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Thread: Need help planning a weekly family menu

  1. #31
    That's the point--you can ferment dang near anything. It's how you keep fresh vegetables when you don't have a fridge. I would hit up the library for a book on fermenting, it's kind of an un-learning experience.

    But really, $150 for a person who is living exclusively on Food Stamps is suspect. Maybe get a good looking person with tons of patience and good people skills to accompany her to the HHSC office next time.

  2. #32

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    In 2000 when I was unemployed, on the verge of eviction for being in arears and owing several credit card companies I was told that I should be able to exist on $25/week, this was my government allowance. So to me $150 seems in the ballpark.

    -AJ

  3. #33

    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    $30/week was my budget for a couple of years (90's)...i ended up stealing a lot of food from my employer though.
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  4. #34
    Things are MAJORLY different since 2008. The poverty line is far higher, and the benefits are pretty jacked. The actual process for determining need is a secret, but I can tell you from first and second hand knowledge that getting anything(whether it's Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, etc) from an HHSC office is very much about buttering up your worker. It is not much different than traffic tickets--it's more about rapport with the officer than actual severity or frequency of your driving habits.

    My wife and I have 2 kids and we budget out $125 a week for food. We often end up going over. Food isn't as cheap anymore--beef is $5.5-8/lb, and apples are a dollar each. It's more than it used to be, but I don't think it's too much, it's almost expensive enough to be just.

    I'm only saying that there are two options:
    1. She is getting stiffed by the state.
    or
    2. She has money that COULD be allocated for food, that isn't. Thus it is a budget problem.

    I think, as the earlier posters suggest, that she will not be able to eat healthfully, especially on such a restricted diet, without spending a good deal more money.

  5. #35
    Hey man, here with a few suggestions. Sorry to hear about your moms illness. I can relate as my mom had some serious health problems and I helped with food as much as I could. I'll reiterate about the GI index. It's a very valuable tool for diabetics and the like. I know it may seem unlikely, but farmers markets can be a good source for cheaper produce. I know the fruitful season may be closing up soon, but you may be able to use it as a resource for the next couple months. Ask vendors for "seconds" or "b" produce. They generally always have it, just maybe not on the main table. Usually it's a not so round tomato, or a slightly imperfect head of lettuce. That's the stuff I buy, as it's just as good and costs way less. And if you develop a relationship with them and explain the situation, maybe they will give you a discount if you buy a few things. And for proteins, Trader Joe's has a good deal on frozen bonless skinless chicken breasts. I don't remember the exact price/weight but it's a lot cheaper than fresh, and it's a good product. Then you have stuff like shirataki noodles. No carbs or sodium, just a bit pricey. Might be good as a treat.

    It's gonna be tough, but it's doable. It will get easier as you go, once you know the good deals and what to buy. And have fun with the preparations. Good luck with everything.

  6. #36
    Senior Member Shinob1's Avatar
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    Thanks again everyone for the responses. To clarify, she has food stamps in addition to her disability check, which is $900 a month. So there is other money to use for food, however her bills chew up the majority of her check so she pretty much eats off of the $150 in food stamps. Also, I can pitch in some money to help as well, so I don't want to get too hung up on the budget, but the goal is to be around $150 per month.

    I see a common thread here on farmers markets. It's something that I "know of" at best, but haven't been to a farmer's market recently nor do I know where they are located. I'm assuming I can just google it up and go from there. However when we're talking about cost savings, how much of a savings can one expect to have? I always thought the farmer's market was more expensive not cheaper, because the quality is better. To maximize the savings, do I need to buy in bulk? If so, I imagine as Eamon was pointing out, I can look into fermenting or other means of preservation.

    In addition to budget, cost, and purchasing food, what is the best way to prepare all of this? I've never had to cook so much food at once; is there a method to the madness I should follow? Should I do things like par-boil veggies or protein so when I go to saute them they cook faster? Do I prep/breakdown the veggie first and later proteins? Should I shoot for weekly shopping trips and food prep or would I be better off doing 2 weeks or more at a time?

    Again, I cannot thank you all enough for the responses, PMs, and E-mails to help me with this task.

  7. #37
    Also, some farmer's markets, like the one I work at, and most of them in Michigan, offer a program where Food Stamps are matched, so you spend $10, you get $20 worth of credit for food. If there is a market near you that does that(you should ask the coordinator, they don't often advertise it for some reason), it would be HUGE for her budget.

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