Monday, September 12, 2011

Hunger Challenge Day One! Plus Skirt the 12th!

So the Hunger Challenge is this thing that the SF Food Bank does every year to draw attention to just how damn hard it is to live on food stamps - about $5 for one person per day. The deal is that you sign up to do it for just a week. Today is my first day. Everyone else started yesterday. As usual, I am late. (Hey are you just here for the thrifty time clothes? Scrolly on downy for that stuff!)

It's been a long time but this isn't my first scrimp and save rodeo. While in college, I remember many many times heading down the street to Cala Foods with just a $20 bill to cover my groceries for a week or so. Lots of pasta. Lots.

20 years later, and things are different. For one thing, I don't eat pasta. Or beans. Or rice. Or potatoes. Or ramen. Or bread. Or peanut butter. Or any of the other foods that are cheap as hell.

More importantly, though, the last 20 years have been lucky ones for me. I rarely pay attention to the cost of a bag of groceries. Oh, I stay away from fancy things and pay attention to price but not that much. I know that I am exceptionally and truly fortunate to have been born to this here life in this here incredibly wealthy country. Most of the world, not so lucky. And even here in northern California, lots are also not so lucky. I have the luxury to try this experiment and boy do I know it's a luxury.

For my Hunger Challenge, I headed to the decidedly not luxurious Grocery Outlet around the corner. Wise move! You can buy a LOT there with not so much dough. But I have to say - it was hard. Spending just $35 for the week on my pretty much only greens and proteins diet was limiting and, well, boring. And, I bought things that I would never ever in a million years buy normally. Like frozen chicken breasts and canned vegetables. I reached for my typical and delicious fake meat products but their price was precious indeed compared to regular ol' chicken.

Here's what I bought:
  • A bag of fresh broccoli 1.99 (4 servings; .50 cents per serving)
  • 9 oz fresh spinach 1.99 (3 servings; .66 cents per serving)
  • 2.5 lbs chicken breasts 4.99 (10 servings; .49 cents per serving)
  • Lg can green beans .79 (2 servings; .40 cents per serving)
  • Lg can collard greens .79 (2 servings; .40 cents per serving)
  • Smoked thai chicken sausage 3.49 (4 servings; .87 cents per serving)
  • Plain greek nonfat yogurt 1.49 (6 servings - use as sauce, dip, etc; .25 cents per serving)
  • Lg can crushed tomatoes 1.29 (4 servings; .32 cents per serving)
  • 18 organic eggs $2.99 (9-18 servings; .33 to .17 cents per serving)
  • Instant coffee $6 (15 servings; .40 cents per serving) Coffee medifast powder $7 (7 servings; 1 dollar per serving - this is half price because I bought some from someone who went off the program)
TOTAL GROCERIES $32.81 (which leaves me some change for condiments)

Here's what I did today...HUNGER CHALLENGE DAY ONE:
  • Coffee/medifast $1.40
  • Hard-boiled egg .17 cents
  • Spinach, sausage, yogurt $1.62
  • One very little tiny chocolate egg furtively purchased from co-worker .05 cents (I actually gave him a quarter and put the rest on layaway)
  • Chicken, tomato, broccoli $1.47

Verdict? I felt like I was right back in the throes of my hardcore dieting. AKA, craving a salty snack most of the time. I wasn't hungry per se, just conscious of how damn limited I was.

I did take my mind off thinking about food and how to make it last by further tidying up the thrift wardrobe. I'm thinking about giving away things that don't suit me. Maybe here? Maybe ebay? Not sure.

And of course, it's still 30 Skirts Hath September and I am here with Yet Another Skirt!

  • Homemade (I think) A line charcoal and white seersucker skirt with black eyelet kick pleats $4
  • Red/pink checked and ruffled Faded Glory blouse $9
  • Green nylon cardigan with black trim $5
  • Black patent leather wide belt $2
  • Black patent leather t-strap heels $7
  • Red and black fake rock bracelet $2
  • Gold vintage charm bracelet $3
Not thrifted: Nothing

What I would change about this outfit now that I've seen the photo:
  • I am just loving a line skirts these days!
  • This color combination knocked me out in real life, but the photo doesn't really capture it. Still, even if the photo was fantastic, it seems to me that the getup is fine but doesn't sing as much as I'd hoped.
  • I was wearing earrings and such but I'd lost them by the time I took the photo.
Total outfit cost: $32



  1. Thanks for taking the Hunger Challenge! Blog Her mentioned you: Bloggers Take Food Stamp Challenge To Raise Awareness of Grocery Costs |