Sunday, July 15, 2012

SNAP Challenge: The Preview

Okay, well, after spending a few days stressing out to the max about this SNAP Challenge, I've decided to take it easy on myself. The reason? Well, after having people tell me that living on $31.50 for a week as a single gal my age was a breeze and me beginning to think I was insane, I discovered the USDA Official Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels. Even eating at the most thrifty plan, I'd still be allowed $41.70/week. The Low-Cost Plan is $53.90/week! So don't tell me it's easy. Unless you're going to put yourself in my shoes, folks! If we all sat down and looked at what we eat and every penny we spend, we might find the statistics in this chart to be pretty accurate. 

So the plan is that I'm going to subsite on four basic things.

  • Breakfast daily will be a Quinoa Breakfast Cereal. Something along the lines of quinoa with cinnamon and raisins. If I can afford it after I pick everything else up, then some flax or chia as well. 
  • Dinner and lunch will be this that and some leftovers. Among the options will be:
  • Snacks and sides will be something along the lines of ...
    • Simple salad
    • Carrot Sticks with peanut butter or hummus (still debating which is cheaper in the budget)
  • Drinks
    • Water
    • Coffee at work
    • More water ... 

And these are the rules I'm setting for myself:
  • I will drink the coffee that's available at work, because it's purchased by work. Since 41 percent of SNAP folks have earnings (aka job[s]), I'm going to count myself in the 41 percent. 
  • I will accept the free lunch provided to me on Tuesday as part of our monthly staff meeting, for the same reason above. 
  • I will accept invitations out for Shabbat next Friday/Saturday. 
  • I will not be making/eating gluten-free challah. There's no way the costs will fit into the SNAP Budget, and I'll have to go without. Same goes with wine/grape juice if I end up staying in. 
Grocery shopping will commence some time tomorrow. I'm considering just making everything tomorrow and Monday and going from there. I hate leftovers -- I prefer to eat things fresh -- but being a single gal and doing this challenge necessitates rocking out a one-time cooking extravaganza and feeding myself the rest of the week on its leftovers. 

Wish me luck!