£1,049 For One Night On The Streets


Remember that sleep out I did in a car park in March to raise money for the Southend YMCA? Sleeping on a box in a car park and waking up with frost on my face?!


Well thanks to 67 amazing donations, I’ve raised £1049 so far to go towards tackling youth homelessness in the borough of Southend.

The donation page will be open for a few more weeks, so read the account of how I spent an evening sleeping on a cardboard box in a car park at minus three degrees, which was not only physically uncomfortable and absolutely freezing, but also extremely mentally challenging, considering my own experiences over the past year.

Many thanks – I wouldn’t have raised this much for Southend YMCA without your incredible donations. Thankyou for making a difference to young homeless people in my town.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

Categories: Blog


  1. Living on £1.00 per day, Well, If you don’t have any of the ingredients I’m afraid you have exceeded your entire weeks budget on Dinner day 1 which comes to a total of £8.27. Have you ever tried buying a single clove of garlic or one lettuce leaf. Get real, your exercise was pointless.

    • Hi Tom,

      The first week I did this – out of necessity, not an exercise – I bought:

      a loaf of wholemeal bread , 50p (22 slices)
      a jar of mixed fruit jam, 29p
      a box of cornflakes, 31p
      unsweetened soya milk, 59p
      1kg rice, 40p
      10 veg stock cubes, 10p
      a bag of 6 small apples, 82p
      500ml yoghurt, 65p
      Kidney beans, 18p
      a carton of tomatoes (31p)
      mixed herbs (30p)
      a 1.25kg bag of carrots, parsnips, onion and potato, £1
      670g bacon, £1.09
      400g mushrooms, 97p
      500g pasta, 39p
      Jar of cumin, 50p

      Total: £8.69 for me and Small Boy.

      Breakfast: cornflakes with soya milk

      Lunch: jam sandwich, apple, yoghurt
      Lunch: carrot, cumin and kidney bean soup
      Lunch: sliced potato soup
      Lunch: curried parsnip soup

      Dinner: mushroom and bacon casserole with rice
      Dinner: pasta with tomato sauce
      Dinner: carrot, cumin and kidney bean burger.

      Obviously at the end of the week, I had left some rice, pasta, bacon, other ambient goods like the stock cubes, herbs and cumin. Over the year I’ve added paprika, turmeric, garam masala, table wine and cooking oil to my store cupboard, which has enabled me to cook a wider variety of food.

      Of course I don’t buy a clove of garlic at a time – anyone with any sense can see that! It takes careful budgeting, but it started with cheap pasta with some chopped tomatoes on top. It’s a lifestyle, not a ‘fun experiment’ – but I don’t begrudge anyone doing the Live Below The Line challenge this week raising money for charity, do you?


      • I’m sorry to say this Jack but if you read the BBC Comments on living on £1.00 per day you have stirred up the Daily Mail/Express readers to further castigate those of us trying to live on £53.00 per week. I know it’s hard, I don’t have a TV, I don’t have a car, I can’t put the heating on because I can’t afford it.

        I don’t know what you were trying to do, but perhaps your article may have misrepresented the people living in real poverty.

      • Hi Tom,

        The BBC article wasn’t ‘my’ article, it was the personal finance reporters. I am a real person, and if you read my blog you’ll see I’ve lived through poverty myself. I was asked onto the show because I have spent around £10 a week on food for myself and my son for the past year. Sometimes that stretches to the odd bottle of table wine, which I use in my recipes for weeks. I cook in bulk and freeze, grow herbs on my window sill, and buy spices with change I have. It started as a packet of pasta and a tin of chopped tomatoes, out of sheer necessity and desperation. It’s ended up as a lifestyle. It’s not a perfect one – I never set out to be ‘famous’ or a life guru, I just blogged about my life and experiences because I knew I wasn’t the only one.

        The responses I get from families and other people struggling to make ends meet is overwhelming, and although the critics come out in force to point out the £3.48 bottle of wine, or the £1.09 on paprika once in a while, the message is the same: you can feed your family good food on a tight budget. I started at the bottom, starving and desperate. I ended up on the BBC. I can’t explain how my simple recipes became a phenomenon, but I’m glad for every single person who has found them useful – because that’s all I set out to do.

  2. I think the point you are missing here Tom is that this wasn’t an ‘exercise’ for Jack, it was a necessity.

  3. Tom, who buys shopping per day anyway? You’d spend £7 a week in one go and get as much as you possibly could for it. I don’t think £1.69 ‘over budget’ TO FEED TWO PEOPLE is such a bad overspend.
    Not to put too fine a point on it.. you’ve been an idiot.

  4. I’m inspired, wow, looking forward to the recipe book. What an amazing thing to do for people in need of shelter.

  5. Why so vitriolic and critical Tom, to what purpose! For those living on £53 a week isnt any idea of how to live very cheaply and eat nutritiously a good thing!
    Well done Jack and thank you for your thoughts and ideas!

  6. Felt the need to donate and comment. You’re blog has really touched me. I’ve never been in quite you’re situation but not far off, but my mum was and I have plenty of friends who are currently. I’m glad that things are looking up for you, please keep the blog going.

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