Live Below the Line: Day 3 Diary

Phew – the end is in sight! Yesterday was day 3, which marked the halfway point. I have to admit, time seems to go a lot slower when you’re constantly watching the clock for the next mealtime! My husband and I are both struggling with our energy levels – he went to bed straight after dinner last night, and I find that I’m constantly cold, needing lots more layers to keep me cosy. I’m no expert, but it seems logical that both of these things are due to not having enough fuel in your tank.

Another thing I’m really aware of is how much I’m craving sugar. I think I’ve done a fair job of making sure our meals are reasonably nutritious, but in order to do that, we had to ruthlessly sacrifice anything non-essential – it’s all vegetables and rice in our cupboards. It’s made me realise how much I miss treats like biscuits or a chocolate bar. These are such small pleasures, that most people would use to boost their energy, reward themselves for a good day at work or cheer themselves up, but they’re completely impossible on this budget.

Tonight a friend is coming to stay, on her way back from a nearby airport, and I’m very conscious of the fact that I can’t host her properly. I usually really look forward to having people to stay, as it gives me a chance to plan nice meals and bake treats (those whom I love, I feed), but I know that this time the offerings are going to be a lot more bleak. My lovely friend is very understanding, but if this was a constant problem for me, I can imagine how it would feel very humiliating and really get me down. It’s one thing for us to go without our tea, but when someone visits and I can’t even offer them a cuppa, that feels much worse.

Once again, I’m being made aware of how far-reaching the effects of this punishing budget are. It’s not just about being hungry before, during and after your meals, and being bored of rice and tinned tomatoes (so bored of tinned tomatoes), and having no biscuits. It could also be about losing your job because you don’t have the energy to do your best, or struggling to explain to your kids why there aren’t any second helpings, or trying to hide your shame when friends come round. There’s a lot worse than hunger below the line.

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