I woke up on Tuesday morning determined to eat well all day, but to take our final dollar amount down from Day 2. Specifically, I was really focused on bringing the cost of breakfast to a more budget-friendly place. Jason stuck with his usual yogurt and cereal, but I decided to make myself an egg sandwich and take it to-go. Two eggs at $0.08 each, two slices of wheat bread at $0.07 each, and one slice of cheese at $0.25 made a filling meal for only $0.55. It takes more effort than an energy bar, but it’s a lot nicer on the wallet.
Betty – egg sammy ($0.55), two cups of coffee ($0.24). Total – $0.79
Jason – yogurt and Smart Start ($0.90), two cups of coffee ($0.24). Total – $1.14
For lunch, I packed Jason his usual, and I decided to take the leftover pizza from the night before. It was too tasty to waste, and I knew it would keep me full enough that I wouldn’t snack as much as usual in the afternoon. I wasn’t planning on buying any yogurt for myself, but the stuff I like was on SUPER sale, AND I had a coupon, so I figured that I could have my own at a quarter per serving.
Betty – leftover pizza ($3.35), Dannon immunity yogurt ($0.25). Total – $3.60
Jason – chicken salad sandwich ($1.27), crackers ($0.20), Fig Newtons ($0.37). Total – $1.84
Snacks were pretty light for me, with crackers ($0.20) being all I needed to get me through a long afternoon at work. Jason, on the other hand, ate an apple ($0.41), some grapes ($0.69), AND an energy bar ($1.08). Again, the budget was particularly difficult while hubby was doing boot camp, since he still wanted to eat 5-6 times per day and get a good mix of proteins, carbs, and other nutrients. Which brings up an interesting point…
There are plenty of people who suffer from hunger who…well…don’t LOOK hungry. There is certainly a link between food stamp benefits and obesity, the obvious reason being that the cheaper foods tend to be the more calorie-dense, high-fat, processed, “junky” choices. But another factor is exercise, of course, and the fact that many people in the United States (and NOT just food stamp recipients) just don’t get any. While it is most definitely crucial to address hunger issues, making healthier food available to all is only part of the solution. I’d be interested to hear if anyone knows of organizations with a focus on fitness in low-income populations.
For dinner, I threw together cold sesame noodles with chicken and cucumbers, from a recent Cooking Light magazine. I cook with Asian flavors quite a bit, so I had almost all of the oils and spices required for the dish. I started calculating things out, but it truly started giving me a migraine. Math hurts, kids. So, I decided to estimate high and go with $5.00 total for the small quantities of rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce (which I bought on sale at Kroger for $1), ginger, and honey.
Total – $10.00. I split the finished dish into 5 servings, so each one was $2.00.
Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain. Combine rice vinegar and the next 5 ingredients (through ginger) in a large bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add noodles, chicken, and cucumbers to bowl; toss gently to coat.
I served the noodles with some Steamfresh frozen broccoli, which calculated out to $0.43 per serving. So, dinner was $2.43 per serving, which brought my total for the day to $7.02 and Jason’s to $7.59. When we added that $14.61 to the numbers from Days 1 and 2, our week-to-date total became $33.77. We were more than halfway through our budget, but not quite halfway through the week. Would we make it through the challenge with our budget intact? Only time would tell…