Monday, March 4, 2019

Can You Eat for Less Than $200 a Month?

I've heard of many people doing things like the Food Stamp Challenge over the years.  This topic just resurfaced when I saw a post on Dar's blog about her family doing a similar challenge for the month of March.  Looking up SNAP (a new name for the old food stamp program) guidelines, it looks like an individual would get a maximum of $192 per month for food through this assistance program.

I think doing this sort of challenge is a good exercise in frugality but of course YMMV.  Like Dar said in her overview post for this challenge, we would also be able to do this easily for several reasons--there are only two of us, we aren't busy with a bunch of kids, we don't work so have plenty of time to shop and cook, we have easy access to all kinds of food (the 99 Cent store is overflowing with cheap produce!), we can buy in bulk, and we have the facilities to easily cook meals.  In fact, we usually spend less than $300 a month on food for both of us since I like to cook vegan-type foods from scratch, hubby gets lots of free restaurant meals because of his poker playing comps, and we buy big supplies of cheap food at Costco (like a giant bag of oatmeal for $7 which lasts for more than a month!).

If, however, you are looking for an interesting, educational challenge to take on, consider doing something like the food stamp challenge (or if you want to be really radical, consider the $1 a day food challenge!).  Here are several resources to check out on these kinds of challenges:


  1. I don't think feeding a family is that difficult with a little bit of education/foresight/planning. I think these skills are what are really lacking in the struggle out of poverty. For instance, in one of your links, a person said they didn't attempt the challenge because their kids wouldn't eat those foods, and she's lucky they'll eat anything. When she was on assistance, she bought white bread and hamburger because that's what her kids liked? Silly. Or, the family who tried the challenge and claimed that that wanted "plain old cereal." Since when is cereal a staple? It's that sort of mindset that keeps people impoverished. Unless there is some underlying issue, kids will eat what's put in front of them when they are hungry. Also, the comment of the inconvenience--maybe if we put more thought and time in to meal preparation, we wouldn't have an obesity problem. As another commenter on one of your links said "Why shouldn't nourishing yourself take a little thought and work?" Sorry, but this challenge just seems, to me anyway, as way to garner pity.

    1. Yep I agree. Im from the "we cook one meal and you eat it or you starve" generation and also from the generation where you only ate what was in season and what you could grow yourself so I think many people could easily reduce their food bill simply by cooking stuff from scratch and not catering to each person's food whims!