the $30 project February 23, 2009

Rachel Ray thinks that eating on $30 a day is an accomplishment. I say to that….eat this:

Last year I heard about the politician that decided to try and live on the amount that the average American receives on federal funded food assistance programs. The amount he lived on for the week: $21. TWENTY-ONE DOLLARS. I can blow through $21 in a nanosecond in the right store or restaurant. As a food person and an avid diner, it's not uncommon to spend this weekly budget on a meal at lunch, much less eating out at dinnertime.

For the fiscal year of 2007, the average person that receives food assistance got bumped up to roughly a bit more than $3 a day. In this crazy and unfortunate economy, we all have taken hits in our businesses and know lots of people affected by cutbacks and layoffs. In an effort to see if I can curb my food budget and do it in a way that was healthy and nutritious, I have taken on the challenge of eating for an entire week on $30. I picked the slightly elevated figure because, well, I'm giving myself an economic stimulus package and it's a nice, rounded off number – and it sounds less scary than $21.

When I told some of my blog buddies and readers that I was taking on this challenge, the reaction was overwhelming, frankly. I didn't expect anyone else to get on board…and I was wrong. I have five other folks – all of whom have the same dining out/cooking/eating habits as me – taking on this challenge with me. We will all be blogging and Twittering about our experiences throughout the week so check back here at RWT for my progress and visit the great blogs and Twitter feeds of these other folks, too:

Image used in this post found here via Google Images.


Paulie [eatl/ga] Feb 23, 2009 10:02 am

Thanks for getting this started Tami. I’ve also gone and registered the domain on which I will be starting a blog to follow all 7-Day Projects I start in the future.

Dirty Feb 23, 2009 10:02 am

Wow. Awesome project.
I thought about it for a minute– well maybe not that long ; )
Look forward to your updates! Feb 23, 2009 12:02 pm

Good luck! I got nothing but love for the effort. That said, these budget challenges fail to think about one major factor: GAS! :-)

tami Feb 23, 2009 12:02 pm

For most of us, the challenge is enough in and of itself to tame back our spending, to focus on being conscious of our level of consumption, and to be mindful of what we’re eating.
My approach to the challenge is not to drive all over town in search of the cheapest food. I live within minutes of the DFM and within walking distance to a Publix…and those will be my two sources of groceries.
This isn’t just an exercise to “pretend” that we’re receiving federal assistance. It’s to re-evaluate our spending in a time that is tough for everyone, in one way or another.
– t*

Cult Diva Feb 23, 2009 01:02 pm

Really great idea. Please post your daily menus if you get a chance. Our food banks were I am are overwhelmed right now. Valdosta has a low per capita income to start with, so the last year has pushed many low income families into downright poverty.

Min Feb 23, 2009 02:02 pm

This sounds very interesting. I think that it is a good exercise to think about our consumption. Good Luck!

c. Feb 23, 2009 02:02 pm

my bf and i lived on about $50 of groceries/week when we were in americorps — I know it’s probably easier when you have 2 people and are splitting costs, but that’s $25/person. I recommend rice and beans and planning ahead… and packed lunches and grocery fliers, of course. And you can definitely do it while eating healthy — our diet was lots of fresh fruits, veggies and legumes. (I think it’s easier if you eat vegetarian.) But it is definitely much, much more fun to eat on a larger food budget…

Tessa Horehled Feb 23, 2009 08:02 pm

Uh, I’m in this too ;)

natalia Feb 23, 2009 10:02 pm

oh this will be interesting.
keep us updated!

Chloe Feb 24, 2009 12:02 pm

i’m trying. i really am. but this is from a person who blows twice as much as that on a single trip to H&F Bakery on a weekly basis. so frivolous, i know.
i thought real hard about how to make this $30 a week work for me and i came up with a grand plan of making something from scratch worth $10 or less and eating it a few times. great idea, except i don’t eat left-overs :(
time to seriously think about my food spending habits. thanks for the eye-opener.

Hillary Feb 26, 2009 12:02 pm

This is such a great idea! Will you be continuing this project past this week? Can others participate?

Chez Us Feb 27, 2009 11:02 pm

This is fantastic. I cannot wait to follow the process. I thought we were good when we did a 2 week recession/depression dinner series – I got us down to 7 dinners and 5 lunches – all organic and as local as possible for under $100 a week. This is even better!

Shana Ray Mar 2, 2009 12:03 pm

I am a week late, but this sounds like a great idea for me to begin today. Since my breakfast consisted of yummy cold leftover pizza, I am not counting that for this week.
Thanks for the idea!