The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 23, 2013

Going shopping with just the $86 in my pocket

The Clinton Herald

---- — When I put my jeans on last Monday morning there was exactly $86 in my pocket.

I thought of the front page article in the Nov. 8 issue of the Clinton Herald regarding the food pantry crisis. I took that as a sign that I should go shopping to see how far that amount would go toward purchasing food.

After checking the weeks grocery ads, which appear every Tuesday and Wednesday in the Clinton Herald, I made a lengthy list and proceeded to shop. My purchase: Meat: 2 pounds of 80/20 ground beef, 1 pound bacon, two packages sausage links, 12 each 3-pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 3/4 pounds boneless arm roast and a smoked fully cooked 8 1/2 pound ham shank, plus two dozen eggs.

In the vegetable line: Three large onions, a sleeve of celery, two pounds of carrots, 10 pounds of Russet potatoes, almost four pounds of sweet potatoes, a head of Iceberg lettuce, one pound of fresh tomatoes, two packages of frozen green beans, one package of frozen corn and one package of peas, all one pound each, plus one pound of dried split peas.

Fruits included three pounds of Gala apples, one large pineapple, two Texas rio star red grapefruit, and five large bananas.

Boxed items were two gelatins, two puddings, a box of fruited instant oatmeal containing eight packets, two boxes of spaghetti - 16 ounces each, two boxes of corn muffin mix and six boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Soft packets were two rice and sauce and an envelope of chili seasoning. Canned items included two spaghetti sauce, one tomato with green chilies, one can of beef broth, two cans cream of mushroom soup and one can of chili beans. Plastic containers were two jars of crunchy peanut butter, a 2-quart jar of apple raspberry drink, 16-ounce ranch dressing, one gallon of 2 percent milk and a 2-liter soda to go with three party pizzas.

To complete the list, one loaf of whole wheat bread, two loaves of white bread and one package of eight hamburger bins. Those persons limited to $86 per month may or may not have kitchen facilities, the ability to cook or have strict dietary requirements. Therefore I am not judging or criticizing. Obviously my purchases were varied and basic enough to provide many days of meals and some fun food too. I did not use any coupons, but a person can use manufacturers’ and store coupons along with the SNAP benefits allowance.

Thank you to the staff at Fareway for doing some serious price matching. Oh, and I had $2.74 cash remaining, which would buy another gallon of milk.

Beverly Miller,