Empty Fridge Empty Wallets

Last week on Two Girls and a Bunk we went over a few life hacks for living in small spaces. To continue providing tricks of the trade we conducted a social experiment of sorts that provides real-world knowledge about how to live with an empty fridge and empty wallets. This idea was born from the many conversations we have had about what we would do with our lives if we had no income. We always came to the conclusion that we would move somewhere warm and close to a university campus. Why these criteria, you may ask. Our reasoning is that warm places are nice to live in during the winter, and universities provide an abundance of free food opportunities. Don't just take our word for it. Check out the results from our week-long trial of buying no food and managing to feed ourselves thanks to the wonderful establishment of the University of Colorado Boulder and the surrounding area. 

No groceries? No problem!
Day 1:

When I say Sunday, you say 9-5pm workshop at school! Sounds like fun, right? Maybe not in the traditional sense, but it sounds like free food to us! This MBA Case workshop was handing out more than interview advice; it had Garbanzo catering! This Mediterranean meal hit the spot, and three plates later we were feeling pretty darn good. Pro tip: stick around the food when things are winding down and see if the host lets you snag a take home bag. Loitering takes you places, and on this day it got us lunch for the next day!

Check out this sweet spread!
Delicious and Nutritious 
Day 2

The Garbanzo catering tasted just as wonderful on day 2 of eating for free. For dinner, we had to be more resourceful. Lucky for us, Alison is still on the email list from our dorm last year and we had direct intel that they were having an event to inform students about the finance program. What really peaked our interest was the promise of providing dinner. The return on investment was too good to pass up, so we took a trip back to our old stomping grounds to attend the finance talk. In a tragic turn of events, Sarah went back to her car to find a parking ticket for $50. Good thing we aren't spending money on groceries this week...
One day later: Two times as good
Lost more dough than we got on this one :(
Parking Ticket: A Bummer and a Half
Day 3

The lettuce from Garbanzo lives on! With a few add-ins another meal is created. One thing that you can't put a price tag on is friendship. We couldn't miss the opportunity to have good company and hit up our favorite hang-out spot: The Yellow Deli.
Lettuce have free lunch

Deli-ghtful outing featuring wonderful friends
Day 4

On the first Wednesday of each month, a beautiful event occurs. The alumni center hosts a free lunch. We took advantage of this occasion and ate our fair share of classic Mexican cuisine. Free food benefits not only your short-term goals, but your long-term goals, too! We were drawn to the Meet the Consulting Firms Night by the promise of dinner, and got to see representatives from these firms in action at the networking night. As if all this food wasn't enough, we also paid a visit to our friends after the consulting event. They had just eaten dinner and had leftovers they wanted to get rid of. Being a human garbage disposal is what we do best, so sign us up! Lesson from the day: know what events are going on around campus and timing is everything when it comes to leftovers.
Needless to say, we'll be back every first Wednesday
All of the food groups for none of the money

Oatmeal cookie with raisins disguised as chocolate: it's criminal 
Actual chocolate cookie mmmmmm good
Good for careers. Good for the stomach.
Full plate, full heart, full smile
Want a pizza this? Yes.
Pasta la vista baby!
Day 5:

News of free food can come from anywhere. You just have keep your eyes open and utilize your network. On day five, we learned of bagels and coffee from a trusted source on Facebook. We also found out about a local apartment complex hosting an event from a reliable friend that shares our passion for food we don't have to pay for. In our last food networking of the day, we stopped by our good friend's sorority house for a late-night snack.

Invaluable Information courtesy of Facebook

Coffee and Bagels as Promised

Up close view of the whole-wheat bagel
Taste of the South Event at Bear Creek Apartments

The portion control left us feeling rationed but still satisfied

Alison's Talents: being photogenic and using a knife when they run out of forks

Kappa Kappa Bananas

Hidden treasure in the drawers of the sorority house

 Day 6

Class is always better when your classmates bring in snacks! Speaking of snacks, did someone say Parents Weekend? Yes, it's Parents Weekend and nothing says free food like having your parents in town. The timing for this could not have been better.

Pro tip: Use all angles to get every last crumb

The Dark Horse: local bar and grill/the noble steed of Parents Weekend 

Parents Weekend Cookies 
Day 7

Breakfast was courtesy of the Broker Inn. Our parents know what is up when choosing a hotel with a continental breakfast. And on the last night of our week of free eating, we attended a school group event that provided dinner. A good time was had by all. 

What an egg-celent way to start the day!

Spaghetti and Salad: Classic meal for some classy ladies (us)
Overall Feelings:

The results of this experiment prove our hypothesis that living around a university is a great way to find food events to eat for free. I know in economics class the teacher would say "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Someone, somewhere is always paying for the food. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that contributed to our week of free eating. I will use this money to pay for the parking ticket, and this life experience to help me in all my future endeavors. 

-Sarah Olson

Although I'm excited to be back to buying and preparing my own meals and having a full fridge, this experience has taught me that being resourceful has both financial benefits, as well as opens doors to endless opportunities. For the folks tuning in at home, my advice would be to stop and read the next poster you see hanging in the hall. Also, a special thanks to all the people who made this week possible. This post would not be possible without you.

-Alison Schlichting


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  2. Hey ladies!!! This was sooooo amazing and helpful I go to school in Seattle and have been trying out your tips to save money!


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