LIVE Below The Line is a fundraising campaign encouraging Australians to feed themselves on $2 a day for five days.

It's designed to help us better understand what it's like to live below the poverty line and have greater empathy for those less advantaged than us.

"Live Below The Line is all about creative cooking, rationing and caffeine deprivation. We know it's just a glimpse into what life is like for people in poverty, not a real experience of it. But we know what we do has a real impact," the organisation says.

Australian actor Kate Jenkinson, the star of Wentworth, House Husbands and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, attempted the $2 a day challenge for five days last week.

This is her diary of how she went.


Australian actor Kate Jenkinson tried to survive eating for five days with just $2 to spend each day.
Australian actor Kate Jenkinson tried to survive eating for five days with just $2 to spend each day.

With a grocery shopping budget of $10 for five days, I bought oats, milk, carrots, tinned peaches, pasta, tinned tomatoes, corn cakes and two bananas.


I had a big bowl of oats cooked in boiling water and milk for breakfast. I immediately noticed how bland porridge is without honey! Added banana and tinned peaches, but I really missed the sweetness from sugar and honey.

Craving coffee.

Lunch was eaten on set today. I brought cooked pasta from home with tinned tomatoes that I'd attempted to make into a sauce ... it was filling but completely tasteless. Realising how much sugar and salt and seasoning I'm used to having.

Dinner time. Wasn't hungry surprisingly, but ate a couple of corn thins and peaches.


Hard day.

I did a huge workout this morning and was super hungry when I was done. Very long hours shooting today and I needed coffee badly. Feeling like I'm having a sugar and coffee withdrawal.

Filmed a scene where I had to eat food. I tried to limit myself to the cooked vegetables so I didn't feel like I was cheating too much.

I forgot my pasta for lunch so I had oats again. Desperate for sugar!

Got home late, tired and grumpy and ate leftover pasta and bland sauce.

She bought her oats in bulk from a food market to save money.
She bought her oats in bulk from a food market to save money.


Today really feels like hump day. People keep offering to make me coffee, which is really kind, but also infuriating.

I just ate banana and peaches for breakfast because I was in serious need of quick energy from sugar. Beginning to realise just how much money I spend on food and drinks.

Also, I had a flu shot, which is making me more headachy and irritable than I was before.

I'm a bona fide caffeine addict apparently. Feeling seriously under the weather and didn't eat anything for lunch.

Got home after a long day filming and ate the last of my pasta.


Oats and milk again. No fruit, because I'm worried I'm going to run out of food.

I cheated and had a Berocca because I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. Or it could just be sugar withdrawal. Chugging lots of water to fight this cold today.

Finished work early and turned the last of my tinned tomatoes into a soup with chopped carrots. It was truly disgusting but at least it was healthy.

Seriously craving a salty chicken noodle pho to help my cold, but that's definitely not in the budget. Snacked on corn cakes before going to bed early.


Buying in season and looking in the ‘dump’ bin can help you save money.
Buying in season and looking in the ‘dump’ bin can help you save money.


Had to wake up really early this morning for a radio interview about this challenge and it was brutal without coffee. Brutal!

It was also close to my favourite French patisserie in Richmond, Melbourne, which was difficult to bypass on my way home.

I ate the rest of my peaches and banana for breakfast because I couldn't face porridge again.

My brother is going to a taqueria for lunch and I'm going to go and smell his tacos (not joking). I'm all out of pasta and sauce.

It's 12.30pm and all I've got left is corn cakes, carrots and oats.

I'll probably eat the rest of the corn cakes and carrots and aim to get to bed super early tonight so it can be tomorrow ASAP!


Well, I survived five days of eating on just $2 a day! I've always considered myself to be quite healthy but I've realised I'm completely addicted to coffee, salt and sugar.

The food I've eaten this week has been enough to fill me and it's been healthy but it's been otherwise unsatisfying. Next time I think I'll look into tastier options like a rich pumpkin soup.

I was shocked at how difficult I found the whole challenge. I thought it'd be way easier than it was.

I'll definitely be re-evaluating how much I eat and how much I spend on eating from now on!

To get involved, visit