If you have a chance, check out The $25 Challenge blog. This month is Hunger Action month, and the past week the Illinois Food Bank Association challenged several of its lead managers to live on $25 for food for the week, about the amount an individual gets for food stamps. It's really eye-opening to read the accounts from these people as they struggle to make it through the week, and they have the end of the week to look forward to.
Now, I know this is possible. My amazing cousin makes it her personal goal to have a grocery bill under $20 every week just because she's awesome and thrifty like that. She shops the sales, cuts coupons, puts together wonderful dinners and bakes all the time. Mike, the grocery shopper of the family and the thrifty one, tries to emulate, but we value convenience a little too much.
This challenge especially hit me in my "privilege" as I went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up ingredients for this Deluxe Hot Chai Mix (which I thought would be much better than getting chai lattes at Starbucks, Panera's, and the like). I spent $28 on the most of the ingredients. (I had a few of the spices and ran granulated sugar through the food processor as a sub for caster sugar and totally skipped on the cardamom because it was $7!) It made a lot, and I can use most of the ingredients to make more, but was it a necessity? Not really. And would I spend a whole week's worth of grocery money on it? Heck no!
Also I read about how cranky the participants were and how they couldn't concentrate and perform at their jobs as well. After the incredibly busy week (that will just keep continuing through the quarter/semester), I couldn't imagine having to worry about food and being hungry on top of it. So anyway, I'm just processing it all and felt the need to share.