WIAW: The 20.10$ Shopping Cart

Hey ya’ll! It is that time of the week again: What I Ate Wednesday. I have something special for ya’ll today. Instead of the typical food porn pictures that make you drool and try to reach into the screen to steal my food, I am going to post about my SNAP Challenge. If you remember from a few days ago, I talked about how my class is participating in the SNAP Challenge to understand what it is like to be hungry and live on food stamps. We are allowed to spend up to 31.50$ for the SNAP Challenge for one person for one week. I have been meticulously planning my grocery excursion, so that I can get the most bang for my buck. Well I think I did pretty good.


Guess how much all of this cost me? 20.15$. Thank you Trader Joes for offering the best and cheapest selection of food that is available. The best part is that I still have around 10$ left, so I need to get a few more items. There are somethings that aren’t pictured, but those are 1.99$ dozen of eggs and 1$ container of oatmeal. Those were definitely some good deals that I managed to find. I am really excited about this challenge because I think it took a lot of thinking on my part. The sad thing is that most people on food stamps lack the education to be able to make healthy choices for themselves and probably don’t have access to places like Trader Joes. I had to trek (a 20 minute subway ride) just so that I could get more affordable groceries. I feel like Trader Joes really needs to expand. I think it might do well if these kind of places were in more low income neighborhoods, so that it could not only offer cheaper food, but also provide jobs for those that are in need. Think about it!


I think one of the things that rocks about using food stamps at Trader Joes (Yes, I researched this before I went and TJs takes food stamps, so this was really helpful in this challenge) is that I get to have my snacks. When we were offered only 31.50$, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to have my snacks on school days because I can’t survive 5 hours of class without having food to nibble on to get me until it is dinner time. The yogurts were .99 cents each, the carrots were 1.99, the celery was .99, and the hummus was 1.99. The apples were .69/lb, which was awesome because sometimes it is so hard to find a good priced apple in the city. Now I’ll get all my snacks! Success.


This is my dinner for the week. Usually a package of tofu gives me around three meals. I am going to be using the fried rice bag with the tofu to have tofu fried rice. I think that it might give me 3 to 4 dinners. The pasta is going to be made with olive oil and a few seasonings. I probably will be using my extra money to buy some vegetables to mix in with the salad. I forgot to grab some while I was at Trader Joes because I was so excited that everything was so cheap there. Unfortunately I will have to look around for cheap vegetables in my neighborhood, which is pretty hard to do. I think that could probably be my other 4 meals, but I went and got an eggplant too. I love having my eggplant pizza, so I got some tomatoes to make that. Luckily since I have so many dinners, they can carry over to lunch. Winning.


This is my lunch options. I got a sweet potato to bake for one meal. Those tend to really fill me up, but I think I might buy a can of beans to stuff inside the sweet potato. Then I got some chicken that was on super sale, which was lucky for me because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to eat any animal meat during this week. When it comes to meat, you really have to look around and look for coupons and deals because otherwise it can get pretty expensive. To go with some of the chicken, I got a bag of Romaine lettuce. I need to have salads weekly, so this will definitely be a go to for my lunch options. Otherwise for lunch I will be having leftovers and buying a few cans of tuna since that is usually like .79 to .99 cents a can.

I don’t have my breakfast items pictured, but I will just be living off of oatmeal made with water and a banana (.19 cent bananas) and different types of eggs. Some days it will be scrambled and other days it will be fried. If I can afford it with my leftover money and the things I want to buy, I may end up trying to get some almond milk in order to make pudding. We shall see how that goes though. Stay tuned for what I will be making these next few days (granted my little brother is coming in town and I will be eating out some days, so this SNAP challenge will be a little sporadic). The one thing you can’t help is having a life. I wish this project wasn’t due before spring break because I feel like a lot of people have a really busy life and need more time to figure out when to implement this challenge.

Have an awesome day! Wish me luck!

Have you ever lived on a real small budget?
What is your go to cheap meal?


3 thoughts on “WIAW: The 20.10$ Shopping Cart

  1. Wow, what an incredible challenge. As a journalist, I’ve done quite a few stories about health and fitness in impoverished areas and you are dead-on that people don’t have the education to shop smart on food stamps NOR do they have access to places nearby that sell what they need. And someone who is working 3 waitressing or janitorial jobs doesn’t have the time to make a 20-minute subway or bus trip to find a grocery store. Interesting post!

    I’ve got a lot of great 2-person recipes on my blog, http://www.freshbasilfortwo.com. I’d love for you to check it out!

  2. Hi there! Just visiting from Jenn’s WIAW linkup. Wow, this post is really fascinating. I really appreciate it since so many people think that eating healthy is too expensive. An egg based meal is my go to meal for the quality and the price. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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