The amount of money we allowed ourselves to live on during our 5 day experiment
As we explained in a previous article Budget Living in Nicaragua, we decided see how it would be to live off of $2 a day like 80% of Nicaragua does. Together we were living off of a maximum of $12.33 for everything including sleeping accommodations, food, drink and any other entertainment. Although it wasn’t initially difficult, on the 5th day of our experiment, life became a bit of a struggle. The problem was that we restricted ourselves to only being able to spend $2 dollars a day, rather than buying a bulk of groceries that would average out to being $2 a day. We just simply tried to survive on what little we had–and trust us, it was not very much. The most difficult point for us was the third day when we were eating food, not for pleasure, but simply to survive.
Plain oatmeal and rice and beans was not fun. We ran out of milk, veggies, cookies, and even Tang. Our supplies were running out, but we were very committed to continue the experiment. Our energy dropped drastically. We had to have coffee every morning, but there was a point where even that didn’t help. We needed more fuel. We realized that eating was essential for us to be able to work, write, talk Spanish, socialize, run… to do anything. It was hard to even think on the last day of the experiment and that was the final straw. In order for us to be as productive as we always are, we had to get more food. We decided to end it so we went out to grab three slices of pizza from our favorite pizzeria. We immediately felt rejuvenated and excited to get back to work.
Gallo Pinto: now a staple dish in our diet
It was definitely a life changing experiment. Our perspective on life was completely altered once we experienced life in survival mode. After 5 1/2 days of this, we finally went shopping at the supermarket Pali for household items and food. Since I purchased those items, we have been surprisingly living off of less than $12.33 and of course have been living much better then we were last week.
In conclusion, we found that living off of $2 a day is actually doable in Nicaragua by simply purchasing goods in bulk at the beginning of the week. Quality of life isn’t sacrificed as long as you plan on shopping for food ahead of time. We’re very thankful to have learned all of this through our own experience because we now understand exactly how the locals stretch $2 a day to work in their favor. We’re inspired and have been living just like them–only eat what you need, buy what you need locally ahead of time and enjoy every bite you take.