Five Penny Experiment Goals For The Next Year

In the past 10 months Penny Experiment has been able to donate over $18,000 worth of food to local food banks which is far more than I thought would be possible when I first started (I had an original goal of $5,000 for the first year). While it may seem a bit early to be making goals for another year since this first one is not yet over, my hand was somewhat forced when my sister claimed that I never complete my goals. These are the goals that I would like to complete for Penny Experiment in the next year as I continue to move toward the ultimate goal of donating $1 million worth of food to local food banks.

1. Personally donate $25,000 worth of food to food banks: I managed to donate $14,500 worth of food to local food banks the last 10 months which also included several months where I was still learning how to super coupon — a time I wasn’t all that great at it. From the experience this past year, I believe that adding another $25,000 is a doable goal on my part.

2. Having others donate $10,000 worth of food to their local food banks: Others that have contributed to Penny Experiment by donating food to their local food banks worth close to $4,000. I am hoping to get a lot more people involved by teaching them the skills I used to eat well on $1 a day for 100 days so that they can both save money on their own grocery bills plus donate the excess free food and products they get to their local food banks. Combining my donation goal with this goal should mean that Penny Experiment passes the $50,000 in donated food next year!

3. Have a Penny Experiment Art show: One of the main reasons that I was able to donate as much food as I did these past 10 months is because of the generosity of many artists in making Penny Postcard art. I want to get a gallery showing of these art pieces and begin to sell them to raise even more money to buy food for Penny Experiment. I am also excited to show off the wonderful work that the artists created. As I write this, there appears to be five numbers that are still available from artists that for one reason or another were unable to complete their pieces, so if you know an artist that might like to participate, please email me at [email protected] to get more information and a number.

4. Create other forms of income from that original penny which will allow me to buy even more food for food banks: Currently I have been able to purchase all the food at about 97% off of its retail value and have been careful to only buy the very best of the best deals since I currently have limited funds with which to purchase the food. If I can come up with some more creative ideas to raise money, I hope to be able to purchase food deals that are as low as 80% off of retail value which should make it possible for me to buy much much more and a greater variety of foods for local food banks.

5. Donate 250 environmentally friendly bags to my local food bank : One of the complaints I have had is that when I make my purchases, I get a lot of plastic bags and don’t use reusable bags. I have been doing so for a reason. The food banks that give away the food to are always in need of the plastic bags for when they give away the food, so they have asked me to bring the food to them in this way. I mentioned this issue to the director of the Milpitas Food Bank and she has agreed to try and implement a green bag policy for those who get food from the food bank this coming year. She will give the food to those that come by in a environmentally friendly bag which they must bring back the next time if they want to get more food. If the details can be worked out, she will have a blueprint to share with all food banks across the country on how to implement this more environmentally friendly program.

I think this is a wonderful idea and shows how even simple comments on this blog may have a potentially huge impact on how food banks distribute food to those in need. She estimates that to make this work, she is going to need about 2000 of these bags and my goal is to obtain 250 for her.

These are my main five goals. If there are others that you think I should consider (or have questions about the current ones), please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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6 Responses to Five Penny Experiment Goals For The Next Year

  1. Ann Troe says:

    Thanks so much for the update and your thoughts. I am amazed at how much food you have been able to donate.

    It is also exciting you only have a few numbers left that need postcard art!
    You have made amazing progress.

    Thank you for everything you are doing.

  2. I wonder if the food bank can put those kinds of restrictions on the recipients–“bring back this bag or you don’t get food. ” If the federal government is in any way involved, I doubt it. Any form of government oversight might make additional restrictions impossible. Maybe the food bank could offer a positive reinforcement–an extra bit of food for those who bring back the bag. What if someone pays to get a ride to the food bank and is then denied food the family is waiting to receive?

    Most food banks have people working to have bags filled before people arrive. So, it would slow the line to have to pack each bag while the recipient waits. Of course, if it is a food bank where the people shop and choose foods they want, then that would not be an issue.

    Maybe the food bank could collect plastic bags that others have brought home and donated to the food bank. ??? I rarely have plastic bags because I use canvas bags, but I donate mine to a thrift store and a food bank.

    Some food banks put the food in cardboard boxes. Stores donate the boxes that four gallons of milk arrive in. The boxes get one more use before the landfill.

    I read your whole hundred days blog in two sittings! I am so impressed and want to do as well. Because my binder was stolen, I had to start all over with coupons and organizing, so I have been demoralized. Your hauls are impressive and enviable.

    You remarked that you are homeless and carless. How so? You talk about coming home, going home, and driving here and there. You even have a picture of the trunk of a vehicle full of food. Can you explain your homeless state in light of what you describe in your blog and all the talk of home and driving? Yes, I do realize you housesit.

    Can I smack your sister for not even acknowledging your success? Is she older than you? It seems so.

  3. admin says:

    @Practical Parsimony

    Thank you for the tips on the food banks – they are all issues we’ll have to address so it is good to keep them in mind.

    I am homeless and carless on purpose. Since I make my living on the Internet, I can work from anyplace as long as I have an Internet connection. With this freedon, I would much rather travel than have a home. When I refer to “home” in those posts, I was referring to where I happened to be staying — the 100 days eating on $1 a day meant that I spent most of the 100 days at a number of places (family and friends) in the SF Bay area as a base. Usually I travel a lot more across the country.

    I am also carless, but I do borrow cars from family and friends from time to time to shop and deliver food to food banks.

  4. I was told about your shopping bag goal today via a post to an article about my business(toward the bottom):

    I am making some shopping bags with used mattress material and would like to know how I can donate a few bags to your cause. I don’t have many, but would like to give you a couple to help out.

    Please let me know how I can learn more.

  5. admin says:


    Wow – thank you. Have sent off an email.

  6. Those are fantastic goals!! My life has gotten in the way of me participating as much s I had planned, but I am hoping to do more in the coming months. Stick with it – it is a wonderful pursuit!

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