All last week on every news station I heard about the Food Stamp Challenge where lawmakers and people are challenged to live on $21 a week for groceries. And I have to say our lawmakers are idiots when it comes to shopping. But I digress.
I usually live on $32.50 a week and, yes, I complain about it and how little money I have to spend on groceries but really I never go hungry. I’m never even close of running out of food. I spend plenty of that money on crap (potato chips) or nice things that make my life better but I could do without (extra fancy chocolate).
The more I listened to the people say it’s impossible to live in $21 the more I felt I should do it. It’s not that I thought that the food stamps allowances shouldn’t be raised. I actually think that amount should go up with inflation, but saying that it was impossible got to me. I am competitive that way. When the food writer for the local newspaper came on and said she did it and it wasn’t that hard I felt vindicated and lost interest. That was until she pointed out that seeing as she was “on food stamps” that her children would also be on the school lunch program so she didn’t count lunches. Well that’s just too easy. I decided that I had to give it a try. Can I spend $11.50 less a week and still eat well?
1. Only spend $21 a week on groceries for a year. This is the hard one. I know from my knitting my attention span is 2 weeks. Can I go a year? Or even the 3 months of summer? In a year I should be pretty much done with college so the timing is good. For the year I will have incentive beyond just proving a point. But why beyond that one week the challenge asks for? Why a year? Well I know I can go a week but I also know that the first week won’t be any fun. I hope to show that I can put away food every week and in a month or 2 or 6 that my kitchen will be well stocked again.
2. Not go hungry. The second I run out of food you can bet I’m going to go buy some. Actually (and I may be naive here) I believe not only will I be able to buy plenty of food, that I will still be able to pick up my special treats. Just not as many.
3. Not just to eat well but to eat healthy. This is the hard part. Not just the cost but because I like to eat junk and living alone I don’t take care of myself like I should.
4. Not to spend too much time cooking. Why? Because I'm lazy that way. What is too much? Well, that will be when I feel like it is too much. Some weeks I’ll want to cook, some I won’t, but I’m planning on cooking in bulk and freezing meals since cooking one or twice a week is usually my limit.
The challenge says not to eat out or away from home. I am giving myself one meal a week to eat with friends, either going out or at their homes. But I will also be entertaining them here and I will stick to the $21 even then.
Ok, and because I have heard at other times that it’s the lack of money for healthy food that is contributing to the obesity among the poor I shall give my weight now and again when it’s over. Will I only be able to afford fatty and starchy foods and blimp up? Will I waist away to nothing? Doubtful, since I already stated I’m not willing to go hungry for this. My current weight is 141.2 lbs. That’s a little high for me, so hopefully my goal to eat health will help me there.
Now to clear out my kitchen.
And don't worry this is still a knitting blog.