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Test: Live on $7.50 this week

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, April 29, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Could you live on $1.50 a day? Some very rich celebrities, including actor and producer Ben Affleck, are going to give it a try this week as part of the Live Below the Line campaign. He's joined in the challenge by actors Josh Groban, Debi Mazar, Sophia Bush and Tom Hiddleston, according to ABC News.

Actor Ben Affleck is going to live on $1.50 a day this week. Photo courtesy PR Photos.

Actor Ben Affleck is going to live on $1.50 a day this week. Photo courtesy PR Photos.

Affleck wants to call attention to the charity he founded, the Eastern Congo Initiative, which provides economic opportunities for the population of Eastern Congo. In a tweet, he noted that 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.50 a day.

The website for the campaign says its goal is to change the way people in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia think about poverty by challenging them to live in extreme poverty for five days. So far, according to the website, 20,000 people have signed up to take the challenge.

In addition to elevating awareness about global poverty, the campaign is raising funds for the charities it partners with, such as World Food Program USA, Isis Foundation and Unicef. Affleck's charity is also a partner. The campaign is part of the Global Poverty Project, an organization that seeks to educate and activate businesses, individuals and governments in an effort to end poverty.

There are a lot of factors that go into the cost of living in first-world countries like the U.S. and $1.50 a day wouldn't be sustainable, given the price of goods and services. But a week attempting the challenge might provide a good lesson in living below your means in general and bring a little perspective on what really has value.

Would you take the challenge, or have you found ways to drastically reduce how much you spend every day so you can give more to those in need?

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Wil The Pill
May 02, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Yeah, and if you believe ole Ben is going to live on 1.50 a day for a week, maybe, but try it the whole year Ben. Kinda like the people of the Eastern Congo do all the time.

Stick to acting.

Susan Kelp
May 02, 2013 at 8:28 am

Not sure how this is going to work. Transportation here in NYC just to go and come from work is $5, over budget already. Then lunch? Bread alone is over $1.50. Ok, so you decide to drive to work for the day, um, gas money? When was the last time you filled up the car with $1.50 worth of gas? Not realistic at all living here in the U.S. For this to work, you would have to take a week off from work, buy Nissan soup on sale for $.50 and eat 3 daily for the week and drink tap water. Good luck!

April 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm

And by the way Dee... you're whacked. Cris, bless your heart.

April 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Wow... Harsh remarks, people. Take it easy. I think the idea here is to bring awareness to the plight of others.... in OTHER COUNTRIES. The USA has numerous programs for the needy. Try living in the slums of Manila or deserts of Africa. I am a patriot and a veteran that was given the unique opportunity to serve overseas... and see REAL poverty. These participating celebrities most likely have seen the same thing, as their status and finances would most certainly have afforded them the opportunity. Don't criticize those trying to help. It got us all talking about it, now, didn't it? :) I, for one, am anxious to see what is really going on. And God bless them for putting themselves out there for criticism to begin with. By the way, what have YOU done to help the needy ANYWHERE??

April 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm

You know something. I've been homeless and I gotta tell ya, I was better off on the streets than when I had four framed sheetwall covered walls as shelter and even though I am a self reliant person I will admit to you that I would not have made it in the city without government sponsered charities. In this country we have welfare and anyone can get ahold of foodstamps and even a place to stay albeit not every single night. For all of its flaws this country's government is much more stable than any other country that I know of. These folks who are suffering in our country can find help if it's serious. My only complaint is that this help should be shone a little more light on and advertised but then again you'll have many people who are not exactly in need taking advantage of as much as possible just to save a buck or two. Many folks are not aware of Social Services until their down and out and what I've found is that many homeless don't bother with it because they make a decent living panhandling for their own good or to support some addiction of theirs. As for celebrities, they make so much cash from fans and film viewers and music lovers and all manner of people from all over the world and many of these realize how well off they are and feel the need to give to those less fortunate. Celebs are not stupid, they are people like you and me, flesh and blood, and you can wager your own small fortune that they do their research. Africa is a continent of many countries and many of their sovereign states and dependent territories are basically on their own with no real government to back them. There is no Social Services and there are no foodstamps to be given. There is no way for the greater part of Africa to be compared to what we have here in America. There was a time when a man would spend his days plowing his fields tending to his crops and livestock and this was for the sake of feeding his family. Now, with rampant commercial merchandising and technological advancements we don't have to plow and strive because we have machines to help us and rely on. When we and other prominent countries are ravaging and raping the land and resources of other countries because they didn't know and weren't up to date on the market prices of their own country's resources and products and how dire they are to the demands of the rest of the world leaving them bone-dry so the rich may prosper with the attitude of the like: "who cares about their poor and their problems we got what we wanted and are still getting it," that's where the problem stems from. It all starts with those who are in utmost need and I applaud those who do their research first and then make a decision. Look before you leap. Think before you start running your mouth. Analyze before you conclude. I believe that those who give know who it is they are giving to but they are not blind to those around them it's just a basis of who is truly in need right now. Would you give your last piece of bread to the starving man or to his child. America is ahead of its time and Africa is young for as old as she is. This is about worldwide unity, those around us, not just ourselves.

April 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm

The only way to help the truly poor is to: 1. Encourage and provide birth control (perhaps even make it mandatory to receive any addtional help) [When a woman has 10 or 20 or 30 children she cannot feed, those children suffer terribly as they die of starvation] 2. Provide training/education so they will have a way to earn a living. "If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, if you teach him to fish, he eats for a lifetime."

The Chinese were right - albeit horribly brutal -- in enforcing a 1-child-per-family rule. Planet Earth cannot support billions of people - and certainly not hundreds of billions, which is where we are headed.

April 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm

This makes me mad and others like me,cause charity should begin at home. I agree with the others , as a American of Irish decent, we should help here and not in other countries all the time. We are still trying to get back after "Katrina, now Sandy, and even after the bombing in Boston". When is it time for the celebrities to help their OWN. Also, you don't ever hear of other countries helping us to the extent of what we do for them.Why is that? America is a great country, and everyone wants to come here for the opportunities and freedom, but pretty soon there won't be any more. So lets give back to the USA .

April 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Silliness. A good cause but silly. Does anyone really think these celebrities are actually going to live on $1.50 a day? No shelter, a little mac and cheese, and water? Hardly. And besides we all already know there is poverty in the world. I'd like to fix it, but what can I do? Give all my money to the Africans (or to poor Americans)? Wouldn't help a bit. A drop in the bucket. It's like people who seem to think that the answer to obesity is to educate peple about nutritional issues. Most all of us know what's healthy and what's not. Americans, for the most part, aren't willing to do what they know is healthy. Poor people are poor for a variety of reasons, such as low intelligence, low motivation, dysfunctional drug use, generational welfare indoctrination, etc., etc. Yea, a few are down on their luck or the victim of circumstances, but those will likely do what is necessary to pull themselves out of it, or their children will. Celebrities get way too much money and attention. Just because someone can act doesn't mean we should listen to them about anything.