Lead me not into Dollar Menu temptation...

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The ease and seemingly cheap option of ordering something from a fast food dollar menu is cropping up in some of our entries. We're very proud of our Challengers for resisting this temptation, amidst being tired, cranky and hungry. This Challenge isn't just about how cheaply you can eat, but how healthy you can eat under fiscal restraint. We believe in you, Challengers! Today gave me a chance to reflect on the necessity of making meals.  You can’t possibly eat out or grab take out on this type of budget.  This meant that I needed to wake up earlier to make breakfast and prepare lunch.  Then when I got home this evening, I did not want to make dinner.   I was exhausted and had a headache.  Normally, I would order take out or eat a meal that I had frozen previously.  It seems silly to comment on having to wake up earlier and make dinner when I was tired.  However, I can imagine how difficult this would be on an every day/week/month basis.  It would be so easy to just buy something off of the dollar menu at some fast food restaurant or eat some other inexpensive processed food.

Personally, we did much better today than yesterday in staying within our budget, even if we were still a little bit over.  Between the two of us, my husband and I ate two eggs, a Cliff bar, a banana, and two cans of diet soda for breakfast for a total of $2.01.  We ate quite a bit more for lunch and snacks: apples, grapes, baby carrots, graham crackers, wheat thins, and leftovers from dinner for a total of $4.58.  For dinner we (three of us) had bone in and skin on chicken breasts, diced tomatoes, rice, salsa, and broccoli for a total of $3.17.  We shared two servings of ice cream for an after dinner snack for $0.50.  This brings us to a total of $10.26 for the day, which is slightly above our daily budget but much better than yesterday.

We were lucky this week because there were many great deals at the grocery store.  Bone in skin on chicken breasts were on sale for $0.99/lb and most of the fruits and veggies that we bought were $0.99/lb.  It was even a little disappointing knowing that I wouldn’t be able to stock up on the sales due to the limited budget.  I always thought that if people would just stock up during sales, they would be able to eat on a low budget.  However, I realized that stocking up can be very difficult on a fixed budget.

-Submitted by: CalFresh Challenger

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Okay, so today was able to go from 5am until 1pm without eating. Is that what I would do if on food stamps? Had a banging lunch that I spent what I didn't spend yesterday on. I think the secret is to keep yourself so busy that you "forget to eat." I thought that people who said that were ridiculous, but now I know it works. I'm starting to suspect that anyone who says that is on a very limited income and that's their coping mechanism. I really want a little dinner but I don't have any money. Is panhandling allowed in this challenge? I don't think I saw a rule on that?

So I'm hungry. Gonna fill up on ice water, read, and hit the bed early. Would do something fun but energy is a little short today. I do have a 99 cent bag of carrots that I could use sparingly throughout the week? Gosh, this would be so easy if I allowed myself to eat off of the McDonald's dollar menu, but NO! That is so unhealthy and then I would have medical bills.

-Submitted by: CalFresh Challenger