The Food Stamp Challenge

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I wrote a blog entry called “Can the Poor Eat Healthy?” a while back and it got someone interested enough to write in.   Very interesting stuff.

My name is James G.  I was reading about the 4 dollars a day food stamp challenge the past couple of years and knew that we spend less than that on food. My mom, age 75,  has been making the shopping list and I, age 47, have been doing the shopping for about 5 years now, ever since both her legs were crushed in a car accident. She can get around a little now and sometimes goes to the store with me.
I decided to start keeping track of everything we buy and the total cost. I started just by making a list for each trip and storing it on the computer (I have each individual shopping  list and cost for proof). After about 20 shopping trips I decided to make a combined list as well and put the food in categories.  I started the list hoping to prove one could eat on 2 dollars a day. I failed.
I have been sending  the updated  list out from time to time to various  US Congressmen and Senators as well as to food banks, and people in academia. We mainly shop at Shop Rite Supermarket, but also use Foodtown , Acme, Wallgreens, and other smaller places. We look in the circulars for each store to find the best deals for items we need. We try to buy items on sale and also use coupons. The best is when an item is on store sale and you also have a manufacturers coupon for it.
One opinion I have developed from the list is that the cost of food is very low compared to the cost of living expenses.  Also I believe in order to eat on less than 4 dollars a day with the list we have, you also need a home to live in with a kitchen and all the appliances and cookware, not to mention gas, electric,water, sewer, garbage pickup, a mortgage or rent, property taxes, and a car with gasoline to get to the stores – to mention a few things.  But if you had all of those things you would not qualify for food stamps. This is the problem I am still trying to figure out.
I have been keeping exact track of all the food we buy and the cost starting on May 21, 2013.
We are sitting at $3.76 per day each to eat. I have never felt hungry and there is always tons of food to eat
Below is the combined grocery list of food.
grocery shopping trips starting May 21, 2013
may——-21, 28,
June——-4, 12, 15, 16, 21, 25, 29, 30
July——–6, 10, 17, 19, 22
august—1, 3, 6, 7, 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 27, 29
sept——-1, 4, 11, 17, 18, 21, 24, 25, 29
oct———1, 7, 16, 21, 22, 26, 29
nov——–5, 6, 13, 18, 27, 30
dec——–6, 12, 16, 21, 24, 31
jan———7, 13, 20, 27
feb———2, 11, 17, 21, 24, 26, 28
march—-5
 

66 shopping trips – Starting May 21, 2013 – presentThe total cost so far is $2218.79

If we do not go shopping again until March 12, then  May 21 through March 11  = 295 days

$2218.79 divided by 295 days, divided by 2 people , divided by 3 meals a day = $1.254 per meal per person (includes snacks and desserts)

So $3.76 per person to eat per day (includes snacks and desserts).

Take into account we have so much inventory , we could live on what we have for 309 days total from the start of list (May 21, 2013 through March 25, 2014)

We have so much food in the house now, I do not see how a 47 year old man and 75 year old woman could eat it all.

So, 309 days. Then $2218.79 divided by 309 days, divided by 2 people, divided by 3 meals a day = $1.20 per meal per person.

Take a look at the total grocery list below and tell me

1) Is it ok to eat what is on the list for nutrition?

2) If you had to live on  $1.20  per meal (3 meals a day including snacks and desserts) for 309 days,, would you be OK with the grocery list below?

The average food stamp, SNAP, recipient in NJ gets $133 a month, but an individual can get up to $189 a month if a one person household.

A household of 2 can get up to $347 a month

At $1.20 per meal, one person can live on to eat in a 31 day month for $111.60, that is 3 meals a day plus snacks.and desserts.

I can not believe a household of 2 people would complain being lowered to $347 a month, when me and my mom have been living on $224 a month since May 21, and have so much food we might over eat.

combined list for the 66 grocery store visits below

DAIRY


eggs– large grade A—- 372 eggs
milk— 24  half gallons
butter – 22 pounds
american cheese- 12 paks -12 ounces per pak
american cheese – 2 paks – 9.6 ounces per pak
shreaded cheddar cheese – 15 paks – 8 ounces per pak
shreaded mozzarella cheese – 2 paks – 8 ounces per  pak
mozzarela cheese – 1 pound
swiss cheese – deli – 2.99 pounds
cream cheese – 10 paks – 8 ounces per pak
cottage cheese – 9 containers – 1 pound per container
cottage cheese – 1 container – 14 ounces per container
sour cream – 1 container –  14 ounces per container
ice cream –  ben and jerrys – 5 pints
ice cream –  haaghen dazs – 14 ounces
ice cream bars – klondike – 48 bars (8 paks of 6)
MEAT


chop beef – 80% lean – fresh –  30.75 pounds
hot dogs – 96 hotdogs- fresh –  12 paks of 8, 14 ounces each pak
london broil– fresh – 6.40 pounds
shell steak – fresh –  1.47 pounds
t bone steaks – fresh –  2 steaks – 2.14 pounds total
beef cubes – fresh –  boneless – 2.87 pounds
beef round roast -fresh –  4.07 pounds
beef – seemed eye roast – fresh-  3.90 pounds
spare ribs-pork—fresh – 14.69 pounds
chicken thighs- fresh- 23.31  pounds
chicken breast -fresh – boneless – 10.17 pounds
chicken – 2 whole chickens – 22.423 pounds
chicken breast – split with ribs – 4.24 pounds
ham steaks – 6 ham steaks – 8 ounces each
ham – spiral – 6.98 pounds
turkey breast – frozen-  hotel style with wings – 8.03 pounds
pork chops – fresh – 6.24 pounds
italain sausage – 6.96 pounds
polish kelbasi—– 2 paks —-16 ounces per pak
polish kelbasi—–14 paks —14 ounces per  pak
polish kielbasa—1 pak ——-13.5 ounces per pak
polish keilbsi—— 2 paks — 13 ounces per pak
kielbsi – fresh – 5.74 pounds
bratwurst—– 14 ounces ( 6 links)
sausage pattits – breakfast – fresh – 12 ounces
sausage links – breakfast – fresh – 2 paks –  12 ounces per pak
bacon — 21 pounds
chili- beef – 2 cans – 15 ounces per can
fried chicken- prepared- 32 pieces
FISH


fish filets – breaded – cooked – frozen – 1 box of 6 – 11.4 ounces per box
fish filets – grilled – frozen – 3 boxes – 2 filets per box – 7.1 ounces per box
shrimp – cooked – frozen – (31-40 shrimps) – 40 ounces
tuna fish – 34 cans- —5 ounces per  can
sardines – 6 cans  – 3.75 ounces per  can
sardines – 6 cans  – 4.375 ounces per can
fish sticks – frozen – 1 box – 30 fish sticks – 23 ounces per box
coconut shrimp – frozen – 2 boxes – 18 ounces per box
DELI MEATS


salami —————- deli – 5.61 pounds
liverwurst ————-deli – 0.585 pounds
olive  loaf ———— deli – 1.545 pounds
ham ——————- deli – 2.135 pounds
FRUIT


water mellon——-pre cut, no rind- 2.86 pounds
watermellon —— whole watermellon 9 pounds
watermellon —— whole watermellon
watermellon ——-quarter of a whole – 2.44 pounds
watermellon ——-quarter of a whole – 3.91 pounds
cantelope – 1 cantelope
pineapple– 1 pineapple
strawberries- —-  4 containers – 16 ounces per  container
blueberrys – 5 pints
blueberrys – 6 ounces
peaches – 36 peaches
plums —- 31 plums
necterines – 6 necterines
apples – 6 pounds
clementines – 26 pounds
grapes – red –  7.61 pounds
grapes – green – 1.83 pounds
bananas – 6 bananas – 2.56 pounds
fruit cocktail – 2 cans – 15 ounces per can
prunes – sunsweet –  1 can – 18 ounces per can
dole fruit bowls – 4 paks – 4 bowls per pak – 16 ounces per pak
VEGETABLES


lettuce – 7 heads
romaine lettuce – 1 head – 1.88 pounds
salad– fresh express prepared romaine-  1 pak – —9 ounces
dole – romaine classic – 1 pak –  9 ounces per pak
dole – romaine classic – 1 pak –  10 ounces per pak
dole – field green salad – 1 pak – 8 ounces per pak
dole iceberg salad – 1 bag – 12 ounces per bag
corn on the cobb—–17 cobbs
potatoes – 15 pounds
yams – 3 pounds
carrots – pre cut – 1 produce bag – 16 ounces
celery- 4 produce paks
celery sticks – organic -1 pound
peppers – green – 16 peppers
peppers – red – 4 peppers – 2.26 pounds
avacados – 9 avacados
mushrooms – 54 ounces
onions – white- 6 pounds
onions – red – 2 pounds
scallions – green onions- 5.5 ounces
garlic—- 7 cloves
baked beans– 1 can – 28 ounces per can
baked beans– 1 can – 16 ounces per can
tomatos– large –  7
tomatos – plum – 5
tomatos on vine – 9 – 2.73 pounds
tomatos – grape – 4 pints
tomatos- del monte stewed- 2 cans  — 15.5 ounces per can
tomatos- del monte stewed- 4 cans  — 14.5 ounces per can
tomatos – crushed – 4 cans – 28 ounces per can
cream corn – – 5 cans – 14.75 ounces per can
green beans – 3 cans – 14.5 ounces per can
sweet peas – 3 cans – 15 ounces per can
parsely – 1 produce pak
dill- 1 produce pak
parsnips –   3 parsnips
asparagus – 1.08 pounds
RICE


rice mix – jumbyya – 4 boxes – 8 ounces per box
rice mix – dirty ——- 3 boxes – 8 ounces per box
BREAD


white bread—————–13  loafs – 20 ounces each
white bread —————–2 loafs — 24 ounces each
rye bread ——————-10 loafs  – 1 pound each loaf
rye bread ——————- 4 loafs — 14 ounces per loaf
whole wheat bread —— 2 loafs —-24 ounces each
raisin cinnamon bread – 2 loafs —-16 ounces per loaf
irish soda bread ———–2 loafs —- 14 ounces per loaf
italain bread — fresh baked – 7 loafs
kaiser rolls – 48 rolls
hotdog rolls – 64 rolls –  8 paks of 8
hotdog rolls – 12 rolls – 1 pak of 12 – 18 ounces total
hamburger rolls – 32 rolls –  4 paks of 8
split top party rolls – 1 pak of 8 rolls – 14 ounces per pak
bagels – 24 bagels – 4 paks of 6 – 20 ounces per pak
bagles – bakery –  fresh – 33 bagels
english muffins – 2 paks of 6 — 12 english muffins total –  12 ounces per pak
english muffins – 4 paks of 12 — 48 english muffins total —24 ounces per pak
pilsbury grands – biscuits – 6 paks – 16.3 ounces per pak
FROZEN BREAD ITEMS


waffles – aunt jemima- 80 waffles – 8 boxes of 10 each  – 12.3 ounces per box
waffels – foodtown —– 60 waffles – 6 boxes of 10 each  – 12.3 ounces per box
waffles – blueberry ——20 waffles – 2 boxes of 10 each –  12.3 ounces per box
texas toast – frozen- 108 slices – 18 boxes of 6 each – 8.46 ounce per box
texas toast – 1 box – 8 slices – 11.25 ounces per box
texas toast – 3 cheese –  frozen – 3 boxes of 4 each  – 12 slices total  – 6.75 ounces per box
cibatta rolls- frozen–  ( 6 half rolls) – 10 ounces 
CEREAL


raisin bran cereal- 4 boxes — 14.2 ounces per box
raisin bran cereal – 1 box – 14.3 ounces per box
raisin bran cereal- 2 boxes – 13.7 ounces per  box
fruitloops cereal – 5 boxes  – 8.7 ounces per box
fruitloops cereal – 1 box- 12.3 ounces per box
frosted flakes – 1 box – 10.5 ounces per box
PASTA


elbow macaroni —  5 boxes  – 1 pound per  box
penne pasta – 2 boxes  – 1 pound per box
SIDES


potato salad – deli – 7.5 pounds
coleslaw – dole –  2 bags – 16 ounces per bag
dole coleslaw – 1 bag – 14 ounces per bag
pickles-chips— 3 jars — 24 ounces per jar
macaroni salad – deli – 2 pounds
SOUP


soup – romin noodle – 2 boxes – 8.82 ounces per box
soup – wonaton – prepared – hot prepared- 2 containers – 14 ounces per container
soup -cream of mushroom soup – 6 cans – 10.75 ounces per can
soup – beef broth -campbels condensed – 1 can – 10.5 ounces per can
soup – chicken noodle – prepared – 1 container – 20 ounces per container
FROZEN ::  MEALS AND SNACKS AND SIDES


shrimp scampi and lugine – frozen meal – 2 bags – 24 ounces per bag
chicken marsala and redskin potatos – frozen meal – 1 bag –  24 ounces per bag
french bread pizza – 3 boxes of 2 each – 6 pieces total – 11.75 ounces per box
french bread pizza – 2 boxes of 2 each – 4 pieces total- 10 3/8 ounces per box
french bread pizza – 3 boxes of 2 each – 6 pieces total – 12 3/8 ounces per box
pizza –  4 pizzas – totinos- 9.8 ounces per box
pizza –  4 pizzas – momma celeste – check on size
pizza rolls – 8 boxes of 15 each – 7.5 ounces per box
white castels – 2 boxes of 6  hamburgers each  – 9.5 ounces per box
white castles – 1 box of 16 hamburgers – 25.28 ounces per box
ravioli –  2 bags – 13 ounces per bag
chicken pot pies- 3 pot pies – 16 ounces per pie
mini chicken sandwhiches –  6 sandwhiches – 15 ounces total
pierogies – potato and onion – 9 boxes -16 ounces per box
french fries – 3 bags – 28 ounces per bag
tater bits – 1 bag – 2 pounds per bag
onion rings –  4 bags – 16 ounces per bag
sweet potatos – candied – 3 boxes – 20 ounces per box
pearl onions –  1 box – 9 ounces per box
chicken nuggets – 1 bag – 25.5 ounces per bag
chicken tenders – 2 bags – 26 ounces per bag
chicken strips  – 1 bag – 25 ounces per bag
hungry man dinners – salsbury steak – 2 boxes – 16 ounces per box
stouffers macaroni and cheese – 7 boxes – 12 ounces per box
stouffers – chicken parmiginia – 2 boxes – 12 ounces per box
stouffers – salsbury steak – 1 box – 9.625 ounces
stouffers – green pepper steak – 1 box – 10.5 ounces per box
stouffers – sweedish meatballs – 1 box – 11.5 ounces per box
stouffers – meat lovers lasagna – 2 boxes – 10 ounces per box
stouffers – stuffed peppers – 2 boxes – 10 ounces per box
SNACKS


tortilla chips — 9 bags — 13 ounces per  bag
potato chips—-2 bags —- 13.75  ounces per bag
potato chips – 4 bags – 10 ounces per bag
potato chips – 3 bag – 10.5 ounces per bag
doritos – 2 bags – 11 ounces per bag
cheese nips crackers- 2 boxes – 12 ounces per box
cheeze it crackers – 2 boxes – 7 ounces per box
ritz crackers – 3 boxes – 13.7 ounces per box
triscut crackers – 2 boxes – 9 ounces per box
pita crackers – town house – 1 box – 9.5 ounces per box
crackers – sea salt and olive oil – 2 boxes – 9.5 ounces per box
crackers – pita – 2 boxes – 9.5 ounces per box
flat bread crisps – 1 box – 9.5 ounces per box
saltine crackers – 1 box – 1 pound per box
alomond nuts – blue diamond – assorted – 24 cans – 6 ounces per can
pistacios – 2 bags – 8 ounces per bag
pistacios – 2 bags – 1 pound per bag
popcorn – microwaveable – 2 boxes of 3 paks each -9.6 ounces per box
popcorn – microwaveable – 3 boxes of 3 paks each -8.25 ounces per box
tic tacs – 1 container – 1 ounce
milano cookies – 4 paks – 7.5 ounces per pak
DESSERTS


jello – 1 pak of 4 – 13.5 ounces total
cherry pie – 1 pie – 1.5 pounds
cherry pie – frozen – 3 boxes – 3 pies – 27 ounces per box
cocnut custard pie –  frozen – 1 box –  1 pie – 27 ounces per box
apple pie –  frozen – 1 box –  1 pie – 27 ounces per box
blueberry pie –  frozen – 1 box –  1 pie – 27 ounces per box
cheese danish – 8 ounces
cheese danish – 15 ounces
pepperidge farm layer cake – frozen – 2 cakes – 11.6 ounces each cake
fudge iced golden cake – 1 cake- 18 ounces per cake
mallamar cookies – 2 paks – 8 ounces per pak
hershey snak candy – almond joy – 4 bags – 11.3 ounces per bag
hersheys – snak size – 2 bags – 10.35 ounces per bag
reeses peanut butter cups – 2 bags – 10.5 ounces per bag
tiramisu – 5.84 ounces
donuts – 1 box of 8 – 15 ounces
raspberry danish twist – 1 box – 14 ounces
raspberry danish twist -2 boxes –  15 ounces per box
cherry cheese danish – 16 ounces
louisiana crunch cake – 20 ounces
apple puffs – 1 box of 6 apple puffs – 19 ounces per box
walnut coffee ring – 13 ounces
EXTRAS


mayonaise—- 5 jars  – 30 ounces per  jar
ketchup – 2 bottles – 38 ounces per bottle
ketchup – 1 bottle – 20 ounces per bottle
mustard – spicy brown – 2 bottles – 12 ounces per bottle
mustard – kosciusko – 1 jar – 9 ounces per jar
relish- 4 jars – -10 ounces per jar
relish – 1 jar – 16 ounces per jar
barbecue sauce—- 1 bottle –  17.3 ounces per bottle
barbecue sauce- 2 bottles – 28 ounces per  bottle
barbecue sauce – 2 bottles- 18 ounces per bottle
turkey gravy – 2 jars – 12 ounces per jar
soy sauce—— 1 bottle – 10 ounces per  bottle
pancake syrup – 1 bottle – 27.6 ounces per bottle
pancake syrup – 1 bottle – 24 ounces per bottle
appricot preserves – 1 jar – 18 ounces per jar
peach preserves – 1 jar – 12 ounces per jar
scampi sauce — campbells skillet – 2 paks – 9 ounces per pak
marsala sauce – campbells skillet – 1 pak – 9 ounces per pak
toasted seseme sauce – campbells skillet – 1 pak – 9 ounces per pak
chinese style 5 spice plum sauce – 1 bottle – 11.8 ounces per bottle
meat marinade – 3 paks – 1 ounce per pak

saurkraut –   5 pounds
horse raddish – 1 jar – 6 ounces per jar

french salad dressing– 2 bottles – 16 ounces per bottle
french salad dressing– 1 bottle –  8 ounces per bottle
ranch salad dressing—-1 bottle – 16 ounces per bottle
raspberry and walnut salad dressing – 3 bottles – 16 ounces per bottle
thousand island salad dressing – 1 bottle – 8 ounces per bottle

tomato paste – 14 cans – 6 ounces per can
tomato sauce – 2 cans – 8 ounces per  cans
pasta sauce – 4 jars – 24 ounces per jar

french onion dip- 8 containers  -12 ounces per container
bacon ranch dip – 2 containers – 12 ounces per container
salsa – peach mango – 4 containers  — 14 ounces per container
gucamole dip – 2 containers – 8 ounces per container
gucamole mix – 4 paks – 1 ounce per pak

sugar- 4 pounds
black pepper – 4 ounces
vinegar – 1 gallon
wesson oil – 1 bottle – 64 ounces per bottle
lemon juice – 2 lemon shaped containers  – 2.5 ounces each
parmeseasn cheese – 1 jar – 3 ounces per jar

crutons- ny texas toast- 6 bags  – 5 ounces per  bag
crutons – cheese garlic – 1 bag –  5 ounces per bag
crutons – 3 bags – 5 ounces per bag
bread crumbs – 1 can – 16 ounces per can
bread crumbs – 1 can – 15 ounces per can
bread crumbs – 2 boxes – 4 ounces per box

onion soup and dip mix – 1 box – 2 paks per box – 2 ounces per box
taco seasoning – 1 pak – 1.5 ounces per pak
taco seasoning – 2 paks – 1 ounce per pak
taco dinner kit – 2 boxes – 12 shells, 2 seasonings per box – 10 ounces per box
taco dinner kit – 4 boxes – 10 shells and 1 mix per box – 8.8 ounces per box

stove top stuffing – 10 boxes – 6 ounces per box

chicken broth – college inn – 1 pak – 48 ounces per pak
beef broth – 1 can – 14.5 ounces per can

pickled beats and onions – 16 ounces

cranberry sauce – jellied – 1 can – 14 ounces per can

SODA
coke- zero————288—- 12 ounce cans
coke—– ————–168- — 12 ounce cans
sunkist soda ——–72 —- 12 ounce cans
rootbeer—————-60——12 ounce cans
7 up———————48——12 ounce cans
dr pepper ————-72——12 ounce cans
uprite soda – ———3——-12 ounce  cans
black cherry soda -3——–12 ounce cans
coke- ——–2 bottles —-1.25 liters per  bottle
dr pepper –2 bottles —–1.25 liters per bottle

JUICE
orange juice- —————————–26 bottles ——59 ounces each
juice drink – dole peach-mango—– 2 bottles —– 59 ounces each
pomegranite blueberry juice ——– 2 bottles——-59 ounce each
cranberry pomegranite juice ——– 6 bottles—— 64 ounces each
cranberry juice ————————— 6 bottles——-64 ounces each
cranberry juice ————————— 4 bottles——-60 ounces each
hawaiian punch – orange- 1 gallon
apple cider – 2 bottles – 64 ounces per bottle
V8 juice – 2 bottles – 46 ounces per bottle

WATER
water- bottled — 120 bottles — 16.9  ounce bottles
vitamin water ————  6 bottles – —16.9 ounce bottles

COFFEE AND ICE TEA
coffee— 14 cans — 11.3 ounce cans
ice tea mix – 74.1 ounce can  – makes 28 quarts

 

49420cookie-checkThe Food Stamp Challenge