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Barry Birr -- My SNAP Challenge

Barry Birr, the News Director of 680 KFEQ, has started his SNAP Challenge.  Barry is documenting his journey through Facebook.  You can follow his jouney by liking him on Facebook.  We will also post Barry's Facebook journey on our blog. 

Day 1:

First day of my SNAP Challenge started with a budget buster. Our weekend routine includes breakfast at Panera before church, and it's a real treat for us. So I had my favorite breakfast sandwich, even though the $4.09 took most of the daily food stamp budget of $4.50. I partially made up for it by eating just two meals today. The second was a roast Deb prepared in a crock pot. Because she made it from scratch the actual per meal cost was pretty low. My serving worked out to $1.24. So my total for the day's meals was $5.33, and I am 83 cents over budget. I hope to make that up in the next day or two. I'll be helped by leftover roast with that great low per-serving cost, and by staying out of Panera! I love that place and the wonderful people who work there, but it's hard on a food stamp budget.

Day 2:

Day Two of the SNAP Challenge started with breakfast six hours late because an ultrasound that required fasting from the night before. So I was more than ready for my usual hardboiled egg and yogurt. You see it there with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and dash of Cholula hot sauce for the egg. Cost of the egg ($1.55/dozen) was 13 cents and the yogurt was 59 cents. Cup of home brewed coffee was 15 cents. Grand total 87 cents. It's now 3:30 in the afternoon so one one meal should do it today. More later.

Just had "supper" on day two of SNAP Challenge: two small slices leftover beef $.50 and one Diet Coke in 12 oz plastic bottle ($3.88/8) for $.49. Total for the day was $1.86, well under the $4.50 daily food stamp budget. So through two days I'm now $1.81 under budget. Okay, okay, I know it's not the healthiest diet out there. But all is not lost. I'm hoping to build budget room for another Panera sandwich!

Day 3:

SNAP Challenge day three supper, delicious leftover roast, my serving $1.48. Total for day 3: $3.93, a bit under the food stamp daily budget of $4.50. Total for 3 days:$11.12, $2.38 under 3 day budget of $13.50. Yay! Making progress toward that Panera sandwich!

Mid-day break on day 3 of the SNAP Challenge. This irresistible Diet Coke cost me ($3.88/8) $.49. It tastes better when I don't have to think about how much it costs.

SNAP Challenge day three. No excitement here, move along. Hard boiled egg, yogurt, pineapple-orange-banana juice for breakfast, $.97. Nature Valley granola bar for a snack, $.27. For lunch another egg and yogurt. Total for day 3 so far $1.96.

Day 4:

I walk past this vending machine 20 times a day. This device has accepted a lot of my money, and I have wolfed down its Doritos, Cheetos, and Chili Cheese Fritos. But not today, not this week during the #SNAP Challenge. 75-cent snacks and 85-cent Snickers don't fit a food stamp budget!

I just gut-punched my SNAP Challenge food stamp budget by putting $1.25 into that confounded vending machine for a totally unnecessary Diet Dr Pepper. That's 28% of my daily $4.50 budget in one tasty but nutritionally worthless treat. What was I thinking?

Had microwave lasagna for supper, $1.34 a serving. Brought my total for the day to a nickel over budget, $4.55. So now through four days of the SNAP Challenge I'm $2.33 under the food stamp budget. I'd have been much farther ahead if I hadn't answered the siren call of Diet Dr Pepper, but it was GOOD!

Day 5:

Day 5 of the SNAP Challenge started with the Breakfast of Champions. Wait, that would Wheaties and that's not what I had. My starter today was Kellogg's Raisin Bran, which some might call Breakfast of The Dull. But it fits a food stamp budget, only 34 cents a bowl, and I guzzled a small glass of Dole Pineapple Orange Banana juice, 25 cents. Grand total for breakfast, 59 cents!

Day 6:

Do you see this? When I am not in the SNAP Challenge, this is my best friend. But in #SNAP country this is my worst enemy. How could this be? How could this little tub of yogurt be a problem? Here's how - this isn't just yogurt, this is Noosa, and it is delicious beyond belief. And it is also expensive compared to ordinary yogurt. That's why Noosa is trouble right now. It is tempting me, calling my name, reminding me of our past get-togethers. I'm trying to resist. So far on day six I've eaten $3.32 worth of food, including a $1 Turtle candy bar (slap me!). Still haven't had supper so I need to be very careful around Noosa or my #SNAP Challenge budget will explode. Here's that bad tempter in her most tempting flavor!

Day 7:

Seventh and final day of the #SNAP Challenge. But first a final note on day 6 (check the photo). I yielded to temptation and enjoyed the creamy delight of that Noosa lemon yogurt last night. So I ended the day spending a total of $5.86, well above the food stamp daily budget of $4.50. I also made a correction on my two raisin bran breakfasts after someone asked if I had accounted for the cost of milk. I had not. So I have estimated 25 cents worth of milk for each of the two breakfasts and added them to the total. Deb and I had breakfast at Panera this morning so the budget damage continues. More about that later.

Day 7 of my SNAP Challenge started with breakfast at Panera with Deb. My sausage-egg-and-cheese (white cheddar) on Asiago bagel sandwich, plus a small light roast coffee set me back $5.68. Right there my food stamp budget for the day is blown. I'm still okay for the week because I had a little cushion from being under budget through 6 days. We'll see how the rest of the day goes! Thought you might enjoy this article about the Panera CEO also taking the SNAP Challenge.

My Final Report:

Final SNAP Challenge report. Ended up spending a total of $33.09 for the seven days. That food stamp budget was $31.50, so I failed the challenge and exceeded the budget by $1.59. I did enjoy some good eats (too many!) on Saturday, beginning with the Panera breakfast sandwich pictured below. Deb and I spent a good part of that rainy day with books and a homemade apple brown sugar coffee cake Deb made from a recipe off the Internet. It was great! But my share put me over the top. Hats off to everyone at Second Harvest Community Food Bank for organizing this year's SNAP Challenge.

Posted by Stacy Neibling Fisher - Monday, 09/23/13, 10:02 PM - Comments - Category: Advocacy


Comment by Regina on September 24, 2013 - 11:11 AM

I wasn't aware that Panera accepted SNAP benefits. Most people on SNAP are forced to get by on what they can purchase and cook at home, not eating meals at restaurants. You can't even purchase hot, ready made food in a store deli with SNAP.

Thank you Barry for accepting the challenge, but please be aware that eating at Panera is not allowed for someone who actually receives SNAP.

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