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We often hear the GOP rant about how you can make it on $30 a week per person, in fact so much so that they want to cut that amount to $26 a week per person.

Now it is possible to do this, and eat well. but it is not easy.

It is great to find people who can, and when they give you ideas on how to lower your cost and save money, it should be shared.

the peaceful mom has been bloging about raising four teens on an income of $28,000 a year.  Her food budget is $125 a week or $500 a month.  SNAP would give a max of $780 in Ohio for a family of 6.

Does this mean everyone can do it? NO! nor is it easy peasy, it takes a lot of work.  It is still amazing that she does it and i've used some of her tips to help lower my costs and help the people the church helps with SNAP and other assistance.

Worth a visit in my book.

Originally posted to Drill Sgt K on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Go to the inner city and see if you can find (13+ / 0-)

    all those ingredients.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:06:47 AM PDT

  •  Some more resources ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... FNCS Recipe Box, including topics specifically related to SNAP, WIC, and commodities.

    Thanks, D.

    Dwell on the beauty of life. ~ Marcus Aurelius

    by Joy of Fishes on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:15:30 AM PDT

  •  One of the best tips she gives (10+ / 0-)

    Menu planning. For those with the means of transportation, and means of storage, it makes an enormous difference to go to the store no more than once a week, and to go with a list of specific items needed.

    One of the biggest challenges - staples, seasonings and condiments. If someone has to start from an essentially empty pantry they don't have all those basics to build on. For example, she's got a cheeseburger caserole, that in addition to things like ground meat, pasta, tomato sauce etc.; calls for olive oil, salt, italian seasoning, a garlic clove. Once you have an accumulation of such things it's easier to replenish one item here or there, but starting from scratch there's no way. And turning thrifty ingredients into tasty stuff can't be done without those kinds of items.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:17:03 AM PDT

    •  Transportation, storage, (5+ / 0-)

      means to cook (not to mention knowing how), even time are all things many take for granted but are in short supply for those who meet the criteria for SNAP and WIC.

      Take that Cheeseburger Casserole recipe for example. Apart from the food items you'll need:

      1) Reliable supply of clean water
      2) Working range with stove top and oven
      3) Large pan to boil pasta
      4) Colander or other strainer
      5) Large spoon or similar to mix, stir, and serve
      6) Reasonably sharp kitchen knife
      7) Can opener
      8) Cheese grater (possibly optional)
      8) 11x17 baking dish
      9) Towels or pot holders to get it out of the oven
      10) Working refrigerator if I'm not eating it all immeadiately

      In a perfect world I think I could have that put together and cooked in about 45 minutes.

      •  She has made the most of her particular situation. (6+ / 0-)

        You are right about transportation, storage, the ability to cook, etc.  I would also include Time, because many of us have to work.   I wonder though, if in this case you might not be missing the forest for the trees.

        She's on snap not because she's got a dramaticly low income or a broken home, but because she has 4 kids.  Economies of scale come into play when you're cooking for 6 that certainly I don't have, cooking for 1 + dog.  I think that an important point though is not that she has things that you or I don't, or that we have things that she doesn't, etc, but that she took a poor situation and really made something out of it, she's doing a good job there where I think most people - in her situation - would just give up, have pork and beans 3 nights a week, and live on a marginal diet.  

        I think her site is an inspiration, and though I may not have the time (my main constraint is time as I don't have a partner) to do those things she talks about, her tips and story are helpful to me.  She is severly constrained on many fronts that I am not, and yet she her family has a richer and more nourishing diet than mine.  I may sit and use some of her calendar tips, but more for the goal of nutritional improvement than cost savings.

        Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate. - Bertrand Russell

        by Aramis Wyler on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:22:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree it's costly to start a new kitchen (3+ / 0-)

      and a bottle of decent olive oil can cost $12-15 locally.  and those little tins/bottles of herbs/spices are costly, too.

      A couple of times I've had to start a new kitchen while I was dead broke.  (I hadn't even considered Food Stamps back then).  During thse time, I used whatever I was using for butter instead of oil (or used cheaper veg oil), and I found that having only two seasonings -- poultry seasoning and a 'sweet' baking mix (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) could carry me through for a while.  Then add another herb/spic/mix when I could, one at a time.

      •  The price of tins/bottles of spice are a crime (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm fortunate to live ina large enough area where I can get to a store that sells spices in bulk. Means I can get small quantities as needed so when I use it, it's fresher. And the price difference is enormous.  A number of years ago I did a diary on Whats for Dinner, and included info on that.

        A problem with spices, though, is they can be expensive – but they don’t have to be.
        I recently priced celery seed and ginger at my local supermarket. They were in these little bottles, each with slightly less than an ounce. The ginger was priced at $4.49 and the celery seed at $5.19. What happens if I am "playing with my food" and discover I don’t care for ginger? I’ve used a tiny bit of the stuff, and the rest goes to waste. Or if it turns out I rarely cook anything needing celery seed, when I need it again in 18 months it is well past its fresh and best.

        A more cost effective way to go is to buy from someone who sells bulk spices. If need be you can do this on-line. Here's one site, and I hope some commenters may recommend others. This one (Spicehouse) sells 4 ounces of ginger for $4.69 – more than four times as much as the grocery store, and about the same price. Their 4 ounces of celery seed is $2.79 – again four times as much, and waaay less than $5.19 at the grocery. There is still an issue of waste, though, if you decide you don’t like a spice at all, or if you don’t use it often. [UPDATE: myrealname has "it" - Penzey's]

        If you are very, very lucky –  as I am -  there may be a store in your area that sells bulk spices that you can dip out in the quantity you need, even if it’s just a few spoonfuls. My spice box has lots of little baggies, with just a tablespoon or so of spice in each. My baggie of ginger cost me 28 cents, and my baggie of celery seed was 25 cents.  Here’s how royally your supermarket is ripping you off:  If I wanted the ginormous quantity of a whole pound of ginger, it would cost me $4.99 where I bought mine. In the little bottles at the grocery it would be $106.64

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:05:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  herbs & spices... (0+ / 0-)

        IF POSSIBLE, consider whether buying bulk spices (in small quantities, of course) from non-mainstream groceries might be more do-able than paying for those tins & bottles of (these days) usually irradiated-to-extend-shelf-life-but-not-so-labeled! spices & herbs...

        of course, I live in a West Coast college town, that has the reputation of "where the hippies went to retire", so I have LOTS of "alternative" grocery sources, 8-)  I understand that other parts of the country may not have so many options.

        also, you will want to collect appropriate storage containers for your spices. these days, I'd hang onto the dark dark green plastic bottles my Vitamin D3 supplement pills come in, if I had to replace the dark brown glass jars that I found decades ago (but can no longer remember what came in them! 8-))  Also do NOT locate herbs & spice storage near heat sources -- heat and light will "kill" them faster than anything.

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:11:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A local pharmacy in Freedom, CA (5+ / 0-)

    is giving out free vitamins for children. The owner of the pharmacy felt  that children  in higher income households were more likely to have their nutritional needs met. Free vitamins for children living in lower income families seemed like a good idea.  The article is available at

    Time is a long river.

    by phonegery on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:52:21 AM PDT

  •  Those recipes look interesting (4+ / 0-)

    but most of them either my kids wouldn't eat, or couldn't eat due to allergies. My autistic son won't eat foods mixed together and can't have milk, so that leaves a lot of those recipes out. Also, she doesn't offer her kids snacks, which doesn't work for a hypoglycemic teen either. I'm really glad it works for her. There's no way I could feed my family like that.
    Thanks for posting it though, at least it's not just beans and rice!

    "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 Jun 21, 2013 at 10:46:54 AM PDT

  •  Great resource, DrillSgtK (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, CroneWit, Joy of Fishes

    I've republished to Hunger in America.

    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 Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:52:21 AM PDT

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