Sure, the exploits of the coupon ninjas are interesting, but we live, shop, and eat in the real world. Who has time to make a job–or at least a time-consuming hobby–out of couponing? Jeffrey doesn’t. Yet he began a challenge to feed himself on $1 per day in April…and is still at it. Using sales, coupons, and (ugh) rebates, he’s managed to survive, without a huge time investment in couponing. What are his secrets?
He kept himself fed, (mostly) sane, and even donated some unneeded items (like tampons and 27 boxes of corn flakes) He even learned to cook. A little. Here are some of the lessons he took away from the first 31 days:
You Can Eat More Than Junk Food On $1 A Day: Most people that I told I was going to be trying this challenge assumed that I was going to be eating a lot of macaroni & cheese and instant ramen. I actually was able to get fruit and vegetables into my diet on a daily basis. I only ate 100% whole wheat bread the entire month. While I could have made my diet healthier if I had more money, I believe that what I ate was better than what many people in the US eat without the strict financial limitations.
It Doesn’t Take Near As Much Time As You Would Imagine There is an initial learning curve when you really do need to devote a good amount of time learning how the system works, but once you become familiar with it, things shouldn’t take too much longer than they do for you now. While it is possible to spend a lot of time cutting, sorting and cataloging all the coupons you have, you don’t have to. I don’t. I simply date the Sunday coupon inserts with a pen and then only get coupons when there is a great deal that I want to take advantage of.
Anyone Can Do It: I only started couponing in February of this year to help out local food banks and avoided shopping as much as I could before then. I didn’t have a clue about anything about couponing or grocery shopping when I began. If I was able to figure out how to do this, I assure you that anyone can. It will take about 10 hours of learning how the different store systems work and about a month of practice using what you learn to become comfortable with using coupons. From that point on, you can expect huge savings in your grocery shopping.
The most helpful part of this challenge: using coupons and other discounts to earn a profit on some items, and investing that in products for which there are no coupons.
Eating Well On $1 A Day [Grocery Coupon Guide]