Author Topic: Living on a SNAP Budget  (Read 1332 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Living on a SNAP Budget
« on: March 06, 2017, 10:17:01 AM »
So I'm trying to lower my food costs (I'm not too out of control but can do better).  I want to live on a SNAP budget for a year.  That means for just me, it's $194/month or $6.85/day.  I think that's very doable.  I'm going to plan out some menus this week (and with my daughter visiting, I can't start as I'm feeding her as well).  So starting next week, I'm going to limit myself to $48 a week on groceries.  Has anyone else tried going this low?  I feel like I'm close to this number as it is so I might try to go lower if I can.

**my boyfriend eats dinner here most nights so I still have to figure out how to add that in but I'll come up with some formula.


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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 10:30:10 AM »
Leanne's Website and her free cookbook are an awesome resource for living on a SNAP budget, if you haven't heard of it!


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 07:49:42 AM »
We've gone lower than that (per person) but because we were unemployed and didn't have a choice. It's possible for sure. We have food allergies and are eating a lot of meats/vegetables. Our current grocery budget is lower per person than that. We probably do get some economies of scale though.


  • Bristles
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 08:41:40 AM »
Have you checked out Budget Bytes Snap challenge? I think she did a month of recipes in Sept 2014 or Sept 2015. I remember getting daily emails about it. Once I learn more, I might be interested to kick up my grocery savings a notch.  I would be interested in doing this in April with you


  • Bristles
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 08:48:03 AM »
I definitely eat on less than that including even eating out, and have gone as low as $125 a month in the past while in college (no eating out). However, I don't eat meat, dairy, or eggs which are fairly expensive and I don't have any weird dietary restrictions like gluten.


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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 08:50:36 AM »
I am currently at about $50-60 per week for food, and I eat like a king (well, a queen in my case).  I think it would be fairly easy to lower that to $48 per week by cutting out a few indulgences.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2017, 10:26:37 PM »
Huh, I realize I had no idea what the SNAP budget is.  I'm currently aiming for $200/month including groceries and eating out.  I have the benefit of good, cheap food being available at work which is making it much easier, but also I'm really, really trying to reduce food waste - eat the things I buy, only buy the things I'll eat - and I feel that small changes really add up.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2017, 04:34:25 AM »
My SO and I spend about $200-250 on groceries per month, so I guess we eat on a SNAP budget without even trying.

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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2017, 07:57:42 AM »
I spent about $80 in January and $150 in February even with unusual expenses on vacation. This is eminently doable. What do your meals and grocery purchases look like now?
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  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2017, 07:49:27 AM »
I don't know what the SNAP numbers would be for my family, but I use the data from here ( and get a "Thrifty" target of $479.25.  Our actual budget is $560, so a little higher than normal.  Actually, if I don't "prorate" my son, it's almost right on target.  My son goes to his bio-dad's every weekend, so I only count 5/7ths of his amount.  Our $560 also includes some non-food items.

We could probably do better, but revisiting that part of the budget isn't on the table right now.  I like to buy in bulk, which helps.  What hurts is the amount of meat that I eat (lots), and the fact that I purchased a good amount of goat meat from a FFA auction.  It is a bit over retail cost per-pound, but it supports the local kids in my community.  We also buy too much processed junk, which is what we are currently working on shifting to more real foods.  When we get that done, the budget should naturally shift down.  Breaking the family off processed junk is hard.  I could try to force a cold-turkey transition, but there would be mutiny and I would be ousted.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2017, 08:01:41 AM »
I lived on SNAP (and food stamps) for most of the past decade. When I got off, my spending naturally stayed below the SNAP line from years of living on it, and spend around $125-150/month on groceries now.

I always found the full amount of SNAP - $175 (and then up to the $190's with the Obama stimulus money) to be rather generous, and since I've gotten off of SNAP, I haven't had a month in 4 years where I've gone that high.

Please remember that the majority of people on SNAP do not get the FULL amount. If you want to live on SNAP, you should technically live on a partial amount. You need to have an income under $800/month to get the full amount. This is why SNAP is essentially a cash transfer, because it's more common to get something closer to $10-80/month. The current average amounts are here.

Remember if you're following SNAP that $195 cannot include any energy drinks/bars, hot food from the grocery store, household goods, pet food, vitamins and obviously booze/tobacco.

Biggest advice: don't eat meat. It's expensive.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 08:05:25 AM by monstermonster »
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2017, 01:57:22 PM »
It honestly seems pretty excessive to me. We've been spending $230/month for two people for years, and that includes a lot of not-food spending like toilet paper and stuff. But if it helps you, go for it.
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Re: Living on a SNAP Budget
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 01:32:33 PM »
I don't know what the SNAP numbers would be for my family, but I use the data from here ( and get a "Thrifty" target of $479.25.
First of all, I misread this as "Costco Food" on my small device, which was good for a chuckle when I saw it on a bigger screen. It caught my eye because I don't really budget. I have a ridiculously fancy-ass kitchen, so out of sheer gratitude for the house I'm fortunate enough to live in, I cook most meals at home. I shop at Costco, Grocery Outlet and the 99 Cents  Only Store. I do this loop about twice a month, with occasional stops at Sprouts if I need a fill-in between big shops. I was pleasantly surprised that the chart linked above yielded a Thrifty Plan monthly total of $668.60 for my family of four adults. That's about what I spend.

Whew! That sounds pretty humblebraggy to me. My point is by cooking at home and choosing not to shop at the closest full-service grocery store, my no-budget method is keeping me "Thrifty Plan" thrifty, with little additional effort. And that was an unexpected affirmation. Thanks for the link, FIT_Goat!
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