Day 4 in Self-Imposed Poverty

I was in NYC last week and returned Monday night.

After another run of spending way too much money on dinner and drinks with friends, I decided to force myself into ten days of “poverty”.

I decided on Monday that I would make it ten days on the money in my pocket ($45).

(I blew all but about $80 in my checking account and decided not to move any over from savings for the below exercise. I do have a credit card to bail me out at any moment if needed, but I’m hoping to make it through without it).

I am embracing this as a challenge like climbing a mountain, and I realize there are some design flaws here (I have a place to live, a car, some food at home, so this is not REAL poverty), but nonetheless, for me to live on $45 for ten days takes some work.

So here is how it has gone:

First, I had to get to JFK. Fortunately, I had a Metro Card that had enough to get me there free.

But then, back in SF, I had to cough up $5.70 to get from BART to my apartment, taking me down to about $39.

The next morning I woke up really hungry (having skipped dinner) and so went out and bought a burrito for $5.50.


That night (Tues) I used some lentils and canned tomatoes to make a large lentil stew.

I ate that for the next two meals and then started really wanting something else.

Yesterday (Wed) I spent about $10 on a sandwich, macaroni salad and a pickle. (love pickles). I knew it was a reckless decision, but my cravings got the best of me.


Last night, not desiring the lentils, I spent another $10 on a burrito and chips.


Today, realizing how fast I am burning through my money, I had the lentils for both breakfast and lunch. Then I raided the snack cabinet in the office and had 2 bags of potato chips, a bag of peanuts, and a pack of Starburst. Oh, then a chocolate bar.

I’m planning on using about half of the remaining money to make up some large, hearty meals (pasta, stews).

If I want to drink this wkend, I am going to steal a few bottles of wine from work. I’ve been eyeing my change jar, and I’m not quite sure how that fits into the rules of the game. Found money or cheating?

Hopefully after this exercise is over with, I’ll be less of a loose cannon with money.

I expect that I’ll slowly start heading back to my old ways, but I think it will take some time. I’ve had a few stretches of time where I’ve been fairly hungry and didn’t have enough to be impulsive, which is the luxury you have when you have cash in your pocket.

I’ll be updating this tomorrow, but I expect a slow day of expenditures since we get a free lunch at work.


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