It's Hunger Challenge day 2, and I'm hurting.

Having gone over budget yesterday by $2.50, I've got a bit of saving to do today and for the next few days if I hope to stay within the $28 limit by week's end. This cost-cutting makes for an underfed and not very happy me.

Had I any faith whatsoever in my ability to make it through this very busy day (including a 3-hour meeting with a new client) without coffee, I would've saved myself 78 cents by foregoing this morning's dose. But because yesterday's alternate caffeine experiment didn't go so well, I made that splurge today, and thus have had to give up 78 cents' worth of food as a result. It's a bit past 4 p.m., I've been up since 7.30 a.m., and I've eaten only a cup of multi-grain flakes with strawberries and an almond butter-and-jam sandwich on whole wheat. To say I'm hungry would be a serious understatement.

If I were smarter and/or less stubborn, I'd give up on the healthy, organic, and local thing and would switch at this point to the cheapest food I could get my hands on, ingredients and provenance be damned. But I'm sorry to say that I'm sort of That Person--the one who honestly loves whole-grain everything, can't handle many processed foods, and gets a little (OK, perhaps a lot) hung up sometime on where her food comes from and what's in it. I'm learning that while it doesn't necessarily take a huge food budget to be That Person, it does take more than $4 per day.

So what happens when you're forced to eat on a very restricted budget and you burn through it too quickly? You try to fill up on whatever food comes your way. (For the purposes of the Hunger Challenge, even food I don't purchase counts toward my daily tally, so this one does not, alas, apply.) You lower your standards, maybe, about what you eat--hunger, after all, is a powerful motivator.

Or, for a little while, you go hungry. Today's (unsurprising) lesson? That really, really sucks.

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