Blast from the past: $10/day challenge

4/16/2009 retrospective:

A bit over a year ago – Hoboken411 certainly had a little extra time on his hands.

Still a delicious pizza, though!

hoboken-hoboken411-homemade-pizza.jpgLast year – many of you may remember this wacky “$10 a day” food challenge I imposed upon myself (for site content – and a New Year’s resolution). I wanted to see if I could survive an entire month only spending $310 for all my food and drink. I survived the challenge – but failed with the documentation on 411 towards the end because keeping track of my every morsel of food was exhausting! It was hard enough running the site back then – and the detailed analysis of every meal (photography, cost, calories) – just took the wind out of me.

But I somehow ran into this old post (which was the first day of the 2008 challenge) – and thought it would be of interest to some of the newer readers – especially with the “economic crisis” many of us might be in.

If can can crack the code on how to handle the enormous amount of data I process each day (read: get better organized and become more responsible) – I may rejuvenate this series once again. Baby steps.


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As you read earlier, I’ve decided to try living off an average of $10 per day in Hoboken for the entire month of January.

Below is my 1/1/2008 experience. Was easier than I thought, and hope I can continue for the next 30 days! My first day of the new year consisted of a Hoboken411 homemade pizza, some free lasagna, water, one vegetable, and I cheated on a cup of coffee (I was trying to limit my caffeine/artificial sweetener intake.)

See the cost, and my great 411 recipe for an excellent personal pizza after the jump!


Day number 1 results

Meal #1:

I was a bit tired, hungover and foggy. Woke up late, and was in the lunch mood. See the Hoboken411 special pizza I had right away, and how it’s done.

Ingredients required:

  • Kontos “Pocketless Pitas” – $1.99 per 5-pack ($0.40 per pita) – available at local bodegas
  • Trader Joe’s Italian Sausage pasta sauce – $2.99 per jar (about $0.30 per serving)
  • Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio cheese blend – $4.69 per bag (about $0.47 per pizza)
  • Spices – you probably already have at home.

Total cost: $1.17

This pizza is simple to make, and a super treat for your tongue. I like these pies better than any other pizza in Hoboken. Here’s how you do it.

Pick up a pack of these pocketless pitas. They’re awesome. The don’t sell anything like it at TJ’s, and I haven’t checked the local supermarkets, but they sell them at my local bodega.


Next, apply about three tablespoons of the Italian Sausage sauce. It’s a tad on the sweet side, but has exceptional flavor, and tastes very “ripe.”


Evenly apply about 1.2oz of the Quattro Formaggio chesse on the pita. Season as necessary (I added a few sprinkles of oregano leaves I already had.)


Bake at about 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees, and presto! A super delicious pizza! See nutrition facts below.


Nutrition Facts

Total Calories: 350
Fat: 13g
Carbohydrates: 45
Protein: 15g
Sodium: 1040mg (a little high, but worth it!)

Meal #2

I was treated to a nice portion of homemade vegetable lasagna. The cost? Free. The real cost? Two hours of my time and some soreness for helping a great friend move some heavy objects. I was awarded for my genius moving techniques.

Cost: $0.00

Meal #3:

Wasn’t really hungry, but wanted something refreshing. What did I do? I had one of the Trader Joe’s organic cucumbers I had in my fridge (no pic.)

Cost: $1.65

Beverage expense:

Ugh. I was out walking Oscar.. and needed a pick-me-up. So I cheated a bit and went to Dunkin Donuts on 7th and Wash. I ordered an XL Hazelnut coffee, skim plus two Sweet-N-Low’s. Normal cost? $2.30. My cost? $1.06. I used a 99 cent coupon I had from one of those mailers.

I’m well on my way to achieving my $10/day goal with an excellent showing on the first day of the year. See running totals below.

Day #1:
Food: $2.82
Drink: $1.06
Total spent: $3.88

Monthly total: $3.88
Budget left: $306.12

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Thursday, April 16, 2009 5:30 pm

$310.00 a month? I could eat for $110.00 a month.

That is 3 McDonald’s Cheeseburgers a day. Do one every 6 hours while you are awake. Drink water from the tap and you are done.

For $310.00 you can eat like a king!

el norte
el norte
Friday, January 18, 2008 12:03 pm

Always check the unit price when shopping. See what you’re paying per pound, ounce, gallon, 100ct., etc… . At least you will know what is the cheapest per volume.

strand tramp
strand tramp
Thursday, January 3, 2008 9:10 am

hey, you can swing by the shelter on 3rd for lunch! it’s free so you can save some money that way too!

Thursday, January 3, 2008 8:43 am

Try pasta, butter, eggs, peanut butter, bread, large bags of frozen veggies, apple or oranges, ramen noodles, cheese, potatoes, cinnamon, raisins, oatmeal and honey. Maybe tofu too if you have the cash. You can make many meals out of each and it’s a lot healthier than pizza. OK, the ramen isn’t, but if you cook it with the veggies it’s not so bad.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 3:27 pm

oops[quote comment=”59954″]Why not just Super Sise Me and eat at Mickey D’s every day? It’s cheap, if it doesn’t kill ya.[/quote]

Oops Super Size me

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