Ten years ago today, I graduated from college. This is significant because today I also paid off my student loans, making me totally and completely debt free!
This is about how I feel:
Ironically, two months before I planned to pay off my credit card debt, my number was stolen and used to make $200+ in purchases at two Target stores in Colorado. It’s been years since I’ve shopped at a Target and I’ve never even been to Colorado, so it’s odd to think of my credit card living a life of shopping thrills without me. I’ve put the expenses into dispute with my credit card company and, with any luck, I won’t have to pay them.
In the meantime, I’ve paid off my credit card debt!
I hit another milestone today: my total debt is under $10,000! I’m heading toward a seven-year low mark and I’m just doing full-on battle with the beast.
Since studying abroad in college, I’ve carried credit card debt. It ballooned when my income increased, a typical example of lifestyle inflation. Two years after graduating from college, I bought a brand new car and my student loans came due, all within the same summer.
See that big spike in the chart below? Yeah, I’ve been recovering from that since 2005.
Alright, I’m crunching the numbers on this Food Stamp Challenge, called 3SquaresVT in Vermont. As a single person, I’d be eligible for food stamps if I made 185% of the poverty level, which is $1,723/month gross. I may then be eligible for up to $38/week in benefits. That would be $152/month for groceries. Here’s how it would work for my personal finances:
This Food Stamp Challenge, called 3SquaresVT here in Vermont, to live on $38/week of food was not at all easy. I blew it in so many ways.
Day 4 (Wednesday) was a relative good day. I ate half an apple for breakfast, with coffee, cream and sugar. I ate the beans, rice and veggies that I’d prepared in advance for lunch. I skipped snacks and sodas at work, and then had sesame tofu for dinner.
Unfortunately, I had a coffee pot malfunction in the morning and lost a lot of coffee. I looked at the bag of grounds and looked at what was left in the pot of coffee. I decided I couldn’t really waste the coffee, so I filtered the grounds out of the pot and drank what I could.
This Food Stamp Challenge, called 3SquaresVT in Vermont, has been an unique experience.
Here’s a check-in from the first few days on the Challenge:
Day 1 (Sunday) was pretty easy, considering that I (unwisely) blew money on a coffee shop visit, did the grocery shopping for the week, and then enjoyed beans and rice for dinner (actually, one of my favorite meals).
Today is the first day of the Food Stamp Challenge, known as 3SquaresVT here in Vermont, in which I live on $38/week, the average weekly food benefit of a single person.
It took me about an hour yesterday to plan my recipes and grocery list for the week. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take me long to shop for the grocery items pictured to the right. Here’s the start of my menu for the week, along with costs.