Three days, $30 and only one free activity per day.
Is that possible in Vancouver, recently named the least affordable city in all of North America by The Economist's annual Cost of Living Survey?
That was my challenge, determined to prove you needn't be loaded to have fun in an expensive place.
Ideally, I'd also have a half decent time -- being poor and miserable isn't easy, after all.
I arrive early morning with a whole day of costly temptations before me, not to mention some serious, judgment-clouding jet lag.
But the early hour means crowds at tourist hotspots are minimal, so I head to the biggest of them all -- Granville Island.
Located south of downtown in False Creek, the area enforces strict rules against franchise stores and restaurants.
Everyone trading within its indoor Public Market is independent, from three generation-old butchers to fledgling artisan chocolatiers.
Great news for cash-strapped travelers like me -- at least it would be, had the concept of haggling not bypassed Canadian culture.
I wasn't expecting the lively back-and-forth negotiation and open-palmed gestures of an Arabian souk, but this is ridiculous.
Sensing my frustration as I attempt to knock a punnet of cherries from $3.99 to $2.50 (a quarter of my daily budget), a fellow shopper says I can get a good, cheap meal by heading over to the fishmongers and asking for "lox trimmings."
I buy half a pound of the smoky fish, jam it between two bagels from the adjacent bakery stall and have my first meal since Heathrow and the best $4 breakfast of my life.
With the market filling up and $26 left in my pocket, I leave Granville Island to explore the city.
On foot, of course.
Zig-zagging north from Granville Bridge, I cut through the downtown area to Devonian Harbour Park on the northwest corner of town.
Though I'd not planned it, it's here I claim today's freebie, in the form of one of the most impressive collections of public art in the world.
There are more than 300 free-to-see murals and sculptures in Vancouver, and some of the most high profile pieces are along the two-kilometer stretch of waterfront that runs from Devonian Park Harbour to Portside Park in Gastown -- Vancouver's obligatory sketchy, arty, craft beer-y neighborhood.
Culture absorbed, it's time to get a buzz going.
Or, at least, as buzzed as $6 (my remaining budget for the day) can get you, which on the brewpub-lined streets of Gastown isn't very much at all (pints range from from $7-$12 at the likes of Chill Winston and The Flying Pig).
Cheaper booze can be found on East Hastings Street, an alarmingly rundown part of town where it feels as though the chances of some sort of aggressive confrontation double with every block.
If it's possible to get tipsy on pocket change in this city, I'm in the right place.
First though, I drop into Treasure Island, a junk shop (in the absolute truest sense of the word) on the corner of Hastings and Carrall Street.
As the sign outside unabashedly proclaims, here you can pick up a pocketknife for a mere $4.99 (or upgrade to a hunting knife for $5 more), while inside the floor is jammed with everything from old VCRs to stacks of "mature" pornography.
Sensing that this isn't the sort of shop that welcomes casual browsers, I grab a can of cashews I find on a shelf next to an old motorcycle helmet full of mobile phone chargers.