We are on the homeward stretch of our SNAP Challenge Week. The picture above is our dinner, which was Chipotle Corn Chowder, made from bone broth from the chicken we cooked on Sunday, and Southwestern Cole Slaw. Looking back, this meal seems too much the same in color and in taste, but my son and husband liked it, so I’m going with that. We baked our remaining potatoes and ate those for lunch, along with some of the remaining bananas that my son thought were getting too old and he froze them and made them into a frosty dessert!
Besides that, I owe you all more details about the financial aspect of our Challenge. In North Carolina, the weekly SNAP allotment for a household of 2 (my son and I) is $82.11. We are technically a household of 3, because my husband also lives here, which would raise us up to a total of $117.60, which is an additional $35.49. However, because my husband was going to be out of town for half of the week, I cut the additional $35.49 into half, which was $17.75. So that meant that I had a total of $99.86 to spend on food this week.
Here is how I spent it. I bought most of my staples at my usual Harris Teeter, for a total expense of $75.68. Then at my third Harris Teeter, I bought my chicken and bacon for $11.19.
That brought my total expense to $86.87.
At the farmer’s market on Saturday, I bought 2 peppers and 2 tomatoes and spent $5.
Then I went to Earth Fare to buy bread (on sale) and corn (also on sale). Somehow I lost that receipt, but here is my bank statement that I spent $6.04.
All together, that makes $97.91, which is just a little below my allowed maximum of $99.86.
In preparing for this week, I not only carefully read all the grocery advertisements, but I visited a couple of stores to compare prices before the week I was going to actually buy things.
I’ll be honest. My major go-to store is the biggest, nicest Harris Teeter in Cary. It is in a shopping center directly across from Whole Foods…and yet, it is in the same shopping center as a Walmart. So it is contending with both ends of the food spectrum.
I had my shopping list for my planned meals and priced them out at Harris Teeter. Then I went a couple of miles away to the discount grocery, Aldi, to price the same items.
This is totally a “your mileage may vary” situation. I was not looking at classic “cheap” food like ramen noodles or blue box mac and cheese or frozen pizza. But for most of my items, Aldi was about the same price as Harris Teeter. Aldi was definitely cheaper on spices and on organic produce, but then I ended up not being able to buy either of those on my SNAP Challenge budget.
One thing that Aldi was cheaper on was cheese–on the base price. However, Harris Teeter almost always has a sale on cheese for Buy One, Get One Free, or Buy Two, Get Three Free. Aldi’s cheaper regular price is still more expensive than that.
Likewise, I got my natural bacon and chicken on sale at Harris Teeter, which was much cheaper than the non-sale prices at Aldi.
I am not making a global statement about grocery prices or where to shop for the cheapest things. However, as a mom who has been doing this for many years, I find shopping the sales brings me bigger discounts than shopping at discount stores. It certainly served me in this Challenge. But that is just based on my shopping list.
Tomorrow I plan to talk about my all my advantages, because many SNAP families do not have the kind of choice that I do in picking their groceries. All I will say that I am very appreciative of the sales that allowed me to provide for my family in an economic way as we took on this SNAP Challenge.
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