Here's a quick reminder of what's going on here for at least the next month. I'm doing an experiment to see if I can live with a food budget that falls within the SNAP guidelines. That budget is about $4 a day per person. Some numbers say $4.50 -- I'm aiming low just to see what is possible.
I'm starting this experiment with several advantages. The most important are that I've already got a very well-stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer. My personal goal is to use those resources first before spending more money at the store. I'll have to make educated guesses about the cost of the items I have on hand, but I will do that as honestly as I can and will note when those are best guesses.
I've started the day running late, so I didn't have time to make breakfast from scratch. Instead, I had about two ounces of deli-sliced ham left in a package and I nommed on that as I drove to work. Best estimate: 69 cents.
Lunch today will be a chicken salad sandwich with Aldi's Little Chef chicken salad with cranberries and pecans. One container at $3.79 has five servings; today's cost is 85 cents. Two slices of bread, 10 cents. I'll have an orange, estimated at 69 cents since I bought several pounds at one time. Total estimated cost, $1.54 for lunch. Total cost for breakfast and lunch, $2.92.
Tonight I will be cooking a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The package was $4.85 (I believe. I will confirm at home.) I'll cook all the breasts and put half in freezer bags for another purpose, then will make chicken and noodles; planning to have six servings from this. I previously purchased noodles on sale for $1 a package. So my estimated costs for this pot will be $2.50 for the chicken (estimating high) and $1 for noodles. I'll mix in a can of cream of chicken soup (Aldi's) which I think was 89 cents. So that will be a total cost of $4.39 for six servings, or 73 cents per serving.
I'll also make a pan of cornbread for about a dollar and divide it into six portions. So add another 17 cents for tonight's dinner total of 90 cents.
I'll leave a couple of servings in the refrigerator and three in the freezer to put in rotation so I don't get tired of it before I use it all.
Total for all this day's food will be $3.82. Just under the $4 budget. In review, I think I will add a portion of mixed veggies to the dinner menu. One-sixth of a $1 bag (another 17 cents.) puts me at $3.99.
I'll let you know if that's sufficient.