I can tell as this challenge goes on, I am getting lazy with the couponing. The good news is that I am able to do so because I have been able to stay well below the $1 a day goal. Some might think that this is bad and I should be focusing on getting better deals, but I disagree.

One of the most difficult parts of this challenge has been to get people to not focus exclusively on the $1 a day. I have said it before and I will say it again — I don’t think anyone reading this blog should try to eat on $1 a day. I think what each person should do is look at their current food budget and set a reasonable goal based on what they are currently spending. What this whole challenge is supposed to show is that there is a good chance that you can spend less and buy a lot more of the foods you want if you change your shopping habits a bit and incorporate coupons into your grocery shopping.

I was quickly running out of peanut butter and I had the choice of rationing it or stockpiling it and I chose to stockpile. CVS had a good deal and I had a $4 off $20 in my pocket as well, so I ended up getting 6 jars of Skippy Natural peanut butter, 2 tubes of Colgate toothpaste, 1 dozen eggs and 1 gallon of milk:

cvs purchase

If I had planned a little better ahead, I probably could have gotten the peanut butter fro free. I wasn’t planning to get the eggs or milk, but made some calculating errors and forgot a coupon that meant that I needed to add some extras (thus the milk and eggs). In the end, I ended up spending $5.38 for all of the above. This is how I did it:

Skippy peanut butter was on sale at 3 jars for $5.00. There was also an Extra Bucks promotion where if you purchased $10.00 worth of Skippy, you received $3.00 back. This meant I could buy 6 jars of peanut butter for $7.00. There was also a coupon in the 8/1 RedPlum Sunday newspaper coupon insert for $1.00 off 2 Skippy peanut butter:

skippy coupon

Using three of these coupons, it brought the price to $4.00 for 6 jars. Since I had a $4.00 off a purchase of $20.00 coupon:

cvs coupon

which would make the peanut butter free if I could get up to $20.00.

I also purchased 2 tubes of Colgate toothpaste using a $1.00 off 1 coupon:

colgate coupon

It wasn’t until later in the day when I was doing the transaction again for Penny Experiment that I discovered that this coupon had actually expired (I offered to give the toothpaste back because I didn’t want to get the cashier in trouble, but the manager said that it was OK). I had planned to bring along a coupon for the proglide razor, but simply forgot it and that is why I needed to add the eggs and milk. In the end, I paid $0.40 out of pocket while also using $11.98 in Extra Bucks that I already had. I received $7.00 in Extra Bucks back:

cvs extra bucks

So I paid $4.98 more in Extra Bucks than I got back and $0.40 in cash for a total cost of $5.38

cvs receipt

The toothpaste will go to the local food bank and the rest of the food will go into my stockpile.

I also had the coupon meet-up and although Kelli and her group was the only one to show up, it was very helpful for me in thinking through how I will set up my basic guide and a pleasure meeting them. We actually went to Lucky grocery store together and did the 10 boxes of Kellogg’s cereal transaction together so she was able to get 10 boxes of cereal for $2.70.

She was also kind enough to bring me a bag of yellow cherry plums (the first time I have ever seen these) which she had foraged in her neighborhood:

yellow cherry plums

Blackberry Smoothie

I started off the day in regular fashion with my morning smoothie – this time blackberry (fresh blueberries, frozen banana, ice cubes and a small amount of milk)

blackberry smoothie

Blackberry Cinnamon French Toast

I made myself some cinnamon french toast (adding a bit of vanilla and cinnamon to the egg for the bread coating) topped with a blackberry and banana topping:

blackberry french toast

Whole Wheat Pasta Salad

I took some extra whole wheat pasta I had cooked and made a pasta salad adding fresh spinach and tomatoes along with a sprinkling of cheese and a boiled egg:

pasta salad egg

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Goal: 100 days eating on $1 a day
Current Money Spent: $73.11
Money Left to Spend: $26.88 ($0.85 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of Everything Purchased: $1473.94


The Beginning ::: Day 94: I Gave Up 3 Days Worth Of Food For A Girl


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  1. i encourage everyone to stop buying toothpaste and brush with baking soda.
    i use a little peroxide to moisten things up and kill bacteria. you’ll have to splurge a few bucks if you want the quality soda w/o aluminum (bob’s red mill is one). good baking soda is very healthful, add 1 tsp to a glass of water and drink daily. if you are interested in getting flouride out of your body try 1/8-1/4 tsp (depending on body weight)
    of boraxo in 1 liter of water (preferably reverse osmosis filtered) and sip it throughout the day.
    lots of other great remedies at earthclinic too!

  2. oh, and the milk reminds me of another money saving tip. when the price of milk went way up a few years ago i started buying 2% instead of 1%. then pour half of it in the previous container (you may have to rinse it first if it’s getting funky) and fill both with good quality water. if it’s still too watery then buy whole milk. friends called this one of my most desperate and pathetic money saving moves but it saves $100/year or so.

  3. No need to approve this comment, but I think you’ve left one of those coupons unvoided.

    It could be the one you mentioned was expired, though.

  4. I received an incredibly easy recipe from my aunt for “salisbury steaks” and thought of you and your challenge when I made it a few nights ago for dinner. It was simple, inexpensive, and had few ingredients, so I thought I’d pass it on to you.

    First, I shaped a pound of ground beef into four patties and browned them on both sides. If you like your hamburgers well-done, cook them all the way, but I only cooked mine until both sides were well-browned and in the end the inside was slightly pink, but warm all the way through, which worked for me. After the patties are done, pour out the excess fat and cook some thinly sliced onions until softened. I added a pat of butter for flavor, but you could just as easily add a bit of oil or even just use the residual fat from the ground beef. Once the onions were softened, I added a packet of low-sodium brown gravy and followed the directions on the back. After that bubbled and thickened, I put the ground beef patties back in the pan to warm them back up and coat them with gravy while I finished getting the rest of the meal ready. I served the “salisbury steaks” with buttered egg noodles and a tossed salad.

    I used one packet of gravy mix for each pound of beef and that made four servings. If that makes too much food for you or you don’t want to use the gravy packet, you can make your own brown gravy from scratch, however, I found using the gravy packet was easy and tasted fine. The “steaks” heat up well the next day, though, so making extra might be a good idea. Also, you can substitute regular pasta for the egg noodles, or even serve with mashed potatoes.

    I hope if you decide to make it, the recipe turns out well for you. I’ve been following your challenge since day 12 or 13 and I love reading about your adventures every day. Thanks for such an informative and entertaining blog!

  5. I have just recently learned about this site & I love it! I do have a couple of questions concerning the math…I see a coupon for 7.99 & 2.99 that I did not see you explain but don’t see the $3.00 EB deducted. Did the store make an error? Where did the 7.99 & 2,99 coupon come into play?

    Another question, when looking at our coupons & the ad…I did not have a $1.00 off 2 skippy but had a 60 cents off one.

    Thank you for posting all of this & helping the rest of us try to understand 🙂

  6. @Brook

    Those were Extra Bucks coupons I already had. I used $11.98 in extra bucks and received $7.00 in extra bucks back in this transaction.

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