Asghar and I are now 16 days into our $2/day/person challenge and I am proud to say that we have not spent any money eating or socializing outside. I think for the first time, in a very long time, both of us even hung out at separate social events and only had water.
You may be wondering, "How do they do it?" Well it really isn't that hard. For starters, it is really important to plan ahead. Laziness is probably the only thing that prevented us from doing this before. Every Saturday, we sit and make a list of what we are going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. Doing this has really allowed us to shop for ingredients that we can keep using instead of doing what we usually do and buy one off items and then let them rot or sit there for weeks before we realizing we had them. For example, I bought carrots on Saturday so I could use them in my vegetable soup, shred them in my salad and roast them with my chicken.
We even planned ahead to have a double date. Last Thursday, we had a couple over for some spaghetti and meatballs. The meal was nothing fancy but it was still delicious and filling. And we got to enjoy a great evening with friends without spending $50-$100 on dinner which is what always happens when you go out for dinner. Some of our favorite dishes have been chicken stir fry, chicken tacos, potato cutlets, vegetable soup and of course a good old loaf of bread. Asghar has baked baguettes, sourdough loaves, and white loaves. I have attached pictures of each week's receipts and our meal plans for the week.
The thing that has touched me the most is being able to feel and understand what it is like for those that do not have the luxury to buy whatever they like. We might be doing this as a fun challenge but for many this is a reality. This really hit me on the morning of Friday, March 6th. It was warm most of the week and all of a sudden it got really cold on Friday. I had to be at the Mayor's education summit by 7:30 and of course left the house without checking the weather. When I got out to the car, I was freezing! But I had to deliver promotional material and could not be late. So I dealt with it and made my delivery downtown. I had a hour to kill before the program actually started so I quickly drove home and grabbed a coat. On the way home, I noticed a woman on Park St who was shivering and only wearing a t-shirt. She didn't have to ability to go home and grab a coat. That's when it hit me, I am so lucky to have everything I have and I felt ashamed because I could do nothing for her.
There is a reason food drives tell us to look into our pantries around Thanksgiving. We as a society tend buy more than we need. Why not buy less, save more and give more to the organizations we want to rather than feeling like we have to give around one holiday. It has been fun inspiring others to think about what they really need to live comfortably. Now that we know we can do this, I think we might make this an annual tradition.