Food Stamp Challenge Day 24: What’s Important?

| September 24, 2013 | 2 Comments

I’ve been receiving a bit of feedback in my circles about my own personal choices for this month’s food budget – which I suppose is indicative of why this is a topic of discussion in the first place.

What are people on a tight budget “allowed” to consume?  Do others have the right to judge or dictate what they eat/drink, or where they should be permitted to shop?  If I’m in the SNAP program (food stamps) do I live by a different set of rules than others do, because it’s “someone else’s money” I’m spending?

As an example, here are some things that are (mostly) absent from my shopping list:
Prepared foods
Canned/jarred foods (with a couple of exceptions)
Dessert, unless it’s the ingredients to make it ourselves

And here are a few things that remain:
Whole bean coffee
Organic produce and dairy products (in fact, I bought something called “pastured butter” last weekend, just to push my luck a little)
A small amount of seafood
Spices and flavorings
Dietary diversity

Am I “allowed” to drink good coffee, if it fits inside my budget?  Should I be scratching around the day-old bin at the local big box grocery to maximize my dollars?  Do I have to throw my concerns about conventionally-raised fruits and vegetables killing us out the window just because I am (in my food stamp persona) out of work and scrambling a little?

Do I have to answer to anyone else?

Or is there a way to balance my health, my values, AND my budget so they all play nice together, using my three-pound brain, a pencil and a calculator?

That’s what’s made all of this so fun.  And it’s why the next phase of the project, after September 30th, will be the best of all: translating all I’ve learned this month into food planning that will allow us to eat even better, while spending even less, from here on out.  I’m already reworking our plan to choose cheaper sources for the things we loved eating, set aside a new garden area to grow the things we’ve been missing or avoiding, finding bulk deals, and more.  Good stuff.




Category: Food, Money Saving, Whole Foods Challenge

Comments (2)

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  1. Stacy says:

    Hey, keep me in the loop on your grocery list. I could use a little help to lower my bill!

    • greenhedonist says:

      Will do! I’ll put together the grocery lists and the things we cooked with them, and post them. I’m actually amazed at how well we’re eating – I expected to feel a lot more…what’s the word…”scarcity” doing this ? Not so.

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