Last year, Katy Coats was one of hundreds of Progressio supporters who took part in Live Below the Line - surviving on £1 a day for five days and helping us raise over £7,700 in the process. As we open pre-registration for this year’s Live Below the Line, Katy reflects on how she managed.  

For me, Live Below the Line was an opportunity to raise both funds and awareness for a great cause – something that I had been wanting to do for a while, however I was lacking time and motivation. But, as I learnt, the best thing about the challenge is that you can fit it in around your lifestyle, even one as hectic as mine!

The experience of doing Live Below the Line was tough but incredibly rewarding. Planning and budgeting for meals is a bit of an effort, not to mention the constraints of living off such a constrained amount of money. Only having the basics was difficult particularly when, like myself, you are by no means a culinary expert. There really is only so much you can do with a bag of rice, a few tins of beans and some porridge but I guess that’s part of the fun of it. It’s also interesting to find out just how many times you can reuse the same teabag for your cuppa - about six times is the average.

The main highlight of the challenge was most definitely the interest it drummed up from my friends, family and work colleagues - even the former First Minster for Scotland sponsored me!  People were genuinely interested in my motives for doing the challenge, and of course the work of Progressio. Being able to raise awareness to that extent was great, and really helped keep me motivated to see the challenge through knowing that people cared about what I was doing.

Overall, I think the challenge helped put things into perspective for me. The idea of scrimping and going without wasn’t something I was too familiar with until I took the challenge yet this is something that globally is a big problem for a lot of people. It really made me think about how fortunate I am.

For anyone thinking of taking the challenge I would say go for it. It’s a great opportunity to push your limits and help a great cause at the same time. A few days of going without luxuries isn’t much in the grand scale of things when you consider that for some the struggle is a daily reality.

My advice? Budget well, shop around, plan meals and invest in strong teabags.