Living On Less

Living On Less

February is finished – read about what I’ve learned and how I raised over $5,000!

Day 21: What I’ve learned about people

Day 22: What I’ve learned about food

Day 23: What I’ve learned about poverty

Day 24: What I’ve learned about fundraising

Day 25: What I’ve learned about habits


For the entire month of February I am living on less than $2 per day for my food.

Extreme Poverty Over TimeWhy? Because I want the red part of this graph to reach zero. I want us to end extreme poverty.

There are ~1 billion people living on less than an equivalent of just two and a half Aussie dollars per day*.

The good news is that (a) we’ve already come a long way and (b) there are proven, direct, and effective ways to get us the rest of the way.

Help end extreme poverty now

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 4.27.19 pm.pngIf you are reading this, you’re almost certainly like me and are already in the world’s richest 1-5% – if you don’t believe me, try this calculator.

This means we both have an incredible opportunity to a helluvalot of good in the world.

This year I’ve committed 30% of my salary to ending poverty. I also want to increase my impact by doing something I find hard, scary and hopefully compelling enough to bring some of my friends and family along with me on a journey to make the world a better place. Please join me making the world better.

Join Luke in making a difference

The charities I’m supporting are not simply band-aids.1-pCV5cpkPzLDC0VKQ0SjG2w.jpeg

If you care about health, Against Malaria Foundation doesn’t simply save lives, it prevents sickness for hundreds millions of people. This also happens to be a proven way of helping them to get out of poverty.

If you care about education, Deworm The World doesn’t simply cure children from the discomfort of intestinal worms, it increases their school attendance and helps them be upwardly mobile.

If you care about self-actualisation, GiveDirectly puts money directly into the hands of some of the worlds poorest, they typically invest this money into things like upgrading a thatch roof to a tin one that not only keeps them healthier and safer it has a yearly return on investment (from durability) that’d make Wall Street envious.

These are just three of them and they all have a proven effectiveness in both saving human lives and many flow-through effects from health to education and economic.

Do some real, actual good

Have a few minutes to dig a bit deeper? Watch Peter in his 2013 Ted Talk explain the logic and practice of giving with your head as well as your heart.

Donate to an effective charity now

The great news is that by taking action you will actually be happier than if you spent the money on an additional luxury. Because science says so.

Buy happiness… get a warm-fuzzy feeling now

I’ll be sharing my progress along the way – if you’re interested, subscribe to updates.

How to help?

  1. Donate
  2. Subscribe to updates
  3. Provide encouragement
  4. Enthusiastically share this page far and wide
  5. Try not to offer me too many temptations please

The Rules

    • Budget – my total food budget is $2 per day which is a total of $50 for the month of February. I have allowances to buy things that I won’t use in its entirety (e.g. salt).
    • Less everything – I will also be minimising my total expenditure on most other things throughout the month such as transport and entertainment.
    • Some maths – I’ll still be shopping with Joni and using some existing ingredients – all of this will be apportioned but I’m avoiding waste from buying new when we already have things in the cupboard.
    • No suffering – I’m raising money to reduce human suffering and not eating any animal products to reduce animal suffering.
    • No freebies – I’m not eating any food (nor drinking coffee, nor beer ?) that’s offered to me for free.
    • Some spice – I can add a minimal amount of flavour from my tiny herb garden
  • No extremes – I will continue to live in my apartment, go to work, use electricity and drink clean tap water


Poverty is a complex issue and not simply solved – donating to the most effective charities certainly helps though. Poverty alleviation is not the only cause I care deeply about, but it is low hanging fruit for reducing human suffering and increasing human flourishing. It is certainly a good cause in my opinion.

I am aware that eating just $2/day of food is not even close to an emulation of the true poverty experienced by the poorest ~10-15% in the world (who would also have to use that $2 for healthcare, schooling, water, energy, housing, etc.).

$2 AUD has been chosen because the latest number I could find for extreme poverty line was $1.90 USD in 2011

$2.50 AUD would reflect the exchange rate difference but I cannot find a current number in AUD.

This is an exercise in empathy, not an emulation of extreme poverty. I see it as the best exercise in empathy that I can currently see myself mustering.  It won’t be easy for me, so please help make it worthwhile.

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