Today was a disaster and I spent most of it wondering why I ever thought it would be a good idea to continue this challenge. This challenge really doesn’t lend itself to someone that does a lot of traveling and I was off to a new place for the week. Having to move the food that I do have and then trying to locate stores in the new area is never fun, but what really killed me this time was not having access to all my coupons. This proved to be costly today as I missed out on some good deals because I didn’t bring certain coupons that I could have used.

As for hoping to create more nutritious meals, this was probably one of the worst days I have had the entire challenge period when it comes to meals and it has me a bit scared at what I have gotten myself into.


This is part of a month long challenge to eat well while spending an average of only $1 a day on food. You can find the beginning and the rules of this challenge here


This is what I had left at the end of the month:

month 2 start

1 package of raisins (six small boxes)
3 Power Bars
1 Deli Selections lunch packages
1/2 package of chicken breast deli style (1 lb)
3/4 package hardwood smoked turkey franks
1 salt and pepper shaker combo
1/2 jar Miracle Whip
1/2 jar of Classico pasta sauce
4 Caprisun fruit drinks (not shown)
1/16 jar of salsa
1/16 half gallon of milk
1/2 box of cereal
6 eggs
1/2 banana
9 packs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese Minis
1/8 package of Knudsen Light sour cream
1 apple
1/16 jar of Skippy All Natural peanut butter

It was time to do a bit of shopping. This was what I added to the above:

day 32 purchase

day 32 purchase a

day 32 purchase b

3 ears of corn
1 5lb bag of flour
1 canister of instant oatmeal
1 bag What Thins Toasted Chips
4 jars Skippy All Natural peanut butter
2 loaves 100% whole wheat bread
3 bananas
2 10lb bags of potatoes
2 jars potato salad dressing
1 bag veggie spiral pasta
1 box Bisquick pancake mix
2 dozen eggs
1 gallon milk
5 Deli Creations Chicken & bacon ranch flatbread sandwich
1 package hardwood smoked turkey franks

I took advantage of the new rules for this month and the total came to $3.22 for all of the above.

day 32 purchase receipts

day 32 purchase receipt 1

day 32 purchase receipt 2

day 32 purchase receipt 3

Here are some of the coupons I used to get these deals:

** I had a free coupon for any Pillsbury product up to $3 (not sure where I got it) – I could have gotten a 2lb bag of flour for free, but decided to get the 5lb bag which was $3.49, so $0.49 to me.

** $1 of 1 Quaker instant oatmeal product peelie coupon

** $1 off 1 Nabisco toasted chips coupon that was in the store on a tear pad

** Safeway had an store coupon for Skippy peanut butter for $1.49 on last Sunday’s paper insert (good through 6/5). I stacked that two $0.75 off 2 online coupons (no longer available, but there may still be a $0.60 off 2 coupon available)

** 100% whole wheat bread was available for $0.99 with a Safeway coupon from the Sunday advertising circular (good through 6/5).

** 10 lb bags of potatoes were $2.99 and there was a Safeway coupon in last week’s Wednesday advertising circular for a free jar of Marie’s potato salad dressing. To make this even a better deal, there was a $1 off 1 peelie coupon on the Marie’s potato salad dressing which I also used.

** I used the $0.50 of 1 Wacky Mac coupon from the 5/16 SmartSource Sunday coupon insert.

** I used a $0.60 off 1 online coupon for Bisquick that should still be available.

** Last week’s Wednesday advertising circular for Safeway circular had a store coupon for 1 dozen eggs for $0.99.

** Deli Creations were discounted at this new store much like I found last week, but a different kind that looks a little better. I used five $1 off 1 coupons for Deli Creations in the 5/16 SmartSource weekly newspaper coupon insert which made them free.

** I found a $1 off 1 peelie coupon in the hot dog section and used it as I have done before on a package of hardwood smoked turkey franks.

** I used a bunch of $2 off your next order Catalina coupons (mostly from Scrubbing Bubbles that I had earned last month with money maker deals, but I couldn’t use last month because of the more restrictive rules.


Since it was a travel day to a new place for the week, it threw havoc into my eating. I did get up and have a bowl of Corn Flakes with the last of the banana I had (at that point):

day 32 breakfast


I should have planned ahead and made something for myself for lunch in the morning, but didn’t and the day was crazy. Along with the going to a new place, I made a delivery to the food bank of all the food I had accumulated and then ended up meeting an old man that wasn’t feeling well that I ended up driving to the hospital. I also had to do all the shopping for the above food.

The problem with eating on a limited budget, when the unexpected happens (taking the old man to the hospital took about 3 hours out of my day) is that you can’t just stop into a fast food joint and grab a bite. I ended up eating 2 of my power bars and my last apple with the last of the peanut butter throughout the afternoon which just barely kept me going.


I didn’t get back until fairly late. I decided to try and make some potato salad with the potatoes I had purchased (I cooked the potatoes too long and they came out a bit mushy) and put a couple of the turkey franks onto the BBQ (it was already going) and used a slice of whole wheat bread as a bun. It wasn’t pretty at all and not something I would usually eat, but I was hungry enough at that point that anything would have tasted good.

day 32 dinner

Hopefully now that I am settled for the rest of the week we can work on more appealing meals…

This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Money Spent $30.30
Money left to spend: $30.70 ($2 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $671.04


The Beginning ::: Day 33: Should I Be Proud Of This?


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  1. You’re way too hard on yourself, LOL. Look, you improvised on a busy day, and you still got fruit, a vegetable, meat and other protein (PB), dairy, and grains. That’s awesome! Besides, everyone has a hot-dog and cereal day once in awhile.

  2. I think alot of your meals are great actually. You gave me some good ideas for when I am home alone. Its harder to cook fancy meals for one person! You are doing great!

  3. Oh your meals are great!! I ALWAYS have soy butter and bananas on toast for a Yummy healthy snack!! (my daughter is deathly allergic to peanuts)

  4. I just caught up reading through your challenge and I’m totally impressed! I think that you’re very lucky to live somewhere that has lots of choices in stores and that you don’t pay sales tax on your food purchases. We live in rural East Tennessee, with limited choices of stores (that are not very eager to compete with each other) and while I coupon and hunt out deals, we pay 9.5% tax on everything and at most of our stores, you pay the tax, even on the free things, and almost never get the overages on the coupons. I’m interested to see how the next month goes! I’ll definitely be following!

    (And BTW – PB & Bananas are a staple here, or I should say were, until I married a man deathly allergic to PB!)

  5. Wow, I’m just so impressed. I’m a mom with six kids–three out of the house now, but I have always cooked from scratch and tried to find the best deals. Haven’t always been willing to deal with coupons, but now we have an especially challenging financial situation and I am trying to shrink the grocery budget to help out. So I am trying to aggressively use coupons. I find that my introverted personality makes it hard for me to buy in bulk and use all those coupons, but I’m working on it. You’ve inspired me! Thank you for posting your journey. If I could just get my husband to set aside his meat and potato expectations for every night……

  6. Any chance you’ll do a ‘Couponing 101’ blog? I read your posts every day I can, and even though I’ve started trying to coupon this past month, I know I haven’t gotten the hang of it.

  7. @Rose This is an issue that I think I will end up putting to a vote of the readers here on how to handle it. Going out to eat with friends or family would certainly be a budget buster, but there is also a socail aspect to it. I am not sure how I will account for it at this point.

  8. @Malik There are already a lot of resources on this blog, but I do hope to put together a simple step by step approach to how I have gone abut couponing as well. Now if I only had another 20 hours in each day 🙂

  9. Personally I think you are doing an amazing job, the previous rules were not fair in a couple of ways and the whole thing about your sister not liking the food was just a cop out. I love peanut butter and bananas. Furthermore.. if you were doing this from the perspective of someone in a financial is food.

  10. I just want to say that I think you’re taking on yet another huge challenge. Most of us wouldnt have the skills to get by on even $5 a day.

    That said, nutrition in America is an elusive creature. For instance, think of the oils and saturated fats you are consuming in those skippy, wheat thins and corn flakes products.

    I notice your current stock pile doesnt include any leafy greens or dark veggies. Why? In my daily life, I find these to be the single most beneficial (short and long term) and healthy foods I eat. I can buy a head of a interesting variety of lettuce at my co-op for less than 2 dollars. If I watch portions, I can get nearly 6 meals out of that! I like to season these with Olive oil (which I can buy in bulk at the co-op) and Braggs liquid aminos. very tasty. I like to make it a garden salad and add many different items to it like shredded carrots, radicchio, mushrooms, snap peas, tomatoes. etc.

    Speaking of bulk buying at the co-op, I noticed all your food is heavily packaged and there for, probably more expensive – especially without coupons! Shopping at a consumer-owned co-op is the only way to profit from spending your money on things you would otherwise be purchasing anyways! Not to mention, bulk buying at a co-op doesn’t have to mean large quantities. You can buy as much or as little as you need. I bought 4 cups of oatmeal for less than $1 last month. Other grains and legumes as well as pastas can be purchased in dry bulk at almost every co-op in America. My co-op (The Wedge, in Minneapolis, MN) even has bulk liquids (from oils to vinegars and soy sauces) and refrigerated goods like flax seed as well as bulk personal care products like shampoo/conditioner, shea butter and soaps.

    Anyways, I hope commend you for taking the massive leap of trying this experiment in the first place and then continuing it. If there is one thing I know, its that Im always learning. Information is always changing and what we think we know about health and nutrition this year may be different next. Jennette Turner, our co-op nutritionist says that the bottom line is that its important to get a serious MIX of foods.

    Great work, keep it up!

  11. Linda – Yup, tax on groceries here, too. And, even if you get an item for “free”, you have to pay the tax on it.

  12. I wish we had coupons like this in Canada. Where I live there are no catalinas, you cant use coupons on things you are already getting for free because of other coupons, and you dont bank money on coupon use.

  13. You should consider buying some kind of fat, corn meal, vinegar, and sugar.

    Here are some ideas for things you may be able to make. Pancakes (apple or banana pancakes), potato pancakes (flour, eggs, oil), oven french fries (oil, salt), peanut butter, oatmeal, raisin cookies, corn bread, pigs in blankets (drop biscuits with pieces of hot dog), bread pudding, rice porridge, potato dumplings aka gnocchi (these are very easy, has a good recipe you can serve them with cheese and/or tomato sauce), creamed corn (cut the corn off the cob then run a butter knife over the cob to get all of the milk, mix with mix and butter or margarine, cook.)

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