I did not spend a lot of time planning out my meals this week. As a previous SNAP/CalFresh recipient, I had some idea of what items I could use to plan out my meals. That’s not to say that the entire process was super simple and I did have to make some quick calculations in my head but I wanted to replicate how I would be making decisions if this was not the week of the CalFresh Challenge. Realistically, I would not spend hours making spreadsheets and calculating every penny.
As I stood in the aisle of the supermarket (I opted to go to Trader Joe’s because that was where I used to shop as a SNAP/CalFresh recipient and I knew the layout the best), I did mental math: yes, buying instant oatmeal in packets is more expensive than regular oatmeal and it has more sugar; however, I’ve never made oatmeal from scratch and I am not a morning person. Instant oatmeal won.
It wasn’t until I went home that I made a meal plan for the week. It looks like it will be a pretty repetitive week and I’ll need to return to the store later this week for eggs and lettuce but overall it seems like a good start for the week.
I do think that if this was the first time having to plan a meal with a limited budget, I would have found the process more stressful than I have so far. I am also very aware that the Challenge is only for a week. As someone who loves to eat out and drink Starbucks more often than I probably should, giving up these things for one week isn’t so bad; however, committing to giving up these “luxuries” for a more indefinite time would be challenging.