Living on minimum wage

At Church last sunday evening we talked about taking up the Church Action on Poverty minimum wage Lent challenge.

Lent has traditionally been a time of living simply and sacrificing Luxury, which we tend to have reduced to giving up chocolate. The CAP idea seems to be a good one, painful perhaps, but very worthwhile. It involves living on about £50 a week after rent & bills, for the six weeks running up to Easter. The aim is an act of solidarity with those who have less, and a spiritual discipline of living frugally. Not to mention liberating a chunk of our regular earnings to give to others.

A good number of people at Church on the Corner were inspired by the idea, and wanted to take part. One of the suggestions on the CAP site is to keep a diary of the experience and I thought I would record my Lent experience in a way that others could share and contribute to. So I aim to keep this a daily record of the experience. Please comment (hit the comment link below) maybe sharing your own experience or reflections. We may fail in this – but even that experience of failure will be an important part of the exercise.

If you want to find out more about the challenge you can download the pdf here or the html version here

4 thoughts on “Living on minimum wage

  1. Ok – I’ve failed big time too – succeeded in getting cheap second hand wedding outfit BUT – The shower has broken – tried to be frugal and fix it but it is beyond repair and will be buying a replacement at the weekend 😦

  2. Sonya here (couldn’t create account so publishing as annonymous) Well I was a bit late joining in this challenge properly. I was in Benin and managed to keep to 90 quid for the 2 weeks I was there, but it was much easier since everything was so cheap. I guess I should have been on local minimum wage. I did appreciate being able to bargain in the market though – coming back here and not being able to negotiate the prices for things came as a bit of a reverse culture shock. Traders seemed genuinely open to lowering the price depending on what money you had left. Here you draw a blank. I asked the price of an eyeliner in a London shop – 11 quid – I put it back and left the shop quickly but was half hoping the staff would come rushing after me with a better offer.
    I have also noticed that I have become much less inclined to be honest: in the airport shops I bought 2 items and was not charged for one of them – there was no way I was going to point this out. I’d rather modify my theology and believe it was divine providence. Next hurdle is the embarrassment of scratching around for enough money. For example I had my hair cut (in aid of my brother’s wedding this weekend) – I called before I went to make sure I had exactly enough – I took 5pence from the coppers pot at work to have the correct amount but when I turned up she said ‘oh i didn’t realise you had long hair’ – and upped the price by £3. Now I owe her -but was secretly pleased because she said it can wait til next week.
    Another problem is the socialising thing. My best friend invited me to the Sanctuary in Covent Garden – she said it was a treat for my birthday. Wow I couldn’t believe it, it was lovely, but I couldn’t help thinking how on earth would I be able to repay her on her birthday.
    Ok I also realise I spend loads on buying bits and pieces of food for my lunches and for the kids snacks. I’m trying hard to get organised and do packed lunches – this is making me late for work most days!
    Well there’s my random catch up summary. – Today’s challenge: solve my ‘I have nothing to wear for my brother’s wedding’ problem with less than £20…

  3. Off to a challenging start this morning. On the way into the newsagents to get my bus pass and an elderly man was begging and asked me for money for a cup of tea. I said no. On the way out of the newsagents he reached out his hand again and said, ‘Please! I’m so hungry!’ I thought again and then shook my head – it’s going to be hard enough to make £50 last a week without giving away some of that within minutes of leaving my front door!

    Couldn’t get him out of my mind though – I don’t normally give to people on the street but he seemed really desperate, possibly genuinely hungry? Suddenly remembered my bible reading from yesterday – ‘Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and refuse to feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?”….And the King will tell them, “I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”‘ (Matt 25)

    Realised I had to go back and give him some money and turned round to retrace my steps. Realised as well how much easier it is to be ‘generous’ when you have more than enough to live your life comfortably, and had a brief insight too into what it might really mean to give sacrificially.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: