PUBLIC OPINION > Most People Don't Think They Could Eat on $1.50 a Day

Living 2013/04/25 22:00:00
Ben Affleck has announced that he'll spend five days feeding himself on only $1.50 a day in support of Global Poverty Project's Live Below the Line campaign. It's hard to imagine someone as successful as Affleck living that sparsely, but if he can do it, the L.A. Times wanted to know who else was up for the challenge. They asked "Could You Eat on $1.50 a Day?" and the majority of you (62%) voted "No." The demographic results on this poll were surprising, so read on to find out who thinks they could survive in extreme poverty -- and who isn't as optimistic.


People that make $0-$25,000 a year claimed that they couldn't eat on $1.50 a day (51%) while the other extreme -- those that make $100,000 or more -- voted that they could do it (80%). This divide may exist because the people that make the least amount of money can't imagine living on any less, while those that make the most remember living on very little before becoming successful.


The majority of single SodaHeads (53%) said they couldn't do it, while the majority of married SodaHeads (64%) were confident that they could. You might think that it would be easier for single people to survive on less since they don't have to worry about taking care of a family, but remember that married people would actually be eating on $3.00 per day because of combined income.


The poll's top commenter questioned if any of the voters had to put themselves through college but it looks like students and unemployed SodaHeads are not up for the challenge -- the majority of them (57% and 54% respectively) voted "No." Alternately, the majority of full-time workers (53%), part-time workers (65%), and people that are retired (55%) said that they could do it.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit the LA Times' poll about eating on $1.50 a day. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • John Adams 2013/04/25 19:34:52
    John Adams
    So, Mr. Affleck is going to eat for 5 days at $1.50/day. SO WHAT!! How is that going to help anyone!?!?!?

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  • ~TwistedTransistor~ 2013/07/21 02:42:53
    Sweet! 6 whole packs of Ramen noodles!

    Ramen noodles
  • Dave 2013/06/22 19:31:07
    that is ridiculous
  • lolly 2013/06/18 15:09:32
  • Mrs.Vader 2013/05/18 23:06:35
    I could totally do that. You can buy a huge bag of dried beans and a 10 lb bag of rice and a few cartons of eggs for under $20 and live off of that for a month. You'd even have enough left over to buy vegetables to supplement that, if you were careful. Now, if I included my husband and children in the challenge, that would be a little harder. My husband consumes huge quantities of food because he does physical labor every day and of course, the kids need a little more than I do because they're all tween/teenagers and ravenous all the time.
  • Lessie 2013/05/11 03:24:24
    I have a big appetite for filling food, but also professional/monetary success. Feed me enough for both!
  • ruru 2013/05/11 03:11:55
    I could do it, but I would have to eat a lot of beans and potatoes.
  • Wolfie 2013/05/07 01:25:00
    $1.50 a day ?? And,NOT be under/malnourished ??? IMPOSSIBLE !!!!!!!!
  • Mrs.Vader Wolfie 2013/05/18 23:10:17
    Not impossible. Dried beans, bulk rice, and eggs are very inexpensive and with what's leftover, you could buy fresh veggies to round it off...there's your protein, fiber, veggies....no sugar, no preservatives, no fat...that would be a pretty darned nutritious diet.
  • Everchangingformation 2013/05/03 00:15:23
    I know that I can eat on $1.50 a day, because money isn't always a stable thing in my life. However, it depends on what choices of you take and how you do it. Spending only $1.50 a day is difficult, but possible. However, if you spent $7.50 in total on bulk items, it's very possible. Each day would be more skint, with less to eat, but you wouldn't starve.
  • Mrs.Vader Evercha... 2013/05/18 23:10:47
  • The Andoxico 2013/05/02 16:16:13
    The Andoxico
    I could, Ramen noodles are only about $.49 a bag.
  • Blueskies The And... 2013/05/07 18:01:20
    3 bags a day- It only slows your death by starvation.
    I would have to calculate my daily energy use would climb, too, as I assume I would not have money for transportation and I would be actively looking for work or foraging, and possibly homeless.
  • The And... Blueskies 2013/05/07 19:57:32
    The Andoxico
    2 bags a day if need be. And if you can slow it long enough you can save up for nutritious supplements and you can gather food in the woods if you know what to look for (and I do).
  • Michaelene 2013/05/02 13:13:08
    Yes i can and have cooked meals for my family for $1.50 per person per day.
    I shop for sales from multiple stores and cook healthy meals from scratch daily.

    I can't afford to feed my family from the dollar menu at McD's, the cost for the 7 of us would be at least $30 per meal. About $10 per day sounds just right if we avoid junk and fast food.
  • mel.h.sr 2013/05/02 07:13:47
    Anybody who says the can eat on 1.50 a day, and don't have a garden has not tried it for very long, if at all. If you did, you would become a health risk.
  • Blueskies mel.h.sr 2013/05/07 18:25:33
    I did it for almost a year. I was a guy, no help for guys. And no food stamps, Homeless were not given food stamps (they required you have a kitchen then).
    I lost 100 pounds and looked a refugee, but 11 months later I found regular work.
  • Iefan Muineachán 2013/05/01 23:03:30
    Iefan Muineachán
    Don't forget that everybody will have to settle for that if the minimum wage drops.
  • Michaelene Iefan M... 2013/05/02 13:14:03
    Why would minimum wage decrease, it's only increased historically.
  • Iefan M... Michaelene 2013/05/03 02:00:11
    Iefan Muineachán
    Hopefully, it won't.
  • 00P 2013/05/01 18:33:46
    oh my a whole 5 days, not even a week...give me a freaking break!
    Do it a year then come back and tell us you think you rich azzh@le!
  • LeroyRogers 2013/05/01 16:39:16
    what do i eat? top ramen?
  • Justin.Long 2013/05/01 14:48:59
    I could do so cumulative like have 10.5 for the whole week
  • Flowers 2013/05/01 14:15:06
    If large meals were put together and separated into actual portion sizes, I think it's possible. Problem is, many people don't take the time to do that. Processed foods are usually less expensive than the healthy fresh ones but the health benefits out weigh the costs. If I could, I would eat nothing but unprocessed whole foods. I can't afford it though.
  • Yukari Sato 2013/04/30 23:26:11
    Yukari Sato
    If you let me cheat, that is, gather together 10 people and do a potluck survival where we have ten dollars to make stew or whatever, then we could probably get by. We wouldn't be nearly as healthy as people eating fresh vegetables and fruits as well as other necessities, but we could do it as a group.

    only one person, I doubt it.

    Prices are not economic for single living. They favor buying in larger quantities.
    So, alternatively, if you give me 1.50 x 14 days all at once, and tell me I won't get anymore for food purposes, then yes, I could. I could fast 2 or 3 of those days, too which would give me more for the next day. I would probably eat one meal a day most days. Still, that means I'm not as healthy as someone with better means, but I won't be fat either.
  • ☺Sunrae☺산럐☺ 2013/04/30 20:03:40
    No. Lunch already costs $2.50
  • Phil 2013/04/30 08:35:04
    I do it every day. I have no choice in the matter.
  • E J Garrett 2013/04/30 01:12:20
    E J Garrett
    I had to feed a famaly of 5 on $25.00 a week
  • Justin.... E J Gar... 2013/05/01 14:51:03
    Taco soup that what my family did 10-15 depending on the incridients and you have a full weeks meal
  • raschell97 2013/04/30 00:34:07
    I could
  • Misha Sapphire 2013/04/29 23:19:33
    Misha Sapphire
    I could....if I slept the whole entire day afterwards.....
  • Wolfie Misha S... 2013/05/07 01:33:22
    No you couldnt'.Not and be healthy too !! Even sleeping the rest of the entire day away wouldn't allow a person to be healthy eating on $1.50 a day !!
  • Misha S... Wolfie 2013/05/07 20:32:50
    Misha Sapphire
    Wow, smart one it was a joke.
  • Ben 2013/04/29 21:32:23
    i'm young, honestly, I couldnt do it. I would admit, I'm to relient on more $. I try my best to save my money everyday by limiting it just 5$ a day, that admit to lunch, and snacks for 2 days.
  • Kern 2013/04/29 21:30:39
    Anybody can eat on $1.50 a day. The real question is can you survive only eating a $1.50 worth of food a day. The answer is not comfortably if at all.
  • Mrs.Vader Kern 2013/05/18 23:13:36
    Yeah, it can be done, but I sure would get sick and tired of beans & rice, eggs and steamed veggies day in and day out. Of course, if it came to a choice between that and starvation, I suppose I'd suck it up and deal.
  • Kern Mrs.Vader 2013/05/19 05:14:41
    It would be tough. If they can barely exist on $1.50 a day, why would we want to cut it even lower?
  • Mrs.Vader Kern 2013/05/19 11:15:49
    Well....we wouldn't, but there are people who have to.
  • Blueskies 2013/04/29 21:25:39
    Well, I have done it, don't want to do it again. But when 19 its a adventure.

    I've taken care of myself. Depends on where your at. Some places you can fish, or gather mussels or abalone. In Los Angeles starvation is easy. Sacramento has catfish in that river!
    $1.50 is a cup of coffee. 10 cents back when I was homeless in 1970. Pop bottles had just gone to a nickel deposit, If I could find just 2 I could go to Sambo's pre dawn and go to the counter and get warm drinking coffee.

    Food? that's the cream and sugar.
  • Mrs. V 2013/04/29 18:33:45 (edited)
    Mrs. V
    $1.50 in India will go much further than it will here in the states.

    this is a very good photo essay.

  • Blueskies Mrs. V 2013/04/29 21:36:42
    Clearly the cost of similar food items can vary vastly.
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