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Foodstamps - live on $176 a month
Old 02-02-2009, 12:36 PM   #1
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Foodstamps - live on $176 a month

I don't think it would be that difficult ($6.28 a day). Do you?? I could even eat fruit on that budget. I mean, you can get a whole chicken for $3.20 or so on sale here and that can be spread over more than a day of protein loaded meals. Rice is cheap. Beans are cheap. You can get a 1 lb spaghetti on sale for $1, etc, etc.

Blog: Living on Food Stamps - CNN.com
Day two on trying to live on food stamps, and I discovered the first chink in my armor. I am really worried I didnt buy enough fruits and vegetables. I really would love a pear, orange, some apples --but right now it's not in the cards. I have 176-dollars to live on for the entire month. When you break that down it comes out to about $6.28 a day. I loaded up on carbs at the grocery store. The dietician I spoke with before starting this project told me to eat carbs at every meal, saying it will give me energy. I had a healthy portion of spaghetti with meat sauce on Sunday night while watching the Superbowl. I ran three miles Sunday, no fatigue, but it was just the first day. I will say I woke up ravenous Monday morning. During the first few hours while I did live reports with Kiran and John my stomach was growling. But, I held off eating as long as I could. A bowl of cereal, a banana, and a cup of tea. Lunch is a long four hours away. I have had a lot of response from people about this story. Many tell me, "I could do it.. I could live on $6.28 a day." I am sure they could, but remember they dont HAVE to. 31-million Americans do.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:42 PM   #2
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Is that for one person? If so, doesn't seem difficult to me at all - right about in line with our monthly food budget for three people.

I used to regularly see people in line at the grocery store buying groceries along with a lot of junk food like ice cream, and using food stamps.

People will blog about anything to try to get attention.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:46 PM   #3
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I just went "big shopping" a few weeks ago, and spent $175 dollars. No kidding.
I fully stocked my freezer and refilled a lot of canned/dry items in my pantry. dh2b and I will easily get 1 month of meals from what I bought. Besides my "big shopping" trips, frequenting dollar stores for staples and dry goods is my best line of defense against exorbitant food bills.
As long as a person avoids expensive processed food, $6.28 per day might be easily done...unless you live in an urban area with few grocery store choices nearby.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:47 PM   #4
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People who are used to spending tons of money on food probably cannot imagine it is actually not hard to live on a much smaller budget and still eat healthy.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:53 PM   #5
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I think that transitioning from an all-you-can-eat environment where you choose what your want to eat (variety of meats, dairies, fruits and veggies) to a food-stamp environment where you eat only what you need to survive (lots of cheap carbs) can be challenging if not downright demoralizing for most people. But, with time, you get used to it.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:39 PM   #6
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Just a Social Security is not intended to be the sole method of finance for a person's retirement; SNAP is not intended to be the sole money for food.

The applicant has their net income plus SNAP to allocate to their living expenses.

from the article
"Guillory tells me he doesn't think there is a stigma with the program, and the funds are supposed to be a supplement for the money one spends on food each month -it isn't intended to be the sole source of funding. "

So the question is not if we can live on the SNAP benefit but, can we live on the total budget - net income + snap

FNS Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

An individual household's SNAP allotment is equal to the maximum allotment for that household's size, less 30 percent of the household's net income. Households with no countable income receive the maximum allotment ($588 per month in Fiscal Year 2009 for a household of four people). Allotment levels are higher for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, reflecting higher food prices in those areas.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:45 PM   #7
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Who the hell would WANT to live that way? Maybe for some it is just a temporary novelty as a challenge, I don't know. Maybe with some it is genetic defect to to practice hyper frugalism all the time? If one has to do it that is another matter. I hope this does not offend anyone compulsively practicing this. What kind of wine would be in this budget?
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:48 PM   #8
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Food stamp amounts vary, depending on your income, even if it is very low people are assumed to spend 30% of their income on food. IIRC, the average food stamp allocation in a month for a single person is roughly $75.

Importantly, you can't get food stamps for more than three out of 36 months if you are an able-bodied adult without dependents and are not working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a work program.

Welfare reform really screwed with poor people without children. Able bodied doesn't mean you can get and keep a job. Turn 18, you are on your own.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:49 PM   #9
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I just checked DW and I for 2008: Total $2001.31 (Groceries: $1,826.71; Dining Out: $174.60). Seems completely doable, at least for us. We do use some coupons and do purchase stuff on sale. The foregoing numbers do not include Alcohol, which, I believe, is not supposed to be purchased with Food Stamps. Also remember many that get FS also live in subdivided housing and also get, in many cases, bulk surplus food items (at least in Chicago they do).
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:16 PM   #10
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I felt so sorry for the poor reporter this am as he is trying to figure out breakfast. Instant Oatmeal which he bought the big box of with 10 pkgs. I made real oats (not quick) yesterday and used cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg. It took all of 10 minutes to boil the water and cook the oats. Son, dog and I all had a good sized serving with homemade wheat bread toast and my guess is it cost less than his single serving of flavored instant oatmeal.

It is not about how much you get it is about knowing how to use what you get cost effectively.
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:06 PM   #11
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When I was in grad school my food budget was about $40/month. I did that for 2 years and still managed to have a beer with friends once a week.

It's possible to live well on very little, but you have to adjust your expectations of what "well" means.
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:56 PM   #12
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connie, problem is.. many on food stamps don't have access to suburban big box discounters (if they don't have a car it's practically impossible). Nor are there many good regular supermarkets in downtown areas, sometimes.. just bodegas with packaged and processed food. I do think food economizing is something most people could use a lesson in, though.

P.S. I've seen some various people trying to live on the "food stamp" regime, but the sum has been less.. more like half. $3.00/day. THAT is tough!
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Old 02-02-2009, 05:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Food stamp amounts vary, depending on your income, even if it is very low people are assumed to spend 30% of their income on food. IIRC, the average food stamp allocation in a month for a single person is roughly $75.

Importantly, you can't get food stamps for more than three out of 36 months if you are an able-bodied adult without dependents and are not working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a work program.

Welfare reform really screwed with poor people without children. Able bodied doesn't mean you can get and keep a job. Turn 18, you are on your own.

I could live OK on $75 a month for food. The big thing here is knowing how to cook and food nutrition values. Soup kitchens are good for 1 meal a day. Dumpster diving can provide additional "treats" but one has to be selective.

Oh, when my daughter turned 18 I told her that according to law I could put her bags on the front steps and change the locks. We seemed to get along better after that.

Just what does "able bodied" mean?
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:06 PM   #14
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Hello everyone!

I have been reading this forum for quite some time and this thread struck a nerve with me.

May I recommend living in the Los Angeles area? :-) My wife and I eat whatever we
want with a monthly food budget of $240.

The trick? Shopping at the "right" markets. If anyone is in the San Fernando Valley,
I recommend Valley Produce (ex. 3 artichokes, $0.99, bunch of Celery, $0.39),
Vallarta for canned goods and meats, Jons for deli meats and cheeses.

Granted, I don't particularly care for junk food and we make our own lunches almost
every day.

All of these markets are very close to each other.


Just my 2 cents.... :-)
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:15 PM   #15
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Hmm. I've spent $4.77 per person per day on food the last six months, including eating out every so often and alcohol every once in a rare while.

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:51 PM   #16
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$176 for one person is MORE than enough, at least here in Houston. No wonder America is notoriously famous for having so many EXTREMELY FAT poor people.

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Old 02-02-2009, 07:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
I think that transitioning from an all-you-can-eat environment where you choose what your want to eat (variety of meats, dairies, fruits and veggies) to a food-stamp environment where you eat only what you need to survive (lots of cheap carbs) can be challenging if not downright demoralizing for most people. But, with time, you get used to it.
Sounds like a wonderful experience. Exactly why I hoped to become a millionaire.

Ha
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lusitan View Post
Is that for one person? If so, doesn't seem difficult to me at all - right about in line with our monthly food budget for three people.

I used to regularly see people in line at the grocery store buying groceries along with a lot of junk food like ice cream, and using food stamps.

People will blog about anything to try to get attention.
Please share with me how it's possible to do this for a family of three. I spend no less than than $950 monthly for a family of 4. We are two adults and 2 girls, 9 and 7. We are all quite thin and don't eat a lot. Our diet consist of primarily of fish, some chicken, vegtables, fruits, and rice. The vegetables, fruits, milk and eggs are mostly organic. My husband, I and my older daughter are lactose intollerant so we tend to buy lactose free products as well as soy based products. For the life of me I can't figure out why our food cost so much. We generally do not eat out and eat at least two meals at home a day. Is this normal for others? It boggles my mind how you can feed a family of three for so little. Please shed some light.
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimikos View Post
Hello everyone!

I have been reading this forum for quite some time and this thread struck a nerve with me.

May I recommend living in the Los Angeles area? :-) My wife and I eat whatever we
want with a monthly food budget of $240.

The trick? Shopping at the "right" markets. If anyone is in the San Fernando Valley,
I recommend Valley Produce (ex. 3 artichokes, $0.99, bunch of Celery, $0.39),
Vallarta for canned goods and meats, Jons for deli meats and cheeses.

Granted, I don't particularly care for junk food and we make our own lunches almost
every day.

All of these markets are very close to each other.


Just my 2 cents.... :-)
You hit the nail on the head. Lots of food stamp recipients know where to shop for cheap food. Wal-Mart, Save a Lot, Aldies (sp), Supremo. There are also ethnic markets which sell items real cheap. You also hit the day old and must sell today aisle for bargains. Stick to staples and know that less processing means lower price.
Further no wasting food. Left overs get re-heated or reused in another dish.

While I did not grow up on food stamps, they were not available, my family did get government surplus food at times to make ends meet. Living on less is a learned skill just like anything else.
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:50 PM   #20
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Please share with me how it's possible to do this for a family of three. I spend no less than than $950 monthly for a family of 4. We are two adults and 2 girls, 9 and 7. We are all quite thin and don't eat a lot. Our diet consist of primarily of fish, some chicken, vegtables, fruits, and rice. The vegetables, fruits, milk and eggs are mostly organic. My husband, I and my older daughter are lactose intollerant so we tend to buy lactose free products as well as soy based products. For the life of me I can't figure out why our food cost so much. We generally do not eat out and eat at least two meals at home a day. Is this normal for others? It boggles my mind how you can feed a family of three for so little. Please shed some light.
Special diet needs, fresh fish, organic fruits and veggies = expensive.

Chicken, beans, eggs, oatmeal, homemade soup, stew, pasta dishes, rice, canned fruit and veggies, frozen OJ concentrate = cheap.

Knowing how to cook and make it taste good = Priceless.
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