Elon Musk: The Billionaire Who Once Lived on $1 Daily Food Budget

Dive into how a young Elon Musk, way before Tesla and SpaceX, lived off just a dollar a day in college and how this experiment shaped his outlook on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Elon Musk: The Billionaire Who Once Lived on $1 Daily Food Budget

Friday October 13, 2023,

2 min Read

Before Elon Musk became the face behind massive brands like Tesla and SpaceX and amassed a jaw-dropping net worth of approximately $180 Billion , he was just a 17-year-old college student in Ontario, navigating an unusual self-challenge: to live off just $1 a day.

But why would someone do this? It wasn’t out of need or charity. It was Musk's way of testing himself. How low could he go and still survive? In an enlightening chat with scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Musk shared this lesser-known chapter of his life on the StarTalk Radio podcast.

Picture this: A young Musk eating mostly hot dogs, oranges, and sometimes pasta — day in, day out. Sounds tough, right? But the lesson behind it was powerful. "If I can manage on a dollar a day, earning $30 in a month seems doable," he thought. This wasn't just about saving pennies; it was a test of his grit and adaptability.

While most college students were anxious about jobs after graduation, Musk was on a different wavelength. He was dreaming BIG. He pondered over electric cars, green energy, and rockets that might one day reach Mars. And guess what? This $1-a-day adventure convinced him that he didn’t need to be rich to chase those dreams.

Musk’s journey from South Africa to Canada, then heading to UPenn, always had a bigger picture in mind — starting his own tech business in the U.S. This dollar challenge? It just boosted his confidence.

Neil deGrasse Tyson put it best when he said, "This is like your launchpad to any destination." Musk’s reply? A simple, yet determined, "Absolutely."

Musk's story isn’t just about money or food; it's a reminder. Big dreams often begin with small, unconventional steps. And sometimes, challenges we set for ourselves can lead us to stellar heights.