Saturday, October 26, 2013

PREP: SNAP CHALLENGE

10/26/2013

I love social movement projects and challenges. I have read and blogged about the SNAP challenge. Depending on who is taking/sponsoring the challenge it has many rules. I am going to take the challenge for one week next month and I am making my own rules!

Originally I planned on taking the challenge for a month, but with next month being November and travel plans and Thanksgiving I don't feel like being a martyr or feeling like I'm cheating by eating out when I'm visiting my husband for his birthday (he is in military training school in another state).

If you have read about various people doing the SNAP challenge you will see they almost all have different rules! Some of the rules I don't agree with on the basis of practicality. I am doing the challenge because I want to reach a deeper understanding of the program and recipients. We always hear people complaining about people abusing the system then we hear people say that the government doesn't provide enough welfare. This is a politically motivated challenge for me, I want to see if after taking this challenge I think SNAP should be raised or lowered.

MY RULES:

  • $100 a month grocery spending per adult
    • or $25 a week per adult
  • No fast food or hot foods
  • Food in the cupboard can be consumed
  • Daily Food Journal and estimated costs of food and nutritional
    • nutrition info will be done based on myfitnesspal.com a free app I like
  • Coupons MAY be used
  • Tax does NOT apply
Yes, my rules are much more lenient than others I have read. SNAP was designed to be supplemental, not to cover a full months grocery expense, therefore although I am sticking to the allotted monthly SNAP I don't think it saying anything negatively about the system if I can't get my full months groceries on $100.

People on SNAP can and do eat food they already have in their cupboards. I didn't stock up for the challenge and I still will estimate the cost of what I eat in my journal whether it was bought for the challenge or already in my cupboard. 

People who checkout and pay with EBT can also use coupons. There are store coupons and the Sunday morning coupons. Honestly I'm not a big couponer so I probably won't use any but I could if I wanted to because people who depend on SNAP can and should!

I was going to limit shopping to my city, but where I live now only has a walmart (which I don't shop at). I was going to do this limitation because if your driving an hour for groceries or store to store for the cheapest deals then your using a lot of gas money on this challenge and really that is probably something someone on SNAP shouldn't be able to afford... but I have a huge aversion to driving so I WON'T be going anywhere out of my way, I'll go to stores nearby whenever I'm out for something else or with someone!

My subtotal before tax will be what I calculate as far as my spending goes. Many of you might not know this but when you pay with EBT its tax free. The government isn't taxing its own transfer payments. If I am trying to simulate using EBT and depending on it then I shouldn't include tax.

My other rule is that I use myfitnesspal. My goal is to eat as healthy as possible on the SNAP challenge, I am no nutrition expert however I frequently hear people saying they can't afford to be healthy etc. I want to see the validity of their statements.

As far as my personal opinions on SNAP and welfare in general... I am all for helping people but I am not for enabling. I will leave it at that to avoid being misunderstood.