The $20 a week challenge - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

The $20 a week challenge

Posted by Rachel Leigh email

(WFLX) - These unstable economic times are forcing many people to make difficult choices. Many of these choices are directly connected to the way we eat.

So, we're giving one woman a reality check forcing her buy all of her food for the week with only $20.

Mary Gibbons has never really stuck to a strict budget. But, for one week, that all changed as she agreed to live on only $20 for seven days.

She prepared in advance, researching prices at the grocery store and making a list. After a 30 minute trip into the store, she returned with a cart full of groceries and only 23 cents left.

Reporter: "But this is it, you're done now."

Mary: "I know, but I got a lot of stuff."

Reporter: "And you feel like this is going to take you through?"

Mary: "Yeah."

Mary's shopping list included foods she hoped would keep her nourished: chicken, peanut butter, pasta, milk, fruits and vegetables. Her hope was that she spent each cent wisely. "I was just really nervous the whole time, you know, I was walking around with a calculator the whole time hoping I wasn't over-spending with tax."

From there, she was on her own, she documented her experience with her own video camera. Some days were better than others. "I am super hungry because I haven't eaten that much, so I haven't had time to cook."

Mary's plan was heavily reliant on cooking for herself. If she couldn't do that she didn't eat. The same choice many people who live on a tight budget like this make every day.

By the middle of the week, her food supply and her tolerance for the same basic stuff was running thin. "I don't have a lot of stuff left, and I have been living on rice and chicken, so I am going to try and make some rice pudding because that would be kind of filling, but kind of a dessert, too."

Mary was glad to see the seven day experience come to an end. But she didn't go through it without learning about the value of food and money. "You have to plan every meal, think of what your eating, and if it's not necessarily good, so you're not excited about it.

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