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Food Stamp Challenge Day 9: Priorities

This is Day 9 of a month long food stamp challenge. If this is your first visit, please check out this link to see all of the posts and get a better understanding of what is going on.

I read a beautiful editorial in the New York Times this morning and wanted to share an excerpt:

“Even if things turn around financially, I don’t think I could stomach going to Whole Foods (except maybe for olive oil) because my biggest revelation in terms of self-sufficiency is this: It is no big deal. You can tell yourself anything is too difficult, or you can just do it. And you do not need to reconstruct your worldview or take issue with others.

You just need to be hungry.”

There are a lot of valid reasons and just as many excuses from able-bodied adults as to why they can’t cook at home. It takes too long, I don’t know how, I don’t have time, if you had kids you’d understand… I’ve heard them all, folks. The simple, unadulterated truth is that, as Susan Gregory Thomas said, “you just need to be hungry.”

Food security is a real issue for millions of people across the country and around the world. If you think all of this is just too hard or time consuming, maybe you’re just not hungry enough.

We are thankful to not need government assistance to know where our next meal is coming from, but in these few days we have taken a critical look at our own lives and been ashamed at how wasteful we’ve been. Living your life under a microscope can cause you to reflect on things in a different way and while this process is difficult, we wouldn’t change it for anything.

This month is changing our lives and I for one am happy that there are witnesses to the transformation, but more important to us is to know that we have helped other people to evaluate their own habits and behaviors. Put yourself under that microscope and don’t be afraid to ask yourself hard questions. The only wrong response is no response at all.



  • coffee w/ sugar & creamer
  • oatmeal w/ sugar & margarine

(2) peanut butter & jelly sandwiches
6 oz carrots


leftover chili (Day 5)
leftover yellow rice w/ red peppers (Day 7)

DINNER: $0.74
fettuccini with garlic parmesan cream sauce
homemade French bread (step-by-step recipe coming soon)
marinara dipping sauce

These two loaves of bread cost $.74 to make at home.


DINNER NOTES: The garlic cream sauce was made ahead of time from expired milk that was on the verge of spoiling. A small amount of parmesan cheese that was in the fridge was added before serving along with a leftover packet of “parmesan, Romano & hard grating cheese blend” from a pizza place that John picked up in the break room at work. The package of pasta was from the starting pantry.

The marinara dipping sauce was made from one of the jars of tomato sauce that was repacked on Day 5.


  • Consumed Today: 2.20 [+6.80 for the day]
  • Consumed To Date (week): 6.10 [+11.90 for the week]
  • Consumed To Date (month): 33.23 [+47.77 for the month]
  • Spent To Date: 138.07
  • Remaining Balance: $141.11


If you lost your primary source of income tomorrow, how do you think your priorities would be impacted?

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