This post is a series for The Food Stamps Challenge. You can read about what that is here and also follow along as my oldest son and I try to eat for a week on $56, or $28 a person for a week... or $4 a day per person. Will we starve? Maybe...
The first issue I ran into with the Food Stamps Challenge is that I already bought our food and spending more money just for a challenge isn’t realistic when your income is $744 a month. Instead, we are tallying up our food cost by what we are eating, keeping a careful inventory and pretending we had to buy each package or thing we’ve used.
The second problem with the Food Stamps Challenge… oh yea! I remember why I don’t shop solely here. They don’t carry the foods we can eat. While the stores in our small town tout the “Shop Local” plea to the locals, I have had too many problems getting them to order foods or coconut milk, or anything we ask them to, like we requested.
How can we solely support our local store when they WON’T support us? The month we shopped local, we spent very hungry.
Our solution? Let’s pretend we don’t have a car. Let’s also pretend, for a moment, that we actually want to eat something other than lettuce and apples for a month. What would we do?
Oh yea! We would shop Amazon.com because of the Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping. I get nothing for saying this, I just love Amazon. So, for this week, we will figure out how much it would cost per item on Amazon and pretend we had it mailed to us.
We’re also counting the total and taking it off the weekly price of $56 because, really, who buys 1 egg?
Our Meals for Today (with Prices)
Breakfast: I know… major faux-pas but, we don’t eat breakfast. I had a cup of coffee. I buy whole beans and grind them for coffee. My son had a cup of green tea.
SO… 1 pound of coffee beans is… EGADS! $12.99 a pound. Luckily, this week it was on sale for $9.99 a pound. I searched the internet and found this helpful page. I figured I drink about 41 cups a week (or about 6 cups a day?) and the rest of the time I will be drinking water. Since I can buy coffee here, I am stuck with the local prices. Also, I drink my brew much weaker than regular coffee and grind it fine. I will probably only use 1/4 pound of coffee.
One fourth pound of coffee is $2.50. Damn. Ouch.
Green tea comes in a box of 40 tea bags for $3.89 here. That’s .10 per cup of tea.
I was going to have coconut milk in my coffee but I priced it on Amazon. I found So Delicious Coconut Milk for $36.98 for a package of six. Or $6.19 a box. SWEET BABY JESUS! Did they milk a golden coconut? Okay, no coconut milk for me.
I then found that they sell So Delicious Coconut Milk at our local store in the refrigerated section for $4.19 a half gallon. I may need that later in the week but for now, black coffee it is. No sugar either. I can't afford to sweeten my coffee.
BREAKFAST TOTAL: 6.39
AMOUNT OF FOOD STAMPS LEFT: 49.61
I better start planning a little better.
Lunch Menu and Pricing
For lunch we decided to splurge and have Annie's Gluten-Free Rice Pasta and Cheddar Mac and Cheese. That's $2.30 a box. Not bad. That's better than I can get at the out of town store. And since they refuse to sell it here, $2.30 it is!
We made it with, crap!, I had to buy Coconut milk for $4.19 but I'll be using it to cook other dishes too.
LUNCH TOTAL: $6.49
AMOUNT OF FOOD STAMPS LEFT: $43.12
Let's recap, I have coffee, tea and coconut milk for the week. And we aren't having mac and cheese again for the week because... ouch, that is pricey!
Dinner Menu and Pricing
We decided to have tortillas for dinner and bought Garbanzo Bean flour to make them. What we wanted looks like this. What we ate was chicken on flatbread with a little mayo (remember condiments don't count toward your total). We have 4 chicken tenders left for tomorrow too!
Chicken tenders were $4.99 for 8 pieces. This is why I don't shop here...
Garbanzo bean flour was $3.49 for a bag. We can use it the rest of the week too. I left of the flaxseed meal that I like to add for flavor and only used water to make the flatbread.
DINNER TOTAL: $8.49
AMOUNT OF FOOD STAMPS LEFT: $34.64
Well, at least we'll have chicken wraps for lunch tomorrow. So that will be a "free" meal. And I will keep track of the coffee consumption throughout the week.