June Food Stamp Challenge — Day 30

by Katy on June 30, 2010 · 11 comments

Today was day 30, the very last day of the June Food Stamp Challenge. (Never have I been happier that June was composed of 30, not 31 days. Why did this not occur to me in February?!)

Sadly, I did not get a chance to explore all the issues that I had hoped to get to, and I’ve got all sorts of flimsy excuses at hand. But frankly, choosing food based on price rather than what I wanted to cook and eat was a bummer. Not to mention that my husband and kids were super touchy about the whole challenge, so I was overly careful to not have our meals appear cheap. This meant very few bean based meals, (which I actually like) and felt somewhat untrue to the spirit of the project.

I will sit down tomorrow and figure out what got spent during the last few days of the Food Stamp Challenge, and calculate how much my donation to The Oregon Food Bank will be.

I am lucky. I get to have food insecurity be a fun little challenge, knowing that in reality my bank account can cover any food that my family wants. And when I’m tired from driving home from Seattle, (not to mention sick) I can pick up the phone and place an order for delicious Thai food. Not everyone gets to do this. Almost 20% of Oregonians are currently receiving food stamp benefits. Many of whom receive less than the $101 per person per month.

I am tired right now, as I worked today and then helped my mother to clean one of her rental cotttages. But it’s okay, because I have a glass of wine, a bowl full of strawberries, (a gift) and the knowledge that I will no longer be worrying about how to buy enough food for my family.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie Jones July 1, 2010 at 4:27 am

I think this was an interesting challenge, and although I didn’t officially participate, I followed along with you and some of the others who took part.

Unofficially, I came in about $60 under what our food stamp allotment would have been ($303), and I’m going to happily donate that much to our local food bank.

I didn’t change my shopping habits and actually, I spent more in June than in any other month this year so far; I spent about $240, while our average us just under $200 a month. I’m not happy with that, so in July, I’m going to do a self-imposed pantry challenge to shrink the stockpile and try to get my grocery spending back below the $200 mark.


Molly On Money July 1, 2010 at 5:22 am

I have the same thought as you Katy, the challenge was ‘a fun little challenge, knowing that in reality my bank account can cover any food that my family wants.’ For me, keeping that in mine helps keep it in perspective. We will continue spending (or trying to get close) $300 per month for our family of 4 for the rest of the year.
I’m not trying to be frugal but realistic about money. I am tired of not contributing to my savings and retirement funds. I think my ‘future’ self will be very appreciative.


Beth D. July 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

This doesn’t really relate to the post, but I want you to know that this morning when I was making lunch, I found that my nectarines were going bad, and even though I compost my food waste, I thought of you and felt guilty for not trying to save the good parts. So, I cut up a banana and cut off the good parts of the nectarines and made fruit salad and it is delicious! Thanks for making me more conscious of what can be saved.


Lisa July 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

Thank you for issuing this challenge and for all who participated in it. Nationwide there are many who rely on the Food Stamp program, which is supposed to be for supplemental purposes only. They are the sole source of my family’s food (other than what we forage or have preserved from gardening). Mentally, it’s difficult to always have it in the back of your mind that you need to budget them wisely or else will end up doing without. At the same time, it challenges one to enjoy tasty food and creative cooking so that you and yours won’t feel deprived.


The Saved Quarter July 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

Thank you for issuing the challenge! I would encourage you to write about the issues you wanted to cover even though the challenge is over. I doubt that I’m the only one would be interested in reading your thoughts!

I finished up the month at $329.34 out of my $389.00 SNAP allowance for my family of 4, plus $100.98 in WIC foods. I posted all of the food that I bought if you wanted to check that out on my blog. This challenge has also led to some interesting dialog on my site, so thank you for that as well!

For July, I’m doing an eat from the pantry/freezer challenge, using some of my stockpile so nothing goes to waste. Join me if you want to!


Elizabeth L. July 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Even though you didn’t get to cover all the topics you wanted to, you repeatedly hit on (what I think anyway) the most important topic: that you are lucky to be able to buy what food your family wants, order take out when you want, and not worrying that there’s a chance your family might not have enough to eat if you go over your budget. There are so many people out there who aren’t so lucky. This challenge has made me remember them and made me thankful for what I have.

Thanks for running this challenge.


Magdalena July 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I htink you found that one really discouraging thing about being on a very limited food budget – your family 9and you) may resent the limits! I am blessed with a husband who eats what is put before him, but I’ve also had to deal with teenagers who look at the lentil soup and say,”What’s this?” and refuse to take bag lunches to school because none of their feeinds do. Is there something we can do (besides what we are doing) to promote nutritious eating amongst our families?


Karen July 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

In my experience raising two kids who are now in their twenties, I found that the interest in nutrition has to come from the kid him/herself. Thankfully, about age 14 (my daughter) and 19 ( my son) this interest was kindled. But before they were ready to take responsibility for nutrition, nothing we said made much of a dent. So hang in there, Magdalena. Just know that your patience will eventually pay off as your kids mature and are less influenced by peer pressure (i.e. none of their friends taking healthy lunches to school etc). The teen years are some of the roughest, for both teens and their families!


Katy July 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm

My kids are grossed out by school lunches, so that’s in my favor. I try to vary foods at home to keep it interesting and respect that everyone, (even adults) have foods that they don’t like.

My older son does not like onions, bananas or yogurt. And he can find these substances in any dish. It’s not that hard to work around.

And for the record, my kids get bummed out when I serve lentil soup as well. I try to serve it with something yummy though, like cornbread or homemade biscuits.



BarbS July 2, 2010 at 3:35 am

I didn’t officially take part in the challenge, as this end-of-school month is always extremely busy and stressful for me. But I have been following along with you, enjoying your posts and several that you’ve pointed to.

Rough back-of-the-envelope calculations show that I was under budget by a few dollars, perhaps mostly because I was sick and ate almost nothing but soup out of the freezer for nearly a week. I wouldn’t recommend that as money saving strategy!

I’ll be making a donation to the Boston-area Food Bank, and continuing with my family’s volunteer work at Family Table which delivers groceries to low-income families and seniors.

Thanks for the interesting challenge and idea.


The Prudent Homemaker July 2, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I think it’s great that you did this. My family doesn’t get food stamps, but looking t the numebrs for them, we don’t make much more than what those who qualify for them do make. We depend on our garden for a lot, and it is a blessing. Fruit trees and berry bushes are wonderful things! We have not had much money to go shopping for food since last December. We have been eating the remaining meat in our freezer sparingly (I still have 3 turkeys left, from the 9 I bought in November) and eating a lot more beans. I don’t always want beans, and sometimes I just want something fresh that isn’t growing in my garden, but we have what we have.
If you are feeling frustrated because you have no money for food, I would encourage you to read the book Nory Ryan’s Song. I read it in June; it is about the Irish Potato Famine. After reading that, I could look at my beans with a new appreciation, and with gratitude. My family has food to eat; that is a huge blessing.


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