What can I eat on $2.85 a day?

More than you’d think! When you register for the challenge, you’ll have access to our recipe guide in the Stuff to Help section, packed full of nutritious meal ideas that cost less than $2.85 a day and keep the variety in your diet. 

I’m gluten free/celiac/have a dietary restriction. How can I participate?

It’s easy to substitute ingredients featured in the LBL recipe guide for gluten-free options, or as necessary to suit your dietary restriction. For example, you can use gluten-free pasta, or use almond milk instead of cow’s milk if you are lactose-intolerant.

Where can I get recipes?

When you register for the challenge, you’ll have access to a range of resources in the Stuff to Help section. This includes the LBL recipe guide, packed with delicious meal ideas that cost less than $2.85 a day.

How do I get through work/uni/school when I’m eating so little?

With a little difficulty – but we PROMISE you it’s worth it! Login, go to ‘My Page’ and click on the Stuff to Help tab to find a meal planner and recipe guide filled with high-energy and high-protein meal options. Use these resources to fit with your schedule by planning meals based on your specific energy requirements. 

For example, if you work a nine to five job, you’ll want to prioritise high-energy foods for breakfast and lunch, and eat a lower-energy option for dinner.  

Is the One Helping cookbook still available?

Absolutely! The One Helping cookbook is being sold for $15 + $5 postage and packing this year – but prices have changed slightly since it was originally created in 2014. The cost of food in New Zealand has changed significantly since 2014 and the international poverty line has also risen to $2.85(NZD) from $2.25, BUT the good news is that all of the recipes in this book work out to $2.85 or less per person and will be great to use for your challenge. Grab a copy today by calling our Supporter Relations team on 0800 800 777!

How do I keep track of what I’m spending/how much my food costs?

That’s easy – use the budget planner! You’ll find it in Stuff to Help on ‘My Page’. It’s a great way to keep track of how much you’re spending and eating during the challenge.


When can I get my tax receipt?

You’ll receive a downloadable tax receipt immediately after your online donation is processed. 

To access your tax receipt, enter your details into the donor login section on the Live Below the Line homepage.

Will I get an update as to what my donation has achieved?

Good things take time, and many of the projects Tearfund supports don’t happen overnight. They are long-term projects designed to empower and equip communities for development through the work of our partners. We may not be able to provide an update on your specific donation, but every contribution helps to ensure the success of these projects, and we are committed to showing you the impact of our work. At the end of the LBL challenge, you will be sent an update on what the total amount raised can achieve through our partners. Every dollar you donate makes such a difference – so thank you!

Where does the money go?

The money you raise will enable Tearfund’s Empower partners overseas to provide families living in vulnerable communities with sustainable enterprise opportunities that improve their livelihood. This happens through the formation of Farming Co-Operatives and Self Help Groups.

How do I know my money gets there?

Tearfund regularly audits its projects and partners externally and in some cases by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We not only audit that the money gets to the intended partner and project but we also audit how effective the money given is being used and how it is impacting the communities and individuals involved. 

If you would like further information or a copy of Tearfund’s audited financial accounts please contact

Can we donate as an organisation?

Yes you can! Click on ‘Give to the Cause’ on the main homepage and follow the link for donating as an organisation.

How do I donate to a specific person/team?

To find a specific donation page, type in the name of an individual or team into the search box.


What are the rules?

  1. You have $2.85 per day. You don’t need to factor tap water into this – it’s counted as ‘free’ – so remember to drink as much as possible to stay hydrated!

  2. Only count what you use. For example, if you purchase a bag of rice from the supermarket, but only use one cup of it during the challenge, only count the price of one cup’s worth in your budget.

  3. Just say no… thank you. We know they do it because they care, but if your friend offers you ‘free’ food during your challenge, resist! Encourage them to sponsor you instead

Is Live Below the Line safe? Is there any reason I shouldn’t do it?

Eating on $2.85 a day is tough, and we don’t recommend doing it for longer than five days. You’ll need to plan carefully to make sure your food is nutritious and filling to maintain energy levels, eat regularly (no skipping meals!) and stay hydrated.  

We also advise against pregnant women taking part in the challenge. If you have concerns or medical issues and wish to take up the challenge, please consult your medical professional.

Can I do this as a team?

Of course! Grab your mates and do it together. It’s a fantastic way to share resources, support each other and make your hard-earned dollars do more.

Where do I find the resources?

When you register for the challenge, you’ll have access to all of our fantastic resources designed to help guide you through the challenge. Login, go to ‘My Page’ and click on the 'Stuff to Help' tab.

What is Dine Below the Line?  

Dine Below the Line is an LBL fundraiser event that you can host - either as part of your challenge, or as a replacement for doing the five-day challenge. Bring your mates together to share your homemade meal that costs $2.85 or less per person to make, and charge them anywhere from $5 to $50. We want to make this as easy as pie for you to host, so we’ve got a simple three-step event guide for you to host a successful fundraiser - check it out in Stuff to Help when you’ve registered. 


I thought the cause was Protect, but now it’s Empower?

Yes, the cause has changed, but the kaupapa remains the same! Empower addresses poverty at a grassroots level by creating opportunities for people to gain an income and education, so that they’re less vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.

What about poverty in NZ?

There are some fantastic organisations in New Zealand whose mission is to help those in poverty here at home. Tearfund supports two NZ-based organisations offering youth mentorship for at-risk young people (Brothers in Arms and 24-7 YouthWork). Our main mission – and the focus of Live Below the Line – is internationally focussed, and is to encourage Kiwis to act for justice to relieve poverty among the world’s most vulnerable people. Ultimately we know that every person has different views on whether they want to support charities locally or internationally and we respect that.

Do your Farming Co-operatives have a negative impact on climate change?

We do our best to ensure Farming Co-operatives operated by Tearfund’s partners are based on sustainable methods. For example, all of our Farming Co-operatives in the Philippines, Vanuatu and Sri Lanka are organic.  

These projects are also small scale and therefore any impact is minimal.

Does empowering small business start-ups and Farming Co-operatives overseas take away from NZ exports?

The work that Tearfund’s partners do through the Empower sector (for example, Farming Co-operatives in the Philippines) provides vulnerable families with access to local markets, and does not negatively impact NZ product exports. Instead, it helps a family living under the international poverty line to become self-sufficient. The impact is significant for these individual families, but not large enough to impact NZ exports.

Eating on $2.85 a day doesn’t accurately reflect poverty at all! Aren’t you trivialising the true nature of poverty through this challenge?

The challenge provides a small window into the experience of those who live with much less choice and opportunities as us. It’s not an accurate representation of living under the poverty line, and it’s not meant to be. Here in New Zealand, many of us can take for granted things like eating whenever and whatever we want. Eating less is one way we can strive to empathise. And to help us understand the complexities of what it’s like living in poverty, we’re sharing the stories of real people who live this reality day in and day out.


I’m having trouble logging in. Please help.

Have you checked your password? Got the correct email? If you’re still having problems, send us an email at and we’ll check your account.

I don’t live in NZ, can I still take part?

Sure you can! But you’ll need to Google what $2.85NZD converts to in your currency and use that as a marker for your daily food and drink allowance.

Does the window to participate in the challenge close, or can I do it later?

We suggest you sign up as soon as possible so you’re able to take part during the challenge week, BUT if you’re not able to participate from 12-16 March, you can Live Below the Line before the end of March.  

Please note the challenge must be restricted to five days for your safety, and fundraising needs to be completed by 31 March if you would like your tax return this year. Any donations that are processed after 1 April will apply to the 2018/19 financial year for tax returns.