When our younger son, Brian, was in the Horticulture program at BSU, he took great pride for living simply. Really simply. He rented a converted garage for $100 per month. It was cozy but had no running water. He had permission to use the decrepit house that was attached for the bathroom facilites and water.
We bought an electric wok at a thrift store and gave him our old rice cooker. That was his kitchen. After a few trips into a dumpster, he talked to the produce guys at the Coop and convinced them to leave their unwanted veggies in a box by the back door rather than toss them into the dumpster. He had a big bag of rice, a bunch of canned beans and a pretty well stocked pantry of spices and sauces from yours truly.
He rode his bike. Everywhere. He had a car that actually ran but preferred the bike. Even in the rain. This apple fell pretty far from the tree in that respect.
So, on a typical day, he would ride his bike by the Coop on his way back from schol and pick up some veggies. He would mix the veggies with rice and beans or pasta and whatever spices sounded good for that day. Brian ate pretty well. Much better than the average American in terms of health bennies. If you don't count the beer, that is. He was not deprived and got through his studies with a minimum of parental cash outflow.
The lesson, I guess, is not how to live on a dollar a day but how a basic pantry will serve you well. The best foods are not necessarily the most expensive and can provide the foundation for a rich and healthy diet.
Brian is now a farm manager at an organic farm in Portland (Hippie Capital of the World), still rides his "fixie" bike, and continues to develop his cooking skills. We could not be more proud.