How the ‘$1 Food Challenge’ Can Transform Your Food Spending


THE “$1 FOOD CHALLENGE” has been floating around on social media for a while, sometimes under the name of the “$21 Challenge.” Both names refer to the same challenge: Can you spend $1 per meal for a week? That adds up to $21 over the course of a week, with three meals a day for seven days. In other words, can you eat and drink well on $3 a day or $21 a week? (This is per person, of course, or else this challenge quickly becomes impossible for a large family.)

It’s a tough challenge, but if you can complete it for a week – or, even better, for several consecutive weeks – you can learn a lot about your food spending and discover some great ways to cut back on your expenses, even when you step back from the money challenge.

Ready to take it on? Here are some specific strategies to make the $1 food challenge work.

Remember That You’re Aiming for a $1 Average

There are a lot of meals out there that cost well below $1 per meal, but doing that for every meal for a week or longer can be difficult. You can eat some meals that are more expensive than $1 as long as you balance them out with meals below $1.

You Can’t Afford to Eat Out

The cost of eating out simply disrupts the $1 food challenge. You have to figure out how to prepare all of your meals at home. This might mean doing things like packing a lunch or taking leftovers to work, and both of those are great moves in this situation.