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Less than food stamps: Could you survive?

You can eat well on only $100 a month, blogger says.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:46AM

Can one person get enough to eat by spending only $100 a month on groceries? "Tight Fisted Miser" says he can.

The topic came up at his blog when he posted about his experience with food stamps. He argued that people who can't make food stamps stretch through the month are probably making poor choices when they buy food.

Tight Fisted Miser is a 40-year-old law student and the blogger who is thinking about cutting expenses by moving into a van. He said he was on food stamps in Texas for three months in 2003 when he wasn't making very much money.

Of that experience, he said, "I found $160 a month to be plenty of money for groceries, and I actually bought more expensive foods than I normally would have."

One of his readers had some doubts about eating on $100 a month. A homeless man in the D.C. area, who simply identified himself as "B," said he got two months of food stamps right after he applied and went through almost the entire $300 in one month. He said he drinks bottled water because he doesn't trust tap, and also buys prepared foods because he doesn't have access to a kitchen. He added, "I admit I haven't been frugal, nor particularly aiming for it."

Reader Skye said it can be done. She has fed a family of three on $250 a month. She mentioned dried beans and pasta among her staples.

"Ms. No Single Mama Drama" said she spends less than $200 a month on food for herself and her teenage son. There's rarely bottled water or steak in her shopping cart. "Bottom line: I can't afford it," she said. "We need to remember that we need to live within our means."

LivingAlmostLarge actually sounded off on this topic first. She was incredulous after CNNMoney featured a mother with an infant who is having to make adjustments to get by on $280 in food stamps a month in Washington, D.C., as food costs continue to rise. The article says that the "maximum food stamp benefit no longer covers the cost of the 'thrifty food plan,' the menu of food items the government uses to calculate its allotment."

LAL's solution? More education about how to spend food dollars wisely.

A few of her readers argued that D.C. prices are high and that the woman may not have ready access to stores with decent prices. Reader Cinzea said she's buying a food item each week for the poor and donates those purchases to a food pantry when she fills a bag.

"We've got to start helping others," she said. "It's really getting bad out there."

Published July 22, 2008

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