$2 day: the bread’s all gone

The good news is that no one went to bed hungry.  The bad news is that I broke down and got the butter out to go with the bread and soup for dinner bringing our grand total for the day to just under $3.   Because really, how can you be expected to eat fresh bread without butter?

Oh, that’s right.  People do it all the time.  I’m just spoiled.

Dinner this evening turned out quite nice.  The vegetable barley soup was filling, and there was enough that everyone had all the soup they wanted.  There was even a big bowl full left for my husband when he got home from work.  And everyone ate as much bread as they wanted.  Those two loaves of bread?  All gone.  We ate inhaled a loaf and a half at dinner –and the last half-loaf was gobbled at bedtime.

I am actually quite happy with how well we really ate for that small sum of money.  I wouldn’t want to do a $2 day again anytime soon, but I am thinking about doing a $5 day every now and then.  Even twice a month would give us $30 a month for something other than belly-filling.

Here are pictures of our meals today, as well as a picture of our younger girls just before dinner, grinning happily over our TWO loaves of bread.


The kids were exceedingly good sports about it all. I’ll add more comments in the morning when we debrief at breakfast, but here are some comments from the kids:

17 yo son-  It was fine for the most part.   I was a little worried at breakfast to be honest. But the rest of the day was better.

16 yo- We should do this another time to save money.  I like oatmeal with no sugar.

13 yo daughter–  I wasn’t too hungry.   But we should have bacon and ice cream for breakfast.

7 yo daughter – I didn’t like the oatmeal with no sugar.


A few notes from me about the day.   This morning I got out our copy of Hungry Planet, which several of the kids looked at during the day.  And at lunch I read the kids a few essays about the blessing of food that I found in an excellent cookbook called Extending the Table.  (I’ve told you about that cookbook before, right??)

I noticed we were all much more food-obsessed than usual today.  When coming in from playing outside, almost all the kids exclaimed over the good smells of the bread baking.  Usually they are much more blase about good-food-smells in the house– after all, it’s normal.  But today they really appreciated it. 

I also noticed that I ate much slower.  I wasn’t about to deprive the kids of food by getting seconds of anything myself (well, except for the bread this evening) so I really wanted to make my food last.  And the plates today?  They were CLEAN.  Nothing was wasted.  Crazy how a 12-hour experience can give you a different mindset.

Now, what to do about it?

 I have thought that one way to use the money we saved might be to to gift someone via a charity like Heifer.org. Or I might just ask my sister in Ethiopia if she knows a family in her community who would benefit from a gift of chickens or a goat.

Whatever we end up doing with this experience, the day made us think.  The day made us grateful.  We are so very blessed.


  1. This will be such a last expereince for your kids. My kids still talk about our water experiment http://my4sweetums.blogspot.com/2011/08/training-hearts-for-charity.html
    that we did a few months ago. Good job to you and the kids.

  2. Good for you! An eye-opening experience. This is so much more valuable than just trying to explain what it feels like. I think a significant thing you mentioned was how much more food-obsessed everyone was. That is something our church (we are LDS) talks about in reference to helping the poor and needy – how can you find room in your heart and mind for the Lord when all you can think about is how cold and hungry you are? That kind of need can make it hard. I love Heifer – that would be a great choice! We are talking about donating our extra somewhere also. Enjoy the feeling of excess your ‘regular’ meals will bring – I hope it lasts past lunch! We get used to more so much faster than less.

  3. I love your cookbook, Family Feasts for $75 a Week. I posted a book review on it today on my blog. Thanks for sharing all of your recipes, family stories, and kitchen wisdom!


  4. I loved reading about your experience of $2 a day. Yesterday, I sat down and tried to think of how to feed my family for that amount and realized everyone would whine about it because they are so used to eating more abundantly — simple things like butter on bread, sugar on oatmeal, milk with meals, fruit! – it would be difficult for me, as a mom, to deprive my kids of what we consider basics. We did discuss it as a family over dinner (beef/veg soup & bread — that meal alone would eat the entire $2 budget!). Thank you for making me aware, again, how how fortunate we are.

  5. What a great learning experience for your kids!!! Impressive you were able to do this.

  6. Did your daughters you adopted as older eat like this, pre-joining your family? Do they remember? I think this would be an interesting insight.

    BTW, I cried in Albertson’s on Wed, while thinking of you, because I did not know their specials were Wed to Tues. I was so excited about the chicken prices you mentioned, but I missed them. UGH! We have only been in Idaho 4 months & I shop at Winco & Wal-Mart, so I was not aware of Albertson’s different special dates. But I am pregnant & that contributed to my extreme reaction.

  7. I applaud you for doing this!
    What would be an interesting contrast is to spend $7 per person that the average American spends on food per day (NY Times).

    • That would indeed be a huge contrast. And I suspect the $2/day challenge would be much harder for the average American than it was for me. I usually spend about $24/day for my whole family of 9, which averages to less than $3/person/day.