The rules of the road….SNAP Challenge

Tomorrow we start the SNAP Challenge. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (formerly known as food stamps). Many organizations, like Foodshare in Connecticut, are encouraging people to try to live on $4 a day, which is the average amount SNAP provides per person per day. Jeff and I have decided to take the challenge during the month of October.

We had to layout some ground rules before we started. First, since we had a wedding today, we are officially starting the challenge tomorrow (Monday). We’ve decided that we can use our BJ’s membership. The cost of the membership is about $4 per month and saves us a ton of money. Since we have some things stockpiled or already opened, like mustard, if I use the item during the month, I will include the replacement cost of that item. I didn’t want to waste a bunch of food, but I want to be fair also.

Since we start tomorrow, October 3, we have 29 days of benefits. If we were on SNAP, we would have received our monthly allotment at the beginning of the month. This is an advantage for the way we shop, since we usually pick up some supplies for the month and then do light shopping the rest of the month. My budget for the month is $232.

Today, I went to BJ’s and purchased a few things we needed: Coffee, eggs and sausage patties. I’ll have to make another trip there in a few days to pick up some more items but we were not really ready for a full trip. I forgot my coupons and I didn’t have a list.

We spent $26.47. The coffee should last the month, as will the sausage. A dozen and a half eggs will last most of the month. We also spent $2.59 for half a gallon of milk.

Some items I know I am going to need from my pantry:

  • I have a 10lb bag of King Arthur flour which I’ll open up this week: $5.49.
  • I purchase my yeast at BJ’s because it is so much cheaper. I usually purchase two pounds at a time and split it with a friend. A pound of yeast will last me about six months to a year. Cost: $2.25.
  • Baking powder: 1.79
  • Bottle of olive oil from Stew Leonard’s $4.49

I think that’s a good start. As I use more items, I’ll list them. The reason I’m thinking baking is because I’m going to make a big batch of dough tomorrow and use that throughout the week for bread and pizza. Homemade bread is really frugal and so delicious.

Total-to-date: $43.08

Amount remaining: $188.92

I know it looks like I’ve spent a lot, but all this stuff (other than the milk), will last us for the entire month. Tomorrow, I’ll post my meal plan and results from the shopping trip.



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