Have you heard about the #SurviveOn35 challenge that is currently stirring up the blog world? Ten Fitfluential bloggers were asked to live on a $35 food budget per person for one week, in other words $5 per day. That sounds really low!
Reading about that challenge and those bloggers’ experiences made me wonder how much money I spend on food. So I decided to pick one day, this Tuesday, to note down the prices of everything I ate. (A whole week would be a logistical nightmare for me!)
I didn’t make any adjustments, instead I prepared my meals and snacks as usual. It really opened my eyes!
(Note: All prices are in Euro! 1 Euro = 1.21 USD [Source: Google – July 24th, 2012])
I consider myself very lucky to have easy access to cheap, organic, whole grain bread. And it even tastes good! The kind of break I’m currently using is only 0.15 € per slice. For breakfast I had two slices, topped with a cashew pate, and peanut butter and jelly.
Total cost for breakfast: 1.00 €
On Monday night I cooked a batch of quinoa and set aside one serving to pack for lunch. I mixed the quinoa with canned kidney beans, canned sweet corn, ajvar (red bell pepper sauce), and cherry tomatoes. I added some leftover salad leaves and topped it all with a tablespoon of sunflower seeds.
Total cost for lunch: 1.10 €
I had lots of leftover rice from the weekend, and a few vegetables that looked a bit aged, so stirred up a modified version of my beloved fried rice. Usually I prefer brown rice, but my husband insists on eating white rice. We tend to buy our favorite kind of rice (Arirang) at a Korean grocery store in Munich, in the form of a 20 lbs bag for about 18 €. Yes, 20 lbs of rice! Stored properly it could last years, but we usually go through it within 2-3 months.
For my fried rice I used one large carrot, one medium-sized zucchini, one red bell pepper, and some frozen edamame.
Total cost for dinner: 1.10 €
I’m a devoted coffee drinker. I’ve tried to live without it, but it’s just not fun. Years ago, I switched to instant coffee. It’s cheap, hygienic, and quite tasty. I usually drink about half a cup, no milk or sugar, three times a day. I also have one cup of green tea per day, and lots of tap water. (German tap water is awesome!)
Total cost for drinks: 0.40 €
Chocolate is a must-have every day! Two squares of dark chocolate are usually enough. Lucky me, I’ve found two brands of delicious dark chocolate (70-85%) for the reasonable price of 1.00 € per bar. That’s 0.20 € for two squares.
My days are long, and I don’t like going without food for too long, so I need snacks. I usually munch on homemade cookies and fruit during the day, but I didn’t have time to bake on the weekend, so I made myself a fruit salad. It contained one apple, one grapefruit, pineapple chunks, a few dried cranberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also had a banana on the side. The whole fruit salad, including the banana, cost about 1.90 €. Yikes!
Total cost for snacks: 2.10 €
Total cost for the day: 5.70 € = $6.90
Conclusion: The total cost was a bit higher than expected. It’s not that bad, though, considering that all my food was vegan and even partially organic (e.g. quinoa, peanut butter, pineapple, bread, carrot, green tea). I think I’m doing quite well with my meals, but I need to pay more attention to my snacks, like only buying fruit that’s on sale, taking time to bake cookies, packing granola and yogurt, etc.
I want to try it again next week, maybe I can get my food cost a little lower.
What are your favorite low-budget snacks?