The $2 Food Challenge

Last year at some point, I heard about living on $2 of food a day. To someone who loves food and eating, it sounded impossible! How could anyone live on $14 a week? BUT, I am always up for a challenge so I have decided to start researching it and see if it really is possible…..

This morning’s reading has been very interesting and I have made some very interesting discoveries.

Here, in Australia, there is actually a fundraising initiative Live Below the Line. It is done during May (I’m a little disorganised to participate this year) and Julie Goodwin is/was an ambassador for them. The article doesn’t seem to have a date.

What I really wanted to know was where the $2 comes from.

More research and I have found that it is a thing in the US too. It is called the Elon Musk Challenge. In 1990, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, lived on $1 a day for a month. Someone then replicated it last year, allowing for inflation and lived on $2 a day.

So, using an inflation calculator US$1 in 1990 is worth US$1.87 today. Converting that to Australian dollars, that is AUD$2.50. So for our family of four, that is $10 a day.

There are, of course, issues of the different costs of living between the two countries, particularly the cost of food, but I am happy to go with that value.

One of the things I have noticed is that a lot of the time, the menus suggested for the week or 5 days or even the month, are really bland and boring. If you are only doing it for 5 days, I think it would be really hard. You wouldn’t be able to build up some staples, carried forward to a new week where you might be able to then spend money on something else. You may even have leftovers from those 5 days that have been factored into your $2 a day.

My plan, therefore, is to make this a long term project. Looking at our calendar, there doesn’t seem to be any particular convenient time to experiment properly. We have some food intolerance issues that will be challenging to deal with. Sophie and I are not really good with beans and lentils and goat milk is $4.99 a litre. We are also rather accustomed to eating very well and eating ethically grown and raised produce. There will no doubt be special occasions where we will be eating out but I won’t be counting these but if we want take away during the week, it will need to fit within the week’s budget.

So why am I doing this?

  • I like a challenge!
  • So much food in the world goes to waste so this is also about reducing waste. We plan our meals and vary rarely throw out food but there is always room for improvement.
  • The family is very supportive and interested in doing it too.
  • I want to see if you can still eat interesting, nutritious meals on a strict budget.
  • I’m going to need to get creative!
This week, I’m going to calculate what our food costs us, without any variation to the routine or shopping.
Follow my page on Facebook too, where I will post up some photos as I go too. I have a lots of ideas for dishes, bulk cooking and ways to cut down on expenses but would love to hear any suggestions you may have too.