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Eating Real Food on a Food Stamp Budget

Last week on I announced that I would be starting a BIG challenge that has gotten a lot of families excited and hopeful. The challenge is: “REAL Food on a Food Stamp Budget,” and I’ve promised to purchase a month’s worth of groceries for $400 a month, or $100 a week.  That comes out to $1.19 per person, per meal, for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week {for a family of 4}.

What’s even more unusual about this challenge is that, like families who know the true realities of a food stamp budget, I will be starting with an empty fridge and pantry. EVERY single ingredient that is used will be deducted from the grocery budget.  But what has baffled people the most is that I promised to squeeze in organic dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and antibiotic free meats, things that aren’t normally synonymous with low income budgets. If you want to read more about the details and all the rules I’ve put in place for myself, you can find it all in my first post.

If you are not on food stamps can you take advantage of this?

YES.  After listening to my readers and friends both offline and online, it has become apparent that there are many families on tight grocery budgets, both those on food stamps and those who are not.  In fact, 1 in 7 Americans is receiving food stamps and only 67% of households who qualify actually participate in the food stamp program {Snap to Health Project}.

What that tells me is that although there is quite a large number of families who require food stamps for the most basic of needs, there are many more families who are making it work on the VERY limited grocery budget that they have cobbled together themselves.

This challenge is for families on food stamps, families on TIGHT grocery budgets, and families who are trying to tighten their belts so they can pay off debt or purchase other necessities. 

Will this challenge be a perfect fit for everyone?

No. I know that there are many families that dream of $400 a month for groceries. Many people – even those that don’t qualify for food stamps – are so strapped that they just don’t have that kind of cash to spend.  But, through this challenge I am going to be giving lots of tips and ideas for stretching your grocery dollars and regardless of your budget, you can take advantage of that. I’ll help you figure out how to shave even more off your budget and still eat more REAL foods.

If you decide to go on this journey with me, I promise to give you ALL of my PRINTABLE monthly meal plans {including grocery lists so you know exactly what I bought and dollar amount I spent on each item}. There is no gimmick, nothing to purchase.

The truth is, I did think about selling these products as so many gurus encourage bloggers to do to make money with their blogs, but I have chosen the Lord as my leader and He has laid it on my heart to give it all away.  It is a matter of trust really.  And, I choose to trust Him for my provision and am thrilled that He has chosen me to help others with the provision they’ve been given.  I hope this challenge helps take some of the stress and guesswork out of feeding your family healthy REAL foods.

Ready to get started?

Go visit and subscribe via email so you can start receiving everything FOR FREE.  Then, come join the conversation on my Facebook page.

Denise Sawyer is a REAL mom feeding her family REAL food and keeping it REAL simple because she knows what it is like to be a mom – there isn’t a lot of extra time or money to locate exotic ingredients or cook elaborate meals. Join her on where she is talking about how to make wholesome living more affordable.

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.


  1. Megan on April 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Man, I WISH I had$400/month to spend on groceries!! Try making it work with $250!!

    • Ann on September 19, 2014 at 9:13 am

      400 a month?! if someone gets that much in foodstamps that’s great, but I get 70 a month and that’s all i have! try that please!!

    • Mama on June 21, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      $160/mo for 2 people here. Single mom. Anything else gets taken out of the $150-$200 left after bills & things like laundry soap.

  2. Lyn on September 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Try making it work with $170 per month!!

  3. Erika on November 2, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I’m pretty site she admitted it won’t work for everyone… and remember the$400 is for a family of 4, so if you have less than that, and less people to feed will work…

  4. Brook on November 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Is there any tips for gluten free foods with high vitamins and minerals for underweight individuals with $750 a month for 10 people?

  5. Austan on March 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Wow…$400. Our family of four was only granted $120 dollars a month, with just one working parent who makes barely 11$ an hour…

  6. Julie on October 17, 2019 at 12:01 am

    I only get $15 a month for just myself.
    It is hard to come in at or under most of the “dollar menus ” when it is just one person. I have learned to freeze milk, bread, and many other things. Does anyone have a suggestion about tomato paste? My granddaughter and I love Japanese white sauce but it only takes one TEAspoon. I measured out one teaspoon and placed them on wax paper, when they were mostly frozen I rolled up the paper and put it in a freezer bag but it had freezer burn before I could use any more.

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