September 28th, 2011
09:01 AM ET
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Sheila Steffen is a producer for CNN. Read part one of her food stamp challenge, wherein she shopped for a week's worth of groceries, spending only the $30 which would be allotted by food stamps.

Previously: Could you live on $30 a week? | Witnesses to Hunger: A portrait of food insecurity in America | Childhood malnutrition has long lasting effects

On Sunday night I’m finishing up the last of my big pot of black beans. The bag of dry beans I purchased along with a bag of rice has been three of my main meals this week.

I’m not against leftovers; I eat them. It's just that I normally wouldn’t plan to eat the same thing again and again but this past week it was that, or go hungry. I didn’t have the luxury of variety or choice.

My $30 food stamp challenge forced some difficult shopping choices and as many readers pointed out, I may not have made the wisest. I’m more accustomed to shopping for convenience than hunting for bargains. But I am keenly aware that each purchase I made for this week is accounted for, either for a breakfast, a lunch, or a dinner and maybe a snack.

There is no room for waste, and one bad choice is all it takes to go hungry. If a jar of pasta sauce breaks an entire meal could be lost.

I spend all of my $30 before realizing I've forgotten sauce for my box of pasta. The peppers I'd initially regretted buying come in handy and along with three tomatoes I make my own sauce. Cooking big pots of food is a necessary strategy.

The first two days are filled with periods of hunger. 5:30 on Tuesday seems too early to be thinking about dinner but that’s all I can think about it. I race home from work to fix a chicken breast, broccoli and rice; the best and most nutritious meal in my week. I get to have it twice.

Wednesday’s the most difficult; I wake up hungry and help myself to a big bowl of Farina but realize a ‘bigger portion’ strategy isn’t the answer. It’ll fill me up now but I’m afraid if I eat too much I will run out of my allotted food before the end of the week.

I count the slices of bread in my loaf and discover there are a few extra slices– which means one day I can have two sandwiches! I decide today is that day and bring two PB&J sandwiches to work for lunch.

It's clear food has been on my mind more than usual this week. I think when you have a limited budget and fewer choices; you’re forced to do more thinking and planning around meals. I’m so very conscious, too, of all the things I have to forego. I can’t just grab a coffee or go to dinner with friends. I feel a bit isolated. Not having enough money for food affects not just your mood and health, but also your social life.

Thursday is the first morning I don’t wake up hungry. I think my body may be getting used to less food. Still, I’m afraid I’ll get hungry so I eat a bowl of Farina anyway. I get through the day fine but decide against going to the gym after work. How do parents, who may skip meals so their kids can eat, find the energy they need to shop, cook, and care for the kids?

Coffee may be a luxury, but I’m glad I bought some. If my calorie count this week is low, my morning cup of joe helps make up for it and keeps me going.

A weekend out of city limits proves a bit tricky. Not only do I have to bring food, I can't share it! “Sorry honey, can’t offer you any,” is what I keep saying.

Sounds selfish, right? But my food supply is limited, and this last chicken breast is what I’ve set aside and planned for my dinner tonight. It’s all I have. On Sunday rushing to catch an afternoon train back to the city leaves me no time to make a sandwich, and so I have to go without lunch. Ugh!

Definitely knowing that this challenge is only for a week has been helpful in getting me through it. I’m grateful for the new insight and lesson in empathy. At times I realize it’s difficult to avoid hunger, to afford nutritious food. I certainly won’t look at the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables in the same way.

Next week I can go back to more options and more food. But for millions of Americans across the country this challenge is real. week in and week out.

One in four families - according to the Food Research and Action Center - worry about having enough money to feed themselves and their families. And for those who may get the help of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps, it still may not be enough to buy the minimum amount of food the United States Department of Agriculture says people need to survive.

What I ate this week

Breakfast: Farina, two espressos
Lunch: PB&J, one apple
Dinner: Black beans & rice (made with: one pepper, two tomatoes), tap water to drink.
Dessert: Small bowl of leftover rice with packet of Splenda sprinkled on top

Breakfast: Farina, two espressos
Lunch: Salad (made with: spinach, two tomatoes, 1/2 yellow pepper, one can of tuna)
Dinner: Chicken breast, broccoli and rice, tap water to drink

Breakfast: Farina, two espressos
Lunch: Two PB&J sandwiches
Dinner: Pasta (made with: two peppers, three tomatoes) - two helpings, tap water to drink

Breakfast: Farina, two espressos
Mid-morning snack: two apples cut up
Lunch: PB&J, apple
Dinner: Black beans & rice - two bowls, tap water to drink

Breakfast: Farina, two espressos
Snack: Two cut up apples
Lunch: Salad (spinach, two tomatoes, one pepper, small floret broccoli, one can tuna)
Dinner: Pasta - two helpings, tap water to drink

Breakfast: Farina, one espresso
Lunch: PB&J, bowl of applesauce (made with three apples)
Dinner: Chicken breast, broccoli and rice, tap water to drink

Breakfast: Farina, one espresso
Dinner: Black beans & rice, tap water to drink
Dessert: One apple

Previously: Could you live on $30 a week? | Witnesses to Hunger: A portrait of food insecurity in America | Childhood malnutrition has long lasting effects

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Filed under: Food Politics • Hunger • News

soundoff (1,201 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    I makes me kind of sad to see that most of the comments are from prejudiced people who think those on food stamps are fat, lazy and abusing the system. I receive food stamps and am not at all fat and lazy. I have recently become a single mom, who goes to school full time to give my kids a better life. I also work a part-time job. I get very little child support so food stamps help a lot. You will very rarely see junk food or soda in my grocery cart. I buy things on sale and in bulk. It is hard to feed a family healthy foods on so little but plenty of people do it. I resent people thinking that I am just using the system to get free food, or that I must feed my kids junk food if we use foodstamps. We do what we have to do in order to meet the needs of our families. Shame on those people who are prejudiced, I'd like to see you walk a mile in my footsteps before you pass judgment. For those people who think the food choices should be restricted, lets see how they feel if they had restricted food choices. It's not about telling people what to do, it's about teaching them to be economical and make better choices. How dare you judge me if I choose to every now and then treat my kids to something sweet. They make a lot of sacrifices too. Don't they deserve the same things as your children.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • FoolKiller

      I didn’t have kids until I was old enough and secure enough to provide for them. As a result, I’ll probably not live long enough to see my grandchildren. But I’m certain they won’t ever go hungry, because I’ve taught my kids better than to marry someone like you.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
      • commander caffeine

        So, you trained them to be gold diggers then?

        September 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • Jared

        Really? The poster sounds one of the wiser and more level headed people. She is simply in a rough spot. I'd want my children to pursue someone like her, at least based on the limited information at hand. When I married my wife she was in a much worse position in life than I was. If I had judged her on her situation I would have missed out on the love of a very wonderful woman.

        September 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • Jen

        Can't you read? Did she say she was a young single mother? No, she said she's a newly single mother. Aka divorced or separated. For all you know she's in her 40's, her husband left her, and her kids are teenagers.

        September 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
      • Frugal Hausfrau

        I believe if you reread her post, she said she just became a single mom and gets very little child support. Did you practice abstinence until you were financially secure enough to have children, or were you just lucky. You know, even birth control is not 100 percent effective. If you can say yes to the abstinence, then I might not totally write off anything else you say. And perhaps lucky to, in other areas; your spouse didn't leave,'s ridicoulous to judge everyone by your standards.

        September 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
      • Louise

        I hope that statement does does not come back to bite you. We can train our children but if they are healthy they will make their own choices.

        October 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • A

      You should have spread your wings before you spread your legs. Sorry, no pity here.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
      • cootie pie

        Hope that aspirin between your legs hasn't gone stale and stinking.

        September 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • commander caffeine

      The people you are referring to are probably so conservative, they'd rather see their hard earned tax dollars go towards supporting their church organizations and continuing wars that never should have been started. Years and years ago I was in your shoes, but with no assistance because my 2 part time jobs I needed to pay for college put me over the threshold for a single person. I ate a lot of humble pie in those days and rice, lots of rice. To this day I still say there is nothing wrong with dumpster diving behind grocery stores and such for good eats. Working as kitchen help in an okay restaurant was sweet too.

      September 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • CF

      Sounds like you're making the best out of a bad situation by going to school and working part-time. Good for you! Keep it up.

      September 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Molly

      "They make a lot of sacrifices too. Don't they deserve the same things as your children."

      The problem on government assistance get more than my kids. My kids only get candy bars when on sale and free with a coupon(or pretty darn close to free). They don't have cable, they don't have video games, or kindles, or ipads, or cell phones.
      People need to prioritize...FOOD FIRST......cable last.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  2. lefty avenger

    American will be great again. When the republicans win in 2012 and bogus president Obummer loses. WORKFARE will begin and replace the terminated welfare. All these people who are not looking for job and have never worked will be put into the fields and quarries and will be taught the meaning of hard work or they will starve. We are sick of being forced to take care of lazy americans.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • cootie pie

      I guess Regun's trickle down policy didn't trickle enough and Dubya still needed to work out the kinks on his enslave the middle class policies, his mentor, Putin, didn't have all the answers at the time. Cheney was right, they should have worked the Chinese model to control those danged liberals..

      September 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  3. Heidi

    You are doing 30 for one try 50 for 4. It can be done... not pleasantly but can be done

    September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  4. ron

    irronically I started budget cutting during the same time this article ran and found myself during the exact same thing living on $30 a week for food. the only difference was I had some things in bulk like oatmeal ,rice and bottled water. I only needed to buy a meat and vegatble. whatever I cook on Sunday I eat the entilre week for lunch and dinner. I believe we often take for granted the many options and benefits that we enjoy that others may not have access to. this is a real eye oepner. Ionce you identify the difference between a want and need the choices become a lot easier. Many americans don't have the option there's is always a need when you don't have much.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Whimpey

      bottled water? why when you could use a filter for much cheaper. bottled water costs a fortune.

      September 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  5. WorkingHard

    Let's be realistic for a minute... It is clear the the author is 1) very spoiled and 2) doesn't really understand the actual day to day living of folks that really have the need to use food stamps for their families. First of all, when you are jobless, concerned about feeding your family and trying on a daily basis to get a job and make ends meet, your concern of trivial things like not being able to go to an over-priced restaurant with friends becomes insignificant at best. Actually, most likely, people in real need for food stamps live in impoverished neighborhoods and probably don't have many of their friends venturing to have dinner out as a means of social entertainment on a daily basis. It is also fair to say that if you don't have enough money, you should not be venturing out of the city for the weekend.

    In order to get the REAL perspective for what it is like to live with $30 a week, you need to understand that most people in need of food stamps have a very different lifestyle from a CNN producer. You should not expect to survive on $30 a week and continue to have the same luxuries and lifestyle of someone at this level, clearly you will have to forego Starbuck. But that doesn't mean that you will starve, with good food choices you will still be able to have 3 healthy meals a day and probably even share your BIG pot of bean soup if a friend came over for dinner.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  6. student

    I'm glad to hear that so many people are fiscal in their spending, and I would like to think that as a student on food stamps in Michigan I do a good job at buying local, nutritious food and my $200 a month pays for my fiance and I. I know that food stamps are abused, but I need people to see that it is necessary, even if it needs restructuring. I work 2 jobs, go to school full time, and pay all my own bills for water, heat, and electricity, and as a student, internet at home is crucial. But I can't get help from my parent's factory jobs that keep getting laid off, and I have to pay $356 dollars a credit to go to a public university and this is just the end of my undergrad. If I want to buy a soda pop to get through the day I don't feel like I should be looked down on. Also, poor people-excuse my stereotype-I'm generalizing according to my own experience- don't usually get taught the skills on being fiscal with money, they don't know how to make a meal last a week, or how to prepare food in general. (School doesn't teach it, at least, not the poorly funded and intercity ones). So they buy junk food that can be microwaved. Many don't go to school systems that teach them about how to plan their families (my sex ed in school said that if I did it, I would end up in jail). Maybe also, we should make wages livable for students. $7.40 an hour barely pays my $350 dollar rent, then gas, then electric, then water. My solution: Improve education for everyone. Lower the cost of going for a higher education. Student's often expect that they can live the American Dream like their parents, but it's not possible when wages have been stagnant since the 70s and the standard of living keeps getting higher-but since their parents could do it, we should be able to. And after all the costs we have to put in to not be poor (loans) of course the system will be abused, most of them feel like it's the least they deserve.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Kate

      You could use a bit of historical perspective. Minimum wage in the '70s was about $1.75/hr. Other hourly jobs which required more skill paid $5 – 8/hr. Wages haven't been stagnant. Education is already highly subsidized, and you will appreciate your schooling more because you had to work so hard. Higher education doesn't necessarily guarantee you will never have to be concerned about money anymore – just ask the many who are currently "under employed". Hang in there. You seem to be a hard worker, and you will do fine as long as you don't give in to the entitlement mentality so many have developed.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  7. Scott W

    Unable to take statin drugs due to their side effects, I have been on a self-imposed diet for the past year consisting almost entirely of high fiber cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, homemade bean and vegetable soups for lunch, and grilled chicken/grilled vegetables and salad for dinner. For evening dessert I treat myself to a piece of fresh fruit with some unsweetened non-fat yogurt. I have eliminated all bread, pasta, rice, sugar and potatoes from my diet. I still have my coffee in the morning and evening. Not only can this be done for under $30 per week, my cholesterol has gone from 234 to 167 and my weight has dropped from 167 to 147; both of these changes in the first 12 weeks. The only downsides are boring meals and having to buy new pants and belts. I'm not saying everyone would have the same results however it can be done for under $30/week and their are obviously health benefits to be had as well.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Karen S

      Just want to tell Scott W that I have read and reread his posting several times over the past year. I too have high cholesterol. Haven't mastered his plan yet but am on my way. Thanks for sharing! (And thanks also to Richard and his menu list I discovered just today.)

      January 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  8. Susan in AZ

    CHALLENGE to the reporter: Not only can I show you how to eat well (NOT extravagantly) on that $30 a week, but to plan ahead and have meals on hand for busy-day dinner or brown-bag lunches. I actually COOK – and that is part of the problem for the whiners. You need to learn HOW to shop, plan menus and build on non-perishable pantry items you find on sale. My email is in your files. Contact me, come to AZ and walk some store aisles with a pencil and paper.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  9. *points to crotch*

    Most of these comments are the whine that goes along with the gubment cheese. Classy.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Elizabeth

    I spent $17 this week not including breakfast. I went to a really cheap grocer in quincy. I got grapes, plums, peaches and bananas for my snacks, yogurt for my lunch, and eggs for dinner (3/day hard boiled). If I got cereal it would have been about another $5 but the box lasts me about 3 weeks. Granted that was only for my 'work' food, so 5 days. But would have been under $30 even if I bought another box of eggs, 2 more yogurts (99c each) and a bit more fruit. Although others would be bored by the same food, I really don't mind. And its all healthy, which is why I bought it.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Susan in AZ

      You are a true "Great Shopper". Without coupons (which are good too !) I am tired of these whiners, but they are unable to think beyond a little rigid box. Notice they didn't mention MILK? Basic bread? What was in season or on sale? Manager's Discounts? Just make sure you get that expensive

      September 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
      • chaffer26

        Susan, you do make a good point. However, not everyone can do the regular types of foods. I for one, cannot do regular milk, so I have to pay more for either Soy, Rice or Almond milk. It also seems that for a lot of people, buying the prepacked stuff is cheaper. My supermarkets charge an obscene amount for fruits/veg, in and out of season.

        September 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  11. Leon

    "$30 dollars a week, luxury! When I was a young boy, we got up at midnight, a half and hour before we went to bed, swept out the cardboard refrigirator box we lived in, ate dead roaches for breakfast, got beat up by our parents and then went out rat hunting for lunch. Try telling that to the youth today, they won't believe you. [with apologies to Monty Python].

    September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Descartes

      Win! Betcha also walked to school, uphill in the snow, both ways. Thanks for the laugh!

      September 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  12. pink

    Didn't have time to read all comments since I work 12-16 hour days and have been working since I was 14 years old. Entiltlement programs will always be abused, laziness will always breed more laziness, and I see people on welfare and food stamps all the time driving Cadillacs, eating lobster, with $150 hairdos and fake nails, cable and big screen TV's. How do I see it, because I am also a Landlord in addition to my regular job. I am not a slum load because my houses have all been remodeled by my own sweat equity and are really, really NICE. Even my tenants comment on how nice my properties are for the rent I charge. And I refuse to take Section 8 tenants. Get a job and pay your own rent. But even when my tenants get behind on rent, they still can buy liquor, own several pets, make their car payment, have parties every weekend, and would never ever consider giving up cable. I don't even have cable TV or a big screen TV because I can't afford it. We have raised a generation of spoiled brats who think the government should take care of them so they don't have to work and can stay home and watch 128 cable channels on their TV all day while their kids run around outside with NO SUPERVISION and terrorize the neighborhood. If I sound fed up with abuse of the system, it is because I AM FED UP. There should be severe, severe resttrictions put on food stamps so that the type of food allowed is only nutritious food not junk food to eat while you sit on your butt watching TV all day.
    Plus the comments from people who actually work for a living at $12-$15 an hour, and pay their own rent, are so right, people on food stamps eat way better than normal working folk. Something just IS NOT RIGHT about this whole system.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Melissa

      Ah... such a hard and honest worker that you are using your work time to post a load of crap that nobody wants to read.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
      • lefty avenger

        Sorry Melissa, I agree with Pink. Free Handouts have lead to all out total laziness. It's right in front of us all the time and the ultra liberal wealthy manhattanites who don't have these section 8 people want to criticize us for what we think. Sorry beyond manhattan is a hoard of welfare people, making the rest of us wonder why they have a free ride and we have to kill ourselves to make ends meet. END WELFARE AND START THE WORKFARE!!!!!!!

        September 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Melissa

      Just curious, but do you often masturbate in public forums? Or is this just our lucky day?

      September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Theresa

      I absolutely agree! i work 70 hours a week at two jobs and dont nearly spend as much on food because i can't....while lazy pieces of crap sit around a lie and crap and get like 800 a month in food stamps...i am so sick of this too. They are even going to college while they sit on welfare for 15 years its bull crap. I have to work and go to school...must be nice. And I could make 800 for food last like four months! they need to just be forced to use coupons and spend time on that instead of getting food stamps, it will give them something to freaking do!

      September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • lefty avenger

      God I wish you were the Landlord with the properties around my property. We have luxury condo lofts(and the small house we live in). We are all surrounded by Hoardes of african american section 8 dwellers who never try to get a job. We bust our behinds to make ends meet and these people sit there year after year reproducing without a job. Their pants fall down and they throw garage. All the Liberal Obama supporters want to protect and coddle these people. They are lazy lazy lazy lazy!

      September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
      • MCH2011

        Lefty avenger – maybe the people in your vicinity are all african american section 8 dwellers, but the majority of welfare recipients are not african americans – they are white. Comments like yours are why stereotypes persist and are a big reason why many of these conversations deteriorate into race-based arguments. Your comment makes me inclined to label you as racist, but I won't go there. I just wanted to point out something for you to consider and maybe in the future you won't imply that race is the prevailing characteristic of a section-8 deweller.

        September 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
      • CB123

        I fail to see how Lefty implied that race is a prevailing characteristic of all Section 8 participants... (S)he was simply making an observation about the people in his/her neighborhood, which included plenty of other generalizations aside from race. When the word "racist" gets thrown around like this, you deplete your argument.

        September 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • MCH2011

      I agree with your points!!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Red Republicans

      Want to know why republicans wear red? Because they are pinko commies who want it all for them and none for everyone else. Don't tax me, give me my roads and bridges for free. Don't regulate me and my ponzi schemes, I need to make a fast buck. We don't need all this government getting into our business, even if it is immoral and harmful to current and future generations. The only green you understand is the devalued dollar and what it can buy at the hundred dollar club.

      September 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • qwerty

      Where do you live that you are surrounded by lobster eating, Cadillac driving welfare recipients? I've lived in NY, CA & now TX and have never seen people like that. I keep reading about these poor people living high on the hog but have never actually seen it myself.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • fink@pink

      A possible fix would be to get the feds to rewrite the regs on foodstamps. What a recepient can and can not buy. Then companies could write software that screens purchases. Sure a cost to business but I'm betting that the long term increase in health benefits and costs would greatly out weigh that.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  13. AmpleHarvest

    You can get FREE food, including fresh fruits and vegetables and your local food pantry. Use the website or iphone & android apps to find a food pantry near you. Also use the site to find places where you can donate your own excess garden produce.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • *points to crotch*

      if someone has an iPhone, perhaps they should sell it to buy their food instead of going to a food pantry. Food pantries are intended for those whom are truly at rock bottom, not people who have acres of free time to play on their iPhones. jesus.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Kirsten

      I think your comment is wonderful to help people find pantries, but I did think it was kind of humerous that you would have an iphone with apps if you cannot afford food. :) I am not ripping on you, it is funny because someone really would have a smartphone with internet and not buy food.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Linn54

    My fiance and I have a grocery bill of $40 dollars a week quite often. Not because we have to though, we could afford a lot more. But I plan out every meal for the week, and buy exactly the items we need. I grow a lot of our veggies and herbs, and I have a greenhouse for growing all year (I realize most people don't have one). I think living on $30 a week is definitely possible, but the key would be planning out meals ahead of time (including breakfast & lunch). Account for snacks (a box of granola bars, generic brand, is good for at least one week of snacks). Also never waste anything! Have extras you can't eat right away? Right into the freezer! Learn how to properly freeze fresh veggies and never waste those either. Learning to incorporate what you have into your recipes helps a lot too. With something cheap like oatmeal, you can mix so many things into it to make some really cheap, but extremely yummy meals!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  15. Marie

    There was a large number of people (41%) that voted "I don't have to, but I could". From experience I can tell you that yes you can! However, I have an issue with that statement: I was one of those people that thought "I don't have to , but I could" and I can and I do and with a 8 year old son. It's about Quality of can survive on $30 a week but you can you have a decent quality of life on $30/wk. Stress will kill you, and as mentioned in the report; you drop one jar of sauce and you have to figure something else out sometimes you just can't figure out sometimes. I was comfortable, I made great money, bought a home for my son and I. Very little debt. I lost my job. I haven't been with out a job since I was 15 and I am 33. I applied everywhere, I market myself, I had 2 interviews in 2 years time. I applied for Food Stamps. This grocery support and unemployment my unemployment did NOT help me live it helped me SURVIVE. I am working as a temp, every now and then I kinda feel myself slipping back into a more comfortable place, like I actually feel like myself again somewhat and I am thankful, so thankful to have a full time job even though I am working on a temp status I am happy to have the means to somewhat function in a more "normal" state of mind and life. I am truly losing faith in my country. This economic crisis we are in is literally killing people and we have a bunch of idiots in positions of authority that just want to hear them selves talk no matter that they sound like complete idiots. We have these lawmakers and politicians sending pictures of themselves naked, cheating left and right. Maybe if they kept it in their pants and actually used their brains...well nevermind that. Honestly though, where did moral and values go?

    September 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • *points to crotch*

      what's with all the "dropping the sauce" statements? The sauce I buy comes in a big plastic, resealable container. I use sauce from it all month and have yet to drop it. Are your kitchen floors made of marble?

      There is such a thing as canned sauce, too. Maybe if you sauce-dropping butterfingers would learn to be less clumsy, you wouldn't be so broke.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
      • Molly

        My "buy" price for pasta sauce is $0.49 a jar. If it's not on sale and I don't have a coupon, I do without and wait for the right time.
        Sale+coupon+double+catalina= $0.49 That's called stretching your dollars.
        Pasta, always free with coupons if you wait for the right time to combine a coupon and sale.

        October 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  16. CR

    The truck stop in our area now accepts food stamps. Someone please tell me why a truck stop should accept food stamps? I feed my family of five on $150.00 a week. Its possible, you just need some basic skills.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Marie

      You don't get the point. Say someone stole $50 from you and you only had $100 to get the food you need to feed your family that week? Most likely I bet you would say that you could do it? The question is do you really WANT to? When you are on Food Stamps you have NO OPTIONS period. You lose your card, someone steals DO NOT eat.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
      • Molly

        Could I do it? Absolutely
        Do I want to do it? Yes!
        We spend about $50 or less(family of 5) a week eating healthy and being frugal. We live below our means so we can save. We don't have debt, we don't have cable, or kindles, or video games, or all the other crap.
        I love the freedom that frugality brings. I'm not a government slave and I'm not a slave to debt.

        October 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  17. Matilda

    I just started to receive food stamps and I wish I got $30 a week per person. I get $15 a week per person. Try figuring out a month worth of meals on that. Nothing can be wasted. I also live in Austin, TX, without air conditioning, so cooking anything in the oven is not an option. Can only afford charcoal to cook on the grill a few nights a month. Yeah, chicken and rice and beans are cheap, but how many times can you eat that in a month and not get sick of it? Food pantries help, but I'm getting sick of canned green beans, applesause, and peanut butter.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • AM

      The government should send individual surveys to each household asking them what each person in the house likes to eat and then have it delivered to your door you could also call their 1800 number anytime and tell them you are sick of eating something and have it removed from your list. ALL FOR FREE!!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • *points to crotch*

      Have you tried barbequed horsemeat? Filling and cheap.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  18. vcheese4life

    After working all my life & paying into the system, I find myself on foodstamps, so this article was of particular interest to me. I find it a fun challenge to feed my family of 3, healthy vegetarian – and sometimes organic – meals on just $30./wk. We have the luxury of a small box garden which yielded a surprising bounty for fresh veggies this summer. I even managed to can and freeze extra for the winter and even share with friends. Living this way is a valuable lesson. I am grateful for the food stamps and grateful that I have learned ways to extend, be moderate, and cut out some of the junk in our diets. I am concerned about folks who do not have a garden, however, and hate that some folks aren't learning the lesson that thrift in these times has imposed on our indulgent, glutonous society.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  19. Leon

    Bunch of liars; playing right into the Divide-and-Conquer plans of the corporate elite. Learn solidarity and revolt instead of one-upping each other with dead-end personal survival strategies. Shhh... the Americans are sleeping (and starving).

    September 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  20. Morbus Gravis

    if an extreme couponer can buy a $1000 of grocerys for $0. then yes with some planning and buying sale items in bulk, to build up a back supply. you could easily live on $30 a week, stock up on sale items every week when they are advertised and build up your back supply.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Frugal Hausfrau


      September 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Molly

      Double amen!
      and it doesn't have to be all crap food either.
      Not only can you get free food with coupons, you can also get paid to buy items (which helps to buy produce).
      Free cereal, free milk, dannon yogurt for $0.25 a pack, activia for $1 a pack, free juice, free carrots, cheap meat(if you buy the smallest pack...possibly free ;0)

      October 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
      • michele

        I am not an extreme couponer by any means but my family of 7 with two babies on formula live on $250 a month in groceries and not because we have to but why spend more when you don't have to? We also have very little processed food and lots of fruits and veggies. Personally i think they should offer frugal shopping/coupon classes to people who get food stamps.

        October 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  21. Darrell

    I am curious about the $30/week or $120/month. My sister, her husband, and four of their five children receive $1,100 per month from SNAP. That is another story about fraud. My wife and I work, grow a great deal of our own food and raise chickens & eggs. Our family's monthly food bill (family of four) is approximately $400 and we eat well. What bothers me is this article and the system as a whole. Many times we are behind individuals who purchase buggy loads of the best meats, vegetables,and other foods/drinks and pay for it with government assistance. You may say that I have a slanted view but enough is enough. We work hard for our money and hate to see it wasted on individuals that make a living off of government assistance. It is time to take responsibility and provide for yourself!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • jeff

      You can not raise chickens if you live in a city.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
      • qwerty

        Actually you can raise chickens in the city. It's not against the law. You can't have roosters, but you can have chickens.

        September 29, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Kitty

      I agree with you 100%!!! The "poor mouths" on welfare (living off the rest of us) buy junk food, convenience food, and the best meats! What's wrong with making a pot of bean soup, vegetable soup, chili, etc. and eating it a couple days a week? Skip buying the expensive candy, chips, dips, etc. Learn to make better food choices and eat heallthier! It IS possible! When you don't work for your money, don't expect the rest of us to take up the slack! Some people on assistance never intend to work!!! Enough is enought! Quit whining and get a job! Collect cans if you have to! Quit sucking the workers DRY! It's not OUR fault you have a bunch of kids!!! YOU made them!!! Now take care of them!!!

      September 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  22. Nick

    We tried to do the same thing but for a month. We (myself and two friends) tracked our progress on a blog – (now defunct). We gave ourselves $100 for 1 month. We put a lot of research into it which included trips to all major grocery stores, creating a giant spread sheet of major food items and comparing them. Aldi and Meijer had the best deals and we were surprised that Walmart wasn't really that low on prices. We didn't use many coupons which would have helped and bought nearly all store brands. Using $100 to buy upfront and with bigger supplies made it not too difficult to do. However, we stopped about 3 weeks in after the abuse we received on our blog branding us as rich kids goofing around while people had to do this for their life. It was a great experiment and I wished I would have continued. There are so many resources out there to stretch your budget and we didn't even touch on gardening. People relay too much on packaged food and really can stretch their dollar and be creative. However, it takes time, planning and willpower. I worked few hours back then and now would struggle to put that much time into it. I can see where it would be extremely difficult for a working family to get the same results we did.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  23. Leon

    We need a democratic socialist revolution in this country before it's too late.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • AS

      We already had one in 2008. That's why our economy is in such a mess.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
      • Red Republicans

        Yep, too bad it came eight years too late.

        September 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  24. scott

    People just need to reproduce less and get a job.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Welfarerecipient

      Boy did you hit the nail on the head! Why would someone want to bring a child or "10 children" – been there – (above)? If you can't support yourself why be irresponsible and abusive by bring more into your family? You see that's what condoms, and other birth control methods are for. But why don't people use them? Why is it when a mom boards a bus she has 2-5 (yes ive seen 7 actually) with multiple stroolers, never a father, and the ages are so close together ages 1,2,3,4 etc. I think its abusive and I think you should show financial capacity to have children. The SPCA has more requirements to adopt an animal than our society has for having children – arguably the biggest responsibility in a person't life. Yet what do we see – endless single mothers with many many more children than she could handle even if she earned $70000 a year. 8 children, ten children – what's going on here. Its been going on for decades and its called welfare mothers. She foodstamps and all other welfare programs are based on size of the household WITHOUT A FATHER. So the incentive exists to have more. The mothers are not going out of their way to be responsible I can tell you that. They are staying pregnant. They will deal with the extra children on a minimum providing basis. After her cigarettes, or whatever – if you know what I mean. Well I mean heroin – I can't tell you how many single mothers I see on the buses, with children in tow, Jonesing or however you say it, nodding our out almost falling over, while sitting down mind you, with a child in her lap, and another or mroe around her. They tug on her arm – Mommy wake up! Ive seen it too too tooooooooo many times and it make me sick.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  25. Bill

    "Dessert: Small bowl of leftover rice with packet of Splenda sprinkled on top"

    This made me giggle. Are we in the 2300AD Chrono Trigger style or what?

    HP/MP restored! But you're still hungry...

    September 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • KAS

      Epic win. I approve. ;)

      September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bill

      lol I wasn't sure if anyone would get it.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  26. ERumm

    My family of 4, (a 2 year old, 4 year old, my husband and I) live off of roughly $300 a month for groceries...its not a happy or easy time. Luckilly I am talented at making a potato feed a famliy for a meal. However, not a week goes by that I don't worry about the price of food or if I can afford a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread to feed my children. (That is actually nutritious and not just filler and gunk.) Food prices are hideously rising when compared to last year. My family is lucky to live with family so close by to share meals with when things get tough, balancing finances while living on the edge of poverty is something that weighs on my mind everyday. *My husband works and I attend college full time, so we can better our lives for the future.*

    September 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  27. Lila

    Getting off processed food and eating out is difficult but to be honest I'm not a big eater and eat very close to what you are eating now. Add soup and more spices to your food, it will fill you. Also lentils can be used alone or in soup and they have more protein than black beans. Years ago my husband and I had to live on 50 dollars a week for the both of us. We got used to it but there is definitely a lifestyle change. You'll appreciate money and what you are putting into your body more. Going out for coffee and eating out to eat a lot is such a waste.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  28. Steve Makalow


    Millions of other people would love to be in that situation.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • stevesucks

      What does that mean? Are you saying that there are millions in this country that live on less than $30/week?

      September 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  29. Lila

    Getting off processed food and eating out is difficult but to be honest I'm not a big eater and eat very close to what you are eating now. Add soup and more spices to your food, it will fill you. Also lentils can be used alone or in soup and they have more protein than black beans. For a time my husband and I had to live on 50 dollars a week for the both of us. We got used to it but there is definitely a lifestyle change. You'll appreciate money and what you are putting into your body more. Going out for coffee and eating out to eat a lot is such a waste.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  30. Lin Ho

    $150 a week for a family of four plus dog, including cleaning supplies, dog food, over the counter meds, personal care items, etc. If my third child is home from school, this also covers her. So thats 5 plus dog on $150 a week.
    5lb Bag of rice ( last a month) $5, 2 10lb bags of potatoes (for the month, get one every 2 weeks) 6$, 8 loaves of day old bread $10 for the month, 8lbs of cheese for the month $48. Weekly fresh veg + fruit + milk +egg allowance $20. Cereal allowance for each week $7. Month of dog food $20. Meat allowance for each week $25. 2 large jars of peanut butter $14 for the month. 2 large jars of jam $10 for the month. I spend about $8 a month on different dried beans. Frozen food, canned food and seasonings fill out the rest of the actual food items. I would love to have $30 a week to spend per person just on food alone but my budget has to cover TP, shampoo, toothpaste, dish soap, clothes soap, allergy medicine, paper towels, vacuum bags, body soap, lotion, deodorant, rubbing alcohol, etc. along with all the stuff like seasonings that you use to make food taste good. I buy with the idea that I may need to make this last a few weeks or more. My husband and I work full-time. When I say allowance, what I mean is that is my limit to spend. I don't always use up my weekly limits because sometimes there isn't anything worth buying or we didn't use it up from the week or month before. Adding up what I just spend on food for my family for the week, even adding things like sugar, butter and seasonings, oils, crackers and snacks and I come out with $95 a week. Add another $5 for the dog and I get $100 a week. Its the non-edibles that wipe me out plus this week when I went shopping, I spent $120 on the same food shopping list that normally would cost me $95 so I'm going to have to re-adjust for the inflation that the government says isn't happening. My guess is that what is happening is that you are buying the smaller sizes. The one or two pound bag of rice instead of the 5 pound, a few potatoes instead of the 10lb bag, same with the beans. So you don't have the opportunity to build up your pantry.
    A student friend of mine does it this way. Weekly fruit $2 ( bag of apples and bananas or oranges from the dollar store). 2lbs of pasta $2., 2 cans of pasta sauce $2. Weekly fresh veg $4. 2qt of milk $2. 3lbs of hamburger 9$ or 14 chicken legs. 2lbs of rice $2. 3 boxes of cereal $3. small jar of peanut butter $1, small jar of jelly $1, 2 loaves of day old whole wheat bread $2. Cookies 99c, crackers 99c. Of course that comes to $30, she shops mainly at the dollar store or the 99c store and thats meat when its not on sale. She says its easier to budget for it not being on sale then for hoping that it is. Breakfast = cereal + milk + fruit. Snack =crackers + peanut butter, lunch = 2 p&j sandwich + fruit+ cookies, dinner = meat +rice or pasta +veggies.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  31. ked

    I think I could do it if I had 2-3 weeks of the funds up front so I could buy a larger variety of items in bulk to use over the 2-3 week period. It would be tough though. I"m used to buying lunch everyday.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  32. Sarah B

    Dont title this article "food stamp" budget... I know several people on food stamps and they are all eating better than my family that has 2 working adults because they get $600 a month for food stamps for a family of 5 where 3 are children that go to school every day and get free hot lunch. The mom is choosing not to go back to work because if she did they would lose this $600 a month luxury that allows them to eat steaks and buy soda and oh yeah don't forget that several resturants accept the food card now too like subway and papa murphys. I know another family of 2 that gets $240 a month for food stamps and she jokes that there is no way she spends this much on groceries but it's free so why not take advantage of it. And someone else who lives at her parent's house with her 2 children and still gets $350 a month for food stamps and chooses not to work.
    My parents raised 5 children on a 1 person working income and they did not qualify for assistance. My mother cooked a lot of casseroles with ground turkey (cause they couldn't afford beef) and soups because she could feed us all for cheap. There are people out there that could use the help but dont' get it because of these low life deadbeats who choose to sit on their ass all day at home and not out and get a job because they don't want to loose their free assistance.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • S

      Sad but true! People take advantage of the system, and go on with their days like nothing happened! The fact that some restaurants accept the card is beyond unbeliveable. I wish I could get $300/month just because!

      Same is with people who collect disability (but have a dog-sitting job) because they got someone to write that they are disabled....But that is for a different story.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  33. Alyssa

    thank you Aaron for your perspective. It seems your perspective is shared by so many on the board today including myself. I can only base my opinions on my experience but given what I see – all too often – the selling of food stamps, the purchase of high end food products like steaks and lobster, the purchase of food and then whipping out $$ for alcohol and cigs....I've seen it too many times to discount it in my own mind. There are those who are truly in need and those who abuse the system. It's time it got cleaned up. I feel badly for the children of these families. They don't know any better and it just becomes a generational rut.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  34. Brittany

    I am on food stamps at the moment and live on less than the $30 a week. When ALL of your food is from that source, it is incredibly difficult to eat healthily. When so many of the cheaper options are horrible for you, you really have to think about every purchase. By shopping at the cheapest grocery stores and only buying what I really need, I've made it work and I'm so grateful of the state for giving me this benefit. I couldn't even imagine having to feed a family on the amount that is provided to families. I am a student and I have a job, so it gets on my nerves when people discriminate against people on the food stamp program. Many of the people on these programs are hard working people. And if they are not, many times they are parents. Should their children pay the price of their parents faults by not being able to eat?

    Also people saying "oh I see black people with expensive things all the time". First, that's one of the more racist comments I've heard in a while. Also, the reason for this is often times our society. Music, advertisements, everything that is targeted toward the lower class always push for people to buy those status symbols. It's putting the idea in their head that if they work hard and get money to spend on these things, they will have made it. People will no longer look down on them, because they have those status symbols. Not everyone understands that this isn't the case. Instead of targeting the people who are a product of our society, let's change society itself.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • KAS

      There are a lot of people out there who take advantage of the system, but there are a lot who don't, too. I'm a married 25 year old mom of two young boys. My husband is a computer tech in a small local firm and I'm back in school, racking up the loan money to get my RN. I get no more in loans than I need to pay for classes and books, my husband makes $.25 above minimum wage working over 40 hours a week, and we have no health insurance.
      We are on WIC, Medicaid, and SNAP benefits.
      Because our boys are young and growing we make the most of our benefits. Coupons and sales can be applied to SNAP purchases. A handful of change a week can purchase a paper a day; that extra bit pays off by allowing us more to spend on our SNAP benefits. We purchase from the farmer's market when able, thanks to a program set up through the county that allows us to spend SNAP benefits there. When we purchase ingredients instead of boxed things, we can easily afford to make things like bread and even occasional treats like brownies or cakes if there's a birthday or special occasion coming up. We shop at Aldi's when we have no coupons with us, or no coupons for things that we need. We ensure that if we need something WIC can provide (like peanut butter, milk, beans, or fresh fruits/veggies), we spend that first – SNAP doesn't get used until we've run out of WIC for the month. Boxed meals like Hamburger Helper get replaced with whole wheat noodles, real cheese from WIC, milk, and spices. We buy a value meat bundle once a month from a local butcher that accepts SNAP.
      We make the assistance that we get count and we take nothing for granted. My husband and I both gave up soda (our kids aren't allowed to have any), and we make our own baked chips at home from potatoes or pita or tortillas instead of buying bags of them.
      Our meals aren't luxurious, but they are healthy, responsible, and appropriate. Our children do not go hungry because we use sales and coupons to our advantage when we're able – and every once in a while it allows us a special treat, like a candy bar. As a result, my husband and I are losing weight and our boys are both healthy, vibrant, and rambunctious.
      Please remember that while there are some destroying the system, there are others like us, who will be paying back into it in just a few short years. Please remember that you're helping my family, too, not just the ones who are blatantly abusing the system. :)
      I have library books to check out! Thanks for listening to me rant. :)

      September 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Sean

      “Music, advertisements, everything that is targeted toward the lower class always push for people to buy those status symbols. It's putting the idea in their head that if they work hard and get money to spend on these things, they will have made it.”

      This is a sad attempt at justifying poor decisions and lack of self reasonability. Society didn’t force you to spend $200 on weave last month or to buy those Jordans.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
      • Brittany

        I disagree. I think that if people are never taught any different, those are the things that they strive for. So many people don't think that it would even be possible for them to go to school or get a job being paid more than minimum wage. You can go ahead and be angry at people who are in poverty, but until you live in it, grow up in it, and have to deal with the challenges everyday, you won't understand.
        It gets to be a little frustrating with people generalizing people into categories. There are just as many white people who spend just as frivolously, or much worse. I just see it as racism.

        September 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  35. been there

    How about having ten kids plus one adult to feed, house payment, utilities (electric, gas,water,t.v, phone) all at only four hundred a month. Needless to say we usually went hungry.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Sean

      Having ten kids if your own responsibility. (or whoever had them) most middle class persons could not afford to take care of 10 kids.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Kara

      How about not having 10 kids if you can't adequately support them?

      September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Really?

      Ten kids? No one thought to stop while they could still afford things? And monthly bills included TV? Drop the cable and save a little. Give me a break.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • been there

      This was in the '50's and '60's, baby boom remember, I am the ten child, my father died from gangrene after having his foot cut off in a coal mining accident, and NO we never received food stamps.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • EGB1

      I hope this program is the first to get axed in budget cuts. If you can't afford to feed your family, don't have one (or sell your television(s) and other luxury items before going for a taxpayer handout).

      September 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • been there


      September 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  36. Phil

    I guess the program is not wrong in its intention, but here should be restrictions on the kind of food that can be bought. People shouldn't be allowed to buy soda or chips or any other junk food with their stamps since it makes them unhealthy and puts a burden on our healthcare system. Restrict junk food and reward those that buy the nutritious stuff.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  37. berne tracey

    It is a crying shame when these people come to the e register all they have in their shopping cart is pre cook food and soda they need to learn to cook the microwave is there stove . they donot want to work theyre just riding the system they need to be living in some third world country where thre is no hand out . Sometmes their are inside the grocery store trying to sell the food stamp why would you be selling it you donot need it

    September 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Crookedarm

      The real crying shame is people that post replies whose time would be better spent learning English.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  38. jmd

    if i was younger and single and had more time, $30 could do it (ramen anyone), not with a crazy full time job, and a family

    September 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • AS

      Ramen noodles have no nutritional value.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  39. Michael Martin

    Some people need and justifully have a real purpose for food stamps. I have seen many people abuse the system in order to reap the benefits from goverment aid, who dont get married and have kids out of wedlock. Then you have the occasional person who sells their EBT for exchange for cash. I would suggest the person in this story also check into whether not Hope Harvest Food Bank have any food. Some poeple really need them again and some people abuse the system. There does need to be some real changes in the welfare system.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Sean

      Having children out of wedlock is neither here nor there to the issue. This is only your own personal bias. However I do agree there needs to be changes, such as no additional benefits for single mothers OR married couples that keeps popping out kids.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  40. Joe syracuse

    Most people who have commented do not realize the challenges it takes to feed your family on a FOOD STAMP budget. To begin with we have five children and receive $330.00 a month in food stamps. If we were to spend $30.00 a week on each child, that would be a cost of $600.00 a month. That is leaving out the adults. It is true that you can plan bigger meals, but the bigger issue is nutrition and the amount of processed food. The only way to survive on a food stamp budget is to buy food that gets you through. I read one comment where someone noticed that a lady paying with food stamps bought soda over eggs. The ironic thing is when you become conditioned to watch your budget so closely, the item doesn't have value the cost does. The soda was most likely cheaper. I know in most cases I can buy a 2liter of soda for .64 to 1.25, but a dozen of medium eggs start at 1.59. Does this make sense? So complain about those who need assistance or those who take advantage of the system when you’re enjoying your boneless chicken breast or your grapefruit for breakfast, and the less fortunate are eating cheap store brand cereal filled with preservatives that not only inhibit brain development but also make obesity an issue. The issue is deeper than everyone wishes to dig.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Joe- are your from Syracuse? You must not live in NY state. In NY you'd get WAY more than 330. In NY you'd get 492ish for 2 adults/ 2 children which means you'd get more like 600-700 for your family in my state. 330 for your large family is not enough. I do agree!

      September 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
      • Joe syracuse

        no my wife works and I am in school full time for a career change.

        September 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • wtf

      And whose fault is it that you have FIVE children? If you can't feed them, then don't have them.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
      • Joe syracuse

        Well I am glad you see the obvious, but you wouldn't believe up until recently my wife and I worked over 70 hours a week each to take care of those children and things out of our control happen to put us in that situation. So your comment is almost correct. The point is people need help and hopefully that will not be you. But more importantly is that my point is that the price and type of food that can be purchased by folks of lesser means is not as available as it should be. If you have an issue let me know!!!

        September 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • hungryandoutraged

      Why the hell do you have FIVE children? Because it was your personal right? And it's our duty to help support them, yes?

      September 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • Joe syracuse

        Again stero-typing, yeah we sit home all day long cashing welfare checks smoking cigarettes, sitting on the pourch, dreaming up new ways to get more public assistance. My wife works 50 plus hours a week. we get only food stamp help. Because of a medical issue I can no longer perform my chosen career anymore. It's nice to see though that people are part of the conversation. But if we really look at what wrong with the system lets look at how the states actually pay for stores to except foods stamps 7cents on every dollar taken in. In these economic times why is this? On top of the price of food is so high even though average items per check are down. So really people see the real issue, people who live on a frugal budget have less options for the second most important thing as humans we need to survive -food.

        September 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Really?

      Buying soda over eggs? You don't see the problem because soda is cheaper? You have a bigger problem than just the need for food stamps. Someone needs to educate you on the difference between sugar and protein.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
      • Joe syracuse

        I do understand the difference, but the point I was making is: healthy food on a budget as low as some of these people are working with, is the problem. Obviously narrow minded people as most of the folks who are commenting just don't get it. For you I hope you never have to look at your options like the people who are stuggling currently are.

        September 28, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • qwerty

      5 KIDS!!!! That is ridiculous. My husband & I have 2 kids & earn over 6 figures a year. We stopped at 2 kids so we could give them a good life, pay for college, nice house etc. 5 KIDS!!!! That is just dumb dumb dumb

      September 29, 2011 at 11:59 am |
      • Joe syracuse

        what is dumb is your post! Your husband most likely doesn't like you enough to have more kids with you. We love kids and until recently we no issues we providing for them. The real issue if you read my post effects people with one child not just big families. Just because you have a computer and maybe some money in the bank obviously doesn't mean your smart.

        September 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
      • pedro

        Hahaha. Do you want me to edit the following text you put down dude? I won't, but it leaves little room to call anyone else dumb.

        "what is dumb is your post! Your husband most likely doesn't like you enough to have more kids with you. We love kids and until recently we no issues we providing for them. The real issue if you read my post effects people with one child not just big families. Just because you have a computer and maybe some money in the bank obviously doesn't mean your smart."

        BTW, we get the point of your post is about the weak nutritional value of low-priced foods. This is no doubt a relic of the WWII era food production practices. However, once you offered that you have 5 kids you can't afford, and this with your attrocious spelling and grammar, you are open game.

        November 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Molly

      Your wife works, so obviously you have some money coming in. Do you expect the government to cover 100% of your food bill?
      There are ways to cut the food bill AND other bills. Sit down and look through everything budget and make the cuts.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • pedro

      I am with you on the idea that 'generally', cheaper foods are less nutritious and it is a definite problem and source of ill health in our society. But where do you get off having 5 kids you can barely feed let alone send to college? This is a cycle that will just repeat itself now. Thanks a lot, man.

      November 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  41. Greg

    This is a program to help the "disfunctional or underprivlidged"...not a program to live for. This should not even be debate about what is enough and what isn't! This is an ERA of tight budgets and no surpluses of money anywhere if money is put aside for this then others will lose money somewhere else... Like anything else in this world. There are plenty of other programs out there that help out even more than this program this should not be the bottom line on whether people are being helped or not based on this Fed program (30 a week) thing. Just my opinion of course...

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  42. VET 5150

    I feel sorry for anyone who is forced to live on $30 a week for food. However I don.t know where they get that figure from when it comes to food stamps. My wifes loser no good for nothing lazy !@#$%^*(()_&^%^$@ lives off of the government and he and is wife get $1200 for food stamps now that is a hell of a lot more than I spend on food in a month. To top it off he complains that if he dosen't spend it all every month they will lower his monthly amount. So he throws a lot of stuff away. NO I do not take anything from that !$@^!&#(%. I guess that is a failure in the system I have tried to report him but they don't seam to care.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Patti

      no, just no. No one gets $1200 a month in food stamps unless they are gaming the system somehow. It is possible they are getting $1200 a month in combined food stamp and some kind of cash benefit/ disability, but not $1200 in food stamps. Even a family of 12 would not get that much in stamps.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  43. Trombone Doane

    $30 a week? I support my entire family of four for less than $100 each week and we do just fine. I rarely ever have to buy store brand foods, but the family does eat modest like grilled cheese sandwiches with fruit, spaghetti, or hamburger helper. I use coupons and save $10-$15 weekly plus I use the grocery store competition gimmicks twhen shopping also. Nobody in my family goes hungry, so yes I could easily survive on $30/week. Those that say they can't really just won't.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  44. Jimbo

    If a person is spending $20 a week on cigarettes, $30 a week on booze, $15 a week to drive to buy these items, owns a tv and pays for cable (min. $35/mo), bought their kids a playstation they should not get one dime. How can we regulate this, we can't....most people don't need food stamps they are just freeloaders. I said most, some may need it but we need to find out who actually does. I heard college students are getting food stamps.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Wurtsmith

      In my opinion (and I am a conservative former Food Stamp caseworker . . . .30 years on the job) there comes a time in EVERYONE'S life that you have to turn to someone for help.

      It does NOT matter what kind of social class a person is in. . .be it rich or poor, famous or not, etc.; everyone at one time or another HAS to ask for help from someone.

      That request for help could be from your family, church, friends, relatives, OR a government agency.

      As I stated above, I am conservative; I believe that if a person is ABLE to work, and work is available, then that person SHOULD work.

      Having said all the above, please consider this:

      As a nation, what should we do for a family, if for example, a male (notice I did not use the word "Man", as I believe that any fool can father a child, but it takes a MAN to be a husband and a daddy) runs off and leaves his child/children without any way of putting food on the table for them, clothes on their back, a roof over their head, and a bed to sleep in?

      I do NOT care if the taxes I pay go to help put food on the table for children and/or the elderly, or to help them with medical care. As a Food Stamp/Medicaid Intake worker, I could not stand to see a sick or hungry child come in to my office without being able to help them.

      That does not mean that people should make depending up the tax payers to support them as a way of life. There are people who of course do this, and to a large degree, government regulations have made people so dependent that work is not encouraged.

      Let me ask you this: when you get ready to retire, and start collect Social Security, where do you think that the money is going to come from? After about 3 years, you will have collected MORE than you would have ever put into the system.

      So . . . . anything after that is being paid by other workers who are paying into the system.

      I hope that you never have to get to the point that you will have to turn to others for help. You probably will (if you are like the rest of us), but hopefully you won't.

      Are there crooks and cheats, and people who would not work in a pie factory tasting pies, receiving benefits? Of course there are! But . . . . I know a lot of children who would go hungry, and without getting medical care if it was not for the working people of this country who pay the taxes!

      September 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
      • Jimbo

        I'm 29 years old, I don't plan on getting SS. I predict I will have to work until I'm 90 since all the baby boomers have made such a mess out of this country.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Jelly Bean

      I remember when I was in college I applied for food stamps. I really needed them, but for some reason just that fact that I was a college student disqualified me. I worked three part time jobs just to pay my rent, utilities, and school fees and books. I remember one time all I had to eat for two weeks was crackers and condiments. I had to beg friends for their leftovers. It was a miserable time, I survived, but it cost me. It was so much harder just to finish hw when all you can think about is how starving you are. To decide out of ignorance that just because someone is a college student all they care to use food stamps for is party food is silly.

      September 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  45. Jimbo

    If a person is spending $20 a week on cigarettes, $30 a week on booze, $15 a week to drive to buy these items, owns a tv and pays for cable (min. $35/mo), bought their kids a playstation they should not get one dime. How can we regulate this, we can't....most people don't need food stamps they are just freeloaders. I said most, some may need it but we need to find out who actually does. I heard college students are getting food stamps, wtf.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  46. Jay

    I remember being in college as an adult. I worked 40 hours aweek and barely made over 20,000 a year. I saw your traditional college students be eligible for $200 a month in food stamps automatically if they worked 20 hours of work study a week.
    All they bought was party food- your typical junk stuff. How were they to cook anything in a dorm? They get claimed as depends by their parents who are supporting them, but it was my taxes that supported their food stamps while people I know who barely got by after rent and utilities got $15 a month in food stamps. What a joke.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Reds

      Jay - i think that might have a been a different program other than regular food stamps. I was denied food stamps in college because my parents were still claiming me as a dependant, and they made too much money.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Kelly

      Not sure what state you are in, but having worked for the Department of Human Services for several years, there was never a single, able bodied person working 40 hours that would receive food stamps, they would not qualify for a single person. Also, the most a person of need could get who did not have children would be 3 months of eligibility to help them get on their feet, and even then it was barely $130 a month. There are a lot of misconceptions about who can and cannot receive food stamps, maybe some research rather than "what you've heard" would benefit you and others.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  47. Neka

    "Seeing the poor choices and wastefulness of other shoppers, though, I frequently shake my head and wonder how people so foolish make it in life."
    To Carl and the other shopping cart watchers, why are you concerned with what someone else purchases. I am not on Government Assistance and usually buy grocers weekly. We eat a lot of seafood, its not uncommon to purchase large amounts when on sale. Without a doubt each time I am in line with these items I catch somenone give me the disgusted look as if I should be buying more economical items instead. Its our money why do they care. Sorry to be so off subject but this really irritates me.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  48. Eric Baggs

    You can't buy that much food in Canada and certainly not Newfoundland for 30 bucks. Luckily you live close to where it is grown.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Heather

      I'm from Newfoundland too! Small world. And yes, everything is expensive there because it has to be shipped to a rock in the north Atlantic.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  49. Yoda


    September 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  50. Bones

    That's about $4.30 a day. I could "survive", but not for long. It would be three meals a day from McD's dollar menu, supplemented by a case of bottled water. There would be some variety, some protein, and a lot of fat & sodium. Let's stop worrying about the rest of the World's problems for a year and fix our own problems first. How did the rest of the World survive without our help between the years 1500-1900???

    September 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Jimbo

      They weren't lazy sacks of fat and grew food in gardens, fished and went hunting.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Anon

      You can't buy McDonald's with food stamps.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Jimbo

      If you were a lazy fat sack you died...simple.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • GetOverYourself

      Buy a $10 Nalgene bottle, and get water out of the tap or buy a Brita filter. Bottled water is a waste on the environment and you wallet.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
      • M.

        My last apartments water was from a well and it was so full of iron and other stuff that it stained everything orange and smelt horrible. Nothing I did made the water suitable to drink and the landlord refused to fix the problem citing she didn't have the money to fix it. Bottled water was the only option, and I felt every penny of that. Add to that a backed up septic, I'm sort of relieved that I could no longer afford the rent.

        September 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
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