The $20 Challenge

You’re sitting there in your rocking chair, feeling like life has passed you by just a little too much. What will you do today?

“I dunno”, you shrug, looking for the millionth time at your phone. “I’m poor”.

Ah, yes. Poor. What does “poor” mean, anyway? For me, “poor” means not having a spare $100-200 cash at all times. Poor means that if going out on the piss turns my $150 cash into $15 overnight, I may just decline that night out. Poor to me is not having much leftover money on my next payday, its when I’d like to buy a new book, but “better wait until next payday, just in case“.

"Until next week, sweet prince" ......

Luckily, there are ways to have immense fun with not much money. Last year my friend Peter was a student and I was working part-time (there was a lot more pot and Playstation in my life back then) and it was Peters birthday. I made him a handmade card like an 8 year old, and decided that with my last $50, Peters birthday present would have to be creative. Thus was born the $20 Challenge.

To be fair though, I did spend like, 3 hours shading the upper lip.

The $20 Challenge was where we each had $20, and we had to buy as much stuff as we could with said $20. After the challenge, each item was to be graded out of 5 on the following: price, relevance to the buyer’s everyday life, lifespan/uses per item and “awesomeness”. For example, a 20c pencil could be graded highly on price and relevance, but lowly on lifespan and “awesomeness”, whereas a $5 Empire State Building could be graded low on price and relevance, but high on lifespan and “awesomeness”. The four areas of judgement made things more fair and interesting. At the end of the grading, whomever had the most points was the winner! The prize? Respect, of course. We were poor, don’t judge.

We'll just have to wait and see!

Before you assume this was just some half-assed tournament, let me tell you what, son. There were rules that we had to abide by: Rule 1: You could only purchase 1 item at each store. Rule 2: Your purchases had to be made from a shop within the shopping centre. Rule 3: You could only purchase one of each item. Rule 4: You could not buy the same item as your opponent. Rule 5: You could only make one food purchase. This was to shut out any notions of “copycat” play, or just going to the supermarket and buying 60 packets of Mi Goreng. It’s not a fun challenge if you just do that!

So off we set to Southlands with our $20 each in pocket, deciding to get receipts in case anyone forgot the price of any item. Our first stop was a Priceline, where Peter immediately dived for the 99c lollies, and I made a beeline for the section involving cotton buds and other haberdashery. We absolutely raped and pillaged every store, looking for that bargain that might allow us gloating rights. At a newsagent I smugly purchased for myself a 45c stamp, when alas! Peter emerged with a 20c bullclip.

It's about as relevant as CHOGM

Getting the lowest price was not necessarily the most important factor, however. You had to consider each category. Peters bullclip certainly wasn’t awesome, nor was it very relevant to him, although he half-heartedly protested that he would use it for holding sheets of guitar music together. (Clutching at straws, Peter.) My stamp was relevant, yet had no lifespan – only one use permitted on a stamp.

Many stores were involved in the challenge, including but not limited to, a health food store, a music store, a Best n Less, The Reject Shop (obviously!), a supermarket and a weird little asian nic-nac store where I scored for 20c, my very own fake miniature pear.


The things that those Asians come up with to sell us retarded “round-eyes”! Bet they laugh at us so hard behind our backs, whilst raking in their sweet profits from our business, as Peter had also splurged on a $1 knife from them.

Relevant for "cutting stuff" - yeah good on ya Peter

The Challenge took up a good 2-3 hours, with a further hour at home laying out all of our items and grading them, whilst eating scroggin. The highlights were definitely my sexy mobile phone sock and Peters awesome flashing rings. When I pointed out that he neither uses ecstasy nor LSD and therefore could not claim “relevance” on the rings, he defiantly gave himself a 5 for awesomeness. We would each grade an item, and give it the average, so that nobody could undercut their opponent whilst giving themselves mad marks. We were fair and true, and I will boldly claim that the $20 Challenge is indeed a Gentlemen’s Game.

All of these things are beautiful trinkets in their own way

At the end of the day, Peter was the winner, and he won because he outsmarted me in relevance. But hark! I protested. Surely my $2 beard trimming set is relevant to my everyday life? What about my $5 replica Empire State building, or my $1 gift bag with butterflies on it? Or perhaps my $1 “WWE Smackdown” paddleball set, or my 45c worth of scroggin mix? But sadly, none of these items were as relevant as Peters $1 business socks or $2 manly 8-piece “Cutter” set. Plus, his 80c guitar pick and $1 money tin caned my $1 Australian $100 novelty toilet paper (Which did actually get used a couple of months ago when we ran out and were all too drunk to drive to the supermarket).

I maintain that it could have gone either way

Some argue that Peter won the Challenge, but I like to say that at the end of the day, Poor People were the winners. Next time you’re bored and poor, take a good friend and try the $20 Challenge. 4 hours of LOLs and memories with a buddy are nothing to scoff at.

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoox

3 thoughts on “The $20 Challenge

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