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TOPIC: Making food stamps last

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November 6, 2012 6:33 PM
This is not a debate about food stamps so don't make it one. For those who are on food stamps (for whatever reason), how do you make them last the entire month while still eating healthy? Do you have some sort of system that you use? Certain types of food? TIA!!
  27349650
November 6, 2012 6:38 PM
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Edited by liviilooseweight On November 6, 2012 6:38 PM
November 6, 2012 6:45 PM
I'm not in your exact situation, but some people in my family have fallen on hard times and have them. My cousin is a champ at finding THE lowest price. Believe it or not the produce market that takes EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer, our version of food stamps) is cheaper than Walmart. She shops the sales, and they eat a lot of beans and rice, which is not unhealthy or fattening if you count the calories. She also buys the beans dry. It takes more time, but tastes better and is cheaper than canned. She doesn't buy meat unless it's on sale. She goes to more than one store if she has to if that's what it takes to make the dollars stretch. It's not easy but it can be done, and I wish you luck and hope that your situation improves :)


*edited because it's EBT not EFT*
Edited by helehcim On November 6, 2012 7:14 PM
November 6, 2012 6:46 PM
I've heard some good things about Aldi, if you have one in your area.
November 6, 2012 6:50 PM
I don't d food stamps but I am a serious cheako. I would much rather spend my money on anything but food. My first suggestion is coupons. Find them online in the paper. commonkindness.com has amazing organic and other healthy food coupons.

Second thing is I load up on what ever chicken is under $1 a pound. Cook it off on Sunday. Use the bones and all of my veggie trash (carrot peels, celery ends, parsley stems, onion and garlic peels, tomato stumps) to make a giant pot of broth for soup.

Dried beans and rice. THis goes so far. My Mom in Law used to get a ton of that stuff from the food bank. I think food stamp eligible people can get dried goods from the food bank. Even purchased it is pretty cheap.

What ever I can get on sale I freeze (berries, broccoli, cauliflower, lunch meats).

If I have enough to make 2 days worth of a meal I freeze half straight off, so nobody overeats another days meal.

This is all I can think of now.
  22943605
November 6, 2012 6:54 PM
Aldi or Ruler Foods are super cheap.

You could also check this website:
http://cookncents.com/angel-food-ministries-alternatives/

It lists agencies by state that provide deeply discounted food.

But definitely check out Aldi or Ruler.
  29767840
November 6, 2012 6:57 PM
I know people on food stamps who made over $600 a month. My monthly food budget is 400. Shop weekly.
November 6, 2012 7:01 PM
Coupons and meal planning. Really easy to do once you get the hang of it. Its not hard to stay under budget BUT you HAVE to HAVE a PLAN!

I shop for food once a month and thats it, think of all the extra time you will have create a plan stick to it for a month. Its awesome! I probably wont check this thread again but msg me if you have any questions about either subject :)
  17246524
November 6, 2012 7:04 PM
I'm not ashamed; we're on it right now. But, my husband just got a new and better job so we'll be off it soon. Anyways, i don't count on our food stamp budget so we get it for 3 instead of 4. So, we get around ~115 a week for food. For Veggies you can always try Farmers Markets and things like that, we have some in our area that if you go with you EBT (our food stamp/cash card) and tell them you want to get say; $20 of fruits/veggies/grains at the FM, they will charge you $20, but actually give you $40 worth of Vouchers to be used at any of the stands (or combo there of) at the FM. Also, The WIC store has some good deals occassionally and they accept EBT.....Also, get away from the name brand stores (safeway, belair, raley's ect), try FoodCo, Food Source things like that. And when we buy Protein we don't generally buy it from the grocery store; we go to the Meat Company in town and get like $300 worth of protein for about $190. We actually budget really well with ours and have Protein, Veg and Grains at each meal, with a stocked Fridge/Freezer/Cupboard. It's just a way of finding the deals and knowing where to look.
Edited by tetecia On November 6, 2012 7:06 PM
  21217263
November 6, 2012 7:11 PM
I'm on it as well and only have $200/mo for me and my fiancee..its not much, but its better then nothing. In some cases, I do have to settle for cheap since my fiancee and I do eat differently. I keep in eye out for frozen veggies, oats, brown rice which is super cheap, get frozen bags of chicken (a bag can vary from 6-10 pieces) it can cost about 6-7 bucks. Try and get things in bulk too..also keep an eye out for local food drives which in most cases they can have healthy snacks and fresh fruits/veggies..best of luck.
November 6, 2012 7:13 PM
If you shop at "regular" stores, shop the ads and plan the meals around what is on sale. Breakfast can be done uber cheap-eggs, oatmeal and whole wheat toast. Stay away from name brand cereals that are NOT on sale. Does Trader Joes accept food stamps? If so, some of their items are WAY cheaper than name brands and even other store brands. Eggs are cheap there and cereal bars(my kids love them).
Pasta is a cheap meal, tuna, egg salad, brown rice. Learn how to cook dried beans/lentils.
November 6, 2012 7:13 PM
When my daughter was 2, I was on food stamps for 6 months. Coupons and places like Aldi, Bottom Dollar, etc. Stay away from packaged food. A frozen pizza is like $7 and lasts you a day. You can get a pound of ground beef, noodles, and pasta sauce for less than $7 and have a meal for two days. You have to be smart.

I was actually working when I was on food stamps but only making min. wage. I got about $200 a month and I made it last for about 3 weeks.

Don't let anyone make you feel bad. Not all of us are perfect enough to not fall on hard times.
  3289437
November 6, 2012 7:18 PM
I only get $50. The things I do are:

1. Only buy what you need when you need it - No need to rack and stack because the item will :
a. Be back on sale in 2-3 months and
b. you end up not needing it all (ex. my father once bought 100 dollars worth of canned vegetables. We only ate $10 dollars worth over three years and the rest created clutter and were eventually thrown out)

2. Shop around - Stores like Aldi's and Save a Lot are great because they have great quality generic products at very affordable prices.

3. Sometimes You Don't need bulk - Sometimes you cost yourself if you buy in bulk. The produce is just the same as a regular supermarket, Do you really need a giant box of Wheat Thins?
Edited by maryjane_88 On November 6, 2012 7:20 PM
  9850379
November 6, 2012 7:20 PM
I'm not on FS, but you can call me "el cheapo".

You can buy those ramen noodles, only prepare less then half a package and add a ton of frozen vegetables to it. Serve a lettuce carrot and tomato salad on the side. (If you want protein add an egg while the soup is boiling.)

Those macaroni and cheese generic boxes are cheap too, I make a quarter of the box and add frozen veggies with tuna.

Carrots are so darn cheap its redic,. I boil carrots, chunks of potatoes, celery and whatever else veggies are here then add a little bouillon cube.. veggie soup on the cheap..

Beans are so versatile and so darn cheap. Bean soup, bean burgers, bean and tortillas..
November 6, 2012 7:23 PM
check out aldi (as some others have said) but you have to keep in mind that food stamps are meant to be supplemental to your food budget. You should not expect them to last the entire month.
  19614385
November 6, 2012 7:25 PM
not on food stamps, thank the good Lord because it means i have a job in this crazy economy. i appreciate this thread too. it's offered me some nice tips. Thanks!!
  1688735
November 6, 2012 7:26 PM
I like masa too. I just bought a 5# bag for less than $2. That will be tamales, pupusas, and tortillas.
  7782557
November 6, 2012 7:27 PM
Bump....used to be on them....never know what could happen in the future, and this is solid advice for eating on the cheap, which I smile
November 6, 2012 7:32 PM
I know people on food stamps, I know one lady who works and gets $800 a month worth of foods stamps, because she has numerous kids under 18 yrs of age. She is a friend of mine, but even if she wasn't, who am I to judge. I know others as well.

Food stamps(e.b.t. card) is spent the same way you'd spend cash, but for food only. So, why not think of it the same way. We who pay cash for groceries have to decide what we buy, how much, and so on, and so should you, I feel.

I found I'm actually spending less money now that I'm on MFP. When I started, I was curious how much more would I spend, because I always heard "better foods" cost more money. Maybe they do, but what I've been doing is different, I guess.

I haven't changed too much of what I eat, just the portions, and now I do some exercises, as well as count my calories, every day. I'm spending less money, because I'm eating less, and buying less of the junk foods I use to eat routinely.

I have the same 2 boxes of popsicles and Dryers Strawberry somethings(?) as when I started here on MFP. I I hadn't joined here...............they'd be long gone, because I bought them prior MFP, and they haven't been touched since.


What them?
  30472920
November 6, 2012 7:34 PM
QUOTE:

not on food stamps, thank the good Lord because it means i have a job in this crazy economy. i appreciate this thread too. it's offered me some nice tips. Thanks!!


read my post, you can have a job and still have food stamps, it's a little more to it then if you "just" work or not.
  30472920
November 6, 2012 7:35 PM
I used to be on them and shopped sales. Most grocery stores will have items that they put on sale at really great prices to get you in the store (feature items). If it is something that you use, buy a few extra (as long as you know it won't go to waste) You can also make double portions of your dinner and freeze half of it and that way you have food almost ready, and you won't want the unhealthy easy boxed dinner. You can also do things like make your own greek yogurt and after you make it add some fruit or something sweet to add to the taste ( your son might like that) Just a few ideas. Also check your local food banks, some areas have several that you can go to and some church have food banks too/
Edited by tamba01 On November 6, 2012 7:49 PM
  25079627
November 6, 2012 7:38 PM
Me and my ex-bf get only $350 a month for food stamps for BOTH of us. And it's almost impossible to make it work for the entire month, especially with healthy food which of course is more expensive than cheap processed crap. Most the time we have to dip into our savings/paychecks, get help from his parents, A couple months in a row i even just bought a months worth of slim fast ($40 each month) simply because we just didnt have the money for food. Seriously messed my stomach up drinking that stuff for that long.
November 6, 2012 7:40 PM
Buy bulk beans, rice, etc. Make big pots of chili beans and rice pilaf for cheap
November 6, 2012 7:43 PM
Bump
  28249175
November 6, 2012 7:44 PM
QUOTE:

Me and my ex-bf get only $350 a month for food stamps for BOTH of us. And it's almost impossible to make it work for the entire month, especially with healthy food which of course is more expensive than cheap processed crap. Most the time we have to dip into our savings/paychecks, get help from his parents, A couple months in a row i even just bought a months worth of slim fast ($40 each month) simply because we just didnt have the money for food. Seriously messed my stomach up drinking that stuff for that long.



I'm sorry, but this just seems like a complaint from someone being helped out. Why not be grateful for the $350 you didn't have to spend out of your pocket, and possibly look at this forum thread as a good way to get ideas, rather than complain. I don't want to seem harsh, but I do think you may need to rethink your attitude on this. It's a gift, or it sure seems like one to me.
  30472920

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