Could our family live on $952/month for groceries?

This topic has come up before, and frankly it irritates me a bit.  In the past we’ve had readers and companies “challenge” us to live on a Food Stamp budget for just one month.  Ha!  I wish we could, according to SNAP Chart (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) our family of 6 would get $952 a month for FOOD!  Can you believe that?!   Our most recent budget was $75/week and that’s an increase from the original $60.  Our kids are getting bigger, eating more, and going to school which means school lunches need to be packed.  When I share these numbers with those that challenge us, they move right along.

So what got my juices going again on this topic?  This Whole Foods blog post from a “frugal foodie” who did a guest post for them.   She bet Whole Foods that she could keep her monthly budget under the USDA “Thrifty Budget” which she says is 30% higher than the Food Stamp allotment would be.  (I don’t see the numbers she suggests anywhere though) Either way, she set her budget at $491.10 for 30 days for a family of 3.   She won the bet and I am happy to say she donated the proceeds to a local food bank.  Here is a portion of the blog…

Throughout the 30 days I kept thinking of families who were living at or below the poverty level trying to feed everyone. It was such a struggle for us even though we had done our homework and only had to do it for one month. I can’t imagine what the grind feels like after months or years of living like this.

It’s articles like this that really get to me, you see there is a working class out there that is living on MUCH less for groceries each week than any other group of people here in the US.   I absolutely think the SNAP program has a time and place and is a wonderful resource for struggling families, but to be frank the numbers appear incredibly wasteful to me.  I’ve had friends in the past that were receiving Food Stamps and they were eating very well, often times with a surplus to spend on extras each month.  Even the USDA “Thrifty Budget” would be a huge increase for us, and we’re not eating beans and rice; or junk food for that matter.

Whew.  Thanks for letting me vent.  I just wish more people understood what frugal and thrifty actually meant, if they did our country would be in a much different place today.   Those of you who visit here regularly are working very hard to provide for your families and to cut your budgets back for one reason or another and I applaud you.   You’re doing a great service to your family and generations to come.

It is not my intention to offend anyone, these are just my opinions and the result a few free minutes this evening.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.


Comments

  1. Bethany Britt Morrill via Facebook says

    Agree. Our family budget is $75 a week for a family of four, and we have to purchase low-carb, high-end foods because my husband is diabetic. Thanks for posting this for those of us who work hard to make the dimes stretch.

  2. Angie Lowry via Facebook says

    years ago when hubby and i were starting out we got assistance. They gave us $150 a MONTH. at the time i didn’t coupon or know as much as i do know. but $150 was no way enough to feed 3. Hubby was working full time as a firefighter/emt and bringing home $500 every 2 weeks. we had rent and everything else to pay. it amazes me this “system” we have. Now, family of 4 and much better off. I’m smarter and have my groceries down to $50 a week. Wish I knew what I do now, then.

  3. Carrie Hunt Cerve via Facebook says

    I also run a coupon blog so I do put a lot of time into couponing but I also see how much time and effort others put into it as well just to be able to make it each month. It is definitely something you work for :)

  4. Lara says

    We have triplets and only spend about 150-200 a month at most for all five of us and eat VERY well and healthy too. We coupon and shop sales, ect. $952 I’m sorry is insane!

  5. Melyssa Green via Facebook says

    Thats a lot. I average about $85/wk with a $100/wk budget. The leftover $ gets saved up for stockpiling.

  6. says

    Wow even $526 is waaaaay too much. Thanks to coupons and buying meats/foods/other items on clearance as well as shopping at grocery outlets, 99 cent stores, hostess bakery outlet as well as Target, I save so much. Interesting article though.

  7. says

    I work at a grocery store and although i know some people really need foodstamps some dont and it’s a career for them. On one occasion I sold someone $170 in lobster tails and they used foodstamps. I mean seriously???? Most people sell them or buy the most expensive junk food you can think of. Then there are the few who get them because they lost their job or having a hard time and actually come in and budget on them. I get by on $100 a week for a family of 4. I couldn’t imagine 700 a month lol

    • Erin says

      I don’t think government should dictate what citizens eat. BUT, if you agree to accept free food on the government dime, I think you should only be allowed to buy relatively healthy food. I worked in a low-socioeconomic school where 85% of my students received free lunch. Most for the children were very well fed, and too many were fat. If they want chips and candy, they should use their own money, not mine and yours…

  8. Tonya Evans Appling via Facebook says

    WOW I had no idea that was the amount SNAP was allowing. Makes me realize now how people who have it harder than my family, seem to have more free money. My family of 4 doesn’t eat anywhere NEAR that and I have a 20 & 16 yr old!

  9. Whitney Flores via Facebook says

    I once was almost brought to tears when our family was struggling to afford living expenses like electricity, let alone food! And then discovered a friend of mine had hundreds of dollars in food stamps at her disposal. The money she got in one month could last our (larger than hers) family at least 6 weeks. I spoke up about it and of course got bashed around for it. I was speaking while angry and also not very mindful of other peoples feelings at the time… but the experience has still left an impression on me after all these years.

  10. Karen Crabtree via Facebook says

    I’m sure it was hard to stay within $900 a month shopping at Whole Foods. Sorry, but that place is way overpriced… I love your post though. I know folks that get food stamps and eat way better then my family of five. Changes do need to be made within the systems when it comes to assistance but the problem is, when politics get involved, it seems to be “all or nothing” when it comes to such changes. I’ll just continue to work with what I’ve got and just hope that should I ever be in need, there will be assistance for my family too.

    • Mae says

      As hard as it is to admit, I have suffered financially since 2006. Guess where I do about thirty-five percent of my shopping? Whole Foods Market. I get fantastic deals and I am not exaggerating either… they have, believe it or not the best price locally on cage-free eggs ($1.99), half & half, og instant oatmeal in bulk, og carrots, og apples and many other basic staples. But even better, are the deals I get from snooping the isles. The unadvertised deals are the ones that got me hooked shopping there mostly. Than I began noticing all the great deals, that you would never guess existed just from a quick glance at their silly prices in the sales flyer. 😉 If you give Whole Foods a second look, you might just see things in a new light. Funny thing is—when money was good, I thought WFM was pricey. :-)

  11. Rebecca Jahnke says

    Wow! I can’t imagine having that much money to spend on groceries each month! I don’t even spend half that much! It’s no wonder so many people would rather live off the government then get a job, that is crazy!! I, like you, realize there are many people out there that need to have assistance, but there are also many that don’t! my husband was out of work for over a year and a half and I know we qualified for assistance, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it and sadly I have known people who really needed it and couldn’t get it. This system is very broken!!

    • says

      Rebecca, I’m certain there were points in the life of my family that we could have qualify and frankly should have asked for help – instead we used credit cards to float us. There was always someone who was worse off than us is what we told ourselves. We’ll be debt free soon, but free money would have been nice :)

  12. Marie says

    I can totally relate. We’re feeding our family of 8 on a little over $400 a month. We qualify for school lunches, but I feel my kids eat healthier if they bring their own. Plus we try to put a little aside for lean days. I would love an extra $100 a month for groceries – not that we’d eat much differently. More organics maybe.

    • says

      Our schools actually have wonderfully healthy options BUT they charge $2.40/per child/per lunch. I can do better than that so I send them with a lunch from home.

  13. says

    Wow! I also have a family of 6, my husband makes good money and he allots me $200 a week for groceries. (Which I know is a lot of money). I didn’t realize that we weren’t even allowing ourselves the amount we would get in food stamps. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  14. Erin says

    I had no idea SNAP was so generous! I agree that there is definitely a need for support of very poor families, but, wow! A cashier told me that it isn’t unusual to have someone buy products using SNAP and return them for cash a few minutes later. Unfortunately, it is often products like milk that cannot be resold. So, taxpayers and stores take the loss and the recipient walks away with cash to buy whatever he/she wants.

      • Abby says

        In Oregon, where plastic bottles and aluminum cans be returned to the store for a refund of $.05 each, it isn’t unheard of to see someone purchase soda using food stamps, empty the cans in the parking lot of the grocery store, and redeem them for cash on the spot. More often than not, that cash is used to purchase something that food stamps don’t allow, like alcohol. Talk about a broken system.

  15. Melinda King Brecheisen via Facebook says

    I spent $600 a month for a family of 5, but that is not just food, that is all our monthly purchases for the home including OTCs, toilet paper, shampoo, lightbulbs, etc etc. If I had that much JUST for food I’d be buying lobster too!

  16. Dot Quaid says

    I’ve been on food stamps, they must have raised the limits because one child and I got about $150 a month, if I remember right (20 years ago). Were it not for coupons, we would never have had shampoo, toothpaste, etc (remember the free trial size coupons?)…

  17. Renea says

    I understand completely how you feel. I learned how to coupon 6 years ago during a really rough financial time for us when we were close to qualifying for assistance, but not close enough. It was such a huge struggle to make ends meet and my husband was working 50 hours a week at one low paying job, plus 8 hours at another. In the political realm, if anyone brings up the amount given for food assistance and says it’s plenty generous, they are treated like they’re out of touch elites. Baloney. We lived (and continue to live) below middle class and spend far less than the government allots for those on assistance. And we don’t eat rice and beans either. I spend around $400 a month (sometimes a little more if I’m stocking my freezer with sale meats) and we have a family of 5.

  18. Renea says

    Oh, I should add that my children aren’t babies either. One is a 14 year old boy who is eating us out of house and home, a 10 year old, and a 5 year old.

  19. says

    Amen, sister. Excellent post. Thanks for saying what I’m always too afraid to say to my friends who spend WAAAAAYYYY more than I do on food! I admit, I’m a weirdo (@$200 a month for 4), but I do a ton of “whole food” and from scratch meals. It can definitely be done!

    • Kelly says

      Oh my, I’d love to get some of your recipes! I just bought a grain mill and am ordering wheat berries to try to eat mostly plants/whole foods (we do alot but can be better). Any chance you have a blog too? : )

  20. Eileen Tew via Facebook says

    Most people on Food Stamps do not get that much. That is the maximum. When my husband was out of work for six months they only gave us 250 a month. But I was grateful.

  21. Karen Crabtree via Facebook says

    Yeah, I see when you post them but still, there are way better options (for my family anyway) out there as far as getting good deals. Winco, GO, like 10 different Dollar Stores… I also don’t have a Whole Foods close by. Traveling to different towns for one or two good deals just doesn’t cut it:(

  22. says

    Karen Crabtree I completely understand that, I guess I was saying that I think I could shop exclusively from Whole Foods for a month on our budget if I had too. But that’s such a hard thing to figure out because we have a great stockpile as it is.

  23. says

    We have a family of 4 and got hit with a financial blow and when it came time for groceries I went to lucky, Safeway, and Raley’s just to get deals, I spent $70 total that day and then we went to Sam’s two weeks later and spend another $70 and we’ve been fine.
    I know someone on welfare who said she gets more food stamps a month than she knows what to do with and then we ran into her at the store and she said shed get my groceries *score!* but after we checked out, she wanted the cash. Awkward…..

  24. Karen Crabtree via Facebook says

    I didn’t even consider the stockpile. I think if something happened and we were strapped for cash, food wise we would be ok. I’ve got 2 fridge/freezers and both are always full.

  25. Melinda King Brecheisen via Facebook says

    ha ha @ Cheryl. That is awkward and yes by asking for the cash your friend committed a felony!

  26. Amanda Corvello via Facebook says

    I tracked my groceries this month and I was pleased to see us at budget which is $450 family of 4 plus whoever decides to stop by. People just have to be real about what they need. I’m sure if i didn’t use coupons, sales, and shopped at a high end store my spending would be double.

  27. says

    I know…… When she said it I was looking around for cameras and totally freaked out…so not the position I’m normally in, I didn’t know what to do or say so I just gave her the money and haven’t talked to her since.

  28. Amber in Maine says

    I feed my family of 4 on less than $100 every week. I say “less than” because my budgeted $100 includes all household stuff (toiletries, pet stuff, etc.) and still save a surplus some weeks. And we live in the Northeast, which is a bit more expensive on lots of things, including meat. I’m ashamed to say that we don’t even really try – I plan our menu, but I rarely shop sales and price shop only the meats (which I often buy at BJ’s to save money) and that’s it. If I really try I can save about $20 a week, but I work, have 2 kids, am pregnant and thus have no energy for the moment.

    A friend lived with us this summer while between jobs, helping us around the house. He got $271 in food stamps a month. And when he moved in he was living on expensive junk and Ramen noodles, depending on the time of the month. I brought him shopping with me and taught him how to actually buy real food. By the time he moved out this fall he had a significant surplus every month (of course, I usually fed him dinner – without impacting our budget much – which saved him money) and he’s doing much better now.

    I think a lot of issue is education. So many people from all sorts of economic backgrounds have no clue how to make a menu or a list and shop with a purpose instead of by impulse.

  29. Kelly says

    Oh my gosh. I had no idea it was that much! I feel extravagent for spending $500/month on our family of 6!

    It really, really, really bugs me when I see people buying junk with it – candy, soda, and other-wise completely non-nutritional items. I think that is something that could be improved – only allow produce, dairy, milk, bread and grains. Those other things are splurges and if people who aren’t on assistance can’t buy them when they are pinching pennies, people who are on assistance shouldn’t be able to buy them with it.

    So have you stopped homeschooling? I would be interested to hear how the transition to regular school has gone. If I’ve missed that somewhere, I’d love to see. (I homeschool my kids and always wonder what it would be like to go back).

  30. Holly Meikle DeVito via Facebook says

    It’s why I think food stamps should be required to be used with coupons and they should give coupon ing classes with them. When you know better, you do better.

  31. DeeDee says

    I had neighbors who recently moved, but while living here they were on food stamps. They had 3 teens and 2 adults and got the full amount. By week 3 they were starving! I coupon and run a coupon blog/FB page and was constantly trying to pass coupons on to them, alert them to a good deal, etc… But they would never do anything with it. Finally I just began inviting them over for dinner that last week of each month and then sending them home with a bag of food, with stuff mostly for the teens.

  32. Susie says

    Wow. I would LOVE to know how they get to that figure… What kind of food does the government think people on assistance buy? Just wow. Maybe they should scale way back on the amount given and use the excess to TEACH them how to “survive” on less. Maybe the assistance should be like WIC and only be used to purchase specific items…looks like the government is assisting in the obesity of America.

    • Lisa says

      “What kind of food does the government think people on assistance buy?” – That’s a major insult and I’m not even on food stamps and I’m offended. What do mean, “people on assistance”. Are they different from you because they need assistance? Do you think you’re better than them? Are you saying everyone who needs SNAP is obese? So, because someone needs help, they can only buy what someone says they can buy? Your last sentence just kills me and I can’t even reply back to that ignorant and insensitive comment.

      • Cary says

        If as a taxpayer (the ones footing the bill) I am assisting somebody, YES they should only buy what I think they should buy!!!! What are you talking about? Yes they are different from me because they need assistance. I would be GLAD to assist but certainly not so that it can be WASTED on JUNK. How dare you suggest that people on assistance should be able to buy whatever they want to buy. This is why the government should stay out of the welfare buisness and leave it to the local church.

        • Cary says

          Of course people who need help should get it but I don’t believe for a moment that their greatest need is being met by throwing money at them. The system we have degrades and belittles rather than exorting and helping people who are struggling. The more localized the help is, the more personal and appropriate the help will be for the circumstances.

          By the way, I am aghast that the family who’s father was out being a hero to protect our country has to get public assistance. We should be honouring our heros and their families for their service and it appears that in this case, they are not be compensated enough to live on.

          • Stephanie says

            Cary,
            Yes, I am one of “those” that you are disgusted by. I am one of “those” that you think you should be able to control. I am one of “those” that is disgusted and saddened by your thought process. It is wrong. Very very wrong.

            I do received SNAP at this season in life. It is a season, not a way of life. It is needed and appreciated.

            1) Localized help would be great. I used to volunteer at my local food banks and was involved in the church pantry. However, the majority of what comes through is canned junk, and expired and near rotten fresh produce. It’s not enough. Ideal yes-realistic not so much.

            2) You have no right to tell me what to buy. No one tells you what to buy. Reality is is that many receiving SNAP are working and have had a hit to income. Sometimes, for some people, it is cheaper to buy a bit more junk to last a bit longer. I try to buy as organic and whole as possible. On $200 a month, for 2 people in SoCal is hard. Coupons don’t cut it and aren’t for fresh produce. If my daughter, who lives a hellish life for a 4 year old, wants an occasional little bag of Cheetos or a treat, she will have it. She has enough people telling her what she can and can’t have, she doesn’t need you dictating “oops, sorry honey-your mommy sucks, lives off my money and I didn’t say she could buy that for you. You get no treats. You only get what I say” REALLY????? That is what you are saying. Am I wrong?

            My greatest need isn’t money thrown at me. If you think that is what happens-you are wrong. Do some people get more than they need or abuse the system. YES!!!! that is not the majority. It’s not money just thrown at me. It sure as heck doesn’t provide a lavish lifestyle.

            How much do you donate or actually work and donate your time to a local charity? How much do you judge those getting help? How much do you think about what it must feel like to not have a support system to take you in that you don’t need a soup kitchen, a church pantry or government assistance? How much do you think about what got them to that point? How much do you think about the persons feelings? How often do you turn your nose up to “those” people you feel entitled to telling them what to buy?

            I hope you think a bit more before you think hateful thoughts. I hope you offer a genuine, non judgmental, less arrogant hand up instead of a hand out. I hope you NEVER ever find yourself in my position, or those similar to me.

            You only said one nice, helpful thing. Our military personal should not have to rely on other government assistance programs. It is reality. Many kids of military parents don’t qualify for extended health coverage and therapy needs yet it’s not provided to them. That is shame on America.

          • Cary says

            Thanks Stephanie for your comments. Before you state that we don’t know you (of course you’re correct in that) may I suggest you look in the mirror. You don’t know us either. And this website – a great website may I add – is not the place for these types of discussions.

            But with that said, please re-read my posts: I nevert use the word “disgusted”. You however used the word to describe me two sentences later. I really don’t care what you serve your daughter for lunch, what you do with your life, etc. That is up to you, your daughter, and your God. We all have struggles in our lives and various seasons in life that are harder than others. If you then choose to ask for any assistance (public or other), I believe we are obligated to help you both physically and spiritually. [That we are being forced to do this via the government as compared to via local churches and faith-based organizations is the frustration.] What I am trying to say (to you and Deborah below) is that we have a moral (if not legal, depending on what was signed with the funds were started) to receive and use assistance [assistnace is not paychecks obviously] for its intended purpose. That’s all. Do people abuse this? We all know it happens. Do you? I take you at your word.

            That my family volunteers regularly for over a decade, and give financially every month to several faith-based groups, is irrelevant. It just shows you don’t know us. A level of grace, respect, and understanding of other people’s opinions might be helpful. You are obviously stressed and stuggling. Please don’t take it out on a stranger.

          • Marsha says

            cary,
            I agree, those who pay taxes should absolutely be able to dictate what those on assistance are able to buy. On another note, asthe wife of a soldier I agree that no soldier should ever have to be on assistance, the government should take better care of their soldiers.

        • Deborah says

          Cary, do you also believe that you should tell every government employee what they should spend their paychecks on? After all, you help pay them.
          If someone gives you a gift, do they have the right to tell you how to use that gift? If they give you money, do they have the right to tell you how to spend it? I bet you wouldn’t appreciate that.
          I have plenty of other things to say to your insulting comments, but I am not going to waste anymore energy on a narrow minded bigoted person.

          • Stephanie says

            Cary-
            I shouldn’t waste my time-but you really missed the point.

            “Thanks Stephanie for your comments. Before you state that we don’t know you (of course you’re correct in that) may I suggest you look in the mirror. You don’t know us either. And this website – a great website may I add – is not the place for these types of discussions.” I DIDN’T START THE DISCUSSION, AND I SURE AS HECK DIDN’T MAKE YOU INSULT MANY PEOPLE! I SIMPLY REPLIED TO MY STORY, SO THAT PEOPLE CAN GET A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. YOU TOTALLY MISSED THAT POINT.

            “But with that said, please re-read my posts: I nevert use the word “disgusted”. You however used the word to describe me two sentences later.”
            i SAID: “Yes, I am one of “those” that you are disgusted by. I am one of “those” that you think you should be able to control. I am one of “those” that is disgusted and saddened by your thought process. It is wrong. Very very wrong.” ARE YOU NOT DISGUSTED BY THOSE ON THE SYSTEM? BECAUSE YOUR RESPONSES REAK OF DISGUST. JUST BEING HONEST. AND…I DID NOT SAY YOU WERE AT ALL, SO HOW DID I DESCRIBE YOU AS SUCH? I CLEARLY SAID I AM DISGUSTED BY YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS.

            ” I really don’t care what you serve your daughter for lunch, what you do with your life, etc. That is up to you, your daughter, and your God.” YOU REALLY DO. YOU JUST GOT DONE SAYING SEVERAL TIMES THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO “HELP” ME AND TELL ME WHAT TO BUY AND WHAT TO DO.

            ” We all have struggles in our lives and various seasons in life that are harder than others. If you then choose to ask for any assistance (public or other), I believe we are obligated to help you both physically and spiritually. [That we are being forced to do this via the government as compared to via local churches and faith-based organizations is the frustration.]” I DON’T THINK I LIKE THE SOUNDS OF YOUR RELIGION. I AM A PROUD CHRISTIAN, BUT I WOULD NEVER TELL SOMEONE WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO DO IT, AND I SURE AS HECK WOULDN’T JUDGE THEM AS YOU ARE. I AGREE-BACK IN THE SAY PEOPLE RELIED ON THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD AND CHURCHES FOR HELP. LIKE I SAID BEFORE, IT IS IDEAL BUT NOT REALISTIC. IT JUST ISN’T ANYMORE.

            What I am trying to say (to you and Deborah below) is that we have a moral (if not legal, depending on what was signed with the funds were started) to receive and use assistance [assistnace is not paychecks obviously] for its intended purpose. That’s all. Do people abuse this? We all know it happens. Do you? I take you at your word. “EVERYONES MORALS ARE DIFFERENT, SOME BETTER THAN OTHERS. PLEASE DON’T THINK I AM SAYING YOUR MORALS ARE BETTER THAN MINE OR DEBORAH’S. I’M NOT. I DON’T YOU KNOW WELL ENOUGH, BUT I DO KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TYPED. THE CARDS ARE MONITORED. YOU CAN’T BUY THINGS WITH IT THAT AREN’T ALLOWED. IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN. FRAUD HAPPENS-BUT THE MINORITY IS JUST THAT-NOT THE MAJORITY.

            “That my family volunteers regularly for over a decade, and give financially every month to several faith-based groups, is irrelevant. It just shows you don’t know us.” GOOD-I’M GLAD. I DIDN’T SAY YOU DIDN’T-I ASKED A QUESTION. TO MAKE YOU THINK. APPARENTLY IT DIDN’T WORK.

            ” A level of grace, respect, and understanding of other people’s opinions might be helpful. You are obviously stressed and stuggling. Please don’t take it out on a stranger.” I AM NOT TAKING OUT MY STRESS AND STRUGGLES OUT ON YOU. I AM SIMPLY, AND CAMLY, RESPONDING TO YOUR POST. YOU CAN TAKE YOUR LAST SENTENCE AND APPLY IT TO YOURSELF. YOUR OPINION WASN’T HELPFUL AT ALL, IT WAS INSULTING, DEGRADING, RUDE, FALSE, UNCALLED FOR, UN-CHRIST LIKE ETC….

            (i ONLY WROTE IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE YOU ARE CONFUSED TO WHAT I ACTUALLY SAID-SO I WANTED IT TO BE CLEAR. I’M NOT YELLING-JUST MAKING IT A DIFFERENT TYPE THAN YOURS SINCE I QUOTED YOU DIRECTLY. ONCE AGAIN-MY ALL CAPS TYPING IS NOT YELLING)

            WE CAN AND SHOULD AGREE TO DISAGREE-

          • Deborah says

            Thanks, Stephanie, for standing up for me.

            I do have one more thing to say to Cary. I am also a taxpayer (“the ones footing the bill”). So I guess that means that I will buy whatever I want to buy. 😉

          • Cary says

            Stephanie, I am sorry that your daughter is sick. I will pray for both of you that you are encouraged and find peace. Obviously this is not the forum where we will be able to understand one another. Grace is a wonderful thing.

          • Lisa says

            Just… one more thing lol, you’ve accomplished insulting two other nice women on here.. are you happy Cary? Even if I was helping a lot.. even if I gave my whole damn paycheck to help someone who needed it I would NEVER tell them what to do with it. How can you even say such a thing. It’s truly DISGUSTING how you think and THANK GOD people like you don’t control things. @ Deborah and Stephanie, I’m sorry you had to read such FILTH. Have a wonderful day! :)

        • Lisa says

          You’re not the only taxpayer, cary, and again I wasn’t talking to you. I also pay taxes and no, I don’t think that gives me the right to tell someone who I’m very little helping what to buy and eat. What a pretentious thing to say. What I meant by different is does SHE think she is above them; better than them. ughhh that’s so obvious.. it’s painful to even explain. How dare I suggest that people who need help should be able to purchase what they want? Are you mad?! I’m not even going to give you the time of day and reply to your insane and insensitive comment. Who says that they even buy junk!! Like you never buy junk food, get out of here!! You’re talking about people who HAVE to be on link too! Not only people who have part-time jobs, or do not make enough, or are elderly people… you are ALSO talking about DISABLED people who CAN’T work EVER. Who needs SNAP and can’t EVER HELP needing snap cause they can’t function EVER on their own. So you’re saying, you control what they eat because they can’t function on their own? They have to be punished forever by having limited choices cause they were born being disabled. OH BOO HOO, tiny bit of money being taken out for taxes to help people and you think you’re god? GET OUT OF HERE! You’re truly not thinking here. I appreciate you feeling the need to express your opinion to me but WOW!! I’m not replying to you. It’s a complete waste of time and you can live with your opinion and I will happily live with mine.

          • Stephanie says

            Lisa Lisa Lisa,
            PHEW!!!! Thanks for the last post. I thought I was nuts till I re-read the comments a few times to realize I wasn’t. You must feel the same way.

            You say a lot of good points-thanks:) Perhaps people will listen to someone NOT on SNAP.

            Overall-I think most people are good hearted-some are very misguided and don’t have 2 cents to rub together. I think most people on SNAP are honest. Like with anything in life-corruption and cheating happens, even in churchs. What Cary and a few others don’t understand ,is that I would MUCH MUCH MUCH RATHER WORK and be broke-but working and paying my way. It’s how I was raised. It feels good to work. I work harder now though, I just don’t get paid to do it. I could-as the caretaker of my daughter-but have chosen not to utilize that part of the system. But perhaps the stressed out life I apparently live is enough to qualify for disability. I should try that. Hmmm….not!

            I am tempted to post how I spend $30 a month for 2 Disneyland annual passes, because it is the happiest place on earth that makes my daughter extremely happy. So…that is priceless:) But we won’t go there. :)

    • Deborah says

      I have news for you. I am on food stamps. My husband, my two daughters, and I are NOT obese. We eat healthy and exercise. In fact, we are all running a race next month. Another thing, all the better for you foods cost more than the processed garbage that is out there. I make homemade foods, and we always have a vegetable with our meals. We are definitely not living off of junk.

        • Cary says

          Stephanie, you are obviously living a very stressed out life. Not everyone sending you messages is out to get you. Nor is everyone who has a difference of opinion. The first three posts I read speak volumes. Again, I am sorry your daughter is sick. I will continue to pray for peace in your life and that you are able to develop a support system in the real world.

          • Stephanie says

            Cary,
            You are such a hypocrite-yes, I said it!!!! I never said anyone is out to get me, in fact, I don’t feel that at all. I have agreed with some of the people who have a different opinion. I have a different opinion from you, yet you seem to think you are better and able to dictate what I do. Swallow a dose of your own medicine. I do feel you don’t get it, because you don’t want to. That is your choice, which is why I said we should agree to disagree. It’s what adults do when they can’t agree on something and are going around and around with no results.

            Is my life stressful, yes. Do I live a stressed out life, no. Do I take it out on people, nope. In fact, I handle it all pretty darn well.

            I have never asked this of someone-but I mean it, please don’t pray for us. I don’t want or need your prayers. You don’t listen, you don’t understand and frankly I would be afraid of what you would pray for. So please, once again, DON’T PRAY FOR US!!! I am dead serious. I would almost rather you use a little doll to poke the crap out of than pray for us. Thankfully-since I know you are going to anyways-because you don’t care what I have to say-my God is bigger than your prayers. He knows the cry of my heart, my needs, my joys, my everything. He is bigger than you, thankfully:)

            I live in the real world, a very real world. You don’t seem to. It’s clear by some of the things you say. I have a support system-even though I might feel lonely at times-I have a great support system of people that GET IT, unlike yourself. With all I go through, I am still standing, I still have faith, I am still sane and my daughter is loved, cared for, and given the best possible life in the real world.

            If this is not the place for this discussion, then stop commenting!!! I did:) I dropped it. I let bygones be bygones.

            ok-I’m done with your comments.

            I won’t respond anymore-so comment away.

            Julia’s original post was good. I agree with most of what she says. She is a Godly woman of grace, dignity , genuine care and respect. A lesson should be learned. It’s amazing how she wrote this post, disagrees with the waste and fraud (as do I), but has never said that she, as the taxpayer, should dictate those receiving SNAP. In fact, she said people, like myself, are what it is meant for. Her helping people is far different than what you want. Kindly, openly, genuinely and without judgement helping people goes much much further than what you think is right. It just does. But than again-that’s in the real world-where Christians are.

          • Cary says

            So, I can’t tell someone what to do with my money but you are allowed to tell me how to pray to God? I am soooo glad He is bigger than all of us. As I said before, this is not a forum where we will be able to understand one another. I pray that you have a blessed life and that your daughter gets better on the new diet you are giving her.

            BTW – I thought it was obvious but I guess it wasn’t, my point about the taxpayers was not that I thought I was the only one. My assumption is that everyone pays taxes, now I’m wondering.

  33. Lisa says

    I’m not sure where you all live but I coupon everyday and I only buy sale foods. It’s just me and my Mother and we spend $300 on healthy foods for half a month. So, $600 for a month. I guess food down here is extra expensive for healthy foods. I’m glad you all get healthy food for less but I don’t think that much is outrageous and I’m glad SNAP is that generous for families who needs it. Stop complaining about how much people get and live your own life is my opinion. I also do not mean that in an angry tone. I go on here every week so I still love your site. :)

  34. Ashley Gogle via Facebook says

    I agree with a pp about only being able to receive healthy food options with food stamps and they should lower some of the numbers!

  35. Sherri says

    I am a caseworker for the SNAP program. I see the abuse first hand everyday and it’s sickening. The number you have provided are the maximum for the family size. Those are the amounts a family would get if they had no other income. The amount you actually get is based on several things including your income, shelter expenses, medical expenses, child support paid or recieved, and childcare expenses. I have clients that get $16 a month and are very grateful for it and I have clients that get $1300 and will call and beg for more. The sense of responsibilty in this country is slowly being replaced with a sense of entitlement. Its frustrating to see everyday so I know how you feel reading these articles.

  36. Chastidy Garner Buttram via Facebook says

    Last April our area was ravaged by EF 5 tornadoes. Our home and property was hit by an EF 2 tornado and sustained $14,000 in damages. SNAP set up an emergency food sign up in the counties that were affected. THOUSANDS of people lined up and qualified (even if they didn’t have damage, all they had to have was loss of food which almost everyone did because our power was out for a week). Our family of 6 qualified and we got that exact amt ($952) for the month of May only. That lasted us for almost THREE months! Our local grocery store was doing a special double coupon day once a week so that helped it go further, plus you don’t have to pay tax on SNAP food but we typically would spend at least $500 a MONTH. I NEVER get to buy all that we “want” within our budget but we have plenty to eat. I can imagine how we would be eating if we got almost $1000 EVERY month to eat on!

    • Lisa says

      I just refreshed this site cause I left for a moment and my comments are still awaiting moderation? hmmm.. anyways, I have to say that people with SNAP do pay taxes. How I know is because my cousin in on them and she’s been on them for years. She’s mentally disabled and I go with her to shop most of the time and every time she pays tax. :) @Sherri – whoever gets $16 and is “grateful” should not even be on SNAP because obviously they don’t need assistance. No one, and I mean no one, could live off of $16 dollars a month and that would barely help. Also, people being ignorant in coupons make them irresponsible? I don’t understand..

      • Cary says

        Lisa, why would you belittle $16 dollars a month? That amount can make a huge difference to someone who is living on a limited income. How can you judge without knowing someone whether they need $16 a month?

        If you only saved that much, compounded over 20 years would be $24000.
        Please be careful when you think you know everything about someone based on a tiny snippet from a blog.

        • Sherri says

          you have to remember the “s” is SNAP is for “supplemental”. The amount each family receives is meant to supplement their food budget, not support it entirely. The clients that get $16 are generally elderly clients that have a social security income that is close to the SNAP income limits. They are generally grateful for that $16. I don’t agree with the system or how benefits or calculated. I was just relaying my experience as a caseworker. Besides the $16 in food stamps, they are eligible for other assistance such as heating and energy assistance, and air conditioning assistance in the summer, lifeline phone assistance, safelink, etc. Getting $600 to buy fuel oil in addition to $16/mo food stamps would make me grateful…

        • Lisa says

          I’m not “belittling” $16 dollars a month. All I said to you, Cary, is that yes you DO pay taxes when you pay with link(snap). Have a great and blessed day. @Sherri, what I meant is i don’t see how someone with $1300 isn’t grateful but someone who gets $16 would be grateful. I know you’re not talking about everyone and giving an extreme example but if someone truly needed SNAP then they would be qualified for way more, IMO. Either way though, you’re right on that, anyone should be grateful for any amount of help they can get.

  37. Sherri Webster via Facebook says

    I am a caseworker for the SNAP program. I see the abuse first hand everyday and it’s sickening. The number you have provided are the maximum for the family size. Those are the amounts a family would get if they had no other income. The amount you actually get is based on several things including your income, shelter expenses, medical expenses, child support paid or recieved, and childcare expenses. I have clients that get $16 a month and are very grateful for it and I have clients that get $1300 and will call and beg for more. The sense of responsibilty in this country is slowly being replaced with a sense of entitlement. Its frustrating to see everyday so I know how you feel reading these articles.

  38. Roxane C says

    I was thinking about this same subject just the other day. My thoughts are SNAP should not be able to buy junk food…soda, candy, chips, frozen pizza, ice cream, cookies, snack cakes etc. If they want that kind of food they can learn to make it homemade with ingredients that are used for more healthy foods. They can replace ice cream with frozen yogurt. Teach them how to use coupons and to bake healthful treats and snacks. Even frozen dinners should be on the can not buy list. Healthy homemade soups, stews, chili made with fresh vegetables can be easily made in c rock pots and make more than 1 meal for some families. Real mashed potatoes and fresh cooked or low sodium canned vegetables with a crock pot meat…pork, beef roast; meatloaf or just toss in the potatoes and fresh veggies in crock with meat etc is a great meal and healthier than a frozen dinner. Well I will stop now it is long enough. But, those are just a few of my thoughts on this subject. Thanks for the great post!!! and for letting me Vent! :)

  39. Heidi says

    There is a ton of waste in the food stamp budget. When I was a grocery store bagger (almost 20 years ago…WOW!), I remember people paying for things like steak and caviar with food stamps. And cigarettes if I remember correctly. I kept thinking, “Really? They are wasting food stamps on such luxury?” Now I know why.

    • Yvette says

      I used to work at a grocery store as a manger, not 20 years ago. Food stamps are not the same thing as cash assistance, even though on some states they are on the same card; so people were not buying cigarettes with FOOD stamps unless the store you were working at was committing fraud.

  40. Colleen Dutton via Facebook says

    That 526 for a family of 3 is a myth we had to get assistance a year ago and we had received 200.00 for a family of 3. My income at the time had been cut to 700/mo with 1200/month rent, when my income went up to 1000/mo they cut me off. I obviously wasnt making ends meet. So lets becareful before we jump all over the working poor. Its as easy as this post is making out to “get” assistance.

  41. Danae H says

    I agree. We honestly as a family probably qualify for a lot more then what we take advantage of, but we make it. The amount of money we would qualify for would easily double our current grocery budget (which includes formula at the moment). I think changes need to be made to the program for sure…possibly as someone else said for certain food items only (more like WIC).

  42. Eileen Tew via Facebook says

    Colleen is right. Its not easy. they made us jump through all kinds of hoops and forms just to qualify. I kind of think that having to be on Food Stamps would be a real eye opener for all of you. We went to our church first for help and our leader told us to apply, they helped until it kicked in. I was not thrilled, I had always seen it as a bad thing to be on Food Stamps… but when I looked at my children and knew there was no other way to put food on the table, I realized my pride was not worth it. I was so grateful for the program. Every time I made a meal I said thank you to everyone silently in my heart. I think it is really easy to pass judgement and criticize the program. But many who are on it, truly do need it.

  43. says

    I live in the “thrifty” column from the govt’s view point and the truth is: it’s actually work for us to get our spending down that low. BUT. I don’t claim to be eating poorly. We eat the highest end of the “low budget” foods. Unfortunately, when you read the SNAP program’s method for reaching those numbers, I am appalled that they have arrived there because (my summary) people work and don’t have time to prepare foods from scratch so we have to account for packaged foods AND we have to account for things like soda and sugar so that people are getting the recommended 2,200 calories/day. First, unless you are an avid runner, you don’t need that many calories. Second, You don’t need packaged foods that are that expensive. Third, I’m now even more sad that I think I’m spending a LOT of money on the best groceries possible and the govt. is telling me that I’m actually impoverished and starving. We are anything but. I choose certain foods that are more expensive because of the nutritional value that I believe they give us. If we didn’t have a job I can think of 2 dozen changes I’d make to lower those costs further.

  44. Tristanne says

    We are a family of twelve and we live on 400 food stamps a month. Before we found the frugal find we couldn’t do it. When we found your blog, it was wonderful we made it! And now 8 months of shopping with you we can’t spend it all, our two refridgerators, stand up freezer, and pantries are full. This Christmas we were able to help a family, and it was wonderful to be able to finally be able to give back! THANK YOU!!!!!! Just a little info…. We don’t buy candy,kool aide, white bread, anything with high frutous cornsyrup, or MSG. With a little work and tenacity it is very do-able. There isn’t a conversation that I have with other parents in the same situation that I don’t tell them how we get through each month. We are truly blessed by your ministry, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Deborah De Boer via Facebook says

    WOW!! I did not read it but if I had that much $$ to spend on food in a month we would be eating like royalty!!!

  46. says

    Sounds like what these federal programs need is a group of frugal families to come along side and volunteer their knowledge on how to shop frugally, use the best of deals/specials/coupons and also share the “how to eat healthy on a budget” tips/tricks. I think for some people who are in this situation they don’t know anything different from buying “ready made” and the junk they’ve always eaten that 1) doesn’t fill you up, 2) isn’t good for your body and 3) is just plain expensive. Sharing the love of the frugal living lifestyle whether it’s grocery shopping, clothes, or other necessities is definitely the way to go.

    By the way, I like how WIC in California has been making changes for the better – whole wheat, low fat milk, fruits & veggies, etc.. They’re getting it and I’ll say that those checks (which we never use completely or if we do we end up donating extras to food banks) come in very handy. It’s always great to be able to give, especially when you’re in a tight financial situation and then God has stepped in and provided what was needed (and more)!

  47. Maryann Parcasio Clark via Facebook says

    Ummm we live on almost half that with fresh foods as a family of 6. I buy junk food on rare occasions but I think for a family of 6 $952 is too much. Totally offended.

  48. Susan says

    I feed a family of 5 on $400/month. Once in a while we go over but never more than $50. I clip coupons and shop Aldi, Target, and Rainbow.

  49. says

    I don’t even think we could spend $952 a month and get through all the groceries that would supply! We, a family of 5, spend about $350 a month and we eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

  50. says

    Many on assistance really are struggling. For those who aren’t, it isn’t our place to judge them. We cannot change others, but we CAN influence them by what we do. It’s hard to positively influence someone when they feel you are attacking them. Most of us do the best we know to do at any time and don’t stop learning. I imagine we are all at different places on that learning curve. I appreciate knowing that max target amount for grocery spending. We eat fairly frugally, but husband is unemployed (long time now). While we pay down debt run up when he had a healthy income, we still splurge on some nice steaks periodically, but we eat out much less. 😉

    • Yvette says

      Tina, I agree with your comment about not judging and I know about the unemployment situation first hand. I wish you guys the best in finding employment! I’ve been unemployed for a long time too, and things in my town are getting worse (more places closing) so I ended up going back to school. I knew how to budget before but as you said learning is a process and I’ve learned to budget better. That includes budgeting in a nice meal every now and then.

  51. Julie says

    For 10 months our family of 5 received food benefits (my husband lost his job and I only work part-time). I felt terrible…like I was taking advantage of the system….especially when we qualified for $521.36 a month!! I had NEVER spent that much on groceries in a month. Our typical budget was/is $240 a month and we eat lots of fresh produce and not many “convenience” or junk foods either. Sometimes when we are struggling on a particular week to buy the necessary groceries I WISH we had the same budget as when we were receiving benefits. My husband did comment one time that since there are no restrictions people could spend all $500 on “pepsi and bulk gummi bears.” I definitely think SNAP benefits should be more restricted like WIC is. I never spent all the benefits that were allotted to us, but I was so grateful to have sites like your that helped me buy cheap/free things to fill up my pantry for when we no longer qualified for benefits. So, thanks :)

  52. Dmama says

    A few years ago when my family received food stamps. We only got $220 for a family of three and we had NO income at the time and I MADE that $220 work. I was grateful for that help, but I don’t see how anyone needs $952 a month? That seems really excessive!

  53. Teresa Hockman via Facebook says

    this whole issue has so many angles to it, but clearly the system is used and abused… all while this country is sinking in massive debt. It’s insane. o

  54. Teresa Hockman via Facebook says

    I’m being convicted by my own over-spending habits. I am blessed to have an employed husband, to be employed myself – but THANK YOU to TheFrugalFind family for helping educate people like me who waste a llllootttt of money on unnecessary purchases. Time to tighten up and learn to be a better steward of what God has given us.

  55. says

    I hope it was obvious in my post that I absolutely think there is a place and a need for a food assistance program. I’m so thankful it exists, trust me. If I ever have the opportunity to share my childhood story I will. What I was talking about was the waste, the excess that simply is not needed. Those of you here on assistance are educating yourselves about how to live on less, that is wonderful! Unfortunately that isn’t the norm.

  56. Samantha Miller Doerfler via Facebook says

    I am interested in a couple of things about this…one, you actually only get that allotment if you have NO income (instructions on how to find your actual amount you recieve: The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household’s allotment.) So, if a family of 4 makes $500 per month, they actually only get 668-150, or $518 which is for everything- groceries, diapers, paper products, formula, etc. That doesn’t seem like an excessive amount to me. Our budget is around $100/week and I work really hard to do that by printing coupons (costs money for ink, paper, internet service, etc.) and going to different stores (gas costs). Granted we buy mostly organic but I do think these numbers are not excessive when you take into account the income rule.

  57. Samantha Miller Doerfler via Facebook says

    My example above of $500 a month would be an income under $10,000 yearly. If people make double that (under $20,000 per year), they would only receive $368/month for their allotment and so on.

  58. Tanna Block via Facebook says

    I’m curious as to how everyone can swing feeding a larger sized family on $50-100.00 per week. My grocery bill for a family of 4 is much more than that! (Are you all eating top ramen 24/7?) I see where alot of coupons are for processed/packaged foods, which I try to avoid for my family, therefore making my grocery bill higher for healthier foods. Great job ladies :)

  59. Stephanie says

    Some of you are so harsh and judgmental-and I do pray you find yourself at the mercy of needing government assistance. A big fat piece of humble pie might do you good!!!

    I have been legally working AND paying taxes since I was 14. I have worked 2-3 jobs at a time to put myself through school. When I was pregnant-I worked till I couldn’t. I was going to go back to work when possible so I didn’t have to rely on anyone but my husband for support. Needless to say, my daughter was b0rn with several issues. I am forced to stay home.
    Her father left because she couldn’t handle the stress and demands of her care. I was forced to apply for food stamps. I waited for a LONG time before doing so. I was one that looked down on people who were on the program. I have been receiving aid for almost 2 years now. My daughters health is worse thus the reason I must stay home with her. I don’t buy junk food all the time, but I will tell you that IT IS more expensive to eat healthier at times. I went from getting $374, to $200, to $150 to $99 and now back up to $139 for next month. Survive on that for a family of 2 and eat healthy, for a month. All meals and snacks at home. EVERYTHING you need to eat-comes from that budget. I coupon a lot, I get what is one sale. I spend hours a week getting my lists together. Try living in Southern California on that budget. Coupons are rarely doubled and food is expensive.

    And to the one who said to make everything from scratch-sounds nice and ideal. I would love to have that much free time.

    You are saying the max-we don’t receive the max and have NO income, have housing and other expenses NOT provided by Uncle Sam. It keeps getting lowered thanks to the budget cuts.

    Next month my daughter is forced to start a diet very similar to that of a diabetic. Where the money will come from, I don’t know.

    Let’s judge less, encourage more and shut up even more if you have nothing nice to say.

    (PS-I am college educated, only have 1 child, don’t think “living off the govt” is fun, and I would MUCH RATHER WORK. I am grateful for programs for people like me.)

    • Stephanie says

      The reason I actually read and pay attention to this site and others is to save money. I really had to work out a budget and figure out what was healthy and what worked. FYI-in CA you can’t buy anything hot that was prepared in the stores. I challenge anyone to live off $139 a month for 2 with the prices where I live-with no double coupons and live a healthy, mostly preservative free and organic diet. My daughters diet needs are first and foremost-thus there are days where I only eat PB&J etc so she can eat better.

        • Stephanie says

          Thanks Lili-we are at about rock bottom with her health, there is a much deeper valley in the future but right now I am looking up-without a hand-out:)

          She has several chronic illnesses and just got another one added that is very degenerative and often fatal before they are 30 years old….

    • Erin says

      Wishing you all the best! Few would begrudge your family assistance. Those of us griping are complaining about the fraud and abuse, which is certainly not your case.

      • Yvette says

        Erin you say that few would begrudge her family, the thing is, most people make assumptions that most are committing fraud and abuse and would assume the same about her family because they don’t know her business. If they knew everything she just said I’m sure most would not think negatively about her; however she’s probably not making an announcement over the intercom detailing her life every time she goes to pay for her groceries so those complaining about “fraud and abuse” are probably making assumptions about her. That’s why it would be great if we weren’t judging everyone without knowing what we’re not seeing, which I saw a lot when I worked in a grocery store.

        • Stephanie says

          Yvette-
          Thanks:) I wish more people thought like you did. I wouldn’t trade my life, it was given to me for a reason.

          The Vons and Trader Joes I shop at most, know us well and have commented that SNAP is for people like us. They see what we buy. They have often said we should get more-but I make do.

      • Stephanie says

        Erin-
        Thanks:) I don’t make my private life public much. It’s embarrassing and then people feel the right to judge and say crap. I wrote it because it’s the truth and a lot of people weren’t thinking through things clearly. It’s my life-it is what it is.

        I grip about the fraud-because I get screwed by it. I answer the questions I must submit honestly. Some don’t-that is their conscious. I like to have a clear conscious :)

  60. says

    Question.. I spend around $750 to $800 for a family of 4 two of which are teens. That includes all toiletries, food etc. I do use coupons. I am wondering if the amount of time it takes to search and print all the extra coupons really adds up in the savings. Would love to lower our food budget. I live in Norcal Concornd/Walnut Creek) the grocery stores are so expensive up here compared to Southern California where I am from

    • Cary says

      The Frugal Find started out in the Concord/Walnut Creek area. Yes you can lower your food budget, eat healthy, and get just about all the toothpaste you could ever want free. (And shampoo, bath soap, toothbrushes, etc.) Follow Julia’s blog and she will let you know when the really good deals are. Stock up then, customize your meal plan around what is on sale, and you will do well. Our family of 6 spends around $400-$600 a month on food and it hardly feels like we are trying.

  61. Deborah says

    My husband spent 14 years in the Navy (a year of which was in Afghanistan). When he got out of the Navy, he decided his best option was to go back to school. As a result, we have a very small income and have had to receive help in the form of food stamps. I was surprised to receive so much hostility from people. Is my family not allowed to get help? My husband put his life in danger for this country, and yet we are shunned because we asked for a little help from our fellow Americans. And why is it that everyone thinks we have to eat a certain way just because we are on food stamps? Doesn’t everybody buy the occasional junk food? I treat our food stamps the same way I did when we had the money to buy our own food. I use coupons as often as I can, which is tough when you can’t afford to buy the newspaper where majority of the coupons are located; and I do my best to find the lowest prices. Yes, I occasionally buy junk food. I did that when I had my own money to spend. Also, not everybody is the same. Some people aren’t gifted in the ability to be frugal and have to work a little harder to do it. I’m one of those. I can’t seem to make our money stretch and get us through the month, but I work hard at trying. And I get quite depressed when I fail. I really want people to not stereotype food stamp recipients into one lump category. Not all food stamp recipients are gorging on junk food. Not all food stamp recipients are spending the money without care.

    • says

      Deborah, I don’t think a single person here would put your family in this light. Like I said in the post, there IS a time and need for assistance and it blesses me to know that tax dollars are helping families like yours. Thank you to your and your husband for serving our country, we are forever indebted to you.

      • Deborah says

        Thank you. I know that your post wasn’t in regards to people not being allowed assistance, and I know that it was in regards to the amount of money that the government gives out. I was reacting to several of the comments on here. I get very irritated when people think that they are allowed to tell me how I am to utilize our food stamps. I have thought of a few questions that I would like to ask those people:
        When someone gives you a gift, does that person have the right to tell you how to use it? When your employer pays you, does that employer have the right to tell you how to spend your pay check? Do you think that food stamps recipients should be told how to spend their money because it comes from the government? If so, does that mean that the government has the right to tell soldiers/sailors how to spend their money because the government is providing their paycheck?
        Again Julia, this is not in response to your post; it is in response to several of the comments to the post. I will do my best to refrain from further debate.

    • Stephanie says

      From the bottom of my heart (because yes, I have one contrary to someone else’s thought:) ), you and your family should NEVER be in this situation. I come from a long line of Military and Public servants family. Your family should get the max on everything to do as you darn well please. We are lucky your husband came back-it’s priceless. And to those who lost someone in war-it is our duty, as a governemnt whole, to take care of the widows and children forever, WITHOUT JUDGEMENT and without fail.

      You are doing everything right. Keep on being you!!! Thank you and your husband for the sacrifice.

      Many many many blessings to you guys!!!!

  62. Pat says

    I am a single, unemployed mother of 2 who has been out of work for almost 2 years :( I WISH I could qualify for food stamps!! I make $2 more a month above the max amount you can make so I do NOT qualify even though I am on unemployment. I would be especially grateful for even an extra $20/month to help us out.

  63. Dani says

    After reading comments here, I think the point of the original post is being missed. This post isn’t a hit towards people who need assistance. It is simply pointing out that the US govt. has a formula to determine what family food costs would be. Since most of us lean towards frugality, the number seems very high compared to what I’m assuming most of us spend on food per month. It is much higher than what I spend on my family to eat each month. However, I’m in a different situation and have the luxury to cook from scratch, spend time finding the best deal, have internet access and a car to drive to different stores.

  64. Nina Mascardo says

    One of our tenants was on assistance and they lived better than us. Organic foods.. Nice, Nice furnishings and clothing. The tenant had no job.

  65. Nina Mascardo says

    Also, a friend of mine went on WIC after having her baby. The amount of food she received per month for her and her baby (who was on breast milk) was astounding! She was giving the food away. They couldn’t eat it fast enough. She said she could feed two other families with the amount of food she was allowed to purchase per month.
    The Government needs to reevaluate.

  66. Teresa Howery- Pale via Facebook says

    I TOTALLY feel u on this one!!! We r a family of 8 2, adults 6 kids ranging in age from 13-3. Up until recently we we’re living on $100.00 dollars per week for food. I had to up it to 125.00 just because of rising prices nd my kids also growing nd eating more. I see people every month at the grocery store using SNAP and also wic benefits in front of me in line whose kids have on brand new Jordan shoes. new clothes, and the adult as well. 952.00!!!! WOW I wish!!! I once saw a lady use the cash portin of her snap card to buy alcohol.

    • Deborah says

      Did you ever give it a thought that someone gave them those shoes and clothes or that they could have gotten them at the thrift store? Could they have bought them before their world started spinning out of control and they ended needing help? Just because someone needs assistance doesn’t mean they have to go around dressed in rags.

  67. Rebecca Fear Garcia via Facebook says

    Holy Cow! Our grocery budget for our family of 6 is $400 a month and includes diapers and household goods! We do our cooking from scratch and eat mostly whole foods; and use coupons for cleaning supplies/paper products. $952 a month? I wish!!

  68. Susanna Burke says

    I think it would be helpful if SNAP benefits also came with some education about how to get the most for your money. The WIC program, for example, only provides certain foods- but also comes with nutritional education, which I think is a great idea. Then again, if the government started teaching couponing, it might totally change the game for the rest of us!

    I am quite sure that the formula for determining food costs is based on retail prices. I agree with you that it sounds HIGH and I wish I had that much in my monthly budget!! I also know that not everyone who qualifies for assistance gets the full amount (in fact I’d bet not many get 100%). However, before I found you and learned more about frugal living and how much can truly be saved with coupons, I was one of those who regularly spent $1000 or more each month on food and household supplies for my family of (then) 6, because I had the income to do that, and I didn’t really know any better way. (Like I didn’t stop to think that not everything is a deal at Costco, for example!!) Now we are a family of 7 and I usually can get by on about $400/month for everything including diapers- because due to major changes in our income, I now have to. And I spend a LOT of time couponing, searching for deals, etc., to stretch those dollars- so while it doesn’t actually contribute income, it is like my “job” in that it saves us literally hundreds each month.

  69. says

    PLEASE, PLEASE read through the comments and read the stories of those that are currently on assistance. There is absolutely a need for it and I’m so thankful it’s available. This post was in NO way meant to tear anyone down that uses these services.

    • Stephanie says

      Your original post was good-it was just going through the facts of what some may get etc… It’s the people throwing stones in a glass house that feel superior and righteous that are disgusting and need a big, fat slice of humble pie!!!!
      NOT EVERYONE ON SNAP ONLY BUYS JUNK. WE DON’T NEED CORY AND THE REST OF US TO TELL US EXACTLY WHAT TO BUY. MOST OF US ON SNAP DON’T GET THE MAX!!!! I NEVER PRAY ILL WILL ON PEOPLE, BUT SOME OF YOU THAT THINK YOU ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN OTHERS, I DO PRAY YOU HIT ROCK BOTTOM AND EXPERIENCE LIFE ON THE DOWNSIDE. When I make it back up, I sure as heck will not act and talk like some of you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You really should.

      I know I am not the only one that thinks “mooching off the government and hard working people” is fun or ideal. It sucks. It plainly sucks. However, for this time in my life, my daughters health is far more important. During this season, I am grateful for what I can get. I don’t ask or expect handouts. The other day, I got a great gift. A useful gift. My gut said to decline to not feed into the thought of “mooching”, then my heart said “thank you, use it to benefit and then pay it forward.” I don’t have much, but I am giving of my time and what resources I have. I don’t sell things, I generally give them to someone else in need. The majority “mooching of the government” would rather work, earn an honest income and have far more money than what we get.

      Stephanie

      • Yvette says

        Stephanie, your post said most of what I wanted. I do want to add that also not everyone has many options when they do go shopping. I have trouble following a lot of the deals posted because I only have 3 grocery stores in my town (and the next town with a grocery is about 40 minutes away), but there are some places with less than that!

  70. says

    Oh, Kelly, I am certainly not thinking that you are tearing anyone down! I’m just shocked at the differences in what people get! During this time there IS a need!

    Fortunately, we were able to get off them and those funds can go towards someone else now! 😉

  71. Kirsten says

    I have a family of 6 and my husband lost his job for 2 years he looked and found nothing. With a lot of tears I applied for food stamps after unemployment ran out. We got 900 a month for 4 months till he found a minimum wage job. We where floored we could eat better than when he had a Good job?? Makes no sense to me. Oh and by the way at the end of 4 months I had 2400$ still left on the card.

    • Erin says

      It is a blessing that SNAP is available for those that need it during hard times. I admire your candor and your willingness to only buy what you needed on the tax payers’ dime. My family is happy to help families like yours in times of need.

      • lili says

        Erin, i am sure Kirstens family has and pays taxes too for programs like SNAP so it is her “tax payer dime” too that is helping her family in a time of need.

  72. Kristie Speakman says

    One point that I haven’t seen made…not everyone knows how to cook, can cook ,or even has the equipment to cook. If you give someone, who has no clue what to do with them, a bag of dried beans they are only going to sit on a shelf. Nobody gets fed. A bag of flour is great but what if you don’t own a cook book or a loaf pan? What then? Sometimes frozen pizza is the best a family can do. What if mom is too sick to cook and dad isn’t in the picture? I have a degree in culinary arts and sometimes we eat frozen pizza because I’m too sick to cook. I know that is not always the case, and there is abuse in the system but you never know what goes on in a household, maybe they are doing the best they can.

    • cheryl says

      Not to mention that for many inner city or rural families that recieve SNAP benefits, access to grocery stores is also an issue. It is hard to bargain shop if you don’t have access to a vehicle, or if the closest grocery store is 3 miles away.

  73. Stephanie S. says

    Wow, apparently I need to be paying attention to this site much more! My family of 4 can’t seem to live off less than $1000 a month! We don’t eat processed foods or anything out of a can really, we buy organic most of the time and I really am not finding coupons for that kind of stuff. I think a majority of our food budget goes to good produce and fish, but I don’t think I could sacrifice that to save money. I am fortunate enough that my husband has a decent job, but I would love to save money somewhere in order to pay off all of our credit debt!

  74. Breanne says

    I spend around 650-700 a month for a family of 5. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. We buy canned beans and frozen steamer veggies. I buy organic milk for my kids and splurge on Gerber snacks for my youngest. I do buy on sale but I’m not very good about coupons. I can only imagine what I could buy with 952 dollars! I had no idea, that’s crazy.

  75. Michele P says

    Wow, that kind of budget is what prompted our family of 6 to start couponing and being aware of sales. With the help of you and several other sites, we now have a budget of 400 a month, including household products! Would love to help those spending that kind of money to spend more wisely!

  76. Leigh-Ann says

    Thanks for such a great post & hopefully opening people’s eyes to what is going on in our wonderful country. We can’t continue to go in this direction where more people are taking than actually paying into the system via taxes. I really have no sympathy for people who claim they can’t afford healthy food. I think they just make a choice to buy the prepackaged junk than search out discount grocery stores or clip coupons. My family eats a very healthy diet on $125/week. We know our budget is limited so we choose not to purchase soda, chips, candy, etc and instead focus on buying healthy foods that are on sale. Not only does this teach my kids how to manage money it also shows them the importance of eating properly.

  77. lili says

    Lets not be so quick to judge. Many people are blessed with steady jobs in this economy, nice homes and 2+ children so they do not know about the struggling family next door……the family where the breadwinner lost his job, his home, etc.

    • Erin says

      While we may not understand abject poverty, we have lived below the poverty line. Those in true need must have assistance. My concern is fraud and waste. Having worked in a low-socioeconomic school system for several years I was appalled to learn that many of my students on government services had much higher standards of living than our family. They had nice clothes, free lunch and breakfast, newer cars than ours, several TVs and cable, nice cell phones, and ate out frequently. My husband works very hard and we get nothing from the government. We live in a 70 year old home that is 894 square feet. Our cars have 170K or more on them. We don’t have cable, cell phone plans, and certainly no iphones. We seldom eat out, maybe see a movie every 2 months or so, and coupon like crazy to make ends meet. I hope you can understand why some of us get frustrated that we are paying for some people to have much higher standards of living than we even allow ourselves.

      • Yvette says

        Hi Erin!

        I have decent clothes, not sure if you would consider them nice but at least decent. I purchased them at thrift stores or stores that sell clothes for really cheap. I use coupons when I shop elsewhere. I take special care of my clothes so they can last longer. They’re nice but I hardly spend money on them and I hardly buy them at all.

        Not sure the year of your car but I have a 2004. It’s newer than my last but it has a ton of miles on (it was way more than 170k when I purchased it, yet my 1996 car had less when I got it a few years ago!) it and the reason I was able to get it is not because of “fraud and waste” but because a family member helped out with the cost AND my family is friends with the owner of the car dealership. My last car was breaking down and the public transportation is here horrible (as in the hours on the bus are long and its hours of service are very short) so I was about to be stranded.

        Cell phone: With a contract a nice cell phone can be cheap (and cheaper than landline). With so many people upgrading all the time it’s not hard to get a used one in good shape for a decent price. I’m part of a family contract so that’s how I was able to upgrade my last one that was falling apart after using for 4+ years.

        TVs: People are upgrading so much its easy to get one for fairly cheap or even as a gift. Yes, sometimes people that are struggling can get a decent gift every now and then. One TV I have was given to me by family when they upgraded theirs, the other was a gift that was on sale.

        Eating out: How exactly do you know how often people are eating out? Do they tell you everyday they ate [x] amount last night? I go to school full time so sometimes I do go out to eat at the end of the day when I’m tired. It happens.

        Point is, as the comment stated that you replied to, you don’t know exactly what’s going on outside of your own family. And while you say your husband works hard, know that many other people have worked hard before or after assistance! I worked really hard at my last job (which also allowed me to buy nice things before things got rough, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at what people are “wasting” money on, it’s possible they had nice things before). I worked really hard at my job, before I ever used assistance, and I also had several coworkers that worked hard AND were on assistance.

        And I hope you can see why OTHER people are frustrated. There’s a lot of assumptions thrown around about people that have used assistance and the self righteousness is crazy.

      • lili says

        Do i think some people can abuse it ? Yes.It is wrong. I just think this post leaves the impression that people who receive food stamps live a “higher standard of living????”. There are truly needy people out there who need help…like the long term unemployed or the single mom with four kids to raise, etc. Many of us do not know what it is like to hit rock bottom.

      • Anonymous says

        we have a family of 8 and we get food stamps, but only $900 a month! we make everything by scratch, we buy big bulks of flour and ect to get through the month!

  78. Tanna Block via Facebook says

    We are spending about $900 for our family of four. I try to buy as much organic products as I can, aside from meat. Meat seems to always be my downfall in our budget! I’d LOVE to buy organic meat, but its way too spendy for us. I really need to get this amount down!! I do coupon and have a great stockpile of snacks for the kids. My problem seems to be preparing good, healthy meals that aren’t going to break the bank! Any advice? :)

  79. kayla says

    i work part time and my husband is on social security and we have two kids, i only get 200 dollars a month depending on if i made more one month than the other, but let me tell you i still coupon but 200 doesnt feed us for the whole month but it helps. also off subject i would like to thank whatever couponer left stacks of coupons stapled together for crest mouthwash at the antioch walmart.when i was on maturnity leave from work i was able to get 650 in food stamps for a family of 3 and i was shocked

  80. Stephanie Cassella Barrett via Facebook says

    Between food and TOILETRIES we spend about $600 a month for 4 of us plus diapers,etc

  81. Jeannette says

    In all seriousness, I would like to see exactly what people who say they spend $75 or $50 a week to feed a family of four or five buy with that money. And I’d like to know where they shop, if they split stuff with others, have a garden, and what their meal plans are.

    I’m not being smart alecky or mean. I just cannot figure out how you can feed people with that amount (21 meals X 4 people is 84 servings in total, of one or more items. That’s about 89cents per person per meal. Let’s say there is more than one item per meal, including a beverage like milk, etc. If you have a protein, a starch and a veggie, that’s about $.30 per item per person)

    Unless you’ve got your own garden and/or have put up food from it, I honestly don’t see how anyone is providing nutritous (as in NOT all carbs all day) and healthy meals. This budget can’t possibly hold much in the way of fresh veggies or fruits, even in season. (And yes, we know that frozen is often better and it’s what we use in the winter when prices rise on basic items.)

    I live in a major city–food is not cheap and we don’t have access to stores with great sales. I buy in bulk online because I don’t have access to a big-box store and its cheap items. I shop like a hawk and on sale and I cook–which I have learned is NOT always cheaper than carefully shopping at a place like Trader Joe’s, believe it or not. I lived in another city a few years ago and used to shop at Shaw’s. I could not believe how cheap that place was compared to the two supermarkets we have in my neighborhood.

    I have a friend who is a fabulous and creative and cost-conscious cook. She shops “cheap.” as we call it–and uses all sorts of things most of us would NEVER consider eating. Even she can’t get by on that kind of money.

    So I’d like to see an acutal shopping list and list of what people are feeding their families on this amount. And the meal plan. and where they shop and how often. If there is something to learn I want to learn it.

    FYI: I don’t know where that $952 a month is coming from. It’s not what people on food stamps get here in NYC. Not even close.

    The ages of the children are also key here as teenagers tend to eat a lot more and they also tend to have friends come over for meals and/or snacks.

    • says

      • Susanna Burke says

        Jeanette, Julia does a great job of spelling it all out for us! It took me about a year of following her to really get the hang of it, so in my experience with couponing, persistence pays off. I think the key is #1, having a good stockpile (buy a lot when you can get items the cheapest, so you are not forced to buy something you’ve run out of when prices are high) and #2, being willing to put the time and effort into shopping the best sales and going to multiple stores. I would guess on average I spend at least 3-6 hours per week planning my shopping & matching coupons. I am one who can get by on about $400/month for my family of 7, because most of the time I HAVE to (our income is extremely unpredictable). Sometimes I have $600 or more, which is nice, and those are the times when I try to stockpile more so that I can stretch more in the leaner months.

        In my case I like to bake, and I think that helps stretch our food dollars. I can buy a 25 pound bag of flour at Costco for less than $6, so I get one of those every 2-3 months and I bake a lot. I very rarely buy packaged cookies- and when I do it’s usually a great deal at Grocery Outlet or something. I also bake things like oatmeal scones for breakfast- very frugal, healthy, and filling. I’ve never really priced it out exactly, but a batch that’ll feed my whole family probably costs me around a dollar to make? I also buy lots of whole wheat bread when I find it for $1-$1.5o/loaf and freeze it. And if I was REALLY feeling ambitious, I could get a 1 lb brick of yeast for about $6 and make my own bread for pennies, too! I stretch meats by cooking things like stir fry or casserole-type dishes, shepherd’s pie, etc., so that I don’t have to use as much meat and my family still gets a healthy, balanced meal.

  82. Theresa Fox says

    – I suppose I can understand your annoyance – after all, my pregnant daughter is currently a ! $62.00 – a -month ! drain on the Horizon program’s budget…

  83. lisa says

    I use coupons but budget between $750 and $800 per month on groceries. What am I doing wrong? I do not see how you can feed a family of 4 for under $150 to $200 a week. I live in Norcal and groceries are very expensive. I do have 2 teens so I know that takes more. I also make lunches everyday. Your meal plans are great but do not show cost

    • Cary says

      Lisa, just as a quick example of how Julia’s website has tremendously helped our family, Raisin Bran (20 oz) or Raisin Bran Crunch cereal (18.2 oz) normally sells for about $4.50 a box here in Walnut Creek, CA. Raleys has a sale this week if you buy 4 or more, they are $1.99 each. Julia pointed out earlier this week a coupon on Coupons.com for $5 off 5 boxes of Kelloggs cereal. Each computer can print two of these coupons. (Sorry, I don’t think that one is available anymore but there are others.) There is also a mail in rebate of $10 off 10 boxes from Kelloggs direct. Raleys runs a Friday Freebie each week when you buy $20 worth of groceries – before coupons. This week it was a free 8oz cream cheese. So, I got 10 boxes of cereal and cream cheese for $10 which I will get back in the mail in about 4-6 weeks.

      Last summer there was a deal at Safeway for pasta at $.09 per 16oz box. I bought over 50, gave 20 to the food pantry at church, and still have a cupboard full. The pasta sauce is similar. Even whole wheat pasta goes on sale for nearly free ocasionally.

      I haven’t paid for toothpaste in two years and have enough to last me another two.

      There are some great deals out there, that’s what Julia’s site helps us with.

      • lisa says

        Cary, I live in Walnut Creek guess I am just missing the deals :( will need to pay more attention to this site. Where do you get all your coupons from? How much time do you spend printing etc? I do not get many coupons in the weekly contra costa times

        • Holly says

          About half of the coupons I use are the ones you can print online. So if you’re not seeing them in the paper, I would look on the stores web site as well as the other online sites. They are out there.

          • Cary says

            The Frugal Find and other couponing websites usually alert me to the coupons available to print and the stores were the best deals are. I don’t get a paper so unless a friend gives me theirs, I miss out on all of the paper coupons. We do all right and I only have so much time to spend at this. I check the weekly ads for my main stores. Raleys/Knob Hill, Safeway, and sometimes Lucky are my grocery stores. Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreens are where I get my (usually free) toiletries. As a homeschooling mom, we print a lot, including coupons, but I haven’t paid money for paper either in about two years. Once I know what the weekly deals are, I stop in at the stores when we are driving by anyway – no sense spending all of my savings on gas. The kids get into it as well and learn a lot about math, science, and economics while we shop.

  84. Marissa Whitney via Facebook says

    That’s more than the mortgage payment. If we had that high of a grocery budget for our family of seven, we’d think we’d died and went to heaven.

  85. says

    I think a lot of things factor it – cost of living, location, income (make more spend more is a common issue) and then time. If you’re couponing regularly this is no reason your budget couldn’t match others in the $300-$500 range. We’re a family of 6, no teenagers yet but we spend $300/month on groceries. Sometimes more sometimes less – depends on if a great stockpile deal comes up. Of course 5th Friday months mean extra wiggle room in the budget too.

  86. says

    Totally she with you. Our budget is $500 for a family of 4. That’s including organic milk, breakfast and packed lunch everyday. I wish the government would crack down on abusers too. I am tired of people blatently cheat the system and eat better than I do on MY money.

  87. Marissa Whitney via Facebook says

    For those in Canada, it is a lot more difficult. Cost of food/living is generally higher, and couponing is more challenging.

    • kathryn Dockrey says

      I live in Canada, and yes it can be more challenging when it comes to coupons.We also have higher prices for milk and eggs, and I’m sure lots of other products as well.
      That still doesn’t make it impossible.You need to be willing to take the time and energy it takes to save money. With meat, I generally don’t look at how much it costs per lb, more more at how many meals I can get from the package. The first place I head for, when going to the grocery store, is the discount meat, produce and bread/bakery section. Then it is stockpiling the sales. Sometimes adjusting how you cook for a family will help. When the 3 boys kids were teenagers, there was no such thing as leftovers, no matter how much we made. In the evening, their snack was usually a cheap box of “mac & cheese”, canned paste w/sauce,or a ramen noodle. They were limited to one a day each. Same with treats such as ice cream novelties or popsicles.
      I don’t have a concern with buying organic food , basically because I don’t buy into the “hype”. I couldn’t care less about brand names, as long as it tasted good.
      Look for unconventional places to buy food. Convenience stores will often try to sell “reduced to clear” foods, that are very close to “use by date”. Yard sales will often have excess produce from their gardens at very reasonable prices.
      Substituting or omitting expensive ingredients changes flavors very little in most recipes. Search ways to make your own “scratch” mixes, such as cake mixes, biscuit mixes, pancake mixes etc.
      Stop worrying what your friends, families, co-workers feed their family. Some people think that expensive =healthy. They might actually learn from you !! If you do find some like minded people, share ideas and “specials” you find.
      Don’t get overwhelmed. Start with one thing, and add to it the next week.Maybe not try to reduce your budget for the first 6 months, and start the stockpiling.
      Good luck. The internet has unending wealth of knowledge to tap into.

  88. Kassie Cerami via Facebook says

    I don’t really join COUPONING sites and blogs to hear political speak. Let’s just stay on topic please.

  89. Kassie Cerami via Facebook says

    I don’t really join COUPONING sites and blogs to hear political speak. Let’s just stay on topic please.

  90. Neomi Thomas via Facebook says

    Really that much for groceries?! I live in Cali and still don’t pay that much for groceries a month. Maybe 300 at the most, without coupons. Its pregnant me, my husband, our two boys. That’s even with buying stuff i’m craving, mainly fruit. But I can’t understand why your grocery bill is so high unless you’re buying meat packs that are already cut into inch sized bites for stew, or processed foods which cost more than fresh. But if I had 900 for groceries it’d be nice. But I still couldn’t spend that much on groceries even if I tried.

  91. Kris Jensen Oliveira via Facebook says

    Since I work at a food pantry I see a lot if folks at the end of the month who have ran out of food stamps. Most of them probably don’t know how to use coupons or where to find them. In CA SSI recipients cannot get food stamps and seniors rely on us. Maybe we can think of ways to reach and educate this group?

  92. says

    I have a household of 10 or 11 and spend $650 monthly on groceries, this includes all paper goods and animal feed. Make a menu that is flexible depending on sales, buy in bulk when appropriate (Costco and Sam’s are not always the best price), buy in season and preserve as much as you can for the off-season. I love couponing, and use to do it ALOT, but I live in a small rural area with very limited stores, and the stores caught on and stopped with the good deals. Darn.

      • Cary says

        We all make choices about how we live. Obviously Carole has chosen to live in an area with a cost of living that is lower than Deborah’s. People are wonderfully adaptive. Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I remember the pioneers who struggled across the Nevada desert to make it to California. Or the Irish who escaped famine in Europe to come to an unkown continent. (I have always been inspired and somewhat exhausted by Little House on the Prairie.) They might not have made it if they had accepted a meagre ration and been told they needed to only earn so much or they wouldn’t get anything. If you try and work towards a goal, you will be able to acheive it but not by whining about how others are so much better off. That is my concern with giving people money without encouragement and support to move on towards their goals. Obviously there are times where people need material things, food, warmth, and shelter which we are obligated to provide but I don’t think that giving excess money is always the best way to spur one another on to good works.

  93. Danae Hoobler via Facebook says

    Carole – You obviously cannot be living where it is approaching $5 a gallon! The gas is gonna kill me and I don’t drive a big car :(

  94. Kerry Orvis Hill via Facebook says

    We have a family of six. I budget for $125 a week in groceries. We eat healthy—I make everything from scratch and very little “processed” foods make it to our table. I coupon for what I can, and price match what we can. I have 2 growing pre-teens, a toddler and a baby. This $125 a week includes all cleaning supplies, hygiene and tp. We do cloth everything else—-diapers, wipes, napkins, cleaning rags……

  95. Kerry Orvis Hill via Facebook says

    I should mention that that $125 a week is not what we eat in a week. If I find a good sale I stock up—-sugar was $2 for a 4 lb bag this past week—-I buy enough until the next sale. We have a stockpile for the lean weeks when the money just isn’t there. We also use the $125/week toward eating out once in a while.

  96. Anonymous says

    Most people on food stamps don’t have time, after their 40+ hours of minimum wage work per week, to sit down and create a $75/week budget. Maybe the government should pay families for the time they spend couponing instead of for food??

    • Cary says

      Thanks for the link. It was most interesting to find out where they get the numbers. Apparently we are also supposed to spend $944 a year on clothing per child. Wow, we only spend about $1600 a year total for our family of six.

  97. Cent Pincher via Facebook says

    Oh, this is so funny!!! I budget $350 for a month! (there is only two of us though) I have never even thought of spending $952 a month for groceries!! LOL!!!

  98. No Name says

    Try eating on $250.00 a month for Groceries. You do not buy any goodies, and you do not get much meat (if any)! There is only 2 of us and we live on a tight budget.

  99. Anonymous says

    Two of us. Spend $200-400 usually per month. We buy most of our stuff at Trader Joe’s. We eat 95 percent unprocessed food with as much organic as possible, and as a couple we are roughly 90 percent vegetarian. apparently our “thrifty” category from the USDA is $380 about right. When we spend $400 it’s usually a “stock up” month for stuff like canned tomatoes, coconut oil for cooking, etc. We include TP, dog food, and stuff like toothpaste in the food budget usually. Also vitamins and shampoo, hand soap, etc. I make a lot from scratch and freeze it, like pizza crust, dried beans, sauce, and veggie burgers. I menu plan and rarely go out to eat. I marvel that families of 6 can spend what we do in a month. How?! Here I am thinking I’m being as frugal as possible … we shop at four places and farmer’s markets like many of you and very little at WFM where it seems five items are always $80 minimum (sigh). we’re not settled yet so a garden is out of the question … for now.

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