Man spends $30 on food for a month

20 Comments

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What an interesting idea.:

For the month of November, I’m only spending $30 on food. The only exception will be things that are freely available to the average person (salt taken from restaurants, sauce packets from Taco Bell, free coffee from an office). Buying in advance is fine, but at the end of the month, it all has to add up to $30 or less.

My favorite part is that he took the time to write it up and share what he found.

Check it out: http://www.hungryforamonth.blogspot.com/

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20 Comments

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  1. I followed this series a month ago. It’s an interesting read. I especially enjoyed the conclusion. As a budding journalist, I found his resolve to experience situations through a new perspective very admirable.

  2. Ill remember this everytime Im down to my last 20 between paychecks.

  3. Food is without question my largest single expense next to rent, but I am more or less OK with keeping it that way. Let’s call the amound that I spend each month on my cuisine “X” – I would say that it’s worth sacrificing $(X-30) in savings in order to not feel like I am starving or eating rice three meals a day.

    Still, it is an interesting challenge.

  4. Unfortunately, the way he approached it was NOT the best. It IS possible to eat on $1 a day without resorting to ramen/mashed potato nastiness.

  5. But instead of criticizing…what would you do? And I find it more impressive that he actually did something (whether you agree with it or not) than just talking about it.

  6. I thought it was interesting, but not a unique idea. Morgan Spurlock did the 30 days of eating McDonalds (Supersize Me) and has since spun it off into an excellent (IMO) FX show called 30 days. In one episode he and his wife try to get by for a month on minimum wage.

  7. I agree it was an interesting experiment–I just think that it MIGHT have been more usefulin an educational sense if he done it more… thoughtfully. It’s not an easy task, that’s for sure.

  8. Honestly, this doesn’t phase me at all. I do this on a fairly regular basis whenever I’m low on cash.

    Back when I was first starting out as a freelancer, I didn’t earn much money. I lived off $30/mo groceries frequently. I keep the habits still to this day, although I’ve added more luxury. I’m also feeding two now.

    My trick is to cook everything in bulk from scratch.

  9. Interesting story. I’d be interested in what happened after he went back to his normal diet….I’d also like to hear from some of the folks who say they can eat healthier on a dollar a day….

  10. Yeah it does remind me a lot of the mcdonald skit or whatever

  11. I have to agree with both Kat and Marie. I’ve gotten by on home-made soup, oatmeal and simple spinach or cucumber salads for less than $7 a week . . . and I’ve actually IMPRESSED dates with this food.

    However, there are a lot more elements to eating like a poor person than just money for food: access to a kitchen and kitchen equipment, dealing with children’s impossible palates, access to real grocery stores, ability to cash a paycheck at a real grocery store, ability to put money down for the food up front, what food stamps and vouchers will and won’t pay for, child care during real grocery shopping . . . not to mention access to shopping and cooking knowledge.

  12. Anonymous #11,
    Yeah, I guess it might not work if you are homeless and dont have access to a kitchen or jobless and have no money at all to “put money down” for food, no bank account, etc.

    I have never had to have childcare for grocery shopping.

    A lot of your post seems like grasping for excuses, but I agree about the access to grocery stores part. Unfortunately a lot of communities seek to ban stores that save poor people money on fresh food for political reasons ( while at the same time these people like to try to claim they are all about helping poor people).

  13. Greg, I only mention these things because I’ve known single moms in these positions and it makes me SICK. I don’t know if they are feeding me lines or if theses things really are problems, but I know they do act on these concerns and it creates even bigger problems.

    Maybe a frazzled, stressed, bone-tired single parent CAN drag their petulant, whiny 8-year old with a serious case of the I Wants to to a supermarket half a mile away without a car after 8 hours of work and a 3 hour commute on public transportation and then come home and cook in a disaster of a kitchen that they’ve never had time to clean . . . I wouldn’t know, I’ve never tried it . . . but if they don’t believe that they can, does it really make much of a difference?

  14. I just came back from a three week trip in India. It was astonishing how you could get a stellar meal with many different items for about 25 rupees and an ashram or lower-end food stall!

    The quantity of food you get for this meager amount was enough to satiate even the most ravenous appetite.

    Keep in mind 25 ruppees is about $.60 USD!

    If you were dilligent, you could easily have 2-3 decent meals every day for I just came back from a three week trip in India. It was astonishing how you could get a stellar meal with many different items for about 25 rupees and an ashram or lower-end food stall!

    The quantity of food you get for this meager amount was enough to satiate even the most ravenous appetite.

    Keep in mind 25 ruppees is about $.60 USD!

    If you were dilligent, you could easily have 2-3 decent meals every day for <$1/day.

    Arriving back in the US today, it made me think about everyone lining up at starbucks ready to blow what would amount to a weeks worth food money for a lower-class worker in India, on a single drink and pastry!

    I am not saying $1/day is easy or even possible for everyone in the developed world….but I am sure most of us can save more (or help others in need) by taking a harder look at our own spending patterns and cutting out the “fluff.”

  15. In 1999, I spent $11 on food for a whole month, and I never ate ramen, either. I don’t see what the big deal is.

  16. I agree with Ravi. We could cut off the Starbuck coffees, cable and eating out every day.

    Invest that money.

  17. I don’t know. But even I who live in a country in which most people live with less than $ 150 income per month find it difficult to spend only $30 on food for a month

  18. I saw a few comments above from people who have gotten by on $30/month or less. Do you or anyone know of a site with a menu plan/meal ideas for that? The closest I’ve found is the Hillbilly Housewife $45/week emergency menu for a family of 4, which still tops the $7/week/person threshold. I’ve also been reading through the Tightwad Gazette books lately, so it feels possible, but I can’t imagine how to live a month on $30 without gardening, handouts, or other free food.

  19. $30 is possible. I used to be a single mom of two. I had no car, walked to the grocery store with my sons, cooked from scratch, and did NOT receive food stamps. I held a full-time, minimum wage job. It is possible to eat on so little per person. Perhaps those of us with Starbucks addictions (myself included nowadays) wouldn’t mind surprising a single parent with a bag or two of groceries every now and then. Just a thought.

  20. I live with my mother, I’m 20 and I pay $50 every month for food. That’s about it, I worry not about it! But perhaps the most we spend is on other stuff.