Everyone loves a bargain, but when you only have $22 a week for your food budget, the deals become that much sweeter.

I stopped by my favorite store for bulk items today, Harvest House. Bulk shopping is usually a better deal than pre-packaged stuff, but another nice part
is that you can also buy teeeny portions and get some variety. Perfect for lil ol me on a CalFresh budget. Maybe you only have $0.75 left for the month on your EBT card; Instead of thinking you don’t have enough to buy a whole bag, you could scoop out 12oz of brown lentils and take home a healthy protein source that cooks up fast. I added a little variety and wiggle room to my Challenge week budget with a half pound of garbanzos, a half pound of oatmeal and just under a pound of pinto beans for a grand total of $2.17.

Yesterday I mentioned that the weekly grocery ads come out on Sundays, but the Just for U coupons at Safeway update on Tuesdays (just go with it). I know I keep bringing up Just for U, but sometimes the deals are excellent. I took a look online today and found 2 big deals on items from my Challenge shopping list – eggs for $0.99 and baby carrots for $0.99. Watch me do a little happy dance because the best consistent price on eggs I have found is $1.79 for a dozen at TJs and baby carrots run around $1.49. For those of you better at math than me, you’ve already come up with $1.30 in savings. “Pfft, big deal” you say?! Well with that $1.30 I could buy:

5 ears of corn (cheap right now because it’s in season)
another dozen eggs
a pound of dry beans
2 avocados (also on sale for the season, how great is summer?)
2lbs of bananas
1.5lbs of broccoli
1.3 lbs of lentils

Shall I go on?

Think of that $1.30 as the difference between your child eating breakfast or not. Some people on SNAP benefits have to.

Here is my revised Challenge shopping list with more variety, revised sale prices and money leftover. I realize this kind of shopping burns gas and takes time, but I haven’t factored that into my cost this year.

Join me next time for Cooking with CalFresh.

If you would like to take the Hunger Challenge with Food Bank of Contra Costa staff and supporters, sign up on the Hunger Challenge page of the Food Bank website.