Tag Archives: A dollar a day

A dollar a day: The European Approach

According to statistics taken from the past 10 years, about 60% of the population in Cameroon lives on less than 1$ per day. While I have lived there, I came to realise that despite the cruelty which derives from these news, 1$ is worth much more in Cameroon than it is for instance in the Netherlands. For 1$ (roughly 0,67€) I was able to take a cab to work and back and to buy a decent lunch, including some fresh fruits. For the same money here in the Netherlands, I could not even get the peel of a pineapple. Therefore I decided to conduct an experiment: I want to live for 5 days (Monday-Friday) on 1$ a day. This includes the preconditions of preparing 1 hot meal per day (with a minimum of 2 ingredients), no additional drinks during my work (except tab water) and no usage of pre-bought groceries such as pepper, oil or milk. I will only have 1$ per day (that is to mention that I will not start with 5$ on Monday and buy shitload). Starting on Monday morning with my 1 week budget of 5$ (3,40€), I will see how far I get with fresh food, enough nutrition and a smile on my face.


500gr Spaghetti = 0,25€
50oml Tomato sauce = 0,28€
80gr (1) onion = 0.10€

= 0,63€

Since I returned to Groningen only in the early morning, I haven’t had any time to do the groceries before going to work. Thus I had to wait till around 4pm to finally start the experiment. Up till then, I only drank water. While I used all the tomato sauce and the onion, I still have lots of spaghetti left for tomorrow and even feel slightly saturated and very satisfied, as I managed to even safe 4cent.


125gr Mozzarella = 0,39€
6 halfbaked rolls = 0,32€

= 0,71€

Having saved 4cent on Monday, I could spare the additional money to buy these two luxurious ingredients. Together with some pasta from the previous day I managed to get 2 rolls with cheese and pasta for dinner and still have 3 rolls left for breakfast and lunch tomorrow – woohoo! Luckily, I was able to also have some dry pasta for breakfast (and for lunch, as I cooked a bigger bowl), so I spent my day not completely hungry. However, pasta without any salt or oil (or for that case anything that helps building taste) is far away from being delicious. So far, I am amazed how much but also how little one is able to purchase having that amount of money.


I am not proud of it, but I have decided to terminate my experiment immediately. The reason for this is that after two days of only having dry pasta and water, my lack of vitamins caused steady headaches and loss of concentration. I am still confident that the experiment could work out, but preferably conducting it in a group of people, who each have 1$ a day to spare. Then having a community dinner might even be delicious. Having 1$ per day as a single person in the Netherlands, you can survive, but it is hard work which requires a certain amount of self-confidence and trust, not to mention spending 30 minutes in a supermarket, trying to compare the best deals 🙂