I am surprised by the incredible response from this little experiment. Many of you have either used food stamps at one point in life, or know someone who has. Several of you have suggested ways I could have purchased more food; others have said I’m crazy for trying this. Agreed.

A few comments I’d like to discuss:

~ I didn’t buy my groceries from Wal-Mart because I was recently informed my habit of using my own cloth grocery bags was “slowing them down.” This came from a manager, after the clerk was very rude to me when I wanted to bag my own purchases. Fair enough. I left and haven’t returned. Other groceries are happy to meet my “let me bag my own stuff in my bags” policy with glee. I free up their baggers and they give me a $.05 credit for each bag. I may have spent more money at Fry’s, but I didn’t put more bags in a landfill.

~ This family also did a food stamp challenge. I love what they wrote in their summary after coming in under budget for the week:
Our grandparents knew how to do all this stuff, but there has been a tragic collapse in the transmission of heritage food information across generations in the United States. Classes are needed to help people learn how to plan menus, garden, preserve foods, cook meals from basic ingredients. And people need to talk to elders while they remain with us and conserve as much information as they can. Oral histories are a great way to do this.
So true! I should have called my Grandma Max before starting this. She can stretch a meal like you wouldn’t imagine. Note to self: talk to grandparents about this challenge and hear what they would have done with $20 for the week.

~Another reader mentioned the United Kingdom is now offering a program to trade food stamps for fresh fruit and veggies. Wow! I’m on day two and I have to say, I spent the majority of my budget on fruits and veggies and am still missing my normal dose.

~Want suggestions for how to cut your grocery bill and make more food from scratch? This woman has it down to a science. You’d think some of that giant budget on national security would go toward teaching Americans to cook for themselves. Self-sufficiency is a rather important form of security, don’t you think?

~Yesterday’s food included:
1 packet of instant oatmeal
1 4 ounce container of yogurt
1 hard boiled egg
1 string cheese
1 apple
1/2 cup of brown rice
1/2 cup of stewed lentils
1 cup of steamed spaghetti squash
1/2 cup of red kidney beans
1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce

I’m not hungry, but I am seriously missing my caffeine. I am about to leave for a meeting at a coffee shop and I’m pretty darn sure today’s budget is going to be wildly thrown off course while I swim blissfully in a large cafe Americano.