Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reverse SNAP Challenge, Day 5

We're coming into the home stretch on our Reverse Snap Challenge. By Day 5, most of the food we ate had already been sampled earlier in the week, so I didn't have to do the calculations over again. However, I did need to modify a few of them to account for the increased price of fresh milk over powdered (about 1.25 cents per cup). I also discovered that I'd used the wrong price for rye flour when calculating the price of Brian's homemade rye bread, so I went back and revised the numbers for Days 1-4  Here's our menu for Monday:

Amy's breakfast (toast and cocoa): 27 cents
Brian's breakfast (cereal with add-ins and juice): $1.07
Lunch: the rest of the leftover spinach casserole from Day 1, some of the leftover pasta from Day 4, about 3/4 cup of 99-cents-a-pint blueberries from Aldi (we finished off one pint of them on Day 4, but they were so cheap that we bought two more), and a glass of seltzer (about half a can) with a splash of orange juice (about 2 ounces). Total: 51.6 cents.
Amy's afternoon snack: popcorn and an egg cream (39.3 cents), plus two graham crackers (10.7 cents) and 1 ounce string cheese (29 cents). Total: 79 cents.
Dinner: a couscous salad made with a bunch of veggies from our garden. This is our first big harvest for the year: 1 medium zucchini (and one baby one that fell off the vine), two medium cucumbers, two scallions, and a small bunch of parsley. Brian modified the couscous salad recipe from The Clueless Vegetarian, substituting the zucchini for the two green peppers the recipe called for, and it came out pretty well. The other ingredients were about 6 ounces of whole wheat couscous ($2.56 a pound at the Amish market, so 96 cents), two cups of home-cooked beans (equivalent to about 1/4 pound of dry beans, or 25 cents), the juice of one lemon (50 cents at the H-Mart), 6 tablespoons of olive oil (35 cents), and about a teaspoon of cumin (I found the weight of ground cumin here, but I didn't know the price, so I used the price for coriander—$17.17 per pound—as a wild approximation and got a price of 7.5 cents). Total: $2.14, and as usual, we have plenty of leftovers.
Dessert: Same as yesterday—ice cream with chocolate syrup for Brian, ice cream soda for me. Total: 60 cents.
Additional snack: 2 graham crackers (10.7 cents) and 1 cup milk (20 cents). Total: 30.7 cents.
TOTAL COST FOR MONDAY: $5.69, well under the limit for today.
TOTAL FOR DAYS 1-5: $39.63, or about 63 percent of our $63 budget for the week.

One pattern that's becoming quite clear is that we spend a lot less on days when we use a lot of garden produce. We came in under $6 on both Monday and Friday—Friday because the bulk of our dinner was made up of garden veggies, and Monday because dinner was a potluck that we bought our way into with a pie made from home-grown rhubarb. This suggests that, if we add in the supermarket cost of our garden produce, our total for the week might end up well over $63—but it also goes to show that our garden really is saving us money, especially now that it's well established and we're not putting so much money into it every year.
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