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It’s a testing end to Thomas’ £10 week

I wake the next morning with the sense that although I lost the battle, I won the war. At risk of a feminist backlash, I was taught gentlemen should pay without fail, for the first date at least. For all this new age equality, I am yet to find a girl that has taken offence.

My frugal week is in danger of closing with a whimper. I had planned the week’s earlier adventures would put me in good stead but for the final two days my belly is only a lightning pitchfork away from a storm.

Come Friday the milk had gone leaving dry cereal for breakfast. Lunch consisted of the two remaining eggs piled on top of the final measly end of loaf piece of bread. I queried the speed at which the bread had gone, at which point my housemate sticks his hands up: “Sorry mate, I thought it was communal!” Nevertheless, lunch is devoured within seconds.

When feeling peckish weight loss experts recommend downing a pint of water as symptoms of hunger and thirst are often confused. I can assure you this was ineffective in this situation. Other than my tea supplied courteous of Occupy London and wine at the date water has been my hydrant. It has been perhaps the most tedious parts of the week.

Only the spaghetti and bolognaise remains. Minutes turn into hours before I finally allow myself dinner. It is 5pm.

Of course whilst I whine about my paltry existence this is the reality of life for many. I catch up with Monday’s flaky shopping guide, Jon Wiltshire, to find out what pushes him to the scavenger lifestyle. He is 22 and a postgraduate student at LSE studying Global Politics. He spends about £15 a week on food. “I’m not living off the bread line,” he says, “but paying rent is a concern every month.

“I work in a pub but still have to pass up on dinners out with my friends.”

Although Jon’s situation does not sound unusual for a student, he says the people that he sees adopting his way of life would surprise many.

Everyday he queues for lunch from Hare Krishna, a Hindu charity that serves up free lunches on Houghton Street. “There are a lot of very wealthy looking students lining up,” he says.

He also manages to eat a free dinner two or three times a week by skipping, but says the capital’s congested population and security conscious businesses make it tough.

Jon is not ashamed of his lifestyle and believes his friends are respectful of his choices. “Although I don’t expect them to necessarily do it, I would hope the people I associate with understand that there are other benefits to society other than just getting free food.”

I have developed a newfound respect for Jon and those like him. For the last week I have been living to eat. Food has consumed my thoughts and actions. The only people I have interacted with were those who could offer me food. For something as menial as breathing, it was very draining. Needless to say, Saturday night’s “feast” (a blissful chicken korma takeaway) was not taken for granted.


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