SNAP Challenge 2019

September is hunger action month. In addition to donations to the food bank… starting today, Sept 1st, Eric and I will be doing the SNAP challenge… where we attempt to survive one-week on a Calfresh/food stamps budget.

Here are the ground rules we will be abiding by:

  • The budget will include all food, drinks, and snacks for one week.
  • Other than salt, sugar, and oil… all other spices, sauces, and pantry items are off limits. If we want to use it, we must “buy” it.
  • Shopping can only take place at stores that accept Calfresh/food stamps.
  • No freebies. That includes food at work or friends offering to buy us something.

Some important things to note:

  • We will be using the maximum benefit for a single individual in California, which is $192 per month. Divide that by 30 days = $6.40/day which = $44.80 a week. $44.80 is our weekly budget.
  • Eric and I will be shopping, cooking, and eating our own meals for the whole week to simulate the experience of a one person household (very real for the elderly). Everything we consume will be tracked and documented.
  • We do have some items that should be used up at home already so, in order to prevent waste, we will use them and include that into our weekly budget based on the current price at the grocery store.
  • Some items come in larger quantities than is needed for a week (ex: package of butter has 6 sticks). Theoretically, the butter will continue to be used throughout the month so we will calculate the cost in our weekly budget accordingly.

We completely understand that this challenge, in no means, is similar to the experience of people who are actually living on Calfresh/food stamps with no end in sight. One week is not a lot of time. We have the privilege of knowing when the challenge will end. This means we don’t have to worry about nutritional value or long term health consequences in our diet. Without typical family obligations, we have the time and energy to menu plan and meal prep. We do not work manual labor jobs and have the luxury to chill and relax when our energy is low. We have a car and gas to go shop where we please. We have a variety of cooking tools and gadgets at our disposal. The list goes on. But, having done this challenge myself before, I want to say that there are some valuable learning lessons. Eric and I will be sharing our thoughts here as we go through the week so stay tuned!

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