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Could you make do with about $4 a day on grocery money?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 19, 2013

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Photo of Leah Craig

“If it was just me, I think I could do that.”

Photo of Katy Wade

“Yes, I think I can. But I would get really tired of eating rice and beans.”

Photo of Andrew Mitchell

“I don’t think so. I probably spend five bucks on chicken and then you want a side.”

Photo of Matt Larsen

“I would say yes because I’ve done it and I know how tough it is.”

Comments

4 months, 4 weeks ago

I live on 99 dollars in food stamps a month I recieve 84 hundred a year in income im not .complaining but for real I spend around 200 dlls. a month and that's enough to live decent as far as food goes people should learn to budget their income more is what I have to say

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Richard Heckler 5 months ago

Just so we know….

Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low, and fewer people are working as a percent of the population than at any time in the past 30 years. ( good luck college grads)

In addition to violating just about every conceivable ideal of community fairness and decency, this state of affairs is hurting the economy. Average Americans account for most of the spending in the country. And thanks to the refusal of rich companies like Wal-Mart to share more of their wealth with the people who create it, average Americans are broke.

When people are broke, they can't buy things. When people can't buy things, companies can't grow. And when companies can't grow, they cut costs (fire more people). And, in so doing, they make more people broke.

In the past 30 years, American business has become ever-more obsessed with "shareholder value," a concept that unfortunately has come to be defined as short-term profit maximization. And as a result, America's corporations have lost sight of the other kinds of value that great companies can create.

Great companies do not simply "maximize profits," as so many of America's companies are now doing.

Rather, great companies create value for all three of their major constituencies: customers, shareholders, and employees.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-employee-food-drive-2013-11#ixzz2lCqKbGoI

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Richard Heckler 5 months ago

Lawrence is on the high end for cost of living and low end on wages. College towns are seldom on the low end for cost of living. Super inflation is what comes to mind.

Taxes in Lawrence have increased more than 100% since the early 90's so I learned on Monday.

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DwardF 5 months ago

Watch the TV show Extreme Cheapskates. $4 is too much for those folks.

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Elston Gunn 5 months ago

I got a brand new suit and a brand new wife. I can live on rice and beans. Some people never worked a day in their life, don't know what work even means.

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Jean Robart 5 months ago

I have done it---when you can't go grocery shopping but once a month(and then for not much stuff) you learn to fix pasta in many different ways.

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John Graham 5 months ago

As discussed on another thread this is an unfair question. This $4 amount alludes to the avg SNAP supplement in KS. Since $4 is less than the maximum benefit it indicates the recipient has a source of income. SNAP is a "supplemental" funding never meant to be the sole source of a recipient's food budget. Thus the supplement is used in addition to money from the person's source of income to buy food.

If you would look at the data from the USDA, in Sept 2013, the average weekly cost of food in the US for the "thrifty" food budget level is male $42.50 and female $37.70. One has to consider that Lawrence and KS are both below national avg for cost of living, which means recipients are getting more for their benefit compared to avg. The USDA states the "thrifty" level budget allows for three meals made at home that meet nutritional guidelines including fresh fruit and vegetables, plus a snack. The current maximum SNAP benefit is $189 per month. If one takes into account there is 4.33 weeks per month, the SNAP max allowance works out to $43.62 per week for an individual. As one can see this is more than what is needed to feed an individual the USDA "thrifty" food plan without any money from the individual.

The avg monthly SNAP benefit in KS in FY 2012 was $125.11 per person. This works out to $28.87 per week. Using above cost data of $42.50 food cost for a male "thrifty" plan, the avg SNAP benefit in KS provides 68% of the weekly food cost. Bearing in mind since this is not the maximum benefit it means the avg recipient has another source of income to help pay for food costs. Considering the avg recipient is working, the fact the "supplement" is covering 2/3 rds of the avg individual's food cost does not seem unreasonable. Again for those with no income the maximum SNAP allowance covers the entire food cost of a "thrifty" plan.

While the SNAP benefits are not exorbitant by any means the above numbers from USDA data shows the benefits are reasonable based on available data.

If you are not going to allow "the person on the street" to use any of their own money, at least allow them the maximum daily SNAP benefit which works out to $6.23 per day not the $4 per day in the question.

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5 months ago

,.......Yes its possible..$4.00 dollars can buy food at Dollar Tree and Ramen Noodles..

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Leslie Swearingen 5 months ago

I would suggest trying lunch meat or fried egg sandwiches. I know Walmart has Banquet frozen dinners for a buck each and you can get an individual pizza for that much. Popcorn to snack on.

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