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Journal Marxist Hacker 42's Journal: $1/meal/person? I thought that was a NORMAL food budget! 17

The Governor of Oregon and his wife have taken up The Food Stamp Challenge, a program for rich people here in Oregon to give them a taste (litterally) of how the other half lives. I think it's a good idea- but then I saw the budget: $42 for the week, or $1/person/meal. Well, I've got a 3 person family- and we try to stay under $60/week for our food, under $90 if you throw in food for the daycare business, but that raises the number of people eating to 8. I thought this was a NORMAL food budget- it allows for creative cooking and even a gourmet attempt every now and then. Is that what people really get on food stamps?
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$1/meal/person? I thought that was a NORMAL food budget!

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  • My family of 3 spends roughly 300 per month on food and diapers. If we had $42 a week per person that would be $540 a month for food without diapers. If only I made less then I would qualify to eat better. I know people who don't work full time for just this reason. Taking a job would mean they had less money (food).

    • I think you've slipped a person or two...that's $21/week/person at $3/person/meal. The Governor's $42 food budget is for him and his wife. Still, yes, $540/month is a HUGE food budget- and we even put the diapers in a separate account as a business expense (Shannon has 4 kids today in the daycare: 2 in pullups, 2 in diapers, and one of the kids in pullups is sick. Can't turn the sick kid away from the daycare- it's our own Christopher).

      I've got to look for it, but I also read an editorial on Friday in
      • $3 per meal * 3 meals = $9 per day.
        7 days in a week * $9 per day = $63 per week.
        $63 per week * 2 people = $126 for two people for a week.

        So you only get one meal per day with your math...

        $3 per meal * 1 meal per day = $3 per day
        7 days * $3 per day = $21 per week
        2 people * $21 = $42 a week

        It's much harder to plan for $1 per-person meals than to plan for $3 per-person meals. At least it is if you like a varied diet or any kind of fresh foods. Variety and fresh foods are, of course, considered necessary for go
        • Ah, thanks for the catch. I knew there was something wrong with the description in the newspaper, couldn't quite put my finger on it.

          But here in Oregon, it's certainly possible to feed people on less than $1/meal. It just takes some creative shopping and use of ingredients. Of course, in my case, it's also nice to have a brother with a farm...
      • $21 per week would be $3 per person per day - or $1 per meal, assuming three meals per day. $3 per meal per day would be $63, which would not be all that hard to do. That would cover a couple of loaves of bread, a dozen eggs, a couple of decent-sized jugs of fruit juice (even the 100% juice ones that I normally drink), two or three different kinds of fresh veggies, a good-sized bag of rice, and a large chunk of inexpensive meat (which would serve for sandwiches and main course for the whole week). I'd pr
        • No idea- though it certainly does seem a bit leaner. While I was unemployed, we were still officially too rich for food stamps- but our food budget was about $40/week. With Christopher, that went up to about $65/week....
        • You could probably save a little more by buying cans of frozen concentrate, instead of jugs. I think apple juice has those little pink WIC labels, so that might be subject to additional savings or whatever.
          • Any 100% concentrate is WIC compatible. I always went for the cheapest when we were on WIC.
          • by Qzukk ( 229616 )
            You can actually do it for a lot less. I highly recommend you not try, though, it isn't fun or healthy for anyone involved. Thin your milk (use powdered milk), shop late evening and buy the meat that's "going out", likewise with not-so-fresh bread (freeze it to slow the molding process, otherwise just tear off the moldy bits) (some places have "day old" bread stores, I call them "used bread"). A tub of cheap bologna and a loaf of bread can probably make about 10 lunches, likewise, a big bag of malt-o-mea
            • Yeah, that's true, you can cut more corners. I didn't think the difference between frozen concentrate and hydrated concentrate in jugs was going to be a big health issue, though :)

              When I tutored elementary school kids while in college, I noticed they had free breakfast for anyone who showed up (including teachers, and they liked us tutors, also), and free lunch for kids who had registered. I knew some kids were not taking advantage of the programs, when they could have benefited from them. Really, if someon
              • Back when food stamps we're cash equivalent coupons and not a debit-card system, I've seen parents send a kid into the store to buy say an apple, pay for it with a $10 food stamp, cashier makes change from that in cash, then the parent goes in and buys smokes/beer/National Enquirer with the cash. The debit card system we have today is much better about preventing this sort of fraud, I like it.
    • Edited now- it's $1/meal/person.....which at least *sounds* like a lot less....
  • Two adults, 5 dogs, two cats(I feed a lot of cheap cuts of meat to them, especially since this bogus petfood recall nonsense, trying to switch to all home made pet food now-it gets expensive). I also stockpile "extras" (right now adding to honey because of the colony collapse disorder so I am getting a lot ahead, and olive oil-I am antsy about good cooking oil for some reason..dunno why, but am stockpiling it, every week, plus if stuff is on sale I usually grab a lot of it for the pantry stash, example, whe
    • Oregon's still pretty good internally- we're still a net exporter of food even with all the cheap veggies from South America. I have no doubt that if it came down to that, my family could eat on what I raise practicing permaculture on my little quarter acre urban, not to mention the extended family farm and foraging in Kitzhaber's new "forest pantries", state parks that are set aside for wildlife and hunting and fishing. Got a good crop of chard planted in the front yard- if anybody complains about me not
  • by turg ( 19864 ) *
    Well foods a bit more expensive up here (less government subsidy for farmers, more transportation involved -- one tenth the population of the USA spread over nearly twice the area).

    I try to keep the meat serving for supper under $2 per serving. Outside of that, I'm pretty sure it's less than $1 per meal.
  • Let's see, we've got a family of five, a six-figure income, and budget $105 per week for groceries, and $50 for dining out. That makes $31/week/person, or $1.47/meal. If you avoid prepared and processed foods with a tradeoff of 10 or 15 minutes extra cooking time, I don't think $1/meal is anything to cry about. This is in Tennessee where the price level is probably slightly lower than the US average, but the sales tax is around 10%.

    We buy what's on sale, and look for other bargains as some have noted her
    • Exactly my point. I see this as a *NORMAL* budget, not any great shakes of eating cheaply. More food than money is a darn good description of the middle class in America today.

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