When I was lounging in the airport over the weekend waiting for my reassigned flight, I stumbled across an article in Women's Health about the magazine's beauty editor Polly Blitzer attempting to live on $50 for a week. The article greets readers with the headline, "The Dare: Live on $50 for a week (about seven days' worth of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce lattes and The New York Times).
Polly says her biggest challenge was giving up expensive grooming habits like regular blowouts, manicures, and pedicures. While she was willing to swap her usual blowout for a headband, Polly wasn't willing to buy fast food. Instead, she loaded up on free samples at Whole Foods to "get gourmet on limited funds." She was able to make the most of her pantry and concocted nine meals out of these items: six cans of black beans, a box of rigatoni, a jar of Dijon, two packages of frozen peas, and one can of crushed tomatoes.
While it's tough to keep costs down when you live in a place like New York, Polly admits that she would take the $50 challenge again. She learned that she's an "unconscious spender" and doesn't have much to show for an empty wallet: "A cab ride, a pack of gum — before I know it, I've burned through a hundred bucks!" Would it be difficult for you make $50 stretch over a week's expenses?