UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Prologue
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 1 & 2
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 3, 4 & 5
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 6 & 7
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Midway Meditation
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 8, 9 & 10
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 11 & 12
$100/2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 13 &14

I made it! For a while there, I totally thought I wouldn't, or that I couldn't. You have no idea how many times I wanted to cheat and have a few more rounds, or go all out at the grocery store (getting that really bad yogurt was a real low point for me--I still have a cup left in the fridge! I just can't bring myself to eat it!).

Looking back, it was both difficult and easy, only having $100 for two weeks- I mean, if I can do it, anyone can-- it's just a matter of being conscientious about what you put your money towards. ALL THE TIME. And I guess that is what was hardest for me: always having to count my pennies, and make sure that I was in the clear; that I had to be stingy with my money, and always have to think 3 days ahead about what I could budget in, according to where I would be going out for the evening. I mean, all of these points aren't bad things to keep in mind (except i HATE being stingy), but just a very intensive, calculating thought process. But in the end, I learned that it really is a survival method for those of us on a low-low budget, who like to eat well.

Five Lessons from $100/2Weeks:

1.) Pack a lunch: one of the ONLY ways I made it through the last two weeks was by packing a lunch everyday. This is absolutely essential. Cook a big pot of something during the weekend that you could pack for lunch for a few days. Yoko says that she brings a tuna sandwich with her to work everyday, and uses that lunch money to splurge on yummy dinners. VERY SMART. You could save at least $40/week by packing lunch, that's $120 a month! Dude, go to Sushi Yasuda for an omakase dinner with that money!

2.) Be creative in your kitchen: keep stuff in the freezer and pantry-- having Trader Joe's frozen foods and other random stuff in the freezer really saved me, as did other ingredients to make my puttanesca sauce or my shrimp omelet. You'll be surprised at how much you have in the depths of your cupboards-- it's time you used some of that stuff you bought on sale at the grocery store months ago that you forgot about.

3.) It is ok to say NO: if you know you REALLY should not go out cause you're broke and your friends want to go out fancy, say no. It's ok, you'll see your friends some other time, it's not the end of the world, and you'll be proud of your demonstration of will-power. But if you really really really NEED to see them (it's been a bad day, and all you need is a beer and some good company)...

4.) Suggest a cheaper option: maybe happy hour? 2 for 1 drinks, then pizza on the corner? Or for dinner, you can veer your crew towards Chinatown. Entice them with visions of soup dumplings and fresh soft shell crab (tis the season!). If everyone wants something a bit more upscale, do your research and go somewhere BYOB. Plenty of places in the city who can't seem to get their liquor license: take advantage of their misfortune!!!

5.) Know yourself and your schedule: don't buy vegetables or fresh foods/ take chicken and meats out of the freezer, if you know that you won't have time to cook them during the week. If you have a more expensive dinner penciled in for the week, make sure you balance that by cooking and eating cheap during the other days. Most importantly though, don't beat yourself up over not having money: it's ok to splurge once in a while. This will seriously keep your sanity in check, and keep you from going bonkers and accidentally spending your entire allowance on one single night (been there, done that). It's all about moderation.

I am going to conclude this post with a picture that inspired it all:
EAT MY NUTS NY!!! I did it! Living here costs WAY too much, but it is possible to eat well, on a tight budget, with just some effort. But there is NO WAY I would have been able to make it these last few weeks without the support of my dear friends. Thank you for putting up with me! I love you!!!!

*k*
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1 comment

  • おめでとうございます! I knew you had it in you.

    Kyle Schiller on

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