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Thousandaire wrote a post last week, Living Gas Tank to Gas Tank, that just hit the rewind button in my brain and I started thinking about living cheaply in college.

Like a lot of college kids, I was living as cheaply as possible.  I shared a 2 bedroom apartment with 3 other ladies for $288 a month.  I cringed if I ever had to turn on my car.  I also spent the last 3 years living on $2-$3 a day for food.

Comparing that life less than 10 years ago to the one I’m living now is like comparing a Chevy Aveo to a stretch limo.  Seriously.

Here was a normal daily menu for me in 2003 when living cheaply:

  • Breakfast – Banana or an off-brand granola bar
  • Lunch – Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich (I still love these, lol)
  • Dinner – Bean burrito from Taco Bell, another sandwich, a bowl of cereal, OR I sponged off others that freely shared (thank you to everyone who ever fed me!)
  • Snacks – Nothing or sponging again

Here is a normal daily menu for me now in 2011 when not living as cheaply (now that I’m on Weight Watchers…last year’s menu was way bigger and had less fruit, lol):

  • Breakfast – Banana AND a bowl of cereal
  • Lunch – a Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine meal or leftovers
  • Dinner – Grilled lean meat (steak or chicken usually), some form of potato or starch, and a huge helping of a green vegetable (we are big on green beans right now)
  • Snacks – Fruit, baked chips, and/or a granola bar

Yep, I went from less than $3 a day to at least $5-$8 a day in less than 10 years.  And I very rarely regret it.  It is nice to have enough money to spend on better food without giving up our savings goals.  I truly am thankful for where I am today but living cheaply is the only reason we’ve been able to get this far this fast.

Do you remember living cheaply or even cheaper?  What are you thankful for today?  If you are having a cruddy day, sorry for bringing all this up…