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View Full Version : Can two people eat on $67 a week?



PoliCon
03-13-2009, 02:31 PM
A couple takes the Food Stamp Challenge and discovers it is possible to eat healthfully on a tight budget. Careful planning and a home garden help.
By Jason Song
March 11, 2009
I was reading a book about the joys of making your own bacon, preferably with mail-ordered pork belly, when my wife mentioned something about a food stamp challenge.

It sounded ominous.

We were considering buying a house and the economy seemed shaky, so it was a good time to tighten our belts, she said. We would live on $72 worth of food a week, she explained, about the same amount a family of two in California would get in food stamps.

Is that truly necessary? I asked. Sure, the cookbook suggests making bacon from pork that cost $88 for 9 pounds, but I was never actually going to do that. And we're pretty thrifty, I argued. We splurge occasionally but we pack our own lunches most of the time, even grow some of our own vegetables.

But then she showed me our credit card statements and receipts, and I realized we weren't actually that thrifty after all. We'd spent almost $700 the month before on food, including alcohol and going out.

Maybe it was time to cut back, I thought. And $72 sounded like a perfectly reasonable limit.

"Should we try it for a month?" I asked.

"How about two?" she countered.

We weren't the first nor the most severe members of the Food Stamp Challenge -- in 2007, several members of Congress budgeted just $21 a person, the national average a food stamp recipient receives weekly. The focus of our challenge was different. We weren't making a statement about hunger awareness or pretending we were poor; we wanted to change our lifestyle and our budget.http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-stamp11-2009mar11,0,5424533.storyThey do realize that food stamps are supposed to be a SUPPLEMENT right? No of course not! :rolleyes:

linda22003
03-13-2009, 02:41 PM
Probably, but I certainly don't intend to find out.

Gingersnap
03-13-2009, 06:31 PM
They are doing it wrong. I actually looked over our winter food bills for the past couple of months a few weeks ago. We eat for that including a breakfast out every week and without all the drama.

Deli turkey for lunch meat? Insane. I buy turkeys when they are basically giving them away and cook them as needed. The money I have saved allowed me to buy a high quality slicer and a freezer. Shitake mushrooms? Why? The regular button type meet most needs and frankly, when push comes to shove, nobody needs mushrooms as daily fare. I buy big blocks of cheese and slice it myself. Buying pitas? Why? Sure, they are cute and I can afford to buy the ones that are pre-opened (on that same budget) but a tortilla or some homemade bread would be way more economical.

I noticed that their diet was sadly lacking in soup, stews, and plainer fare. The only time I've spent $700 bucks on food (aside from huge parties) has been when I've bought a side of beef.

Constitutionally Speaking
03-13-2009, 07:58 PM
They are doing it wrong. I actually looked over our winter food bills for the past couple of months a few weeks ago. We eat for that including a breakfast out every week and without all the drama.

Deli turkey for lunch meat? Insane. I buy turkeys when they are basically giving them away and cook them as needed. The money I have saved allowed me to buy a high quality slicer and a freezer. Shitake mushrooms? Why? The regular button type meet most needs and frankly, when push comes to shove, nobody needs mushrooms as daily fare. I buy big blocks of cheese and slice it myself. Buying pitas? Why? Sure, they are cute and I can afford to buy the ones that are pre-opened (on that same budget) but a tortilla or some homemade bread would be way more economical.

I noticed that their diet was sadly lacking in soup, stews, and plainer fare. The only time I've spent $700 bucks on food (aside from huge parties) has been when I've bought a side of beef.


We can live on that also - it isn't all that difficult. Problem is, most people buy convenience foods and cooking from scratch is a lost art.

Gingersnap
03-13-2009, 09:01 PM
Ordinary daily food is a lost art. You can just eat plainly most of the time and kick it up on the weekends.

Lanie
03-14-2009, 10:15 AM
For just one person where I live (NC, so prices are different in some other places).

One dollar plus tax a week for bologna or some other cheap lunchmeat for lunch. About 5.30 a month.

Five dollars for a bag of apples is cheap, but not cheap enough to live off 21.00 a month. The fruit would have to be bannanas. Less than two dollars a week, with an average of eight dollars a month. We're up to 13.50 already.

Buy the cheapest cereal for about three dollars. I would say to make it last for a week, but if you don't eat that for breakfast everyday, you have to find something else. That's 12.00. We're past 21.00 a month now.

I suppose an alternative might be to get 18 egg carton. Normally under three dollars, and can last up to two weeks (but you really shouldn't eat eggs for breakfast everyday).

Instead of apples, buy a box of snackcakes for less than two dollars. That decreases price, but it's not healthy.

Crackers can normally come under two or three dollars, and it can last up to two weeks if you only use it on weekdays.

I haven't even gone over supper ideas yet.

Prepare to get sick of Ramon noodles. That's the cheapest you can get.

You can take spaghetti, and split it up for a few nights.

I'm talking about one person surviving. I'm sure one can go lower, but darn.

PoliCon
03-14-2009, 07:15 PM
Ordinary daily food is a lost art. You can just eat plainly most of the time and kick it up on the weekends.

We just had a very nice dinner for two for . . . . less than $10 all things factored in - A nice salad, Braised Steak and Onions, Angel Hair alfrado, and peas. Even had some homemade wine with it. :) It's EASY to eat on a budget if you cook for yourself and if buy things when they are on sale. The most expensive thing used in today's dinner was Montreal Steak seasoning - cause that shit's GOOD. :D

Shannon
03-14-2009, 07:33 PM
Prepare to get sick of Ramon noodles. That's the cheapest you can get.



You've never really eaten Ramen, have you? Those of us who really did have to survive on it know how to spell it.;)

lacarnut
03-14-2009, 07:57 PM
The most expensive thing used in today's dinner was Montreal Steak seasoning - cause that shit's GOOD. :D

I will have to try that; all those exotic rubs on steaks have been a big zero for me.

Not a big eater so I could eat on $38.50 a week but I don't want to try. Ramen noodles would be off the menu.

MrsSmith
03-14-2009, 10:17 PM
It's been a while since I tracked only our food purchases, but the last time I did, I fed us for $100/person/month. At that time, I had 3 teenagers in my house...and frequently fed 2 - 6 of their friends for part of every weekend, and still made it on a total of $500 a month. Two people eating on $67 a week...color me unimpressed. :rolleyes: