We went to the parish fish fry last night (paid for out of my winnings from the raffle I won at the last fish fry). It was also our “date night.” Since our dates usually include wine, or some other spirited drink, we knew this would break our Food Stamp budget. We know that one cannot buy liquor with Food Stamps, but we have been trying to only drink water during Lent – with the exception of our morning OJ. Last night we decided to also make an exception for our home date. This comes under the Vogt Food Stamp Ground Rule: “Don’t sacrifice your health or marriage for an experiment.”
Question: How do people who are strapped for money have fun and socialize?
Then today was grocery day. Due to a combination of out of town trips, pot lucks, and guests I fed some complicated algorithms into my computer (Don’t I wish ) and calculated what we could spend between now and March 26 for food. Since we had been pretty strict shoppers for the first four weeks, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to just shop normally and compare what a no frills, but normal week’s expenditures would be.
I also didn’t want to waste the time for both of us to go shopping together again, so I sent Jim off with the instructions, “Buy whatever you normally would (with the exception of drinks, snacks, desserts, and household supplies) to see if we could match my magic number. After deducting $15.68 for discounts and coupons, he was $17.64 over. Items that contributed to the overage were 8 yogurt cups, cage free organic eggs, and two meat meals.
Lesson: Even a careful shopper with coupons would find it difficult to have what most of us consider typical comfort foods (snacks, coffee, pop, desserts, etc.) on a Food Stamp budget. I’m wondering how this would impact one’s attitude toward daily life?