Day 19 - Revelations

A few days back, I noted that this experiment was turning out to be a pretty spectacular conversation starter. And that has continued, but recently with a twist.

I’ve now had several conversations where, once I’m done explaining what I’m doing, the person gets a very somber look and their face and says something like, “Yeah, I remember that time in my life.” Then they go on to explain some time in their life when things just weren’t going the way they should and they were forced to live on a dollar a day.

What surprises me about conversations like this is that for the most part, these are people who are quite financially successful now. They own nice homes full of nice things, drive nice cars, wear nice clothes… but somewhere in their past, whether it be just a week or sometimes months, they were forced into the experiment I’ve chosen.

What’s even more surprising is that they would share such a thing about their past. As chance would have it, most of the people in my life were brought up to believe that money is a personal issue. You don’t really talk about how much or how little you have. For these people, saying, “There was this time in my life when I was so dirt poor I ate rice for four months,” is a huge revelation. There’s just something disarming about this experiment, something that resonates very much with people who have been there at one time or another.


Blogger Thebad said...

When I was in my third year of university...

3:06 AM  
Blogger Nicolas Gregoire said...

Unfortunately it resonates with me. I remember living for months on bread and butter.

I remember passing by restaurants, in the summer. People were eating outside, and I was staring at their plates. Those juicy steaks...

At the time I considered grabbing a piece of meat with my hand and just running away with it.

I'm doing a lot better now. But still, capitalism, gotta love it.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Baby Pop said...

Mayonnaise sandwiches! A lot of people that are well-off financially are that way because they learned to make money and keep it, and save a lot. They didn't do it overnight.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

In my second year of collage my wife and I split up. I was waiting for my student loan and the only thing that got be through was this Dominion Auto Club membership card that I had in my wallet. It had a bunch of specials attached to it, one of which was a FREE Whopper at Burger King when you purchased a Whopper combo.

You guessed it... I used to bug my buddies to find out who was willing to eat lunch at burger king so I could get the free Whopper! That and "Mr Noodle" 35 cent noodles where pretty well all I ate for a month till I got my student loan.. then it was "Steak and Lobster"(Not!)

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in the close to a dollar a day situation right now. All I have at home is a bag of rice and some pasta sauce, salt, a few bags of peas, beans and potatoes and some seasoning. Comes to about 60 dollars per month. I'm an international grad student and have been lived like this for the entire of 2005. Now I have a steady job and earn a decent income. All I can say is, what doesn't break you only makes you stronger.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually was very poor at a time but on welfare you get all kinds of food stamp money, the thing I went without was mainly toiletries since there was more money towards food than there was towards rent and tolietries... I think I got 360 a month for food and only 320 of regular money.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that these people were more or less comfortable talking about these past issues because, at present, they are very secure about their situation. When you feel secure about yourself, who and what you are, you don't need to hide...

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i remember the excitement of buying a case of mr.noodles for just under $4.

3:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived like this for a few years too, when I was young and poor.

I ate mustard sandwiches, tomato paste soup, etc.

*Brown rice is a little more expensive, but it more nutrition.
*Rice 'n beans is super cheap to make and you can eat it for days.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicolas Gregoire said...

But still, capitalism, gotta love it.

Yeah, you do. Sit on your butt, it'll shrivel up and die.

Yes, I'm aware it also means your butt might be dying even if you're working, but so far in history, there's simply no better way to do things.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Gardner

a true hero

3:44 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

One summer I couldn't find employment, but I did figure out how the seagulls got clams.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How true you have noticed this. Between my freshman and sophomore year in college over the summer, I didn't go home since I had a huge fight with my parents, I sustained on $4 a week, susbsisting of one giant jar of mayonaise, 99 cents loaf of bread, peanut butter, tap water, and occasionally 2 for $1 cans of tuna. That lasted me 2 and a half months till I surrendered and went back home to my parents.

Those were the most grueling times of my life, and has motivated me to manage my money. One year out of college, I repaid $30,000 of loans immediately, faster than any of my peers. Now I run my own music licensing business and although I'm not filthy rich, I am making a living being my own boss while employing others.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beans and Barley. I really like the consistency of barley and it turns boring peas and lentils into a tasty soup.

I am a teacher and my husband is a full time student, although we are not eating a $ a day, we are eating very cheaply, as cheaply as we can. I bake our bread, he makes tortillas, I slow cook beans ALL the time. THis weekend I am slow cooking corn meal mush.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I saw a link to your blog on MSN and clicked it thinking it would be amusing to hear how you did it. As I read on and saw your menu, I recognized my own menu right away. My husband and I bought a home and I lost my job in the same year. Every penny saved went to the house and what was left was to buy Ramen. I just got hired and am loving the fact that I can walk right past the ramen now!

1:13 PM  

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