So, kids, I've committed to a start date for this little undertaking of mine. I'll be taking the plunge on June 1st, with the idea of keeping ALL of my food intake within the $200 budget that the federal government allots its Food Stamp recipients. I've decided to include any meals out, snacks grabbed on the fly, and generally, any comestible that passes my lips. I will, of course, make use of anything that currently exists on my shelves, in the pantry, or in the abandoned tundra that is my freezer. And no, I will NOT be stockpiling before the start date with freeze dried truffles and extra tins of escargot, just so I don't have to go without. The idea is to be as authentic in the experience as possible, and not create any contrived environment, be it towards greater or less extravagance.
I'm going to be as full disclosure as possible (without veering towards deadening tedium, one hopes) in the incurred expenses and experiences. I intend to share any good tips and recipes that may emerge, and, of course, any disasters and failures.
There are a couple of things that worry me from the outset... I'm vaguely terrified that I'll be stuck eating WAY more legumes than I'd like to (the Bean Soup Nightmare is becoming a new and recurring event). One of the biggest obstacles I face in decent eating now, even prior to this experiment, is time. Or, rather, a total lack thereof. I'm still working two jobs, and most days am at work from 7 am to 9 pm. I do manage to get home briefly for lunch and before heading to my other job at night, but time to prepare meals is in seriously short supply.
I do NOT want this to turn into a Ramen-palooza, or get caught up in cheap, fast prepared foods. Healthy, fresh food is very important to me, and I'm hell bent on keeping that front and center. Beginning next weekend, I'll be starting my summer CSA share, which I'm splitting with a friend. This is my third summer participating in this, and I love it. It allows me to embrace local, fresh produce and to find creative uses for the bales of kale I inevitably end up with. I am going to prorate my expense for the share, and incorporate that into the $200/month as well. As this is also a resource readily available in my community, I want to actively use this resource, and see how well it can merge with the constraints of the budget.
So...with a start date in the not-so distant future, please cross your fingers for me! And feel free to send me suggestions, critiques, questions, and so on. I have no doubt that this project will evolve, and I want input!