Next Project?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Before starting this project, my friend Rowan suggested a follow-up—she said I should eat for $30 a week and report on what I bought, what I made, and whatever else I feel like writing about.

Her thought was that $30 is more than I usually spend, but still less than most people spend, so I’d be able to eat really well, and other people would be able to actually get useful information out of it (as opposed to this project, which is really too extreme to have much in the way of take-home lessons).

So I’m thinking about that. I know I can’t post every day because it’s been too disruptive, but I think I could do it with two or three posts a week. And with $30 a week, I think I could have some pretty good food.

14 Responses to “Next Project?”

  1. melody Says:

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with on 30/week for yourself! I am eating for 25/week for myself and two teen sons (who live with me part time) and blogging about it here:

    I am eating from my pantry though… but last month I only spent $50!

  2. supergrover Says:

    I have a fair idea of what this might look like because I think our total food bill for our Asheville-ish spa trip was around $30 a person, and that may have actually been more than the per-person expense because we occasionally fed extras. That was a week of divine and inspired healthy food (that included plenty of dairy!)

  3. Valerie Says:

    If you would be willing to do that, I’d love to see what you experience with that change.

  4. Eve Lausier Says:

    One thing that comes to mind is whether you could gather a few wild foods (Dandelion and other greens, pecans, wild onions, ramps, etc come to mind) or the factor of growing your own food. In reading your blog this is obviously just one aspect of your life, and it certainly takes time to do this.

    When I grew up in Eastern Maine, we had to suppliment our diet with whatever we could find. With 9 kids and two adults, cooking on a wood stove, and making do with USDA goverment surplus food (before food stamps!), gleaning potato fields and eating fiddleheads, pigweed, and a lot of other things, we got by. I remember powdered milk (awful taste but good in baked goods, etc), powedered eggs, and a lot of peanut butter. We forget how wasteful we are today, but thoe who have ever been hungry remember.

  5. lessisenough Says:

    I am planning on doing a post on gardening and “foraging” since they’re both great ways to supplement your diet with fresh, healthy food.

    For the project, I didn’t want to do that because not everyone has equal access to those kinds of resources. (For gardening, you need space, and it takes a while to get started — you can’t wake up one day and decide to have a garden and the next day have good food. And foraging is even more dependent on where you live and what you know about your local environment.)

    I was trying to avoid anything that people would see and be likely to say, “Well of course she can do that for a dollar because she has X, but I don’t, so I couldn’t.”

    The one exception I made was the decision to eat only two meals. I knew it would be too hard for me to try to eat three meals, since I’m just not in breakfast/lunch/dinner mode at this point in my life, I’m solidly in brunch/dinner mode, and it would have taken up way too much energy to try to change that. So I went with two meals, even though I knew some people would proabably see that as a “yes, but” factor.

  6. Christine Says:

    I personally would love to see what you do with your normal budget, especially if it is under the $30/week mark.

    I am loving what you have posted thus far.

  7. fivecats Says:

    “I know I can’t post every day because it’s been too disruptive,”

    and here i was thinking all this time that you were Committed to this project for the long term.

    ah, well…

  8. lessisenough Says:

    Does being Committed to this Project require renouncing paid work? If I keep doing this I’ll NEED to eat for $1 a day because that’s all I’ll have. My brain lacks the capacity to think about work and get things done while also blogging.


    (Though perhaps a project that doesn’t also involve daily trips to the grocery store and phone calls from the national media would be more manageable.)

  9. Emily Says:

    “as opposed to this project, which is really too extreme to have much in the way of take-home lessons”
    As “extreme” as it may be, I really have learned from this project. Thank you!

  10. Sukie Says:

    A couple is following the $30/week project – you can read about their adventures here:

    As a promotion for our state’s food bank’s fundraiser, our governor tried to eat for $20 a week. That could also be an interesting step up from $1 a day. (and would separate your project for the $30 a week couple).

    (love the blog ps – it’s seriously inspiring.)

  11. tinaspins Says:

    As Sukie wrote, my boyfriend and I in Brooklyn have been doing a $30/week (15 bucks each) diet since late September 2008 and it’s been going great. I imagine for one person, you’ll do great!

  12. Raen Says:

    Please do the $30 a week thing. I would love to get my weekly food bill down to $30 if I could eat well and I like your food ideas. I would want to incorporate a little dairy like feta and some meat as seasoning.
    I have no intention of gardening.
    Posting two or three times a week would be fine, if you could do it consistently.

  13. I am voting yes on you doing a follow-up project. $30/week per person is closer to what I do, and I’d love to see some of your tips and ideas!

  14. Sharon Says:

    Sukie, last year one of the governors and a number of congress members(plus a bunch of other people inspired by them) did a $3 a day for food–actually $21 for the week as they could spend up front or spread it out. This amount was chosen as it is an average amount that food stamp recipients often get. It was clear that most of the people attempting it had little experience with shopping for, cooking or eating frugal healthy foods. So there were lots of missed opportunities.

    LIE, I really appreciate you doing this experiment in such a healthy way and blogging about it. Although it may be more extreme than many would want to go, the same ideas could be used for a $2 a day or $3 a day plan.

    And having shown what you can do for $1 a day, I think it would be interesting if you or any other readers of the blog wanted to do some variations on it, such as
    $30 a month plus foraging
    $30 a month plus gardening
    and neither of those would necessitate the daily shopping. The garden would need to be planted 2-3 months before that experiment though.

    Other variations that would be interesting would be
    $1 a day or $30 a month in other seasons where different foods would be frugal such as May or June and August.

    Also does your area have farmer’s markets that sell off mixed bags of produce for a $1 or $2 at the end of the day? If so that might help other people who wanted to do the challenge.


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