Living Lightly

Susan Vogt on living more simply but abundantly

Browsing Posts in Food Stamp Challenge

Now that Lent is over and we’ve experimented with different ways of doing the Food Stamp Challenge, here are some things I learned: It’s possible to eat nutritiously enough on $4.50/day. It’s not easy, but it is possible. It’s no fun – unless you consider constant calculations, boring food, and self-denial fun. Yes, it was […]

Although we’ll just about be home by the time Easter rises in the USA, I’d like to share some reflections on the past Holy Week we’ve spent in Ranchi, India. Patience in the Land of Tech Support It takes 6 weeks of Lent to get to Easter. It seems to take almost as long for […]

Just as money doesn’t grow on trees, so also food does not spontaneously generate. It has to come from something – a seed, an animal… Here at the Marianist Novitiate in Ranchi, India, they feed 16 people plus guests on about $2 per person per day. Everyone looks well fed. How? Do It Yourself – […]

It’s Holy Thursday, the time Christians remember the Last Supper. Jim and I are in India now, visiting the Marianist Family of sisters, brothers, priests, and lay people. The welcome at the airport by our Marianist brothers and sisters was extraordinary. It was like Jesus washing the feet of the apostles and more. Representatives from […]

A first impression that I have of Afghanistan is that it is very tan – meaning that the landscape is a dusty brown. Granted our daughter said that soon some green will appear as the trees start to bud out. We took a hike in a mountainous region yesterday – that is to say anywhere […]

Travel is always a thought provoking experience. As I write this at 4:30am Afghan time, I hear the Muslim pre-dawn call to prayer outside. It makes me think about various world religions. My thoughts also turn to food since eating in a foreign country can be both delightful and disconcerting as I try unfamiliar foods. […]

Today Jim and I leave for Afghanistan. (And you thought we were crazy to undertake a simple and safe Food Stamp Challenge!) We will be visiting our daughter who is a foreign correspondent for the AP in Kabul. She assures us that we will not be in any danger – and this from a young […]

As you know, I’ve been feeling a little guilty about not buying organic, cage free eggs during this Food Stamp Challenge since they cost more. Sometimes things work out in uncanny ways though. It just happened that one of our guests this weekend brought two dozen organic, cage free, local eggs as a hostess gift. […]

This weekend we will have 11 guests (Pig Town Fling dancers) staying at our home. This presents two conundrums: Do we make them eat on $4.50/day or do we say “Eat only from the left side of the refrigerator, the right side is OUR food.” It certainly doesn’t seem hospitable to force our Lenten practice […]

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 […]

I “toughed it out” at the last St. Francis DeSales fish fry by purchasing only the cheapest meal for $2. My son, who teaches at the school, gave me a hard time since it’s a fundraiser for the school. He said I could have made a bigger donation even if I didn’t eat more. He’s […]

Following are some food trifles and questions that trying to eat on $4.50/day have raised in my mind: Apples: Jim had been gone for a few days and I had carefully rationed out the apples left for the week. The day he returned I went to the refrigerator to eat the last apple. It was […]

Week #3 Grocery Shopping: Depending on how you figure it, this week we came in either $4.06 under budget or $5.06 over budget. We’re under budget if I figure just this week. We’re still a little over budget if I factor in the $9.22 we overspent last week. Bottom line? It’s getting quite complicated to […]

Normally I wouldn’t give the following things a second thought, but since I’m watching my food pennies and trying to be true to only spending $4.50/day I’ve started to stumble over trivial issues. For example: Being a good guest: Our faith community always has snacks after our meeting. Should I take a snack? (I decided […]

Week #2 Grocery Shopping: Since we didn’t use up all the food we bought for Week #1, (we had enough leftovers from one of our meals for next week) we figured we could be a little more lenient about our food purchases for Week #2. This week we decided to buy food that we knew […]

Our first week on the Food Stamp budget is almost up. So far, so good. The hardest part so far has been all the calculating to figure out how much to spend and how to count the food we already had in the house. We tried to be pretty strict with our food purchases this […]

Week 1 Grocery Shopping: Well, today Jim and I went grocery shopping with the goal of buying one week’s worth of food for $63 ($4.50/day for each of us for a week). Our self-inflicted Food Stamp Challenge starts Wednesday. Our total bill was only $ .81 over the limit but we took a few liberties […]

Since next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday – the day we start the Food Stamp Challenge – I figured that I only had a few days left before I wouldn’t be eating desserts (and a bunch of other beloved foods). In the spirit of Mardi Gras I made my favorite dessert – mousse – and portioned […]

$4.50/day (or $31.50/wk.) is the national average food stamp allotment for about 49 million Americans. Could you do it? I’m pretty frugal and my husband, Jim, (who does most of the cooking in our family) is a careful and health conscious grocery shopper. We decided to try to do it as part of the National […]