Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

How easy is it for you to afford groceries, how easy should it be, and how wealthy do you consider yourself?

Asked by nikipedia (28071points) March 24th, 2010

With all the discussion of health care lately I have been really thinking about to what we are entitled. Having food to eat is generally agreed upon as a basic right, but it occurs to me that how much you spend on food can vary wildly.

I noticed while grocery shopping tonight that I didn’t pay attention to the price of a single item. This is very different from how things were when I was younger, when I agonized over a difference of ten cents between brands. And I wasn’t sure if this is a luxury I enjoy or a common experience.

When we talk about people having a basic right to food, is this what we mean? Should people reasonably expect to be able to buy whatever they want, or is this something only reasonably wealthy people can enjoy? When we talk about being entitled to having food, do we just mean that people should have enough to not die?

What’s your experience grocery shopping? Do you plan and budget carefully or buy whatever you’d like? Do you consider yourself to be reasonably comfortable or really struggling?

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73 Answers

Fernspider's avatar

My partner and I don’t struggle to buy groceries and often purchase luxury food items. I know I can be a bit shrewd with money and won’t pay certain prices out of principal but can afford them if I felt the price was justified.

I do consider myself to be comfortable, upper middle class. I do feel bad that others are sometimes reduced to buying low quality products simply because they can’t afford nicer, tastier items.

I am a firm believer that lower income people are often just as hard working if not harder workers than myself but are in different circumstances which inhibit their ability to earn what I do. It saddens me that they can’t afford the luxuries I have come to enjoy simply because of opportunities I have taken opposed to the lack of opportunities they have encountered in their life.

Trillian's avatar

I’m not sure about the idea of eating being a right. I never thought about it in those terms before.
I don’t go crazy but I can afford steak when I want it. It used to be an issue for me, but that’s no longer true. On the other hand, I’m pretty careful with what money I have and I do budget so that I have enough. If I can’t afford something I don’t get a loan, I do without until I can afford it.

meagan's avatar

“When we talk about people having a basic right to food, is this what we mean?”
I used to work at a Walgreens the first year out of High School. And people would buy candy bars and soda pop with their food stamps, rather than food that they actually need for their children.
We’re not talking one candy bar, we’re talking.. enough to feed a family, throw in a bag of chips, more snack food, etc. It was disgusting.

I think here in Arkansas our WIC is basically.. Milk, Cheese, Bread, Cereal. Beyond that is really a luxury. And while I am living in luxury, I don’t think its cool that I’m paying taxes for food stamps to be wasted on candy bars that won’t nourish these people’s children :/

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

A right is an action that requires no sanction.You have a right to persue food but you can’t make someone give you it.

Fernspider's avatar

I don’t believe that fruit and veges are luxury food items… maybe that’s just me. I consider cheese a luxury though.

faye's avatar

I budget. Healthy fruits and vegetables can be more expensive than fast food and I’m making my own bread now.

Trillian's avatar

About what @meagan said. I didn’t want to bring that up. Does anyone remember the police raid in Chicago a few years ago? Several kids, mattresses on the floor without sheets. Beer and pizza boxes, zero food in the refrigerator, no heat….
The system is broken and needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from scratch. Read Dr. David Lykken.

j0ey's avatar

HAHA at the moment grocery shopping is a nightmare…this year university is crazy so I’m not working very much.

I find myself living off bread, canned fish, canned chick peas and as much fruit and veg as I can afford…and lots of cheep instant coffee to suppress my appetite.

My student payment doesnt start until Monday…and I’m going to run out of food on Saturday…luckily my brother lives near by so I can conveniently turn up to his place at dinner time lol….

P.S. Im an Aussie and i think our food is more expensive than yours…well so some american friends have told me..

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I can buy what I want without thinking but I watch every penny. I consider myself very wealthy but I don’t have a lot of things that one might associate with wealth. I buy cheaper wine, less than choice meat and drive a Lincoln. I don’t have a flat screen anything nor do I have HD TV. I have high deductible insurance on everything including health to keep my premiums low. that said I will pay a lot for my Tequila…and my lovers…

JLeslie's avatar

I can pretty much afford whatever I want, but I did go to Whole Foods today and the bill was shockingly high. I have noticed in my local supermarkets that prices have come down a lot in the last 6 months on packaged items. I do compare prices when choosing an item, but only standing there at the moment of selection, not to really compare to other grocery stores. Although some things I am super brand loyal. I do use coupons (wish I was better at it).

We eat out very little, so even if I buy some items that are expensive, it is still way less than going out to eat. Well, I rarely go to fast food, so I am not comparing to that. We also do not drink alcohol, we drink a lot of tap water, so we spend relatviely little on beverages.

phillis's avatar

If we’re talking about the U.S., I think we’ve lost sight of the fact that eating isn’t a right. It’s a necessary way of life, yes, but you can’t force a person to give you food. Due to a HUGE issue well beyond our control, I found myself standing in food lines at a local church this past summer, fall and winter, just to feed my family. It was humiliating beyond belief, but the church was not required to feed me. Conversely, I wouldn’t convict and sentence a person for stealing a loaf of bread to eat, either. We can be human about this, of course.

I’ve actually discovered I have an incredible talent for bargain hunting and budgeting, so now it has become the principle of the thing for me. I now look back and see how outrageous the prices are that I used to pay, and feel pride that I am no longer their fool.

nikipedia's avatar

Wow, I had no idea there were people who think eating food isn’t a basic human right who aren’t total sociopaths.

gemiwing's avatar

We count every cent. Every.single.penny. If I can buy it at the dented can store- you bet I will. If I have to shop at Wal-Mart, I sure as hell will if it means my family has heat.

We eat beans, rice, chicken (if on sale), veggies (frozen is cheaper) and a bit of fruit now and then. Twice a year I buy ice cream and make it last. Once a month we buy tofu and make it last. I make my own bread, when we can afford flour and yeast. I cook dinner from scratch. We also buy store band everything. Coupons are mainly worthless once you switch to a store brand.

We’re not poor, but we are frugal with what we have now. I like to view it as a game. How cheap can we feed ourselves for the month? Our record was 21.50 (thereabouts) for a family of two.

I’ve got mad skills, yo.

When I was on food stamps (before I made seven whole dollars an hour and was cut off- woo, wild times!) you’re damn right I bought some steak. I bought cheetos too. Know why? Because the rest of my life was shit and I wanted something anything to take even just a piece of that pain away.

I’m getting tired of all the poor-bashing here on Fluther as of late. We are not all worthless ffs. There are rich assholes and there are poor ones. It’s all the same.

phillis's avatar

@nikipedia Because you’ve used the wrong word, dear.

Coloma's avatar

I am reasonably ‘comfortable.’ at this time, and, single.

I just went grocery shopping tonight.

Spent $130.00 on a pre-cooked roasted turkey breast, 4–5 packages of pre-seasoned fresh fish, Tilapia, herbed cod, salmon, & shrimp. Tons of fresh veggies and salad stuff, a case of cat food, Corona….lololol and lets see…Dannon yougurts, oatmeal, Raisen Bran, milk, Vermont cheddar cheese, French Swiss, ( I am an expensive cheese addict ) balckberries, deli potato salad, Tuna fish, bread, Avacados & gourmet almond caramel corn and bananas. hahaha

I remember my starving days and yes, good food is important to me.

I joke about eating cat food in my old age, but damn…cat food isn’t cheap either. hahaha

I feel with all my heart for those that go without.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@nikipedia -You still don’t know what the definition of a right is,I see.

jaytkay's avatar

The past year my budget’s been tight, and I had to re-learn shopping/cooking. I can eat well on a LOT less than I used to spend. And by eat well, I mean a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and I don’t go hungry.

For a real world example of extremely efficient shopping & cooking, here’s a web site with frequently updated shopping lists and recipes, showing exactly how to feed a family of four for $94 to $159 per month.

I don’t follow it closely, but it’s a great guideline and benchmark for “how low can you go”.

Trillian's avatar

@nikipedia Are you calling me a sociopath? Because I said that I just never thought about it in those terms. It seems to me that the children of the people who abuse the system and don’t get fed properly have more of a right to be rescued than the parents have a right to waste the money given to them by the government so they can buy beer.
I should add that the children brought up in conditions like this are well on the way to becoming statistics. This dynamic has been linked to increased risk of all sorts of negative life impacting issues: Poor academics, poor physical and mental health, low self esteem, truancy, substance use/abuse, poor social skills, inability to process social cues, promiscuity, inability to trust and intimacy issues, delinquency, criminal behaviour, depression, suicide.
I said that the system is broken. It is. This cycle repeats itself because of the very dynamics that are set into motion.

gemiwing's avatar

@jaytkay I love that website. I also go to the Hillbilly Housewife for good, healthy and cheap menus.

nikipedia's avatar

@phillis and @lucillelucillelucille: Since we disagree, I’m “wrong”? Real mature.

phillis's avatar

@nikipedia No, no….you misunderstand me. I said that you used the wrong word. I didn’t attack YOU. It’s not that big of a deal. Sometimes I use the wrong word, too.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

We mainly buy the store brands, most of the time it is just as good as the name brand !
Something that has always bother me is how so many restaurants throw away so much food,I believe they should be fined !

nikipedia's avatar

@phillis: I used exactly the world I meant to use. I meant that eating food is a basic human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25:

* (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

thriftymaid's avatar

I spend very little on groceries. I usually just eat once a day. I eat mostly vegetables and buy them fresh or frozen. I don’t buy snack foods at all, other than ice cream sometimes. I keep a brownie mix just in case I have a chocolate attack. I make chocolate milk when I wake each day. I live alone so it’s just not a big expense. It was quite different when my kids were here along with a bunch of their friends.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@nikipedia -Words mean things.You do not know what a right is,That is very clear.

nikipedia's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille: Yes I do, and the way I use the word “right” has been agreed upon by the 192 member states of the United Nations (i.e., every free country in the world).

If you have nothing to contribute to this thread other than your completely abhorrent and poorly articulated opinions on “rights” (which is not what the question was about), can you please go away?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@nikipedia _The UN makes proclamations all the time .They have no credibilty.
You need to define your terms,You do not know what a right is.

jaytkay's avatar

@gemiwing thanks, that one’s new to me, Hillbilly Housewife

Fernspider's avatar

Wow, I don’t understand why so many of these discussions of late turn into out and out brawls. People disagree, arguing doesn’t change that.

nikipedia's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille: Please stop derailing my thread and doing so with inaccurate and frankly ignorant statements. It’s completely absurd for you to come here and pronounce that I am somehow misinformed when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document more than sixty years old that—again—has been agreed upon by every free country in the world.

Trillian's avatar

@nikipedia uh…were you going to answer me? After reading a bit more, maybe you weren’t addressing me, but I’m curious to know your take on what I’ve said.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rachienz Because the right wing (not to be confused with main stream Republicans) is terrified their country is going to the devil, and the government providing food, money or shelter, is one of the things they are obsessing about right now. It is overpowering everything. All topics.

phillis's avatar

I don’t see why we’re having a hard time meeting in the middle. I never said we don’t have a moral responsiblity toward each other. You simply assumed that’s what I meant. I wish you had asked me, instead.

nikipedia's avatar

@Trillian: If you want to have a discussion about that please start a new thread.

Ltryptophan's avatar

yo, i get a discount where I work! yay!

Dog's avatar

[Mod Says:] Flame off folks. Please stick to the topic which is “How easy is it for you to afford groceries, how easy should it be, and how wealthy do you consider yourself?”

If you have nothing productive to add to the question please resist the temptation to post and move on to the next question. If you are interested in a different topic please ask a new question.

Off topic or personal quips will be removed.

Cruiser's avatar

I buy food like Scrooge. I relish in beating the system and eat like a King!

Trillian's avatar

@nikipedia I just wondered if your comment about sociopaths were directed at me because of my thoughts about rights. Then I explained what I thought about rights. I’m more concerned about the children’s rights to adequate food. It seems like they should be included in the equation.
Let me clarify what you meant about being able to afford stuff. Did you mean that food prices should be adjusted somehow?

CaptainHarley's avatar

I chose to sacrifice my time and my youth for the greater good by being an Infantry Officer in the US Army. Turns out I was also, unknowingly, sacrificing my health. Now, as a 100% disabled veteran, I am making a fairly decent living from the combination of my military retirement and my disability compensation. My wife and I have no problem feeding ourselves rather well on approximately $200.00 per week, but then, we eat out relatively often.

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian Interesting question. I always think in terms of wages being better. I would prefer that over subsidizing (sp? I cannot spell today) food. I also prefer feeding children directly, like at school, over giving the parents food stamps.

tinyfaery's avatar

I never think about the cost of food, whether in a store or a restaurant. Yes, I think that everyone born deserves to live and food is obviously required.

casheroo's avatar

Hm. Well, it varies…usually depending on how much money my husband makes at work, and we depend on the generosity of others since he goes by tips (mainly).

I remember the last time he was laid off. We saw in our bank account that we didn’t even have enough for rent, and the place shut down and stupidly, we just had no money. I remember crying from being thankful that the state helps people out in situations like that. They have an expedited system, so within seven days, they get you money to buy food so you can pay your other bills and not starve.
Prior to that, when my husband had lost a job, we didn’t qualify for the expedited, actually didn’t qualify at all..and I remember us having to ration our food and having to go to family homes for dinner..which would be our only meal for the day because we needed money for formula for our son or food for him. That was scary.

We still have money on our food stamp card, so we aren’t hurting. We don’t pay attention to prices anymore because we’re pretty stable..but we don’t over-buy. I think what works for us is buying a lot of the same things, but mixing it up when it comes to the veggies with dinner…we go by seasonal foods. We buy some organic, but since we go to Trader Joe’s, I notice it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like at Whole Foods. Not too great of a meat selection, but good enough considering we don’t eat a lot of it.
So, yeah, the only reason it’s easy is because we don’t pay for it. I think it should be easy for everyone. It shouldn’t be a constant worry for a family on how they’re going to afford food and pay the bills. I’ve been there, and wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

jazmina88's avatar

I could go to the local food bank once a month, but I feel very blessed. I’m not up to cooking much these days, health wise….so it’s more about bottled water, fruit and yogurt, staples. I’m wantin some ice cream. I love fish and frozen veggies….
I eat out too much and try to avoid fast food, but it’s hard because i dont feel up to cooking and i’m single. I would save money, a top priority, if I felt better.
I am growing sprouts now for sandwiches.

Pandora's avatar

Should we all have the right to purchase luxury food? Sure if you can afford it.
How easy is it for me to afford it. Pretty easy but not so easy, I can shrug off a $100 dollar plate at a resturant.
How much food should people be entitled too? Enough to keep them healthy and strong.
How easy should it be easy for me to afford food? Why not. I didn’t rip anyone off to get it.
My husband and I slowly came into our middle class level by hard work over many years.
How rich do I consider myself? Very rich, but not because I am actually rich (money wise) but because I can afford to buy foods that I could not when I was younger and starting out, but mostly because I’m not living in the streets alone, cold and hungry.

augustlan's avatar

I believe everyone has the right to an amount and variety of food that will enable them to live a functional life.

For anyone struggling to feed a family, check out Angel Food. It’s a ministry that sends out boxes of food at very little cost, to anyone who needs it. No applications or qualifications involved. I haven’t tried this yet, but a family member says it’s been a life-saver for them.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m surprised by this conversation. I don’t understand how people who have a hard time purchasing food could have computers and internet service. Makes me wonder if they have cell phone plans and cable TV, or drive a car, too.

For me, food has always been the most important thing in life—both as sustenance and as pleasure. I buy things at farmer’s markets and coops and have used coupons to make my money go further. I’ve always thought that fresh food was the most important nutritionally and taste-wise.

Nowadays, I can afford what I want at the grocery store. We don’t go out to eat very much, though. We only have one car and we use public transportation and bicycles as much as possible. I have the cheapest phone plan I can get (60 minutes a month), and the other phones are pay as you go plans.

I certainly think having enough food to survive on is a right. That’s why we have food security programs in the US. I think people should have a right to buy the minimum necessary for good nutrition. I don’t think that includes junk food or high sugar drinks all the time, although as an occasional splurge that seems all right.

Part of the problem with food security, though, is that people aren’t educated about food and what is good for you. Another problem is that they don’t have access to stores that sell less expensive, healthy food. I work in a neighborhood that, until a month or so ago, didn’t have a supermarket, nor was there one within three miles.

It now has a supermarket and a farmer’s market and people engaged in efforts to educated people in the neighborhood about how to eat healthily, and how to incorporate fresh vegies and fruits into their diets. It’s a tough slog.

Ideally, I think people should have a right to eat healthily, but I recognize that if you provide food support, then they will use it on whatever they like to eat—which is not necessarily the stuff that is healthy. That’s why poorer people are also, on average, the heaviest people. They eat all the wrong stuff. Only wealthy people, it seems, can “afford” to eat well. Eating well, it seems, requires a good deal more education—the kind you can’t get from television ads.

The right to food is more than having enough money to buy the food that will keep you alive. It is about knowing enough to make good choices about how to spend your food money. It’s about living in a place where you have access to healthy food choices.

When I was in my twenties, my food budget was tight. I ate a lot more tofu and other soy products than I do now. I worked at the coop in order to have access to cheaper, healthier food. I used every coupon I could—even the ones that bought me less than healthy food.

Thirty years later, I’m in a different position. I can afford organic food of the highest quality. I can investigate the world of artisanal cheeses. I don’t have to think about coupons, although we still use them. If I want a fresh cannoli, I can have it. I can get a latte and a pastry at a coffee shop every day. It’s nice. It’s nice to be able to get our children a little more than we had (although not nearly everything they want).

These are wonderful things, but they are things I spend on because I don’t spend in other areas. It’s just that food is one of the most important things in life to me. I’ve learned to cook so that I don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to have a fancy meal. I’m very lucky, I think, and I am very grateful to be in this position.

loser's avatar

I’m struggling. Sometimes it comes to gas or groceries. 10 years ago I didn’t look at the price of stuff. 10 years ago I was happy, too.

gemiwing's avatar

@wundayatta It’s because of our sacrifices in other areas that we are able to have cable, computers etc. Plus, for our family anyway, we don’t have top of the line things and bought them either on sale or saved up for them. Took us almost two years to save up enough money to buy our laptop. Well worth the sacrifice. We never go to the movie theater so having cable is feasible for us as long as we stick to our budget elsewhere.

susanc's avatar

I have plenty of money. I’m not struggling even a little bit. But I don’t ever, ever buy junk food, except for a certain kind of very thin almond cookies made in Belgium. Every few days I buy greens (grow them in summer), a little meat, some butter if it’s on sale (I freeze it), a loaf of bread or a bunch of tortillas, some delicious cookable veg, six eggs, some milk, some cheese or yogurt, very occasionally some tofu, some fruit. Intermittently maybe a staple or two e.g. a big half-gallon of honey that lasts about a year, maybe a big round carton of non-instant oatmeal, a pound of coffee beans, a jar of pickles. I probably spend about $70/month on food just for myself. But I also cook for friends and relatives a lot, so quadruple that. I can easily spend $100 if everyone comes over at once, but that includes two or three $10 bottles of wine.
This is rich-lady shopping. And I love shopping, because even though I’m very prissy about not buying stuff I don’t need or anything I consider to be faux-“natural”, or anything I consider disgusting – like mixes for desserts I can make out of real ingredients in the same amount of time – I used to be poor, and I love not having to leave the beautiful stuff behind. I truly love it.

But: “How easy should it be”?
I’m aware that all our food in the U.S. is subsidized. Like our gasoline is subsidized. We can buy food cheaply. And a lot of it is very good food. And a lot of it is very bad food.
I think we should be able to get straightforward food easily, and eat very little of it. We eat too much, and sugar is insinuated into as many foods as possible so that we’ll crave them. I find this criminally harmful. And now I’m going to go see if I have any of those Belgian cookies left.

gemiwing's avatar

@susanc I totally want to come over to your house. I’ll bring cake, be the best guest ever I promise!.

susanc's avatar

@gemiwing: wow, that was fast. Sure, come on over. Make the cake kinda simple, without too much frosting. I’m shredding cabbages.

jonsblond's avatar

We are struggling financially. I plan every shopping trip according to where the best deals are for the week. I know that some items are less expensive at Walmart, while others cost less at Kroger. I can’t just go to the store and get whatever I want. We save a lot of money from the home cooked meals that I make. I can easily spend two hours in the kitchen each night preparing the family meal. We also have a large garden that helps our budget during the summer. Providing a healthy meal for my family is a daily task. Something that takes time and careful consideration.

@wundayatta- We sacrifice in other areas so we can afford cable and internet service. We never go to movies, rarely eat out, buy most of our clothes at Goodwill, we own one car and it is old and used, family vacations are spent at the ranch my husband works at or a friend’s cabin up north. etc..

wonderingwhy's avatar

When we talk about people having a basic right to food, is this what we mean?
To me it means, based on of the prosperity of the nation, no one should starve for lack of personal resources

Should people reasonably expect to be able to buy whatever they want, or is this something only reasonably wealthy people can enjoy?
whatever you want… no, that should be the goal, but as of today it’s not realistic

When we talk about being entitled to having food, do we just mean that people should have enough to not die?
people should have enough to maintain a healthy, active, lifestyle for their age (definition of such, of course, is debatable)

What’s your experience grocery shopping?
only really concerned about cost when we feel/know we can get an item of equal quality for a lesser cost or if we know we have a budget breaking expense in our near future

Do you plan and budget carefully or buy whatever you’d like?
pretty much buy whatever we like without wasting it (it’s ok that the prime+ cut of filet is $42/lb, it’s not ok that I have to buy 8lbs at a time) though there is an overall budget so if we go too crazy it’ll cost us in the form of not being able to do something else later

Do you consider yourself to be reasonably comfortable or really struggling?
reasonably comfortable

casheroo's avatar

@wundayatta Because we need internet for school, it’s a necessity. Also, a lot of what we have is purchased prior to hitting hard times…and canceling a phone plan cost too much to do all at once when you have no money at all. I never really understood the argument, that if you struggle you can’t have nice things.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have a full time job but on my wage, after I have apid rent and other important bills, I struggle to afford enough food to last me for the rest of the month before next pay day. I can usually afford two weeks worth of groceries (I’m including toiletries and cleaning products in that too) but for the last two weeks of each months I just survive on beans on toast! I don’t consider myself wealthy but I have a roof over my head and I don’t ever go hungry (if all else fails I pop round to my dads house for dinner!) so I certainly don’t consider myself hard done by.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I meant to say “after I have paid rent!

wundayatta's avatar

@casherooI never really understood the argument, that if you struggle you can’t have nice things.

It’s choices, of course. As long as people realize they are making choices, I have no problem. This question is about affording groceries, and that’s a tricky question to answer. If you don’t buy broadband internet (and who can live on dialup any more?), then you’ve got an extra thirty dollars a month. Not so much, I suppose. If you don’t get a cell phone with an internet plan, you’ve go an extra $70 per month. Cable can run from $70 to $250 per month, Some people can eat for a week or two on $100. The whole month on $300. Or maybe less.

So if a person or a family chooses to purchase internet and phone service and cable TV, but is struggling to put food on the table, can they be considered to be unable to afford food to eat? I guess if you think internet and cable and phone service is also a right. And they may well be, the way people live these days. Although in my mind, they are still things I could live without. I wouldn’t be happy at all, but I could live without them, and I would live without them if I had to.

Which reminds me. My wife sort of said I could purchase a phone plan with internet access, so long as I didn’t use it all the time. I’m on vacation today. Maybe I’ll go see if there are any good deals.

Coloma's avatar


HAH! Well I don’t subscribe to any of those things..and, I am still on dialup because I live in the mountains, don’t watch TV, have a satillite dish but don’t want to pay for highspeed and cable TV, don’t carry a cell phone as I get virtually zero reception in my canyon…so it IS entirely possible to eliminate these so called ‘necessities.’ lol

I do take my laptop to one of the local resorts to download pics or if I have a need for highspeed…truthfully it is not bad at all..I am able to do what I need online and it is not all that slow.

Sooo…all I save from not buying into these usuallay considered ’ must haves’...well…I DO enjoy really good food, travel and the peace of living in beautiful natural surroundings…not a bad tradeoff if you ask me! lol

JLeslie's avatar

Does the government give out food stamps for an indefinite period of time. Or can you only get them for 6 months or something like that? Is there a time limit?

mattbrowne's avatar

A lot of very healthy food is actually very inexpensive. For example cabbage. Or linseed. Or lentils. Or apples. Or olive oil. Or eggs. No one forces us to buy processed foods.

One way to save money on apples is actually getting 3–4 crates during harvest time and put them into a cool place. Very often they are still tasty in January. This is what we do. Buying apples in the grocery store in January can be somewhat expensive. Okay, city dwellers might have to think a bit about the logistics.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I’m curious how much do apples cost per pound where you are? My favorite apple (honey crisp) runs between $2.99 and $3.99 a pound! It is robbery to me. My second favorite apple (empire) I can find for $0.99. But I can only get Empire in March and April where I live. I have not had luck keeping them for many months. One month tops.

jaytkay's avatar

Okay, city dwellers might have to think a bit about the logistics.

While I don’t have a place to store apple crates, w have better fruit/vegetable markets in Chicago than suburban places I’ve lived. They are a lot cheaper than the grocery store, maybe half price average.

Also, the ethnic markets are often bargains. I buy limes for 7¢ at the Vietnamese grocery. In Mexican groceries, spices are ⅓ the price of the chain supermarkets.

Not saying my way is the best, just giving another example of opportunities for saving.

casheroo's avatar

@JLeslie food stamps (at least here in PA, i believe its everywhere though) can only be given to a person for 5 years total in your life. So you can go on and off them, but once it totals five years, you’re done. Probably because it’s supposed to be temporary to help out, and you should be on your feet after five years. You do have to renew it every six months, which means every six months they want access to all your finances.

JLeslie's avatar

@casheroo And are the food stamps allocated per person? You get stamps for you, and a separate allotment for your baby? If so does the 5 years add up even for the minor?

About your comment earlier. I think people look at it like if you were buying food instead of computers, then basically the government is buying you cell phones and internet. In the end it is all expenditures, food, phone, clothing, etc. You can’t really separate it, because people who can afford everything they need or want, take it all from one place, the money they have earned, so they/we don’t understand really the thinking behind buying nonnecessities while on food stamps. Also, we old people, LOL, remember the days of no internet, no cable, no cell phone, so we have a different view of whether they are necessary or a luxury. I hope I explained that without being offensive.

Coloma's avatar


Yep, country living has so many benefits for healthy food.

I live right down the road from acres of strawberry fields and have an awesome community garden that goes by the honor system. They offer every kind of tomato, squash, cucumbers, plums, everything! I love to drop by in the early evenings and just wander around gathering my stuff. Fresh flowers too! I grow my own tomatos as well, but one can never have enough fresh tomatos in summer!

jazmina88's avatar

Guys, check out the food banks… food networks. I get canned goods, bread, ground turkey. It helps those in the crunch. I get a Thanksgiving basket with a $25 gift card. I share with my friends my pantry. Pass it forward.

casheroo's avatar

@JLeslie I’m not sure how it works actually, I wish I knew. Because I’m the one that applies and it goes by my SSN, so I’m thinking it is just for me? But, I’m married so I think they should consider us as one since we share…I can barely get ahold of my caseworker, but I’ll ask him the next time I talk to him.
Also, I take no offense. What I was trying to explain though was that if you have those things prior to hitting hard times, there’s nothing you can do. We had a tv prior to hitting hard times. I’m not going to see a tv for a measly couple hundred which really won’t help pay the bills. I just know of people who think when you need help, you should sell everything you own..which to me is just ridiculous.
Oh, and I’m against internet phones, so we don’t have that..just a basic plan lol.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Where does it say in the Constitution that everyone has a “right” to good, nutricious food?

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – About the same these days. But apples only cost 20% of that in October, especially when you get whole crates from farmers and put them in a cool place in your basement. And there are more and more oxygen-free warehouses run by apple farmers. My brother-in-law brought us 2 crates in February because he lives near a place where they sell them this way. They tasted almost like picked from the tree. The price is about half from buying kilo-portions in the grocery stores.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Coloma – More and more farmers offer so-called “seasonal vegetables of the week crates”. Our neighbors try to live a “90% green life” (while we might hover around 60% at best) and they reject vegetables and fruit crossing half of Europe or even the world, like kiwi fruits from New Zealand. The are subscribers of this crate model and every Saturday there’s this surprise crate with stuff from local farmers. And it’s not just cabbage. It’s quite amazing what’s in that crate sometimes.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I had never heard of oxygen free warehouses, that makes perfect sense.

CaptainHarley's avatar

There IS no “right” to food written into the Constitution. There is, however, a right to pursue happiness, which I suppose would include food… IF you work for it. I think that we need to return to the dictum, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” ( Except for those who absolutely cannot work, of course ).

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