#1 Can two people eat on $67 a week?03-13-2009, 03:31 PMA 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.
Last edited by PoliCon; 03-13-2009 at 03:40 PM.Stand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
03-13-2009, 03:41 PM
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Northern Virginia
Probably, but I certainly don't intend to find out."Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
03-13-2009, 07:31 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.
03-13-2009, 10:01 PM
Ordinary daily food is a lost art. You can just eat plainly most of the time and kick it up on the weekends.
03-14-2009, 11:15 AM
- Join Date
- May 2008
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.
03-14-2009, 08:15 PMStand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
- Join Date
- May 2008
03-14-2009, 11:17 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.-
In actual dollars, President Obama’s $4.4 trillion in deficit spending in just three years is 37 percent higher than the previous record of $3.2 trillion (held by President George W. Bush) in deficit spending for an entire presidency. It’s no small feat to demolish an 8-year record in just 3 years.
Under Obama’s own projections, interest payments on the debt are on course to triple from 2010 (his first budgetary year) to 2018, climbing from $196 billion to $685 billion annually.
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