So I decided I’d join the FNS (Food Stamp) Challenge to eat on $4.15 a day for five days.
It hasn’t even started and already I’m seeing how much planning it takes to eat like this. This requires me to actually make a menu and stick to it. I notoriously eat by whim. I follow the will of my tastebuds. Feel like sushi? Off I go to the nearest restaurant. Want Chicago mix popcorn for dinner and Dolce Le Leche Häagan-Dazs for dessert? Off to Harris Teeter! Oh, there’s no eating out, so I can’t do my usual “didn’t have time to make lunch/dinner and call Jimmy Johns or eat out somewhere.”
It’s eye-opening to realize that $9 bag of coffee I bought last week, even using my $1.50 coupon on it, is close to two days worth of food if I really had to use food stamps. It reminded me of how I used to just drink Folgers or whatever store coffee I had a coupon for or drank the free work coffee for the jobs that provided it.
Here are the participation guidelines:
- Each person should only spend $4.15 per day on food and drink.
- All food purchased and eaten in this time must be counted in total spending - this includes food already in your pantry (cost it out proportionately).
- You may use condiments, spices and flour already in you possession without costing them into your weekly spend. If you buy more, though, you must add that cost into your budget.
- Don’t eat out … FNS benefits are not accepted in restaurants!
- Whenever possible, avoid accepting free food from family, friends and coworkers since these opportunities are not always available to those in need.
- Eat as healthy as possible, keeping in mind that this is how many people eat every day for extended periods of time, whereas you can make up for lost nutrients next week!
So from October 1 through October 5, I’m going to try to eat as though I’m can only use $4.15* worth of food stamps each day. Wanna join me? Visit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC to participate. LET’S DO THIS!
*Note: The average benefit amount in North Carolina is $124.58 per person, per month. Divided by an average month of 30 days, the daily benefit is $4.15 per day, per person. Source: USDA State Averages