Last night I set out on my S.N.A.P. Challenge shopping trip. I normally shop at Aldi’s and since they accept S.N.A.P., I figured it would be an appropriate location to shop for the challenge. I prepared for my shopping trip by coming up with dishes I could make that would carry over for a few meals. I also had to purchase items to make a dish to share at a staff luncheon on Friday—something that would be budget friendly.
Once I got to the store, my shopping trip began much like every other shopping trip I have made there. The set up of the store is basically a one way street. I noticed more so than any previous visits to Aldi’s, that the first aisle of the store was full of sugary, salty, processed foods. I knew that these items would lack nutritional value so I passed through this aisle rather quickly. I did pick up a jar of peanut butter and a bottle of Italian dressing.
Then I headed toward the coolers. I saw the eggs, then I saw the price– $2.89. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to afford them with my tight budget. So I kept moving through the store. I picked up yogurt, sour cream and leaf spinach. I also selected canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and chili mix to make chili.
I decided I was going to make a simple poke cake for the staff luncheon on Friday. It’s pretty straight forward—cake mix, gelatin and whipped topping. I placed all of these items into my cart.
With each item I grabbed, I felt the back of my neck tightening; I was becoming nervous about having enough money to purchase everything on my list. I stopped 3 times throughout my shopping trip to add up my items to see how much of my $28 budget was left. I made my way over to the meat section. I grabbed some chicken sausage links that I could cook up and use in the chili, soup or in a spinach salad.
I made it to the last aisle of the store, tallied my purchases and decided I had enough left over to go back and get a dozen eggs. It wasn’t until that point that I realized I would need the eggs in order to make the cake for the staff luncheon. Luckily, I learned a trick many years ago that you don’t have to use any vegetable oil to make a white cake mix and you only need to use 2 eggs, not 3 as instructed on the box.
After I got the eggs, I stood in line for the check out. I had 2 people in front of me and a long line behind me. I was getting anxious waiting for my turn to check out. I started to doubt my math. I was very nervous that I had forgotten to add an item into my total. I was thinking to myself, “should I have gotten that block of cheese?” I was afraid of having to tell the cashier that I wouldn’t have enough money for my entire purchase. I would be mortified if I had to tell her I couldn’t buy the chicken sausage or cheese because I didn’t have enough money.
I watched the tally more cautiously than I ever had before. I watched it climb to about $25.00. I still had things on the belt, I had a knot in my stomach. “Oh no! I’m going to have to put things back” I thought. What I didn’t notice, as my eyes were fixated on the tally, the cashier had rang all of those items up by punching them into the computer, not by scanning them. I breathed a sigh of relief when she told me my total was $25.80. Whew!
That left me with $2.20 to spare. I’m hoping I won’t have to use this, but it’s nice to know I have a small reserve.
Now the challenge is to take what I purchased and use it to live off of for 7 days.
Here’s a list of everything I purchased. You’ll notice I didn’t not purchase milk or drinks. Milk is not a staple in my regular diet (I know, I know, it should be) so I didn’t feel I would need it for the challenge either. Also, my regular, daily drinks consist of water and the occasional cappuccino that I make from a powder drink mix. I will forgo the cappuccinos for the challenge.
|Eggs (1 dozen)
|English Muffins (6 ct)
|Chicken Sausage (4 ct)
|White Cake Mix
|Diced Tomatoes (2)
|Chicken Bouillon Cubes
|Tomato Sauce (4)
Check back for a recap of my Day 1 of the S.N.A.P. Challenge.