It Starts Today.

Today we start our 30 day challenge of a one dollar diet. This means that for the month of September we will each have one dollar to spend on our daily allotment of food.

When we first started talking about doing this, we didn’t really have an agenda, or any developed sense of why we wanted to do it. It  just seemed like an interesting challenge; one that would force us to see things differently.

We are interested in many of the strands related to this experiment; food choices, consumerism, waste, poverty, social psychology, etc., and this experience may provide insights that could help us better understand and teach about a variety of concerns (we both teach Social Justice in a public high school).

Here are the rules:

1. All food consumed each day must total $1 for each of us. 

2. We cannot accept free food or “donated” food unless it is available for everyone in our area. (i.e. foraging, samples in stores, dumpster diving)

3. Any food we plant, we pay for.

4. We will do our best to cook a variety of meals; ramen noodles can only be prepared if there is no other way to stay under one dollar. (We have six packages and will buy no more)

5. Should we decide to have guests over for dinner they must eat from our share; meaning they don’t get to eat their own dollar’s worth of food. 

Each day one of us will post an entry here with a photo that details how things are going. So if you want some daily entertainment, look no further than:

If you think what we’re doing is interesting, inspiring, or just plain nutty, consider SPONSORING our efforts. Simply enter in an amount, click “update total” and follow the prompting. If you don’t have PayPal, it will let you use a credit card. At the end of the of the month all proceeds will go to the Community Resource Center (here in Encinitas, CA) and/or the ONE campaign. We will post evidence of donations at the end.

So stick with us, and feel encouraged to get in touch or comment as we move forward. 

Our first post will come later tonight!

Feeling hungry already,

Christopher & Kerri


P.S. PLEASE Subscribe, and tell everyone you know to take a look.



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46 responses to “It Starts Today.

  1. Pulin

    That photo of you two is cute. Good luck.

  2. Ahh, good ol’ American consumerism, or is that my morning coffee that I smell brewing? This has to be one of the most daring stunts ever. So daring, in fact, that I would never attempt it. I do wish you two luck, and just know that when I am enjoying dinner or a snack…this was your idea.
    p.s. Can I pick anything up for you at Taco Bell, oh wait nevermind.

  3. Naomi

    You two are AWESOME!!! I love this idea to bring a challenge into your lives and see the taken-for-granted world from a different viewpoint 🙂

  4. chirax

    Awesome Idea, I will try something similar. Thanks and Yes, Subscribed.

  5. Hi Kerri and Christopher,
    I am going to follow your journey…I love learning what your generation is doing. So fascinating…and inspiring! Good luck to you both.
    Claudia Hastings

  6. Marm

    Is there a reason you aren’t eating fruits and vegetables? I would be more interested in seeing someone eat healthy for $1 a day. Good luck just the same! 🙂

  7. Questionable

    You’re spending a dollar a day for food – it’s a bit off. Why not try to spend a dollar a day *living*. That’s what those that live in extreme poverty are challenged with.

    Are you taking in consideration people living in these conditions must haul water from a stream? That the dollar a day is really meant for all costs of living and not just for food?

    Do you take knowledge that costs of living are wholly different where you are and for those that live in conditions of extreme poverty? One dollar in America would go a further distance.

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  10. I just found your site, and I am super excited to read. I am a mom of two and have been trying to eat healthier, less fast food, much more planning and meal plans and all of that.
    If we all planned just a little more, we would consume less, eat healthier food and save money! The perfect trifecta!
    Anyways, i am looking forward to peeking in on your journey!

    good luck!


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  12. Erie

    Keep it up. Americans need perspective.

  13. AbsolutelyTrue

    Homemade bread sounds good, & less expensive than store-bought. Does the cost of fuel to bake it (& shop) factor into the actual cost? Living in this economy, ecology, & under the threat of global pandemic influenza (see, living well on bulk dry food & dandelions may be in store (pun intended) for most of us. Stock up wisely, everyone!

  14. Diedra H.

    I think it’s cool that you two did this project. However it’s nothing new or impressive to so many Americans. When we look at individuals “not the one’s that are able to work and don’t” but those on disability. It’s a shame what type of conditions they have to live in because not only are they eating off less than a dollar a day, try living off approximently 19.00 per day! (and you have to pay rent out of that monies). I really hope that more people do what you have done for the right reasons. In your interview you mentioned it wasn’t political but more of an experience. I strongly suggest that with the attention you two are getting “make it political”! I live in Oakland County Michigan. The “richest” county in Michigan. If there’s one left. But if I go just 5 miles south 8 our of 10 people in Detroit are not living off one dollar a day they are just not eating. I wish you guys much success and I hope you can make a difference that some of us don’t have the drive, courage, or calling to do!

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  17. Samantha

    for some of us eating one dollar at day is not a choise.. my husband , toddler ( hadincap ) and me leave with 120 dollars a month for food , including the milk and diapers for our son..
    we did not choose it . we dont have money or food for other ways just what my husband make at work and with that we pay our rent, bills etc so I really would like to ask what is so special of what are you doing ? I leaving in worss condicions and I dont go to show to talk about it..
    and believe me or not my parents did not have the money to pay the electric bill and they past 52 months leaving on candles. cooking with the minimun and thaking cold showers when the winter is really cold . and they still not paying the electric bill because of the pay bill or eat the only thing they can pay is water because with out water is imposible to leave

  18. I’m sorry, but I have to say something in reply to “Samantha” above. If you truly are living on that income, what in the blue heck are you doing not only using a computer, but one with internet access to boot?! I refuse to believe you hiked over to the library and used their computer just to heckle a couple who decided to blog about their project and in doing so opened up the eyes of so many Americans after the blog received all the media attention. You say, “I leaving in worss condicions and I dont go to show to talk about it..” Guess what? You JUST DID!!!

    Christopher and Kerri,
    Thank you for this account of your project. I for one learned something from it. I believe I understand your motivation in doing so, and it’s wonderful that it’s caught the attention of so many, and so ended up making much more difference than I’m sure you’d imagined. It makes me thankful for what I do have.

  19. HJH

    At least there is food you could purchase for $1 a day. The people of Zimbabwe do not have a Dollar and even if they did, there is no more food to purchase. Their inflation has reached 11.2 million percent!

  20. Aurora

    It’s funny to see how people react so differently to what Christopher and Kerri decided to do…. No, they can’t go to Zimbabwe and live in poor conditions. They are doing an experiment and research and I think that they actually should be admired instead of criticized for what they are doing. I don’t think I would be able to do something like that… to used to living and eating well..
    Kudos for you!! I know you have learned a lot and will share that knowledge with a new generation. That is GREAT!!

  21. MaryAnn

    Much respect for what you’ve done and for calling additional media attention to the high prices of healthy foods like fresh produce.

    Our government wants to sponsor programs like “5 a day” yet, is doing nothing to help contain the rising cost of food prices. When cauliflower is 2.50 a head, those of us on a low-moderate income just can’t afford to eat healthy.


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  24. Liliana

    To comment on Samanthas comment. I also beleive that what you are doing is admirable because you are brave enough to experience something that you might not have the necessity to experience. If Samantha is living on 120 for food a month maybe having a baby was not such a good idea considering yes that diapers are a huge expense. And I dont beleive that is true either because if its true that they have a baby then they must be living on food stamps and wic which is offered to all moms in the hospital.

    More people should take concious and try challenges like these and maybe we can not only learn but also take care of the obesity problem in this country.

    Try growing whatever veggies and fruits grow in your region you will still have to pay for them but I am sure it will be less expensive in the long run. Not to mention no pesticides.

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  27. B3TO

    Pues mucha suerte y éxito en su experimento, por desgracia en México (desde donde les escribo) miles de personas sobreviven con esa cantidad o menos. Esto antes de la crisis mundial

  28. Ivette

    I really don’t have a comment I have a question how do I know what to eat? Is there a menu to see?

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  30. helena

    cisto neznam kako ste to uspjeli…
    I don’t know how didi you makeit…and I’m from croatia,and I’m 14 years old…ugl divim vam see

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  32. Dan


    It is nice to know that someone is willing to attempt adventure of this kind.
    I can warmly recommend to all those folks in “All you can eat” restaurants…
    Just wondering for how long they will remain to be hungry day, maybe two?!?!


  33. Thanks for the inspiration! We have gone to a $3 a day diet to reduce spending, increase our giving to hunger relief efforts, and to spread the word about saving money and sharing their savings with others in need. For more details checkout

    I am curious to see what projects you guys have in the future.

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  35. Monique

    This was a wonderful experiment! Cooking is an art but most importantly a science. So, it stands to reason that planning/shopping for what we eat should be a mathematical process as well. The way you broke down everything you consumed down to the cent bears witness that as Americans, we all should be mindful of how much we eat and how much food we WASTE! Congratulations!

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  37. Pink Sky

    I’d read about the efforts of other folks to live on $3 a day (the daily food stamp allotment), but this leaves that experiment in the dust. Kudos to both of you for bringing awareness to this issue.

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  39. Kara

    My friends and I have been on a dollar a day diet. We wait for chicken to be 49 cents a pound. We can’t eat a half a pound of chicken for dinner so a little less, comes out to about 20 cents for that part of dinner. Some frozen vegetables and an apple. Toast in the morning and an egg is about 20 cents and a quart of milk goes a long way. Lunch can be some pasta (very cheap, a pound is less than a dollar and we have about 2 oz. for lunch) with canned tuna. We get a bag of clementines at a store like Trader Joes, also very cheap. It’s all about looking for sales, freezing chicken and not wasting money on snacks like donuts. Another thing we eat a lot of is cottage cheese, generic and lots of protein. With people losing their jobs right and left and the economy the way it is, I can’t believe kids are still buying designer bags, jeans and other ridiculous items. They’ll learn if they get hit with bad luck! And Starbuck’s, just ridiculous to have coffee outside when you can make it at home and bring a thermos (or just bring coffee to work and a filter, boil water, pour it through). Bravo to the couple who started this trend!!

  40. Alan

    Nobody should be eating Ramen noodles. I buy chicken for 49 cents a pound eat 1/4 pound for dinner..that’s 12 cents for dinner (plus some frozen vegetables). Cottage cheese for protein, ornages or grapefruit on this economy, I am living on a dollar a day ALL the time, sometimes even less. I check the supermarket fliers online every Friday and only get what’s on sale AND nutritious. I never get foolish things like Starbuck’s or anything outside. For now I have to do this and things will improve in time workwise. I had to say this because I shake my head when I hear Ramen noodles…not necessary!!

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  42. Diane

    There are several times in my life that I have had to eat on less then a dollar a day.

    Once in college I had only $13 dollars in my bank account after I payed my bills. I had to eat off of this for a little over a month. My bike had broke and I could not afford to fix it. So, I had to walk the 5 1/2 miles each way to work and school.

    My diet consisted of free food at work or school and the food I had on hand. Generally there was only enough for one moderate meal a day. The highlight was when I found some food on the top shelf of the pantry. It was like Christmas.

    That month taught me a lot of lessons. I will never forget it. Unfortunately, you have to experience a period of deprivation to really understand hunger. The physical and psychological pain of not having enough to eat really takes a toll on a person.

    Poverty and hunger is all around us. You never know a neighbor, a co-worker or a family member maybe facing this delemma right now.

    After my childhood and this experience, I have learned to be empathetic to those that croncially do without even the basics.

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