01 August, 2010

Diary of two dollars a day…

A friend and I have decided to take on the ‘Live for under $2 a day’ challenge. So for the next five days, we have $10 each. It actually sounded do-able until I went to Safeway for my week’s worth of food. As I strolled through the aisles, I realised lesson one: you can eat for a week on $10…but it’s going to be bland. The rules stipulate that if you want to spice up your food with salt and chillies, you need to buy them with your $10. That makes the whole thing a little trickier. And, forget spices, I was really worried about quantity. I realise now that $10 does not get you far, even when sticking by lesson two: always buy homebrand. Once you have a carb, a dairy and a vegetable, there is really not a lot of room for much else. There in lies lesson three: team up and double your supplies. It was at that point that I realised the importance of a community approach to poverty. I couldn’t buy everything, and needed to share the costs with my friend. I worked out, that by halving our quantities, we could double our variety. Even still, I am looking ahead to a bland week of eating, and have cut out anything remotely resembling a luxury. And by luxury I mean meat and fruit, not chocolate. In my shopping experience, I also understood why welfare quarantines can never work. For me to stretch my budget as far as possible, I cannot shop at Coles or Safeway exclusively. While some of their items are cheap, I really needed a market and a $2 store to get the most out of my buck. The quarantine requires you shop at selected stores, and that limits your savings a great deal.

So, what did I manage to buy?

Milk $1.54
Sweet chilli sauce $2.15 (an expensive item, but necessary to spice up the plain rice
1Kg Rice $1.99
Margarine $1.09 (needed it as I anticipated reduced energy with the reduce fat intake)
Oats .99c
Frozen mixed vegies $2.19 (could have got fresh, but couldn’t guarantee the price)
Total $9.95

There were some things missing that I really needed. I think sugar is necessary for the oats (and without any treats in the basket, possibly just as a snack on its own!), and I would have loved salt for the rice. So I split my oats and my margarine with my friend and she bought sugar and salt to split with me. With my extra five cents and the sharing costs, I had enough left over to get a packet of pasta too! Very excited about that.

I realise that this $2 a day is exclusively for me. I could probably stretch it out to my husband, but little Wesley requires formula and that would totally break the bank. Keep in mind as well, that the $2 a day is being spent exclusively on food, and doesn’t take into account heating, electricity, water etc. This is an incredible awakening.

I will blog each day to let you know how I am going, and encourage you to join in at anytime! Go to the site at http://livebelowtheline.com/

Peace out!


cmack said...

Wow! Confronting, eye-opening and challenging. Might just take you up on it and give it a go myself. I look forward to reading about how you go this week.

Brian said...

Did you make it to the end of the week?

Can I suggest pasta, and lash out with salt and butter for texture and flavour.

2 min noddles also price at around 20c each, so make a great cheap meal.

How many ways do you know to serve potatoe?