Live Below the Line: Cheap Vegan Eats

The 2017 “Live Below the Line” challenge is about to kick off, and thousands of Aussies will be spending 1 to 5 May eating on just $2 per day.

Former Triple J host and vegan Lindsay “The Doctor” McDougall blogged about his experiences last year (and also raised a heap of cash for a good cause).

So what can we learn from Lindsay and other compassionate vegans who have taken part in this challenge in the past? How can we stay nourished on cruelty-free plant foods for $2 a day? Here are some tips.


1. The Last Hurrah

OK – so you know that you’re not going to be eating out or enjoying all your usual extravagances for a while, because $2 doesn’t get you very far in a restaurant. Get all the cravings out of your system at once with a trip to your favourite food joint – and spare a thought for those who live in poverty on $2 every day and may never get the chance to experience a restaurant meal.

Behold The Plant-Based Disgrace (and the similarly named burger in front of him). #Repost @jeninappropes with @repostapp. ・・・ Perfect Sunday lunch decision! Took us a whole 9 mins to demolish. For all the people who constantly ask “vegan!? What can you even eat?” My answer is this motherf**kers! Thank you so much @soulburgerrandwick for being rad and looking after the world and feeding the people who care about it. #BESTOFVEGANBURGER @bestofvegan #vegan #veganburger

A photo posted by Lindsay McDougall (@doctormcdougall) on


2. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is crucial for feeding yourself on a tight budget. Make a shopping list of foods that will get you through the week. These are some cheap, nutritious and filling options:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Lentils and beans
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Rice

You can also look for other fruits and veggies that are in season and choose the ones that are cheapest!

It begins! This is $6.35 worth of food. I’m living on $2 a day from now until Friday as part of #livebelowtheline, to raise money and awareness for the 700 million people who live on that or less EVERY DAY. So chuck me a sponsor at the link in my bio!

A photo posted by Lindsay McDougall (@doctormcdougall) on


3. Check the Specials and Buy in Bulk

If you’re savvy about where and when you shop, it’s possible to pick up some real bargains to help you through your week. Does your local supermarket reduce the price of unsold fresh produce at night? Do you have a local market which offers cheaper items or bulk bargains? Are any shops in your area offering specials on any of your staple foods? All these things can make a big difference when your weekly trip to the store has a $10 limit.

In particular, look out for bulk dry lentils and beans – they’re usually much cheaper than canned varieties. Also, check if local fruit shops are getting rid of spotty bananas at super-cheap prices.

Giving up fruit for 5 days?!? This year I’m participating in Live Below the Line, an initiative that strives to raise awareness for the billions living in poverty, as well as raising funds to help them. For five days, I’ll be living (eating) on $2 or less, to gain a small insight into what so many experience their entire lives. I would be incredibly grateful if you could help out and support the cause by donating to my fund, which goes directly to giving children in Cambodia access to schooling. With over 65% of their population aged 30 or younger, education is imperative to enabling them to alleviate themselves from the worst of poverty. If you have money to spare, please consider donating – even the smallest goes a long way and it all adds up. If every person who follows me gave just $2, the difference it could make would be incredible. If you can’t or don’t want to donate, share it with someone who can! The link is in my bio 💛💛

A photo posted by Ally Sheehan 🐘 (@agirlnamedally) on


4. Mix It Up

Eating a limited variety of foods is likely to become boring very fast. Spice things up a bit by turning your ingredients into different meals like soups and curries. Check out McDougall’s recipe for his Cajun Bean and Vegetable Stew here.

Hey check out this absolutely 100% real cover of The Brag! Also tomorrow, on the last day of my #livebelowtheline challenge, I’m taking over @thebragmag’s Instagram for the day! Chuck ’em a follow, I promise it won’t be just the normal crap I post.

A photo posted by Lindsay McDougall (@doctormcdougall) on


5. A Problem Shared

Why not encourage some friends to take part in this challenge with you? Having friends who are in the same position not only helps with moral support and willpower but also allows you to be clever about splitting grocery shopping and sharing bulk items. You could also have fun cooking and shopping together!


6. Write a Song

OK – this one’s a little out there. But if you’re musically inclined, why not channel your hunger into some catchy lyrics? If you don’t have musical talent, why not enjoy McDougall’s dulcet tones instead?


If you’re taking part in Live Below the Line this year, consider trying vegan eating. Not only will you save money, you’ll also be sparing animals’ lives and helping the environment.

In fact, why not take our vegan pledge and try vegan eating for a whole 30 days? It’s way easier than you may think.