Friday, April 17, 2015

My $29 Food Challenge

Simone's groceries - just $27!
Inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow's goop.com $29 Food Stamp Challenge, I wanted to take this challenge as well to see just how much food I could buy with 29 bucks and live off of it for a week. As a single female, I don't have a husband/SO or 2-3+ kids to feed, so it is practically the norm for me to survive perfectly fine on a grocery budget of $30 or less per week. The key is to buy staple products that can be used in various meals to stretch the product over a few days. I purchased foods from all four food groups: meat, fruit/vegetables, diary, and grains.

I usually just eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Make protein smoothies for lunch, and a side of salad, I'll eat a protein bar mid-day, and for dinner I can make penne pasta with Alfredo sauce and some veggies, or add some grilled chicken. I went to Kroger to buy my groceries because I had some coupons which saved me $2.15, bringing my total food bill down to $27.64! Not seen in the photo but included in my grocery shopping is a 3-quart jug of Ice Mountain water for only $1. I think I did a great job with my shopping. One thing that I want to stress is that I chose to buy some products from the Simple Truth organic line because I like to eat as healthy as possible and I try to buy foods that are non-GMO. So if someone else were to buy the exact same items, they could literally save even more money. For instance, the can of corn, I wanted to pay 29 cents more for the can of Simple Truth organic corn at $1.29  - whereas someone else would decide to buy the Del Monte can of corn for only $1. Same thing with the organic chicken. There is a notable price difference between cage free, no-antibiotics/no hormones, organically raised chicken that Simple Truth sells, in comparison to a Tyson's chicken breast package.

Goop.com's Californian groceries.
When you look at goop's grocery items (approximate cost - $24), it's very, very green and organic, much like her reputed daily diet. I think it's safe to say that it is admirable the awareness that Gwyneth has raised by taking on this food stamp challenge, but the reality is that the very people who survive off of food stamps which only permit them to buy $29 worth of groceries, do not buy the type of food that Gwyneth does, or, even what I buy. Like, who needs 7 limes? Really?

At the end of the day, I think what is more newsworthy from this challenge is the focus of having access to good quality healthy foods. Not everyone has access, the ability, or the motivation to buy the foods shown in this article. Hopefully some people's food buying habits will change from the publicity of this project that goop.com took on.

Monday, April 6, 2015

It's Really Springtime!


Since my last post, I'm happy to report (aka, brag) that I am in possession of the OG Bag from Lo & Sons, and I have my new iPad! And in these few weeks, it is now Springtime and I cannot emphasize enough how my spirits have been lifted by the calendar shift of seasons. It's still a little nippy outside some mornings, but today, it is sunny and it will be in the low 60s. Trust me, this is good weather for Michigan in early April!

The month of March was a bit hectic as I worked hard for a fundraiser in my fan community. Although we were just a tad short of our goal, we still did a great job and I'm at peace with how I managed the fundraiser. It's good experience to help me with future jobs by demonstrating my initiative in selecting a fundraiser, and the marketing and strategizing I did to get the funds I was able to secure. I know now who are the true fans and those who are just looky loos. Nuff said.

I'm just 44 days out from my vacation and I am so excited to visit Ireland and England again. I have drawn up a savings budget for the next six weeks and so far I'm on target to have my vacation paid for without the use of one credit card. And speaking of credit, I'm hunkering down on tidying up my credit report. I'm subscribed to Credit Karma and it's a good tool to check up on regularly to make sure my report is accurate. One of my goals has been to not use my credit cards - if I can't pay cash for it, I don't need it. I want zero debt. Credit cards will be for emergencies only. For example, last Friday, I went to the Salvation Army store to see if I could snag a couple pair of pants and some shirts. Upon visiting the store, it's easy to be overwhelmed with all the stuff they have. But I was specifically looking for some khakis, some dress slacks, a polo shirt, and a long sleeve grey top. And I found all items, and the total was less than $7! These four items will expand my wardrobe significantly. I could have gone to the mall and spent almost $100 or more for the items I got, but instead, they were gently used high quality clothes from a second hand store. It helps that this is a college town with money to burn. So there is a lot of nice stuff to be found at the salvation army here in Ann Arbor! BTW, I'm wearing the khakis and the grey top right now!

My next purchase will be some very good walking shoes for my trip. During my 2012 visit to Ireland, in anticipation of the long hikes I would be doing, I purchased some Keen hiking boots. For some reason, after all the walking I did, my big toe on my right foot developed black toenail and it hurt like hell for weeks after! But I'm prepared to deal with this torture next time if I over exert my feet. But still, I want some newer shoes that are fashionable, and not as clunky as my boots.