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  • Over a billion people live on an average of just $1 a day, mostly in the poorest areas

  • of South America, Africa, and Asia.

  • But while these people manage to scrape by, is it possible to live on this meager amount

  • right here in America?

  • We decided to task your favorite labrat with finding out.

  • Week 1:

  • A dollar a day- when I was first given this challenge I thought I was going to get sent

  • to some remote village somewhere like that one documentary film.

  • Turns out Infographics expected me to somehow live on a single dollar a day right here in

  • the US.

  • Initially I was confident it was impossible, but well, I'm pretty stubborn so I took the

  • challenge anyways.

  • 30 days, $30 dollars- at least Infographics will be happy with the expense budget for

  • once.

  • Now, I have advantages that people really living on a dollar a day don't have.

  • For instance, I don't have to pay rent or utilities on my budget because that'd be impossible

  • and I don't fancy living on the streets- again- for the show.

  • At least not for thirty days... without a massive pay raise.

  • Basically the expenses I had to worry about were food and anything else that popped up.

  • As I sat to discuss it with the girlfriend, it was clear we were going to have to improvise

  • some of our favorite activities.

  • Food was the biggest issue- a $7 budget for an entire week is ridiculously unrealistic,

  • but there's ways to make it work.

  • First, I immediately forgot about eating three square meals a day.

  • I'd eat one meal at most, and I made sure that meal is free.

  • In my normal life I volunteer every week at a food kitchen for the homeless and struggling,

  • and I know that plenty of these kitchens will let volunteers eat there for free in exchange

  • for their time.

  • It's not going to be your daily 2k recommended calories, but I at least got half of that.

  • The only problem was that the food kitchen was only open five days a week, which left

  • me with Saturday and Sunday.

  • It was time to buy cheap food, and you're probably already thinking about hitting up

  • a local dollar store.

  • Only problem is that these stores force you to buy a minimum amount of their cheap food,

  • like 12 cans for $12- which was way out of my budget.

  • So instead I went to a regular store and bought eggs and a loaf of french bread.

  • For $2 I got a case of 18 eggs at Albertsons, and another $2 got me a loaf of freshly made

  • french bread.

  • Eggs are packed with calories and nutrients, the perfect thing to get into your body for

  • cheap.

  • Bread itself is quite filling, which can curb your hunger pangs.

  • Next I rode my bike to every fast food joint I could get to, and hit up their condiments

  • section- I was after one thing: mayonnaise, and when I finally found a place with mayo

  • I grabbed a handful of packets and shoved them in my pocket.

  • Mayo is very high in calories and again good for filling you up and giving you energy.

  • I was already seeing my eating practices as one of my survival challenges, only this time

  • instead of budgeting energy I was budgeting money and trying to get the most calories

  • for my cash.

  • Once I got home I hard-boiled some eggs and made an egg sandwich.

  • Simple, decently delicious, and cheap.

  • I still went to bed with a rumbling tummy, specially since the girlfriend had a full-on

  • dinner since she's not part of the challenge, but hey I've gone hungry before out in the

  • bush.

  • Me and the girlfriend are pretty sick of spending time in the house, so this challenge gave

  • us an opportunity to get some free entertainment in.

  • We busted out our roller blades and tore up the beach boardwalk, our dog running after

  • us on the leash.

  • That was a little too energy intensive for me though since I was basically getting half

  • the calories I normally get, so we had to take it easy after that.

  • Turns out finding free things to do that are actually fun is kind of hard- because I was

  • budgeting gas money into any driving we did for entertainment... so we ended up driving

  • nowhere.

  • First week down and I'd spent roughly $5, with $25 to go.

  • Week 2:

  • I can tell that I'm already feeling the effects of mild starvation.

  • I say mild because I am still getting roughly half of the 2k calories you need each day.

  • I feel a bit lethargic all the time, and I don't know if it's the lack of food or the

  • stress over budgeting, but there's definitely dark circles growing under my eyes.

  • Normally the girlfriend and I exercise together, but there's no way I can keep up with her

  • anymore.

  • My food kitchen idea is getting me 5 meals a week, and sometimes I even get a few snacks

  • or leftover fruit at the end of each 2.5 hour shift.

  • However, one of the nights they were full up on volunteers when I got there, so I had

  • to provide for myself.

  • I bought more eggs and more bread, and this week I had to go through a bit extra bread

  • so I spent about $7, bringing my total to $12 in expenses.

  • For entertainment I spent absolutely nothing.

  • Instead, we played board games on Friday night and Saturday night we walked down to the beach

  • and just lay there together watching the waves as our pup ran around the sand.

  • I'm enjoying the closeness this challenge is bringing between me and the girlfriend,

  • but I am hungry literally all the time.

  • Also, it's clear to me that I could never do this challenge if starting from scratch

  • without things like a place to live.

  • At least not without some serious restructuring of my life.

  • Week 3:

  • This week I ran out of toothpaste, and I realized with a growing dread in my stomach, that I'd

  • have to pay for more if I wanted to keep practicing good dental hygiene.

  • I tried to make it last as long as possible, even cut open the tube and dipped my brush

  • into the remaining paste clinging to the walls of the tube.

  • But eventually I had to pony up $4 for a tube of toothpaste.

  • Also, another $2 for a single roll of toilet paper.

  • Yes, I am counting individual sheets at this point.

  • I could handle thirty days of hard boiled eggs and bread if I needed to, but I decided

  • to vary things a bit and got a 5 lb bag of rice for $4, along with a 5 lb bag of beans

  • for $6.49.

  • That last one hurt the budget, but I could make beans and rice last a long time.

  • I hit $29 out of my $30 budget, but luckily there were enough beans and rice to last me

  • through this and next week.

  • Which is a good thing, because I only got 3 nights at the food kitchen this week.

  • Since I can't drive there because I can't afford the gas, I have to bike and others

  • beat me there... even when I leave early.

  • Two nights this week they were already full on volunteers, so beans and rice it was.

  • By now I have definitely noticed a marked change in my weight.

  • I've lost a whopping seven pounds in the last three weeks, and my energy is very, very low.

  • I swear even my face is starting to look gaunt, and the bags under my eyes are only getting

  • worse.

  • The girlfriend is legitimately concerned, but I only have one week left.

  • Week 4:

  • It was a good thing I bought those 5 lbs bag of beans and rice, because this week the volunteering

  • situation was even worse, and I only got two nights there.

  • If I could drive I could've just gone to a different kitchen and tried my luck there,

  • but there's no money for gas.

  • I believe that officially I've hit what's known as a starvation diet.

  • I'm definitely not getting enough calories to maintain a normal weight, and since this

  • thing began I've lost ten pounds.

  • My energy levels are abysmal, and even my mood's suffered.

  • Plus there's the stress of making sure that things last, so I don't have to replace them.

  • I even took to rinsing out paper towels and letting them dry so I could reuse them.

  • I joked about doing the same with the toilet paper but let's just say the girlfriend wasn't

  • having it.

  • This challenge has really made me think about the plight of people in developing nations,

  • who really do have to live on a dollar or less a day.

  • Now the difference between us is that on the whole, their entire lifestyle is cheaper than

  • ours, and prices reflect that.

  • My five pound bag of beans would've never cost almost $7 in a remote village in Africa,

  • but here in America everything just costs more.

  • Which really begs the question- why?

  • Why is it that medicine is a fraction the cost in Mexico that it is here?

  • Why is a pair of blue jeans as much as $100 here in the US and $20 somewhere else?

  • Because we'll pay those prices, since we have better paying jobs than people elsewhere-

  • even if ironically, the value of the money we earn ends up greatly diminished because

  • greedy corporations are jacking up prices knowing we'll pay them.

  • Then in the long run we end up with a society where most 20 and 30 year olds can't afford

  • to rent a 1 bedroom apartment in the majority of the country.

  • What I'm saying is the system is hella broken, but neither you or I needed this challenge

  • to know that.

  • I spent my last dollar this week on a Crunch bar, because it's the girlfriend's favorite.

  • She teared up when she saw that I spent my last dollar on something for her and then

  • hugged me tight before splitting the candybar with me.

  • Way I figure, she suffers alongside me with these challenges, and we both just lost a

  • month of our lives even if she wasn't the one living on a dollar a day.

  • As far as real people living on a dollar a day, I'm grateful to be in the position I'm

  • in, but I hope one day I can work to build a world where nobody makes the sacrifices

  • they do, because even the tiny little taste that I got was intolerable.

  • Now go watch Living out of my car for a week challenge, or click this other video instead!

Over a billion people live on an average of just $1 a day, mostly in the poorest areas

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Live on $1 Dollar a Day - Challenge

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    Summer posted on 2021/06/08
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