Well, the Food Stamp Challenge is over, and I am ready to start again. I did my homework, and budgeted my money, but I feel like what is really missing from the Food Stamp (FNS) program is education. Maybe it was easier for me because I was able to shop for a family, and I had a much larger budget, that allowed me to buy in bulk, and better quality items than my fellow participants that were only allowed $20.75 for the five days.
I did feel different while taking this challenge though, and it gave me new perspective about things, and how I will utilize leftovers in my kitchen in the future. This week gave me a wake up call about my grocery budget and what I am making for dinner, and how much I take for granted. We spend way too much on groceries, and at the end of the month it really adds up. I never noticed it before, but all of those little trips to the grocery store add up – and the food never really goes anywhere. It is just convenience purchases. I realized this week with a little bit of work, and some planning, stretching a budget can go a long way, and fill you up.
My diet was a lot different this week with the budget in mind. I wasn’t able to have all of the sides that I usually like with meals, and made me much more conscious about where the food was going after we were done eating. I cooked a lot more carbs than I usually do this week, because they are filling, and I wasn’t able to afford extra proteins. We also ate a lot of soup this week, and while soup is great – it can get to be too much sometimes when you think, “I just can’t stand soup anymore”. Almost like how Greg of FreezerBurns felt about apples at the end of the week.
I am participating in the challenge again this week coming up. I had to take the weekend off because of family being in town, I knew that I would not be able to budget enough for them – and they’d want to take us out, since they haven’t seen us all in a while. But, I am all ready to go for next week. Before I even go shopping, I am planning on going through what I have in my pantry, fridge and freezer, and taking an inventory about what I can make, and how much everything cost (or approximate value of each thing). I will then subtract that from my budget. I also decided to change my allowance from $83.00 for the week to $62.25. Only my hubby, my son and I will be participating in the challenge this week. This will make it a little more difficult. I also want to include a snack for Football on Monday and Thursday to my menu as well as a dessert that we can eat all week – maybe apple sauce again, or rice pudding. Both are cheap and can stretch a long way.
I will continue to blog daily about my experiences with the challenge, and how it was to change from having that cushy $21 left, to possibly having no money, and worrying about running out of food.
I ask you to join with me in the challenge for another week, and share your experiences with me.