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drew best of 2017

2017 built on the good and bad of 2016. Political discussion got more divided, the weather got harsher, and my personal year was great.

So, ignoring the macro and focusing on the DrewCo, here’s my review of 2017.

Best Achievement – Publishing The United States of Laughter

After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to actually write a book about my experiences as a nomad. When I began, I wasn’t entirely sure I would publish it, maybe just keep it as a more in-depth journal of my journey. But after the first few drafts, and getting inspired by Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, I decided to unleash it upon the world. I’m very glad I did. As a result, I hit top new release in both Travel Writing and Humor Essays, I launched the book out of a catapult, I talked about it on a few different news stations, and 50+ people gave it a 5-star review on Amazon.

Runner-Up: My second public TEDx Talk.

Best Personal Development – Less Than 100 Grams of Sugar

As many of you know, I love sugar. It’s my biggest vice, far greater than any alcohol or Grand Theft Auto video games. For 2017, I made it a goal to consume less than 100g of sugar each day which meant dropping my usual breakfast (Pop Tarts), no longer pretending drinking juice was particularly healthy, and limiting myself to only one dessert a day. Yes, this was actually a challenge but definitely needed considering 100 grams is double the old recommended amount by the World Health Organization and four times the updated recommendation of sugar for an adult (25g or less than one soda).

Runner-Up: Read a book a month.

Best Business Decision – Attending NSA Influence 2017

There are a few conferences I try to attend every year and the National Speaker’s Association annual summer conference is one of them. Though I’ve attended in the past, this year helped me establish additional credibility as a humorist and helped me further build my network with some of the most talented, and giving, speakers I’ve ever met. Subsequent meetings and events that sprang from those relationships have already started to transform my business.

Runner-Up: Publishing The United States of Laughter

Best Personal Decision – Brother’s Bachelor Party in Texas

My brothers and I don’t always get a chance to hang out considering we live in three different states, but it’s always a great time when we do. This year, for Adam’s Bachelor Party, we surprised him with a trip to Texas for a couple of baseball games, great food, and general brotherly fun.

Runner-Up: Notre Dame visit

Best Speaking Engagement – TEDxTAMU

It was another busy year of speaking but nothing can top the 18 minute talk I did for TEDxTAMU. I got a chance to talk about my favorite subject (humor), one of my brothers and my mom were in attendance, and it went very well. The fact that I have a great video as a result of it is an added bonus.

Runner-Up: Women’s Foodservice Forum

Best Performance – The Armando Diaz Experience

Nate was the reason I got into comedy in the first place but we don’t often get a chance to perform together considering we live on opposite coasts. So, when presented with the chance to be the monologist for his Armando show, it was a no-brainer.

Runner-Up: CSz Cincinnati

Best Travel – Acadia

My trip to Acadia National Park could not have been more perfect considering the views, hiking, and the company.

Runner-Up: Brother Road Trip

Best New Restaurant – Di Fara Pizza

It’s hard to still be impressed by pizza, but Di Fara’s in Brooklyn manages to do it. All of the pies are still made by the original owner and they are exquisite.

Runner-Up: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

Best Movie (I Saw) – Get Out

I’m not usually a horror film fan, but Jordan Peele’s movie does everything so well it’s hard not to like. It feels like there isn’t a wasted scene or line in the entire thing.

Runner-Up: Moonlight

Best TV Show (I Watched) – Stranger Things

I was late to the game with Stranger Things but it was thoroughly enjoyable and well-executed.

Runner-Up: Doctor Who

Best Book (I Read) – A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson’s book completely changed what I thought was possible with a memoir. It’s engaging, it’s entertaining, and it makes you laugh out loud. After reading it, I completely revamped by own book and was inspired to aim higher with what I wanted to write.

Runner-Up: Exactly What to Say

Best Tweet – 10 Marks the Spot

I’ve selected 20 of my best tweets of 2017 but my favorite favorite is this one:

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best of 2016

The meme du jour of 2016 was how awful of a year it was for the world. Brexit happened, Trump was elected, and Carrie Fisher died. Of course, some people were in favor of those things (not the last one, who would want that?).

At a macro level, 2016 was bad, particularly for climate change and women’s rights in some states. But at a Drew level, 2016 was a pretty good year. Here, as usual, is the best of the year.

Best Achievement – Completing All 50 States

On my 32 birthday this year, I finished my goal of speaking or performing in all 50 states. Hawaii was the perfect state to end the journey, filled with beautiful scenery, fun adventures, welcoming cousins who showed me around, and a storytelling show. 10/10 would do the whole thing again.

Runner-Up: Reaching 1,000 Performances.

Best Personal Development – Doing Weekly Planning

The farther removed I am from my project management days at P&G, the less I leverage that expertise in my day-to-day life. In 2016, one thing I brought back was more deliberate planning, this time at a weekly level. Each Sunday (approximately), I would think about what I wanted to accomplish that coming week and plan one key task for each day. I didn’t always complete those tasks and sometimes the planning happened on a Monday (or Thursday), but it did make me more aware of how I was spending my time.

Runner-Up: Checking my phone less frequently.

Best Business Decision – Moving Back to NYC

Since moving back to NYC, I’ve established great new business contacts, delivered some great events, re-engaged with some awesome people, and have had the best bagels in the country. NYC has always been a great place for building my skills as a speaker and comedian, it’s now also turning into a great place to deliver those skills.

Runner-Up: Starting a Mastermind group.

Best Personal Decision – Stopping my Nomadism

Don’t get me wrong, being a nomad for 18 months was an incredible experience (and was heralded as 2015’s best personal decision), but this year was also the right time to end it. Since moving back to NYC in September, I’ve been able to focus more on my work and have a lot more time to relax; I didn’t realize how much time I was spending planning my next trip or figuring out where I was going to sleep.

Runner-Up: Reconnecting with Old Friends

Best Speaking Engagement – Women’s Foodservice Forum

I surpassed 100 engagements for the second year in a row and spoke for some incredible groups. From my first single facilitator delivery of a two-day training at Microsoft, to presenting to my largest audience (1,000 people!) in Columbus, I was apart of some great events. But the top for me was the Women’s Foodservice Forum where I spoke to 400 aspiring leaders who were gracious, eager to learn, and seemed to really enjoy my sense of humor. It’s also where I got witness the butt sketch artist first-hand.

Runner-Up: PMI Central Ohio Chapter

Best Performance – The Story of My Year as a Nomad

While I certainly gave better performances in 2016, the most meaningful was my 1,000th performance on my 32nd birthday in my 50th state: the story of my year as a nomad.

Runner-Up: Featuring at Go Bananas Comedy Club

Best Travel – Hawaii

I sound like a broken record but how can you beat the Islands of Aloha?

Runner-Up: Zion National Forest

Best New Restaurant – Eleven Madison Park

It’s hard not to go with the World’s #3 ranked restaurant but for me the reason it’s on the top of the list is that they somehow made brussels sprouts AND scallops that I could not only stomach, but I actually liked. I guess my new rule is that I don’t like sprouts unless they’re served at a Michelin three star restaurant.

Runner-Up: Chick N Cone

Best Movie (I Saw) – Doctor Strange

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the Marvel movies. No, I don’t care that there are a million of them now and yes, I’m excited for yet another reboot of the Spider Man series. I enjoyed Doctor Strange because it introduced me to a character I knew nothing about and explored a world that was new to me.

Runners-Up: All of the Best Picture nominees, The Nice Guys

Best TV Show (I Watched) – Rick and Morty

 

The show is very weird and it takes a few episodes to get into, but by golly is it funny.

Runner-Up: Luke Cage

Best Book (I Read) – Smarter, Faster, Better

Charles Duhigg’s book is a great read for learning more about motivation and effectiveness, and it’s given me a phrase I used in most of my trainings: psychological safety. I find myself recommending this book to people over and over again.

Runners-Up: Bossypants, Modern Romance, Sprint

Best Tweet – Ghosts

I’ve selected 20 of my best tweets of 2016 but my favorite favorite is this one:

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vegetarian for a week

I made a bet back on New Year’s Day that the Bengals would beat the Ravens. They did not, and, as a result, I had to be a vegetarian for a week.

The bet didn’t take effect immediately, so I had time to prepare. I picked last week as the time to do it, strategically starting Sunday early evening on January 29th so I could start eating meat again on the evening of February 5th–just in time for the Super Bowl.

Incidentally, my last meal before starting vegetarian was Skyline Chili Dip. My first meal back–Skyline Chili Dip as well. I could go on for days about how delicious that is, but let’s get to the vegetarian week.

Here’s what I learned:

  • You don’t have to eat vegetables to be a vegetarian. I could have survived all week on PB&J, Ring Dings and ice cream. I didn’t, but I could have.
  • While it’s not that hard to cut out meat for only a week, it’s not something I want to do. I love chicken too much.
  • Being a vegetarian is more expensive (especially meal-time). It’s either expensive with regard to time (cooking / preparing food) or money (veggie burgers are more expensive than regular burgers).
  • Being a vegetarian can be inconvenient. If you choose to cook the food, you have to have the time and energy to cook it, eat it and clean it (‘it’ being the dishes in the last case). If you’re on the run, it’s harder to find hearty vegetarian meals at fast food places and bodegas.
  • Vegetarian dishes that try to pretend to be meat are upsetting. My preference for vegetarian meals are those that have a unique flavor or style of their own. Trying to cook tofu or seitan like chicken or beef just makes you angry because you’re eating tofu or seitan and not chicken or beef.
  • I tried to use the week as an excuse to try new foods. Here’s what stuck out from the week: despite my previous bullet point, vegetarian chicken fingers are good; pierogies are awesome; steamed broccoli isn’t as bad as I remembered; seitan is meh; peanut butter is delicious on everything.

Here’s what I ate:

  • Monday 1/30: OJ and Frosted Flakes; Celery with peanut butter; PB&J with potato chips; Carrots; Baked potato with butter and cheese; Black raspberry chip ice cream.
  • Tuesday 1/31: Banana and Frosted Flakes; Carrots; PB&J with potato chips; Vanilla cupcake; Granola bar; Chocolate milk; Pita and hummus, seitan with mashed potatoes spinach and green beans; 4 Reese’s PB Cups Miniatures.
  • Wednesday 2/1: OJ and Toasted bagel with butter / cinnamon sugar; Grapes and protein bar; Chocolate ice cream and cookie/pudding dessert; Cheese pizza rolls; Banana; Peanuts, veggie burger, cheese fries, Doritos and 2 Reese’s PB Cups Miniatures.
  • Thursday 2/2: Banana and Frosted Flakes; Protein bar; Carrots, PB&J with potato chips; 3 slices of cheese pizza; 6 Reese’s PB Cups Miniatures; OJ.
  • Friday 2/3: Pastry; Carrots, PB&J with potato chips; Granola bar; 3 Reese’s PB Cups Miniatures; Celery with peanut butter; Salad, pierogies, mac n cheese and chocolate custard.
  • Saturday 2/4: OJ and bagel with butter and cinnamon; Vegetarian chicken fingers with green beans, 2 Reese’s PB Cups Miniatures; Banana; PB&J with Doritos and Chocolate milkshake; Slice of pizza; 2 S’mores cupcakes; Slice of pizza.
  • Sunday 2/5: OJ and Eggo waffles; Celery with peanut butter; Vegetarian chicken fingers; Carrots/cucumber slices… FINISH!

Final Thoughts

Overall the week wasn’t that difficult. I won’t be going vegetarian anytime soon (ever probably), but it was a good challenge and I learned a thing or two. I’ll probably try veggie burgers more often and every now and then choose a vegetarian option over a meat one.

I do think I’ll have to try eating vegan for a week (in the distant future). Not for any health reasons, I just apparently like to torture myself.

For a good vegetarian only restaurant, check out Candle Cafe (1307 3rd Ave, at 75th street).

For a good vegetarian friendly restaurant, check out Veselka (9 E 1st St, between Bowery and 2nd Ave). Go for the pierogies, stay for the chocolate custard.

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In the current economic climate, it seems that just about everyone is trying to find ways to save money and prepare for the challenging months ahead.  I recently challenged myself to live on only $100 for an entire week to see if I could and what I would learn.

I didn’t realize that the project would be so tough, rewarding, and powerful.  Throughout the course of 7 days, I experienced a myriad of emotions, and learned a lot about myself and my spending.  The best part is that I’m sure you would experience the same powerful effects I did.  Being poor for one week can give you amazing insights on how to save money every week that follows, more than passively reading articles such as 15 Tips for Saving Money or even Reviewing Your Personal Finances.  This provides real lessons taught the best way possible – through experience.

Moreso than any of my other projects, I highly encourage everyone to give it a try. Maybe $100 isn’t the right number for you, but based on your current financial habits, try spending 75% less than your normal weekly budget.  A quick tip: take notes throughout that week, because you’re going to learn a lot.

Still not sure if it’s worth trying? Or wondering what you could learn by doing the challenge? Keep reading to see what you’ll learn about saving money by being poor for a week.

Sensitivity to True Cost

When you have a very limited budget, you start to look at everything you spend money on in terms of “true cost” – the cost of the item or service compared to it’s value, and what you’re giving up in order to have it.  I especially thought about this in terms of food. When deciding between a $3 box of cereal or $5 pack of chicken nuggets, you have think of the actual “cost per meal” (the total cost of all ingredients divided by the number of meals it supplies). The box of cereal requires milk (+$2.39), but will also give you 6-8 light meals. The chicken nuggets will likely fill you up more and don’t necessarily require any sides, but will only get you 2-3 meals.

Why It Helps – Learning about true cost first hand will help you make better purchasing decisions in the future.  It’s foolish to spend $100 on something you’ll use only once.  It’s smart to spend $100 on something you’ll use 100 times or more.

Your Image Is Expensive

Living cheaply means choosing functionality over design or style. Though my leather laptop bag is more in style, my backpack can carry more stuff and has the added advantage of being better for my back. Similarly, it’s hard to justify the added cost when two things have equal functionality, but the more stylish one is more expensive- as is the case with wearing glasses versus contacts.

Your image can also take a hit if you go from a position of affluence to one of financial struggles. Keeping up the façade of having money is tough to do and at times not worth the cost. If you work in the corporate world, it may be important to keep a professional appearance. This means remaining clean-shaven, keeping your clothes pressed, and wearing more expensive dress pants instead of shorts. But living cheaply also means swallowing your pride and declining on Starbucks, even if you’re co-workers are going.

Why It Helps – Many fashion items have the highest true cost associated with them, and are often the least functional.  By thinking about the practicality of an item before purchasing it, you can realize if it’s worth the investment and hassle of even owning the item.

Variety Isn’t Cheap

Variety is the spice of life, but not of living cheaply. One of the things I noticed on my limited budget was that I quickly grew tired of having turkey sandwiches and carrots for lunch. But buying items in bulk is cheaper and drives down true cost. It’s hard to justify spending more money on different options for lunch when you know there’s very little money to go around.

Why It Helps – It’s the simple things that really make a difference.  Until you experience eating Ramen noodles every day, or doing the same activity daily, you won’t appreciate how the smallest changes can make a day more enjoyable.

Hard Times Inspire Creativity

As the days progressed and my budget shrank further, I found more creative ways to save money and still be happy.  Whether it’s new ways to cook chicken, or how you can have fun with just a pen and paper, your mind starts to see everyday things in a new way.

Why It Helps – There’s a common belief that you have to have money to have fun and be happy.  Once you accept your financial limitations and start thinking positively, you find ways to still have fun by experiencing the free (or at least cheaper) things in life.

Barebones Living

It turns out that one of the best ways to declutter your life also applies to saving money.  When you want to get rid of the crap of your life, one method is to put almost all of your belongings in a specified place in your home, such as a closet.  Then, as you truly need an item, you retrieve it from the closet.  After a certain amount of time (a couple of weeks), anything you didn’t get out of the closet that isn’t seasonal, you can  safely get rid of.

Well the same method applies to your finances. I realized that I didn’t really miss dining out that much, but that I couldn’t survive even a day without Internet access.  To cut my expenses, I know that I should focus on cooking at home more, not stopping my Internet service.

Why It Helps – If you cut down all of your spending (dining out, subsciption services, alcohol), you’ll learn what you really need, what you really like, and what you were mostly wasting money on.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When you don’t have the money to buy new crap, you start finding uses for your old crap.  With a limited budget, I couldn’t afford to go to the movies.  But that didn’t really matter, because I had plenty of DVDs that I’ve either never watched, haven’t seen in a long time, or didn’t watch the special features for.  Also there are plenty of secondary uses for many items – plastic bags can carry your lunch or serve as garbage bags, junk mail can serve as scratch paper, and baking soda can be used for about 800 things (ok, maybe 60).

Why It Helps – Using that new-found creativity from a restricted budget, you can start seeing how items can be re-used before you even buy them, helping you choose the items with the lowest true costs.

Money Triggers

While trying to stick to my budget, I started to see where I would normally want to spend my money. Once you’re hyper-sensitive to where you’re money is going, you learn what triggers you to spend money in the first place.  Some common triggers include dating (you are, after all, trying to impress the person), friends, alcohol, poor planning (if you have a busy day and forget to pack multiple meals, you either starve or have to dine out), and laziness.

Why It Helps – The only way you’re going to prevent spending money is to know what causes you to spend it in the first place.  By identify the triggers, you can take steps to correct them, such as learning how to relax and have fun without alcohol, or waking up earlier so you have more time to prepare for your day.

Money Isn’t Everything (In Fact, It’s Hardly Anything)

I’ll admit, at the beginning of the week, I was not happy.  I made it a point to fully immerse myself in the experience and really believe that $100 was the absolute max I could spend during that week and for weeks to come.  As a result, as I made sacrifices and tough choices, I becamed depressed and pitied my situation.  But as the week progressed, as I learned ways to cope with my budget and accepted my situation, I realized feeling sorry for myself didn’t do anything to help put food on the table; it just demotived me.  I accepted my circumstances and decided to build from there- it was an example of “yes and” in real life.

Why It Helps – The cliche is that money can’t buy happiness, and you’ll start to realize that’s true.  There’s a reason that even the richest of people end up depressed- material things aren’t the answer.  Living a week without money helps you realize that, and decreases the importance of money in your life.  Sure you’ll still work to make dough, but you won’t put an unwarranted significance on it.

You Can Survive

The ultimate realization you’ll have at the end of the week is that you can survive.  Regardless of what happens, you can make it through it and come out in the end.  I know that I can live on only $100 a week, and even less if I had to.  I hope to never be in that position as I’ve worked hard to earn where I am now, but if something were to knock me down financially, I’d be able to get back up.

Why It Helps – Having the confidence to know you can take a licking and keep on ticking is powerful.  It emboldens you to make stronger choices and bigger risks.  At the same time, it helps you appreciate the important things in life.  No one lays on their deathbed wishing they had more money; they wish for more time with their friends and family, experiencing life.

A Poor Week Leads to a Richer Life

I can promise you, if you go through this experience, you’ll come out feeling richer at the end.  Not only will you actually be richer (you did, in fact, spend 75% less than you normally would), but you’ll also know how you can personally save some more money, and start appreciating the more important things.  Have you tried the challenge?  Post about it in the comments.

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$100 challenge

This week’s project was to live on a $100 budget for the entire week. Below is the “diary” of that spending, or you can read about what I learned from living on a limited budget.

Day 1 – Sunday

9:17am – The start of this week isn’t so bad. Matt is leaving today, so his parents are in town to pick him up. Luckily, we go to breakfast at Bagel Express which is cheap, and even more luckily, Matt’s parents insist on paying for my $2.25 buttered bagel and $1.79 Nesquik Chocolate Milk. One meal down and $0 spent.

11:15am – My first expense! Today is the last class of my sketch class and we have to make copies for everyone in our class. The total comes to $4.39. I should’ve written a shorter sketch, or better yet, printed it out at work on Friday.

2:47pm – I’ve felt my first discomfort from the challenge (yes, already). I only have a short break between my sketch class and an audition for an improv group, so I have to eat fast and somewhere in between the two places. McDonald’s is the only feasible option, and unfortunately it’s Manhattan so the $1 menu doesn’t really exist. Knowing I have an entire week ahead of me, I get a 4-piece nugget, small fry, and cup of water – $2.70.

2:59pm – I’m still hungry.

5:45pm – I just got back from the audition (it went OK, I should know sometime this week). I am starving. I have to make my grocery list. This is probably the most important event this entire week. Poor planning here could leave me miserable towards the end.

6:37pm – Grocery shopping is proving harder than I imagined- individual items add up very quickly. And why don’t these stores put prices on everything? If I don’t know how much it costs, I can’t put it in my cart with confidence.

6:50pm – I’m back from the grocery store and I have to eat something…anything. I elect for a granola bar before even putting away the groceries, even the frozen foods. I technically only spent $13.04, but that’s because I already had a lot of food here. But, in the spirit of this challenge, I’ve decided to total the cost of the food that I would’ve bought if I didn’t already have it (since it makes no sense to waste the food I already have by not eating it and buying it again). My new total grocery bill is $61.97… Holy crap it’s going to be a tough week.

7:55pm – I had my first meal from stuff I bought at the store – 9 chicken nuggets and a piece of bread. I feel full for the first time today.

9:45pm – I’m heading to bed to make sure I’m well rested for work tomorrow and more importantly not get hungry again tonight. My total spending for the day: $69.06.

Day 2 – Monday

8:30am – It’s a really good thing that I started waking up at 6am two weeks ago- living cheaply requires a lot of preparation. I woke up at 6am, worked out in my room at 6:30am, cooked and ate breakfast (3 eggs and a piece of toast) at 7:15am, showered, and packed a lunch for the day and was finally done by 8am. Then, as I was getting ready to leave for work, I realized the laptop bag I’ve been using, a nice leather, over-the-shoulder one, isn’t designed for carrying a lunch. So I made the switch to a backpack to make sure I could carry everything. Who knew saving money meant returning back to your high school days?

11:17am – I’m starting to get hungry- I don’t think I’ll make it to lunch. Luckily we have free pretzels here in the office- they should hold me over for now.

1:55pm – This challenge would be a heckuva lot easier if I had just decided to keep to myself for the whole week- but that’s not what I’d want to do if I really were on a strict budget. With that said, I just spent $16.96 on lunch at europa café. Why? Because a friend of mine was able to hook me up with tickets to David Letterman, and the least I could do was pay for her lunch.

2:57pm – Getting hungry again. Since I didn’t eat my packed lunch, I can grab the granola bar and have myself a snack.

3:44pm – I’m not feeling all that well (headache and a little nauseous. Is it because of something I ate? Or my altered eating schedule? Either way, I did not budget for getting sick).

4:54pm – Not eating my packed lunch has proved beneficial for the second time- I grabbed the turkey sandwich and ate it on the way to picking up tickets for the Letterman show.

8:25pm – I just had to make my first public sacrifice , which sucks. The friend that went with me to Letterman (which was pretty cool to see) asked if I wanted to grab dinner after the show. With only $13.98 In my pocket, I can’t afford to do it, so I have to politely decline.

9:35pm – I just got done eating two delicious chili dogs and watching “The Daily Show” on Hulu.com. Great meal, great entertainment.

11:15pm – It’s about time for bed and I’m not hungry at all. My total spending today was $16.96.

Day 3 – Tuesday

6:15am – I still have a bit of a headache and am feeling a little nauseous. I don’t feel like eating yet, but hopefully the Gandalf of my body will let this pass.

7:01am – Time for the breakfast of champions- store brand Frosted Flakes. It’s a nice, cheap meal, but generally doesn’t keep me very full. We’ll see how the morning goes.

10:30am – I just got done with a conference call, and I think it’s time I worked the rest of the day from home. Hopefully being in more relaxing clothing and in the comfort of my own home will help me feel better. Plus I have a lot more food choices there.

12:35pm – Seeing as how I didn’t budget for being sick, I don’t really have anything suitable to eat. The closest thing to soup I have is $.33 ramen noodles, so I had that plus two slices of buttered bread. Now it’s time to get back to work.

2:45pm – OK, so by work I meant nap off being sick for a little bit. The sad thing is that I actually feel a bit worse then when I went to sleep.

4:30pm – Finally feeling better, and thanks to a delicious peanut butter & jelly sandwich, I’m feeling full as well.

7:45pm – Woodruff is over to talk about how we want to try to get Smarty Pants up and running in New York. Unfortunately I didn’t really buy any food that was good for more than one person, so we have to run to the store. We decide to go with some hamburger helper- him paying for the hamburger and me getting the helper at $3.49.

11:15pm – I still haven’t even made it a day with spending no money. My total budget left is $10.49.

Day 4 – Wednesday

7:30am – I’ve got a pretty long day today, so I have to make sure I plan appropriately. I started the day with a bowl of cereal and just finished packing some sandwiches and snacks to hold me over through work and ComedySportz practice. I hope it’s enough because I won’t be back home till after 10pm tonight.

8:05am – My fear came to fruition this morning – my monthly subway pass expired. Fortunately I wasn’t going to include this cost in the challenge (it’s a monthly expense), but it stills requires a trip back to the apartment to grab a credit card to pay the $81. Also, in the spirit of experiencing what it would be like if I didn’t have the option to take the subway, I’m walking to work this morning. Luckily it’s a nice day, so hopefully it won’t be miserable.

8:45am – What a walk… Google says it’s 2.1 miles. On the plus side it was nice out and I got in a good morning workout. On the minus side it took me 40 minutes to do, I’m now sweaty and starving, I couldn’t read or write like I normally do on the subway, and I have a bit of a headache. I definitely couldn’t do that every morning and afternoon, especially considering tonight I have to go to the west side for practice.

9:03am – I couldn’t do it, I had to eat something. There goes the granola bar for the day.

1:07pm – After a challenging morning (my head hurt the worst it has in awhile), I’m now feeling good and full, thanks to my sliced chicken sandwich and Doritos.

3:56pm – The advantage to packing my lunch was that I was able to pack two sandwiches, the second of which I just consumed. This is supposedly the better way to eat anyway – smaller, more frequent meals.

6:04pm – Thanks to my preparation this morning, I have a chicken pot pie I can cook in the office kitchen. Throw in some left over carrots and things are going well.

10:15pm – I just got back home from improv practice and I’m glad to be back in the presence of food. Even though I had them two days ago, the chili dogs are calling my name again. Bon apetit.

11:47pm – I was finally able to make it a day without spending any money. I’m sure I’ve done this many a-time without realizing it, but when you’re away from home from 8am to 10pm, it requires some planning ahead. Still sitting at $10.49 left for the week.

Day 5 – Thursday

6:41am – I got bored of the cereal, so I went back to scrambled eggs and toast. After starting the eggs, I realized I probably should’ve waited to cook/eat them till after I worked out, but I can’t change that now. Today’s eggs were a little dry, but definitely edible.

7:35am – My worry about eating too much before working out (a weight-free routine I do in my room) was unwarranted. My worry that I’d be hungry after the workout was accurate. Luckily a handful of carrots should tide me over for awhile.

11:11am – My wish for more food came true- someone had leftover bagels after a meeting and offered them up to the rest of the office. Who would’ve thought a simple bagel with butter would be like Thanksgiving in September.

1:06pm – Thanks to the free bagel, I was able to wait a little longer till lunch- a turkey sandwich and some Doritos.

3:47pm – Snack time with Mr. Granola bar.

5:40pm – Just like yesterday, I came to work with two sandwiches. I’m not starving by any means, but rather than take the PB&J home or leave it for another day, I figure I might as well eat it right?

9:34pm – With only a couple days left, I decided it was time to bust out a long-time staple in my “cook at home” diet- pizza rolls. I have to imangine I’ve been eating the pepperoni variety since 2001.

10:12pm – I’m calling it a bit early tonight to make sure I’m back to 100%. It was another $0 day, AND no headaches–maybe I’m not allergic to being broke after all. $10.49 left for 2 days.

Day 6 – Friday

7:10am – Thanks to me forgetting about an 8am meeting I have today, I have to scarf down a small bowl of cereal, throw a sandwich in my bag, hop in the shower, and get to work. We’ll have to see if this poor planning affects my day.

10:11am – Yep, the skimpy breakfast is already leaving me hungry. Pretzels in the office to the rescue.

11:59am – I can’t hold out any longer, I have to eat lunch. Another turkey sandwich and Doritos.

3:47pm – Down goes the granola bar.

6:11pm – I made the mistake of not making a second sandwich for the afternoon, so I am absolutely starving. I decided to finally reheat the pizza from Monday, which at least makes me feel a little bit better about spending $5.50 on it.

12:35am – So I accidentally spent the last 6 hours watching the first 8 episodes of the first season of The West Wing. I had never seen the show but have had Season 1 sitting in my DVD collection for well over a year. While not the most exciting of evenings, it was relaxing and best of all free. No dollars spent today and $10.49 left for the last day of the project.

Day 7 – Saturday

8:41am – The last day of the challenge and I couldn’t be happier (or I guess maybe tomorrow when it’s over I will be). Unfortunately due to me going through my email and RSS feeds for the past hour, I have to eat a quick bowl of cereal before heading out to meet a friend to observe the taping of his weekly talk show. We all know how well a bowl of cereal lasted me yesterday…

11:15am – Luckily I threw a granola bar and sandwich in my bag before heading out the door. Nothing has really happened yet on the set, so I have some time to eat.

11:46am – I wanted to wait until later in the day to resort to the sandwich, but I can’t make it.

2:25pm – Due to some technical difficulties, they still haven’t actually taped anything yet. On a positive note, they did order pizza for everyone.

10:03pm – The good news is that heading into the evening, I had a few dollars left in the budget ($10.49 to be exact). The better news is that I spent $5.78 on cream cheese and tortilla chips, meaning I was able to make Skyline Chili Dip. The bad news is that Ohio State is not doing that well against USC.

11:41pm – With the week almost over, and the OSU vs. USC game being a blowout, I just want to get this post done and get to bed. As a “reward” for my frugal spending Wednesday through Friday, and what was supposed to be in celebration of the OSU game, I spent $5.78 today. That brings my grand total for the week to $95.29, leaving a $4.71 surplus!

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