October 14, 2009

The Eat On $30 Challenge? Me? No Problem...

...Or at least I thought. Did you know that I'm the step-mother to a 17 year-old, 240lb, 6 feet tall linebacker who lives with us? Meet Gareth.

Gareth (#72) and his mentees at the Boys and Girls Club

This week, I 've been participating in the Eat On $30 challenge by my dear buddy, Tami
Tami is passionate about bringing awareness to how many families in our society are struggling and barely have $30. Here are some statistics from her post:
  • At some point during the year, 1 in 5 Americans receives food assistance from 1 or more of the 15 programs providing help.
  • In 2009, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will help feed 31 million people per month. The average monthly benefit? $101.
  • Between March 2007 and March 2008, the global price of food rose 43%. 1 billion people - 1/6th of the world's population - live on $1 per day.
Wow! What a wake-up call.

So...the rule is as simple as this: for one week, I can only spend $30 per person in our home on food...that can be groceries, eating out or a combination of the two.  My kitty was $90 and I opted to plan our meals, buy groceries and cook at home.  This isn't that far outside of the norm for me...after all I am The Broke Socialite. Emphasis on Broke, please.

What has been challenging, however, is marrying my busy schedule this week (and especially having come off a busy weekend) with the time (read: desire) to slave over a stove.  Couple that with a linebacker of a teenaged son whose sole purpose in life is seemingly to eat me out of house and home.  As quickly as I can prepare food, he's gobbled it down.  This week's menus have been filled with meals that can stretch: red beans and rice, tacos, sandwiches and so far, so good.  As y'all saw yesterday, I even made a couple of loaves of banana bread. During the week.  That's an anomaly for me.

The problem?   Remember Gareth, the teenaged boy who eats like he has a hollow leg? It's him.  Normally, I allow him to eat to his heart's content.  He runs at least 6 miles a day and is, well, a growing boy.  This week, however, I've had to instruct him to not be so erra...greedy...because we need to make groceries stretch this week.  I might as well have had 10 heads but then I took the time to explain the Eat on 30 Challenge to him.  Surprisingly he thought it was so cool!  Though we are remarkably blessed, there have been times, years ago, that we've struggled due to job losses and I think he's sensitive to the reality of actually having to be on a budget out of necessity. What a teaching moment (until he went and grabbed two a handful of Little Debbies and retreated to the Man/Boy Cave)!

I've included a picture of the red beans and rice and my recipe (except I do not use tomatoes).

Could YOU eat on $30 for a week?


  1. Oh man—this is brilliant! I'm going to do this next week—THANK YOU for bringing attention to it. (Girl, pray for me: My stepson is a 6 ft., 260 lb. nose tackle. Right.) Dang... we have to work it out on $150, huh? For three meals a day for five people. Whoosh...

    All right: I'm committed. *Makes sign of the cross*

  2. Wow, great job. I am impressed that you could feed a growing boy on this budget. Ours in only 2 so she is a lot easier to fit onto this budget.

  3. Loved your post! Although mine aren't quite that big yet (I have 3) they eat like CRAZY! I made up a batch of cupcakes for them to snack off of during the first of the week (GONE) & some homemade applesauce, which suffice it to say, only I've eaten *sigh* Glad to be participating along with you! Looking forward to reading your next posts! <3 Paula

  4. That would be so hard. Especially with the big son. I have a skinny son and when he was still growing food disappeared like crazy.

  5. for us that would be $120.00 for one week. very doable as i coupon rather heavily and have a pretty good stockpile. my crockpot would definitely be used a lot that week!!

  6. Hahaha, love the post (as I expected and always do on yours!) - so far I'm under $10 for four days, so feeling good ;) Smooches!

  7. Okay, I'm tempted to try this challenge! As a stay at home Mom, I tend to spend way too much on groceries. We are home all day and snacks are a weakness! Wish me luck and Thanks for sharing!


  8. That would be $60 for us. That's how much we spend on one night out! But it's a challenge I am willing to try.

  9. That would be $90 for my family. With two growing boys....definitely a challenge. I'll start this on Sunday!

  10. I was wondering what Eat on 30 was. wow, its a great idea..im gonna have to try it.

  11. i think this is such an awesome thing to do... i remember eating on $10/week cuz i was soooooooo money-deficient in college!

    surprisingly, sticking to a broke woman's diet will cause you to shed some pounds as well!

    good luck my dear!

  12. This is AWESOME and I'm so amazed that you guys knocked it out!

    Um...I do n't think we could do it. Wine consumption alone is...well...um...erra...you get the picture. :)

  13. Very inspiring! We try to stick to a pretty tight grocery budget but $30 each would mean no splurges. What a great project


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