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. rhonda

    i live in on an island in alaska. 30$ for a week would not go far here.

    1. it is expensive to live here. everything other than mail comes in by ferry. i can shop the three different grocery stores and the small walmart we have. i also use coupons when i can and if they are available.

    2. i know families that get help in whatever form yet smoke, have an iphone and drive a new car.

    3. we have a huge alaska native population and they get help more than the average person. free health care, food, housing etc. it is all provided by the federal government.

    4. i know families here that are working 2 jobs and provide what they can yet still are living pay check to pay check.

    i am not one to judge anyone but like i said i know families that get all they can and use the system. these are the ones that give it a bad name. i think system needs to be over hauled like so many other federal systems. for this person to make the meals one chose to could have done with tastes too. in my opinion i am not going to fix food i dont like so it gets wasted. many families here go south and do a huge shopping trip at costco or other places like that. it saves money even if you include airfair etc. we can all debate what we think is right or wrong but in my opinion for people to go without food or even basic living needs is wrong.

    November 2, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • bob devries

      Sure you are one to judge - in fact, you've done so in spades. You obviously know very little about indigenous politics or benefits in Alaska or anywhere else, and as for people on food stamps with iphones - highly unlikely, unless they had it before their troubles, were gifted with it, or it isn't an iphone at all. I've never read such cold-hearted ill informed codswallop as I've read on your post, and the many others like it on this page.

      I had to live on less than $30.00 a week for a time - it was a while ago, but the lessons I learned there about compassion, about frugality, about fear and desperation, I hope I never forget. And I hope I never have a heart of stone like so many of you all seem to value.

      November 2, 2013 at 2:39 am |
  2. Dbened

    This was not even how it really is... This writer thought it was bad but has an espresso machine (I'm assuming) and I can't afford that. I can't afford even a train ride to see friends to not share food with, and my hubby makes 200.00/year too much for aid. On top if having a disabled child and mounting medical bills. We feed a family of 4 on 300.00/mo in groceries and there's no money for ANYTHING else, not even those medical bills or co-pays if someone gets sick!

    November 2, 2013 at 2:04 am |
  3. Wende

    What seems missing in this discussion is where the person lives. $30 a week can be very different in different parts of the country.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Rene

      What's missing is the understanding of what the program is design for. Smh...

      November 2, 2013 at 2:00 am |
  4. Wende

    I haven't teken the time to read all the comments, but what seems painfully obvious to me is that it depends on where you live. Where I live, in San Diego, California... food costs a lot more than other places. $30 a week would be harder here than say Fresno.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:50 am |
  5. Rene

    I honestly think the majority of people don't understand what the Food Stamp program is designed to do. It was never intended to be the only source of food for families. The name explains it- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Look up the meaning of "Supplement". It's meant to Add food. Meaning if a person has $50 a week for food, the program helps by adding $30 more. Now the person has $80.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • That Guy

      I fully understand the definition. However, I know that a lot of people making low wages (some not wanting to look elsewhere for a higher wage, or those that cannot find a higher wage due to circumstances out of their control) depend on SNAP to feed them totally, due to having to spend all of their earnings on rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation to work, ect. I am one of those that fall into this category. I cannot afford to go to any other schooling to try to get myself advanced to a higher paying job. I do work full time, and have except for 2 months since I was 16 years old (worked after school/weekends). I have 4 children. We live on a budget that does not allow room for any error. And if it were not for additional assistance from family, food banks, ect. I don't know what I would do. I got a triple hit of sorts with the cutdown. I lost the stimulus part along with another cut due to an increase in salary totaling around $120. The increase in salary though was intended to offset the increase in my health insurance, but after Uncle Sam gets his cut still left my take home pay less than I was previously getting, cutting approximately 180 total from my monthly budget. Some may snicker at this amount, but a salary of 23,000 with a family of 6 this is no trivial amount (about a 7% cut with SNAP benefits calcutated).

      November 2, 2013 at 2:20 am |
      • Shannon in Indiana

        Thank you for saying something along this line. I GREW UP in the situation you have just described, except with two less children (one being myself, the other being my younger brother). My mom works full-time at $13/hr but most of her money goes to rent and to pay for her phone minutes. I have held 2 jobs this year, the second being the one I'm currently holding. It is still no laughing matter: I'm a part-timer that gets $11/hr... yeah, that's good pay... but how many hours I get? Well, that can be as little as 6hrs and 30min a week. One work day for me, in other words. The most work days I have ever had was 5, and that was days in a row, too. My mom works more than that, granted. She has not had Food Stamps for... well over a year now, I do believe and it's a pain in the arse to afford food. And I'm not just saying that because I have difficulty affording lunch while at work, which really adds up especially if you allot yourself about $50 for TWO WEEKS to get lunch from your place of work. I would have said $100, but that sounded rather far-fetched.

        November 2, 2013 at 6:54 am |
    • Stacie

      The sad part is that many times it isn't supplemental though and it does end up being the only source for food money. That last week of the month can be a killer if you don't budget right or your kid has a growth spurt and decides to eat more than usual.

      November 2, 2013 at 7:00 am |
  6. Jenn

    We have a family of four, which includes my husband, myself, our young daughter and my elderly mother who I provide full health and personal care for. We not only survive on less than $30 a week for food, but that includes for non-food essential as well. We have a $0 bal in the bank and must not only keep food on the table every week but also provide non-food essentials with a less than $30 budget each week. How do we do it? We are only able to eat once a day.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Gm

      You only eat once a day? And you have Internet?

      November 2, 2013 at 3:07 am |
  7. Private

    Wow amazed by this... some people has had it handed to them there whole life.... so they didnt need food stamps... !! I know a few people with doctorates right now rolling in the food stamps due to lay offs from the obama care not going to be able to pay the hospitals to keep good doctors employed ... so wow... these are not lazy or uneducated people... nor or they black .... this is America falling apart at every corner. We as Americans, have made some bad choices when we have voted... no ones fault but our own for not doing our homework before we head to the poles folks. Get REAL. Not sure where you guys live but we have had 5 hospital close down within 3 months. Some people will now have to drive over one hour to reach medical care. If anyone knows anything about medicine .... the first hour is the golden hour... we have factorys shutting down due to cannot afford the restrictions and penaltys of the obama care, are you serious people. Food Stamps is not about peoples abilitys or education or status in society, its about what you have to do to make a living and feed your familys. Those putting down food stamps WILL BE THE NEXT TO LOSS YOUR JOBS... trust me we will all soon suffer from our mistakes. No one is above their means... at any point and time you could join the unemployed. This country is not stable, we all are standing on shady ground. Look in the mirror when your laid off and think wow... that was me trashing these people and now oh no ... I have no food in my cabinets... I am going to have to go down to that food stamp office and hang my head. Shame on all of you with a world like we are living in.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • Jen

      Where are all these hospitals closing? I know many folks in healthcare. They're all doing just fine.

      November 2, 2013 at 3:42 am |
  8. Christina L.

    Well there's a dose of compassion in this "experiment of poverty" this whole article really just emphasizes how out of touch and privileged certain people are–people who could influence policy and take action. People who create jobs and hire other people. Most of the people I know when to work their way into college was struggle with low income jobs have lived on $30 a week, including myself. We have jokes about how much you can do with package noodles or the creativity of macaroni and cheese when you can't afford milk. But this "diet "and all the shopping of this author is simply insulting. I know that someone paid for rent while you had an internship or you had the privilege of maxing out loans because someone signed for you out of college. To the rest of us, the world is very hard. The author includes the words "gym "and talks about going out of town as though these are things everyone can do when really very few people can afford those kinds of luxuries. Health is a premium. Most people on a budget know that apples are very expensive and fresh produce for spinach salads probably isn't on the shopping list–especially when they have kids or have to make sure that they have food that won't expire. Their geography is built around coffee that doesn't cost more than a dollar and meals that cost just about the same as that espresso that accompanied the Farina. Riding the subway, look around at the people who are feeding $.25 bags of cheese doodles to their two-year-olds because those people can't afford spinach salads. Those people are getting by, barely, but it's not about being burdened by not going out on the town with their friends or tired because they have children. Every day is difficult–not just for the down and out on aid, but for all who have to think about money more than we have to think about what we want out of our lives. And just about everyone of them has some very hard earned integrity and wisdom that is overlooked the pampered classes.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Wade Long

      Very well said. You should have written the article. or rather someone with a clue outside of New York or DC, ffs. It isn't necessarily easy, but you get used to doing what you have to do. You spend a lot of time at the library, park, church outings because they are free and you make the best of it and because others there are like you. You spend A LOT of time at home with the heat on low or off and you wear extra clothes or got a blanket on the couch. It's not bragging or something you talk about it's just natural. You make food en masse and eat leftovers and no one, even the kids throw food in the trash. You eat it all. Desert is a luxury, water is the beverage and you're always griping about turning the lights off. The person that wrote this article is a reflection of the policy makers, yet worse because this is the reference the policy makers use. When in reality, they should visit us or simply, read the comment section. Blessings to you Christina L. You get it, you're one of us. Take care.

      November 2, 2013 at 2:05 am |
  9. Just Did It

    I am just saying I just did this this week. I don't have food stamps but I am a broke college student. I was able to buy a bag of chips, 2 cans of salsa (chi chi's), pita bread (chi chi) , tyson's chicken frozen, a box of fruit snacks, (4) tomatoes, (3) bagels and (2) peppers, a bag of carrots, a case of water, and 2 flavored waters. Without one coupon which I got while I was in the store I spent 33 dollars. With the coupon came down to 26. Now ideally I would not want to eat one meal option each day but I also could mix and match and create different meals. Also, realistically I could do without the case of water and drink tap. I probably could even give up the fruit snacks.I probably could have even saved more if I had more coupons. Also, I expect this to last me 3 weeks not 1. Bottom line it's doable just not preferable.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:33 am |
  10. Kate Rooney

    I just started getting SNAP a couple of months ago. I am on Social Security of under $700 a month, so the benefits are very helpful. I buy things on sale, shop at the local Aldi's (a discount grocery). It's a learning curve for me, but I am managing. I buy things like chicken or whatever meat is on sale and freeze it at the beginning of the month. I usually buy one or two "special treat" type things too and freeze them to use at the end of the month. A typical dinner might be scrambled eggs, with ham and cheese; or perogies and ham steak. If you shop carefully and watch sales, it is doable. I also try to get something for the local food pantry because I know there are people who are far worse off than I am.

    November 2, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  11. Tabitha

    I am a mother of six on food stamps i work but my income still allows me to receive food stamps i have become accustom to bulk shopping you have to eat the same thing several times in a month but it is possible to live off the amount they supply for you meat deals at a meat market help out i get meat deals and i get a beef and pork one then get some chicken on the side and i have enough to cook fresh dinner every night of the week i get several loafs of bread from a bread retailer the stuff that is about to be past their sale by date is always on sale and you can freeze bread and when you thaw it it is like its fresh i go to a bulk store sams in my case and buy my can goods for sides for dinner also my rice potatos and pastas i buy generic brand everything the knock off is just as good as the name brand on most things i dont use coupons cause i dont have time for that with my children i purchase cheap bag cereal for breakfast also we do cereal bars also by snacks for kids in bulk the method for shopping i have put in place my kids are never without and they still have snacks i may have to go several places to get things but i am able to feed my family and not have to struggle

    November 2, 2013 at 1:26 am |
  12. rodion raskolnikov

    i had to live on about $30 a week for a few months for college. [granted it could be a little more, or a little less..depending on previous week's savings, or just being a spending saved money] it was generally fine for me, because i'm a simple eater. all water for drinks, minus tea [i could buy one large bag a month and reuse bags] eat peanut butter and jelly cracker sandwiches...or ketchup on crackers. one bag of pretzels would last me for a week in snacks [still use that] and then lots of lipton soups. lastly, i would buy miniature 1 dollar pizzas as a main meal...or maybe a box of garlic bread..something hot. i have a bit more money at my disposal, but i eat similarly...just spending a little more to buy apples and fruits...and to buy a subway sandwhich. $50 is a good budget for food that allows me to eat with comfort

    November 2, 2013 at 1:24 am |
  13. Chiona

    It can be done if you make time to work at your list and make smart choices! Nothing wrong with leftovers, we don't eat on 30 a week and we eat leftovers!

    November 2, 2013 at 1:23 am |
  14. i_know_everything

    30$ a week for food is a lot of money

    November 2, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • sarryonasdad

      exactly. 30 bucks a week for food IS a lot of money. My family and I live off 30 per week at the MOST. And it doesn't look like any of the crap above. The food above however looks NOTHING like most of the people I see using their EBT card at the ATM and then going through the line with their Junk food and Hair dye. Oh, let's not forget the toy you leave on the shelf which you used to placate your screaming brat that you decided to bring shopping with you at 10 PM.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:24 am |
      • bob

        Oh shut up. 30$ nowadays is NOT a lot of money. You might want to actually know what you're talking about before you start claiming that people buy hair dye with food stamps. You should probably try to remove your head from your ass too. To think that being on foodstamps provides for some glorious lifestyle of the rich and famous just shows how ignorant you truly are. These people (me being included because i'm disabled) need this assistance to be able to live.

        November 2, 2013 at 1:51 am |
        • sarryonasdad

          Think you need to shut up Gramps. 30 is MORE than ENOUGH. Apparently you're mentally disabled if you can't figure it out. 30 per person is MORE than enough. and YES people with "foodstamps" buy stupid ass crap like Hairdye. They go to the ATM, take out the cash and try to hide the EBT card when they are paying. Then again, you're "disabled" so I doubt your fat lazy ass gets out of the house. For those that NEED IT, of course they don't buy hair dye. That wasn't the point asshat. Still leaves the point that you're too stupid and lazy to budget for your food.

          November 2, 2013 at 2:11 am |
      • truthseeker

        Actually, hair dye isn't allowed on food stamps. You can only get food related items. No cooked or hot foods either. & that $30 a week maybe enough depending on how many people you're feeding. If it's just you then it's fine. But if it's you & a dependent it's not. My ex husband ran off, hasn't paid child support in almost 2 years. Then my job was outsourced to rhe Philippines due to the lovely Bush era tax cuts. I got another job but it pays about $600 a month less than what I was making previously. All total I'm out $1300 a month in income. My budget is down as far as it can go but I can barely make it. I eat once a day to make sure my prepubescent daughter has enough food. I collect food stamps & am no where near fat or lazy. Before you go making blanket judgments make sure you know facts.

        November 2, 2013 at 2:34 am |
        • Sally

          Okay first of all CASH benifits ONLY go to people with 2 kids. CASH meaning going to an ATM and pulling money. There are 4 people including an infant in my household and we only get $180 to feed us a month. (That goes to buying baby food also) those a who are like yeah I can do it I call BULL! You CANT feed a home with children for less then $30 a week!! Not everyone who gets SNAP is using the system or is lazy. We live off a 1 income of about $1200 a month and bills total over $1100 leaving us with only an extra hundred to spare for everyone's medicine and co pays. So stop blaming people who get SNAP! It's childish people who don't know spit but act like they are high on there hourse it is redicoulus!!! Stop lying and grow up!!

          November 2, 2013 at 4:46 am |
  15. goatsandgreens

    Yes, I could eat on $30 a week. I did that back in grad school (monetary amount subject to the scaled-down equivalent for the times). Do I want to? The food-oid items that qualify today are not really food but subsidized and not nutritionally whole. You'll get filled but it isn't nutritionally-dense food. Do you want belly fat, or sustainable nutrition?

    November 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
  16. Emmi

    Inorder to live on $30.00 a week, one must COOK, and not waste money on Burger King etc. Judging from what the writer ate, she still wasted her money. Why buy fresh, when you can only afford frozen? Yes it is hard, but I can and have done it. My parnets were grew up poor, and had gardens to help out with the meals. We also have meatless dinners. Poor people sometimes are lazy, and expect hand outs. Perhaps now people will think twice before having
    10 tens kids, when they can only afford 1 or none.

    November 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Curious.

      "Should not have kids" - So are you advocating abortion? Or should we sterilize the poor? Because from a health standpoint, sex seems to be an important part of being healthy. (Unless you grew up in a house where you were told if you touched yourself god kills kittens, in which case um.. obviously healthy is not a priority..)

      I mean, we COULD make birth control easier and more accessible to low-income women and condoms more available to low-income men buuuut lolz we all know nobody cares about any of that, they prefer to shame women for wanting and having sex. Harlots!

      November 2, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • rasmithjr2013

      why does everyone assume if you are on food stamps or government assistance that you are lazy, looking for a handout, and have 10 kids? i really hope you are never put in a situation where your health is failing, and you have no income, and no one to help.....on second thought, maybe i do. maybe if you had to walk the same path the "poor,lazy people" have to walk, you would not be so judgemental.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:21 am |
      • sunnylou432

        AMEN! I was on food stamps in college briefly (it was 6 months or less) and I got $200 a month, which I thought was very generous. At the time, I was working three jobs and maintaining a full course load. My family was unable to help me financially. Those food stamps undoubtedly helped me finish school without being worried about where my next meal was coming from. I felt justified in applying for assistance because I knew it was going to be temporary. So basically, I was Caucasian, 22, single, no children, and earning a bachelors degree to better my future. The faces of those receiving government assistance are varied. The assumption that EVERYONE utilizing food stamps is a no-good lazy bum is asinine and ignorant.

        November 2, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • Curt29

      That's not true. You could have a double cheeseburger for every meal and have that come out to under $30 a week. Fast food is not really the problem, it's just hard to live on $30 a week for food.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Susan

      As foir frozen veges, Dr Oz and several other nutritionists ahce stated frozen vegetables are better for you than fresh, same with frozen fruit. I know frozen fruit is not cheap, but you can get a lot of good deals on frozen veges.

      November 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Susan

      As for frozen veges, Dr Oz and several other nutritionists have stated frozen vegetables are better for you than fresh, same with frozen fruit. I know frozen fruit is not cheap, but you can get a lot of good deals on frozen veges.

      November 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  17. Food Stamp Boogie Be Thankful

    Just received a funny poem about taxes. I decided to write an opposite viewpoint. So many times, we focus on what's wrong in this world, instead of what is right, and it causes one to lose sight of the important things in life.

    So read their version first, then mine. Mine is called: Enjoy LIfe & Be Thankful for What You Have!

    TAXES – by Unknown

    Tax his land,
    Tax his bed,
    Tax the table,
    At which he's fed.

    Tax his tractor,
    Tax his mule,
    Teach him taxes
    Are the rule.

    Tax his work,
    Tax his pay,
    He works for
    peanuts anyway!

    Tax his cow,
    Tax his goat,
    Tax his pants,
    Tax his coat.

    Tax his ties,
    Tax his shirt,
    Tax his work,
    Tax his dirt.

    Tax his tobacco,
    Tax his drink,
    Tax him if he
    Tries to think.

    Tax his cigars,
    Tax his beers,
    If he cries
    Tax his tears.

    Tax his car,
    Tax his gas,
    Find other ways
    To tax his ass.

    Tax all he has
    Then let him know
    That you won't be done
    Till he has no dough.

    When he screams and hollers;
    Then tax him some more,
    Tax him till
    He's good and sore.

    Then tax his coffin,
    Tax his grave,
    Tax the sod in
    Which he's laid...

    Put these words
    Upon his tomb,
    'Taxes drove me
    to my doom...'

    When he's gone,
    Do not relax,
    Its time to apply
    The inheritance tax.
    Accounts Receivable Tax
    Building Permit Tax
    CDL license Tax
    Cigarette Tax
    Corporate Income Tax
    Dog License Tax
    Excise Taxes
    Federal Income Tax
    Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
    Fishing License Tax
    Food License Tax
    Fuel Permit Tax
    Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
    Gross Receipts Tax
    Hunting License Tax
    Inheritance Tax
    Inventory Tax
    IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
    Liquor Tax
    Luxury Taxes
    Marriage License Tax
    Medicare Tax
    Personal Property Tax
    Property Tax
    Real Estate Tax
    Service Charge Tax
    Social Security Tax
    Road Usage Tax
    Recreational Vehicle Tax
    Sales Tax
    School Tax
    State Income Tax
    State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
    Telephone Federal Excise Tax
    Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
    Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
    Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
    Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
    Telephone State and Local Tax
    Telephone Usage Charge Tax
    Utility Taxes
    Vehicle License Registration Tax
    Vehicle Sales Tax
    Watercraft Registration Tax
    Well Permit Tax
    Workers Compensation Tax

    Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

    What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians?'
    I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!


    ENJOY LIFE & BE THANKFUL! by Alida Scheiderer

    Enjoy the land,
    on which you stand,
    Many have died and have been dead,
    for you to sit at a table,
    for which you are fed.

    Enjoy your tractor,
    Be joyous for your mule,
    Because without it,
    the wilds rule.

    Enjoy your work,
    Enjoy your pay,
    You work for what
    you earn each day!

    Be thankful for your cow and goats
    Be thankful for your pants and coats
    They traveled the seas on someone's boat.

    Enjoy your ties, your shirt
    Enjoy your work, and the dirt

    Enjoy your tobacco, cigars, beers, and still
    because it'll give you lung cancer while others foot your bill
    Enjoy your drink and time to think
    And stop complaining and putting up a stink.

    Be thankful for your car
    and smooth roads to ride
    And those bridges, true and tried.
    On which all cars shall glide.

    Enjoy life and all you have
    Let all others know
    That even if you wanted, you can't take
    it with you, you know.

    October 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Didn't Read.


      November 1, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Susan

      Uh, SS and SSI are not taxable. Some more points I'd like to make. Being poor is very hard. If your lucky enough to have a car it takes gas to run that car and it takes money to maintain that car. Clothes are a necessity, especially to the tweens. They all want to fit in. There is nothing fun or good about being poor. It sucks. I wish there was a tv show like swaping wifes, except called swapping households for a week. One poor going to the wealthy, and vice a versa. Then see what low-income people would have to say as well as the wealthy.

      November 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  18. ok, let's be blunt

    The poor are usually losers. Always have been. Always will be. Period.

    October 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Amanda

      Let's be honest, just to name a few influential people who experienced poverty:
      Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Bill Clinton, Ben Carson, Eartha Kitt

      Having money does not make your life better than anyone else's, it makes living it easier.

      October 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • rasmithjr2013

      not everyone is poor by choice, and they certainly are not all, sir, are a douchebag.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  19. Carolyn young

    I do it. Make pots of stuff and freezer the leftovers and brown bag it. Store brands are cheaper than name brands with coupons.

    October 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • normsw

      I can do it: oatmea, bananal & toast for breakfast, can of soup & bread for lunch, and a crockpot of meat & veggies which lasts 5 days or more for dinner. Filtered water, too, from a market dispenser at 30c/gallon. Desserts from the 99c or dollar store.

      October 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  20. obamacansaveyourhouselosangeles

    it was a while back and maybe money bought more back then but in my 1st 2 years of college I lived on $12 a month. a month, had to fast (not eat) from sat 4 pm till mon 6 am. I was definitely underweight, near starvation but I am still alive. I am on Food Stamps (wasn't back then) now and I do not have problem budgeting all of this.

    October 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  21. aeneg63

    I find myself living on PB and J most of the time.

    September 26, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  22. LMor

    I'm 62 and recently had to go on disability. The SS disability check is only $371 a month due to the fact i have "other income." The other income is my regular SS check for $359, which brings my total monthly income to $730. Because of my "income" amount, I only qualify for $46 in food stamp aid.
    Out of the $730, I have rent, utilities, car insurance, gas, laundry quarters, household items, and medical co-pays.
    There is nothing left for food. I can go to a food bank once a month and that helps a little. Sadly, I have no close relatives. It's very scary. I've never had to live like this before.

    August 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • wendy

      wow, my goodness Im sorry to hear this. I wish I can help you..God Bless you and I hope things will work out better for you. it's not fair you're going thru this but know you are not alone, its so tough right now for so many of us.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • SM

      Most people don't realize that Social security was not meant to be the sole source of income to live on in your golden was and us not that type of program!!!

      November 2, 2013 at 1:27 am |
      • Jason A

        But a lot of retirement savings fund are going or have gone bankrupt. my father-in-law had a good career. but his retirement savings fund is going bankrupt.

        so what do we have to look forward to? even if you build up a great retirement, will it be there when your eligible to retire? will SS even be there anymore when we are old enough to retire?

        November 2, 2013 at 5:17 am |
  23. Richard

    Ya, it's hard to eat on $30 a week on food stamps, but it can be done, here was my menu total cost $27.89.... ya not a gourmet meal...but I don’t want to hear those liberal bleeding politicians say it's impossible ...

    Stuffed french toast
    Eggs w/ toast
    Egg burrito with potatoes
    Greek yogurt w/ fruit
    German fried puff pancake
    Farmers omelet with herbs, roasted potatoes

    Pinto bean soup w/ flour tortillas (home made)
    Salad with grill Chicken breast (1/2 breast), hard boiled egg, caramelized onions w/ toasted baguette bread
    Vegan burrito (flour tortilla, 1/2 squash, caramelized onions, 1/2 green pepper) charra beans
    Beans & cornbread
    Falafel stuff pita with fries in a seasoned flour
    Tuscan Chickpea Soup with pita bread
    White beans & chicken sausage w/ french bread toasted

    Chicken ravioli ( 1/2 breast minced) with a rosemary cream sauce,
    Chicken enchiladas ( 1 breast) with refried beans, rice
    Chicken gumbo (1 chx thigh & 1 leg, make broth from bones)
    Chicken tortilla soup (bones for broth ,1 leg, 1 thigh) & flour tortillas,
    Chicken wings (2) stuffed with rice & mint with a lemon sauce on a bed of white beans & salad
    Chicken thigh / leg ground up with some herbs & dry old bread crumbs made into patties & cooked, potatoes in rosemary , sauteed 1/2 squash
    Vegan chick pea patties w/salad

    ** used all dry beans, chickpeas, lentils, used herbs from garden, all vegs bought in store/farmers market, eggs bought local all free range, cream sauce were made from evoported milk,butter & flour 2cut cost. All tortillas home made

    November 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Pennylane pub

      Now that's what I'm talking about. Kick azz awesome.

      November 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Richard

      PS I used nothing from my pantry, no spices, no oils ...... I could have baked the bread and saved another buck or so, or had twice the amount of bread or better yet barter it for the dozen eggs ($2 here)

      November 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • pedro

      Dude. What does liberal have to do with anything?

      November 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • jenskitchen

      Looks good. Now go back and make that all gluten-free, dairy-free, coconut-free, pear-free, tomato-free, strawberry-free, and orange-free to prevent allergic reactions in yourself and/or your kids.

      March 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • wendy

      wow, NICE!, thanks for sharing. Im copy and pasting this to my recipe album :-)

      November 2, 2013 at 1:19 am |
    • Allison

      Did every place you shop take EBT/foodstamps? I've never been to a farmers market that did, nor met a farmer that did. It's a good try but not something that people on food stamps can do.

      November 2, 2013 at 2:16 am |
      • sunnylou432

        Our local farmers markets take EBT/food stamps in Northern Indiana. Some other places do but don't advertise.

        November 2, 2013 at 3:29 am |
    • paul

      Wow....I'm impressed..

      November 2, 2013 at 6:33 am |
  24. Keith Terceira

    I love all these idiots that keep saying that people are eating on their dime....Your dime! what about all the money these people have paid in taxes over the years. what about all their relatives that fought and perhaps died for this country.. It's there money to, most people that receive food stamps are the working poor, not lazy people.
    Get your facts straight and show some christian values. You want to complain about something , complain about political hacks that get lifetime rewards for serving 4 years on the job. I pray all of you that have no heart , experience poverty someday. "Divide and Conquer" you suckers have fallen for it!

    November 2, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Devon

      Thank you Keith for your comment. In a dire circumstance, having that assistance can be the difference between health & sickness. Looking down on those who "need" assistance is wrong, sometimes people get fired b/c of no fault of their own (happen to anyone you know people?).

      Yes, there are those who abuse the system & that needs to stop. The only way it will stop is to hire more people to investigate & follow up on applications & the supporting paperwork. I suggest we take the money to do that from politicians & those of you who seem to think you'll never be in a position to need help.

      At 19 I was a single mom on state assistance. While I looked for a job, which is hard when you don't have a car & the father has run off, I received cash & food stamps. I spent my cash paying for diapers, putting gas in my grandmas car so I could use it for dr appts & job hunting & paying my rent. My food stamps were spent stocking up on baby food & formula for my daughter. Many days all I ate was tuna or ramen or cereal, so I could make sure I had enough food for her.

      B/c I knew once I had a job, no matter how low the pay, the state would immediately cut off my assistance. And I was right, they did. That stockpile kept my baby well fed & healthy until I could find a better job & provide us both a better life.

      I pray that none of you self righteous people ever need help, b/c I'd hate for you do choke on your pride while asking.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Tamara

      Well said Keith. I worked 21 years as a registered nurse paying outrageous taxes and then I had a stroke 2 years ago which turned my whole world upside down. I was denied disability but am appealing. I have NO income whatsoever. I had some inheritance money that was paying my only bills (electric and internet) up until august . That is gone now. I have no gas to get out of the driveway. In the mean time my 199 yr old daughter and I get 180/mo (or 3 dollars per day each). I had a can of beans yesterday and today I have had some plain noodles and french fries. Our local DSS does not include my daughter as a participant for the food benefits because she attends college. ??? Seriously! I thought the government were pro-education. In this case it is college or food.NEVER SAY NEVER PEOPLE! Thank you again from my daughter and I.

      October 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
      • Tamara

        P.S. my daughter is 19! I don't think we would have had this problem 200 years ago! (LOL!). Back then families and neighbors helped each other and the world wasn't controlled by greed.

        October 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Carol

      That is so the truth, Keith. United we stand divided we fall.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • Todd

      Start working to do something to stop people who ARE taking advantage of the system. There are millions of people who are happy to live a life in the poverty if they don't have to get up in the morning and goto work. They are the people making it bad for the average american in between jobs or is struggling to make ends meet. those hard workers will pay back into the system when they get a better job or get a promotion and no longer need it. It's a shame they have to pay the price for the parasites that our happy and find nothing wrong living off the rest of us.

      November 2, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Someone who cares for the 20% only

      Well Keith if you had done your homework you would know that 80% of the people on public assistance never worked a day in their life because they're generation jumpers. A generation jumper is a person who followed in their families footsteps by jumping on public assistance. See as soon as a young female teenager gets pregnant she's taught to use the system instead of going and getting a job and that's how the cycle continues. Now for the other 20% it's just untimely circumstances that hopefully they can overcome unless they're handicap, elderly, got laid off/ lost jobs, or military.

      November 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  25. kcraw

    First, I commend Sheila for taking this challenge. Most people wouldn't even do it for a week because they don't have to, but I do have to say that maybe it could've been a little more 'tolerable' if she varied her meals. I'm a cook and also on a tight (but not $30 a wee) budget but to have some variey while staying within the monetary means would help a little:) Second, this is only for one person....most people receiving food stamps have families and receive more. On that note, I work at a year-round farmer's market/markethouse ( the historic Findlay Market in Cincinnati, Ohio) in a low income area of a large city and most vendors accept food stamps. I see cards everyday with $200-$3000 on them.....$3000.....and at the end of the month!!!! Food stamps are sold for $.50 on the dollar and people buy prime cuts of steak, lobster tails, sea bass, crab legs, and half the time don't even know the differnce between them all! It's extremely frustrating and would take 20 pages of typing to go into all of it but I have to say that some people deserve the support and help and many abuse it...we have to stop the abuse so those who need the help can have it. And for those who abuse it, you know who are and karma is a bitch.

    November 1, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Nick

      Who cares what they buy, your working and eatting right

      September 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  26. Jamie Freese

    This is completely absurd, this article is filler and fluff about on one the most pressing issues facing America today. I am a poor college kid and to think of surviving on the 30 dollars a week for food is beyond comprehension. Reading the menus none of which would keep you full for more than a couple hours, is troubling when we live in the most developed con-try in the world, seriously counting slices of bread and making that seem like a windfall, illustrates everything that is wrong with the US today. Which is well darn I guess its good enough, is the entire reason that we are in such a predicament and continue to perpetuate for god knows how long the cycle of poverty. Money is not the answer, education and realistic opportunity are because it energizes people to make something of themselves, when honestly as a college student going to one of the "most prestigious universities" (their words not mine) there is very little to look forward to upon because we no longer have any hope or dreams everything is merely good enough. Articles like this make it seem like living below the poverty line is not that bad and create a climate where the poor should just "suck it up" and be grateful that the benefactor (AMERICA) is bestowing this blessing on us. Which is a complete contradiction to the ideology the US used to stand for, although not always popular people must view our world through less passive lenses and realizes that everything directly or indirectly, equally and unequally effects all of us; therefore we must take active action other than sitting in parks to change America at its core. Otherwise hold on tight

    November 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Feel badly for your college.....

      Well Jamie, whatever college you're attending obviously is not helping your spelling/typing skills. How about instead of trolling and misunderstanding a well written and well researched article, you pay attention in class. You obviously come from money. I'm also sure you have never wondered where your next meal was going to come from. Until you experience half of what people living below the poverty line experience on a daily basis, shut your entitled hole.

      September 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
      • Dear Respondent Above

        You must not have read truly read that comment or your comprehension skills are unfortunately quite lacking. Albeit there were a few grammatical errors and/or typos (such as con-try which was obviously deliberate). It's a commentary on the internet, not a mid-term. Who really cares in such a forum? When you don't have an argument, you critique spelling? Way to keep the mind spry! There are plenty of posts which have far worse, but you chose to argue against this one. Hmmm...

        The points made within the original comment were quite valid! I wish you the best of luck college student. Please be amongst the great minds of the future; it is in dire need.

        November 2, 2013 at 3:04 am |
  27. patb

    Going through the self-checkout line at our priciest grocery store in town, my daughter found that the person before us forgot to grab their receipt. She started reading it: four ribeye steaks, four pre-washed potatoes (at $1 apiece), jumbo shrimp, fresh strawberries (in January at $6/pound), plus a variety of frozen meals, fruit snacks, juice pouches and a cake. She got to the bottom of the receipt and asked what EBT meant. Food stamps, I told her. I got to explain to her that whomever bought that, got free money (from our tax dollars) to eat like a king.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • gemz

      seriously? because they're using EBT they have to make poor food choices? while that family is eating fresh strawberries, how many bags of chips, cans of cola, and frozen foods do you let your child eat?

      October 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
      • patb

        I am all for good food choices! My point was that the person was making EXPENSIVE and POOR food choices on my dime.

        A bag of potatoes for half the cost (sorry they have to wash them at home), lean cuts of beef as opposed to high end steaks, and fruits in season would be a perfect use of food stamps. I can even understand the strawberries as a treat in February, but the "Kid's Cuisine" frozen meals andCapri Sun juice packs were not necessary. Pre-washed, over-priced potatoes and high end steak is really over the top when taxpayers are paying.

        I work hard at balancing my home budget. Because of that, I buy fruit in season and typically purchase meat that is less than the $9/lb ribeyes to which I referred.

        My teenagers actually don't drink soda often and never ate frozen meals. However, when I do purchase chips and soda, I have actually worked for the money and nobody else is footing the bill.

        October 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
        • Catsissie

          patb, I just want to clarify: when you say this food was bought on your dime, was the money taken from your pocket? I sincerely hope not. Otherwise, you can sue for theft. If, however, the person bought it legitimately with funds in his or her name, while you may personally disapprove, there is really nothing you can do about it.

          November 2, 2013 at 3:28 am |
      • Berrnice

        Please remove your nose from my crack. It's none of your business,Ms. Busy Body.

        October 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
      • patb

        Berrnice ~ LOL!!! Such a typical response. When it is my tax dollars these sponges are living off of, it sure as heck should be my business. Food stamps should come with a pre-approved list of food list like WIC. On that list should be healthy food so that I am not paying for Medicade down the road because people destroy their bodies with horrible junk food. On that list should be foods that cost reasonable dollar amounts ~ not $9/lb beef.

        October 23, 2011 at 1:15 am |
      • sopeachy

        If they're using EBT cards they shouldn't be buying ribeye steaks! I think there should be a specific list of foods that can be purchased with food stamps. Here's a novel idea, how about the recipients of food stamps being required to do a required amount of actual work for them, kind of like the amazing race if you don't finish the task correctly you don't get the food stamps. Hey Bernice....those of us who are paying for your free ride have every right to have our nose in your business. I think there should be drug testing and random home visits as well to those who recieve those handy little EBT cards.

        October 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
        • Susan

          People on food stamps should be able to buy whatever the heck they please. End of story.

          November 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • loggdogg

      I'm with you. I used to be a cashier at walmart and almost vomited this one time when a family went through my line with a couple of live lobsters and paid with EBT.

      October 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Jane Smith

      As a cashier in a major Superstore, I see this all the time. People using EBT to buy candy, cakes, soda, mixes for alcoholic drinks, ice to cool the beer, snacks, frozen junk food like pizza, frozen dinners etc. Food stamp purchases should be limited to healthy food like fruit, vegetables, fresh meat and fish, milk, juices and cheese. And, what really pisses me off, they take cash draws on the card and turn around and buy beer and cigarettes. I thought it was supposed to be a nutrition program, I don't see nutritional items on most of the purchases.

      October 30, 2011 at 10:33 am |
      • patb

        I had no idea that they could take a cash draw on an EBT card... That is insane...

        October 31, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
      • Jennifer

        Where exactly are you a cashier, Jane, because this is completely untrue. You cannot buy liquor with food stamps/EBT and you cannot withdraw cash. Federal law, not state law, prohibits withdrawing cash so if your store is doing it, your store should be turned in for fraud. I wish people would just tell the truth or just not say anything. .

        November 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
        • Lacey

          In Arizona food stamp recipients are given an EBT card on this card each month an amount for food stamps is loaded on a specific date also if the family qualifies for TANF (Temporary Assistance for needy Families) they get a cash amount that is separate from their nutrition benefit. So yes they can insert the card into an ATM and remove cash but it affects the cash assistance not the food assistance amount. TANF is completely different benefit, also in AZ if you qualify for TANF you have to join the JOBS program and report to a social worker every month to show you are actively seeking work, and go under a complete review every 6 months. I know all this because I have family members who work for the Arizona Department of Economic Security. So these people are not drawing cash from their food stamp allotment, it is from a different benefit that is also loaded onto their card. When they get to a register and use a point of sale terminal the computer will ask is this a FOOD or CASH purchase whichever they chose is where the money comes from. Nutrition assistance can not be used on any fresh hot foods, like what you would purchase at say the deli counter ( like a fried chicken or a roasted chicken) only on fresh, frozen, packaged or canned goods.

          November 2, 2013 at 3:24 am |
      • patb

        I have seen other cashiers commenting on food stamp articles about cash back on EBT cards. I didn't realize how widespread that practice was. So sad that there are people making a bad name for welfare recipients by really cheating the system.

        November 3, 2011 at 9:39 am |
        • Rachel C.

          Sadly the majority of people that continue to make such poor choices are severely undereducated. Perhaps we should instate some sort of nutritional guidance to these recipients, or strive to ensure that there are checks and balances in these programs. There are always going to be people who abuse these kinds of programs. But, it is the job of the federal government to insure these tax dollars are reaching their full potential to people who truly need, and appreciate such support. I think we should be making an effort to improve these programs, instead of further cutting back assistance to the needy when we've got plenty of money to dole out to fat cat politicians, and useless wars. Instead, it is far easier for those who are fortunate enough not to be in such a situation to vilify our country's poor, and needy. Where is our sense of community, and solidarity? If you think there is a problem, SOLVE IT! Don't punish all for the wrongdoings of some.

          November 2, 2013 at 1:42 am |
        • Lacey

          In Arizona food stamp recipients are given an EBT card on this card each month an amount for food stamps is loaded on a specific date also if the family qualifies for TANF (Temporary Assistance for needy Families) they get a cash amount that is separate from their nutrition benefit. So yes they can insert the card into an ATM and remove cash but it affects the cash assistance not the food assistance amount. TANF is completely different benefit, also in AZ if you qualify for TANF you have to join the JOBS program and report to a social worker every month to show you are actively seeking work, and go under a complete review every 6 months. I know all this because I have family members who work for the Arizona Department of Economic Security. So these people are not drawing cash from their food stamp allotment, it is from a different benefit that is also loaded onto their card. When they get to a register and use a point of sale terminal the computer will ask is this a FOOD or CASH purchase whichever they chose is where the money comes from. Nutrition assistance can not be used on any fresh hot foods, like what you would purchase at say the deli counter ( like a fried chicken or a roasted chicken) only on fresh, frozen, packaged or canned goods. I would imagine most other states have this kind of program such as TANF, since it against federal law to receive cash back on nutrition assistance purchases and I know for a fact in impossible to do so here in my home state of AZ. I worked as cashier for many major chains that sold groceries while in college and not once did I see any cash back from exclusive food stamp purchase.

          November 2, 2013 at 3:28 am |
      • Jennifer Brown

        You cannot draw out money off EBT. But you can draw money off the card if your getting Tanf........ that is where the cash is coming from. Why do you all care what people buy with their Food Stamps. Yall are nosy haters.

        November 2, 2013 at 1:26 am |
      • Catsissie

        I don't receive SNAP, but I also don't have much money. It breaks my heart to pass up food I'd rather eat for the stuff I know is cheap enough to feed me and fill me up when I know it's subsidized and that's why I can afford it. I would rather be eating the things I know are healthful, even if I buy frozen versions, since I live alone. Not likely, though. People do what they have to. Nothing ruins one's sense of well-being like a stomach that is feeling empty. Try it sometime.

        November 2, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • Rachael

      Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that poor people aren't allowed to celebrate important things, like that person seemed to be doing. Steak and a cake? How DARE those leeches try to celebrate someone's birthday or something!! Get. Over. It. Seriously, I'm so sick of people like you. Lucky for you that you don't have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, but not everyone has the luxury. Believe me, my family has been on food stamps before, and *steak* is not something you buy unless you have a damn good reason. But when my mom was busting her butt working two jobs after my dad got laid off and we still had to pay the rent and our utility bills? You're damn right she'd buy steak when she could, because she freaking deserved it! Poor does not equal lazy. You are the worst type of person. I hope you aren't teaching your small-minded idiocy to your daughter, but I'm not holding my breath. P.S. That was a long time ago. After my dad got another job, guess what? We didn't have food stamps anymore! That's how it works. NO ONE WANTS TO LIVE OFF FOOD STAMPS FOREVER. You can't. But when something bad happens and you have no other options? Having that safety net is a life saver. Then your kids don't have to literally starve while you look for work. How is that a bad thing? Seriously, get over it.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • rasmithjr2013

      how about instead of teaching your child to perpetuate the hate and judging, you teach them about compassion. sure, that person may have misused their food stamp card, but not everyone does. your comments to your child teaches them that everyone on food stamps is taking advantage of the system, and that's just not the case. there are more middle class people abusing the system than actual poor people. do your research.....

      November 2, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • PK Cleveland


      November 2, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  28. MHT

    This “challenge” was a complete joke. I generally spend about $30 a week on groceries, and I always buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and fresh meats to use for my meals. It’s obvious that the research and planning for this article was nearly nonexistent. Hey CNN, give me a shout next time. Not only will I spend under $30 a week, but the meals will be tasty and healthy too.

    October 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Devon

      MHT –
      Yes, you may spend only $30 but are you using the items already in your pantry to supplement your purchaes? My guess is the author was not. So that $30 would have to include oils, spices, etc that are essential for cooking.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
      • PK Cleveland

        we also have to understand that not all recipients have 1)adequate food storage facilities, i.e. freezer 2) live close enough to a grocery store that they can walk–which makes it difficult to transport very much at one time or shop often enough to buy "fresh" food. There are a variety of different factors involved in making food choices and to assume that because you can do it, so can someone else, is ignorant.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  29. littleoldlutherangirlscout

    Do some people really think that I'm on public assistance because I want to be? Yeah, so I want to live on $932 per month in Disability benefits instead of being capable of working a job that would at least pay minimum wage? Or I love not being able to use my furnace because I don't have the money for heating oil? I wasn't always disabled, and I paid money into the SS system too. And if you think that Social Security Disability designation is easy to get, think again. I got it in only nine months because I had three doctors and two other health professionals writing that I can't work anymore, after which SS had me examined by their own doctor too. I was lucky. Statistically for most other people it takes a year and a half and two turndowns before they can hope to get it. I am also lucky that my food stamp amount is a little higher than $30 per week. That's because when my Disability income rose to $29 per month over the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a single-person household, my Medicaid help with medical costs was cut off. Thanks to that $29, I now have a minimum of $200 per month to pay in medical expenses out of that $932 income. If it weren't for food stamps I probably wouldn't have much to eat. I was told that my amount of food stamps was raised above $139 because I lost my Medicaid benefits, and their rationale was that if I had more money for food, I would have more money for the medical bills. I do appreciate that, but I can't pay my doctors with canned goods. Don't get me wrong - I am very, very grateful that I live in a country where I can get benefits to help me live. I just think all of those people who resent that I am getting that minimum of help could cut me a little slack. I'm not on public assistance because I want to be. It's because I have to be to survive.

    October 14, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • SW

      No one begrudges you the food stamps, unless you're buying extravagant food items with them while I'm forced to make do with off-brand cereal and the chicken drumsticks that are on sale this week.

      October 27, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • patb

      My sister works for a pauper's hospital system. There is a woman who goes there for her FREE dialysis several times a week. She is close to getting to the top of the list for her free kidney transplant (at the taxpayers expense). She asked to be moved further down the list or taken off completely. Her reason: she would stop getting disability and have to get a real job, she said.

      October 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
      • Jennifer

        I think you/your sister is full of it. No one wants to stay on dialysis. Someone with a kidney transplant will still be unable to work for the foreseeable future and only part time after that. She will be eligible for Medicare and SSI for the remainder of her life because of this. Those people on food stamps getting to spend their money on fresh food and juice. Wah, wah, wah. They have a limited amount of money. When it's gone, it's gone. You have no idea how many people were using that food or for how long.

        November 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
      • patb

        Jennifer, even in my wildest dreams could I not make up that story.

        November 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • Rachael

        You need to stop talking. Seriously discontinue. You are so full of BS my eyes are watering from the smell. Oh yeah, people in need of organ transplants want nothing more than to go to work to relieve taxpayer burden! Not, you know, continue living. You continue to be the worst kind of person, please stop.

        November 2, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  30. Pin Head Dork Schmuck

    My hobby is colecting food stamps. You should try it. It's so fun.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • diane ramos

      if you think collecting food stamps is fun and has become a hobby for you,are you out of your mind with all the hungry ppl living in poverty because a idiot like you likes to abuse the system, and the ppl that do need it can not get them because you need a hobby, you should be ashamed to call your self an american citizen

      October 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
      • Chris

        You aren't too bright, are you Diane? He was clearly making a joke. Lighten up.

        October 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  31. Bubba

    There seems to be a mis-match between what you are saying Food Stamps pays out and what I see in the store. I see people buying all kinds of snack and other junk food, strawberries, grapes etc with Food Stamps. Many people not on Food Stamps can't afford those kinds of foods. Maybe these people I see have multiple kids so they get more Food Stamps then they give their kids sandwiches all the time so they can eat well?? Or maybe they are just gaming the system. I can see I see it all the time though, not just once in a while.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • ??

      Since when are strawberries and grapes on the same level as junk food?

      October 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
      • Sherlock@??

        Maybe he meant strawberry or grape-flavored Hubba Bubba.

        October 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Rachael

      I feel like you don't know much about anything. Do you realize how much work and time and *money* it takes to raise one child, let alone multiple children? No one in their right mind would have children just so they can get maybe $30 a month for food stamps... Please stop talking, your comment literally caused me pain.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:41 am |
      • PK Cleveland

        Unfortunately where i live (Flint, MI) a lot of them DONT raise their kids. They feed them, house them and treat them like animals where they grow up and learn its kill or be killed–literally.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  32. mk

    If we removed luxury items (flavored coffee creamer, alcohol), my boyfriend and I generally spend about $80 every 2 weeks on $40/wk, $20/person. I stock up on basics, like rice, beans, flour, sugar, butter, etc etc etc and try to cook everything from scratch. No Hamburger Helper or boxed prepared stuff when I can make it cheaper AND healthier using spices I all ready have. I would suggest some sort of garden, if possible. Buying in bulk helps, as does buying staples at discount stores (Aldi, Save a Lot), shopping around for discounts/sales, using coupons (though I rarely do this), etc etc etc. We live near 6 grocery stores and I know what items are cheap and where and sometimes visit all 6 stores during 1 shopping trip (and no, the cost in gas does not offset the money I'm saving, all ready figured that out). My boyfriend and I eat healthy, varied meals every single day so it IS possible, you just need to know how to shop and be willing to cook!!

    October 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  33. Medically-restrained eater

    Lots of great information in the comments – good article to get people talking. My budget is about $75/2weeks for two adults at grocery stores/farm stand outside St. Louis. This does not count a meal or two a week at a restaurant which I put in my entertainment budget. Also does not count eating at family's houses. (It does include a dish or two I usually bring but much cheaper than preparing an entire meal. Also includes my turn to cook for the group so it may average out, but probably not as Mom-I-L cooks more.) Couple points that make this hard for me, got me to thinking about:

    1. What about people with dietary restrictions?

    2. Cooking from scratch takes time that that is more difficult to come by when you work full time (or multiple jobs), especially if you travel and have to carry food. I'm learning to plan for this better now that I'm working a more regular schedule for my day job instead of swinging back and forth.

    I'm one that has trouble digesting foods. (late 20s, otherwise healthy). I'm not talking "I dont' like it" but rather food intolerances (or allergies, though I don't have that issue). I cannot eat beans (that one's tough for a budget) or broccoli/cauliflower, a few other things. I am aware there are people that have it worse in this aspect, though I find the ones I have developed to be very inconvenient (I *like* cauliflower). It kinda makes it hard to stretch things on your budget by "cooking dry beans and rice" from scratch as the beans will make me sick >< (Which costs $$ to treat.) Learning to live like this is definitely a journey.

    October 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Molly

      To save time cook simpler meals. Make a double batch (or triple) and put the rest in the freezer.
      I usually make 2 lasagnas. It takes about the same amount of time to cook and I only have1 major mess to clean.
      Saves time cooking and cleaning ;0)
      and I'm always thankful on the extra tired days when all I have to do is pull out some home made food out of the freezer.
      Find solutions for your problems..........if all you can come up with are excuses, then it's not important to you.

      October 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Ohiomom

      if you are working 2-3 jobs, you aren't going to be getting food stamps anyway.

      October 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
      • Sadie

        Food Stamps are not based on employment status, they are based on income so, yes, if you work 2-3 jobs (particularly if you have children and no partner to help out) you might still need SNAP assistance to get by

        February 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  34. Beth Sowell

    I don't think the author chose her food very well. I could have done much better on $30 and I do every week. That's about all I'm spending AND I'm not just feeding myself, I'm also feeding my child as well. You don't eat the same things over and over either, you chose one big thing, like a whole chicken and turn it into several meals. Roast chicken one day, chicken and rice the next, chicken noodle soup the next. I would say do a little more research. This isn't rocket science and it isn't punishment. We spend too much money in this country on crap.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  35. Ann

    SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (new name for food stamps) is designed to supplement a families food budget not replace it. The system need to be changed to limit what can be purchased on SNAP. Only healthy food should be purchased. 7-11s should not be taking food stamps. Sodas and cookies should not be allowed. Change the program to more like WIC that details the food o be purchased.

    October 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • melanoma

      With the software we have these days, it seems like it would be something that coulld easily be done. Sure, an up front cost to companies to write the code but the long term health benefits and reduced health cost I'm betting would off set that.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Mike

      I work in a market and see some of the things that people buy on food stamps (Pa.). While I agree $30 is not enough, some people are given such a high amount of money to spend, and as a result, eat better than I do, buying things like steaks, crab legs and lobster tails. It's ridiculous. I know of people that sell part of their food stamps to other people for cash. They just lend their card and PIN out. It's absolutely outrageous to watch. As for the journalist here, I understand the importance of coffee, but espresso can be especially expensive. Is that really necessary? And if you're looking for convenience over bargains, then you have already made your first bad choice. I can get five Stouffer's meals for $10 when there is a sale. Pasta and soups are often on sale for a bargain, and you can get a lot out of pasta. Leftovers are a must. Gees, sorry that your week was so rough, lady.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  36. Molly

    I'm really tired of these pathetic attempt at food stamp "challenges"
    Is this really a challenge?
    I think we need more of these challenges that ACTUALLY SHOW HOW REAL PEOPLE CAND DO IT.

    Using common sense, coupons, bulk buying, gardening, cooking from scratch.
    It can easily be done(for MUCH LESS).....but it requires "work"......NOT excuses.

    October 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Beth Sowell

      amen molly, that's absolutely right.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Macha

      What about people that have no room to garden? (No, not even a window box, as all my apartment windows are full shade or full sun that kills everything) I can't grow inside, my cat is too curious. I'm limited to my stove top for cooking, because to use the oven I have to manually light the pilot and have burned myself too many times to count trying.
      Sadly, I can't even live on ramen and spaghetti (Which I would if I could) since I'm a Type1 Diabetic and all those carbs would be horrible for me (and that's the hereditary Type, before anyone makes assumptions). Yes, I've been on food stamps before. I was humiliated to have fallen so far, but grateful to be able to get things I can eat. There are no fat steaks or crab legs in my world.

      October 24, 2011 at 3:17 am |
      • Rega

        Eat the cat first and then garden.

        November 2, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • CJ

      Coupons are a great idea, but I have to say that most of the ones I see in my local paper are for things I don't use! On the other hand, if you find a store that has good sales on things you DO use, shop there! Stock up when things are cheap, and freeze, freeze, freeze. Remember most sales repeat about every 6-8 weeks.

      March 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
  37. Aloisae

    I was a bit confused looking at Ms. Steffen's menu and her shopping list from the previous article. It didn't look to me like she actually ate the $30 worth of food she purchased... she should have had quite a bit of food left over at the end of the week in the form of staples such as rice, pasta, beans, peanut butter, jam, bread, breakfast cereal, coffee... even some apples. I read the article again and noticed she implied she ate the entire package of beans pictured in the photo accompanying the initial article in three meals by herself (believe me, as a vegetarian on a budget I eat a lot of beans and that shocked me) plus a lot more rice per day than I would even consider (and, again, I eat a LOT of rice). I then went to a calorie counter online and did some calculations and compared it to some online guides for calories a woman should be consuming and... assuming she is at a reasonably healthy weight starting out rather than grossly overweight and isn't exceptionally tall for a woman or a very athletic woman used to burning far more calories per day due to her workout schedule than the average American woman would to maintain a healthy weight (even giving her the benefit of the doubt and saying she is fairly young rather than in her mid 30s or older as her position might imply)... I saw that she probably GAINED weight that week due to excess calorie consumption. No wonder I looked at her shopping list and thought it was excessive even if she hadn't deprived herself of variety via her artificial construct (ie. one week only.. which means fewer bean/grain/vegetable options than most people on a $30 a week budget would have access to when the purchases are spread over a month or more for staples). This might be more an indication that the USDA has a problem in being both the arbiter of food guideline recommendations and the advocate of the food industry than it is that there is a problem in determining what we should be spending on food and what is used to calculate SNAP funds. Perhaps we should be educating people better on what they should be eating, restricting their food purchases more, and giving more people that "average" amount while paying for it by not giving anyone more than that and giving more of the people receiving less than that a bit more.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • ORTNmom

      This isn't really investigative journalism. The author had a predetermined point of view and made sure that her "data" supports it. It's embarrassing. If she had done even a little bit of work, like finding a sale, menu planning clipping coupons, or shopping at a discount store, it could have been a useful and informative "how to".....but instead it's "poor me, I have to live on nothing but beans!"

      October 8, 2011 at 6:04 am |
      • Mike

        Agreed! Poor reporting.

        October 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  38. brian

    I have a family of five that is living on $337 month in food stamps. that averages out to $84 a week but then it also means that u can spend $16 week on each person for can be done but it does get tuff toe=at the end of each month when you are tryin to scrape something together to feed the kids

    October 3, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • JoSe

      If you had a job you wouldn't need to get free food from us the tax payers.

      October 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
      • Jerry A.

        Oh, the old "get a job" comment. How original. Well, JoSe, people who qualify for food stamps might have jobs, hard full time jobs that just do not pay enough for them to get enough to eat. If you cannot imagine that, then join the club of other over-privileged self-righteous fools. (The club is called the Tea Party a.k.a. the right wing of the GOP.) You can lobby to cut taxes on people who make more than you do.

        I have a good job, I pay a ton of taxes, and am grateful for living in a country like the US. I would much rather help out good people like Brian rather than give millionaires more tax breaks, even if I pay a bit more at the end of the year. It's called humanity. You should try it some time.


        October 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
        • Rachel C.

          Jerry, I don't know you, but I wish more people shared your mentality.

          November 2, 2013 at 1:49 am |
      • arpln

        And I bet if she was wealthy and working and had a nanny, you would be upset that she wasn't staying at home and raising her children herself. Only poor women should work, right? The ones who don't need to should stay home. Why do you think different standards apply?

        October 14, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  39. Mrs.&Ms.Living

    This is really doable. My husband and I have a budget of $150 every month. We spend $75 every two weeks when I get paid. It takes some work and I spend most every Tuesday night clipping coupons and reviewing adds before going to the grocery store on Wednesday.
    It is tough to do but you have to. My husband and I moved to Indianapolis for my job and he can't find work. I make too much for food stamps but its not enough to pay the bills sometime. He looks for work everyday and I spend my lunch break looking for a second part time job. We're both college graduates with loans to pay, but we get buy. We don't have the extra money to do anything, even gas money to visit family and friends, but we're taking care of ourselves at 23 years old.
    My point is, everyone can get by on their own. It's hard but you can. I don't disagree with food stamps but I think there needs to be a new system to determine who gets them. When someone who isn't even trying to find work gets them and housing assistance but I can't get a dime of help when I'm doing everything I can, there's a problem.

    October 2, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Daimen Bokk

      Don't agree with food stamps? My wheelchair doesn't need gas, but my stomach needs food. No food stamps means I don't eat. Sure then I get to die and there is more for others, but what if I made a contribution, like when I saved those kids when they almost burned up. Maybe I should have just died before I saved them, but then that one kid would have never grown up to become a doctor, and those he saved would never be either. Maybe think a little more first?

      October 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
      • Daimen Bokk

        you are still an idiot daimen, she doesn't disagree with food stamps.

        October 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
      • Mrs.&Ms.Living

        You should read more carefully. I said i don't disagree, thus meaning I agree. But only in some cases.
        For those making a contribution to the world, go ahead and help them out.

        Now that I have been nice, I must say I do believe heroic acts should be rewarded but to boast about them is wrong. Most people who do good deeds would rather go unnoticed because they do them because it is what they believe them, they don't just do them for the attention.Take a page from the book of the marine Dakota Meyer.

        October 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • JoSe

      You are one of many few that live life and don't expect the tax payers to feed you and your family. Be proud to say we can live and not parasite off the tax payers.

      October 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
      • Barrett

        I Don't feel for the parents that have 3+ kids. First kid = mistake, second kid = I'm an idiot that doesn't know how to use birth control, thrid kid = I'm scamming the system and am too lazy to work. I understand if you both lost jobs and it's temporary, but that's not the norm.

        October 17, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Rachael

      I love how everyone assumes that they know how the system works when they do not. I just watched my sister go through the process to get food assistance for herself and her daughter and you are completely wrong! Did you know that if you get food stamps and do not have a job, you have to prove that you are looking for a job! Same with cash assistance and unemployment, FYI. My sister is going through the process of getting disability, though, so it's a different animal for her. Did you know there are plenty of people who need food assistance and *also* have a job?! It happens all the time. Minimum wage in this country is a joke, and it's not a living wage. Hence the need for food assistance. And did you know that there are people in this country who *cannot* get a job, because of health problems, but still need to eat? Yeah, eating is a thing. But hey, even though my sister can't work, she tried to anyway! Didn't work out, but she's not "just a lazy bum." Ugh people. You are all the worst. EMPATHY, YOU SHOULD TRY IT SOMETIME.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:56 am |
  40. Jenn

    I'm a full time grad student and work part time. No government benefits, but I eat about $30 or less a week. Normally spend between $40-60 for two weeks worth of food. I buy things on sale, but I'd hardly say I'm thrifty. I could see the hardship if you needed to feed kids, but it's very do-able as a single adult.

    October 2, 2011 at 2:04 am |
  41. BMH

    People on food stamps get $30 a week? And that's supposed to be a hardship?!?!?!? I have a decent job and have the ability to spend a lot on food, but I budget only $100 a month for myself, and usually only use $80 of it the month. And that includes plenty of healthy foods AND delicious foods. I am not just living on beans, pasta, PB&J, and apples. And I have people over several times a month and have plenty of food to share with them. What I DON'T buy is 12 espressos a week. Sheesh.

    October 2, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Aloisae

      Not everyone receiving SNAP funds (ie. foodstamps) receives $30 a week. One of the reasons this artificial "challenge" of Ms. Steffen's is misleading. The $30 is, as far as I can determine, based upon the FY 2010 monthly per person average for somebody receiving SNAP funds.

      October 6, 2011 at 3:57 am |
      • Carla

        I work part time and currently receive $200.00 a month in foodstamps. I am a single adult, it is comfortably enough to get by on.For me anyway, I cook, I do not buy microwavable meals..would never have 2 expressos daily' Just for the record I have worked hard all of my adult life and have found myself on unfamiliar ground with the need of government assistance due to illness. These are hard times and help is sometimes needed...don't judge. Life, for anyone, can change in an instance and it could be you needing the help.Love your neighbor, its all we have in the end.

        October 10, 2011 at 10:04 am |
        • Susan

          Amen to you dear Carla. I fell the exact same sentiments. I too have worked all of my life in the medical field. Worked for two VA's, and private practice. I had to go on SSI for various reasons, argo, I just am no longer able to work. I am also in uncharted waters. I have always been a very gregarious person and love people. Now I don't know who I am anymore. I pretty much stick to myself, not because of lack of opportunity, but by choice. I haven't had to go on food stamps yet. I certainly don't blame or put down anybody that does. There but for the Grace of Our God go I. Please everybody, don't judge people who use SNAP. If they buy specialty items, well, maybe there is a family member dying of cancer, a sick child, ect... In a 100 years from now what is it going to matter who bought what at the grocery store?

          November 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • prilistine

      You don't have to buy espressos at a cart, or store, or drive-through. Some people do actually own little machines to make them. One can also do a sort of pseudo-espresso with fine grounds in a french press. She didn't say how she makes or gets the espresso, but a thrifty person who enjoys them can do them at home.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:32 am |
      • yup yup

        yup, and you don't have to buy the machine new. you can get them refurbished for a fraction of the cost or pick one up at goodwill. yup yup.

        October 21, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  42. Mason

    Wasteful on her food budget. If she cuts out the frappachino's and goes with instant coffee or tea, especially tea because you can reuse the tea bags, she could free up maybe another ten or so bucks for food. Also, Chicken? That's -costly-. You do better with buying a flat of ramen, refried beans, and dried rice and barely. Forget veggies, they spoil too quickly, get your fiber in as best you can. Also? Lunch? Lunch??? If you're on thirty dollars a damn week, you don't have -money- for lunch. You get two meals, breakfast, and dinner are the ones I reccomend. Small breakfast, smaller dinner. Your stomach will shrink eventually and you won't be as hungry.

    And before anybody chimes in, I'm living off of about thirty a week or less and -no- I'm not on wellfare.

    October 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  43. Joanna

    Here in Hawaii, I spent about $30 per person for a weeks worth of meals plus a couple of luxuries, like a soft cheese or something. Most of what I buy is fresh produce, as well. Not normally organic– but fresh... and on sale. The trick is buying what is in season, and making it work.

    (Also, when I was living in Oregon, I could normally manage a weeks worth of fresh meals for both myself and my husband for $30 total. Hawaii is a tad more expensive... but it is possible if you are paying attention to do the $30/week thing without a problem)

    October 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Aloisae

      The average per-person-per-week for SNAP funds in Hawaii would actually be higher than the amount used in Ms. Steffen's "challenge". The $30 per week amount is presumably based on the average per-person-per-month amount released by the USDA for those receiving SNAP funds in the 2010 fiscal year. The USDA also releases state averages.. in Hawaii, in recognition of the significantly higher food costs, the amount was $216 per month which would come out to approximately $50 per week. Keep in mind that this is NOT the amount that everyone receiving SNAP funds receives. Some receive far less and some receive a bit more.

      October 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  44. vandy

    I work fulltime & receive stamps ($100mo) 4 me & my 2 kids.Im absolutely grateful 4 the program.I pack my lunch evryday & go out to eat once a month (if even)! Barely any convenience foods in my house. I cook a months worth of food & freeze it.Saves time & $$.Im so frugal ppl at work know im on a budget.Evry fri everyone else is out for lunch, im alone in the breakroom.Thats the way it should be! i should not be out making myself more broke by goin out to eat when im on stamps. I still end up buying outa my own pocket here & there, & def dont mind it. SUPPLEMENTAL is the key word! Ppl who abuse the program ruin it for ppl like me.I think stamp recipients shuld be drug tested, there shuld be pic ID required to purchase wit ur ebt card, & there shuld be a time limit on how long u receive benefits. For the ppl who r against stamps, no worry the system will ruin itself.Idont plan on bein on foodstamps forever, someday i will make enough $ to be workn towards it.That'll be a great day for me n my kids....

    September 30, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Molly

      A breath of fresh air....... I'm so happy to read about someone using the the program the right way.
      I'm so tired of people taking advantage of the system.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • ORTNmom

      Wow. You're setting a good example for your kids about budgeting and money management and a can-do attitude.

      October 8, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • littleoldlutherangirlscout

      To those who would require drug tests, nutrition classes, and a limit on how long someone can be on food stamps, I can say that while I would be embarrassed to stand in line for a drug test, it would come out clean so I could do it, but then there would be an extra cost for the government because I for one couldn't afford the lab fees. I am 54 years old and do not need any lessons in nutrition. I have probably read more on nutrition and a healthy diet over the years than your class instructor, and I am an excellent cook. As for a limit on how long you can be on food stamps, I would happily be for that if only my disability which keeps me from working was for a limited time too.

      October 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
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