Friday, February 5, 2010

Welcome and an Introduction

Last year, wandering the interwebs, I came across a bunch of people (like 3) who had done a really cool challenge. They were eating on a dollar a day. They set up different rules- only spend that day's dollar, buy stuff out of their garden, and so on- but they were all trying to do the same thing- eat on a dollar a day for a month.

I remember thinking as I read through their stories that I could do that better, or easier, or longer.

Well, here I am. Broke, newly moved, and almost totally without food. Like those who came before me I've got some rules, but unlike those before me I'm not doing this to help anyone else. This is all about my grocery bill. If other people can afford to/ have budgeted/ want to donate because of this, great, but I'm just trying to eat. So onto the Rules.

Basic Rules
  • I get 365 dollars for the whole year (that's 1 a day)
  • I start Valentine's Day 2010, and end (hopefully) 13 Feb. 2011
  • Free food is free- This includes occasional lunch from dad and overwhelming zucchini bounty in August.
  • Vitamins don't come out of this money.
  • If I lose more than 15lbs I have to either increase the money per day or stop altogether. (I am @ 130 now, 115 gives me a BMI of 17)
  • If I hit the Powerball jackpot, this ends. Right away. Same with any other large chunk of money.
  • Just because some people don't have access to someplace is no good reason not to shop there. Costco is in, as are World Market, Whole Foods, the local veggie shop, Asian market, and Dollar store.
  • I do not, will not, and never will again shop at Walmart.

Money Rules

  • The money will be split into 6 month chunks- $182.50 every 26 weeks.
  • $104 will be held back from the first 6 month's money to provide veggies, fruit, and random wants.
  • weekly money will be portioned out one $20 bill, or 5 weeks, at a time.
  • $1 each week will be used for larger monthly purchases- stuff like juice, onions, bagged fruit, spices, or carrots
  • $0.50 a week will go into a fund for splurge items
  • $2.50 is left each week for picking up fresh fruit and veggies. Any money left over at the end of the week carries forward, as does food.
  • $78.50 will be available at the beginning for picking up staples- rice, flour, beans, that kinda stuff.
  • Water is covered by my rent, as is electricity, so those costs don't come out of this.

Food Rules

  • The food will be 100% plants, because that's what I eat.
  • Veggies and fruits must be less than $0.50 a pound.
  • Anything more than $0.50 a pound must come wholly from the splurge fund- ex. If lemons are 3lbs for $2, if I only have $1 in the fund, I can't get them.
  • Monthly bulk stuff is exempt from this rule. If onions are $1.59 for 3lbs, I'm not going without for a month.
  • I will eat at least 2 meals a day, everyday.
  • I have to at least attempt to have 1 serving of fruit and 3 of veggies every day. (I hate fruit)
  • Anything eatable I already have is fair game.- Right now this is 3/4th's of a tub of earth balance, two cans of chickpeas, and a can of pinto beans.

I'm sure I'll miss piles of nutrients, and that there are ways to do this even cheaper (grinding my own grain comes to mind) but I have to work with what I've got. And what I've got is not a lot of money, a crock pot, and a landlord that I doubt is going to let me put a garden in his nice muddy back yard. If he does, veggie swaps with people who can grow stuff I can't for stuff they can't will be sure to show up.

Again, I'm doing this for my budget, not to save the world. If I open my door and the money fairy hands me a huge pile of (legal, not stolen) money, this ends and I eat chocolate and take away forever. Until then, I might as well have fun being broke, right?


  1. I am so ready to follow you on this. I cant wait to see how it unfolds. :) Good Luck with it, you can do it!

  2. I am getting into this a bit late, but I am very excited to see how this works out. I've been veg. for about 15 years and am in serious need of budget-minded eating. Can't wait to see what you come up :)

  3. I'm also a late-comer to your blog, having just seen the MSN article about you so I haven't had time to read through each post, but something in this one struck a nerve with me. You say you've got a "a landlord that I doubt is going to let me put a garden in his nice muddy back yard." But have you thought about a small potted garden? I tried this one year when I couldn't get permission to plant a traditional garden and it worked very well! Just an idea - you could start with tomatoes and peppers and see how it goes! Good luck!

  4. Thank you so much for the good wishes. I feel like I'm saying that a lot today- along with "wow".

    @ajoyw- I'm working on getting some dirt-space. For some reason the stuff I most love to eat (zucchini and tomatoes) just won't grow for me in containers. I think I might have inherited the dread "black thumb"

  5. I am a late-comer here also. I plan on going back and reading each entry. I am trying my hand this summer at a garden and I want to make my own tomato sauce. Can wait to get readin!

  6. eek! but I've got to say it... if you don't play the loto, you'd have $2/day. just sayin.

    very much enjoy following your "progress?". thx for the meal ideas as well. good luck! am rootin' fer ya.

  7. I found you yesterday on MSN (as most of us did!!), and am totally a fan now. Im NOT vegan or vegetarian. I do tend to only eat white meats, and seafood (not because they are any less of an animal, but because red meat icks me out), and am VERY frugally minded, especially when feeding a family of five.
    I try to budget everything in my life, and refuse to pay full price for damn near anything.

    I love this idea, and I see youre finding your legs on the new budget plan. I do hope you take some of the suggestions to cut out the enriched products (only because they will counteract the chip attacks) ;)

    IF you're interested in saving money in other aspects of your life (toiletries, household junk etc) then definitely let me know. I have a TON of links for you!

    Good luck!