Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.

In today’s Receipt, a 24-year-old medical student on SNAP benefits in San Francisco buys groceries with EBT and celebrates the end of exams with drinks. “Half of the fun of feeding myself as a medical student is trying to finesse as much free food as I can,” she writes. Keep reading for her receipts.

The finances

What are your pronouns? She/her/hers

What is your occupation? Medical student

How old are you? 24

What city and state do you live in? San Francisco, CA

What is your annual salary, if you have one? $0. As a graduate student with no income, I qualify for EBT, which provides $291 a month for groceries.

How much is one paycheck after taxes? $0

How often are you paid? (e.g., weekly) $0

How much money do you have in savings? Several thousand in a Roth IRA

What are your approximate fixed monthly expenses beyond food? (e.g., rent, subscriptions, bills)

  • Rent: $1,550 (I live in a three-bed, two-bathroom apartment with roommates)
  • Utilities: About $40 (We get discounted Wi-Fi with EBT)
  • Amazon Prime: $7.63 (With the student discount)
  • Spotify: $3.06 (I split a family plan with others)

The diet

Do you follow a certain diet or have dietary restrictions? My friends refer to my diet as “dirty pescetarian” in that I’m pescetarian 95% of the time but I’ll occasionally have meat if I’m traveling and there’s something notable I want to try.

What are the grocery staples you always buy, if any? I always have staples like bread, pasta, rice, nut butter, eggs, mayo, and multiple forms of cheese in my fridge and pantry.

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