Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thankfully Eating at Poverty Level

In my last post, I touched on how deciding to not "keep up with the Jones'" has affected how I spend. I've also read some very interesting articles since then that have forced me to look deeper into other areas of spending (not just retail therapy) as well. Yesterday I read the "The One-Dollar Diet Project" blog about a couple who ate on a dollar per person every day for a month. At first I thought "whoa, nelly!" that's a bit too frugal for my tastes, but they posted a staggering chart on their blog. Yeah, almost 1 billion people (that's a SIXTH! of the world's population) eat on a dollar a day or less! UNIMAGINABLE! The couple mixed it up a little, but basically rice, beans, and oatmeal made up their diet for a month. Nope, there was no nutritional value in it. They ate what they could afford and that meant no fruit, no meat, and no vitamins. I found it rather sad that I've been complaining about money being tight this month. I averaged out the price per person that we will be spending this month (yes, that includes Thanksgiving dinner) and it's $3.34 each. Not bad when you consider that people on food stamps get the same amount. That's where another blog I read comes into play. On MSN's "Smart Money" there was a blog a while back called "They Tried Eating on $25 a Week" and it talked about how the Illinois Food Bank set up a challenge to anyone willing to try to eat on $25/week per person as that is what the average food stamp recipient receives from the government. There was a HUGE response to this article. So many people resisted the idea that it could be done without sacrificing healthy meals. Huh? I mean honestly. My husband and I are vegetarian, so most of the food we buy is fruit/veggies/organic/etc. (i.e. not cheap). So my husband and I are living at food stamp levels, but we are still managing to eat healthy. We just learn to eat less is all. And we should. With American's being as obese as we are, maybe a smaller portion isn't the worst thing in the world. I know that by eating less, I'm doing good things for my body and my pocketbook all at the same time. I would guess that those 1 billion people in the world that eat on a $1 a day would be happy to have $3.50 a day to eat on. This Thanksgiving, I'm going to give thanks for being able to afford to eat at America's poverty level, not the rest of the world's.