Ever since we arrived in Nicaragua, we have been curious to what it would be like to live off of two dollars a day like the majority of Nicaragua (according to USAID). Although curious as to how the people here do it, we never thought that we would be presented with a opportunity to give it a try–mostly due to the large, never ending hole in Jon’s stomach. Surprisingly, however, we were recently given the opportunity to live off of the same amount that the majority of this country does.
After paying for our another month of rent here at Hospedaje Elizabeth, we realized that we would only have few dollars left for food based on the cash we brought to Nicaragua a month ago. We are currently waiting for our debit cards to arrive in the mail and although we have access to money using our credit cards, we both feel it would be an informative experiment and perspective changing adventure to see how long we can make the little money we have left last.
So far we are on Day 3 of extreme budgeting (and consequently dieting) and don’t expect our cards to arrive until sometime next week. So how exactly are we living off of two dollars a day?
We cook everyday. We have oatmeal for breakfast with fruit. For lunch and dinner we have been eating rice and beans with veggies or pasta with vegetables. Some days we don’t even spend two dollars on food total. To be honest, it’s not as difficult as we expected. It is only challenging at some points when we get extreme cravings for fast food or just a warm slice of pizza. We will continue to tweet about our cooking experiences and our meals–follow us @lifoutofthebox.
Living on two dollars a day (or less) has already given us a different perspective on life. It’s a challenge that we think will allow us to connect and share empathy rather than just sympathy with the people in Nicaragua we want to help. Ironically, we are still just as happy, if not happier than ever. It has made us appreciate the beauty in everything around us that’s free even more. The experiment isn’t over yet though because we still haven’t gotten our cards and will continue this lifestyle until we do.
So until then, we’ll keep you updated on real life–not just an expat life–in a third world country. We’re both very thankful for this experience.