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Eating Well on $1 a Day

submitted on June 11, 2010 by pablos17 in "Member's Lounge"
Jeffrey from the Grocery Coupon Guide blog took on a challenge from his sister that he “ate well” on just a $1 a day...

I was talking with my sister and explaining to her that with couponing, I think that I could live on $1 a day for food and have plenty to eat. She looked at me skeptically thinking that I was exaggerating.

“No, really, I could live on $1 a day and not be hungry,” I said.

“All you would eat is cereal and junk food,” she countered. That is not a healthy diet for a month.

“I think I could have a fairly healthy diet on $1 a day,” I replied. “At least a lot healthier than you think.”

“Including fruits and veggies?” she asked, the skepticism in her voice coming through again.

“Including fruits and veggies,” I said.

“You couldn’t last a month,” she said sure of herself.

Thus the “Eating Well on $1 A Day” challenge was born with the following rules in place:

1. I will begin on May 1 and will have no accumulated food of any kind. I have $31 to spend ($1 for each day of the month). I can start buying food on May 1 and can not exceed the $31. I must document the cost of the food with receipts.

2. I can only use 2 computers to print coupons. Although I have access to more which would make this challenge much easier, we agreed that not everyone will have access to a lot of computers. However, we also agreed that anyone reading this has access to at least one computer and should be able get access to another one using a bit of creativity.

3. I can only use 2 inserts from the Sunday paper each week. Although I have access to many more than this (I usually pick up anywhere from 3 to 5 copies for free from the local coffee shop alone each week), we decided that not everyone would have access to dozens of inserts. We agreed that anyone could get the coupon inserts from at least 2 Sunday papers with a bit of creativity. I am allowed to use up to 2 of previous week’s coupon inserts that I already happen to have.

4. I can use as many coupons as I want that I can get in the grocery store where they are available to everyone.

5. I can only buy food from retail outlets (grocery stores, drug stores, food markets, etc). I can’t supplement what I buy at the store with free food from trees, dumpster diving, friends, food banks, donations, growing my own, etc.

6. I can only use deals that anyone else would have access to getting.

Follow the link to read on and get the day-by-day breakdown of how and what he bought for the month.


  • 65866
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    Posted by DebsFreebies on June 11, 2010
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    Excellent Post!! Great documentation on what you did, etc. Very informative.
  • 65867
    Posted by YanBz on June 11, 2010
    [reply] 2 0
    I love this reader's comment from Day 1 of the series:

    But what did you spend in gas? (and how long did your shopping take?)

    I bet it takes quit a bit to find the right coupons, go to all these various stores, pick the right products, and argue with the personnel about the discounts.

    If you ever take the challenge, you will probably have no other life...
    • pablos17
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      Posted by pablos17 on June 11, 2010
      [reply] 3 0
      Very good points Yan. I actually knew a lady that we titled the coupon queen when I worked in grocery stores in high school. She would go from store to store and reap the benefits of various coupons. Obviously, she had no life other than shopping for coupon bargains. She would even try to pull a fast one on cashiers in that she would not follow the size requirement guidelines of most coupons and could often get away with having the store pay her for her shopping trip (of course, this was before the day of coupons being able to scan at the register). She absolutely hated me because I would advise her that she was not getting the proper sized products and would give more than half her coupons back to her. Needless to say, she stopped coming through my checkout line.
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    • Solstice
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      Posted by Solstice on June 13, 2010
      [reply] 1 0
      Good for you. I loved giving those kinds of people a hard time.
  • 66076
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    Posted by tammy987 on June 12, 2010
    [reply] 3 0
    Eeek This guy did a lot of work. Impressive, but makes me tired just reading about all the deals he got. Nice about all the donations to food bank, though.
  • 66087
    Posted by webbyone2010 on June 12, 2010
    [reply] 1 0
    Did this guy have a full-time job? That's what I want to know.

    I coupon, but sometimes the net-net benefit isn't there when considering the time spent.
  • 66089
    Posted by harr2001 on June 12, 2010
    [reply] 4 0
    Hi, Pablos17, this is the lady that u helped with the jcp coupon, when u looked it up on my phone...thanks
    • pablos17
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      Posted by pablos17 on June 13, 2010
      [reply] 3 0
      Hey there. Glad to see you could join us. Happy deal hunting.
  • 66127
    Posted by deby32953 on June 13, 2010 [reply] 0 0
    If there are great coupon inserts in Sunday's paper, I take the dogs for a early Mon. a.m. walk & raid the neighbor's recyling bins & p.u. more coupons than I know what to do with! They don't care, they're discarding them anyway. From downloading coupons & matching them w/sales, we save about at least 75% of our grocery & drugstore bill. The only thing we pay for is meat & produce & I sometimes have coupons for those too. I don't think as a family of 3 we could do $1.00 a day but close. Great topic!!

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