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Could you eat on $4 a day?

October 1st, 2009 at 10:47 pm

It's over but you can read about one person's experience on the San Francisco Food Bank's 2009 Hunger Challenge here:

http://www.poorgirleatswell.com/2009/09/pgew-joins-san-franc...

Maybe you'd like to try this experiment?

Or maybe you're already having to live on this amount for food already?

I think I might be able to do it successfully, but it would be hard to do -I think - to even get started here as I am a pantry-holic. Mine are overflowing because I do the scratch-n-dent thing.


We are blessed.


Yes, the center shelf is bowed from weight. I know. I told you, I have a problem with overfilling the pantry. You'd think someone starved me as a child. But, no - such is not the case. I could just blame it on the cabinet maker, couldn't I? AND, this is just one cabinet. They are all like this - and the basement pantry is well stocked as well. hmmm...

Limiting myself to new things purchased to make meals might prove a bit of a challenge because we're well stocked, but I think I could do it. Keeping hunger at bay? I would be thinking protein.

Her blog posts about this challenge are interesting, inspiring & informative to read.

Today is a No Spend Day for me.

Made a pot of homemade potato soup for lunch. Here's my bowl:


Mmmmmmm! Comfort food!



We'll be eating Chicken, Rice & Broccoli casserole for supper. I used Kraft's free Food & Family magazine for the recipe, but shhhh! don't tell - I didn't use all Kraft products to pull it off.

13 Responses to “Could you eat on $4 a day?”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    Actually, I do eat for $4 a day. It is obviously a far easier task when cooking for 4. Single on $4 a day? Probably not! (We actually average about $16 a day for the fam).

    Looks like an interesting read.

  2. Analise Says:

    Wow... $4 a day. I'm not sure we could do it but I know many people have to. We are definitely blessed to have a well-stocked pantry and freezer and your post made me realize how easy it is to take for granted having enough to eat.

    Thanks for the link. I tried the interactive activity (selecting a week's worth of food for $28) and even with "buying" mostly rice and beans, I could not meet the caloric requirements for a hypothetical family of 3.

  3. dmontngrey Says:

    I think I could do it without much effort. I'm pretty sure I already eat below $4 a day most days now. It's by choice, not necessity.

  4. homebody Says:

    Funny I looked at the picture before I read your entry and I was thinking, boy that shelf is full and looks like it is going to collapse!

    We are pantry-holics and recovering freezer-holics. This month I spent just over $300.00 for the 2 of us, but that included some stocking up. I should say we did cook dinner for our elderly neighbors about 4 times too.

    Bookmarked the poor girl blog. Thanks.

  5. LuxLiving Says:

    I think I could do the $4 part, it's the starting from scratch part that would be slightly difficult.

    Beans & Rice, Rice & Beans, Peanut Butter, Tuna fish, eggs, pasta, Rice & Beans, Beans & Rice.

    Boring but doable - at least here because within 5 miles from my house I have two scratch-n-dents that I'm happy to buy from.

    If we were wanting it to be well-balanced and nutrient packed I think you'd have to be nigh on to a certified nutritionist and a super planner and certainly a label-reader and probably a good gardener as well, because over time I'd think you'd surely have to supplement with your own fresh garden produce.

    Oh, and maybe even take up urban gleaning!

    (It may look like I use a lot of salt - not so, just can't store it downstairs in the regular pantry in the basement and I do have a year's supply on hand. What? I come by grocery shopping genetically - mine is boringly tame compared to Mom's!!)

  6. north georgia gal Says:

    My name is Amy and I am a pantry and freezer a-holic! (in unison) Hi Amy. LOL

    Seriously, I think I could do the $4 a day with a lot of planning but the from scratch thing would not happen! My sister does that and I am just not that inclined cooking wise!

  7. LuxLiving Says:

    Hi Amy!!!

    I do cook from scratch. I just don't think I could start 'from scratch' which around here means the beginning without some pantry basics, because I already have sooo many! It would be too tempting to reach into the cupboard for whatever spice or extra that would 'soup up' a recipe.

  8. Caoineag Says:

    I can and have lived on $4 or less per day. Course I can get a whole bag of dried lentils (or any bean for that matter) for less than $1. I can also buy rice in the 50lb bags for just pennies per serving. But I don't live in California.

  9. frugaltexan Says:

    Well, $4 a day is $120 - 124 a month. I generally try to keep my food bill under 100. Of course I don't eat meat, so perhaps that helps keep the costs down + I tend to eat the same things everyday. I do have a good bit of pantry stock, but don't use it as much as I should. I probably could go on 30 month if I used up all the stuff in my pantry. No good excuse really, just laziness.

  10. Nika Says:

    I don't think I could.

    1. I think fresh is the best, but "fresh" does not store long. So most of these foods are processed.
    1 5oz pack of fresh spinach is $4, and it would not make 1 meal. If you have fresh fruit, it is not possible to eat that cheaply - 1 pineapple is $5, 1 little package of berries is $4-5...

    2. I don't have the discipline to keep up with expiration dates. If I put something in the pantry, I'll forget about it. Than I will feel bad if it expires. I would rather pay twice as much for one item and use it all up, than pay half price and buy two and throw one out.

    Stocking up works only for people who have organization skills needed to never let anything expire. For people who don't have that mindset it makes no sense. You guys must be very disciplined.

  11. snoopycool Says:

    My pantry looks like yours!

    I could (and do) eat for less than $4/person/day. That's $24 per day here, $720/month. I don't spend anywhere near that much money on groceries! I buy marked-down food, use coupons, etc.

    PS - I LOVE to stock my pantry. I don't know why, just do. I also like canning (jarring) food.

  12. Jerry Says:

    We are living overseas right now and people in this part of SE Europe survive on a lot less than $4 a day, food-wise, and it leads me to think about how much we take for granted in the States. Here there is no insurance that people will have enough, especially the elderly on a small pension... it is truly heartbreaking.
    Jerry

  13. LuxLiving Says:

    Thanks everyone for your responses!

    I think it's good for us lucky enough to live in the U.S. of A. to look at our food habits from time to time.

    See, maybe I could spend less for a while in the grocery budget and donate to the food pantry more often? Yes, I can. ...and I will.

    Started a food pantry at our church a few years back. It's a labor of love. I know Fern volunteers/ed? at one. I'm still giving there, but I can do more.

    Has any one else worked in one? How's it going now that the economy is tanked?

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