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Is it possible to eat for a dollar a day?

Yes, it can be done. Careful planning is required and you have to be smart about it. One of my friend did it for some time (it was one Euro a day) and she did it in a country where the cost of living is much higher than average. I too have had some experience in living for less than Euro a day.

What I am trying to say is that with a little planning and some smart thinking you can actually survive for less than a dollar a day. I have done some lengthy research on it and even successfully tried it for several weeks. 

We need some basics to start our less than dollar a day journey. Let me start by listing the nutritional requirements for a healthy body:

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Fats
  3. Proteins
  4. Vitamins  and Minerals

Please keep in mind that this looks simple but requires a detailed list of sub categories - like more than a dozen vitamins, almost 20 different inorganic ions (minerals), essential fatty acids and even a greater number of essential amino acids. Thankfully most of these things can be found in the simplest of foods. In my experience I can divide the essential food in these categories:

  1. Fruits and Vegetables
  2. Meat (Fish, Chicken, Beaf and mutton)
  3. Grains
  4. Animal products like eggs and dairy
  5. Salt and Sugar (for immediate needs) 

(Do remember that I am writing this answer from the perspective of keeping yourself alive on dollar a day)

Now that we know the kind of food that we might need in our diet, we can plan the cheapest possible meal around it. Things that you absolutely need to plan a realistic meal:

  1. A market with a decent variety in prices and type of food products.
  2. Place to store your food. A refrigerator and also a dry place.

Things that can also really help but are not essential.

  1. If you have a lake or a river nearby to catch fish, then you can not only survive with less then a dollar, but you might can get to eat fulfilling and awesome meals several time a month.
  2. A farm. There are several farms that sell their last stocks of food and meat for dirt cheap prices.

Creative tricks:

  1. Government subsidized multivitamins (not available everywhere)
  2. Try to make good connections with an owner/staff of a restaurant - you know what I am talking about ;-)
  3. Spices and garnishing can make the blandest of food come alive
1 Comment

Yes it is possible in countries where dollar is a higher currency and foods are not that pricey.

In the Philippines, a dollar is currently around 53 pesos. You can eat for a dollar a day with that exchange rate if you will be buying from small canteens and not on fast food chains.

You can already buy a cup of cooked rice for 10 pesos, a piece of small fried chicken for 13 pesos and a juice for 5-10 pesos depends on the size and flavor/kind or just buy a bottled water. Some canteens if not all of them also have complimentary water. You can also buy a bread for 2 pesos and spaghetti or pansit for 15-20 pesos.

1 Comment

It is. One of the best things to do is go to countries that has a great dollar power. In our country (Philippines) you can eat a well, decent meal just for 1 dollar. Carbohydrates based food, pork, and drinks. If you want to make sure you can eat three times a day for it, yes you can. Bread and Loaves here cost around $0.1 each (loaves around $0.8) and you could eat it for a day.

The most important thing is to know what is you appetite and be able to know that you have less to spend. Your body will automatically adjust on what do you wish to do with it.


I have even survived even less that that in past. I twill not be easy but it is possible. The life cycle is such that we have many processes and whether by choice or force one has to go through processes and during those process there will be times when one need to survive through limited resources.

I live in such a country where in many parts people still struggle to earn 20 usd a month yet they survive somehow, although the cost of living here is not equal to the cost of living of Europe or US. Yet 1 USD is good amount here as far eating a day is concerned and in fact here with one usd per day, one can have healthy food too.

But in developed countries, I think it is very very tough. I have not had any exposure to those developed countries and what I have known till date is through internet and interaction with various people from those countries only.

If one wish to eat raw vegetables only, then 1 usd will be more than enough a day. If someone is willing to eat processed food then I think 1 usd be very very less, no matter which part of the world you are residing. And apart from that in relatively rural ares you can find this amount a good amount to eat even more healthy foods.

Thank you and Have a great day.


In countries where One Dollar is a make or break, then it is not at all impossible.

Case in Point: my college classmate and boardmate back from when I was still in College. She usually only eats half cup of rice on all her meals which is like only $0.14 or Php7 in our country. She also loves vegetables which honestly is very cheap here in the Philippines which is only around Php10 ($0.2), a total of $0.34 per meal.

$0.34 x 3 = $1.02 for all three meals excluding snacks

Well it is worth to note though that she is a girl. As for me I usually spend around $1-$1.5 per meal, so $1 per day is totally impossible for me.


That will be dependent on a number of factors such as cost of living, lifestyle choices and the topography of an area.

Living on a dollar  a day's worth of food items requires some measure of minimalism as a lifestyle even when the cost of food items are relatively low.

That will include seeking out alternative means of nutrition in the face of pricey products at the grocery.

 A good example is to grow alternatives from scratch to reduce the cost of shopping food items which will ensure not just a reduction in costs but also a balance of nutritional requirements 


You can always eat for free if there is a Harre Krishna temple in your area.

Just be warned they might try to convert you , but there food is really good and healthy.


The answer to this question is obviously highly dependent on where in the world you live. It would be absolutely impossible where I live (in Norway) - and I would argue that it might even be impossible to only use $10 to eat for every day.

But it's possible in other parts of the world, especially in developing countries where food is really cheap. It will however require a lot of planning no matter where you are, so the best thing to do is make a food budget, buy bulk food that will last you for a long time, and be careful of not spending money on "unnecessary" food. 


Sure, with a little creativity and a lot of planning. But here's a more important question -- is it possible to eat healthy on a dollar a day? 

You've probably noticed that the cheapest things in the grocery store or mall food court are the unhealthiest things -- items like potato chips, candy bars and deep-fried whatevers will run you far less at the till than things like fresh organic produce, salads and lean cuts of meat. One couple, trying to live on the dollar-a-day diet, is finding that out the hard way.


Oh man, that would be hard in America. Not sure it could be done. If you were in a more impoverished county then yes I believe it is very possible.