The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

Eating on Dollars a Day: Shop the Cabinets

eating on dollars a day

When I first graduated from journalism school and moved back home to Boston, my roommate Jess and I decided (more out of necessity than morality) to give ourselves just $3 a day for food and drink. (Yes, including booze.) At first, it was really hard, but like most things, by forcing ourselves to stick to it, we got creative, we made it work, and we have fond memories and recipes to show for that time in our lives.

Maybe it’s not by chance, but over the holiday break, soon after Jess moved back to Boston, I rediscovered one of the first blogs I started reading after launching Shoestring: the One Dollar Diet Project, and also finally cracked open my copy of the resulting book, On a Dollar A Day, a chronicle of the experiences these two school teachers, Kerri Leonard and Christopher Greenslate, gained by sticking to an even more extreme version of our food budget.

So, the question is, (gulp) 10 years later, can I still stick to a budget of $3 or less a day for food and drink?

We’ve published here (and preached over at The Swapaholics) about shopping your closets first for clothes (and do it regularly myself), but I had never done thought to do it with food. So I did: I took a complete inventory of my cabinets, my fridge, my freezer, and my pantry (even the drawers!), then shared the (shockingly long) list with some friends and family…and now with you.

For the next two to three weeks, I’m going to attempt to abstain from buying a single grocery item or meal out, living only on my home larder, and chronicling my daily recipes, meals, and experiences here.

Check out my full kitchen inventory and let me know if you have any recipe suggestions — I’ll be editing and ticking down the inventory list as I cook, and I can use all the support (and luck) I can get!

Story: Copyright 2012, Shoestring LLC. Photo:

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