Three hundred and twenty-nine

Recap of how I’ve been coping with the $4 a day

I made it through a week on $4 a day through the generosity of friends, pooling resources, extra earnings (although I ended up saving that money), trading a service for a bottle of wine (although I was just doing my friend a favour and the bottle of wine was a surprise – a very nice one), buying cheaply/on sale, cooking in bulk and eating leftovers, and walking or car pooling everywhere.

My total spending for the past week (actually since the 14th) was $11.58 plus a little gas for the few times I drove the car, a few cans of food I had at the back of my cupboard and some almost rotten veggies I salvaged to make a soup which I ate for three days.  I declined outings telling people I couldn’t afford to go.  I went over to friends’ houses and they fed me.  I made delicious, inexpensive treats to give as gifts instead of bringing over the customary bottle of wine.  My sugar daddy boyfriend (he’s not a real sugar daddy) and I cooked big portions together so I could take the leftovers – I brought what I could, he paid for the rest, and I did the clean-up.

I’ve managed to keep eating healthy, although it’s pretty hard to be as picky with food ingredients in more processed foods when you’re on such a tight budget.  Everything I’ve eaten has either been cooked by me or by a friend (no eating out).  I’ve “saved” $159.02 (from my two weeks on $21.40 per day and my week on $4 per day), so I have money for emergencies.  But I realize that $159.02 wouldn’t go so far if say, my car got towed (which almost happened to me this morning in a complete accident and lack of signage – I’m not sure what I would have done if that happened…) or I needed emergency dental surgery.

I also realize if I didn’t have a support system I wouldn’t have been able to do this.  If I didn’t already own some material things such as a toaster or a computer, my life would be different and I wouldn’t be able to afford those things on $4 a day (and the computer, probably not on $21.40 a day, unless I saved for a very long time or went into debt).

I haven’t spent any money at all on treats for myself or on anything that’s not necessary.  I can see that getting really frustrating after awhile and why people crack.  Everyone around me is getting pleasure from spending.  Although I know logically that I shouldn’t get pleasure from spending money (that there are other more noble causes to gain happiness from), it’s hard when it’s all around you.  What if I spent a few dollars here and a few dollars there?  Would that be so bad?  And then it gets to bigger and more expensive things, and then you’re in debt.  Or in extreme poverty cases, you just become more and more depressed because you’re trying to get your life on track, but you just can’t seem to get ahead.

$4 a day is do-able, but in very stable causes, mooching off your friends, and being very strict with everything you spend money on.  And when something goes wrong, you are screwed.