Eating on $5 a Day
Most people think getting a meal for $5 is a bargain. It ain’t. I figured that out a while back, and came up with what I thought at the time was a radical plan to make that much money cover an entire day. It worked wonderfully, and I enjoyed everything from steaks to eggs, bacon and homemade pancakes while at home. Every TNMM reader already knows Anglobitches won’t raise a finger to cook, so we have to “man up” (heh) and learn how make our own food.
Since adopting minimalism, and realizing I can buy experiences that will last a lifetime with my money rather than meals that will soon become excrement, I’ve slashed my food costs to $5 a day. And I have been quite happy with my arrangement. But trucking presented a new set of problems. Mainly, not having a full kitchen to take advantage of.
As I mentioned before, I’ve literally been eating on a budget like this for years. I’ve lost weight by planning meals. I’ve cut down on waste and aggravation by streamlining and simplifying. I’ve saved tons of cash. And I’ve adapted this plan to hyper-save while I’m in the throes of The Matrix, driving 3,000 miles a week earning that precious freedom money to power my mini-adventures here in the USA and my major adventures abroad.
In an orally fixated, obese culture, some will no doubt find the way I handle my food budget horrifying. I look at it this way. If you want to spend your paycheck on over-processed, over-seasoned food at Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag (yes, that’s a Simpsons reference) then be my guest. Your wallet and your waistline will take a beating. Enjoy yourself.
But here’s how I eat on $5 a day while on the road, and fatten my bank account.
Bologna, ham, and other cold cuts are part of the agenda. Sandwiches made with wheat bread are a staple, and cold cuts can be stored in the mini-fridge I bought for my sleeper. A spice rack help keeps things interesting when preparing tuna salad or chicken salad. There’s even some potted meat that actually goes will with mayo and mustard mixed together. Then there’s potato chips (always the store brand) alongside cans of chili, Chef Boyardee, and other canned goods.
Since I don’t have a stove, or a lot of time, everything I do on the road is pretty much ready to eat food. Some will say I should install a stove and a microwave and all this, but to me it’s not minimalism if I’m spending money unnecessarily. I’m only planning on being in the U.S. for 6 months or so at a time. Things have to work, and they have to work without needlessly spending money on comfort-maximizing accessories.
Bottled water and Walmart store brand sodas are my daily beverages, along with instant Kool-Aid and iced tea packets to keep things interesting. It’s Walmart brand Pop Tarts for breakfast. Celery sticks, carrots, cherry tomatoes and a big tub of ranch dressing for snacktime.
This all comes out to $3 to $5 a day for 2,000 calories. To me, the whole idea is cheap calories that are there whenever I need them. While food snobs will be aghast, I know I’m not missing anything by skipping the drive-thru and the sit down restaurants they worship. (I eat a fast food burger once or twice a a week to remind myself how bad they are, and reward myself with a proper meal at a nicer restaurant once a week.)
The good news is, I’m literally gaining $400-500 extra a month in my budget vs. other truck drivers (and GloboWorldCorp employees) who eat out every meal. Just the savings on food is enough to pay for a monthly excursion when I finish my 23 days on the road and take my week off.
And as a result of cost-cutting like this, I’m currently saving around 95% of my income to take with me abroad, where I’ll have hot Latinas and Asian women cooking up delicacies right in front of me that make ersatz American food taste like the crap it is. You know, to make up for the sacrifice I made eating on the cheap in my truck.
See, it’s not so bad after all.
Do you know how much you’re spending on food each day? How do you do things at home? Or, if you’re on the road how do you eat decently while saving?
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