The experiment begins! On Sunday I went to an area Meijer’s and purchased $38.77 worth of food to get me through the week.
As you may be aware, I wrote a blog post last week taking somewhat of an issue with my fellow Indy Star columnist Erika Smith on her argument that part of the reason people are going hungry in Central Indiana because they can’t live off the average allotment of food stamps.
I decided take the “food stamp” challenge and my editors at the Star and I agreed on an allotment of $40. (A single person living in poverty can get up to $200 a month in Indianapolis, thus the basis for my $40.) And the point of my exercise is that with smart shopping and knowing how to cook, your dollars can stretch a lot further. You won’t be eating a Ruth’s Chris’, but you also won’t be on the Ethiopian diet. Sorry about the 80s reference.
So here is what I walked away with after spending about an hour or so in the store…
- Bananas (2 lbs) – $1.16
- Head of lettuce - $0.99
- Red Onion - $0.88
- Green Beans (0.63 of a 1 lb) -$1.13
- Unpopped popcorn - $1.79
- Yogurt- $2.69
- Whole Pineapple - $3.49
- Two cuts Steak - $4.36
- Eggplant - $0.97
- Green Pepper - $0.48
- Spaghetti - $0.99
- Rotini - $0.99
- Potatoes (5 lbs) - $2.50
- Organic 2% Milk (½ gal) - $3.49
- Froot Loops - $2.50
- Alfredo Pasta Sauce - $1.67
- Bag of Chicken Breasts - $5.69
- Bread - $3.00
The original bill was My total bill was $46.06 but since I bought many of the items on sale, I saved $7.29.
A couple items of note, if my shopping list looks odd to you it is because like everyone else, I shop based on my eating habits. So I am not above having leftovers for breakfast, for example. In addition, my schedule doesn’t really allow for regularly scheduled meals, so I plan accordingly and make sure that even if I have to cook when my day ends, it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. I also don’t eat breakfast everyday, depending on the schedule.
I also don’t do the “average meal” cost. That is not a true indicator, per se, of how much food will cost you. My bag of 10 chicken breasts cost $5.69 but I am not going to eat 10 chicken breasts in one sitting. The same with my box of Rotini, although is was $0.99, I will likely get three servings out of it.
And for those of you who are wondering if I will be dining out this week, I have already checked my scheduled, the only thing on there are coffee appointments with clients and sources.
And the only thing I bought that was frozen was the chicken.
I will report back in the week and let you know how the food prep is going.
You can follow my “cooking” on Twitter @AttyAbdul or @indypolitics