Jun
19
2013

Only DC would find the #snapchallenge to be anything BUT a snap.

I happen to do the grocery shopping for my family of four; and I would not find a weekly food budget of $126 to be impossibly challenging… if I did the following things*:

  • No name brands.
  • No sugary carbonated drinks.
  • No treats.
  • DO NOT LET A CHILD HAVE A VOTE IN THE GROCERY LIST DECISION.
  • Only buy vegetables in unprocessed form.
  • Cheap cuts of meats and lots of stews.  As in, “brown the meat, and simmer it in the broth for a few hours, and add the cut up vegetables.”
  • Plan for considerable leftovers. Which have to be eaten, not stored in the fridge and then thrown out.
  • Generally accept the fact that you will be cooking, not warming up and defrosting and microwaving things.
  • Generally accept the fact that you have to pay attention to your food situation, and not shrug it off.

We used to teach this sort of thing in school: it was called ‘home economics,’ and while it was already heavily watered down by the time I was in grammar school you could still see the echoes of what it must have once been.

By the way, and for the record: my ire is exclusively designated for clueless Democratic politicians who don’t understand why they’re incapable of putting together a simple shopping list budget.  I grew up with money being tight and food choices being limited, myself; it sucks, and it’s easier to shake a finger at the people stuck in the hole than it is to pull yourself out of the hole.  Particularly when there’s a bureaucrat or six who are actively trying to shove you right back down into it.  But you know me: squishy soft about such things.

Moe Lane

*I don’t, because we’re making enough money to eat as we like, within reason.  But I could come close to hitting that number simply by religiously avoiding impulse buys.

22 Comments

  • Tom In Korea says:

    Turning 29 here in a couple weeks. Stuck living with my parents in the house they moved into when THEY turned 29. My wife and I are living on $40/week for groceries (Praise Aldi). The idea that a “supplemental” food program that provides over $100+/week would somehow not be enough for people is enraging.

    Learn to budget. Lose your entitlement mentality. Practice thrift. Hustle (as in working, not scamming).

  • Jeffstag says:

    A family of four can eat pretty well on $125/wk as long as you’re careful and especially if you mind your coupons. I’m head of a family of four myself. The trick to avoiding impulse buys is to grocery shop right after lunch, when you’re full. Swing by the fast food place across from the grocery store, it’ll save you more money than you spend on the fast food.

  • Catseyes says:

    Most people don’t think, period. I was just picking Mulberries from the tree in the backyard that the birds planted (best guess I didn’t). I have a wild raspberry patch, a wild blackberry area (they don’t grow in patches but in bushes), a strawberry patch, a Bing Cherry tree, 2 plum trees, a pear tree, an apple tree and a peach tree. Also several Red Oaks. I’ve eaten dandelions and yellow clover since I was a kid. My wife complains that I’ll try eating anything, not true I know what Not to eat. But there is a lot of food growing in the world we’re just not used to eating most of it. Oh I forgot the Currant Bush but then I just planted that this year.

  • Finrod says:

    My parents grew a lot of food. Strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, corn, potatoes, pumpkins, all from one plot of land along the back fence. I didn’t appreciate the vegetables as a kid, but that’s because I’ve never liked vegetables.

  • acat says:

    I’ve got a few food allergies to contend with that make things .. interesting.
    .
    No bread at all, no corn or wheat, and soy sparingly, but .. yeah. Going with more veggies and eggs and cheaper stew cuts, I could do that.
    .
    Mew

  • rallyejo says:

    $126 a week would be a luxury. Right now our family is three, but it will be four soon enough. I can buy fruits and veggies, decent meat, snacks, lunch items, and occasional fun items for under $100 a week. I don’t see it costing too much more in the near future with the additional family member. Most of the challenge is finding deals and knowing where to shop. I have a market near me that has amazing prices on produce, and that constitutes most of what I buy. They also have a great deli counter with good prices, much cheaper than prepackaged items. There is also a lot of meal planning in advance. It’s not hard, but you do have to actually pay attention. Is this not something that is done? It’s called “living within your means”, which I’m told by my dad is an American value. At least it was…

  • Cameron says:

    I was talking to the spousal unit about the SNAP challenge. I gave her the quick breakdown and the amount of money we would have to work with.
    .
    I’ll spare you her comments when she read what these idiot political animals were buying with the money.

  • Jeff Weimer says:

    I got into a discussion on Hotair Headlines over this last night. It’s amazing just how much left-supporting assumptions WE sublimate with things like this. We’ve lost the battle before it’s even begun.
    .
    One excuse for increasing SNAP allocations is that many of the people who get it don’t have the skills to manage what they get now, so we need to give them more to make sure they eat well. My take: Life is tough, it’s tougher if you’re stupid, this is a SUPPLEMENTAL program and is not, nor should be intended to be an entire food budget, and Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations is easy to enable with OPM.

    • jbird says:

      There are plenty of food pantries out there where you can get free food as well as churches that provide assistance.
      .
      The blowback I always get from libs on church charity is, “yeah, but then they ask you to attend!” (the horror)

      • acat says:

        To which I reply “If they don’t believe, then it’s an hour of free heat/AC with no quiz after, and if they do believe, where’s the problem?”
        .
        This is especially pointed on days Chicago is using the public libraries as “warming” or “cooling” centers, i.e. they’re overrun with homeless, the smell from the back of the reference section is *not* pleasant, and stay the hell out of the bathrooms on pain of seeing something you can’t un-see.
        .
        Mew

  • Pastor Bear says:

    As part of a Christian Ethics course in seminary, I had to live on a SNAP food budget for a week and write about the experience. I wrote that it was much easier than I expected it to be. and that one could, in fact, eat quite well on that budget if you paid attention to what you were doing. I got the worst grade that I got in any seminary course.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      There are caveats. It’s easier for rich people to live on a cheap food budget than it is for poor people. Single income, two car families have it easiest. But if the Democrats were serious about food security they’d be hardcore Walmart supporters, because that’s who wants to expand into lower/lower middle class areas and sell lots of product there.

  • Jeffstag says:

    That is a good point, it’s easier to live on that if you have ready access to decent grocery stores. Living in an inner city that does not have those and being forced to shop at mostly convience stores is much more difficult. I’ve thought for a long time that the challenge of finding decent healthy, fresh food in blighted downtown areas poses a much bigger challenge to recovering from poverty than most people think. I can affect people on a lot of levels.

    • jbird says:

      Then perhaps people on SNAP should stop voting for the city politicians who lead pickets against Walmart or pile on job killing regulations or paint cops as racists for trying to enforce law and order in those neighborhoods. It’s not as though residents of those neighborhoods have no influence on the situation.

      • acat says:

        They’re called “vote plantations” for a reason, jbird ..
        .
        The people who live in “those neighborhoods” have *no concept* – and, really, where would they *get* a concept? Public school? – of what’s really going on, let alone something complex like managing a budget.
        .
        Mew

  • Jeffstag says:

    Its a little more complicated than that. If programs like SNAP are all you’ve ever known, it’s a tough call to vote for a party that may end them or cut them back. Even if you know deep down that it would be for the best or is the right thing to do, its still taking a step into the unknown for someone who has become dependant. Speeches about ending entitlements are great and you might even convince a good number of people that it would be a good idea in the abstract, but on the ground level you’re asking people to jump off a ledge without knowing presicely where they will land.

    • Crawford says:

      “you’re asking people to jump off a ledge without knowing presicely where they will land.”
      .
      Well, being free can suck.

  • Freddie Sykes says:

    One difference between doing it for a week and doing it full time: the ability to stock up on favorites when they go on sale. This can be a long time cost saver.

    We go to an East Asian market and buy our rice in fifty pound sacks. Our favorite is jasmine which cost three or more times when bought by the pound. Of course we have a Japanese rice cooker which makes life easier.

    Ethic immigrants tend to live in extended family units and base their meals around a stable such as rice, beans and/or pasta. Add vegetables and some protein, flavor with sauces, herbs and spices and you can eat real well.

  • Finrod says:

    I almost forgot. When I was in grad school, my food budget worked out to $7/day, with no kitchen, and access only to a microwave, and I did just fine.

  • qixlqatl says:

    Know what? Hunger is one helluva motivator. I know this from personal experience. So f*** these people.

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