Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Eating on $3 a Day

Hey, if the governor of Oregon can do it... check out this story from today's NY Times. The governor and his wife spent $3 each per day for a week-- $42 total-- as their entire food budget, as this is the amount granted to food stamp recipients. After a week, they went back to their regular diet and budget-- the governor said that he had to go to bed early because the diet left him feeling tired. (The article did not say whether he lost any weight! I can just see the books that would start coming out: "The Food Stamp Diet" etc!)
It's interesting to see what they bought, and the relative prices:


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting, and good for him.

Hmmm, wish I could get a gallon of milk for a dollar ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure there will be a such a diet. I can remember that there was an article in the NY times about food with a lot of calories being the cheapest and this is why poor people tend to be obese.

RichC said...

Speaking of eating ... I travel the same territory each week (sales by car) and make a game out of figuring out how to eat lunch inexpensively while on the road. I know I should pack more in a cooler -- currently I just do water, juice or soft drinks -- but have done the foil wrapped leftovers under the hood, or fixed pasta over a propane burner on nice days just for fun. Unfortunately the only way I've found to eat lunch on the cheap is Mexican restaurants ("Speedy" or ala carte of course) and the 'dollar' menus at fast food chains. My current favorite is a McDonald's salad (99 cents) and chicken or double cheeseburger (99 cent) with water and 'free' wifi to check my emails OR "My Open Wallet Blog" over lunch. (Wendy's has bumped theirs up a few cents so I've stopped going there in protest --grin) I really need some new $2.00 lunch ideas. Thoughts from the frugal mind?

English Major said...

Like Anonymous, I'd guess that if Gov. Kulongowski's weight had changed, it would be to gain, rather than to lose. Generally, what you eat on a very small food budget is extremely processed and mostly carbohydrates.

I still think it's great that he made this attempt--Oregon's food stamp program is comparatively a good one, but as he now knows viscerally as well as intellectually, it still doesn't stretch that far, especially when you're feeding a family.

Anonymous said...

In law school I ate pretty well on under $25/week. I ate unprocessed foods and prepared them myself. I made my own whole-grain bread, and applesauce using bruised apples from the bargain bin at the grocery. I'd also buy a gallon of milk and use a quart of it to make a quart of yogurt--way cheaper than buying a half gallon of milk and a quart of yogurt.

To stretch the dollar further, they could have bought dry beans instead of canned. It's not rocket science to cook a pot of beans, and then they could afford more fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, though, I think they did pretty well.

tAnYeTTa said...

OMG the foodstamp diet. Brilliant :)

$1.00 for a gallon of milk? Really?

Scott said...

My understand was this food was for a week only. But some of the numbers have me curious. Coffee for a week is $4 (I don't drink coffee - will $4 last you only one week?). Over $4 for peanut butter - that had to be so much there is plenty left over. And $3.20 for honey - has honey gone up so much since I bought some?? Those combined took up 25% of their budget and they must have some left over for the next week.

Paul and Marilyn said...

We're doing it this week. Follow us at:
http://foodstampfollies.blogspot.com/

PAUL

Cheryl said...

$4.39 for peanut butter? Was it in a gallon jar?? That can't be right, peanut butter is not that expensive, and if he was on the food stamp budget, he should have been buying the store brand!

Anonymous said...

Bronx chica...Wow! I spend $1 for breakfast. I make my own lunch from out of the groceries i get for the week(target, supermarket, etc.) and dinner is in the form of a B1G1 pizza deals or leftovers.

Anonymous said...

I never buy canned beans...how hard is it to leave a cup of beans in soak overnight? A quarter the price, much better flavor, and fewer chemicals!!
Also, I would imagine that in Oregon, as here, you can grow some produce. I believe food stamps will pay for seeds. Admittedly it is seasonal, but you would be amazed now much I save by growing most of my herbs and some of my vegetables (mainly tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini). And drying the herbs for winter saves ALOT.
My mother grew up in England during WWII and I believe taught me truly thrifty but healthful eating.