Monday, August 1, 2011

What I learned from the Food Stamp Challenge

Well, I did it. I'm happy to say that I completed the Food Stamp Challenge with, if my calculations are correct and I'm not missing a receipt, about $2 left over! Per The Non Consumer Advocate's "rules" of the challenge, we will be donating to the local food bank, an organization called Hopelink. I also plan on going through Geoff's work, who will match our donation.
So, here are a few things I learned while attempting to feed my family on $202 a month.

I learned that it's much more difficult than you may think to spend only $101 per person on food.

I learned that fruit and vegetables are expensive.

I learned that it's very difficult to eat healthy while on food stamps.

I learned that you can't make comments like, "I can buy this next month, when we're off the food stamp challenge"

I learned that the healthier meats, lower fat beef, chicken breasts instead of thighs and all seafood, are almost unattainable if you're on food stamps. It's not worth sacrificing the smaller items like butter and milk.

I learned, when looking at the Hopelink website, that there are people living in the wealthier part of the country like I am, who are struggling and running into this problem every month.

I learned that then money is tight, grocery trips, even trips for essentials can be stressful.

Most of all, though, I learned that I can spend $200 feeding my family for the month, even if it is a stretch. Next month I'm going to try to stay under $250, without making the sacrifices I had to make this month.

I have a lot of pity for those who don't have the luxury of raising their grocery budget because they can't get everything they want. I can't say that I won't judge people for their grocery choices, but I do promise to think before I judge, because you never know what kind of a budget they are working with.

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