Cheapskate finds ways to save a lot of green

There’s no such thing as allowance in my house. I hardly ever get money. I used to get some cash only if I got straight A’s on my report card… but apparently even that opportunity is gone. Therefore, I spend every day of my life cherishing every penny I have and making the most of the few I can find. My mindset remains the same: save as much money and spend as little as possible, especcially with food.

Day One
Two days ago, I received coupons in the mail. Usually, they’re for things I can’t really afford, like video games and cell phones. But this time it was different. I discovered that several of them were linked to food and fast food joints.

The ones that stood out were from McDonald’s. They sent me some coupons that could be used for free food items, no purchase necessary. My mom took me to for a quick trip to McDonald’s. I came home with free French fries, a free Hot n’ Spicy chicken sandwich, and a free small strawberry shake. I drank my shake on the way home and saved the fries and sandwich for lunch. McDonald’s lived up to its name ‘cuz I’m definitely lovin’ it! Oh, and I purchased some milk for 25 cents.

Daily Total: $0.25
Tip of the day: Use coupons whenever possible, especially if they are for free food with no purchase necessary.

Day Two:
Since the challenge is to be as cheap as I can, I’m never ready to pay 75 cents for tray lunch.

Lucky for me, I know a few friends who have free lunch, including one of my closest sophomore buddies (he’s also on a diet, which really helps). He was nice enough to get me lunch. So, he got in line and got his food. Then, he shared the items he didn’t want for himself. Once again, I found a way to eat for free. Life is good.

Total spent: $0
Tip of the day: Use the resources available to you in a positive and beneficial way.

Day Three
Many people aren’t big fans of the pizza that the school serves because it’s too greasy; I used this to my advantage. One of my friends was happy to accept two dimes and a piece of Juicy Fruit gum for his slice. This definitely reminded me of the good ol’ first and second grade days: I always traded things to help both myself and my buddies.

As I was finishing up my slice, I saw that a freshman was about to throw away her tray which included an untouched milk carton. I rushed over to her and asked for it. She handed it over to me, no questions asked. Near the end of lunch, I was able to gain some celery sticks and orange slices from friends who were already full. Overall, I was able to eat a full meal for the price of 20¢, a piece of gum, and some hustle.

Daily Total: $0.20

So, tip of the day: Negotiate with friends and acquaintances, try to use other forms of payment (not including money) to purchase food, and keep an eye out for people who are not planning to consume perfectly good food items.

Day Four
It was my friend’s birthday. People brought her different kinds of gifts, from money to clothes. Luckily, some people even brought her food, including cake, candy, and chocolate. It was time to make a crucial decision. I could ask for some food, but I’d feel horrible because it’s her birthday and she deserves the best on this one day out of 365. Suddenly, I found out that she was trying to lose weight, so she didn’t really want her chocolate. I negotiated with her and purchased an entire Hershey’s chocolate bar for only a quarter. Then, a few minutes later, I was able to snag a carton of chocolate milk from an empty lunch table. This was all I was able to afford this day, chocolate and milk. Small lunch, but extremely delicious. I waited to get home and pig out.

Daily Total: $0.25

Tip of the day: Find people who are willing to sell their food super cheap.

Day Five
I knew lunch would be awesome –on the menu today was orange chicken, steamed rice, carrots, grapes, and of course, milk! The search was on: I had to find someone who wasn’t eating lunch. I spent at least a solid ten minutes making a fool out of myself as I scoped the cafeteria and interrogated people. In my mind, the cafeteria was divided into two sections: people with school lunch and people without school lunch. I went through about 23 acquaintances and then I hit the jackpot. I finally found a person who had reduced lunch which is just 20 cents! She was definitely kind and she shared some of her lunch with me. I secretely placed a quarter and a nickel in her purse when she wasn’t .

Daily Total: $0.30

My life was  complete now…well, for those days at least. I had achieved and completed the ultimate task: Eating lunch for five days on only a dollar!

Total spent for the week: $1.00