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Challenge: Eat for a week on $25.38

October 14, 2008

Greg Lukeman, Executive Director of Food Outreach challenged himself and 3 other friends to eat for a week on $25.38. This amount represents what a disabled Missouri resident would receive in food stamps. This article appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on October 5, 2008. I was a little disappointed in the article as they did ALL their shopping at Aldi’s and did not incorporate Sales, Coupons, Rebates, ECB’s, or Register Rewards by using other stores other than Aldi’s.

They said it was hard to do and that they were ALWAYS hungry! The four participants bought pasta, peanut butter, milk, oatmeal, ice cream, yogurt, tuna fish, eggs, apples, Cereal, Bonless Chicken Breast, saltines, baby carrots, bread, sausage, mac & cheese, Spaghetti Sauce, Spaghetti, Cheese slices, turkey meat, butter, brown sugar, assorted vegetables.

All four complained about having to eat the SAME thing over and over, and not have any variety.

So, I am providing a Mr. Linky – can you come up with a grocery list for one person for $25.38 or less?

Here is my contribution – this is from last week (using sales & coupons but not RR or ECB’s) as I know the prices:


boneless Ckn Breast – 6.97 (this last me and my husband 2 weeks!)
7 Bags Vegetable Steamers – 13.86 (Wal-mart comped Schnuck’s 10/10.00 add) (enough for two people – so can be used for Lunch & Dinner)
1 jar of Peter Pan PB – 2.18
2 Mac & Cheese Bowls – 1.50
1 bag of Salad – 1.50
1 dozen eggs – 1.29
Total before Taxes – 27.30

Coupons & Comped Ads used:
Schnucks comp ad vegetable steamers – 6.86
7 1.00 off vegetable steamers – makes them FREE – 7.00
.50 off Peter Pan
.75 off two mac & cheese bowls
Total Coupons/comp ad – 15.11

Total after coupons – 12.19!
Tax – 1.00
Total 13.19

Total: 25.38 – 13.19 = 12.19 left

2 Jack’s Pizza – 2/4.00
2 boxes Kashi Cereal – 2/5.00
Total: 9.00

.75 Jack’s Pizza coupon x 2 = 1.50
2.00 Kashi Cereal Coupon x 2 = 4.00
Total coupons: 5.50

Total 3.50
Tax .29
Total: 3.79

Total: 12.19 – 3.79 = 8.40 left

1 gallon Milk – 2.99
Total – 2.99
Tax – .25
Total: 3.24

Total: 8.40 – 3.24 = 4.16 Left

I can use “roll” the 4.16 to next weeks allotment and begin to look for sales to start stockpiling because this list does not include toiletries or health items.

Now, I know I will probably hear that it is more convenient to shop at one location but if you can plan your shopping there is a way to get what you need for this amount. Take note that the bag of chicken will feed one person for two weeks – also, the steamers can be used for two meals.

I believe that this exercise enlightened the participants in the challenges to make money go further – but I do not believe they showed how creative people need to be in shopping – using sales, multiple stores, and not being brand specific!


3 Responses to Challenge: Eat for a week on $25.38

  1. Mommyhood is Thankless on October 15, 2008 at 5:27 am

    It is really hard to eat on that low of an amount. Before I knew how to shop frugally, my now husband and I would live on ramen, rice and beans. for about that much a week. That includes toiletries and toilet paper etc. Seeing your list now, and knowing what I know now I would probably still enjoy Ramen! I mean we ate it so much then the though of ramen now makes me feel sick.

    But really it isn’t that hard to live on $25 a week, you just have to get the paper or look at adds online and use coupons.

    Also, they have this program called Angel Food Ministries that gives you a ridiculous amount of food for that much! And that is supposed to last a family of 4 for about a week! So for one person that 25$ box would be enough for a month. (actually looking at it now its $30 but with $25 a week you could order 3 of those boxes and have enough food to last you a month!)

  2. Work at Home Mom Revolution on October 15, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Wow! $25.38 would be cutting it close. I don’t know if we could do it. And there are only three of us in my household. The coupons really make a difference, I can see.

  3. Nancy on October 15, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    That is for one person – if they practiced stockpiling and started slowly then it could be done.

    Great idea on the Angel Food Ministries – We utilize Angel Food and the food is top notch! In fact – we had stew from our Angel Food that was a crock pot kit from Marie Callenders line and it was awesome. I did add some extra veggies from our angel food also.

    Good ideas!

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