An article on Smart Spending caught my eye. The Illinois food bank issued a challenge to state officials, leaders, and residents to try living off of the average food stamp amount of $25.00 PER PERSON a week. I am a bit shocked after looking at the referenced site in the Smart Spending article. The people were having a really hard time and they even give a sample menu on their site. They have macaroni and cheese with green beans two nights. It is almost as if they are purposely trying to make the menu as unappealing and pathetic looking as possible. I will say that it is a lot more difficult to purchase food for one person versus two or more. The more you have the larger the package you can buy. It is also harder to buy everything you need in one week. When you have to count the whole price for a can of salt but you only use 1/16 of it. Even on a real case where the person is living on assistance after the first week you build a stock of basic stuff that you can use for the next week.
For $25.00 a person a week that would be $175.00 a week for my family of 7. Um, that is $700.00 a month. I budget $500.00 a month, but have spent $600.00 the last two months building up a stock of supplies. I don't think the challenge even includes cleaning products or toiletries, which are included in mine. I have a LOT of toothpaste and shampoo and buddies soap and deoderant. If you stink please come see me and I can set you up.
I know this budget isn't extravogant, but I think the people who need to use the services of financial aid need to be better taught how to save money. Many come from homes where no one taught them how to cook or shop or save money. Teach them how to match coupons to sales and get better deals. Teach them how to shop the loss leaders and sales each week on meat and vegetables. Show them a better menu than the one listed, one that looks more appealing, so they have a desire to work a little to get the deals and spend time cooking. Show them how much extra they are paying for convienience items. Show them how to cook ahead and freeze meals, how to make baby food, how to use leftovers.... the list goes on and on. Anything, but hand them money for food, then expect them to know how, then try to make people feel sorry for them that they have to eat off of $25.00 a week. Can I hear an Amen?
Looking at one of the blog of the people who took on the challenge here read the first commentor. They also participated and listed their much better menu. I want to go to their house for supper.
What do you think? Could you feed your family for $25.00 a week. What would you do to stay within that amount? How much are you spending per week?