Our friend Kelly Snyder is embarking on the Food Assistance Challenge. Her grocery shopping experience certainly puts things into perspective!
I’ve never had such an emotional time grocery shopping. I walked past the $19 Mums thinking that would be virtually all of my food budget! My 15 year-old daughter got a cart to shop for the rest of the family and I took one for myself. We started in produce where I optimistically threw in a small, Rocky-Ford cantaloupe I weighed it and thought it would going to be my splurge item if I did well shopping. Then I threw in one organic, Colorado-peach…. I could do this!
With my suggested shopping list I stood in from of the celery and carrots (not organic) and was thrilled to see individual stalks. Then I passed the deli and got the meat section. I settled on a $5.27 package of chicken breasts, which I later returned for one $2.27 breast wrapped up at the meat counter, after realizing I couldn’t buy cheese. Suffice to say many items ended up going back…. I celebrated finding Folgers, single-serve, instant coffee, 7 servings for $1.19. On the chip aisle my daughter explained that tostada chips were not a good value when I should buy more protein and that a package of corn tortillas would be much more versatile. I will enjoy making my own tostadas.
I bought a non-organic half-gallon of whole milk because I couldn’t afford cream for my coffee and the two peanut butter sandwiches I get this week will go well with a big glass of milk; a meal I eat nostalgically about once a year.
I got down to the real nitty gritty because of my gluten intolerance. The least expensive loaf of GF bread was $4.99. This is not negotiable because I cannot have gluten. I decided I would figure out how many slices I could purchase from the frozen loaf of Glutino I had at home (4 @ .17¢). I figured our how many .4¢ lipton tea bags I could buy from my stock at home and I was feeling alright. Did my math for the 5th or 6th time in my extended shopping trip and threw in some eggs.
I got to the check out stand and had the cashier hold back the cantaloupe and peach just in case. With my shopper’s discount I rang up $22.27 out of my $22.50 budget for Monday to Friday of this week. No local fruit for me this week. My only compromises were getting a can of veggie, organic-chile because all of the others had wheat and soy and skipping commercial tuna fish, to which they add soy sauce. How does someone with a food allergy live on SNAP and protect their health? Now to face the already set week of breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings….