The Estrada Family

A Nica-Canadian family, living in Nicaragua and starting a family!

A Challange…

When I talk to people about our lifestyle here in Nicaragua a lot of people ask question about how we survive on such a tight budget. I’ve been pretty open about it past posts: we make it on very small salaries. Our monthly budget averages around $450, but we have had a few months in 2012 where we had less then $200 for the whole month.

Months when we barely scrapped by were very hard (and we are trusting and praying that we won’t have to go through months like that again) but we did learn some pretty great lessons.

It is possible to survive on very little money.

So, I want to throw out a challenge to anyone reading this. Here’s what I want you to do:

1) pick a month
2) pick a country, specifically a developing (aka 3rd World) country. (One day I will write about why I hate the term “3rd World”)
3) do a little research about the country you chose. I’m not asking a lot, Wikipedia will probably give you everything you need to know. Specifically, look up how much money people make in one day.
4) here’s the tough part. Try to only spend that amount on food per person in your family for a whole month.

Example: Let’s say I was going to choose Nicaragua. Here’s is what I found on Wikipedia:
“According to the United Nations Development Programme, 48% of the population in Nicaragua live below the poverty line,[103] 79.9% of the population live with less than $2 per day,[104] unemployment is 3.9%, and another 46.5% are underemployed (2008 est.)”

Almost 80% of Nicaragua lives on less then $2 a day.

So that means I am going to spend only $2 per person, per day, on food for a whole month.

Since there are 3 people in my household ($2 x 3ppl x 30 days) we have a food budget of $180 for the month. (Our regular food budget is $200 a month, so we are pretty close!)

Now, I know living in Canada and the US means paying lots of bills, so that’s why my challenge is not to survive on just $2/day. Your car payments and house payments and insurance payments and cell phone/ tv/ Internet bills make that impossible. But, with a little work and planning it is completely possible to curb your food budget.

This is going to mean no eating out for a month. It’ll probably mean no Tim Hortons or Starbucks every morning. You might even have to (gasp!) make coffee at home! You’ll probably have to cut down on the frozen or pre-prepared meals. You might have to get creative with the sale items at the grocery store.

I hope that it will help you gain some perspective on how the rest of the world lives. I hope it will help show you that you can live on less. I hope you will enjoy it, and maybe learn some new recipes that will help you save money in the future.

A few other ideas:
– if you sponsor a child through Compassion or another organization, pick the country he/she is from. It will make the challenge even more personal for your family.
– read a bit about typical foods that your chosen country eats, and try them out! I’m sure it will help you save money if you eat rice a beans a few times a week!!
– take the money you saved and donate it to an organization that serves in the country you chose.

Please consider taking part, and let me know how it goes!

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