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Living Below the Line: Day 2 Recap

It's Tuesday night and, by my count, I've been functioning for a very long day at work (that included a 5 hour track meet!) on very few calories. I have updated my Babble blog (if you're really that interested in this Living Below the Line challenge) to show exactly what $1.50 meals can look like. Meals, grocery store planning, and cost per serving are now a part of every moment of the day. (*note: CPS = cents per serving.)

I broke down the prices of my food over at Babble and it looks like this:


Tuna (2 meals per can) = 68 cents per can, 34 CPS

Hot dogs are .75 cents for a package = 9 CPS


Fruit bowls in syrup $1.69 for 4 of them comes out to 42 cents – We quickly realized this was too expensive so I won’t get to eat fruit this week!


Kidney, black and Great Northern beans are 59 cents a can, come in 3.5 servings = 17 CPS

Pinto beans are $1.19 but there are more servings (7) so it comes out to 17 cents, too

A dozen eggs ends up being 10 CPS


Today's Menu



  • Oatmeal 7 CPS
  • 1/4 c. milk 7 CPS
  • cinnamon/syrup 6 CPS





  • Ramen (no spice packet) 18 CPS
  • hot dog (not beef, not turkey, quite frankly I don't know WHAT it was made of) 9 CPS
  • Oyster crackers 5 CPS





  • 2 slices bread 6 CPS x 2=12
  • Peanut butter 12 CPS
  • Jelly 6 CPS





  • Tortilla (baked into a shell in the oven) 12 CPS
  • Tomatoes from a can 17 CPS x 1.5 servings 25.5 CPS
  • Beans (mixture of kidney and pinto) 17 CPS
  • Rice 6 CPS x 2 = 12



Breakfast 20

Lunch 32

Snack 30

Dinner 66.5

DAILY TOTAL: 148.50 CPS which translates to just over $1.48 for the day.

It's amazing how many people are trying to offer me food since they know I'm doing this, but I have to decline each time. First, there was that ridiculous cookie moutain at work and then today while I was out of my office for a meeting someone came in and brought me a plate of cookies just to be nice (without knowing I was doing this). It made me realize how readily food is available to me but also that if I were living below the line of poverty how I would have gladly taken it no matter how bad it is for me healthwise.

If you watch the short video above, you'll also hear me talk about the stereotypes of poor people and how we assume they're lazy because they're sluggish and that's because they DON'T HAVE THE GOOD FOODS IN THEIR BODIES. I watch schoolchildren every day who I know are living in poverty who are so grateful for a school meal when I know that the meal is full of processed foods and dyes and GMOs. How can we educators expect those little ones to come to class ready to learn when all they want to do is sleep off the crappy foods they've put in their mouths. 

That sounds like a generalization, but it's not. This is daily life for students. It makes me want to go buy fruit and grains and delicious avocados and green smoothies and all kinds of things for them. You know, food that helps you think.

That's it for today. I'm more cranky than usual and am frustrated by the lack of food choices for people. I'm frustrated by the fact that my own school is in a neighborhood that is a FOOD DESERT with no grocery stores close by but junk food on every corner. I'm frustrated that I'm hungry and tired and that I can't fix this problem in the world with the snap of my fingers or the writing of a blog post or the taking on of a 5-day challenge. 

Aren't you frustrated, too?


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    Kelly Wickham - Mocha Momma - Living Below the Line: Day 2 Recap

Reader Comments (2)

While we've never been consistently poor, we have had times of very limited funds though only for short periods. But then I've always had the pantry to access - so with flour and salt, a lot can be made. This challenge would be so incredibly difficult if you didn't have access to the basic staples most of us have on hand. I'm wishing there was a way for you to not have to eat hotdogs though. I hate that the worst food is the cheapest. My son is wheat-free and our diet, consisting of almost all home cooked fruits, vegetables, meats and eggs, seems to be such an expensive way to eat. That's crazy.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnnet M

It hurt me to my core as a teacher to know that many of my students didn't readily have food available. I always kept a bowl of fruit on my desk. Even my students who weren't living in poverty as defined by the government-so weren't on or eligible for food stamps, didn't readily have fresh fruit available at home.

It is important for us as a society to realize how detrimental and harmful it is for our society to have people virtually starving every single day.

Thank you for doing this.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

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