Thursday, May 31, 2007

You Have $5

Situation: You have $5 cash, and only $5 cash, to get through the day. This money has to buy your breakfast (if necessary), lunch, and dinner. It has to get you through roadway tolls to work. It has to put gas in your car to get you where you need to go during the day (or pay for public transportation). In short, this $5 must get you through your normal, everyday routine.

Assume that, at day's start, you have no food at home, nor any fuel in your car (if you have/need one). You will be paid the following day. This is Mission Critical for one day, and one day only.

Can you do it?

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— Posted by Michael @ 10:43 AM


Just barely. $3 for gas to get to work and back, and $2 for some kind of food. Maybe hard-boil some eggs from Aldi, with toast made from their cheapest white bread.

DH and I had some days like that years ago. I remember one time we scraped up all the change we could find around the house, walked to the closest deli and got a loaf of cheap white bread and 1/4 lb of bologna. We did have other stuff in the house like peanut butter to have with the bread. The caffeine withdrawal was the worst part--we walked to a Burger King and spent the rest of our change on coffee!

Are you trying to get us to think about payday loans?

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 10:30 AM, May 31, 2007  

I'm in a pretty sweet position where I work from home, so gas and tolls don't matter to me. So I'd get to use all $5 on food which would be pretty easy.


I think I could accomplish this. It is a 10 mile round trip to my store (otherwise I work at home). My car gets 24 miles to the gallon, gas is $3.38 per gal today. So I need .4166 gal = $1.41.

The grocery is next door to the store, I generally don't eat breakfast, but I would buy a can of tomato soup about $.79 + crackers ( a whole box so I have snacks) about $2 and I would drink water. I think I would skim by.

Fun, thinking question.


Only if I call in sick. Tolls to work are $4/day, plus I'd need a gallon of gas to do the roundrip. That's over $5 already. Public transportation costs a little less but still over $5 roundtrip.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 10:51 AM, May 31, 2007  

$1 would get me gas for work and back. Then I would just raid the leftovers at catered meetings at work.


I would have to work from home. I take the bus to work. I get a $90 pass each month which works out to about $4.10 a day. If I paid daily, it would be $5.50. Assuming the $4.10, I still have to drive to the bus. At 4 miles each way, it will take about 1/3 gallon of gas to get there and back. So, I'm at just over $5 and I'm starving.


Provided my neighbor (and co-worker) would let me bum a ride off him for the day, it wouldn't be too bad. That would still give me enough money for 2 large dunkin donuts coffees and a box of mac and cheese.

In other words, it would be a good day.


Most days, I actually do not go too much over this. Gas is probably $4 a day, my breakfast made at home about $1. Lunch and dinner are provided at work for free. You can say that's cheating, but if I didn't have to go to work, then I'd have that $4 to eat on. It's a trade off, I'm willing to make.


Michael, this is your wife again. :-)

If we tried to do $5 for all three of us, plus your gas, Im not sure its possible. If you had enough gas, we could do it. Itd suck. If I was still working at Doc's office and needed gas (35 miles each way), we could not do it.

I dug out the ad for our little corner store. I went and weighed pieces of fruit; I looked through the ad for price per pound on fruit and figured the price per ounce (one piece of fruit isnt a whole pound). Here is what I came up with (from the corner store):

gal milk on sale 1.33
1 -9 oz orange 0.50
4 ramen on sale 0.50
cheap meat on sale 0.49
Rainbo bread on sale 1.66 **I think generic white bread would be cheaper, but since I dont buy it, I dont know how much.**
sub-total = 4.48
7.5% tax 0.34 total = $4.82

The Daughter and I would have toast and share the orange for breakfast. You don't eat breakfast (YIPPEE!).

All three of us would have bread & meat (sandwiches) for lunch. Do we have condiments? Dry sandwiches would suck, but itd work.

And wed have ramen for dinner. Four things of ramen sounds like a lot for two grown ups and a kid. But she LOVES those noodles, and we'd probably be hungry after those cheap sandwiches for lunch.

Wed drink ice water, and she could have some milk. She wouldnt even be able to get a toy out of one of those machines with the change. If the bread was cheaper, I could buy another piece of fruit or a can of fruit cocktail.

If we had $5 each, we could do it thatd be a whopping $15! Or even $10 would be more do-able.

Im *so* glad were not broke like that.

Anonymous The Battleaxe
, at 2:57 PM, May 31, 2007  

No problem. I'd get up early and walk to work. On my way I'd stop at the grocery and spend my $5 on cheap food. I'd bring a cup from home and drink water all day.


Interesting. I'd have to call in and work from home that day because:

1. If I drove to work I'd have to pay the *discounted* price of $9 to park in the city, and that doesn't include gas. So, that's out.

2. I take the train to work and pay $106 a month for a pass. For the day I'd take the trolley and the El, which would cost $2.60 one way, so it would already be over $5 just to get to work and back.

3. It's too far to walk and I don't have a bike. Not to mention, I'm not fond of walking through some parts of West Philly by myself first thing in the morning.

Now, I know a few coworkers who live in my general area, but they also take the train. I don't know them well enough to put such a burden on them as driving to work one day so that I can get a ride and not even give them any money until later.


Not possible for me. I drive 20 miles one way to work (40 miles total). With gas prices at $3.50 a gallon, i spend about $5.8 just driving to and from work.


It costs me $5.10 to take public transportation to work and back. It's covered by a transit benefit that I keep on a magnetic card, so I don't pay that out of pocket. But if I had to use cash exclusively, no.

If I could use my transit card, I think I could buy a muffin by work, which would leave me $3.25. CVS is having a 5 for $5 (or 1 for $1) sale, so I could pick up a microwaveable rice bowl and canned ravioli. I think trying to buy the canned pineapple wouldn't leave me enough for tax, so I'd buy an apple for 60 cents from the carts outside.

I'd be hungry, and overly sodiumed, but I'd make it, just.


I can walk to work, so I'm OK there. I can eat very cheaply for lunch, so OK there. Then steaks for dinner on the credit card.

There, I did it!


I think I could pull it off. I work a ten minute walk from my front door (any farther and I can secure transportation from my employer) so gas is a non-issue and am about a 30 minute walk from the grocery store, where I can pick up some fruit for my son, some rice and, if I get to the store early enough, maybe some meat on sale.

Anonymous suomynonA
, at 9:45 AM, June 02, 2007  
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