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The article said that once a month when the food stamp accounts are replenished, many people are literally waiting at grocery stores at midnight to go shopping. I do understand the rationing idea at the end of the 'month' and I do understand the hardship. What I don't understand is the trend to stock up on groceries at midnight rather than waiting until the next day? The article didn't go into detail about that.

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Yeah the food stamps kick in at 12:01am and if there's nothing but ketchup left in the fridge, sooner is better than later.

 

Yeah, I do see that, but the article was using phrases like 'rushed to the checkout counter' and something about 5 dozen cars in the parking lot of one store. So I wondered if it was something bigger going on that I was not understanding.

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Yeah, I do see that, but the article was using phrases like 'rushed to the checkout counter' and something about 5 dozen cars in the parking lot of one store. So I wondered if it was something bigger going on that I was not understanding.

 

I'm guessing the rush to the checkout was just to get the groceries checked out as soon as possible after midnight and get home at a reasonable hour. I think the observation about the dozens of cars in the parking lot was to point out how many people are living on the edge anymore. Does that make sense? I admit that when I read the article yesterday I was a little puzzled too.

 

Barb

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I haven't read the article, but wanted to chime in and say that often it is extremely difficult for us to imagine another's circumstance from our own position.

If you have don't have food in your house, which is hard for some to imagine, then getting groceries from the store instead of the dumpster would be a high priority.

 

Years ago we regularly went to the grocery store after midnight - generally around 2am - because it was convenient for us and we needed food. There were always other shoppers...hence one of the very reasons that the stores are open 24 hours.

 

Stores don't schedule the fastest checkers for late night shoppers. It only makes sense that shoppers would want to hurry and get in line first since the one checker on duty is always slow.

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why you would use all of your food stamp money up quickly and not leave some for later in the month?

 

I was on food stamps for 2 years when my first husband left me pregnant with 3 small children. I ate better during that time than I had before, or for several years after. We got over $700/month (I think it was closer to $800) for 4 of us (3 were small children), plus I was eligible for WIC (although I didn't do it because I really didn't feel I needed it). Right now, with 2 adults and 3 teens in the house, my budget is $600/month and we eat mostly organic.

 

One thing that would be nice is if they would offer some counseling on proper diets and food purchasing. If people are buying a lot of prepared foods they are using up their food stamps a lot quicker.

 

I just can't see not being able to make it through a month though. I find the food stamp allowance per person quite generous.

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Selection may be part of it. I used to live in an area with a lot of people on assistance, and if I happened to go to the store on the 1st or 2nd of the month, I always left frustrated. Many of the staples were bought out. So, I could see getting there early if you wanted things that go fast like milk or ground beef.

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I would say that it comes down to the cupboards being empty and wanting food in the house (especially with children) as soon as possible. Food for breakfast.

Maybe shopping at midnight so you can have more breakfast and lunch food for the next day (that day) prior to school and work.

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Guest Dulcimeramy

I've never been on food stamps, but we were *that* hungry when I was a kid. Often.

 

If the money is not enough, then it is not enough. There is no stretching until the end if your kids are starving and there's nothing left to stretch.

 

And if your kids are starving, you probably put them to bed hungry. So you get there and buy the food and come home and feed people.

 

Children who had no food for a day or two will be ready to eat at 1 a.m. and certainly by morning.

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We are no where near food stamp level but it never fails that we run out of money before we run out of month. The only reason we don't have to go at midnight is because my wonderful hubby gets up at five or six in the morning to go to the store and get anything that my kids may need for breakfast or lunch that day. Some people don't have time to do that in the morning.

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Honestly, we are on food stamps. We have seven people in our family - five children (and hungry boys at that LOL) under 11 and two adults.

We get $600/month. We can NEVER get it to stretch for a whole month. We do shop pretty minimally and do not buy junk food (okay rarely junk food like cookies and chips). We shop for sales and bargain deals and don't buy name brand unless its on sale.

 

If anyone has a secret on how to get $600/month to stretch for seven people...let me know! I guess if we just ate cheap boxes meals all month then it'd work. Its all the healthy food that kills the budget! Especially when you are shopping for seven people. One bunch of bananas only lasts MAYBE one day in our house. lol A big bag of oranges (like the ones that go on sale at Safeway occasionally) lasts about 2-3 days. aack!

 

Also wanted to add, that thankfully we are not bad off enough that food stamps are all we have for food money. When we run out before the end of the month, we use our money to buy more food -but its very minimal. We are on a super tight budget. uggh

I have gone shopping at midnight before, but that was because we had a busy night and I had to wait to get the kids to bed, etc before I could go. That's more rare then normal though, and we've never gone shopping at midnight when the food stamp money came in. I'm just grateful that we haven't been to that point of not having any food in the house nor having money for food.

Edited by snipsnsnailsx5
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8 people here and our amount is just over $700. Any amount is generous, in my opinion, but is it enough? Not really, not with what I have available nearby and little time to shop. It's very tough on the months when we don't have *any* extra to contribute to groceries. :( The only time I've gone to the store at midnight was when we were very low on food and dh needed the van to take the work the next morning. If I didn't go very early before he left--and the store wasn't open then--I had to go the night before because we are home without a vehicle most days.

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One thing that would be nice is if they would offer some counseling on proper diets and food purchasing. If people are buying a lot of prepared foods they are using up their food stamps a lot quicker.

 

 

In our area they do offer these courses. However, you have to remember that many people on food stamps (or at least here it seems) are also disabled in some way. My brother is one. He has autism, and although high functioning and mostly living independently, he cannot follow a recipe, follow a budget, or apply much of what he has learned. Yeah, he looks ok and even has a high IQ, but uses it like a 5yo. The classes are a great way to fill his time, but they have no effect on his spending or cooking unfortunately. He just is not able to plan ahead or see how that $15 steak is going to make him short of food money in 2 weeks. Recipes he finds very confusing and frustrating. The box of hamburger helper though is easy and taste good to him. As a family we have tried to help, but after time it is just easier to let him do it his way so he has that independence.

 

Another problem we have had to confront is the amount of misinformation that is passed around. My brother swears that any money left at the end of the month will be taken away from him. I know it won't because I am the one who signed him up and helped fill out the paperwork. Not to mention I have taken him to those classes and such. My brother hears this misinformation from a friend with similar cognitive abilities - who heard it somewhere in the group living home he is part of...Because they all believe this rumor, almost all of them use up their benefits almost as soon as they receive them. Some months I feel like I am beating my head on the brick wall trying to get my brother to see tha falicy in what he is hearing but he just doesn't get it.

 

My theory is that if the money was dispersed on a weekly or even a bi-weekly basis there would be fewer problems at the end of the month for some populations that depend on the food stamps.

Edited by Dobela
spelling, again
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WIC vouchers really helps the food budget. I feed a family of three on $300 a month. Here in the Midwest it doesn't go as far as it did in Californai where fresh produce is priced very low. For example - I do a happy dance about once a year when avacados are less than a dollar each. I've seen horrible rotten ones go for $1.89 each. That is for a conventional avocado, not organic.

 

Lots of us on food stamps live on very little money. I can afford the gas for a trip to the grocery store about twice a month, and that is with all my errands piled together.

 

Many people on food stamps are also disabled so standing to make lots of meals from scratch may not be physically possible. I lived for a year without an oven because it took that long to save up for one. I had a hot plate, a microwave, and a toaster oven. That was it.

 

Most health food stores no longer take food stamps, and the ones that do are normally in big cities. I live in a rural area and my HFS does not take food stamps even though I have asked them to and presented to the committee.

 

why you would use all of your food stamp money up quickly and not leave some for later in the month?

 

I was on food stamps for 2 years when my first husband left me pregnant with 3 small children. I ate better during that time than I had before, or for several years after. We got over $700/month (I think it was closer to $800) for 4 of us (3 were small children), plus I was eligible for WIC (although I didn't do it because I really didn't feel I needed it). Right now, with 2 adults and 3 teens in the house, my budget is $600/month and we eat mostly organic.

 

One thing that would be nice is if they would offer some counseling on proper diets and food purchasing. If people are buying a lot of prepared foods they are using up their food stamps a lot quicker.

 

I just can't see not being able to make it through a month though. I find the food stamp allowance per person quite generous.

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The article said that once a month when the food stamp accounts are replenished, many people are literally waiting at grocery stores at midnight to go shopping. I do understand the rationing idea at the end of the 'month' and I do understand the hardship. What I don't understand is the trend to stock up on groceries at midnight rather than waiting until the next day? The article didn't go into detail about that.

 

In many cases, they have to work the next day, need to make lunches, snacks, etc for kids and spouses. It's a function of making it the last few days before the re-load and absolutely needing something in the house for the next day. If you have to be at work by "X" time, midnight at WalMart becomes an option.

 

I know from *cough*cough* personalexperience.

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why you would use all of your food stamp money up quickly and not leave some for later in the month?

 

I was on food stamps for 2 years when my first husband left me pregnant with 3 small children. I ate better during that time than I had before, or for several years after. We got over $700/month (I think it was closer to $800) for 4 of us (3 were small children), plus I was eligible for WIC (although I didn't do it because I really didn't feel I needed it). Right now, with 2 adults and 3 teens in the house, my budget is $600/month and we eat mostly organic.

 

One thing that would be nice is if they would offer some counseling on proper diets and food purchasing. If people are buying a lot of prepared foods they are using up their food stamps a lot quicker.

 

I just can't see not being able to make it through a month though. I find the food stamp allowance per person quite generous.

 

For as large as your family is, I am surprised how you wouldn't have a greater understanding of this.

 

Kids eat. I have 3 teens now (ok, one is nearly). I have 2 male teens coming for the weekend and I was stressing on how to keep everyone fed.

 

Now that my kids are in institutional settings for academics, we spend more on food. My husband is working, but that also means we spend more on food.

 

We run out of money for everything before we run out of need for it.

 

I plan my BUTT off trying to keep our budget in line and meeting our needs throughout the month.

 

I personally cringe when I see the suggestion of "proper diets and food counseling". By whose standards? Low fat advocates? Whole foods? Low carb? Who decides for another family who level of convenience they deserve?

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Maybe teaching people to purchase more of the basics - meats, beans, veggies, grains, fruits, etc. - not a particular diet.

 

I have fed 7 people (3 adults and 4 teens) for the last 5-6 years, and our food budget has been $600. That includes toilet items. If I had $700 in food stamps, I feel certain I could make it a month. I'd have to have separate money for toilet items of course.

 

I will admit that I am in an area where the cost of living is lower (Louisiana), so I'm sure that is a help.

 

I like the idea to dispense the funds weekly or bi-weekly (bi-weekly is probably better for most due to commuting costs). It would balance the funds out more.

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I feed 6 people very well on less than $400/mo. Our groceries here are not cheap relative to their cost in other parts of the country where I lived previously. We don't eat anything processed (except for crackers) and our budget includes raw milk, organic eggs, and veggies from an organic farm co-op.

 

I checked and if we received food stamps we'd get $950/mo for our family!

 

The last time we were poor I shopped at a fantastic Aldi in a part of town where many of the other customers were paying with food stamps (we would have qualified but chose not to take gov't assistance). Each week I would carefully fill my cart with staples, counting out each dollar.

 

It never ceased to amaze me to see other women load their carts with frozen pizza & breaded shrimp -- things I couldn't dream of affording at the time-- and then pay with food stamps.

 

So to hear that people are lined up to buy food at midnight doesn't surprise me at all, because I am sure these women were spending quite a bite of money at each trip and would run out relatively soon at that rate.

 

There are exceptions of course, but in general, I find that people are better stewards of the things for which they worked.

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Maybe teaching people to purchase more of the basics - meats, beans, veggies, grains, fruits, etc. - not a particular diet.

 

I have fed 7 people (3 adults and 4 teens) for the last 5-6 years, and our food budget has been $600. That includes toilet items. If I had $700 in food stamps, I feel certain I could make it a month. I'd have to have separate money for toilet items of course.

 

I will admit that I am in an area where the cost of living is lower (Louisiana), so I'm sure that is a help.

 

I like the idea to dispense the funds weekly or bi-weekly (bi-weekly is probably better for most due to commuting costs). It would balance the funds out more.

 

I'm glad your budgeting works for you and that you are diligent and healthy.

 

Who decides what are dietary basics? Some bodies don't do well on beans and rice. (Just as an exampe)

 

When I've needed or qualified for governmental help, my IQ did not plummet. ;) Why do people assume in need = less educated? Just 2 summers ago, I was on my hands and knees cleaning an office building at 2:00 am in order to have income; knees that were with me when I earned my 2 under graduate degrees.

 

I am SO against all of the assumptions, power and control behind thinking that a person in financial need also needs guidance and education from the government.

 

Just look at what WIC will and won't pay for. I don't think we need MORE of that.

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I feed 6 people very well on less than $400/mo. Our groceries here are not cheap relative to their cost in other parts of the country where I lived previously. We don't eat anything processed (except for crackers) and our budget includes raw milk, organic eggs, and veggies from an organic farm co-op.

 

I checked and if we received food stamps we'd get $950/mo for our family!

 

The last time we were poor I shopped at a fantastic Aldi in a part of town where many of the other customers were paying with food stamps (we would have qualified but chose not to take gov't assistance). Each week I would carefully fill my cart with staples, counting out each dollar.

 

It never ceased to amaze me to see other women load their carts with frozen pizza & breaded shrimp -- things I couldn't dream of affording at the time-- and then pay with food stamps.

 

So to hear that people are lined up to buy food at midnight doesn't surprise me at all, because I am sure these women were spending quite a bite of money at each trip and would run out relatively soon at that rate.

 

There are exceptions of course, but in general, I find that people are better stewards of the things for which they worked.

 

Wow. Just wow.

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Just wanted to pipe in and say the ages of your children will make a HUGE difference in your budget. Up until my oldest was about 10, I didn't have to think twice about grocery budgets. Now, with 3 teenagers and a nearly 11 year old beginning puberty, my budget has doubled and we don't eat convenience food unless the cost is less than homemade. I shop discount stores only (Save-a-lot, a subsidiary of Aldi), a local fruit stand, and hit two chains: Albertson's for meat (they have great sales) and Publix IF the BOGO is less than generic brands at Save-a-lot. We don't eat organic unless it's on sale and costs less and I spend an easy $950 a month. If I shopped at Publix (like most of my home schooling friends locally) you could tack on another $300/month. Easily.

 

I do buy a few non-essentials, like ice cream (one container per month only) and pops (2-$2 bags) in the summer. Dh gets about $30 in "Daddy food", but otherwise, our only increased expense is one convenient meal (my treat) a month. So, if I had to, I could cut down to about $875.

 

We eat very well fresh fruits and/or veggies at EVERY meal, tossed salad at EVERY dinner (unless it's tacos so the toppings are veggies) and eat cheap breakfasts (rice, hot cereal, oatmeal, homemade pancakes, eggs) to stretch and I shoot for leftovers for lunch. We limit packaged meats b/c of cost and east plenty of vegetarian dinners. Water and milk and occasionally brewed tea.

 

We could be better, but we surely could be worse!

 

All that to say, money doesn't go far for groceries around here!

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Joanne, it's the same old, same old. That's why I'll just keep my 2 cents to myself. We have these same conversations over and over and over and nothing changes.

 

She's only got 144 posts, she's new. That said, I'm leaving this thread now, too, before my bloodpressure hits the roof.

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I feed 6 people very well on less than $400/mo. Our groceries here are not cheap relative to their cost in other parts of the country where I lived previously. We don't eat anything processed (except for crackers) and our budget includes raw milk, organic eggs, and veggies from an organic farm co-op.

 

I checked and if we received food stamps we'd get $950/mo for our family!

 

The last time we were poor I shopped at a fantastic Aldi in a part of town where many of the other customers were paying with food stamps (we would have qualified but chose not to take gov't assistance). Each week I would carefully fill my cart with staples, counting out each dollar.

 

It never ceased to amaze me to see other women load their carts with frozen pizza & breaded shrimp -- things I couldn't dream of affording at the time-- and then pay with food stamps.

 

So to hear that people are lined up to buy food at midnight doesn't surprise me at all, because I am sure these women were spending quite a bite of money at each trip and would run out relatively soon at that rate.

 

There are exceptions of course, but in general, I find that people are better stewards of the things for which they worked.

 

Sweetbasil, I think it is fantastic that your family eats so well on such a shoestring budget. My family is fortunate to be able to do something similar.... but I think that there are many factors that go into how far a family can stretch their food money. I used to wonder how on earth families could receive food stamps that were twice the amount I was spending each month. What could they possibly be buying with that money? Well, some of them are buying convenience foods because they are living in a motel with no way to even heat their meals. Or their oven is out of commission and there is no chance that it can be fixed or replaced, possibly for months. They might have food stamps but have had their electricity shut off -- even boxed mac and cheese can't be made without power. That convenience food might be meant for their children to prepare for themselves while the parents are working and aren't able to be home at mealtime. Maybe that frozen pizza is the only thing they can reasonably expect a teenage babysitter, the only one they can afford to pay, to prepare for their kids while they are working. Maybe those convenience foods are going into the cart so that they can spend an hour helping a child with homework or caring for elderly parent, or attending a job training workshop...... maybe an hour in the kitchen is an hour they don't have to spare while they are juggling multiple part-time jobs while they search for the full-time job they hope will mean no more food stamps. And food stamps don't stretch quite as far when you can only get to the stores that are on the busline, or within walking distance, and you certainly can't stock up on sale items or buy in bulk without access to a car.

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Families who get food stamps are living on very low incomes. I checked, so I am sure of this. The families who get food stamps need them desperately.

 

Food stamps are intended to supplement a family's food costs, not pay for the whole enchilada.

 

The USDA's Thrifty Food Plan was devised for low income families who receive food stamps.

 

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

 

If you are interested, click on the above link. June of any given year represents the average costs per week or month for that year, based on 4 food plans. Right now, the costs are current through August, based on the government's figures.

 

The Thrifty Food Plan, 2006, is here:

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/MiscPubs/TFP2006Report.pdf

 

Beginning on page 25, it gives you market basket quantities of food you should be able to purchase, broken down by age and gender, for one week for each person in the family. These quantities are given in pounds and 16 oz. is equal to one pound. For example, a gallon of milk is 128 oz, or 8 lbs. A 28-ounce can of tomatoes is 1.75 lbs.

 

Nutritional quality of diet increases as the food costs increase from the Thrifty Food Plan to the Liberal Food Plan.

 

In my opinion, based on a lot of research and shopping, a high quality, nutritious diet, not including convenience foods or organic foods, can be purchased at the average of the Low Cost and Moderate Cost Food Plans. My opinion is dependent upon the food prices where I live.

 

I converted the USDA's market basket of foods from pounds into ounces, based on the Low Cost Food Plan. When I made my grocery list, I figured out how many ounces of grains I could buy, taking into consideration the ounces on packages of actual products I buy, so I would know exactly how many loaves of bread to to buy, and so forth with every food group.

 

I took my list for one week's groceries to the store 2 weeks ago. I bought no junk food and no organic food. It cost me $300 and filled two shopping carts. It would have cost $379, except that I saved $67 by buying things on sale and I received a $12 food perks credit (from using the store card whenever I shop there). I didn't use coupons because there were none for the products I bought. I bought nothing except what was on the list.

 

Based on this shopping trip, and actual figures for the past 12 months, my monthly average cost of food for my family is $1300. That is more than the Low Cost Food Plan allows, and is actually what I spend in the average month. It is the average of the Low Cost and Moderate Cost Food Plans. I purchase foods based on their nutritional quality, and do not buy organic produce or meat that costs over $3 a pound. I used to have a $2 a pound limit for meat, but the prices have increased so much that the very lowest I have seen in a year is $2.50 a pound.

Edited by RoughCollie
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We were on food stamps for a while when I was a teenager and my mom had no problem stretching it out. We had a garden and canned food which helped. She did a lot of shopping sales and using coupons but we never were running out of food. Something else that would help most people with school aged kids is that they would qualify for free lunches at school. If you have multiple kids, that can make a huge difference.

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I feed 6 people very well on less than $400/mo. Our groceries here are not cheap relative to their cost in other parts of the country where I lived previously. We don't eat anything processed (except for crackers) and our budget includes raw milk, organic eggs, and veggies from an organic farm co-op.

 

I checked and if we received food stamps we'd get $950/mo for our family!

 

The last time we were poor I shopped at a fantastic Aldi in a part of town where many of the other customers were paying with food stamps (we would have qualified but chose not to take gov't assistance). Each week I would carefully fill my cart with staples, counting out each dollar.

 

It never ceased to amaze me to see other women load their carts with frozen pizza & breaded shrimp -- things I couldn't dream of affording at the time-- and then pay with food stamps.

 

So to hear that people are lined up to buy food at midnight doesn't surprise me at all, because I am sure these women were spending quite a bite of money at each trip and would run out relatively soon at that rate.

 

There are exceptions of course, but in general, I find that people are better stewards of the things for which they worked.

 

I used to look down on people on foodstamps too. I'm ashamed of it now.

I'm a mother of 3, with a masters degree, and a husband with Ph.D. and now we're on food stamps. We're doing the best we can, and we're looking for a job, and we live very simply. We get just over 200 dollars a month in aid. I try not to be embarassed when I swipe my foodstamp card. But I know there are people looking down on me, like I once looked down on people who are where I am now.

 

I'm glad that one day we'll have a job and be able to return what we've been afforded. And that these food stamps have filled the gap when we were in a bad way, so someday we can, in turn, help others.

 

I have learned a thing or two about humility, I can tell you.

 

T.

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We qualified for food stamps the last time we applied--with an allotment of $0.

 

:glare:

 

Our hours have been cut at work, so I need to reapply.

 

Anyway, we definitely get a surge in grocery shoppers after midnight at the beginning of the month--partly from food stamps, partly from all the people that get paid on the first, and partly from social security. It's a side effect of direct deposit. Here, both shift working and the heat are also factors. If you have to walk home with your groceries, or get a ride from a friend who wants to go shopping at that hour, or...

 

Of course, we also get plenty of people who then realize the direct deposit can take a few hours to hit, and just leave it all there.

 

Right now we have about enough milk for DD to have breakfast, half a dozen eggs, no cheese, almost no veggies (that I can fix with a $5 WIC check for fruit/veggies)...and DD is going to spend her birthday money on cupcakes for her enrichment program class tomorrow. I did promise her I'd pay her back, but it really stinks. I guarantee I'll be grocery shopping as soon as money comes in (except the $200 I'm expecting from DW#2 tomorrow, which will get spent on the electric bill).

Edited by Ravin
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Just chiming in ... I can't believe nobody has mentioned that plenty of people work 2nd-3rd shift and regularly do their shopping during the night ...

 

I don't begrudge anyone for how they spend their food stamp allotment. I'm sure we've all heard stories of abuse, but really, unless you're tracking someone, you have no idea if what you see in a cart this week is normal for them. Imagine that it's some little girl's birthday party, and that the soda/candy/cookies/etc. you see is a special once-a-year treat ... imagine if those breaded shrimp are the bulk of your anniversary dinner ...

 

Plenty of people use food stamps, especially in this recession. If it helps them get back on their feet, GREAT! Eventually most will go on to work and pay into the system again; that's what it's there for. No shame. No, I don't use food stamps, but I've come within a few hundred dollars of qualifying and would absolutely use them if needed. And would be frugal with them but would absolutely buy a boxed cake mix and ice cream for my kids' birthdays, especially if that food was the only way I could make it special for them. At midnight if I had to...

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I'm glad your budgeting works for you and that you are diligent and healthy.

 

Who decides what are dietary basics? Some bodies don't do well on beans and rice. (Just as an exampe)

 

When I've needed or qualified for governmental help, my IQ did not plummet. ;) Why do people assume in need = less educated? Just 2 summers ago, I was on my hands and knees cleaning an office building at 2:00 am in order to have income; knees that were with me when I earned my 2 under graduate degrees.

 

I am SO against all of the assumptions, power and control behind thinking that a person in financial need also needs guidance and education from the government.

 

Just look at what WIC will and won't pay for. I don't think we need MORE of that.

 

:iagree:

 

Dispersing money more often would probably make bulk shopping impossible.

 

Yep, it's the same old, same old. Poor people suck and are stupid.

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Sweetbasil, I think it is fantastic that your family eats so well on such a shoestring budget. My family is fortunate to be able to do something similar.... but I think that there are many factors that go into how far a family can stretch their food money. I used to wonder how on earth families could receive food stamps that were twice the amount I was spending each month. What could they possibly be buying with that money? Well, some of them are buying convenience foods because they are living in a motel with no way to even heat their meals. Or their oven is out of commission and there is no chance that it can be fixed or replaced, possibly for months. They might have food stamps but have had their electricity shut off -- even boxed mac and cheese can't be made without power. That convenience food might be meant for their children to prepare for themselves while the parents are working and aren't able to be home at mealtime. Maybe that frozen pizza is the only thing they can reasonably expect a teenage babysitter, the only one they can afford to pay, to prepare for their kids while they are working. Maybe those convenience foods are going into the cart so that they can spend an hour helping a child with homework or caring for elderly parent, or attending a job training workshop...... maybe an hour in the kitchen is an hour they don't have to spare while they are juggling multiple part-time jobs while they search for the full-time job they hope will mean no more food stamps. And food stamps don't stretch quite as far when you can only get to the stores that are on the busline, or within walking distance, and you certainly can't stock up on sale items or buy in bulk without access to a car.

 

THANK YOU for posting this.

I teach adult education and every day work with people who rely heavily in food stamps for ALL of the reasons you just listed, and then some.

 

astrid

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THANK YOU for posting this.

I teach adult education and every day work with people who rely heavily in food stamps for ALL of the reasons you just listed, and then some.

 

astrid

 

Don't forget that while the person you see buying the groceries might be healthy, he or she might have children at home with special needs who require lots of therapies and time and energy, time they could have been cooking from scratch. Also remember that when you get paid very little per hour, you have to work many hours just to get by.

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I used to look down on people on foodstamps too. I'm ashamed of it now.

I'm a mother of 3, with a masters degree, and a husband with Ph.D. and now we're on food stamps. We're doing the best we can, and we're looking for a job, and we live very simply. We get just over 200 dollars a month in aid. I try not to be embarassed when I swipe my foodstamp card. But I know there are people looking down on me, like I once looked down on people who are where I am now.

 

I'm glad that one day we'll have a job and be able to return what we've been afforded. And that these food stamps have filled the gap when we were in a bad way, so someday we can, in turn, help others.

 

I have learned a thing or two about humility, I can tell you.

 

T.

 

Yup. That is very much my story. I used to assume a lot about people, abuse of the system, their background, their willingness to work, their educational level, the quality of their diets.

 

While I remain a fiscal conversative, today I understand why people would be vehemently for universal health care (for example). Even today, when things are minimally better for me, my kids are covered by medicaid and my DH and I are not insured. He's going to be switching to contract employee to perm and will have access to benefits. The cost will be an outrageous blow to our budget.

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Don't forget that while the person you see buying the groceries might be healthy, he or she might have children at home with special needs who require lots of therapies and time and energy, time they could have been cooking from scratch. Also remember that when you get paid very little per hour, you have to work many hours just to get by.

 

Yes. These last 4 or so years, I've had to string together several low paying jobs for just that reason.

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Don't forget that while the person you see buying the groceries might be healthy, he or she might have children at home with special needs who require lots of therapies and time and energy, time they could have been cooking from scratch. Also remember that when you get paid very little per hour, you have to work many hours just to get by.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

Yes. Personally, I work 3 jobs, homeschool, and take grad school classes for another MA. We're not on any sort of government assistance and I cook 99% of our meals, baked goods, etc. from scratch, but DANG there are nights where boxed mac and cheese will have to suffice.

 

astrid

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I try not to be embarassed when I swipe my foodstamp card.

 

When I was a kid we got food stamps. Back then we got booklets of fake dollars. I felt like everyone was staring at me when I paid for groceries. As an adult, even though I hadn't used food stamps in a decade, I can remember being so excited when EBT cards came out. I was so happy for the people who needed them--that they'd be able to swipe a card rather than pull out the fake money. It's even better now because everyone swipes a card these days--debit, credit, gift cards. You hardly ever see anyone paying cash or check.

 

Cinder

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Never be embarassed when you swipe that card. Odds are even the person ringing you up has one, too.

 

I wanted to add that in my experience, people on food stamps have the same variations in grocery shopping habits as people paying for groceries other ways. Most Americans rely too much on packaged foods, it's nothing to do with income.

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I never said anyone was poor and stupid. I have been there. I raised 4 kids alone, babysat 60 hours a week and typed till 1 or 2 in the morning for a detective agency to make ends meet so I could stay home with my kids. I GOT food stamps. There ARE ways to stretch the dollar amount.

 

And maybe some people can't have beans and rice, but most people can eat foods from at least some of the basic food groups. I merely said that buying a lot of frozen, prepared foods will use your allotment up faster. It'd be nice for there to be some guidelines so SOME people who might need help stretching the funds could get good ideas.

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I've never been on food stamps, but we were *that* hungry when I was a kid. Often.

 

If the money is not enough, then it is not enough. There is no stretching until the end if your kids are starving and there's nothing left to stretch.

 

And if your kids are starving, you probably put them to bed hungry. So you get there and buy the food and come home and feed people.

 

Children who had no food for a day or two will be ready to eat at 1 a.m. and certainly by morning.

 

:grouphug:

Edited by jadedone80
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You know, that's exactly what I thought.

 

 

I thought, "Here we go again with the steak and shrimp. Why is it always about steak and shrimp?'

 

I've been lucky. I've never been on food stamps, my parents never needed assistance, but I can see with my own two near-sighted eyes that feeding a family isn't the most inexpensive thing one can do...especially in this economy.

Edited by LibraryLover
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I never said anyone was poor and stupid. I have been there. I raised 4 kids alone, babysat 60 hours a week and typed till 1 or 2 in the morning for a detective agency to make ends meet so I could stay home with my kids. I GOT food stamps. There ARE ways to stretch the dollar amount.

 

And maybe some people can't have beans and rice, but most people can eat foods from at least some of the basic food groups. I merely said that buying a lot of frozen, prepared foods will use your allotment up faster. It'd be nice for there to be some guidelines so SOME people who might need help stretching the funds could get good ideas.

 

Sorry you're getting the treatment on this thread. You aren't the bad guy - suggesting common sense might be in order if you're using tax-payer money to buy your groceries is never a popular option. My sis just went on food stamps and it drives me batty to hear about all the 'treats' she gets for her girls instead of planning healthy, wholesome meals for her kids.

 

I think it's funny - none of us would advocate serving mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, sugar cereals, chips, soft drinks, etc. to our children as the staples of their diets. But to suggest that it might be a bad idea for someone using foodstamps to follow that diet is immediately rejected as unkind and expecting too much.

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Sorry you're getting the treatment on this thread. You aren't the bad guy - suggesting common sense might be in order if you're using tax-payer money to buy your groceries is never a popular option. My sis just went on food stamps and it drives me batty to hear about all the 'treats' she gets for her girls instead of planning healthy, wholesome meals for her kids.

 

I think it's funny - none of us would advocate serving mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, sugar cereals, chips, soft drinks, etc. to our children as the staples of their diets. But to suggest that it might be a bad idea for someone using foodstamps to follow that diet is immediately rejected as unkind and expecting too much.

 

 

Trying to make someone else fit into your (or someone else's) defiintion of "good sense/the right thing" without being able to understand THEIR circumstance IS expecting too much.

 

Other pp's have attempted to explain other circumstances, but we always come back to "common sense" and "steak and shrimp". :glare:

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I wanted to add that in my experience, people on food stamps have the same variations in grocery shopping habits as people paying for groceries other ways. Most Americans rely too much on packaged foods, it's nothing to do with income.

 

bingo :)

 

The only argument here is using government funding to support a habit that government is trying to put onto the private sector: eating foods that create problems with obesity and diabetes which costs the government more money in the long run. It's a lose:lose situation all around when you have limited funds and want to fill up bellies. That generally gets done with cheap carbs and cheap food because you can buy more and fill up more. It's hard.

 

I know the folks that come to our food pantry really aren't interested in the artisan bread we have to share, because the artisan/whole grained bread won't make 12 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their kids. They don't want the bag of blueberries but would love the boxes of frozen pizzas because that will fill up their kids..for a brief time.

 

I see abuses in the system all the time with some of our families, but I also see families who are really struggling to make it work, feed their kids relatively healthy meals, and make everyone happy in the meantime.

 

I wish food stamp dollars would mean that everyone could get whole grains, locally grown, organic produce, free range poultry and beef and pork. It just doesn't happen. Kuddos to communities where food stamps are being used at farmer's markets now!

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