Food Stamp Challenge Day 2: You Have to Have Money to Save Money


Uploaded by Karrey Britt

Note: Food insecurity is a complex issue. I know that the Food Stamp Challenge in no way fully simulates the real world situations of SNAP participants. Still, I am trying to live on $3.96/day (the typical SNAP allotment) for five days as a learning experience.

When you have only $19.80 in your pocket to feed yourself for five days, you notice that the best deals at grocery stores go to people who have way more money than you do.

Take this Dillons ad for example. You can get ten loaves of Dillons sandwich bread for $10. You can get four dozen eggs for $5. The total cost, with tax, to take advantage of these deals would be $16.35.

This would be great if I had, say, $100 to spend and a large freezer at home to pack with nine loaves of bread. But with only $19.80 to spend, there's no way I'm going to concentrate 80% of my purchasing power in two items. So if I shop at Dillons, I'm stuck paying the higher unit cost for one loaf of bread and one dozen eggs.

Next time you go to the grocery store, take note of all of the 2-fer's and other quantity discounts. The great deals you get excited about may be out of reach to those who need them the most.

Tagged: Just Food, food stamp challenge, SNAP


Chris Tilden 4 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for sharing these observations Marilyn. I had a very similar experience last night, shopping for four days as part of the Just Foods community shopping experience at Checkers. I had to buy the smallest sizes of every product, be it fresh (like apples) or processed (like jarred tomato sauce). These smaller product sizes generally have the highest unit prices. This is an unrelated comment, but the small size of processed food packages also make substantial contributions to our landfills, since it takes more packaging per unit food for the smaller containers than for larger ones.

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