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A friend of mine receives food stamps and haas a Costco card. So off we went to Costco yesterday. I drove since their only vehicle is not always working. She was doing her regular type grocery shop and I was picking up basics as well as things we only get at Costco. I paid cash and she used her foodstamps.

We had a wonderful fun time in the very crowded store. In the end we could not see over the top of everything in the cart!! Total bill was $550, my share ws $150.

The biggest difference (other than how we paid for our purchases) is the amount of premade frozen items she purchased - I had none.

I have taken her grocery shopping once before when she really needed to go and had no transportation. The same thing happened then - she just put whatever she wanted into the cart without checking prices at all.

My concern centers about how much further she could make her food stamp money go if she bought basic ingredients and made food from scratch instead of making premade food. And then I wonder too what I would do if I had access to food stamp money. Perhaps I'd do the same......just thinking and saying.
 
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their should be a food class thats open to everyone...most dont know how to cook..i learned because my mother worked outside the home and i had to..

i was always very tall for my age and had to help out in the kitchen when we went to our families home.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good points - mahalo.
 

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their should be a food class thats open to everyone...most dont know how to cook..i learned because my mother worked outside the home and i had to..

i was always very tall for my age and had to help out in the kitchen when we went to our families home.
I learned because Dh and I were young and broke. I read the TWG and tried her recipes and went from there. However I had to take the initiative and seek an answer on how to live on less to find the help that scratch cooking would help me.



I don't want to state all my opinions because I have seen this debate before on here with FS and scratch cooking and it has gotten heated and closed a thread. So I will keep my opinion out and share a few facts.

There are tons of people that grew up eating frozen heat and eat and think cooking is REALLY hard. I have a friend with a baby. She uses WIC. She can only buy healthier type foods with WIC. She got a really awesome cookbook from them using many of these foods. It helped her because it gave her ideas.

I also volunteer at the food pantry. When it is commodities day there is a recipe made that all guests can sample and they are given the recipe. The recipe always used a food they will be getting. There are always people shocked how EASY the recipe is. There are always comments that they never really knew how to use that food.
 

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Education is important and not everyone learns how to cook at home from their mothers. I grew up thinking creamy mashed potatoes had to come from the instant box. That tuna salad was something you had to buy at the store taht you couldn't make it at home.

But
I learned to cook in public school home ec.

They required everyone to have at least a 9 weeks course in 6th grade.

Even in 8th grade I was able to go home and teach my mother some something.

My ninth grade home ec teacher we teased lived during the depression. ( actually she might have) she taught us you could make a cake ( bake) in a soup can. Her reasoning was that we might not have a cake pan to cook in and needed to know you could do this.
So I grew up thinking everyone knew this trick. I found out that is not true some people don't know this.

In my daughter's public elementary school they have the university cooperative come and introduce foods to the children and cook with them. Showing the children quick and easy recipes. They then send home the printed recipe home so they can make it at home with their parents.

Cooking education is good for everyone not really a food stamp issue. Imagine what I wuold have nbeen eating and cooking without public school Home ec. I think that they are teaching the children these skill young is great and that they children can teach their parents like I did mine. Teaching two generation by teaching the younger generation.
 

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I agree that cooking education is for everyone;
but it would sure help those that are on food stamps make their food stamps go farther.
 

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MY sister gets over $500 a month in food stamps for just her and my niece. She shops like that also.
I think that since they have that much to spend each month they spend all because they know next month it will be there.

Now I could spend $500 a month for food also but since it is coming out of my pocket and not someone elses I choose not to spend that amount. But if I received food stamp I probable would spend all they give me in a month. Probably not all on processed food but we could have steak and lobster every now and then.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My friend is an excellent cook an is teeaching her children also. I am afraid that part of what they are learning is a dependence on food stamps....this is based on other conversations about hy she does not want a permanent position with benefits because then she would have to give up other state provided benefits.
 

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I worked in a seafood store and the number of people purchasing lobster, shrimp, oysters and other extravagant items floored me.

Having cooking classes available to help families using food stamps is a fabulous idea. I wonder if it could be tied into some reward program of that can improve their overall quality of living... such as transportation credits or savings toward their utility bills. I might be naive in thinking all people would want to improve their situation but I hope the most of them would.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good idea Ceashells - another note - I purchased the Costco chicken with cash because she could not use foodstamps on hot food!!
 

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The food stamp allowance is that high because that is what our government has determined is the very minimum needed to provide a diet filled with enough variety in produce and lean meats/fish/poultry to insure good health. We used to spend far more then that every month to eat healthy.

But, the question is, does this lead to dependence on the government to live up to a certain standard of living? The short answer is yes. If moving to a better position at work does not equal out to the benefits they are receiving now. This is very common where my son works. People will refuse extra hours because the extra $20 in their paycheck will make them over what they need to receive help. His one co-worker can not take any extra hours because she will lose her daycare funding, food stamps and something else (I can't remember) The extra $20 just does not cover what she will lose. If you are in a situation like this it's tough, you're caught between a rock and a hard place. Moving up means you just may lose your roof over your head, or not have food on the table, or no one to watch your kids so you can make that extra $20, or $40.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good info Polly. Fortunately for this family, they would be in much better position with benefits, etc - unfortunately they are stuck in a mode of thinking and I sure hope that her children do not follow in their parents footsteps.
 

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I remember when a missionary was talking about the aid they had given a village and why their first attempt at helping this village to be self productive did not pan out. They gave everyone across the board equally. What they found was the people who worked hard saw that the people who didn't still had the same benefits as them, so it did not benefit them to strive forward, so they stopped working. They nixed that program and developed one where benefits were earned. The village flourished by having to put forth effort. They now are self sustaining and do not need any assistance.

I think it's very easy to fall into that mentality.
 

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I can't imagine having $500 a month for food and there are 4 of us.
I agree that people who made need foodstamps to get through a tough time must have that option there, it is the people who depend on foodstamps as part of their monthly salary that they must be weened from them.
I agree it's amazing how it really is easy to cook from scratch and save money.
 

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When I was on welfare, I was really shocked that there was not any type of frugality education. We were able to get by and still make mortgage payments for a very long time on the small amount we were given. In Canada, there is no specific allotment for food - they just give the family the amount that they believe is neccessary to live on. We (a family of 3) received $900 to encompass food, living expenses such as rent/mortgage and utilities, and transportation money. When the average 2 bedroom rental is over $800 that does not go very far. My ability to keep the grocery bill very very low is the only thing that got us through that time period without having to go to the food bank.

The thing that helped us the most was the Food Coop - for $30 a month we got a large amount of produce and grains, all locally grown, and a fraction of the price you would pay at the store. Each month, recipes were included with ideas of how to use things like turnips and swiss chard. I overheard one mother telling her daughter they didn't use the co-op because the food wasn't "good" like the stuff at the store.

We still use the food co-op - it not only helps our budget - it helps the local farmers.
 
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I have been on assistance. I know what it feels like to - for the first time in what feels like forever - buy whatever looks good at the store. It's almost like a high. You do get used to it. After a little while, I went back to scratch and I use the foodstamps to get staples like flour, yeast, fresh fruit and veggies, etc. But I can see how you could get addicted to the ease of frozen and prepared. When you have scrimped for so long and now have the ease available, I can definitely see it happening.
 

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I had a little trouble with the notion that someone that is on food stamps can afford a Costco card.........but that said.......

is there any way that you could take this opportunity to teach her things? Would she accept the lessons........be offended? Or does she even care to learn?
 
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