For those of you who don't live in the USA, foods stamps are vouchers that you can get from the government that you can exchange for food.
Although, now they are electronic debit cards instead of paper vouchers. They changed the program name to SNAP also, which stands for “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”.
What is a food stamp/ SNAP challenge?
Oh it’s easy. Pretend you are on food stamps and only buy food on the budget you would have if you were actually receiving food stamps.
How much is that?
For the Houston Food Stamps Challenge, introduced to me by my writing friend, Michy, that is only $4 a day per person.
But I have a tiny advantage. I am actually on food stamps. My family of three gets $526 a month for food and most of the time, that is all we have for a food budget.
I did the food stamps math
$526 a month X 12 months = $6312 a year for food
$632 a year for food / 365 days a year = $17.26 a day for food for three people.
OR $5.76 a day for one person to feed themselves 3 meals a day (assuming you eat three meals a day)
OR $1.92 a meal per person. Hungry yet?
Well good! Because my oldest son and I are going to do the food stamps challenge Houston style. Our meal budget will be $1.33 a meal!
The Food Stamps Challenge Rules
From the Houston Food Bank SNAP Challenge page, the guidelines are
SNAP Challenge Guidelines
Considering that we are two people doing this challenge together, our weekly food budget is $56. This includes all drinks and food bought, even eating out. We don’t eat out, so that isn't problem.
- Each person should spend no more than a total of $28 on food and beverages during the Challenge week.
- All food purchased and eaten during the Challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending.
- During the Challenge, only eat of that you purchase for the project. Do not eat food that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments).
- You may not accept free food from friends, family, or at work, including at receptions, meetings or parties.
- Keep track of receipts on food spending, and take note of your experiences throughout the Challenge week.
So what’s the catch?
Here’s the part that will throw us. We have many food allergies, so we can’t just buy top ramen and call it good. We still have to plan our meals around foods we can eat.
Wait? There’s more?
AND In the spirit of the challenge, we are going to shop only locally. Usually we buy some foods locally and do a lot of our shopping out of town. But I know from my friends around here, that people can’t always afford to drive out of town to buy cheaper food.
We will be shopping at our local stores, on $4 a day per person, and posting our experiences throughout the week with menu plans.
Who’s with us? Want to try the Food Stamps Challenge?