$15 a Day Challenge – March 9-13

10and5bills1We’re sure you are aware of the current economic situation. We’re pretty certain you are conscious of the fact that times are tough. And we’re positive you know that people everywhere are cutting back on their expenses.

But our concern lies with those who can’t cut back – who already earn too little to create a sustainable lifestyle. What about them? What happens to the men, women and families who have scraped by, and are now experiencing a pay cut or job loss?

What would life be like in their shoes?

With that question in mind, we ask you: are you ready for the Coalition $15 a Day Challenge?

Our idea is simple: to experience what those on a limited budget go through every day, you will live on a limited budget for a week.

Is this a perfect experiment? Of course not.

Will it open your eyes to some of the hardships our neighbors in need experience? Definitely.

We have decided on a relatively generous amount ($15 a day), which you will use for all daily routine expenses (food, transportation and incidentals). And then you will write (on our blog and yours, a Facebook note, etc.) to share with our readers what that was like.

Again, our goal is to show what living on a limited budget is like. We want this experience to make our reader’s aware of some of the hardships that their neighbors in need, and our clients, experience every day.  

   
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Some guidelines:

To officially participate, email coalition@cflhomeless.org. We will answer any questions you have. 
• Pay your bills. Don’t use this challenge as an excuse to get behind on your mortgage, skip your light bill, or ignore your cell phone charges.
• Stay on your budget. We are asking you to use $15 each day for routine expenses. This includes food (yes, lunch meetings count), transportation costs (gas, tolls, parking meters, and bus fares) and incidental expenses (you can do without a new tube of toothpaste this week, can’t you?).
• Keep track of your money. We want to know what expenses you had to cut out and how you made your money stretch.
• Don’t borrow from tomorrow. You can spend extra money saved from the day before, but you can’t borrow from tomorrow’s $15. 
• Tell us about your week. Tell us what this experience was like for you. What did you learn? What did you have to give up? We particularly want to hear how such a limited budget would affect you in the long-run: how would you build up your savings, prepare for major purchases and maintain working/social relationships?
• Use pictures and videos. The more interactive you can make your blog post/Facebook note, the better. Show us what your week was really like, what you ate and what you had to let go.

The experiment will last Monday through Friday next week (March 9-13). We will be blogging all week about the larger issues surrounding limited budgets (like minimum wage and the poverty line), so be sure to check back in throughout the week!

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