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The challenge: Eating on a tight budget

March 11, 2009 | 10:21 am

Stamps3Times staff writer Jason Song decided to take the challenge facing millions of Americans:

I was reading a book about the joys of making your own bacon, preferably with mail-ordered pork belly, when my wife mentioned something about a food stamp challenge.

It sounded ominous.

We were considering buying a house and the economy seemed shaky, so it was a good time to tighten our belts, she said. We would live on $72 worth of food a week, she explained, about the same amount a family of two in California would get in food stamps.

Is that truly necessary? I asked. Sure, the cookbook suggests making bacon from pork that cost $88 for 9 pounds, but I was never actually going to do that. And we're pretty thrifty, I argued. We splurge occasionally but we pack our own lunches most of the time, even grow some of our own vegetables.

But then she showed me our credit card statements and receipts, and I realized we weren't actually that thrifty after all. We'd spent almost $700 the month before on food, including alcohol and going out.
Maybe it was time to cut back, I thought. And $72 sounded like a perfectly reasonable limit.

Find out what happened, here.