General Diet Plans and Questions General diet questions, support for various diet plans other than those listed below.

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Old 03-23-2012, 08:06 PM   #1  
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Default $4 a day for food.

My mother got sick when I was young, so ever since I was 11 years old, we've lived on $4 a day for food. Sometimes a bit less, sometimes a bit more. They always seem to mess with it when nothing else changes. Anyway, I'm just wondering if anyone else has read anything on the food stamp system and what your thoughts are. My mother's disabled and can't work, my brother is still in school and I'm desperately looking for a job. I broke down and applied at McDonalds and they told me they were hiring people with children first, because of the limited openings. It really sucks. I've read so many things, like how obese people in poverty are actually starving. If you've read anything about me on here, you've probably heard me complain about this several times. I just think there needs to be more awareness. People are so judgmental and think that just because someone's 300 pounds, they eat like a king. I can tell you that I definitely do not. Another thing people go crazy about, is when someone says that they have $4 for the day for food and won't have anymore until the next day. There has been many time that my family has bought burgers off the dollar menu at McDonalds. When I've shared this, people get very rude and say that it's so wrong of us and to just save up so you can buy bread and lunch meat or something. So are we suppose to fast for a week until we have the money for all of those ingredients? The nearest grocery store is 20 miles away. McDonalds is within walking distance. My mother is a diabetic, she can't go without eating or she'll throw up and get sick. Sure, McDonalds is disgusting, I personally HATE eating it and it's not good for my diabetic mother, but really, what are we to do in situations like these? Until you've been there, you have no idea what it's like. I just get so upset when people judge. They assume you can come up with $10 extra dollars for bread, milk or whatever, because what's $10 right? Well $10 to someone who doesn't have it is like a million dollars. Unless I literally stand on the street corner, I won't be getting an extra $10. I'm just wondering how other people feel about this and if you or someone you know has ever been in this situation. Please keep in mind that if a person only has $4 a day for food, imagine their budget for gas, so suggesting going to bargain stores all around town (if there even are any) to get good deals, that's pretty much impossible unless you'd like to drive them there free of charge.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:26 PM   #2  
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4.00 a day per person? So 120.00 per person or for all three of you? Just to clarify.
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:22 PM   #3  
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Im sorry that people have judged you and your family. I can say myself, that while i dont know what its like living on 4 dollars a day, i do know what its like living on only rice. When i had barely any money, rice was the one thing that i was given from food banks and stuff and i sometimes lived off of white rice for a month at a time. I understand how hard it can be when you can barely make ends meet. I see that you live in the states and unfortunately, because im canadian, i dont know what resources you have available in your community..all i can do is pray that you and your family get blessed huge this year.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:10 PM   #4  
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Originally Posted by itsjustmagic View Post
I'm just wondering how other people feel about this and if you or someone you know has ever been in this situation. Please keep in mind that if a person only has $4 a day for food, imagine their budget for gas, so suggesting going to bargain stores all around town (if there even are any) to get good deals, that's pretty much impossible unless you'd like to drive them there free of charge.

My husband and I went through a rough patch when our monthly food budget was $25 for the whole month for both of us. We still managed to eat fairly healthfully, but only by using multiple saving strategies including going to bargain stores all around town.

My husband was very skeptical when I first suggested it, because he thought that any savings would be cancelled out by the cost of gas. But even when gas was $4 per gallon, we were able to save enough to make the extra trips worth it. And our car then was an even bigger gas guzzler than our current car which gets about 20 miles to the gallon (it would be nice to be able to buy an efficient car, but our last two cars had to be purchased based on what we could find in our price range, which generally has been old, gas-guzzlers).

We had to calculate the savings and the cost of gas to prove to ourselves that the extra trips were worth the extra gas. At $4 per gallon, and about 15 to 20 miles per gallon, that meant that we had to save more than $4 to compensate for the every 15 to 20 miles of driving.

We were able to save a lot more than that, so it was worth the extra gas money, but to find that out, we had to do quite a bit of planning and math.

Now this doesn't always help everyone, because some folks don't even have a car at all, but that doesn't mean they can't use some other strategies to save money. Carpooling with friends who do have a car (or making friends with someone with a car, even advertising on Craig's list and such) and who are willing to take a road trip or a shopping day, or planning shopping around other errands (which hubby and I still do - for example today we had a doctor's appointment, so on the way home, we stopped at the stores on that side of town, for the items that are cheaper in those stores).

A book that was extremely helpful to me was "The Complete Tightwad Gazette," by Amy Dacyczyn. I borrowed it from the library and found it so helpful that I bought my own copy (either from or from a garage sale - I don't remember which but I do know that I paid less than $5 for the book including shipping and handling, because at the time I bought it, $5 was the absolute maximum I would ever spend on an optional purchase).

I checked out a bunch of other books on the topic of saving money, and eating cheaply (I would go to and search for such books and then would right the titles down and look for them at my library. If my library didn't have it, I'd ask them to order it for me through interlibrary loan).

I kept my own notebook of strategies and information, and a price book listing the prices in various stores in town (I learned this from The Tightwad Gazette book).

We never drove all over town in one day, instead we would stop on our way to other places (hubby was working across town, so this was possible).

I'm not saying that you can do any of the things that we did, but the books (and websites) like The Tightwad Gazette are filled with hundreds of tips, some of which WILL work for you.

For example, we couldn't afford a freezer, so we couldn't buy in bulk. Once we started saving money, we were able to set money aside planning to buy a freezer (we actually were tremendously lucky to be able to afford it earlier than we would have on our own, because of Christmas money from family).

We also worked at saving money in other ways, so that we could afford to spend more of our money on food. For example, I almost never buy clothing (except for socks and underwear) new. Even though my size is rare in the thrift shops, I stop in to shop whenever I can. Yes, it does require some extra expense in gas, but I have to use the same formula - am I going to save more money than I'm going to spend in gas. With clothing, there's even more likelihood for this to be true.

As an example, the other day we went to Goodwill, because I desperately needed some tops. We're lucky that we only had to go to two stores, across town (about 10 miles in total, so less than $2 in gas). So to make the trip worth it, I had to save more than $2 AND stick within our budget (I had a birthday check of $30 from a relative, and our budget currently isn't as tight as it used to be, so I didn't strictly have to do the math, but it's become habit. I ALWAYS calculate whether a trip is "worth" my time, effort, and gas-money).

I bought five tops for less than $20 total including the $2 in gas money. This was actually an unusual trip. Usually, I would be lucky to find more than one top.

We don't buy anything new, that we can find used.

I often ask friends and relatives to "go in on" special deals with me. I've even made friends with people (at least in part) because they shared my enjoyment and interest in bargain-shopping and bargain-hunting.

When our money was tightest, we had the fewest options, but we could always save enough in bargain shopping to pay for the extra gas (we made sure of it). That may or may not be possible for you, but my guess is that you probably can save more than you are currently, even if only by a little bit. You'ld be surprised at all of the suggestions you can find online and in books on the subject.

When we only had $25 for the month, we ate TONS of cabbage, onions, celery, carrots, dry beans, tvp and the cheapest ground beef (tvp is soy protein granules) rice, pasta and chicken thighs (bought in as large a quantity as we were able), and local fish (before we could afford fishing licenses, most of our fish came from hubby's father who fishes practically every day, year 'round).

Another thing we did that DRASTICALLY helped our budget (because we both were on many medications) was learn to bargain shop for meds. We transferred our prescriptions to Sam's Club (you don't have to be a member to use the pharmacy or the vision department. So we buy our meds (and when we need them new glasses) at Sam's Club.

We also had our doctor help us find medications on the Sam's/Walmart's $4 list. Even though we now are both on medicare, which pays more of our prescription costs than when we were without drug coverage, we still have the doctor prescribe us the cheapest medication that will do the job. Today I was prescribed a new medication, and my doctor prescribed a medication on the $4 list. The newest version of the drug costs more than $50 per month, and the only advantage is that it only has to be taken once a day, where the older, cheaper form of the drug that I was prescribed has to be taken twice a day. I will gladly take an extra pill to save so much.

I know it sounds overwhelming, but saving money becomes addictive. Once you get started, you find more and more ways to save. At first (especially if you have very little to work with) it takes a lot of effort, for very little pay-off, but it snowballs. The more you save, the more strategies you will have available to save more.

The hardest part (at first) is realizing how much time you have to spend to see a benefit, but as you get more and more strategies, they take less and less time. For example, when we started, we did waste more time and gas-money than we had to. We still saved enough to more than compensate for the time and money spent, but the savings were so small at first that we wondered whether it was worth the effort. Eventually we learned ways to decrease the time and gas money and increase the savings.

Home-cooking was perhaps our biggest money saver. Another tip I learned from The Tighwad Gazette book. We kept a left-over bucket in the freezer. Anything that was left-over (scraps of meat or vegetables) went into the bucket to be made into soup.

I bought whole celery and carrots and peeled them myself. Vegetable parts that used to be "trash" such as celery leaves, cabbage and cauliflower cores, beet and turnip tops... went into the stock pot with a chicken carcass or even leftover chicken on the bone. If I bought a rotisserie chicken (as cheap as a whole chicken at Walmart), we'd eat most of the meat off and throw the carcass in with the veggie trimmings.

You can make a HUGE pot of soup for very little money. There were times when we ate soup nearly every day of the month.

I'm going on and on, which I tend to do on the topic of saving money, because it's become a huge passion for me. We have had friends and family who are literally shocked at how well we live on our current income. We have better furniture than they do (because we buy at garage sales and thrift stores), we buy clothes so cheap that we can dress as well or better (I've found clothing that I would have never been able to afford new. Once finding a $200.00 sweater for about $4).

We didn't start out this way, though. We started by saving less than $5 or $10 per month. We sometimes spent $6 in gas money, only to save $8-$10 (for a net savings of only $2 to $4 for two hours of work).

Slowly though we learned to spend less to save much more. We also did a lot of "bartering." For example, exchanging crochet lessons for fish and venison from friends and family who who hunt and fish. We went to the local farmers market at the end of the day (when vendors were willing to drastically cut prices so they wouldn't have to lug their remaining produce home, and perhaps have it not remain fresh enough to sell the following day). We were extremely friendly and complimentary to the vendors (because we're friendly, not with an ulterior motive - but it still resulted in these folks throwing in extra produce as a thank you, or as a way for us to try produce we weren't familiar with).

I'm doing it again - throwing out more and more tips instead of wrapping this post up. There just are so many ways to save just a few pennies, and the old saying really is true, "Watch the pennies, and the dollars take care of themselves." But it starts with saving the pennies, and at first you think, "all this effort just can't be worth it," but that's why it helps to document what you're spending and what you're saving, so you can see it in black and white - and enlist as much help as you can get. I have found saving "allies" at church, (free) knitting groups, and (when I was finally able to afford the dues) my TOPS weight loss group (The cost is $28 per year and $5 per month and a dime every week. The $5 monthly dues are free if you lose weight the month before, and the person who loses the most weight for the week, gets all the dimes). I also belong to a Freecycle online group (where people offer, and ask for items - and they all must be free. Anything can show up there from cars and computers to crafting supplies and clothing, and all of them have to be free).

Gotta stop before this post becomes ten pages long.

Last edited by kaplods; 03-24-2012 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:57 AM   #5  
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I find the US so weird. The idea that you can walk to McD's but a grocery store is 20 miles away just floors me and probably is representative of a lot of problems in US society.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:11 AM   #6  
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Agree with you toto. I cook daily at home. Being Indian, I know lot of healthy recepies. I cook chicken and use it for 2 days. Along with it I make lot of different salads. My grocery bill for a month is max $200 for me and my husband.
We do not eat out because we feel homemade food is healthy.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:18 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by Only Me View Post
I find the US so weird. The idea that you can walk to McD's but a grocery store is 20 miles away just floors me and probably is representative of a lot of problems in US society.
Well, I'm sure other countries have problems as well, so to paint the U.S. as "weird" because of an example is an overgeneralization. Also, I don't think the OP's situation is all that common. I grew up in a really small rural town, yet there were grocery stories within a few miles. So, while this issue may exist (and I'm sure some people will post with examples to back it up), the vast majority of people in the U.S. have grocery stores within a reasonable distance.

To the OP, I'm not sure of your question. Are you asking for some tips on saving?
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:57 PM   #8  
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I agree that having fast food closer than grocery stores is certainly not the norm. My husband and I live in a mid-sized town, and we have two grocery stores (a large chain supermarket, and a small family-owned asian grocery) that are within walking distance and are nearer than the closest fast food chains (we do have one small family restaurant that is a little closer than the grocery stores, but not by much - maybe one city block away).

We also have two more grocery stores that are as close or nearly as close as the nearest fast food restaurants.

Most American cities, towns, and villages do tend to cover more ground and be less efficiently laid out than their counterparts in the rest of the world, and so it's often much more difficult to live without a car in the US than in other parts of the world, but this too is an overgeneralization, there are cities and towns in the US where a car isn't as vital, either because the commercial district is laid out efficiently and close to residential areas, or because of good public transportation or bicycle and walking paths.

Also, while obesity is a morre severe and more widespread problem in the US than in most of the world, much of the rest of the world is quickly catching up. Obesity is no longer an American problem, it's a global problem.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:53 PM   #9  
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To be honest, it seems to me that the OP is actually looking for someone to listen to her and understand where she is coming from. It doesnt sound like she is looking for tips at all, rather..she just wants to be heard..she wants to know that she isnt i correct?
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:22 PM   #10  
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First off, I'd rather have people on foodstamps eating decently than have them have health problems later due to obesity or eating fast food all the time. Anyone watch Supersize Me? and the people that complain or look down on people applying for foodstamps are usually people that have never hit rock bottom themselves.

Have you applied for foodstamps? Receiving? Or are you asking how to feed yourself without foodstamps? I'm guessing you are not since you get $4 a day rather than a larger total amount once a month. If your family has too much income to meet the requirements, I believe if you and your family eat separately YOU can apply just for yourself which may help you out a little. You can then use foodstamps at stores like 7-11 (for eggs, bread, milk) if you have something like that around and can't get to a regular grocery.
Have you checked out foodbanks? They may have some healthier things you can eat, like atleast dry and canned foods, rice, beans, canned vegetables.

Another thing I always recommend is finding some couponing sites and looking at the deal match ups for stores in your area. If there are no grocery stores around, how about pharmacies like Walgreens? They sometimes have deals on food things. With couponing I'm able to get foods for cents or even free. Like last week I was able to get free yogurts, this week I will be able to get free frozen vegetables. It definitely helps to stretch the budget.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #11  
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Hello. my family is on food stamps, It is me my boyfriend and my 3 children we get 300 a month and when broken down is $2 per person a day. Itis relly hard to eat healthy when we have so little money. I try my hardest to plan ahead, thankfully the store I shop at has a wonderful website where I can make my list and it gives me a price, this way I can make 4 lists and I go shopping once a week (I get a ride we do not have a car and even if we did I cnt drive due to my legal blindness) I make sure I only spend what we have and I put my childrens needs first and our dinners second, then breakfast, then lunch. Every now and gain something goes wrong and we to end up at the dollar menu or I call our local food pantry (which only allows you to get food from them 3 times a year). I wish you the best of luck finding a job, I know its really hard these days.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:47 PM   #12  
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I can hit 4 fast food joints in north, south, east, or west before I come close to a grocery. The closest is 5 miles away and while not horrible in a car, it wouldn't be a fun walk with children -- it goes through SUPER busy scary roads.

So I can sympathize. And I know it isn't the same to have $4 a day and have $28 for the week. In money? Maybe. But access? Not so.

There's a reason families are up at Walmart at midnight with crying baby -- and it's because midnight marks the new day. This is the soonest they can have it be a "new day" and use their cards. It isn't because they LOVE hanging out there that late with the whole crew!

I haven't been there but I'm one generation out of poverty so my parents sure have.

I also do most of my volunteering around issues of food justice and "the food desert" prob is well known in dense urban areas and elsewhere.

Hang in there! Hopefully things will look up.


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Old 03-24-2012, 09:14 PM   #13  
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I am sorry

Dutchovens and crockpots are wonderful what comes to making a larger meals with little money. A huge pot of chili, that serves 16 servings will cost approximately $8 (ground beef, 3 cans of different beans, 1 can corn, 1-2 cans tomatoes and some spices; don't use store bought broth, but mix it from powder). Canned goods can be found quite cheap.

If beef is on sale that can be turned into beef stew again with canned or frozen veggies and potatoes.

Both recipes are hearty and healthy.

I am also a big fan of casseroles.

I know fresh produce can get expensive, but many canned and frozen ones are very nutritious.

Kroger is running a deal now $1 per loaf of bread, $1.87 per pound of boneless and skinless chicken. A few weeks ago, I bought 5 cans of beans and tomatoes $3 for 5 cans.

Online has a ton of cheap and nutritious recipe ideas, also stores usually post their weekly fliers online.

Last edited by Sum38; 03-24-2012 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 04-17-2022, 12:27 PM   #14  
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The weight loss diet has many health benefits. Indeed, the diet:

Takes into account the concept of energy density of food;
allows you to lose weight without feeling hungry, frustrated or tired;
does not require excessive control of the amount of food consumed;
does not require calorie calculations;
learns to listen to food sensations: without any deprivation, you will stop eating naturally when you are no longer hungry.
The most important rule of this diet is to eat only when you are hungry and stop as soon as you feel full.

Attention, for health, it is considered that weight loss should not exceed 1 kg per week.
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Old 06-23-2023, 01:21 PM   #15  
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My husband and I went through a rough patch when our monthly food budget was $25 for the whole month for both of us. We still managed to eat fairly healthfully, but only by using multiple saving strategies including going to bargain stores all around town.

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Last edited by wilber.erickson; 06-23-2023 at 01:39 PM.
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