Food Stamp Challenge: Day 4

Today marks Day 4 of my Food Stamp Challenge! I am also double-posting this post on my class blog.

Today in class, we talked about how it is important that people get proper nutrients when not having a lot of money to spend on food every day. For women, getting enough iron and calcium is very important. This made me go back to what I’ve been eating to see how I’m doing. Without even checking, I knew I wasn’t getting enough calcium! Aside from ice cream, you will never see a dairy product on my plate or in my cup. I hate milk, cheese, yogurt, and cream cheese, and everything else you can think of! My lack of dairy isn’t necessarily because I’m low on money every day, it’s because I hate those kinds of foods. If I was one of the people who drinks 3 glasses of milk, a cup of yogurt, and needs to put cheese on everything, I would be over budget. Dairy products are expensive and I can see how people, who like them, may have to go without them. If you use coupons, getting a great price on yogurt is fairly easy to do and watching the sales on cheese can save you money as well. Buying a gallon of milk or more a week is definitely a budget killer.

Another difficult part of this project is actually coming up with the cost of the food to report back to the blog. I live in an apartment and we share food and eat dinner together every night. Even though I bought a bag of frozen veggies for $1, that’s being split with 3 people so it’s not fair to my budget to take a whole $1 out of it. I’m also not going to only shop, cook, and eat alone for the week. I live with all boys, and they depend on my food and cooking! It’s just not reasonable for me to spend my $30 at the grocery store and use it all in one week. I shop and cook for multiple people, so I’m always having to make calculations. I also never plan to live alone ever in my life, so I don’t think I’ll ever need to shop on a single person’s budget. For instance, if my other 2 roommates were doing this challenge, we’d have $90 for the week. Could we live on $90 a week? -YES! And being a couponer, as my Savvy Student Shopper readers know, you can’t just shop for one week when you go to the grocery store. If there’s a good deal, you stock up for months! Last night, we had hot dogs that I got for free. To get the deal, you had to buy 10 packs, so there’s obviously still packs of hot dogs left in my freezer! It’s more expensive to shop week by week. You must buy ahead, stock up when the deal is good, buy in bulk (only when it’s cheaper) to get the most out of your money. I think this project would be even more realistic if it lasted a month (to take into account multiple shopping trips because I don’t buy everything at once) and if I could include the number of people actually in my household. I don’t want to feel like I’m cheating the system buy having to divide my dinners up by the number of people eating, it’s just not reasonable to eat alone, when we can all eat together while I stay on budget.

I skipped breakfast and ended up eating a lunch and snack. For lunch I enjoyed my last bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup (estimated cost = $0.50). For a snack, I had an apple from the farmer’s market (cost $1.16) and some caramel. I got the caramel for $1.50 after my coupon. Today I ate approximately $0.38 worth. I’m not including the entire $1.50 because my roommates ate some too. Lunch + snack = $2.04.

I traveled back home this weekend to do some canning. I won’t get all frugal and 1940s on you, but preserving your food in a can is a very good way to save money. You simply stock up on foods when they are cheap and in-season and then preserve them for the rest of the year. My boyfriend and I worked on apple butter tonight. When I do my canning, dinner is the last thing on my mind! I had a piece of gluten free bread (approximately $0.25/slice). I also ate some chips and dip. The entire bag of chips cost $0.50 after coupon, and the dip was only $0.16 after coupon. I didn’t eat too much because I was busy. I probably ate around $0.20 worth. “Dinner” = $0.45.

Not the best day nutrition wise, but I was busy! At least I didn’t have to stop and get fast food or something! I am hungry though… good thing I have room in my budget to splurge tomorrow!

My total for today is $2.49!

Week to date: $3 + $2.75 + $3.15 +$2.49 = $11.39. I have $18.61 and 3 days left.

2 replies
  1. Jenn says:

    Imagine if you had a food allergy and how much harder that would make living on $4 a day. just wanted to share that thought

    • Brandi says:

      That’s true, depending on the circumstances of course! I’ve seen families who have members with food allergies live on less than $4/day. With some work, it’s possible for almost everyone!

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