Day Seven


The only reason to go to McDonalds or Burger King is the free syrup.

The only reason to go to McDonalds or Burger King is the free syrup.

I woke up this morning to Christopher sitting on the edge of the bed with a devilish look in his eyes. He told me he had a surprise for me and then produced three individually sized packages of maple syrup. Two from Burger King and one from Mc Donalds. I did not even know we had a Burger King in town. He then took off again in search of another surprise for me.  He attempted to locate some orange trees on public land that he had been told about. Unfortunately, he came back empty handed.


In our original rules, we stated that we could only take free food that was available to everyone in our area. Christopher proved this morning that anyone could walk into a fast food chain and request condiments. He was thrilled that we could make pancakes for breakfast (flour, baking powder, sugar, oil, and water) and afford to cover them with syrup. Of course I am pretty certain that there is very little maple syrup in these packages.

Yes, I am right ( I just checked). The McDonalds syrup contains: Corn syrup, sugar, water, artificial maple flavor, potassium sorbate (it tells me that this is as a preservative), and caramel color. Yum. It is interesting that less expensive food has more ingredients. 

Despite the fact that it was free, I noticed that we were very careful about how much we ate of the syrup. Christopher is a pourer, and I am a dipper. When he had finished his pancakes, he suggested that I used what I could of they syrup left on his plate so that we could save what was left in my container. I agreed. 

This evening I had to run to the store for some non-food items. We were pleased to sample the chips and salsa and stopped by the deli for a sample (about 4-5 noodles) of their vegan macaroni salad; it has never tasted so good. 

Right now Christopher is making pizza from scratch. It has only sauce, garlic, and onions because that was all we had and could afford to put on it. The discussion about this pizza got a bit snippy when we were trying to decide if we should put onions on it or have refried beans as a side dish because we have not had protein today. We compromised and put less than a quarter of an onion on the pizza so that we could have peanut butter on a spoon for dessert. 

I have noticed that around feeding times we are both very short with each other. We just want the food to be ready, but we have to calculate and figure out how much of a portion we can have. It can get a bit tense. 

Ready for pizza,



Daily Totals:

Breakfast: 3 pancakes – $0.15, maple syrup- FREE (From fast food restaurants)

Lunch: Spagetti – $0.32 ( noodles-$0.15, Sauce-$0.17 {canned pureed tomatoes 1/2 cup $ 0.15, spices $0.02}) 

Snack: Jolly Rancher Lollypop- FREE (foraged from Tattoo shop)

Dinner: Homemade Pizza with onions and roasted garlic- $0.32

Dessert: 1TBSP Peanut butter – $0.05

Kerri’s Total: $0.84

Christopher’s Total: $0.84

Donation Total: $145

NOTE: 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.



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14 responses to “Day Seven

  1. Scott

    Where do you get your peanut butter? I’ve found that getting the freshly ground PB from the machines in the health food stores is far less expensive than those prepackaged supermarket brand names like Skippy and Jiffy. Plus it tastes so much better and it’s healthier, too. $1.59/lb. vs. anywhere up to $4/lb. At least that’s how it is in Hawaii. Check it out in your area.

  2. You need to be careful about “foraging”. This FREE (From fast food restaurants) is not foraging…it is theft, a crime that will cost you a hand in many third world countries.

    I applaud your efforts, so far, on everything else.

    Eating on a very low budget does get monotonous, though, doesn’t it.

  3. you’re consistently “under-budget”. shouldn’t that mean you could have something to reach the assigned $1 – like a cup of mint tea before bed and etc?

  4. scooterpie

    Just wanted to say I’m reading from the beginning. Very interesting. There were some congress (U.S. house) members who tried something similar last year. I think it was trying to live on a typical food stamp allotment.

    What has dawned on me at this point in your journey is that you’re not including gas for driving and the price of utilities for cooking. Kinda picky I guess:-)

    Also, wondering where you started foodwise: did you all have a big habit of buying coffee outside your house? Were you used to cooking most meals at home?

    Also, the thought that acquiring (in whatever way) all the packets from McD’s, et al is stealing is a crock. If those places kept up with these things, or charged the typical customer–yeah, I’d consider it theft, but in this country it doesn’t really meet the smell test!

    I applaud you both. So far;-)

  5. Jen

    I think taking condiments from fast food restaurants really doesn’t keep with the spirit of the whole experiment, other than that, pretty good experiment though!

  6. Kimberly

    I’m confused – I just started reading from the beginning, so forgive me if you explain this later.

    If you can use up to a dollar a day and you’re at 84 cents and still hungry, why aren’t you having a bit more peanut butter or a half piece of bread?

  7. I am so hooked on your blog I am getting absolutely nothing else done! I am kind of glad I am tuning in so late because then I can read a whole bunch at once!

    Thanks for the enlightening,


  8. Jane

    Regarding all the comments about foraging at fast food restaurants……um, I think that this is their experiment, so they can make up the rules.

  9. Patrick McCarthy

    About the syrup and stuff-do not lose much sleep over McDonald’s–Technically it was stealing and yes they do count every single thing–but I worked for McDonald’s once and believe me they will steal your soul in a heartbeat, though I can not say that about Burger King. or most fast food places.

  10. Sarah

    The point of the experiment is to be able to survive on $1 per day. “Foraging” was never stated as cheating. It’s simply surviving. If “foraging” was stealing it would be stated on the door of every restaurant that it’s considered stealing. I applaud the efforts of the couple and hope that we can all learn a little from them.

  11. Karen

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog. Just saw the video about your experiment last week. I applaud you both for the discipline you had to follow through.

    My goodness though, what a lot of fuss about the fast food condiments, eh? My thought about this issue is that if a person walks into a fast food place & asks for condiments, and the restaurant employee gives them freely to the person, how is this considered stealing? The restaurant *gave* them away. However, if the employee said, “I’m sorry, but we can only provide condiments to our paying customers”, and the person, knowing this, then grabbed a handful of ketchup packets and ran – now *that* could be considered petty theft, I suppose.

  12. Jacqueline

    The question is not whether the restaurant employee gave them away, it is whether it is the restaurant owner’s policy to give them away to non-customers. I am guessing no. Thus, if the employee gives them to you, that merely makes you and the employee partners in crime, just as if you went to any other business and the employee gave you things for free against store policy and without the owner’s knowledge.

    Sure it’s just a few pennies here or there, but at what monetary amount do you morally draw the line and say that something becomes “real” stealing?

  13. Pingback: Eating Contests and Home Economics –Astrogirl

  14. Melanie Fuller

    The condiments from fast food restaurants were not stealing, as stated, Christopher went in and ASKED for them. He did not walk in the store and take them, he asked for them first. It’s a legitimate acquirement! Get over yourselves.

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