Author Topic: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge  (Read 26396 times)

h2ogal

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SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« on: March 02, 2015, 08:26:40 PM »
Has anyone tried a SNAP Challenge - where you try to eat well on the amount of $ that a person on food stamps gets issued?  Which is less than $5/day per person.

In the past, when I read about people doing a SNAP challenge, it seemed to be done more for political reasons....like trying to prove how utterly impossible it is to survive and be healthy on a food budget that low. 

The blogger at budgetbytes.com takes a totally different tone.  I really like her recipes and her attitude:

http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/09/snap-challenge-one-pot-chili-pasta/

She sets out to prove that with effort, planning, and some basic cooking skill you CAN eat really healthy delicious food for less than $5/day.

In the past, one of the most spendy parts of my budget has been food.  Although Im still above the $5/per person per day goal, in the past few months I've managed to cut my food spending in half!  I'm having a lot of fun trying to make really delicious, fresh, healthy food for really low cost.

Can you take a challenge to eat healthy on less than $5/day?


Sid Hoffman

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2015, 09:43:44 PM »
Based on the USDA.gov website SNAP is currently paying $6.38 for a single person household.  It goes down a bit on a per-person basis, but this makes sense as I know it was easier when I was cooking for 3 instead of just 1 as you got more economy of scale from your food purchases.  Still, even at a 4-person household it's about $5.33/person.  Not bad, especially since you're supposed to have other income too, like a job or welfare or other things to help you pay for food.

Plus I know in my city, the food banks don't keep records.  There's nothing stopping people from spending their SNAP money and also waiting in the food bank line every Wednesday & Saturday for their box of free food.  Hunger isn't really a problem in the USA except for people who are unable to care for themselves, such as the kids of really bad parents.  That is very much a real thing, especially for kids of undocumented immigrants, since they often can't apply for SNAP, can't get legal jobs, and may not even know how to seek out food banks in the first place.

tmoney

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2015, 10:37:38 PM »
My family of 4 eats on less then $5 a day each. We spend wisely, plan and cook from basics. We have a $100 week budget. We do this because every dollar is accounted for and I have a strict budget since we have goals. My kids eat well. I use budget bytes for ideas also. We do not buy prepackaged food, premade mixes etc.   If I was not working on my own business I could probably spend less. When I was younger my long time boyfriend at the times mom was on welfare with 5 kids. She never had money or food but always soda and junk. One month while she was "away" I took care of all the kids and we had to use her vouchers ( not a card back then) and I COULD NOT believe how much it was! Way more then I imagined. I think a class with the food card would be a great thing. I don't some ever received knowledge on these things. A cooking/shopping type class.

kathrynd

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2015, 06:21:20 AM »
In Canada and Australia we don't have food stamps.(we live in both countries)
My husband and I eat an average of $50  week.
After reading this, I thought it would be fun to see how much this week actually did cost.
I already wrote down what we ate for this past 5 days...so I'll post again in a few days.

We don't use very many coupons, but we do take advantage of all 'points' that  stores offer.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2015, 06:28:17 AM »
I don't see $5 a day as a "poor person's" eating budget.

My wife and I spend just about that much per person.  We eat loads of meats, dairy and fresh vegetables.  We snack a lot on nuts and specialty crackers with cheese on top.  Basically, we feel that we are eating like royalty.

So, bottom line, I guess either we've already met this gauntlet challenge... or it doesn't seem to us to be much of a challenge at all.

Zikoris

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 11:13:36 AM »
So increase my grocery spending by $1 a day? Sure, easy - just add a pint of fancy ice cream to my weekly grocery shop. Done.

Cpa Cat

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 11:29:25 AM »
We did it for a month. It was not actually very hard, due to the huge amount of cheap-eats recipes and info available.

It really helped bring into focus our grocery budget and change how we think about grocery shopping. There was previously a lot of mindlessness in how we planned meal. It was more like "Oh, I feel like X, so I will buy the ingredients" - without any consideration to whether those ingredients were reasonably priced or if cheaper substitutes were available.

We also had to break our snacking habits. We often seemed to snack at times when we were bored/restless or out of habit (watching TV), and not because we were actually hungry.

Our grocery bill sits at about $10 per day (two people), so I guess we never fully recovered from our food stamp challenge. My recollection is that we set limits of $5/dinner, $2/lunch and $1/breakfast (total for two people). So $8 per day. Maybe SNAP recipients didn't get as much when we did it.

h2ogal

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2015, 05:05:43 PM »
So, to most of you long term mustachians, this is old hat.  For me it is still kind of new, and the most surprising thing is how different the reality is vs. the anti-mustachian hall of shame type articals I had always seen in the news! 

Example:  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/06/13/2147141/26-democrats-live-off-food-stamps-to-protest-republican-cuts/
You guys will get a grin from this:  "Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton participated in the challenge, he found he was “tired” and it was “hard to focus” by day four. “If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant,” he wrote. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who recently participated in the SNAP challenge, found “I’m hungry for five days…I lost six pounds in four days.”

I have been trying this out since the weekend.   I spent 108 on Groceries for 3 adults for the week.  (This included some non-grocery products like mouthwash and tissues) We've eaten very well so far, with lots still left over.  So far I made:

Oatmeal with nuts, craisens and bananas
Stuffed baked potatoes (topped with spicy chicken sausage, grated cheese, sauteed veggies.
Home made Lentil Stew
Home Made Rice Pudding
Omelettes with veggies and spicy chicken sausage
Chicken Shiskabobs

We have leftovers enough from dinner to eat for lunch the next day.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 05:55:09 PM »
So, to most of you long term mustachians, this is old hat.  For me it is still kind of new, and the most surprising thing is how different the reality is vs. the anti-mustachian hall of shame type articals I had always seen in the news! 

Example:  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/06/13/2147141/26-democrats-live-off-food-stamps-to-protest-republican-cuts/
You guys will get a grin from this:  "Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton participated in the challenge, he found he was “tired” and it was “hard to focus” by day four. “If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant,” he wrote. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who recently participated in the SNAP challenge, found “I’m hungry for five days…I lost six pounds in four days.”

I have been trying this out since the weekend.   I spent 108 on Groceries for 3 adults for the week.  (This included some non-grocery products like mouthwash and tissues) We've eaten very well so far, with lots still left over.  So far I made:

Oatmeal with nuts, craisens and bananas
Stuffed baked potatoes (topped with spicy chicken sausage, grated cheese, sauteed veggies.
Home made Lentil Stew
Home Made Rice Pudding
Omelettes with veggies and spicy chicken sausage
Chicken Shiskabobs

We have leftovers enough from dinner to eat for lunch the next day.

Your list made me hungry. I used to make oatmeal with craisins and almonds, and I totally forgot that. How weird.

Optimiser

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 06:54:33 PM »
We currently get SNAP benefits for 2 people and use it to feed 2 adults all the time, and one 9 year old 50% of the time. As long as we are reasonably careful, it is not at all hard to eat well on that budget.

Elliot

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2015, 07:08:19 PM »
The maximum for a person household is 357/mo. We spend 250/mo. Its takes a lot of planning, but we eat well and often have food waste (I know, i know). That said, I grew up on various types of public assistance and at one point we were even homeless for a few months. I have a hard time passing judgement of people who seek and use public assistance, so I don't see the point of using it as a challenge. Seems like a way to kick already disadvantaged people while they're down.

Bob W

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2015, 07:56:47 PM »
In Missouri most of my clients receive about $100 per month on SNAP.    I often help them shop.   I can do a whole months shopping in about 30 minutes.   4 dozen eggs,  15 lbs chicken,  rice,  noodles,   3 lbs beef,  15 bags frozen veggies, spag sauce,  bread.          $5 a day is uber luxery.    I've done it as low as $1.25 per day.  Our very nice personal budget is 3-4.    Tonight it was rice, stir fry fresh veggies, (greens, onion, carrots, cabbage).  1/2 lb chicken.  I'm guessing $1.25 a person for a nice healthy dinner.        Honestly, if SNAP folks are getting $6 a day they are eating very nice.   The reality is most of them receive no where near that much.

Gin1984

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2015, 08:05:50 PM »
Based on the USDA.gov website SNAP is currently paying $6.38 for a single person household.  It goes down a bit on a per-person basis, but this makes sense as I know it was easier when I was cooking for 3 instead of just 1 as you got more economy of scale from your food purchases.  Still, even at a 4-person household it's about $5.33/person.  Not bad, especially since you're supposed to have other income too, like a job or welfare or other things to help you pay for food.

Plus I know in my city, the food banks don't keep records.
  There's nothing stopping people from spending their SNAP money and also waiting in the food bank line every Wednesday & Saturday for their box of free food.  Hunger isn't really a problem in the USA except for people who are unable to care for themselves, such as the kids of really bad parents.  That is very much a real thing, especially for kids of undocumented immigrants, since they often can't apply for SNAP, can't get legal jobs, and may not even know how to seek out food banks in the first place.
But not all cities are like your city.  My city had a couple food banks, they were open for less than two or three hours a week, only on the weekday.  If someone had a job, like many families on SNAP, they would have been unable to get to the food banks. 

forkneedlepen

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2015, 08:15:49 PM »
My family of 5 also eats for under $5 each every day. We have a current budget of $130 a week, which equates to $3.71 per person per day (includes toiletries and household goods). We eat really, really well, in my opinion.

For example, tonight we had chicken gyros. I used chicken from a roast chicken last week that I froze, homemade pita bread, tzatziki, onions, feta, and pepperoncinis. We drank water but later tonight, my husband and I will drink tea and share some chocolate. My husband will take leftovers to work tomorrow.

We do as much from scratch as possible and don't dine out. We don't drink much alcohol or juices but we do eat lots of snacks.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2015, 05:17:54 AM »
I can't imagine how to spend that much on food, and I'm a pretty lazy cook.

kathrynd

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2015, 10:06:20 PM »
In Canada and Australia we don't have food stamps.(we live in both countries)
My husband and I eat an average of $50  week.
After reading this, I thought it would be fun to see how much this week actually did cost.
I already wrote down what we ate for this past 5 days...so I'll post again in a few days.

We don't use very many coupons, but we do take advantage of all 'points' that  stores offer.

Ok..so this is the food my husband and I ate this week.
I didn't modify our meal plan, as we eat around food specials and sales.
My husband is 6’ 200 lbs
I am 5’1” and 112 lbs

9.00 chicken
2.50 3 mango
7.69 cheese (2/3 left)=5.13
3.19 milk
3.00 milk
3.00 milk (1/2 left)=$1.50
3.83 sausage
.69 beans
.85 beets (1/4 left)=$0.21
1.13 carrots(1/3 left)=38c
.98 lettuce (1/2 left)=49c
3.48 strawberries
3.99 strawberries-(1/4 left)=$1.00
1.70 bread (2)
4.49 raisin bran (3/4 left)=3.37
1.59 peppers
2.99 avocado
2.69 kiwi 8 pkg (5 left)         =$1.87
4.99 sweet potatoes (3/4 left)=3.74
.39 passionfruit
5.98 potatoes (1/2 left)=2.99
2.30cream
.99 cream (1/2 left)=$0.50
$8.50 bacon (9/10 left)=$7.65
1.60 marg (3/4 left)=$1.20
$8.79 chicken kiev (1/2 left)=$4.40
$2.31 semolina (4/5 left)=$1.85
$2.99 mushrooms (3/4 left)=$2.24
$.99 peach drink
........
96.62 (paid at store this week) -38.52 (still left over) =$58.10

I have not counted what I had in the pantry, that I used.
If I was to allow for this, the amount used would have been $1-3...such a small amount.
We do get free eggs from our chickens.
Also have a small garden, which we got cherry tomatoes, limes, and squash from

day 1=
brunch-pancakes,
dinner- chicken,baked  potatoes w /tzaziki & cheese,oven roasted squash,
snack-strawberries and cream
strawberry milk
coffee

day 2
B-omelet,toast/jam.tea
L- salad (chicken, avocado,cheese, baked beans,tomato,onion,pepper,lettuce,beets, mango,dressing)
D-chicken, carrots, mustard mashed potatoes, strawberry milk, coffee
bread and margarine
S-pavlova (cream,strawberry, kiwi, passion fruit, mango)
coffee

Day 3
B-raisin bran,milk, tea, toast/jam,strawberries/mango
L-chicken / salad, strawberry milk
D-roasted squash, chicken, baked sweet potato w/ tzakiki, mango salsa
C-pavlova, cheese & crackers
bread and marg
coffee

Day 4
B-bacon, egg, toast/jam, tea, strawberry & kiwi
L-salad and coconut cream pudding w/whip cream
D-chicken soup, coconut cream pudding w/ whip cream, coffee w/strawberry milk
bread and marg
S-orange, coffee

Day 5
B- toast/jam, tea
L- salad
D- sausage, mashed potatoes w/ cream cheese & chives, carrots,peas/carrots
bread and marg,
S-coconut cream pudding w/whip cream
coffee

Day 6
B-semolina with strawberries and mango,  toast/jam, tea
L-salad w/pudding, cake with whip cream, strawberries
D-sausage,baked potatoes, cream cheese w/ chives,cheese, mushrooms, peas/carrots
S-cake w/lime sauce
bread and marg
coffee

Day 7
B- bacon/egg/onion toasted sandwich w/kiwi & strawberry
L-salad, strawberries and cream
D- chicken kiev, baked potato, roasted squash
S-cake w/lime sauce.
coffee
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 10:11:35 PM by kathrynd »

I'm a red panda

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2015, 07:23:38 AM »
I have a hard time passing judgement of people who seek and use public assistance, so I don't see the point of using it as a challenge. Seems like a way to kick already disadvantaged people while they're down.

How is using it as a challenge passing judgement?  For most people- this challenge would be a way to experience what the situation of a limited food budget might be like.  For most mustachians, we have already pared down our food budgets so it isn't much of a challenge.

Bob W

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2015, 08:07:06 AM »
I think the consensus here is that 5-6$ a day per person is super "enough" and then some.  (I believe that MMM shoots for $3 per day) I have seen SNAP beneficiaries use SNAP to buy shrimp for fishing bait.   All my poor SNAP clients have cable, cell phones and big screen TVs.   The buy $2 sodas at the convenience stores and generally enjoy all their Government benefits.   

Honestly,  with SNAP you can buy lobster,  prime rib and any food you like!   

We need to remember it isn't so much a food program for the poor but a subsidy for farmers,  grocery stores and the food industry.  In our state some 1 Billion dollars a year of federal SNAP money flows in so you would have a huge backlash from politicians, store owners, farmers and food processors if the program was right sized with limited items just for the truly needy. 

By the way most states the receive more Government inflows than out flows in taxes are Red states.  Seems odd?

 

netskyblue

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2015, 12:47:58 PM »
$5 per day per person seems like MORE than enough to me.  My family of 2 eats on less than $100/month, plus a once-a-year 1/4 of beef which averages out to about $132/month.  $2.20/day.

Here's what we've purchased so far this year:

Dairy

$13.54   4 gal milk
$9.26   4 lbs butter
$6.77   98 oz yogurt
   
$29.57   

Produce, juice
$4.85   4 lbs carrots
$9.61   8 zuchinni
$3.03   3 leeks
$4.73   4 Romaine lettuces
$0.94   Bag of frozen spinach
$2.21   2 sweet potatoes (.98/lb)
$0.79   Green onions
$0.86   .87lbs green beans
$1.00   2 pink grapefruit
$2.43   14 oranges
$2.32   5 apples
$2.25   1.34 lb Red Grapes
$0.73   1.93 lb bananas
$0.99   Cantaloupe
$3.62   1 gallon fruit juice
   
$40.36   

Starches
$3.32   5 lbs potatoes
$2.19   Barley
$2.00   2 boxes of 12 Taco shells
$3.56   3 boxes Stove Top Stuffing
$2.33   Panko breadcrumbs
$3.98   2 boxes Red Lobster Ched Bisct Mix
$4.65   2 bags tortilla chips
   
$22.03   

Meats/Proteins
$8.79   3 Dozen eggs
$6.17   2.5lb Frozen Chicken Breasts
$4.79   5.04 lb whole chicken
$2.99   Frozen Chicken Strips
$16.26   19.23lb turkey
$19.62   6.90lb ham
$5.89   2 lbs swai filets
$5.49   12 oz cooked shrimp
$1.34   Little Sizzlers Sausages
   
$71.34   That is over 47 lbs of meat, some of which is still in our freezer

Misc, processed
$54.77  <-- Processed stuff like salad dressings, marinades, seasoning packets, prepackaged rice/noodle side dishes, box mac & cheese, and yes, some soda & candy.  Most of this could be cut if we were "poor."

Total: $218.07, 64 days, 2 people = $1.70/day

But we have eaten some stuff that we have in the pantry & freezer.  We've also stored and not yet eaten some of what we purchased.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 01:35:15 PM by netskyblue »

kathrynd

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2015, 05:17:32 PM »
Thank you Chippewa.

Netskyblue,
We also have a lot of 'luxury' items in our diet.

I have read a  few SNAP challenge blog sites, where they always do it for a week, and always starting with nothing, and they complain about how difficult and boring the meal plans are. Or they talk about the recipients wouldn't have a kitchen, time, or energy to prepare meals. Most meals take no more than 10 minutes to prepare..the rest is  cooking time.

They always have peanut butter, rice, fried beans,noodles that make up the bulk of their meals.
These foods are great, but I don't want to eat them all the time.

They  talk about being tired,grumpy and can hardly wait for the 'challenge' to be over.Most lose weight (which they probably needed to anyway)
To me, it seems they have an agenda...and that is to show how difficult it is.

I also have an agenda, to show it doesn't need to difficult.

Would love to see other people's grocery lists and menu plans for a week :)

Gin1984

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2015, 05:28:37 PM »
Thank you Chippewa.

Netskyblue,
We also have a lot of 'luxury' items in our diet.

I have read a  few SNAP challenge blog sites, where they always do it for a week, and always starting with nothing, and they complain about how difficult and boring the meal plans are. Or they talk about the recipients wouldn't have a kitchen, time, or energy to prepare meals. Most meals take no more than 10 minutes to prepare..the rest is  cooking time.

They always have peanut butter, rice, fried beans,noodles that make up the bulk of their meals.
These foods are great, but I don't want to eat them all the time.

They  talk about being tired,grumpy and can hardly wait for the 'challenge' to be over.Most lose weight (which they probably needed to anyway)
To me, it seems they have an agenda...and that is to show how difficult it is.

I also have an agenda, to show it doesn't need to difficult.

Would love to see other people's grocery lists and menu plans for a week :)
Well, giving the time it takes to get food stamps could use up a lot of stuff and people might not have spices.  Also learning to cook cheaply is a skill, one that many don't have.

swick

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2015, 05:47:02 PM »
I think there was a thread on this a couple years ago, damned if I can find it.

Anywhoo...I remember this resource being shared. Definitely worth a look - and it's free! http://www.leannebrown.com/

I think it is worth wile to examine food spending as a daily amount but it does seem to gloss over a lot of other issues that some people on benefits actually have. Lack of education (financial, cooking, math skills) lack of access to options for food either because of transportation restraints or living in a food dessert. The challenge of building up a pantry of spices which add variety to the staples. Inability to purchase in bulk, or insufficient knowledge of how to meal-plan and take best advantage of their ingredients.

I think going strictly by the numbers discounts a lot of these realities.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2015, 06:05:08 PM »
I get that cooking and pantry keeping are skills, but damn, this is a challenge? That people find HARD?

It's tough for me to give dollar figures, but here's a rough meal plan for this week.

Breakfast: 2 free range eggs on homemade toast for me ($0.60), waffles for the kids (~$2 tops in ingredients that give us a 2-3 days worth batch) Leftovers are frozen and reheated in toaster.

Week: $7

Snacks/Lunch: wife takes leftovers, I often eat leftovers. Fruit, some cheese, granola I make from scratch. Kids get peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, etc.

Week: wild estimate, say $100. We eat a lot of fruit/veggies, and get most of our nutrition during the daytime hours.

Dinners (smaller portions eaten at night, mostly for lunch): pasta with homemade marinara sauce ($2-$3), calzone with pepperoni ($8, but gave us two nights dinner and two lunches), stir fry (varies in price, rarely more than $7), salmon pastries ($6), lentil and rice burritos ($2), parsnip latkes ($4)

Week: $30

That's ~$140 for a family of 5, and my dollar estimates are on the high side. Long-term, our averages have been barely over $600 for the month, but that includes a bit of alcohol and all personal care and household items. If we're talking strictly food/spices, we are about $475ish and that's almost all pastured animal products and produce that's either organic and/or locally sourced at peak.

Ftao93

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2015, 06:16:43 PM »
I love budgetbytes.  We still tend to blow more than we need to on groceries, but keep it at @ $200-250/mo

kpd905

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2015, 06:51:51 PM »
Looking back at my spreadsheets, it appears we have been doing this for the past 2 years without really trying too hard.  I do want to add more veggies, and there will be a farmer's market starting up about a quarter mile away in a few months.

h2ogal

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2015, 07:22:24 PM »
I Love you guys!  Most of the time I feel like I fell down the rabbit hole here.  If I could share my past spending on groceries with you guys you would have a good laugh. 

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2015, 08:25:19 PM »
I think there was a thread on this a couple years ago, damned if I can find it.

Anywhoo...I remember this resource being shared. Definitely worth a look - and it's free! http://www.leannebrown.com/

Leanne's site is a good one.

The issue is that people coming from a place of scarcity harbor the "live for now mentality". Not knowing if the same resource will be available the next day. So $20 will most likely spent on frivolous purchases that don't make sense for someone with 'no money'.

Once a routine is established, say knowing SNAP will be available month after month for long-term, then one starts to feel a sense of security and has the opportune mentality to make sensible, responsible food purchases (oatmeal instead of high priced cereal). This is where a State nutrition program would come in handy to then educate people on how to make proper food purchases and teach people how to make budget, healthy meals.

Like someone said earlier, a Mustachian is conditioned with the critical thinking skills or has already made the choices to lower the food budget. So it would not be as difficult to do the challenge as someone out of the blue (like some of the State members that took the challenge).

That all being said, I think its a great challenge.

I already went shopping before reading about this challenge spending $110 on perishable items this week. There are 2 in our house. That is $35 overhead. Giving me $40 for next next week. My freezer is stocked so its not completely a clean start, but will keep me mindful. It's a potential to save $180 this month if I can stick it out.


Breakfast: Oatmeal w/Walnuts, Cranberries & Almond Mylk
Lunch: Kale salad with Strawberries & Marie Calendar chicken potpie ($1.50 or 8/$12)
Dinner: beef-veggie kabobs, lentil-bulgar pilaf, strawberries & banana
Snack: tangerine, coffee, tea

Bob W

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2015, 11:14:46 AM »
I think there was a thread on this a couple years ago, damned if I can find it.

Anywhoo...I remember this resource being shared. Definitely worth a look - and it's free! http://www.leannebrown.com/

Leanne's site is a good one.

The issue is that people coming from a place of scarcity harbor the "live for now mentality". Not knowing if the same resource will be available the next day. So $20 will most likely spent on frivolous purchases that don't make sense for someone with 'no money'.

Once a routine is established, say knowing SNAP will be available month after month for long-term, then one starts to feel a sense of security and has the opportune mentality to make sensible, responsible food purchases (oatmeal instead of high priced cereal). This is where a State nutrition program would come in handy to then educate people on how to make proper food purchases and teach people how to make budget, healthy meals.

Like someone said earlier, a Mustachian is conditioned with the critical thinking skills or has already made the choices to lower the food budget. So it would not be as difficult to do the challenge as someone out of the blue (like some of the State members that took the challenge).

That all being said, I think its a great challenge.

I already went shopping before reading about this challenge spending $110 on perishable items this week. There are 2 in our house. That is $35 overhead. Giving me $40 for next next week. My freezer is stocked so its not completely a clean start, but will keep me mindful. It's a potential to save $180 this month if I can stick it out.


Breakfast: Oatmeal w/Walnuts, Cranberries & Almond Mylk
Lunch: Kale salad with Strawberries & Marie Calendar chicken potpie ($1.50 or 8/$12)
Dinner: beef-veggie kabobs, lentil-bulgar pilaf, strawberries & banana
Snack: tangerine, coffee, tea


You make good points.  The reality is that no amount of "education" will encourage people who get free food to reduce their spending.   

My solution is less finessed --- Simply on allow 5 or 6 food staples to be purchased with SNAP (as opposed to any and everything including sugared cereal, lobster, steak and chocolate bars)

My proposal would be to only allow -   Olive oil,  chicken, beans,  rice,  potato's and frozen veggies.    The WIC program is a great supplemental food program that only allows very specific foods (even designates the brands).  This is a successful model for the failed SNAP [program.

I ran the numbers in my head on the way to work this morning.  The average tax paying person (there is only about 65 million of them) will provide about $1,200 in taxes to support the SNAP program per year.    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/federal-food-stamp-program-spent-record-804b-fy-2012

Everyone else is taxed by an increase in grocery prices due to the increased demand fostered by the SNAP program.  My guestimate is that grocery prices overall are 5% higher due to the increase in demand generated by SNAP.    So the cost to the average non SNAP person is about $125 per person.  This is everyone, whether they pay taxes or not.

Ironically,  Walmart took in $18 billion in SNAP benefits last year.  A large percentage of their work force qualifies for SNAP.   

I'm not being a scrooge here -- just understanding human behavior.   Free stuff generates many takers.

Another elegant solution is to require each recipient to work 1 hour for every $7.50 in SNAP benefits.    That would be about 20 hours per month of community service type work.   

As all the Ministers in my area will tell you --  "If someone knocks on the Parsonage door looking for food money we offer them food from the food pantry in exchange for doing some light work around the property.  90% of the time they refuse and walk off.   If we give them money we can be assured they will be back the following week looking for more money"

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2015, 11:32:28 AM »
It's easy to eat for $5 a day -- given that you have access to a discount grocery store and a warehouse store and property where you are allowed to garden and/or windows that face south so you can grow indoors in flower pots.  Many people don't have access to any of that, unfortunately.  Walk a mile in their shoes.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2015, 12:01:34 PM »
It's easy to eat for $5 a day -- given that you have access to a discount grocery store and a warehouse store and property where you are allowed to garden and/or windows that face south so you can grow indoors in flower pots.  Many people don't have access to any of that, unfortunately.  Walk a mile in their shoes.
So true.
The costs of poverty are real.
I would add that having a kitchen with a working stove and refrigerator allows a broader range of food options. Add in some pots, pans and a sharp knife and you can prepare a lot of things.

I've seen many folks who had budgets too tight to freely run their stoves (or an appliance had broken and they couldn't afford to repair/replace)and some who had their water or electricity disconnected.

It's definitely more challenging to eat healthy and cheap if you no refrigeration and only have a hot plate for cooking.  Still doable, but choices become more limited and take more time.

Gin1984

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2015, 12:12:09 PM »
It's easy to eat for $5 a day -- given that you have access to a discount grocery store and a warehouse store and property where you are allowed to garden and/or windows that face south so you can grow indoors in flower pots.  Many people don't have access to any of that, unfortunately.  Walk a mile in their shoes.
So true.
The costs of poverty are real.
I would add that having a kitchen with a working stove and refrigerator allows a broader range of food options. Add in some pots, pans and a sharp knife and you can prepare a lot of things.

I've seen many folks who had budgets too tight to freely run their stoves (or an appliance had broken and they couldn't afford to repair/replace)and some who had their water or electricity disconnected.

It's definitely more challenging to eat healthy and cheap if you no refrigeration and only have a hot plate for cooking.  Still doable, but choices become more limited and take more time.
We spend about $10/day for two people and a toddler, but we live somewhere cheap, to buy the same things where we used to live would cost almost double.  Granted I am not a good cook, I am still learning but I think I am closer to a "normal" person than most here. 

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2015, 12:20:18 PM »
I have a hard time passing judgement of people who seek and use public assistance, so I don't see the point of using it as a challenge. Seems like a way to kick already disadvantaged people while they're down.

This. I have no problem with a person trying to budget and reduce their food expenditures. That's great. But to pretend you're doing it in order to prove one way or another how easy/hard it is to live on that amount ignores everything else that has an impact on your life/lifestyle/spending habits. I find it distasteful and dishonest.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2015, 12:38:56 PM »
Who ever decided SNAP benefits should cover 100% of someone's food costs?  Even so, $5/day isn't very hard.  Just using our weekly grocery budget of $75/4 people/7 days results in $2.68 per person per day.  This includes plenty of fruit, veg, meat, and fiber.  We do this practically every week and I can only wish I was losing weight.  I really think I could get us down to $1 per person per day if I had to in an emergency. 

As far as those without kitchen appliances go, a lot of beans and rice can be cooked in a $16 crock pot from Walmart. Throw in a hunk of pork or chicken, some cabbage, carrots potatoes and onions (all of which tend to be cheap) and you have a very sustaining ration.   

https://www.google.com/shopping/product/11267807161137279004?q=slow+cooker&safe=active&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oq=&sa=X&ei=IAD6VJOWJO2IsQT6rYHIDg&ved=0CD4Q8wIwBA

 


Gin1984

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2015, 12:50:03 PM »
Who ever decided SNAP benefits should cover 100% of someone's food costs?  Even so, $5/day isn't very hard.  Just using our weekly grocery budget of $75/4 people/7 days results in $2.68 per person per day.  This includes plenty of fruit, veg, meat, and fiber.  We do this practically every week and I can only wish I was losing weight.  I really think I could get us down to $1 per person per day if I had to in an emergency. 

As far as those without kitchen appliances go, a lot of beans and rice can be cooked in a $16 crock pot from Walmart. Throw in a hunk of pork or chicken, some cabbage, carrots potatoes and onions (all of which tend to be cheap) and you have a very sustaining ration.   

https://www.google.com/shopping/product/11267807161137279004?q=slow+cooker&safe=active&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oq=&sa=X&ei=IAD6VJOWJO2IsQT6rYHIDg&ved=0CD4Q8wIwBA
Most often it does not.  The base it off the "cheap" costs of food and then depending on your inocme and living expenses the amount is given out.  Most people are SNAP work and therefore don't get the full amount.  And you are assuming someone on SNAP can afford a $16 crockpot.  Most can't.  Would it be a good idea to help people grow out of a SNAP by teaching them and giving them the support (like classes and supplies) to eat cheaper, yes.  Will we do it? No, because SNAP is not just about feeding people but also about supporting businesses (corn subsidies etc). 

Rezdent

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2015, 12:52:30 PM »
Who ever decided SNAP benefits should cover 100% of someone's food costs?  Even so, $5/day isn't very hard.  Just using our weekly grocery budget of $75/4 people/7 days results in $2.68 per person per day.  This includes plenty of fruit, veg, meat, and fiber.  We do this practically every week and I can only wish I was losing weight.  I really think I could get us down to $1 per person per day if I had to in an emergency. 

As far as those without kitchen appliances go, a lot of beans and rice can be cooked in a $16 crock pot from Walmart. Throw in a hunk of pork or chicken, some cabbage, carrots potatoes and onions (all of which tend to be cheap) and you have a very sustaining ration.   

https://www.google.com/shopping/product/11267807161137279004?q=slow+cooker&safe=active&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oq=&sa=X&ei=IAD6VJOWJO2IsQT6rYHIDg&ved=0CD4Q8wIwBA
I absolutely agree with you.  It's totally doable.
Just pointing out that if all you have is a slowcooker and your fridge is broken, you'll be eating lots of ricenbeans.  You wont take advantage of that big pack of chicken - no storage.  You won't make large quantities because no way for them to keep from spoiling.  You'll spend way more time making small quantities.  These are costs of poverty.

merula

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2015, 01:03:03 PM »
Who ever decided SNAP benefits should cover 100% of someone's food costs? 

My understanding (and I hope Bob W can chime in because he knows better than I do), is that SNAP *isn't* meant to cover 100% of your food costs. The program figures out what they think you should be spending on food based on your family size (and that's the amount we've been discussing ITT), and then figures out what they think you can afford to spend on food based on your income.

So, let's just say that the program says your food can be expected to cost $300/month. The income formula says you can afford to spend $100/month on food. You would get $200/month in benefits.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2015, 01:12:02 PM »
I have a hard time passing judgement of people who seek and use public assistance, so I don't see the point of using it as a challenge. Seems like a way to kick already disadvantaged people while they're down.

This. I have no problem with a person trying to budget and reduce their food expenditures. That's great. But to pretend you're doing it in order to prove one way or another how easy/hard it is to live on that amount ignores everything else that has an impact on your life/lifestyle/spending habits. I find it distasteful and dishonest.

I agree.  It's easy to live on that amount if you have an equipped kitchen, space to safely store food and time/means to get to the grocery store.

But consider where the lowest income neighbourhoods are, and then consider that they are often not close to large, inexpensive grocery stores.  So add the TIME and cost of transportation to get groceries.  All of a sudden 47 lbs of meat does not seem so fun when you're carrying it on the bus while wrangling a couple of small kids.  Yes, you could bike, but then you'd need to find enough money in your budget to get a bike AND a bike trailer, because you certainly wouldn't be able to afford childcare while grocery shopping. 

I know MMM is all about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, but consider people whose previous (regrettable) choices have already led them to a shitty situation where they live in an area far from a grocery store, are raising small children on a single income and certainly don't have the spare cash to save up for things like a bike.

As well, this all assumes that you have a pot, a pan, working stove, working fridge, etc.

I personally find it tremendously easy to make a 99c GIANT batch of hummus from dried beans I cooked in my $50 stockpot,  when I then use my $300 Cuisinart to whirl it.  I also find it a great deal to buy a quarter of a cow at $5/lb (cheap for beef in Canada) when I can store it in my $600 stand-up freezer.  I also love stocking up on 25 lb bags of rice for $7 when I can load them in my multi-thousand dollar vehicle, and store them in my almost-pest-free  & secure home.  It's also helpful that I can afford to pay my electricity bill, so that my stove and my fridge continue to work.

It's a lot more complex than just groceries.  I think it's really easy to judge from the outside, and it would be great if you could take some people back in time, before they made poorly-considered choices, and say HEY YOU....don't DO THAT....but there are people who are already in shite situations and moralizing on how they should eat like kings on $5/day is not terribly helpful.

I was actually a huge fan of the BudgetBytes series, because her tone was not patronising, and she acknowledged some of the limitations of this budget, in terms of her satiety and satisfaction from the meals.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2015, 02:45:12 PM »
But to pretend you're doing it in order to prove one way or another how easy/hard it is to live on that amount ignores everything else that has an impact on your life/lifestyle/spending habits. I find it distasteful and dishonest.

I think it depends what your intention is. One: people trying the challenge (especially government) it might help propel changes that need to be made in the system. For layman, perhaps it can promote compassion or an individual or community change to help out fellow man. Two: ones that are documenting their experience might just help someone understand that while not optimal, its doable and how  it is so. Even if people are not on SNAP but are confined budgets. You never know who is reading.


Today's food thus far:

Coffee & cream, pancakes with peanut butter
Marie Calendar Chicken Potpie ($1.50) and a kale salad with avocado, strawberries, dried cranberries, walnuts,  and leftover bulgar & lentil pilaf. Tangerine.
dinner - thinking soup make with ground turkey & veggies; maybe noodles. And toasted bread. probably another salad.

Last night's dinner: tricolor rotini, kale, spiced diced-tomatoes, ground turkey, cheese.

Cassie

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2015, 03:12:09 PM »
It is humiliating enough for people to be on food stamps without limiting severely the food they can buy. I was a social worker at one point & know how tough some of these families have it.  No car, no close grocery store, busing it with kids, etc to a low paid job.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2015, 06:50:24 PM »
Most people, I would think, have basic pots and pans.If they don't, there are many  internet sites that offer free stuff, yard sales and many thrift shops. Ask family members if they have anything they no longer use.

I don't think you can throw money at this situation.Bob W made  a great point.
Quote:The reality is that no amount of "education" will encourage people who get free food to reduce their spending.   

I believe before anyone should get food stamps, their budget needs to be looked at.Chances are there is a lot of unnecessary spending in there.

People will need to consider moving to somewhere closer to inexpensive grocery stores, if they can't find transportation there.
They could barter with friends and family for childcare, so they can each take turns shopping without children. Maybe share a taxi with a friend.Stock up. Everyone is tired, but that still isn't an excuse for eating crap food.
Think outside the box.

In Canada and Australia we do not have food stamps. Who are the people that use them? I thought it was people who were on welfare, and the working poor? Wouldn't the majority of these people be living in adequate housing, in order to qualify? (so homeless people wouldn't qualify?)

I do find it extremely easy to live on a small grocery budget. I wasn't born with this knowledge. My parents weren't frugal. I think it came about because of necessity.My husband and I  wanted a house, and in order to afford that, we needed to trim fat from our budget..the easiest one was food. Now, it is just second nature. We are also FIRE.

Yesterday we bought soooo much food, for $70. Almost everything was reduced.Except for milk, we won't need groceries for a couple of weeks again.

I don't get the impression anyone finds it humiliating to be on food stamps.

Gin1984

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2015, 07:23:28 PM »
Most people, I would think, have basic pots and pans.If they don't, there are many  internet sites that offer free stuff, yard sales and many thrift shops. Ask family members if they have anything they no longer use.

I don't think you can throw money at this situation.Bob W made  a great point.
Quote:The reality is that no amount of "education" will encourage people who get free food to reduce their spending.   

I believe before anyone should get food stamps, their budget needs to be looked at.Chances are there is a lot of unnecessary spending in there.

People will need to consider moving to somewhere closer to inexpensive grocery stores, if they can't find transportation there.
They could barter with friends and family for childcare, so they can each take turns shopping without children. Maybe share a taxi with a friend.Stock up. Everyone is tired, but that still isn't an excuse for eating crap food.
Think outside the box.

In Canada and Australia we do not have food stamps. Who are the people that use them? I thought it was people who were on welfare, and the working poor? Wouldn't the majority of these people be living in adequate housing, in order to qualify? (so homeless people wouldn't qualify?)

I do find it extremely easy to live on a small grocery budget. I wasn't born with this knowledge. My parents weren't frugal. I think it came about because of necessity.My husband and I  wanted a house, and in order to afford that, we needed to trim fat from our budget..the easiest one was food. Now, it is just second nature. We are also FIRE.

Yesterday we bought soooo much food, for $70. Almost everything was reduced.Except for milk, we won't need groceries for a couple of weeks again.

I don't get the impression anyone finds it humiliating to be on food stamps.
No, the homeless can be on food stamps, but the majority on food stamps are the working poor.  Those work two part time jobs, making near minimum wage (7.50 in my state) which after taxes would be about $1400/month.  Most have kids, so include daycare (my daycare is over $800/month but that rare for my area, average is about a grand a month). 
And no many poor can't afford the "basic" supplies in a kitchen, that is part of the problem.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2015, 07:50:59 PM »
I went from having a real job to having nothing and a lot of your assumptions don't take into account the realities of being poor.  Sure you can spend $5 on food.  Sure it only takes 10 minutes to prepare a meal.  Sure you are exhausted from trying to figure out how to pay everything that's due this month.  Sure you need to do the dishes/laundry/clean the house etc but are having a hard time finding the energy to do it.  Sure your hands are freezing because you can't justify turning the heat on today.  Sure you feel guilty because you aren't able to do it all. 

Choosing to live a lifestyle is a very different thing from being forced to.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2015, 11:35:02 PM »
I took awhile to think about the replies here, before posting again.

To me, they are nothing more than excuses.

I've never earned a high income, raised 4 kids, and we lived within a very strict budget.
That was our reality. Never had our utilities cut off. Yes, the house was cold in the winter (68F is cold to me)
Paid our bills on time. Rarely went to the restaurant, movies, anywhere actually.

Maybe it was just our attitude.There is only a certain amount of money we had..same with most families.
If I  spent more money on food, (which doesn't make it healthier) I'd need to take that money from somewhere else in a  budget.

If  SNAP benefits are $200 month (for example) I'm going to do my best to make that money stretch the best I can. Buying crap food , because 'your can't eat healthy on a small budget' is a cop-out.
Many many people all over the country show it can be done.It's like anything else. We don't complain, we find a way to make it enjoyable/game and get on with life.

If single parents  are struggling, maybe 3 or 4 of them can rent a house together, and babysit for each other...or share a babysitter.
Certainly between them, they can scrounge pots and pans.

We rent to low income tenants in Canada. It's their daily bad choices that keep them down. Most smoke, drink,Tim Hortons,take out food, multiple mobile phones, cable/internet...and usually behind on their rent.



Bob W

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2015, 08:03:10 AM »
Who ever decided SNAP benefits should cover 100% of someone's food costs? 

My understanding (and I hope Bob W can chime in because he knows better than I do), is that SNAP *isn't* meant to cover 100% of your food costs. The program figures out what they think you should be spending on food based on your family size (and that's the amount we've been discussing ITT), and then figures out what they think you can afford to spend on food based on your income.

So, let's just say that the program says your food can be expected to cost $300/month. The income formula says you can afford to spend $100/month on food. You would get $200/month in benefits.
I'm  in Missouri.   It is prorated.  My clients receive between $18 and $115 a month.   I've been in social services along time.  Have never heard of anyone starving to death.    Most poor folks are overweight, have cable, cell phones (free),  many smoke and most drink soda.   Single males have it the worst.  This isn't your grandfather's poverty.    In this country the poor are richer than 95% of the world.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 08:15:03 AM by Bob W »

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2015, 10:26:52 AM »
I took awhile to think about the replies here, before posting again.

To me, they are nothing more than excuses.

I've never earned a high income, raised 4 kids, and we lived within a very strict budget.
That was our reality. Never had our utilities cut off. Yes, the house was cold in the winter (68F is cold to me)
Paid our bills on time. Rarely went to the restaurant, movies, anywhere actually.

Maybe it was just our attitude.There is only a certain amount of money we had..same with most families.
If I  spent more money on food, (which doesn't make it healthier) I'd need to take that money from somewhere else in a  budget.

If  SNAP benefits are $200 month (for example) I'm going to do my best to make that money stretch the best I can. Buying crap food , because 'your can't eat healthy on a small budget' is a cop-out.
Many many people all over the country show it can be done.It's like anything else. We don't complain, we find a way to make it enjoyable/game and get on with life.

If single parents  are struggling, maybe 3 or 4 of them can rent a house together, and babysit for each other...or share a babysitter.
Certainly between them, they can scrounge pots and pans.

We rent to low income tenants in Canada. It's their daily bad choices that keep them down. Most smoke, drink,Tim Hortons,take out food, multiple mobile phones, cable/internet...and usually behind on their rent.

This was my experience too, for the time when my parents were split up and my mom was on public assistance.  I think there are deeper issues at play with people who can't or won't figure out how to eat decently on the given budget.  Mental and emotional problems can be pretty ruinous, and pervasive in impoverished situations - people who grew up in abusive households, have never had stability, substance abuse, etc.  It's not just a matter of laziness and lack of education (though those don't help).  My mom had a GED and an 8th grade education, but was plenty smart and resourceful, and although we ate fairly plain food, I never remember it lacking for nutrition or quantity, or having the fridge run bare at the end of the month.  She had the emotional and mental wherewithal to stick to a budget down to the penny so our power was never turned off, and we still had food at the end of the month. Her sister was a single mom to two boys and was the same way; sewed, gardened, canned and shopped at thrift stores exclusively, and might have been down to $7 at the end of some months, but the bills were paid on time and they ate good food.

I've seen the other side of the coin with tenants as well - kicked out for not paying rent, always getting the utilities shut off, but had clearly spent the rent money on beer, cigarettes and weed, based on the mess that was left for us to clean up.  Of course these people had three kids who are now learning these patterns to continue the tradition for the next generation.  Oh, and three large dogs, because if there's something that's great for a tight budget, it's owning a lab, a great dane and a collie.

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2015, 11:39:57 AM »
I immigrated to the U.S. as a PhD student, and a lot of BudgetBytes recipes bailed me out on busy school nights. My food spending those days was more like $100 per month and made everything from scratch (succumbed to fast food occasionally during exam weeks).

Now, having graduated and full-time employed, the food spending has gone to a slightly fancy level. STILL, $6.38 per day per person is actually pretty close to the level of food spending for my household of two in our current non frugal/fancy mode. All grocery items are high-end from Trader Joe's (cheapest grocer in my area, cheaper than lone Costco). That covers fancy items like extra virgin coconut oil, nuts, dairy, gluten free pasta, dark chocolate (>75% cacao) and some organic produce. I buy some processed food like salsa, taco shells, pre-made salad dressing etc. I'm a vegetarian so that lowers food costs as well. Spouse eats fish once a day  and chicken occasionally, so that keeps our food costs to $6.38 per day per person. Restaurants and work lunches may be once or twice a month. I actually cannot imagine how I might be able to spend more than that on groceries. We could easily scale it down to $200 for a household of two if we had to (e.g., a job loss or in early retirement).

That having said, politically I lean toward not cutting SNAP benefits. The realities of a few that "waste" the benefits (not my word) that you may witness does not represent the realities of all. Statistics 101.

I definitely lean towards higher taxes  on soda and processed stuff (insert anything else that a SNAP beneficiary consumes that bothers you here), so that is not the cheapest thing in a grocery store.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 11:43:32 AM by medusa »

Cassie

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2015, 12:31:08 PM »
Poor neighborhoods tend to not have big chains but small stores that take advantage of the poor. They can't just move-remember no $. Also better neighborhoods have higher rents, etc.  Most are single parents. It is much easier to be poor if 1 parent is at home & that is their job to make the $ stretch.  Kids go to school hungry everyday-ask any teacher. I was a social worker for awhile & yes some are poor thru their own choices but many more are not.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2015, 12:33:08 PM »

I definitely lean towards higher taxes  on soda and processed stuff (insert anything else that a SNAP beneficiary consumes that bothers you here), so that is not the cheapest thing in a grocery store.

At the VERY least, we need to stop subsidizing these items so that they aren't artificially so cheap. But I agree- instead of regulating what someone else should do directly (who decides? I bet you lobbyists would get involved, and we would be worse off than we are now. And it's not like nutrition is in agreement about what is healthy vs not across the board), why don't we instead make price incentivize it for us? Personal choice, even if manipulated by economic pressures, is far more empowering and long-lasting than removing choice.

kathrynd

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Re: SNAP - or $5/day Healthy Eating Challenge
« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2015, 07:01:13 PM »
Only going by what I have read...

If SNAP doesn't permit toilet paper, and female sanitary products, why can't they disallow soft drinks and other junk foods?