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Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

Eating On A Food Stamp Budget: Day Two

Amy Rogers

Yesterday I was feeling pretty smug about my cost-effective shopping. I’d spent only about half of the $31.50 grocery budget I’d agreed not to exceed as part of the SNAP* Challenge.

Then something happened to shake my confidence in my plan to make the supplies last an entire week. I realized I needed to factor in the cost of items I’d previously purchased or had on hand if I wanted to use them.

At Target, I’d paid fifty cents for a single lime. Seventy-five cents for a tomato and it was already going bad. A half-gallon of milk: $2.29. A package of provolone: $2.49. Soft tortilla shells were on sale for $2. Best find of all? Rotel seasoned tomatoes marked down to 14 cents a can.

Sure, the parsley at Super G Mart was a steal at 99 cents yesterday but to make the tabouli for last night’s dinner I had to add 1/2 cup of bulgur, which I’d bought in bulk at the Healthy Home Market. There went another 96 cents.

It added up to $9.13.

With the $14 I’d spent yesterday and the $3.15 for my sale-priced drugstore coffee the day before, my total now stood at $26.28.

No eggs, no meat, not even a can of tuna. I have just over five dollars left.

And it’s only Tuesday.

*SNAP is the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. And for many low-income individuals and families, it’s not a supplement; it’s their only means of buying food.

Amy is documenting her experiences with the SNAP Challenge all this week. Check back daily for updates.