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So, today was grocery day. This was a short week because Caedy’s hours were off and we had to pay the second half of the water bill. So I thought I’d diary about our trip today, what we spent and where, and why.  To start out, let’s begin with what we had to work with before we went to the store.

Already on hand:
Half a bag of frozen veggies
Several cans of various veggies
½ bag of baby carrots
Instant mashed potatoes
2 pasta sides for adults (kids won’t eat them)
4 packs of Ramen
2 boxes of pasta and one can of sauce
½ gallon of Milk
1lb of bologna (it was buy one get one last week)
Various spices/seasonings, etc.
2 meals worth of chicken leg quarters
2 frozen ham bones with meat attached
18  flavor aid packets for the kids

Once the water bill was paid, Caedy’s insurance and taxes were out, etc we had $97 left for the week for the five of us, including a hypoglycemic 17 year old boy and a 10 year old girl. So around 11:30 am, off we went to the store. We stopped at McDonald’s for lunch because Caedy gets 50% off since she works there, so it was a cheap quick lunch and meant I got the hamburger I've been craving for 2 weeks (I've been craving beef so badly the dog’s canned food was starting to smell appetizing). We've had chicken and pork for two weeks because that’s what was on sale and what we could afford.  Beef was a definite must have this week, as I’m also borderline anemic and I've been wilting.

So we spent $12 for lunch for four of us. Not bad. This is why we went there and not somewhere else. Yes, it’s a bit of a splurge but we also walk to the store, and for the hypoglycemic 17 year old who was pushing the wheelchair I road in, eating out like that is almost a necessity. He would have been flagging before we got home otherwise. Besides, the kids went along to carry and push, they earned it.

Our grocery list: (with estimated cost)
Lettuce $2
Tomatoes $3
Provolone cheese (Bit can’t have American) $2.50
2 bags shredded cheese (one for salads, one for meals) $6
Eggs $2
Butter $2
Potatoes $4
Green beans $2
3 meats $15
Mac-n-cheese for the kids   $1.50
Dog food for Freya $6
Puppy Food $7
Cat food $5
Jelly $1
Soup for me (which we didn't get) $1
Peanut butter (still need, different store than today, it’s $1.50 cheaper there) $5.50
Bread – 4 loaves (still need, different store than today where it’s cheaper) $4

I estimated spending about $55.50 today and $9.50 tomorrow at the other two stores (Dollar General for the peanut butter and the Discount Bread store). We ended up going over that by $10 today.

I figured if needs be we could get hamburger this week and save money that way on meals. However, hamburger turned out to be $3.79 per pound this week!!!! So, no hamburger! I refuse to pay that much. All they had on sale meat wise was pork and chicken again. So we got a small roast at $3.99 per pound ($9.70 total) and pork chops on buy one get one for $8.70 total (2 meals’ worth). I may be able to get 2 meals for us out of the roast, or at least one dinner plus a lunch.

Our biggest expenditure this week was pet food. Usually it’s not because I get the puppy’s and the cat’s once a month, but we were entirely out by this morning. Freya, our older dog, can only eat cans so we get hers every week. Freya’s food is $3.60 for her breakfast (because she was sick and lost weight so I've had to add to hers) and $5.28 for her dinners.  Sophie, the puppy’s food was $5.99 and the cat’s food was only $3.59.  So pet food this week cost $18.46, but that was absolute necessity and most of that isn't a weekly thing. It just fell on a bad week this month.

I decided to forgo my can of soup and get a roll of paper towels instead so I can get some extra cleaning done this week. I have salad and such for lunch. The mac and cheese was more expensive, $2 for three boxes, even for the no name this week. Potatoes weren't on sale, so they were right at the $4 mark when I was half hoping to at least get them buy one get one or a dollar cheaper. The butter and jelly were also more expensive by about a dollar each. Again, we don’t buy those every week, but they fell to this week and they’re not something we can really go without (my son practically lives on PB&J’s). The rest of the produce was right on the mark, though none of it was on sale as I’d also hoped to find.
Using the Winn Dixie card we spent $64.55, with a savings of $20.80 including the buy one get one meat. So, we have just over $20 for the rest of the week, including the peanut butter and bread we still need (which is about half that). This leaves us $10 until next Wednesday. So long as no one gets sick and nothing breaks (like the can opener for example) we’ll be good. Bills for April are all paid. Bills for May come due next week (but Dad gets his SSI next week and Caedy gets paid again).

If I hadn't been smart and spent the extra money on meats last week (and found a lot of good sales) so that we had the extra meals, we would have been eating a lot of hot dogs and fish sticks this week and I would have gone another week without beef at all. And now, as of next month they've cut our food stamps by another $50 because “we make too much”.  Somehow they took an extra $250/month in rent, a dollar per hour reduction in Caedy’s pay (and the same amount of hours on average), and a $12 COLA increase in Dad’s SSI as a total net household increase enough to reduce our food stamps by $50. I’m trying to get it reviewed and figure out their accounting. Because honestly, I don’t see it. I don’t see where I can really cut our budget any further than it is. We don’t buy or eat a lot of junk, and if we do get it we buy it at the Discount Bread store for VERY cheap.

Yes, we maybe could have cut out lunch, but it’s one of the few luxuries we get from time to time, and it was half off. So please don’t complain about that, it’s not like we go out all the time, or even every week. And the kids walked with us to the store to help carry and fetch, as I said, they earned it. I didn't have a good lunch to give them before we shopped anyway, they would have had sandwiches, which wouldn't have been enough for my son at least.

This week’s groceries and budget is not unusual for us. It’s more unusual when we have extra money, and then I try to put in extra groceries against weeks like this one. May the gods help us if Caedy gets injured or sick and can’t work, because then we’re really screwed. I can’t put savings aside for a ‘rainy day’ with $10 left over after necessities. And even if I did they’d hold those against our food stamps and just cut us off further. That would be having ‘assets’.

This is what it’s like to live in poverty. You can’t get out, you can only get by and pray things don’t get any worse. You can’t save, because they don’t leave you room to save, and if by some miracle they do, they count those savings against you and cut off your benefits further so you have to use those assets to survive then fight for an increase again. This week we didn't buy any prescriptions, though I have 3 unfilled I can’t afford (because I also somehow make too much to qualify for Medicaid), and Dad has 4 that should be refilled. I also didn't need any of my vitamins this week, or my allergy meds because I bought those last week. I try to budget those for food stamps weeks anyway.

The Republicans talk about ‘pulling yourself up by the boot straps’. But there aren't any. They've already been cut off so short you can’t grip them with tweezers. And every time you tie on a bit of shoe lace to extend them they snip those off too.  Grocery bills are expected to go up. We’re already planting vegetables (given we can afford soil and such we need) to try and cut down the produce bill some. I was hoping to have the extra money to go to the farmer’s market this week. But we don’t have it, and I haven’t been there yet to be able to budget money in for it. I don’t have enough leeway to get things just because. I budget to the dollar. I can’t risk spending more at the farmer’s market than I would have today. Maybe next week. I say that a lot. I get really tired of that phrase. I’m sure my kids do as well.

NOTE: This isn't a plea for donations or money. As I said, we get by. I do have some ways I could tighten our budget, if we ate more junk meats, ect, but I try not to do that. Sometimes we have to. This is just an example of what it's like to live below the poverty line on a day to day and week by week basis. Even here a lot of people don't seem to understand what it's like to not be able to buy something you want or need at the drop of a hat.

Originally posted to FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America.

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Comment Preferences

  •   Pull yourself up by your bootstraps (17+ / 0-)

    I ate my boots long ago. With a can of beans just like in those old cartoons.

    I know how hard it is. I pretty much eat meat about once a week. I think I am going to give up drinking milk unless they have it at the food bank. I actually get many of my staples at the food bank.  Rice, pasta, tuna, stuff like that. I also carry it all home from the food bank since I can't afford the bus.

    At least I am single now and have only myself to stress about. I really feel for you and your family and will keep you  in my prayers. I remember trying to feed and care for my daughter and how much it aches to not be able to do things for them.

    I hope things get better for you all soon.

    That passed by; this can, too. - Deor

    by stevie avebury on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:02:13 PM PDT

    •  Thank you (12+ / 0-)

      for your prayers and concern. We aren't starving, and mostly aren't going hungry, though my nutrition which is touchier than everyone else's is suffering a bit obviously. It didn't help that I was in the hospital for four days (with multiple blood draws and lots of resultant bruising which didn't help my iron levels any) and on stronger meds than usual the past two weeks.

      In Orlando they had reduced the hours of the food banks so far it was essentially impossible to get in, especially if you had mobility issues in the first place. The one on our side of town was only open one day a month and wasn't close enough to walk to.

      I haven't found the ones in my local area since we've moved yet. If I have to I'll ask around.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:24:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  {{{{{FLSNMOM}}}}} (12+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry, sweetie, that things are so tough for you. I hear you about not being able to get ahead. At least your living situation seems better (safer, cleaner).  I hope that your request for redetermination for your food stamp allocation gets you somewhere.
    Meanwhile, if anyone gives you grief about your lunch at McDonald's, send them to me.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:40:12 PM PDT

    •  It's amazing I should even have to worry about (7+ / 0-)

      the McDonald's thing here. But I've been to enough of these diaries to know that someone will feel the need to criticize that one thing while ignoring everything else.
      And yes, we're in a MUCH better living situation, despite the higher costs for some things. As for the food stamps I'm not holding my breath on it. This isn't the first time they've been cut and I haven't been able to change anything so far.

      I do thank you so much for your support Peregrine, it means a lot to me, and if I do get anyone grief I'll be sure to let you know!

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:43:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is there anything I can do? (10+ / 0-)

    Peanut butter is cheap at Trader Joe. How many jars, and in which configuration, should I get you? It's not as if they'll spoil in transit - just peanuts and salt.

    I remember living like that (I make too much for food stamps altogether now), and it is NOT easy. Thank you for sharing this, because people have to know what it's like.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Columbine, Tuscon, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston (h/t Charles Pierce)

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:41:51 PM PDT

    •  My son goes through (14+ / 0-)

      One of the bigger jars of peanut butter a week mostly by himself. He isn't picky on type or style. It helps him keep his sugar level and is his favorite snack (since he eats several small meals a day instead of three larger ones).

      And yes, I agree, it's important for people to know what it's like, and that it's not 'welfare queens' and people aren't living 'high on the hog' on food stamps. Sure, it lets me get higher quality food for my family, and make sure we have enough to eat. But when I splurge and get a higher end meat (like roast) it's either because I found a really GOOD sale or it's a nutritional necessity.

      I was horrified this morning when I really wanted the dog's gushy food because my body was so starved for the iron and protein in beef. I try to eat high protein as much as possible, but other meats just don't always seem to have the same effect. I know my energy has been flagging since I've been home from the hospital and the bruising is taking forever to go away, but this was a new low. I do have enough left over for lunch another day this week thankfully, which will help as well.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:49:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recc'd -- hope many eyes will see this! (9+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this honest and realistic description of what it's like to try to get by as one of America's impoverished citizens.  I've never had to try to manage for several people or make decisions between medications and food.  But I do understand what it's like, from the standpoint of a single person.

    With respect for your diligence, might I ask a question or two, just as another person who knows what it's like to pinch pennies?  

    Cheese:  Could you buy cheese in blocks (cheaper than shredded) and shred it on the 'big side' of a box grater?  (If you have one.)

    Are your family members unable to eat protein sources other than meat?  I'm thinking beans, tofu here.  Red beans, an onion, some tomato (canned, bought on the '10 for $10'-type sales  -- you don't have to buy 10 products to get the discount price), over rice -- is a good, basic meal with a lot of nutrition.  And if tofu is unfamiliar, an easy way to make it meat-like in flavor (plain, it tastes like hard-boiled egg white) is to mash it up, marinate it in  Worcester sauce (maybe with some soy sauce added) and make Sloppy Joes.

    These are just tiny suggestions, and I don't mean them to take away from your illustration of how, when one is poor, it takes 'all the running you can do just to stay in one place' (with a hat-tip to Alice in Wonderland).  But a red beans/rice pot, plus a pot of bean soup, could provide a few meals each week at far lower cost than meat.

    I wish you good luck with your Food Stamps -- hope you can get the amount raised again.  Wishing you well!

    •  I've been eating beans and tomatoes (10+ / 0-)

      over rice for lunches, and cheap cans of chilli. It's helped hold me up a bit. Tofu I wouldn't know where to get, how to cook or if it's even cheaper here. We eat a lot of chicken, pork and fish and I try to make sure that everyone gets meat once a day at least.
      The beef thing is more my own issue. I'm very low iron in the first place, add in hospitalization (during which beef wasn't even an option), multiple blood draws, female issues at the same time (when my iron is naturally lower) and I just wasn't recovering from it with other sources this month.
      I don't know that my autistic son at least would eat tofu, he tends to have a picky spot for textures and flavors. He won't eat eggs lately either.

      Cheese in blocks... at the local store is about the same as the pre-shredded. Sometimes I can even get the pre-shred on buy one get one. I do always check price per ounce and such and get the blocks when it does dip lower. I don't have a grater right now but I've been known to chop it up by hand in the past.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:58:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  /sigh (6+ / 0-)

      If I'm off-base, love, let me know.

      You're talking to a household of people who all have disabilities. Who do you want to grate cheese? An autistic child with sensitivity issues? Someone with fibromyalgia who has difficulty gripping things? A person whose nerves may be breaking down? Another disability, perhaps? Or just someone who has been on there feet all day, and is now helping caretake (but it's really not that simple)?

      Does the situation look slightly different now?

      If you are anemic, chances are, your body will more easily process red meat. That's why FloridaSNMOM is craving it. Her bruises are not healing, for the love of little green apples. Dog food looked appetizing. Open your eyes! She doesn't need to be lectured about beans and rice! We are not stupid, we know that. We've been poor a long time.

      FFS. Every fucking diary.

      /hugs FloridaSNMOM

      Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

      by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:17:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ((Lorelei)) (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LoreleiHI, swampyankee, psyched, Mortifyd

        Hey hun, I hope you're doing well and getting the help you need pulling things together as well!

        Thanks for the support. I know it was said with well meaning, and at least it wasn't mean and nickpicky  like I've seen in some diaries! I do have a rocker knife to help with cutting, I bought that several years ago while I was still working, luckily!  But yeah, some days I don't have the energy to self-grate, and often Caedy can't even hold the rocker knife when her wrists get bad.

        I'm hoping the beef I had today will help bolster me up for the next week and get the freaking bruising healed finally. It's been almost 2 weeks since I've been home from the hospital and they are still bright purple. They're not growing though or getting darker, so that's a plus.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:22:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just wish I could help (5+ / 0-)

          If nothing else, right now I'm more than food secure. But we're at opposite ends of the Eastern seaboard. ><

          And I'm good with a place to stay until end of June, and on waiting lists for housing. I qualify... but space, ah, there's the rub! Heh.

          Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

          by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:38:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know that feeling well.. (4+ / 0-)

            there have been many situations I've wished I could help. But you are helping just with your support hun. The love in this community is a HUGE help to me, as is just having people to talk to, to vent to, and to commiserate with.
            I'll keep my fingers crossed for the waiting lists! We tried to get into income based housing here, we were on a waiting list for over a year. We finally gave up and found something else we could manage. It's a nice little house, and in much better shape than the falling down trailer we were in (and with central air, I can BREATHE and move through the house, no more being stuck in my bedroom with the window unit!!!). I was worried that other place would fall down the first time a tropical system came through, and in Florida you can't avoid them forever.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:43:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your gentle correction. n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, yella dawg, anafreeka
        •  I'm sorry (3+ / 0-)

          Last diary I wrote, someone wasn't content berating me in comments, and came after me for a week, saying that I was just 'bitter' and didn't really want to be better or to get help because I have Complex PTSD after being brought up in a sexually abusive cult, and so have a bit of an issue with churches.

          Because I'm following my therapist's, psych's, and doctor's recommendations and staying away from churches, I'm 'letting them win', according to this person.

          Because I'm poor, this person feels empowered to say such things to me. On a liberal blog. And it's hardly the first time. Maybe you can see why it gets tiring.

          Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

          by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:29:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you came after me -- (0+ / 0-)

            -- because somebody, two weeks ago or more, came after you?

            Oh.  Okay.

            •  No, because you said the same thing we've all (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mortifyd, FloridaSNMOM

              heard before, countless times, in any diary that mentions lack of money. I do wish my tone was a bit better, though.

              Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

              by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:05:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How so? (0+ / 0-)

                Please elucidate . . . ..

                •  because ANY time anyone writes about food (5+ / 0-)

                  and poverty - someone comes along and tells us to eat more beans and rice and tofu.  Every. Single. Time.  And some of us have food issues - most of us have food issues actually that have diaried about it - and we're poor, not stupid.

                  We know about the benefits of rice, beans and tofu - IF you can eat it.  But that is a big if.  I'm allergic to soy for example - tofu is not a good food choice for me.  More than a couple meals of rice and beans personally and I get so sick at the idea of eating it that it triggers anorexia - which is far worse for my body given my other health issues.

                  So while this was pretty nice -  it was still the same old same old - and limiting the choices of poor people (even by suggestion) to rice, beans and tofu is NOT COOL.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:38:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Let me add to LoreleiHI (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FloridaSNMOM, JamieG from Md

         someone who has been low income all my adult life and I am 60 years old, the issue here that makes we po' folks touchy is that, look, we know all the ways to make ends meet.  Believe me, we already know about the beans, and the tofu, etc.  

                  I am not saying you have this intention but ...sometimes suggestions like that appear to be judgements about people that somehow they are "wasting" their small incomes. No, we cannot "waste" something that does not even pay the electric bill or bus fare to get to work. We know how to make every dollar stretch until it snaps, but that stretched dollar is not enough. so making suggestions as if we can stretch that dollar more is beyond ...obvious.

                  Upper income folks are kind of ignorant about the situation of American poverty. They do not understand that poverty is not a "choice". Poverty is an institution..  The most annoying about this gross misconception is that somehow people choose to be poor ~ and choose to "waste" their small incomes, and choose to endure the blame and stereotypes that haunt us.

                  Let me educate a little about this Poverty Institution ~ and PLEASE go tell your other upper income friends about this so they understand better. It would sure help because this thing about choosing poverty makes for a great deal of terrible laws and policies:

                  in-sti-tu-tion noun

                  a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.
                  any established law, custom, etc.

                  The poverty institution is based on the reliability upon racism, sexism (including LGBTQ), ageism, classism, and disabilities. The poor are far from being a "burden", indeed the poor are one of the cornerstones of the upper income's ability to maintain their positions.

                  1. Charities
                  You will notice that usually 2nd on the list for the reason to promote tax breaks for the rich is for "charitable contributions". Most of the time these "contributions" are just a domestic Cayman Islands for the rich who actually contribute little or nothing after their tax breaks. They use mega-non-profits to get their tax breaks, employ their relatives in 6 figure positions, and then pat themselves on the back that they are "helping the wittle baybees". But often less than 20% of their "contributions" are actually carried out in their mission and services to their clients is minimal. On the average these mega-n0ons bring in about $52,000-$67,000 per client yet only give less than $2000 in direct services. Their services are punitive, and do little to assist with the real needs of a family or person. It should also be noted that these mega-nons bring in $Millions in government grants and contracts.

                  I might add to not include small non-profits here who are actually doing the REAL work on the ground. Not only do they operate on a budget that would not pay the salary of a DSHS manager, they do 10 X the work. They do not get government funding or contracts because they are not schmoozing with the politicians and policy makers, and they do not know rich people who would even understanding their very important missions.

                  So as you can see in mega-charities alone who usually where people with no income or little incomes, are USING the poor for their enrichment.

                  2. Work
                  This is two fold because not only do the poor perform cheap labor that enriches the upper classes, they also create employment for those same classes.  The upper classes are employed in many ways: as "gatekeepers", in the government, with mega-nons, in contracted private businesses, for people with disabilities (the hi-tech industry for instance charges heueuege prices for "adaptive equipment" for computers and other types of media access).  So now whenever one of your upper income buddies snark, "How many jobs does a poor person create?" You have an answer: The poor create lots of jobs for all other classes. In social work, in the health fields, in non-profits, in the colleges, in hi-tech and with private industry to name a few.

                  3. What is "work"?
                  When Welfare Reform was codified into law, it also codified something else: unpaid work. It in essence says this work is "doing nothing" or in other words adding nothing to our communities, WRONG!
                  The truth about this unpaid work is that it actually adds quite a few things to our communities. Whenever anyone asks me why they should "support other people's kids", I ask them back: "With your question, my question is; Why should my kids support you when you can no longer support yourself? Why should my kids support your Social Security, why should they fight in your wars, why should they maintain and run your infrastructures, and why should they take care of you when you can no longer care for yourself?"
                  But this unpaid work is not only for the care of children. It is also about caring for one's elders, and one's spouses as well ~ all requiring the agonized decisions as to whether to work for a wage or the 24/7 care for a loved one. In an AARP study they found that unpaid care SAVES us over $450 BN per year if we had to replace this labor with institutions for women to go out there making rich men richer saying, "Do you want fries with that?" Labor statistics say women who are the most impacted by unpaid care, will LOSE in a work lifetime over $275,000 in lost wages ~ the AARP says these losses are over $400,000.
                  Social Security calls these unpaid years "zero years" meaning that this time served is not counted in their calculations.  Not only are women forced to live off the person they are caring for while caring for them, they have ZERO to show for it after this person dies or grows up. You would be stunned at the many women who have done this work living in their cars and in shelters because there is no supp0ort for them at all.

                  Yet Welfare Reform calls all this work "doing nothing". They refuse to support this work and tell people that the only "work" is paid work and that there is no other way to contribute to their communities.

                  People in poverty are caught up in a sticky web of an Institution that seldom lets them go ~ much of the reason being they are depended upon by the upper classes for their own comforts and security.  There are few escapes from this spider's web of deception.  The few who have escaped this Institution are shoved in the face of the poor to "prove" that they can also escape, but this is an illusion.

                  So whenever someone gives these suggestions as if the person is somehow "wasting" what little they have, this is in many ways another way to hide society's responsibility as to the perpetuation of poverty.  It is saying, "it is your fault, if only you did not "choose" your situation..."

                  I know this is not what you meant, I am just saying that poverty is a complicated and quite embedded economic and social condition that needs a better answer than blaming each person for something they cannot escape, no matter how much tofu or beans they eat.

                  I really want to thank you for asking your question and I hope you wanted a real answer. Most of all I do hope this helps you understand enough so that you go out there and discuss these things with your friends!

                  Love, Cat in Seattle
                  Board member of People Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (P.O.W.E.R.)

                  PeeEss: POWER is one of those small nons that operate on less than a DSHS manager's salary yet do 10 X the work.  If you want to contribute there is a place to contact someone to do some work for people in need and/or to make a donation

                  First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

                  by mntleo2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:36:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think the commenter (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, anafreeka

        was lecturing. I don't think the commenter thinks you or FloridaSNMOM and her family are stupid. Maybe the commenter doesn't know all the circumstances, as I certainly don't, and was just trying to be helpful. Seemed to me like a good-hearted thing to do.

        •  It's that if you do a tag search on 'poverty' (6+ / 0-)

          you'll see this exact advice, multiple times, in every comment thread. Every time.

          And telling us to go to food kitchens. Yes, we know.

          Or to go to local churches. Even if it's personally dangerous or triggering (yes, PTSD is real and that serious).

          Or to eat things that we're allergic to, and don't be picky because you're poor. (Oh , yes. It happens. Here. On Daily Kos.)

          So it comes across as condescending as fuck, because every diary we write, we see it. Rice and beans. No shit, Sherlock! Tell us something we didn't learn as kids! Because we did. I grew up poor. Government cheese, when that was still a thing, and I'm extremely lactose intolerant. Didn't matter. I still remember endless meals of rice, beans, and cheese... and being horribly sick.

          But by all means, feel better. Tell us again.

          Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

          by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:17:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            PTSD and lactose intolerance. How was the commenter supposed to know about that?

            Ah, well. I can see I've p$ssed you off and I certainly didn't mean to.

            As to food allergies and intolerances, I can readily sympathize. My son (who's an adult now and carefully monitors his diet), has celiac disease (no wheat,etc.), is highly allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, you name it, is just about done in by sesame seeds or oil, can't have the flu vaccine b/c he's allergic to egg whites, and even single-stone fruit like peaches make him break out in hives. He's very healthy, btw :)

            Except for the nut allergies, everything else came later, when he was in college. So when he was still home, again, we were lucky. We could afford to shop for gluten-free foods. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been if we couldn't.

        •  P.S. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, lurker123

          I don't "know" the commenter, btw. But you said "every 'effing' diary," so maybe there's a history? If so, forgive me.

          Florida SNMOM, thank you for this diary. I can't really offer any good suggestions (not that you were looking for any), and can't honestly say that I know what it's like. I have to monitor my food budget, often very closely, but I won't pretend to be in a situation that's similar to yours.

          I wish you the best.  

          •  Thank you (5+ / 0-)

            and yes, there's a history. Every time there's a poverty diary that deals with food someone has the same suggestions. This one was done nicely, not all of them are. It's the whole "you can live forever on beans and rice" meme. You can't, really. You need much more than that.

            Thank you for your well wishes, and I wasn't worried about this particular commenter, I understood it was well meaning. It's just frustrating sometimes hearing the same things over and over. Often I do get my iron/protein from beans and rice. Right now, after the past few weeks, that's just NOT enough and my body is suffering for it. Hence the insane craving for red meat.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:31:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  hang in there! (10+ / 0-)

    Yep, sounds like living poor in America to me.  I admire your ability to make it all work with two kids in the house, I can barely manage myself most days.

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:03:03 PM PDT

    •  Thanks Mortifyd (5+ / 0-)

      You hang in too! I hope your weekend is peaceful and things calm down until you can move back home again! As for making it work, I do what I have to. The kids help where they can so far as things I don't have the air to do any more. My son is still looking for work, I'm hoping he finds something over the summer at least.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:14:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have to ask what sort of kitchen appliances you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have available.
    Is there an oven? Can you trust the water at your house? If you have a slow-cooker there are some things I can suggest, but you need cooking appliances, good water, and a few minutes to do make the recipes.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:17:45 PM PDT

    •  I have an oven, and a crock pot (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, Mortifyd, anafreeka

      And yes, the water is good. We researched this area before we moved in, for walk-ability and water/neighborhood. I even have a bread machine my mom bought us for Christmas (which has saved us some weeks when we ran out a day or so before payday).

      The biggest detriment is the energy/stamina to cook it. Some days I can make more complicated things than others. Some days the cooking is up to the kids with my supervision. Sunday when Caedy is off we're going to make the ham and green bean soup, because she'll be here to help with the cooking down of the ham bone/stock. I should be able to freeze half of what we're making that day for another meal next week too, hopefully.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:26:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I learnt to make biscuits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        using packets from the store that cost 3 for $1. Two of those packets mixed as one batch in a loaf pan makes good fresh bread -- and the effort required is reading the packet, stirring in the water, and pouring the dough into the pan, which then goes in the oven.

        I have been known to make slow-cooker chili using beef shank slices for the meat. You need a slow cooker, and shank slices that are no more than 1/3 bone marrow.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:32:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have flour and yeast and baking soda/powder (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, Mortifyd

          So I can make biscuits easily enough, or whole loaves of bread in the bread machine (add ingredients, turn on, wait 3 hours). I love my bread machine because even on my worst days I can usually manage it. No kneading, no stirring, just add and wait. That's why my mom bought it for me, because we were making our own bread when I was up to kneading it. But there were days when that just wasn't going to happen LOL.

          I have no idea how much beef shank slices would be, I'd have to look into that. Thank you for the suggestion! Usually we make chilli with 2 rolls of turkey burger ($1.69 for 12 oz), two cans of beans, diced tomatoes and some chilli powder. This month poultry and beans just haven't been cutting it for me, and this was just a slightly worse than normal week for grocery budget. Usually we have about $120.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:40:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If I post the recipe, it's not as an insult. (4+ / 0-)

            But I think there's better information here, even if the prices are out of date:



            Those shanks cook out an enormous amount of rich beefiness.

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:50:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bookmarked the recipes (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mortifyd, psyched

              Thank you. I'll see what I can find. Maybe I can use something besides beef shank if those are too expensive (left over roast cut up, etc.). I hoard my leftover meat scraps to use up, so I'm sure I'll find something!

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:54:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  we're all in this together (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mortifyd, FloridaSNMOM

                so if we're not helping one another something's wrong.

                LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                by BlackSheep1 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:12:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Funny that correntewire should be mentioned (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Besides the interesting recipes, that site is where Kossack Letsgetitdone writes frequently about Modern Money Theory (MMT)  and usually re-posts his writings to DKos.

                Money, of course, is at the base of all hunger in America. Here is one of his diaries:

                That one is actually a re-post from Huff Post by MMT expert Warren Mosler. In it he discusses things the government should be funding, since it is the creator of fiat money, which it can't "run out of." He doesn't specifically mention "revenue sharing" with the states to fund help for low-income citizens, but he and other MMT writers recommend it elsewhere.

                In one of my earlier diaries ( ) I said of Mosler:

                Mosler, aware of the threat of further layoffs at the state level, also proposes that the federal government grant state governments revenue at the rate of $500 per capita.
                The more people who are aware of MMT the better, and the more likely its truths and proposals will be actualized.

                For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

                by psyched on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:53:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Vitamin K (4+ / 0-)

    found in dark leafy greens will help with bruising.  I know fresh spinach can be expensive but if you could add some to your salads it might help.  It also has lots of iron, as do eggs.  Maybe you could add some boiled egg to your salad?   I hope you've got a multivitamin with iron to take as well.  Bless you, FL SN Mom.  I really appreciate your diaries.  My mother's go to meal with a hambone was navy bean soup and cornbread and it's still comfort food for me and siblings.  My kids don't like beans in anything but Mexican food but love split pea (hambone, carrots, onions, split peas) cooked all day until it all dissolves into something like the French potage a St. Germain and it's comfort food for them.
    And what would we do without peanut butter?

    •  I think we have (5+ / 0-)

      red leaf lettuce right now. If I can catch spinach on sale I buy it. I have been eating eggs, and I take b-12 (I'm allergic to metal and iron pills just make me sick which is part of the problem).
      Thanks for reading :), I'm glad to be able to contribute even just a bit. The only thing my kids will eat beans in is chilli and pasta fagoili. (I can't spell tonight). Ham and green beans though they'll eat, and we caught green beans on sale as well so that worked out!

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:10:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From this diary, its unclear (0+ / 0-)

    what you want the state or federal government to do for you, and for how long.

    •  Not cutting back the food stamps (11+ / 0-)

      every couple of months and telling me our income has gone up when it's gone down would be a start. As for how long, I don't see where that's an issue at this point. Both Dad and I are permanently disabled. That's just fact. I worked as long as I could, he's been disabled since birth. Our room mate is working on finding a better job, but as everyone knows, those are scarce right now. Eventually the kids will grow up and we'll be better off because we'll be supporting fewer people. Right now, I'd like to get through the next month, or the next year.

      Acknowledgement of the situation people are in, instead of pointing fingers and accusations of laziness would be nice from our representatives. Working to improve funding for programs that help the poor and improve the economy instead of submarining the whole lot because they feel like it would help as well.

      This diary wasn't really about what I want the government to do. It was about facing the realities of the situation in America. There are a lot of families worse off than we are. There are a lot of families in our situation or on the brink of it.

      What do I want from my state and federal government? How about a realistic world view and acknowledgement that  we exist?

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:19:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like McDonalds because it's like a restaurant--- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    one thing we do to save while going there yet we still get to go is no french fries or drinks. We like water anyway. The dollar menu lets 4 of us go for $4. Of course my kids aren't that big anyway. Kids have never been to a real sit down restaurant in their lives.

    If you've got an oven and time and you can spring for a 50lb bag of flour, that's about all it takes for bread, and homemade bread is delicious. The more you beat it down and let it rise the better it is. A lot less than a buck a big loaf.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:29:35 PM PDT

    •  I do make a lot of our bread (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mortifyd, Caedy, Calamity Jean, anafreeka

      in the bread machine. I can't get a 50 lb bag of flour though. A) no way to get it home, can't carry it. B) no way to store it without it drawing every roach and ant in Florida LOL. We do still buy bread though because my son goes through so much of it. I'd have to bake a couple of loaves a day and that would run up the electric bill a lot further (I only own one loaf pan, plus the bread machine). I supplement with home made bread (and experiment lol).

      I remember when I could get away with that kind of bill at McDonald's. Now the 10 year old eats a double hamburger and fries and the 17 year old eats a regular sized adult meal LOL. They don't stay small for long! I keep telling them to stop growing but for some reason they refuse.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:37:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  oh and tipped and recced, sometimes I feel as if (5+ / 0-)

    there is no one else here from the 40%.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:32:32 PM PDT

  •  I'm very fortunate in my situation, but even so... (3+ / 0-)

    I have IBS activated by all the beans and most of the cruciferous vegetables.  To put it another way, the amount of cooked cabbage in a single egg roll will give me a week's worth of intestinal misery.

    My husband brought home a lot of premade hamburger patties, which isn't a bad thing; we'll grill them and then I'll have them cold in the fridge to warm up first thing in the morning. But I have $5 for food until the 8th of next month. Don't worry, the cupboards overflow, and the freezer is full.

    I've learned I have to eat red meat at least every other day. Around here, though, we have family who hunt, and venison is red meat to my body, and the deer around here tend to browse in apple orchards after eating lots of garden vegetables and field corn. (grin)

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:23:06 PM PDT

    •  I haven't had venison in ages (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Not since I moved to Florida when I was in my early 20's. Before that I had venison whenever the deer came hunting us. I didn't come from a family of hunters, but I was in three different vehicles before I was 21 that were hit by deer while we were driving. (Yes the deer hit us, in the side of the car.)
      I'm not sure how my body would treat it at this point. But it would be a welcome break from chicken, pork and fish LOL.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:23:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a digestive disorder too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, FloridaSNMOM

      In a way it is a blessing. If I were not so limited on what I can eat and sick often enough, my food situation would be much worse. I would be forced to go to the soup kitchens and hope they had something I could digest. Or eat whatever they have and risk throwing up for a couple of days.

      That passed by; this can, too. - Deor

      by stevie avebury on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:37:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's hard even to be frugal when you're broke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You can't afford the things that would save you money overall.  A few things that I like:

    For the anemia, do you like chicken livers?  They are sometimes very cheap in stores around here, and I love them, although I know a lot of people hate them.  It's true there are some issues with factory farming and toxins being stored in liver, but it's hard to get around everything, and organic is expensive.

    Sometimes fermented foods don't affect people the same way as the unfermented.  I'm wondering if real live sauerkraut or kim chi [not canned, that's dead] would get around, or maybe even help, the IBS.  The real thing helps get your gut bacteria back in balance, and you can save by making it yourself, as easily as making bread [also fermented].  I really like this website for information on it:

  •  Having $10 extra to your name is a problem? (0+ / 0-)

    Here in CA, your "assets" or "resources" don't count for food stamps (but only for food stamps).  Only your "income" (so your father's COLA adjustment does count).  I believe that should be true across the US as of sometime in 2012, but who knows?
    (Also, sorry if anyone else has mentioned this in the comments, but I'm traveling and don't have the bandwidth to read all the comments.  If you want the
    online reference to the definitions of resources, assets, and income here in CA, let me know by pm.)  

    •  It would be if I stuck it in a savings account (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, Calamity Jean, anafreeka

      and kept doing that until I actually had enough money to help in an emergency (like someone being out of work). No, this $10 isn't a problem so far as assets go. But how does this $10 help anyone get out of poverty?
      The Republicans are always talking about taking personal responsibility, saving for retirement, trying to better your circumstances. But the safety nets that keep some of us allow do not permit you to take even basic measures to protect yourself from complete destitution.

       If Caedy lost her job tomorrow, in two weeks we would not have money for food. We can't save money for that possibility because then that money would become an asset. Even if we had more than $10 left over at the end (well not the end, she got paid yesterday) of the week.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:21:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At what grocery store (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, FloridaSNMOM

    do you shop?  Do you mind my asking?  At my neighborhood grocery I often purchase those "donation cards" for someone who has a food shortage.  If you are shopping at the same chain where I am, perhaps I can direct those purchases your way (???)

    But I do think I know what you mean about trying to make the limited amount of money go as far as it can -- that takes so much more effort and energy than simply buying what you need, which is something that really can't be understood until you're actually confronted with that task.

    Recently one of my colleagues offered up the assistance of her husband to help my "financial planning" and I kept trying to explain that there weren't any finances to plan with.  But I kept coming off sounding ungrateful, which wasn't what I meant or even felt, but it was clear there was an enormous gulf of experience going on.  She kept trying to suggest that I'd be better off if an expert told me how to spend and save money and I kept trying to explain that there weren't any "savings" to be had when you just don't have enough money to meet your basic housing and food costs without assistance (i.e. a roommate, or a second job or something).

    We were talking past each other, but I was the one who was left feeling bad because I couldn't make the help that wasn't helpful help me.      

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:01:07 PM PDT

    •  At the moment, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, a gilas girl

      the most convenient grocery store is Winn Dixie, we do have a Wal-Mart and a Save-A-Lot in the area, however these are not readily accessible without a car.

      Nothing says your sorry like a dead bunny.

      by Caedy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:51:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What Caedy said :) (0+ / 0-)

        Winn Dixie is our main store. We also shop Family Dollar and Dollar General for some things.

        I understand about the 'financial planning' well meaning friend. I've had people tell me I should buy all kinds of things to help, or save money. But you can't save money when there's none left over to save. And you can't buy new things to help you cook better food when you have no extra money left over either. And when you do have "extra money", you find yourself stocking up on food, in case next week you don't have enough, or in case the water or electric bills jump suddenly and you have to flounder to get those paid.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:51:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sorry I missed this in "real time". (0+ / 0-)

    Your post is a shining example of how much of a struggle it is to get by on the meager amount of money provided by the food stamp program.  

    I had not known that any money you can manage to save is considered an "asset" and would cause you to lose even more in benefits.  

    The system is terribly flawed for you and for others who are just on that bubble, trying to stay afloat.  Deposits, penalties, late fees - these are all things that can sink a family.

    Thank you, FLSNMOM

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 09:21:31 AM PDT

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