First of all, I’d like to say, “Why do you all hate me?”
Oh, I joke, I love a challenge and the Style readers did indeed choose this challenge for me, so I intend to make you all proud, each and every day.
So what exactly is this challenge? It’s 10 days of surviving on $10 a day, not including cleanliness, accommodation or day-to-day travel (this won’t include taxi, Ubers or public transport). In short, I’m going to have to be frugal with my money, live on the bare essentials and look for ways to eat, drink and have fun for less (or free!). Make sure to follow Style’s Instagram for daily photo updates!
1. Illegal activities are banned
No, I will not be doing a dine and ditch or stealing people’s orders in the food court, i.e., “Oh yes, number 34 was totally mine…”
2. No ‘communal’ sharing; what’s yours is NOT mine (at least for the next 10 days…)
Don’t worry fellow colleagues, I will not be caught foraging though the fridge taking things from lunchboxes clearly labelled with a name in nikko pen and to my housemates: I promise not to do a midnight kitchen snack raid.
3. Leave the leftovers from before the challenge
The fridge may look tempting, but I can’t touch what I can’t afford. Which is already so hard, as I have half a leftover cake from my birthday on the weekend haunting me and I’m the only housemate who has a sweet tooth affliction. I’m sticking it in the freezer and hoping it’s still good by the day after my challenge. I will devour it, in all its Judy C cotton candy glory.
4. No guilt-tripping or puppy dog eyes
Well for one, I couldn’t do ‘puppy dog eyes’ if my life depended on it. It just looks wrong. I vow not to guilt trip anyone into sharing or giving me their food. If it’s offered then heck yes I’ll hack it. Think of me as a ‘Food Vampire’; no invite, no food.
5. No Style mentions
I cannot mention I’m from Style, as this might persuade people to hand over the freebies.
So in other words, I can hustle my way into as many ‘free’ things as I can and not be disqualified - woohoo!
Thought I’d start the challenge healthy, as take-away or pre-packaged food were likely to eat into my budget and still leave me wanting more… (on reflection, bad food is actually a LOT cheaper… what was I thinking going green?)
The *free coffee really helped ease me into the day.
I created a salad by grating the carrot to make it seem bigger in the bowl. Mind over matter, right? Honestly, it actually wasn’t that bad though.
1/3 Cucumber $1.33
1/2 Tomato $0.50
3 Carrots $0.60 (saved *1 carrot for dinner)
1/2 packet of pork stir fry bits (bought on sale) $3.70
1 Carrot from above*
1/4 Pack of beans $0.75
1/4 of a massive red capsicum $0.89
Let me describe this photo to you.
What it looks like: A fun shot of me balancing my lunchbox on my head. Oh, what a laugh!
What I’m actually thinking: Oh. My. God. This lid isn’t even closed properly. If this falls you have no lunch and it’s your fault for suggesting balancing your food on your head in the first place - why did you do that? Please don’t fall. Argh, please don’t fall. Have they got the shot yet? Focus, balance and smile.
When home, I browsed the web for a survey I could fill out that would reward me with free food. It was easier than I thought and I was soon on my way to a free Subway cookie for rating my visit last week. I was already planning my mid-afternoon snack for tomorrow, until the fine print on the free voucher said I needed my original receipt to claim the cookie. Rats! I didn’t have the receipt and even though I have proof on my NetBank statement of the purchase… unfortunately it doesn’t count.
*On my way to work after the long weekend on Tuesday, I was thinking about my morning coffee ritual, when it sunk in that I couldn’t afford the $4 medium skinny latte that I needed for the day ahead. Then it hit me, I scrambled through my purse for my Alcove loyalty card and I actually said “yes!” and sort of did an air fist-pump at how excited I was. All the stamps had perfectly lined up for a free coffee! Yep, I have a problem.
On later reflection (Wednesday; Literally 24 hours later) I wished I had saved it.
COST: $8.79 CONSUMED: $12.79
So other than severely lacking in coffee this morning, I’m also asking myself, “where the carbs at?” I definitely think I’ll need to invest in some bread, rice and spaghetti, anything really to fill me up on the cheap. I’m over being ‘healthy’.
Let’s just say, I’m over salad already and it is only day 2. The hunger is real.
1/2 Ham packet $1.50
1 Beetroot from sealed packet $1.33
1/3 Pack of spinach leaves $1.33
1/2 tTmato (Leftover from day 1)$0.50
Chicken Parmigiana meal FREE*
3 Large frozen drinks $3
*I had the full intention to rough it and go with a shopper-docket deal dinner tonight, but when my housemates suggested going out I saw my chance and I took it. They wanted to go somewhere with food and a relaxed bar and on my searching for cheap ideas I had remembered Archive Beer Boutique in West End did 2-4-1 meals on Wednesdays. I put the venue up for consideration and it came out a victor. I offered to drive and when they were all in the car, I ‘suddenly’ remembered that there ‘may be’ a 2-4-1 menu tonight and if they happened to like one of the menu items, maybe ‘someone’ could eat the second one… It worked. I love my friends.
I felt slightly bad about this, so with my remaining money for the day I offered to shout a cone with a flake for all three of us – that went down well. However, like every other single time I have wanted ice-cream from McDonalds the damn machine was broken. We opted for frozen drinks instead.
COST: $9.12 CONSUMED: $33.12
Last night I had to sleep on the couch, as my en suite is being remodelled and sleeping so close to the smelly lacquer would have given me a migraine. Due to this, I woke up cranky, late, had no time for breakfast or packing a lunch, and to top it all off my favourite deodorant ran out and I had to resort to using my less favoured and fresh-feeling option.
I have a $10 note today and I’m likely to stay close to the office all day. Here goes…
I was tempted to go and buy a breakfast wrap from local work haunt Cafe 63, however I was shah busy I barely had enough time to get up from my desk, so when I was offered a huge chocolate biscuit, I was so taking it!
1 (delicious) chocolate biscuit - FREE
I wanted something warm and filling. I was starrrrvvving. So without any idea of what I would purchase, Styler Hannah and I set off to the local grocers before heading to her house for lunch. It was when I spotted a can of spaghetti that lunch suddenly became obvious; a jaffle! Despite not having a 'proper' jaffle maker, I think we did a pretty darn good job.
Loaf of bread $1.99
Can of Spaghetti $2.99
2-pack MilkyWay bar $1.20 ( the sales attendant did ring it up as $1.50 and usually I would just pay, but I disputed the original labelled price and won. I didn't know whether I'd need that extra 30 cents later, after all.)
*FREE pizza and beer!
1/2 Vegetarian pizza $11.50
1 Pale Ale $8
While I was contemplating using my remaining $3.80 of the day on that shopper-docket cheeseburger meal deal that I had luckily escaped using yesterday, I told myself that was the easy way out and a challenge, well, should be a challenge… so it was time to re-register my Tinder account and see if my cheesy lines could land me a pizza. I had heard a while back that a girl in the States did it, but got the guys to deliver her the pizza and never once planned on meeting up with them. I considered this, but thought that was a bit cruel, so I was open to meeting or an impromptu date if it arose. If free pizza calls, you answer that call!
While many people laughed at my plan to try this and said it couldn’t be done (for the most part I believed them), I took and deep breath and began sliding ‘right’ for yes-matches. Once matched with potential pizza mates, the first message I would send was “From 1 to pizza, how do you rate your generosity tonight?” and then I played the waiting game…
Four guys responded and while they didn’t all end in pizza, one did!
GUY 1: DTF? Snap Chat?
ME: Uhmmm no.
GUY2: I’m usually pretty generous. But nah I’m out. It’s a shame you’re only in it for the pizza. You’re quite cute.
GUY3: Haha nah, but I’ll just take you to dinner one other night if you’re free? (So he wasn’t feeling generous tonight, but could be a potential future date, eh?)
GUY4: Is pizza like a 10? I could be feeling pretty pizza.
Harold (* I’ve changed his name for privacy reasons) became my pizza-daddy for the evening at The Burrow in West End and he was actually super lovely, not at all cheesy and didn’t even try anything when we parted ways at the end of the night! We spoke of travel, WWOOF-ing (getting free food and accommodation while travelling), Brisbane’s steepest streets and cheeseburgers made out of doughnuts, while we ate our delicious vegetarian pizza (Harold’s a vego) and sipped our beers, that he also kindly offered to shout. I have to admit halfway into the night I told him of my challenge (hey, he’d already agreed to pay for it all) and he thought it was pretty hilarious, and in good spirit even suggested a few things I might have overlooked.
He even made me feel a little better about the hustle, saying that he had just been to the gym and was starving and my suggestion of pizza had also made him crave the doughy goodness.
I actually had a really enjoyable evening and Harold* left me with this at the end of the night: "Well, thanks for sticking around. I'm glad you're not a food slut. Maybe we could get coffee sometime?" I think we will.
COST: $6.20 CONSUMED: $25.70
Click here for PART 2: The Weekend Hustle. It includes market steals (oh, I mean samples), public promotional launches... and did a bad joke really get me a discounted beer in the Valley on Friday night?
… Stay tuned for more and follow the hashtag #10daysx10dollars on Instagram.
Feel free to send Candice any suggestions for free food!