If you don’t know what SNAP is, or why I’m talking about the SNAP Challenge, check out my earlier post about SNAP.
Wednesday ended my week of tracking for meal costs. I calculated every thing I ate each day, and used receipts and records to add up how much each day’s food and drink cost. You can see on the graph below that I averaged just over $5 per day.
This does not include costs of food given to me by other sources, such as shared snacks at my work place, cupcakes a new neighbor baked for me (so sweet), or food and drinks at a party. I also cook and eat the majority of my meals at home.
Days 2 & 3 included half a Chipotle burrito and that is why the cost is significantly higher. Eating out is (almost always) more expensive than a home-cooked meal.
For the upcoming week, my challenge is to live off only $28.70 worth of food and drinks.
My strategy is always to make cost effective foods the center piece of the meal plan, supplemented by as much fresh and frozen produce as possible. I know I have a significant privilege and advantage over the average SNAP recipients in that I have access to no fewer than five different grocery stores, each offering rotating sales.
Sprouts Farmers Market is always my first stop for extremely reasonably priced fresh produce. I got a 5 pound bag of potatoes, and a few small amounts of fruits & veggies. With a rough idea of a meal plan, I headed to King Sooper with the change and rounded out the week. What you see below is what I will be eating.
And to prove that I am still within budget, in fact with $4.31 to spare, here is the spread sheet where I figured out exactly how much each item cost and how much I had left to spend:
I also calculated the cost of a cup of coffee (16oz is a cup for me…) with cream as $0.17, including the filter, so depending on how often I need coffee I will add that in at the end.
Wish me luck! (To participate in the challenge yourself, check out Feeding America).
**UPDATE: Challenge complete, with many lessons learned! All SNAP Meal Recipes listed below: