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Old 09-17-2014, 12:46 PM   #1
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The SNAP (Food Stamps) Challenge

This blogger is taking the SNAP challenge - eating on a food-stamp budget for a month to experience what it's like. The budget is $4.50 per day. Here's the summary of the first week; she just finished the second week's summary, too. Very interesting reading.

SNAP Challenge: Week 1 Summary - Budget Bytes
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:45 PM   #2
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I feel bad that she wasted her money on Ziploc containers instead of recycling some jars or plastic food containers.

It's getting tougher and tougher to stick entirely to a SNAP budget.

I think it would be impossible with a family of school age children.

I am always curious about what people buy in the grocery store and how they approach living on a tight budget. I'm the nosy old fool sneaking a peak at what you have in your grocery cart!
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:55 PM   #3
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I'm the nosy old fool sneaking a peak at what you have in your grocery cart!
I'm right there with you.

It's always interesting so see what food choices people make for their families.

Those grocery store receipts are an eye opener for me. Everything is so much cheaper in LA! Are those prices pretty much the norm for you folks?I knew the cost of living here was high but man! I'm almost tempted to try and replicate her list and see how much more it would be here. I know that's a totally different subject.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:02 PM   #4
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Those prices are fairly typical for this area too. You can do much better on the frozen veg if you get it on sale, usually around $1 for 12-16oz. The chicken seems about right too, for a regular priced item.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:44 PM   #5
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The first thing I noticed was her trip to Whole Foods. First, nobody I know who is on SNAP can afford to shop at Whole Foods. Not even for bulk foods in bins. She also bought only one frozen veggie for her first week. No wonder she wanted to head out for Burger King at the end of her experiment. When you buy cereal, you buy house brand. You buy house brand on a lot of items. Very rarely would you have any monies left of your SNAP allotment at the end of the month. But if you shop real careful, you can have some foods left at the end of the month to carry into the next month.

But that doesn't mean you can splurge on some luxury items next month. It just means that you continue to shop as you always do so that you build up a pantry of foods. She fails to mention how much she is allotted for one person in her state. Even though it is a Federal food program, it is run by the state and it is your state that makes that determination. In my state I receive $141 a month. Some receive more than that for one person. Only because their rent is higher and they have utilities to pay. I have only a low rent. I live in subsidize housing. If I didn't have a son to take me shopping and back home, I would have to pay for a taxi or The Ride. $8.00 total. Or as a last resort, I could utilize the Senior Shuttle which is free. But it is always crowded with other shoppers and it makes many stops for them and their groceries. It is not the best option for me. The author of the article most likely had a vehicle of her own.

The author admits that her experiment was a failure. And I am not surprised. You can live on SNAP and not to shabbily. You just have to be a smart shopper and willing to do without all the junk foods I see in other carriages at the store where I shop.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:52 PM   #6
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Yeah, I probably wouldn't go to Whole Paycheck if I had to be on food stamps. Don't even get me started on my $18 salad bar!
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:59 PM   #7
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My hat is off to you, Addie. I've always been somewhat uncomfortable with trend of the SNAP experiment. Unless you live it you can't possibly understand all dynamics involved. Like being able to physically get to grocery stores that have the best quality food for the best prices. I can't imagine lugging home grocery bags on public transportation. You are fortunate in having family to help.

I appreciate your sharing your real life experience.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:15 PM   #8
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The author does say she is approaching it as if it happened to her as a temporary circumstance, such as losing a job. And many recipients do have cars, or family or friends who can take them, like you do, Addie. She said her weekly budget is $30, which makes her monthly allotment $120.

I was surprised she went to Whole Foods, too, and that she bought boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which cost more for the extra processing. But I think it would be normal for someone in that position to go through a learning curve to figure out the best way to manage things.

She thought she failed because she do as well as she thought she should have. I think it illustrates how difficult it is to manage on this budget. And it's not over. She's doing this for a month, so that essay was just for week one.
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:47 PM   #9
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The author does say she is approaching it as if it happened to her as a temporary circumstance, such as losing a job. And many recipients do have cars, or family or friends who can take them, like you do, Addie. She said her weekly budget is $30, which makes her monthly allotment $120.

I was surprised she went to Whole Foods, too, and that she bought boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which cost more for the extra processing. But I think it would be normal for someone in that position to go through a learning curve to figure out the best way to manage things.

She thought she failed because she do as well as she thought she should have. I think it illustrates how difficult it is to manage on this budget. And it's not over. She's doing this for a month, so that essay was just for week one.
I totally agree with the learning curve. Things that are "normal" for her to buy really don't make sense on a food stamp budget, bone in leg quarters may have been a much more sensible choice.

I can kind of understand the whole foods purchases, if you have limited funds you may not have enough money to buy a whole package of something, but you can get some out of a bulk bin, even if it isn't the best unit price.

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Old 09-18-2014, 11:57 PM   #10
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Whole Foods? as in whole paycheck?

if you have to budget, you don't ahop there or fairway.
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