Food Stamp Challenge: Day 2

Today marks Day 2 of my Food Stamp Challenge! I am also double-posting this post on my class blog.

I learned a few things from this challenge today. The first thing I realized was how much I usually snack! Now that I have to track everything single thing I eat, I think twice about snacking on crackers or sweets like I often do! I never really *need* those snacks, but they are surely missed! Maybe if people cut out their extra snacks, junk food, and soda, they’d be able to live on $4.30 with no problem. If you’re shopping right and doing the cooking, you should be able to eat 2-3 larger meals a day under budget. I find that the problem comes during snack time, because those snacks really add up!

Luckily, couponing makes snacking easier. I can usually get things like fruit snacks and granola bars for cheap or free. When you’re on Food Stamps, you can still use coupons to save you even more money. Why wouldn’t someone use coupons?!

I went to the farmer’s market today (because many of them accept food stamps!) and bought some apples to go with my caramel I bought at Safeway. I’m not sure why this vendor feels the need to charge $2.39/lb for their apples; that’s the highest I’ve EVER seen non-organic apples. Even the grocery store has apples regularly priced at $1.99/lb. But in order to get the most out of this project, I bought 2 apples from the farmers market. Two apples cost me $2.33, crazy huh? At least they taste good! If you’re on Food Stamps and your local farmer’s market is as pricey as this one, unfortunately, I can’t recommend you shopping there. I have a garden, so I truly understand the time, work, and money that goes into growing your own food, but if you can’t have competitive (and fair) prices, then maybe you shouldn’t be selling it! I feel like they are really ripping people off. I usually get my apples from 2 other local orchards. Their prices are $1.49/lb and the other is $0.70/lb. $2.39/lb is a bit ridiculous, in my opinion.

I skipped breakfast this morning and instead had an early lunch. I had another bowl of leftover homemade chicken noodle soup, which I estimated it cost me about $0.50, but probably less. One great thing about buying and cooking your own food are the leftovers -what a money saver!  I also had some potato chips. A few weeks ago, I was able to pick up this bag of Lay’s for just $0.50 after my coupon. I’ll say that I ate $0.10 worth of chips today. I drank water for lunch out of my reusable bottle. Lunch cost = $0.60.

I’m not sure how I made it all the way to dinner time without snacking, but I was starving and was so ready for dinner! We had tacos! The taco shells were FREE after my coupon a few weeks ago, so that cost was $0. I ate 3 small tacos, using approximately 1/3 of a pound of ground beef. I bought the ground beef for $2.99/lb, so I ate approximately $1’s worth. The small amount of lettuce, taco spices, onion, and salsa I used probably another $0.75 to my total, but probably less, but I don’t want to underestimate. I also had 2 glasses of tea (at approximately $0.20/glass). My dinner total = $2.15.

I’m full, ate some veggies, and avoided processed foods today (minus the potato chips! 😉 ). I probably ought to eat some fruit every day, but the prices at the farmer’s market are way out of my budget! My grand total of eaten food was $2.75. I’m not adding the price of the apples in because I haven’t eaten them yet.

Week to date: $3 + $2.75 = $5.75. I have $24.25 left and 5 days left. I think I can do it!

4 replies
  1. Grace says:

    I think this project is so fun! I hope you continue this even after your class! Can’t wait till the next post!

  2. JB says:

    I don’t know about your state but in KS you have to pay sales tax if you use coupons. And if you absolutely don’t have the money that additional money may make it impossible to use coupons. Just sharing.

  3. Tricia says:

    One thing that you have to remember about farmers markets is just because something is not labeled as organic, doesn’t mean that it is nonorganic. In order to be considered “organic” farmers not only have to meet qualifications but also pay a fee. The farmer may be using organic practices and applying for USDA certification, which means that the cost of the fee must be factored in, and also, he cannot use pesticides. This means that more of his crop can be ruined, so he has to grow a larger amount in order to plan for that. The same is true if he chooses not to use chemical fertilizers.

    Finally, the reason that chain stores such as Kroger and Safeway can charge less, is because they are not paying the true cost. They will often plant impulse buys where people who do not need them will be tempted, and these have a higher markup compared to common items that people need. Also, Safeway is not suffering the costs of organic farming. The farmers may eat more of the cost, and still choose to sell to chains because that is where they get most of their money, from the one buyer. This gives stores the power to set the price. If their vendor sets a price they do not like, the vendor moves on to someone else.

    I’m not trying to discount this whole experiment, but you need to do better research before placing judgement on someone trying to make a living. You say you know how difficult growing things is, but you’ve never had to worry about your livelihood if one crop fails.

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