Three hundred and eight

Is $21.40 per day plenty of money to survive off of?

Being an artist and working in theatre has surrounded me with people who live on less than $20 a day.  I have friends who can’t afford to have a soda or a juice at a bar when supporting other theatre artists because of their budget.  I had a big discussion with my boyfriend (also works in theatre) yesterday about whether $21.40 per day was really low-income.  If you think about it on day-to-day terms, it’s not so bad.  If you walk everywhere, cook all your meals, don’t drink, spend time looking for sales for food, and hope there are no emergencies, this is plenty.

But what happens if some extra expenses arise or their is an urgent need?  And generally, things cost a lot.  Filling up a car with gas when I go drive to visit my parents costs $50 – that is two and a bit days of money.  Twenty dollars equals two cab rides, a meal at a not very expensive restaurant, or a very modest grocery shop.  If I want to buy something or go out for an evening, I have to save.  If I want to buy healthy, organic food, it will be a challenge.

I need to a plan of attack.  I will be recording every time I spend money and keeping track of how much I have left to carry over into the next days.  I will be using my extreme couponing skills I learned in month one of this project.  I will spend time to find sales.  I will be walking and using transit – no cab rides, unless I budget for it.  I will be saving money for special occasions out.  Sacrifices will need to be made.

Besides my own journey, this month I will also be talking about poverty as a whole, in both Canada and in the rest of the world.  I will write about poverty lines in other parts of the world.  I will discuss ways that someone can live cheaply and healthily in Toronto.  I will be doing some interviews.

Hopefully we can all learn something from this month – both practical financial skills and compassion.