July Food Stamp Challenge — Day 31, The End

by Katy on July 31, 2011 · 8 comments

Today is the 31st and very last day of the July Food Stamp Challenge. In all, my family of four spent:


Which is $14.04 less than the $404 that we were trying to stay under. (The average Oregon food stamp recipient gets $101 per month.) We would have had a wider margin, except that we’ve kind of let loose over the past few days. For example, I got my older son $10 of takeout after his lifeguard shift yesterday, since we’d eaten with the neighbors and subsequently had no leftovers. Also, my husband picked up takeout Mexican food on the last day that I worked. (For which I was grovelingly thankful!)

I will be making a $100 donation to The Oregon Food Bank, as this is approximately how much money we saved by conducting this social experiment. (Although in actuality it was probably more, as we tend to be out and about during July, which results in a lot of restaurant meals and takeout.)

One thing is for sure, which is that I am good and happy to see the start of August. I enjoy a good frugal challenge as much as the next non-consumer, but it is tiring to be constantly focusing (and writing) about food. If I had to do it over again, I think it would be smart to stockpile a number of frozen pre-made meals for those nights when the mere thought of dinner prep throws us for a loop.

We did have an extra adult on the house for one week of July, (the British soccer coach) and I chose to not mention the food stamp challenge to him. I didn’t want him to think that his presence was a financial burden for us, and I didn’t want him to get all weirded out. I didn’t think it would be very hospitable. We did get takeout pizza one night when we had a number of extra coaches at the house, but I used a free Groupon to feed all the lads.

I wrote exclusively about the issues related to food stamps this month, and frankly I’ll be happy to start varying my subject matter. In addition to food-stamping, I’ve been decluttering, making extra money, finding free entertainment, honing my simple living edicts, (ahem . . . sleeping in) and creating community with those around me.

It is from a place of privilege that I conduct this social experiment. My husband works full-time, and I work part-time, although as an RN I make more money than many full-time workers do. Food security is not just an issue for distant lands, but a crisis right here in the United States. And importantly, it is a challenge twelve months out of the year, not just a single month.

Thank you to everyone who participated in The July Food Stamp Challenge, and to those who simply read the posts and gave extra thought to the hungry amongst us.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mama Minou July 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Your conclusion was very nicely put! For those of us who are in a place of privilege, awareness of food insecurity is a responsibility. For those of us who are living with a food challenge out of necessity, it’s a daily burden as well as test of creativity.


Jinger July 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I have been so happy to see billboards around Austin this summer providing summer meals for children since they aren’t getting breakfast and lunch at school. Some children’s only full meals are those eaten in school…and yes, I know school cafeteria food is not as nutritious as it could be, but it is fairly balanced and filling.


Marianne July 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Katy, have you ever thought about doing a 30 day local food challenge?


Katy July 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Nope. I’m done with challenges for awhile. 😀



Practical Parsimony July 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Were we supposed to post how our food stamp challenge went?mI looked on FB. I spent $55 all month.


Katy July 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm

What?! $55 for the entire month? You must have a productive garden!



Lisa August 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thanks for doing the food stamp challenge and bringing awareness about the issue to people who might not otherwise think about it. We’ve been on food stamps for quite a while now with no end in sight. While they’re intended to supplement food buying, ours provides for ALL our food budget from necessity. That being said, I still have a current balance on my EBT card of over $200 and am due another $200 addition in a couple of days. It’s nice to have a “cushion” built up. When food prices increase it removes some of the fearful feelings.


Servetus August 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

thanks for doing a challenge that wasn’t all about how families on food stamps are lazy or spending their money on lobster or whatever and if they would just discipline themselves they wouldn’t need the stamps. I was grateful to read something different here.


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