Saturday, November 16, 2013

Shopping Trip #3 and some totals

Got back from my third shopping trip and came in under budget for
Supermarket shopping: $20.99
my food for the week. I was able to afford my serrano chile, some tea, a sweet potato, and some carrots, and I feel a little better about the nutritional reality with some orange vegetables in the mix. I am keeping the $4.73 leftover to see how I want to spend it to supplement what I have. I might buy some eggs to enhance the gallo pinto later in the week, or I might save it for some kind of treat. Tortillas are not out of the question.

Folks from the South may recognize that I shopped at a Harris Teeter, a supermarket that is thought of generally as being more upscale and more expensive. But my other options were Whole Foods and two different Safeway stores. DC nicknames its Safeways and my options are the Soviet Safeway known for its limited selection and bare shelves, and the Sandinista Safeway known for catering to Central Americans in the neighborhood. Sounds promising for someone trying to make gallo pinto, but in fact based on my online exploration (and in keeping with earlier in-person experiences) it was actually much more expensive for what I needed to buy (1 lb bag of black beans was $1.99 there as opposed to $1.29; and they did not have one-pound bags of rice, effectively pricing me out). Your mileage may vary.

At Harris Teeter, I weighed everything, when I would have approximated before. I bought only what I needed, when I would have gotten a little extra to be sure I had enough. I could not be tempted by weekly specials on pineapple or stock up on staples.

When I went to pick up my milk I noticed I could have switched from lactose free milk to soymilk to save a dollar; I pondered it for a long time, but stuck with the milk. Similarly I pondered for a long time between my ginger root and packaged tea; in the end my need to take teabags to work pushed me toward the more expensive item.

As I put the items on the conveyor I recounted everything in my head to make sure I was on budget. Nervous as the clerk rang me up, she said the total, $20.99, and I felt a wave of relief. Then the question came, I've heard it before but it sounded so different today: would you like to make a donation to the food bank?

Why yes, yes, I would. Perhaps you would too.
And that was my privilege as a SNAP Challenge participant rather than a SNAP recipient.

After all this, I still have the cooking ahead of me today, then the challenge actually begins tomorrow. I hope I am up to it.

Here's how the shopping worked out across my three trips overall:

Miles walked to do the shopping: 2.8
Time spent: about 2 hours
Money: $20.99+$6.13+$2.74=$27.41
Leftover (for now): $4.73

My SNAP Challenge Shopping List
                                                       Estimated  Actual
Breakfast : Homemade muesli  
2 qt generic fat free lactose free milk   3.79        3.79
Box generic corn flakes                        2.49        1.97 (on sale this week)
2 c generic oats                                   1.99        1.35 (bulk food at organic market; 3.5 c)
Raisins                                                1.99        1.97 

Dish 1: Sleek
Blackeyed Peas                                    0.77          0.77
Collards                                               1.99          1.25 (farmers' market double dollars)
Bulgur Wheat (1.5 c)                            2.99          1.39 (bulk food at organic market)
Onion (3 lb bag)                                   2.47          2.47
Garlic                                                  0.50          0.50 (farmers' market double dollars)

Dish 2: Gallo Pinto
Black Beans  (1 lb)                                1.29          1.29
Rice (11b)                                            1.29          1.29
Green Bell Pepper                                 1.49          0.75 (farmers' market double dollars)
Tomatoes                                            1.00          0.88
Onion and Garlic (see above)
Bonus: Serrano chile!                                            0.21

7 bananas                                             2.42          2.23
7 apples                                                5.01          3.63 (farmers' market double dollars)
Bonus: 7 carrots!                                                   1.02                          
Bonus: Sweet potato!                                             0.65

Total                                                  $31.48       $27.41

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