Thursday, 1 May 2014


It’s surprising how time-consuming it is to be poor. Some of the most convenient foods are too expensive.

I’m not talking about Waitrose ready meals. Rather, consider the humble sandwich. A sandwich is convenient, isn’t it? You can prepare it at home, take it to work, and eat it in a jiffy.

A sandwich, however, has hidden costs. I like a ham and mustard (french, or dijon, preferred) sandwich. Here’s how that would add up using my rules for the Below The Line Challenge:

  • Bread - 12p
  • Ham - 20p (based on Sainsbury's Essential Ham spread over 3 lunches)
  • Butter - 20p 
  • Mustard - 13p (based on Sainsbury's Dark French Mustard spread over 3 lunches)

That’s 65p for a sandwich. Two-thirds of my daily budget spent on a sandwich [whistles softly]. So, I’ve chosen beans on toast (24p) or egg on toast (26p). These cheaper options involve rather more time in preparation and clean-up.

Can you see a snag? My office has neglected to fit a hob in the kitchen. Or a toaster. The tinkers. So, in a stroke of creative brilliance, I’ve moved lunch to breakfast and breakfast to lunch. I should be on The Apprentice.

Spare a thought for people like Nakasirye, a thirteen-year-old living in Uganda. Every day she walks an hour each day to collect water. Water from a dirty well that makes her ill. You can help people like her by sponsoring me. Every pound helps. Sponsor James.

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