In Arizona, a single person earning less than $16,000 per year qualifies for $95.40 per month in food stamps. This does not include the additional 25% they are supposed to include out of their own budget to pay for groceries. The equivalent for this 5-day experiment is $19.88.
With that in mind, I headed to the grocery store yesterday. In typical fashion, I did not have any coupons. I’m lazy, although I suspect if I was living on food stamps, I might find the time to cut them out. Then again, if I was living on food stamps, I probably couldn’t have afforded the two hours I spent at the grocery, with pen, pad and calculator in hand.
As many of you suggested, buying bulk seems the cheapest. Buying healthy food is certainly expensive. A few examples: a regular baking potato — $.45. A more nutritious yam — $.92. (And that is a scrawny one. I only bought one.) White tortillas or corn tortillas are far cheaper than the whole grain ones I love. One whole grain tortilla is $.23. They didn’t make the cut. Neither did my soy milk, cottage cheese, wine or gingersnaps. Instead, I purchased:
6 eggs — $.69
1 package of string cheese — $3.99
1 can of chicken broth — $.50
1 bag of lentils — $.89
1 bag of brown rice — $1.59
1 yam — $.92
1 can of green beans — $.50
1 can of kidney beans — $.50
1 bag of carrots — $.79
5 gala apples — $1.97
1 spaghetti squash — $4.51
1 jar of spaghetti sauce — $1.27
6 containers of yogurt — $1.98
1 box of instant oatmeal — $1.87
Grand total: $21.97 Over budget: $2.09
To counter the fact I’m over budget, I’m only eating half of the rice, lentils and oatmeal I purchased. Food preparation for the week included hard boiling the eggs, steaming the rice and stewing the veggies and lentils. I’ll cook the spaghetti squash tonight. I’m already two meals into this plan and in case you are wondering, I’m not hungry. I am obsessing and wondering what I’ve gotten myself into (brown rice and lentils for lunch all week?), but I will survive.
Have you ever worked in a food bank? Volunteered at a food line for the hungry? Have you seen hunger in your community?
Off to find my apple for the day,