Eating For ~$2 Per Day – A SNAP Food Stamp Budget Challenge Week 2

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To put myself into the shoes of those that have no choice, I have embarked upon a personal challenge to live on a SNAP food stamp allotment of $29 per week. This is my journey.

I started off this week in a really great position. I had only used approximately $13.34 of my first week’s purchase. That meant I had a lot of ingredients to work with.

Well, something threw a wrench in my plans at the end. But first, let’s see how I ate this past week.


For anyone new to my challenge here, I have additional rules to more closely simulate living on a food stamp budget.

  • I will only shop once per week, and only at the 99 Cents Only (not a full grocer, just dollar store type stuff) store – to simulate being in a ‘food desert’.
  • No using the oven or microwave to cook – a deeply impoverished family might not have a working oven or microwave.
  • I will start from absolute scratch – nothing but what I purchase with my weekly $29 can be used.
  • This challenge will last for three weeks. Normally people only do this for one week. I will extend it to get a full picture. I can’t do one month as I am going on a trip soon.

If you want to catch up, here is the link to my initial post and here is the link to the week 1 recap.




SNAP Food Stamp Challenge Week 1 Remaining


SNAP Food Stamp Challenge Week 2 Purchases

(This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission – at no additional cost to yourself – if you end up buying the product or service offered.)


SNAP Food Stamp Challenge

  • Peanut butter sandwich, with half a banana, and some cold soaked oatmeal – $0.30
  • Bacon carbonara pasta with a strawberry and 3 cookies – $0.75
  • Penne in a chorizo with mushrooms, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes. With two pieces of bread and a strawberry – $1.34

DAY 2 – $3.65

SNAP Food Stamp Challenge

  • Egg fried brown rice with a slice of bacon – $0.55
  • Leftover pasta dinner from the night before – $1.22
  • Spinach salad with sliced tomato, albacore tuna, toasted bread croutons in an avocado and oil dressing, plus thick-cut fries with sriracha ketchup – $1.88

I made these fries in my made french fries in my T-fal Actifry! The Actifry makes such great fries, I was so lucky to find one in the thrift store! If you like fries (or just fried things in general), think about getting one of these. It uses just a tablespoon of oil to make a whole batch of’em! The small amount of oil makes these things much healthier.

DAY 3 – $2.00

SNAP Food Stamp Challenge

  • One chorizo, bean, rice, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito – $0.49
  • Same again for lunch (pictures show two, but I only ate one each meal) – $0.49
  • Noodles and fried fake spam cubes in a cream of mushroom sauce with asparagus. Also, two cookies and a strawberry – $1.02

DAY 4 – $2.61

SNAP Food Stamp Challenge

  • Two peanut butter sandwiches, half a banana, and some cold-soaked oatmeal – $0.48
  • One portion of the noodles & fake spam in the cream of mushroom sauce along with three cookies and a strawberry – $1.05
  • Spaghetti in a chorizo and bacon tomato sauce with half a Mexican squash. There was also bread w/margarine, a strawberry, and a cookie – $1.08

DAY 5 – $1.90

SNAP Food Stamp Challenge

  • Fried fake spam in egg fried brown rice – $0.40
  • Leftover spaghetti from the night before and a cookie – $0.96
  • Half grilled cheese sandwich with thick-cut fries in that sriracha ketchup – $0.54

DAY 6 – $1.86

SNAP Food Stamp Challenge

  • Bean, egg, and rice breakfast burrito with half a banana – $0.47
  • Peanut butter sandwich, half a cheese sandwich along with half a banana and a cookie – $0.46
  • Noodles with fake spam in a cream of mushroom sauce, plus my very last strawberry! – $0.83
  • (Not pictured) Half a pack of Ramen as a late-night snack – $0.10

Let me explain the lunches for days 6 and 7. It was the weekend and I was attending a seminar. I needed something that required no heating up. The pictures are from when I made it in the morning.

DAY 7 – $1.41

SNAP Food Stamp Challenge

  • Avocado toast(!) and an egg on toast (I actually just made this into a delicious sandwich) – $0.41
  • Cheese sandwich and a half peanut butter sandwich along with a cookie – $0.45
  • Beans, rice, chorizo, and a diced potato – $0.55

Food Stamp Challenge Stats

Week two total: $15.82

Cumulative food price of meals over two weeks: $29.16

Average daily cost over two weeks: $2.08

Average daily cost this week: $2.26

The average cost per meal this week: $0.75

All the food I still have left

SNAP Food Stamp Challenge Week 2 Remaining

I ate for just $15.84 in week two. Now it’s time to go shopping!


There. Is. Nothing. On. My. EBT. Card.2 Two Key Limes

I thought I would simulate a government error. I know, I know. The government never makes mistakes. But just this once let’s pretend that something went wrong and my EBT card didn’t get reloaded. I get in contact with them and they tell me they will look into it and I can expect it to take a week before it gets funded.

I have no EBT money to buy food!

What would you do? That is the money you were expecting to feed yourself. You would just have to make whatever you have work.

This is what I am going to do.

A strange thing happened though. I was walking down the street and spotted two limes next to the curb. So I picked them up, they are scratched a bit but not cut. I’ve added them to my supply.

At least I won’t die from scurvy. Arrgh!


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  1. Mr Defined Sight

    Two limes from the curb!!!! You have no limits hahaha. Good stuff. Honestly you are still making a lot of things that I currently like to eat. Have you noticed any weight loss from these potential food changes? Or a change in the way you feel? Not counting the emotional lift from saving money of course 😉
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Restraint: Useful Wisdom From Warren BuffettMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      I believe I have lost 7 pounds or so. But I had plenty to give anyways :D. This is mostly just due to portion control, but I have never felt overly hungry.

      I feel great! I don’t drink coffee or need caffeine to go about my day.

  2. Carolina

    So is the rest of the family not participating in the challenge? Also no beans? I do most of my shopping from 99¢ just because I’m cheap. But beans and rice is definitely on the menu. A big pot of beans can feed a family two days at least. Also oatmeal/granola is also one of our cheap staples. I think $29 a week for one person is easy try feeding four or five instead on $29. Totally possible though. Try a discount grocery store usually located close to communities will large EBT populations. You will be able to afford a lot more on $29. Great challenge!

    1. MrDD

      Welcome Carolina, my wife took the kids to her parents’ house for a vacation. I am going to join them, but she doesn’t have a limit on vacation days as she is a stay at home mom. 😀
      Perfect time for me to challenge myself though.

      I do have beans! I have a storage container with cooked (from dried) beans in the fridge. The first week I was eating oatmeal, but later I changed to making oatmeal pancakes with them and some flour. I’ve always been a pasta eater, so that is where I naturally seek my filling foods.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  3. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Oh duuuude! You keep upping the ante! How are you feeling physically after starting your SNAP diet? The argument I’ve heard from people is that it makes them feel like crap (lots of salt and whatnot). I love that you’re integrating fresh fruits and veggies!

    Also I adore that you call it “fake spam” lol.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…How To Get A Remote JobMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      I’m feeling great! I think I lost about 7 pounds or so, but I had it (and more) to lose so no worries! Haha 😀

      Of course I would rather have a few fruits to snack on and stuff, but I’m actually fine with this diet. It would be better if I hadn’t limited myself to just the 99 Cents Only store as I could get fresher stuff.

  4. The One In Debt

    I am noticing lots of pasta/carbs. Which is to be expected. I am tempted to try this challenge myself. You are fortunate the 99 Cent store carries a decent variety. Great job so far. What are some of the things you miss being able to have in your diet?

    1. MrDD

      I miss fruits, fresh meat (hamburg, steak, chicken). Maybe a soda or two.

      Honestly, it isn’t so bad – you should certainly do it at least for a week. See what you discover about your food mindset.

  5. Cubert

    Wow. That’s one hell of an experiment, dog! You did pretty good conjuring up those combinations. And to not have a microwave – the horror!!!
    Glad I stumbled across your blog. Cheers!

    1. MrDD

      And now I am done! Traveling today, but will be writing up everything soon. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Caroline@moneyscrap.com

    That’s a great challenge! I was wondering about the rest of your family too. Maybe it’s time for me to send my kids somewhere for a while, I could save so much on food! I am trying to lower my weekly grocery bill by $100 (family of five) and your numbers put me to shame.

    1. MrDD

      Well, I think the minimum for a decent variety of food is $2.25 per day per person. At least that is about what I spent. Plus,you should get some volume discounts and not be limited to only shopping at the 99cents only store. So that makes a minimum of around $350 per month and a good variety of foods at $450. What is your current spending at?

      Of course, if food is what bring you happiness it is perfectly fine to spend more in this area.

  7. Gabe @ The Shiny Dollar

    You’re crazy and I like it!

    Its so insane to see something like this and realize that most of the money we spend on groceries is luxury items!
    Gabe @ The Shiny Dollar recently posted…November 2017 Net WorthMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Doing this challenge has really opened my eyes up to just that – so much of grocery budget is luxuries! I’m not saying I only want to eat cheap and basic stuff, but that if I will just spend a few days per week eating this type of food that when I have the ‘luxurious’ food it will be even more special.

  8. the Budget Epicurean

    It’s most amazing how quickly you build up a stock of “extra” food like half jars of oil, flour, extra eggs, etc. That little bit more goes a long way. The first week is always the hardest when you have NOTHING not even salt or oil. Looks like oodles of pasta, but at least you’re fitting in spinach and strawberries and bananas too. I’ve definitely got a new challenge marinating in my brain for 2018 after reading your series.

    1. MrDD

      I was already a pasta fiend, but I didn’t want to just go an easy route. I wanted at least to have as much variety as I could during the challenge.

      I would love to see this food challenge make some rounds through the other bloggers. Have you heard of the Elon Musk food challenge? It is living off of $2 per day.

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