedown of this, especially because there’s this constant back and forth in the running community about how cheap running is, because all you need are shoes and the road. First of all, shoes (like whole packages of food) are expensive…. And access to a park/safe place to run are akin to having a grocery store with good food, etc.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:40 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was (voluntarily) poor for a couple of years, and had limited access to a car to buy groceries. Also I have a little bit of "engineer's disease" which causes me to try to solve problems in one fell swoop.

So I bought a 20-liter stock pot ($17) and a used chest freezer ($100) and made giant pots of soup and froze them in zip-lock bags. I could spend $50 on groceries, make three or four giant pots of different soups, and have healthy, nutritionally complete, instant meals for 2 months. Turkey soup! Minestrone! Bean and barley! Split pea with pork! Beef and onion!

This was a horrible idea. After a year of eating this way, I got to the point that I would start to gag if I even smelled turkey soup. I actually have a whole turkey still sitting in the freezer from those days that I haven't even bothered to cook.

So while I'm sure it's possible to eat a nutritionally complete meal on a pound a day, it's not something I ever want to attempt again.
posted by miyabo at 9:55 AM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


I spent a year severely underemployed, and even that didn't really "raise my consciousness" so much as give me the ability, now rather decayed, to estimate the value of the items in my shopping cart down to the dollar. Sure, I had to buy food for the week on Monday night's tips (which would be anywhere from $5-$20) and fill in the gaps with unsold pizza, and yeah, I lost a bunch of weight in the not-so-good way, but I was never in danger of real poverty. At the drop of a hat I could have gotten Mom to pay my rent, or moved back home, or applied for a tedious job somewhere I wasn't super excited about working instead of delivering pizza and bouncing at a bar, both of which I kind of loved. It wasn't a bad year for me, and I can't say it wasn't educational in some ways, but even three hundred times more in-depth than this experiment it didn't do anything but mildly corrode the walls of my class privilege.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:56 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure, I had to buy food for the week on Monday night's tips (which would be anywhere from $5-$20) and fill in the gaps with unsold pizza, and yeah, I lost a bunch of weight in the not-so-good way, but I was never in danger of real poverty. At the drop of a hat I could have gotten Mom to pay my rent, or moved back home

If you called your mum she could stop it all?
posted by jaduncan at 9:58 AM on April 30, 2013 [14 favorites]


Yeah, Mom was *horrified* that I wasn't working a real job and I kept the extent of my financial situation from her to keep her from swooping in and trying to rescue me. (I was 21, not long out of the nest, and she wasn't really ready to let go.)
posted by restless_nomad at 10:00 AM on April 30, 2013


And everyone will kick the next person down on the ladder to keep on being sure. That's the society we live in.


^This.^

People talk all the time about the class war between the have and have-nots, but forget that the class war between the have-nots themselves is also pretty horrifying. I would never say there aren't good people out there who are poor (because I have been in those shoes) but the amount of low-paid people who are horrible to you because you have less than they do? It's a whole other troubling rung. Very few people celebrate your ability or desire to better yourself because that means you could look down on them, or vice versa.
posted by Kitteh at 10:07 AM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


And for a Brit, there can be no greater comfort food than a custard cream. With a cuppa.

Actually this bit is true.

The pale and pungent custard cream. Even the name makes you feel good. Mmm.
posted by colie at 10:11 AM on April 30, 2013


That whistling sound is the collective sighing of the UK government for a return to the days when the laboring class existed solely on tea and bread.
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Come on, we also had beer, and congealed cold meat fat to spread on the bread ('dripping').
posted by colie at 10:44 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]



This was a horrible idea. After a year of eating this way, I got to the point that I would start to gag if I even smelled turkey soup. I actually have a whole turkey still sitting in the freezer from those days that I haven't even bothered to cook.


See, this is why the whole "oh, just subsist on beans and rice it is so cheap and nutritious, you lazy whiny poor person, you can cook it in bulk for pennies" line of reasoning drives me up the fucking wall. The next step would be that everyone on food stamps doesn't get to actually buy food; they just get issued a chunk of that nutrition loaf that they feed people who are being punished in solitary confinement. After all, poor people are poor because it is their fault not because of structural inequality, so why should they have any variety in their diet, any sweets, anything rich or flavorful or special? Just keep 'em alive on whatever is enough to sustain life; poor people are immoral if they want nice things.

Honestly, if I were in charge, everyone would get not only a little walking around money but a special delicious-foods voucher so that no one could complain about poor folks buying something nice.
posted by Frowner at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2013 [22 favorites]


Gah, this is making me so angry. A la lanterne, you smug rich motherfuckers.
posted by Frowner at 11:25 AM on April 30, 2013


it is possible to spend £30-50 on groceries and then portion it off for £1 per person per day

I used to know some squatters who did this, subsisting almost entirely on a giant cauldron of Irish stew. Pretty tasty, but sort of samey.
posted by Damienmce at 11:33 AM on April 30, 2013


How well secured are the dumpsters at UK supermarkets, as a rule? Because getting into them seems like the most cost-effective way to live on that little money, and you'll have a varied, interesting diet to boot...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:53 AM on April 30, 2013


Dumpster diving works well as a plan in the UK because of the NHS, but I'd question if it's any cheaper to the government overall given it's us who has to pay when people are sick or have malnutrition in any case.

It genuinely depresses me to see queues of people outside food banks here for the first time in my life, especially since the cost of providing for unemployed people isn't even all that great; the majority of benefits subsidise bad employers as they go to the working poor.
posted by jaduncan at 12:00 PM on April 30, 2013


Dumpster diving is tricky. I worked in a shop once, got called to the checkouts in the morning and there was a policewoman with a bag of various meats that had been used in evidence in shoplilfting cases. I had to chuck it in the skip and pour bleach on it, as it was totally unsafe for consumption.

And now we see the BBC show its true colours, it has stopped being the governments surrupticious propaganda machine and is now a brazen and open one. And we are paying to be propagandized by these rich and middle class fuckers.
posted by marienbad at 12:13 PM on April 30, 2013


There are different solutions to this, all mentioned above, and obviously no one should be living on a pound a day. So there's that. But thinking about how I've survived when I was poor (on about 3 pounds a day), it makes a huge difference that I live in an immigrant neighborhood. Let alone that my apartment is somewhat cheaper, my food is way cheaper that what one can buy in other neighborhoods. Can someone explain how this works?
I don't buy the huge sacks of rice, though I probably should. But just normal vegetables and dried and canned food are much cheaper, as well as halal meat (and not least soup bones and innards).

When I lived in NYC, I was not poor (generous grants, thanks), but since I was used to being poor, I'd take the subway to Atlantic Avenue and buy stuff in as large quantities as I could transport. Because prices where I lived were crazy - I particularly remember apple-juice was 8 dollars a gallon, because we drank a lot of it. I both wonder why more people don't do like me (live in neighborhoods with cheap stores), and why some immigrant stores are able to procure cheap foods while others are not.

Additionally, in my current neighborhood, the chain stores feel the competition, so they lower their prices too. We can get some brand name products (not all) up to 50% cheaper than in the same chain just a few hundred meters away.

Finally, if you really want to cut costs, you need to learn what you can find in nature, even in a city. If you are in a city, it won't be very healthy because of pollution, but neither will the rest of your dollar-a-day diet. Stuff like nettle-soup and elder-berry soup are almost free meals. Wild garlic is excellent for pesto. Fishing is good, as is bird-netting, though the latter will get you some comments, even if it is legal. (At a dollar a day, you are not always thinking about legal). Snails and mussels can be found (and I've heard sea-urchin, but I've never tried personally). Wild fennel, thistles and wild asparagus are good, but specially thistles are complicated to cook. Mushrooms, obviously. If you have a window-sill, you can grow tomatoes, herbs, chili. No real nutritional value there, but a lot of taste.

I am not here to endorse starving people or blame the poor. Contrariwise, I believe everyone should have the right to decent food. It's that since we don't, we need to know how to get decent food even when we don't have money. So we can be alert and fresh and fighting at all times.
posted by mumimor at 12:17 PM on April 30, 2013


This reminds of the season of Gardener’s World on the BBC from a few years ago when they had a segment on how to do nice garden design on the cheap. The core of their suggestions was to take stuff conveniently left over from last season's garden designs. People who are well off sometimes really have no clue. The UK media seems to be particularly bad.

Also, it is quite possible to walk to several grocery stores in many place in the UK. There were 9 stores within 45 minutes walk of my home when I lived in Birmingham and there was a farmer's market every at then end of every month and another one the next week at the start both within walking distance. The UK really is a different place from America.
posted by srboisvert at 12:20 PM on April 30, 2013


I had a $1800 car repair bill, so I decided to fix meals based on what I had in the freezer or pantry. I lasted one month, cutting out fruit but still buying fresh cheap (cabbage, collards, etc.) vegetables. I decided to keep going after finances perked up and I am almost at the end of month two.Granted that I still spend more than two dollars per day on fresh produce and eggs now, but I was flabbergasted by how long the fish, beef , and poultry I had in the freezer.

I have to face the fact that I am a food hoarder.
posted by francesca too at 12:24 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Coca Cola etc is NOT FOOD.

Soda pop has a stigma from contributing to obesity. I've given up caffeine except when I have bad headaches/migraines (with my doctor's permission, because sometimes caffeine works as well as NSAIDs and harsher drugs) and since I don't like coffee, soda is my go-to for caffeine. 4 ounces usually does the trick. So yes, I do buy soda. (I'm not on food stamps.)

Replace the words Coca Cola with coffee and see how quickly everyone revolts. A cup of black coffee has very few calories... the calories mostly come from sugar and creamer people dump in. A quick Googling of "how many calories in a cup of coffee" provided this link indicating 1 cup of black coffee has 1-4 calories, while the cream and sugar people put in may add up to over 700. But you wouldn't dream of depriving someone of their coffee. It's almost a right in this country... I was surprised when last year, my grandma was in the ER, and my uncle asked a nurse for a cup of coffee and she was happy to oblige, no charge.

(The same article points out that according to a study, coffee itself causes no serious health risks, unlike soda, but it doesn't indicate whether the people studied used cream and sugar or how much of each.)

It's a slippery slope. Do you ban Coke but allow coffee? Where do you draw the line between "food and not food" or "healthy and not healthy food?" Sure, a salad is healthier than a cheeseburger, but you can get 4 cheeseburgers for the price of a salad (at least at McDonald's).
posted by IndigoRain at 1:29 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly, if I were in charge, everyone would get not only a little walking around money but a special delicious-foods voucher so that no one could complain about poor folks buying something nice.

We had a giant fight 'round these parts a while back when someone posted an article about "hipsters" on food stamps. Turns out they were using "our" money to, like, buy organic veggies and stuff. And someone in the thread said that no, people poor enough to be on food stamps should not be allowed to buy luxuries like ice cream.

When I was a kid and we were on food stamps, we used to get glares from people behind us in line at the grocery store if we had a steak on the conveyer belt. A steak that was picked out of the "about to go past its sell-by date" bin (do they even still have those?).

So, yeah. I hope you get to be in charge some day.
posted by rtha at 1:42 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


>> Prices are just not comparable internationally in a straightforward way. See the Balassa Samuelson effect I would be still very poor, but I could feed myself on £1 OK in rural India. I remember buying four (good) samosas from a guy at a rural station because he had to go and find help to "break" a Rs100 (around a £ then) note.

Two guys already tried that a while ago (and not in the way the BBC reporter did). It sucked.
posted by vidur at 1:47 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would just like to express my unbridled joy at seeing that the title is "How to eat healthily" rather than "How to eat healthy". I feel quite tearful, actually.
posted by Decani at 1:54 PM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


And now we see the BBC show its true colours, it has stopped being the governments surrupticious propaganda machine and is now a brazen and open one. And we are paying to be propagandized by these rich and middle class fuckers.

As long as I see a roughly equal volume of daft people from all parts of the political spectrum insist that the BBC is obviously biased against them, I'll know that they're still doing their job.
posted by atrazine at 2:41 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can eat pretty frugally, but 1.55US/day is not enough. When I was feeding a teenage boy, 1.55 for him wouldn't have come close to being enough for a day. If you try to eat really cheaply, you have oatmeal for breakfast, with sugar or jam, ramen noodles or leftovers for lunch, and beans/ pasta/ rice/ potatoes with flavoring and a side of broccoli, carrots, cabbage, etc., for dinner. You buy ground beef or a whole chicken on sale when you can, and make it last as long as you can. Carbohydrates are cheap, and that's what you eat. The flavoring often comes from tomato sauce, cheese, some bacon or sausage, maybe barbecue sauce. Tomato sauce is healthy, but cheese powder, bouillon cubes, and other additions are full of salt and fat and additives. Salads and fruits aren't an option on a severe budget.

Lots of people, including those who are poor, lack budgeting skills, and lack the ability to make good cheap nutritious food from scratch. So they eat convenient foods the 1st 3rd of the month, then cheaper foods the 2nd 3rd, then whatever's in the cupboard. I know a typical family with an income of @ 100,000/year, and they feel broke at the end of the month. People I work with who make 35 - 40,000/year definitely feel broke at the end of the month. I think household budgeting would be a pretty good thing to teach in high schools; not just food, but credit card interest, car buying and insurance, etc.

My grocery store marks down meat that needs to be sold, by the way. Shopping in the evening is a good way to get affordable meat.
posted by theora55 at 3:14 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to know a guy who took over a communal charity perhaps thirty or forty years ago. Back then it did things like buy baskets of groceries for people and leave it on their doorsteps, or give them vouchers entitling them to, e.g., so much chicken or mince. When he took over he changed all that because, as he put it, "Why shouldn't they get what they want?" So he started giving them money instead. They're still doing that (except for people with Problems) so I expect it worked. This was a bit of a revelation for me, young as I was, because an awful lot of do-gooders start with the idea that they know what people need and they'll give it to them.

Anyway, one problem with these "live on £1 a day" games is that the implication is "people who can't manage are making bad choices." Well, I suppose that compared to an institutional diet many of the choices are bad. But people actually need the small triumphs that come from getting what they want rather than what they're given or what they have to have. Their bad choices are usually pretty trivial from any rational perspective, and I wish we would stop peering over poor people's shoulders.

See also The Deadweight Loss of Christmas. And, incidentally, if someone asks you for money for food, don't offer to buy them a sandwich. I often feel better after a shot of liquor and I expect they do too.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:01 PM on April 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


That is, give them whatever you were going to pay for the sandwich in cash, and let them choose.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:03 PM on April 30, 2013


rtha: We had a giant fight 'round these parts a while back when someone posted an article about "hipsters" on food stamps.

Ha! I got so enraged by that thread that I wrote a parody review of it, as if it were a gallery show called "Hipsters on Food Stamps." (And that is why you and me are enspousenated.)

On a more serious note, and more in keeping with this thread:

In case anyone wants a breakdown of a poverty budget, this is what it was like living on the standard Jobseeker's Allowance of £130 per fortnight. Which works out as £65/week, which is roughly £260 per month. (Rent being taken care of via housing benefit, at least for me, since my rent is low; for people with higher rents, they have to eat into the Jobseeker's Allowance budget of £260/month just to cover their rent.)

Monthly bills:
Phone and broadband: £34/month
Mobile phone: £21/month

Which works out as
Phone/net: £8.50/wk
Mobile: £5.25/wk

Both of which are essential when it comes to jobhunting online and keeping in contact with potential employers.

Plus, per week:
£3 milk
£3 cheese
£3 cooked meats
£2 bread
£4 pasta/rice/potatoes/pulses/etc.
£4 tinned goods
£6 fresh vegetables
£5 fresh meat
£2 toilet roll/shower gel/shampoo/razor blades/other toiletries/etc.

And also, because you have job interviews, travel to where you sign on, etc.,
£15 transport

Which leaves roughly:
£3 per week for tobacco, rolling papers, filters etc if you smoke.

Until I started a new job a month ago, I pretty much stuck to that budget. It was workable, but pretty grim. I mean, I ate okay in that it was reasonably healthy. But that was only because I could count on a lift to, and back from, the nearest decent cheap supermarket. (Thanks, dad.) Without that, I'd have been sunk. And it was only because I've got half-decent cooking skills, the privilege of not living in a actual food desert, the wherewithal to navigate the benefits system, the ability to conserve enough money every month to make sure there was enough money in my account to cover the direct debits for my phone/broadband and my mobile (and therefore not induce a £20 charge per failed transaction), the know-how required to maximise my calorific bang for buck, the knowledge of how to eat healthy on a budget, and a friend of my dad's who gets imported tobacco at a vastly reduced-from-the-norm price, that I managed to survive on this budget at all.

Someone I work with is doing the "live on £1/day" challenge, but unlike the BBC reporter, is taking it completely seriously; she went to the supermarket on Sunday night with a fiver, and that's all she's relying on until Friday night. Her diet is healthy, but horrifically short on calories. Day and a half in, and I can hear her stomach rumbling from the next desk.

On preview:

Joe In Australia: That is, give them whatever you were going to pay for the sandwich in cash, and let them choose.

Yeah, I'm of a like mind. Spend it on food if you want, but if you spend it on cheap gutrot cider, I'm not going to hold against you, because fuck, you take your pleasure where you can get it, and if that's the only kick you can get ...
posted by Len at 4:20 PM on April 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, it is quite possible to walk to several grocery stores in many place in the UK. There were 9 stores within 45 minutes walk of my home when I lived in Birmingham and there was a farmer's market every at then end of every month and another one the next week at the start both within walking distance.

Birmingham is a big city, and has the advantage of a multicultural population meaning that there will be several fruit and veg shops on main roads catering to 'foreign' tastes. Not so everywhere. My sister lived for a decade on a council estate. It was a small town, and the area was white and at least a mile's walk from the nearest big supermarket - if you wanted to go into town or go to the Tesco nearby, it was £1 on the infrequent bus, or a long walk with kids. Home delivery isn't an option for those on small budgets - the spend threshold is £25 - so most people shopped at the one grocery store on the estate, a Spar that stocked few vegetables and everything at significantly higher prices than most supermarkets. There would be absolutely no chance of a farmer's market opening anywhere near there, and if there was, it would be too expensive.

I lived in a part of London that was fairly far from a decent-sized supermarket, which meant that I didn't eat nearly as much fresh food as I liked as the effort involved in getting groceries meant I tended to shop for a week or two at once. I have the time and the money to shop for healthier foods, and I can also afford to buy snacks or sandwiches when out and about which aren't the cheapest, most calorie-dense but nutritionally dubious available, and now I live somewhere dead near a supermarket (and have more inclination to cook) I feel so much better for it.

The challenge reminded me of a thread on MoneySavingExpert about whether it is possible to feed your family for 50p a meal - some of those 'meals' consisted of a half-packet of crisps. My ex-landlord earned significantly more than I did, but preferred to subsist on the cheapest food possible (amongst other 'thrifty' habits). I'm pretty sure he got into the intermittent fasting craze purely to save money on food.
posted by mippy at 3:23 AM on May 1, 2013


mippy: it is presumably absolutely possible to feed them for that right up until the moment when the social workers turn up.
posted by jaduncan at 4:46 AM on May 1, 2013


I'm kind of conflicted about this article, both because I earn plenty of money to feed my family, and because my food budget is consistently quite low.
I look at the the budget Len listed just above and think, yeah, my family with 4 kids spends a bit more than that most weeks, but not double. And we don't starve or suffer, but we do have a pantry that looks like a doomsday prepper cache and we have time to cook all our meals from scratch.
I completely understand the privilege that goes with being employed in a desk job that allows me to prepare healthy meals for every occasion, and the time and resources to shop at the local market, China town and the bulk coop.
But I also can't stop wanting to shake people and say "you don't have to buy that frozen meal/prepared pasta/take away" etc. especially people who share the same advantages I have but complain about food costs.
Sure, the desperately poor have very limited options, but most people in the developed world aren't desperately poor and so, so many are making just terrible food choices both economically and in terms of health, and especially those people on the not poor, but scraping by end of the spectrum.
posted by bystander at 6:51 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


bystander: I look at the the budget Len listed just above and think, yeah, my family with 4 kids spends a bit more than that most weeks, but not double.

Wow. That's ... impressive. I'm seriously taken aback that it's possible to decently feed a family of six on less than £60/week. Even with shopping in bulk – something not really possible as a dole-ite – factored in, that seems absurdly low. Your profile says you're in Australia, and I just did a quick currency conversion check, and that comes out as AU$90/week. Does that seem about right?

(Also, my budget above was a not-even-back-of-the-fag-packet calculation; it's often less, occasionally more, depending on transport costs and the odd larger phone bill, which can both sometimes take a much bigger bite of my cash, so if it seems off, that might be why.)

As for large British cities with shitty supermarket options, in concordance with mippy, I talked to a guy at work today who lives in Roehampton (south west London), and there's no supermarket near him that is less than at least a mile and a half bus ride away. And that's in London.
posted by Len at 11:07 AM on May 1, 2013


Oh, shit, I just realised where I went wrong in those calculations above: I was over-estimating food costs because I was forgetting to factor in the £14 a week electricity bill* – so yeah, once you knock that off, bystander's assessment seems a bit more reasonable. (That said, £60 a week for six still seems low. Average shopping bill for a British family is about £75-80/week, apparently.)

*It's a key meter thing, so pay as you go; higher per-kWh cost than the standard use-it-then-we-bill-you option, but importantly, means I'm not going to get hit with a bill which puts my bank account into the red, thus incurring more ludicrous fees.
posted by Len at 11:16 AM on May 1, 2013


$90 would get there with no meat, about $125 (so a bit more but not double) includes meat with most evening meals and an occasional bit of ham or something for some variety on sandwiches.
A typical day's food would be breakfast: toast or cereal or scrambled eggs. The bread is $1 a loaf or home made at about 60c a loaf. Cereal is store brand corn flakes or muesli both about $4 per 20 serves, milk is $1 liter, about 8 serves. Vegemite or jam are under 10c serve and eggs are 15 for $3 (free range or laid by our chickens), so 40c per serve. Butter is 30 serves for $1.50. If we do a mix we get costs of about $2.50 for all of us.
Lunch is sandwiches or left overs. I am lucky to have access to a sandwich press at work so cheese and tomato toasties are no hardship and get me a nice lunch for under $1.20, or I can microwave leftovers for free. Kids are good with sandwiches at school, plus a piece of fruit (oranges are 5 for $1) and maybe some cheese and crackers (13 serves $2 plus cheese at 20c ea.- about 20g). All up lunch and snacks is about $5.
A normal dinner will be pasta (spaghetti $1 500g, tinned toms 70c, 500g chicken fillet, $4.50, add an onion and couple of mushrooms 60c and perhaps 1/4 red pepper for another 40c, grate some fresh parmesan for 70c) at about $8 to serve 6. An expensive dinner will be a roast (1.5kg joint of pork $9 or 2x1.2kg chickens $9, roast potatoes $1, beans or peas or broccoli $2, 20c gravy mix, a few baked carrots, 30c) for about $13. A cheap dinner (last night!) was 1kg chicken legs ($3), rice ($1) and some asian sauces ($1) plus some steamed greens $(1.50).
Throw in a pack of biscuits or two for a treat ($3/week) and a tub of ice cream a fortnight ($6) and an extra 4l milk for kids drinks ($4) and an occasional lemonade (88c 1.5l). More fruit (grapes $2.20 kg, apples $2.50kg) too.

So there is a glimpse at my weekly food budget. We don't typically eat out or buy take away, and if we are on an outing we take a picnic lunch rather than buy. We don't have any costly dietary requirements, and we grow a bit of vegetables.
The real advantage is having built up a cupboard full of components so I can make a marinade out of soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic etc. at the fraction of each total cost rather than spend $3.50 on a jar of store bought. And much as like lamb cutlets ($32kg!) and organic fillet steak ($45kg!!) they just don't feature. And kids don't typically get food out of packets with large individual serving sizes, instead a small portion of the largest 'family size' serve.
posted by bystander at 6:22 PM on May 1, 2013


Ah, right, that makes more sense. So $125/week including meat comes out as, roughly, about £80/week, which falls in with average British family shopping bills, and is roughly 2.5/3 times what I'd spend in a week . And though you've got a larger family than most, the costs you're quoting for individual items are a good bit below what we'd normally pay here – the only bread you'd get here for $1/60p is the cheap, nasty stuff, eggs are definitely more expensive than your source, as is meat; the only time I can get 1kg of chicken legs for £2 ($3) is when it's been reduced because it's going out of date (in fact, that's when I tend to buy a lot of stuff – that's what freezers are for).
posted by Len at 12:22 AM on May 2, 2013


I lived in Roehampton when I first moved to London. There is a large Asda there, but it's a good walk through an underpass and down the side of a busy road. I wouldn't fancy doing that with kids in tow.
posted by mippy at 3:32 AM on May 2, 2013


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