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Author Topic:   Feeding a family of three for $140 a month...
Harpyr
Knowflake

Posts: 2255
From: land of the midnight sun
Registered: Dec 2002

posted March 16, 2004 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
Can this be done?

Only if we are willing to eat generic pesticide/preservative/artificial flavor/bovine growth hormone/GMO laden junk. Which I am not. So I guess that leaves me to learn how to cook the most basic meals from scratch all the time. Something I'd never really gotten around to learning how to do. Even doing that I doubt $140 bucks a month can feed two adults and a ravenous yet extremely picky two year old. This sucks.

My partner works part time and goes to school full time at a really expensive school which has him in debt up to his eyeballs and while my son brings in a modest amount in social security every month we really struggle to just pay our rent and utilities and gas for my partner's 17 mile mnt.canyon commute every day. I don't work cause my partner and I both feel it's best for our son to be home with his mom than for me to have some cruddy entry level job that pretty much just covers the child care while our son is bringing home every cold and flu under the sun from the germ fest that is day care.

So that leaves us with the option of foodstamps. Lemme tell you, the first time you have to walk yourself down to the welfare office sucks but when you are hungry you suck up your pride and thank the powers that be that there is a safety net option rather than continue to go hungry. They gave us enough money when we first went there.. $350/mo. Just enough for us. But that was when my partner had no job and we were borrowing money from our parents to pay our rent. Now that he has a part time job we are pretty much in the same boat of having no money for food.. just enough for housing and car costs and yet they cut our benefits by more than half! I am soo upset right now. I feel like they might as well just throw us their kitchen table scraps. It feels that insulting.

*sigh*
I just found out about this and really needed to rant a bit.. Thanks for listening.
I suppose if anyone has any cost saving cooking tips that would be really welcome.

ooohh.. whoops..I didn't really mean to post a smilie for this topic. sheesh.. It's my Younger sELF's message to chin up and smile, right?

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Aphrodite
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Posts: 4992
From:
Registered: Feb 2002

posted March 16, 2004 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aphrodite     Edit/Delete Message
Oh, sweetie. I'd been there with my mom while growing up as a kid. She couldn't afford fresh supplies of milk I drank as a toddler and mixed up powdered dried milk. She would add enough fresh milk to give it a bit taste.

Here is a list of food items that are usually inexpensive organic:

Peanut butter
Broccoli
Carrots
Split Peas
Onions
Bananas
Lentils
Rice
Beans
Oatmeal

Dairy products and cereal are notoriously expensive. If you learn how to bake bread, you'll save a lot of money and have a product that tastes superior than what's on the store's shelf. It's fun!

Buying in bulk also saves money.

Here is a great website I visit about ways to save money:
http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm

Aphrodite

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Harpyr
Knowflake

Posts: 2255
From: land of the midnight sun
Registered: Dec 2002

posted March 16, 2004 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
Aph,
Thank you for the suggestions. And what a GREAT website. I'm going to be thoroughly perusing that.

Yeah.. the dairy thing is tough cause we love cheese around here and my little one prefers rice or soy milk.. Okay.. it's cause I'm a former milkaholic turned lactose intolerant... so I guess I'd have to admit to likeing the expensive milk substitues too.

Y'know..Others have suggested to me that I get a bread maker or just go at it the old fashioned way. It would make alot of sense for us cause the little one eats ALOT of bread (peanut-butter-and-jelly-aholic that he is) and I'm not willing to regularly buy him non-organic bread.

Fortunetly my partner is a baker so he's in the KNOW about that stuff. As soon as he gets home from work today I think we will go to the store and get what need to do some baking. I'm actually getting kinda excited about getting into cooking more. It'll be an adventure!

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Aphrodite
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Posts: 4992
From:
Registered: Feb 2002

posted March 16, 2004 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aphrodite     Edit/Delete Message
That's the Saggy spirit!

I remember one other thing, organic nuts can be pricey

Common dried fruits are not too bad. May be you can toss in some raisins and cinnamon in tonight's bread dough

Cancer Rising takes a bow, thank you, thank you

Aphrodite

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trillian
Knowflake

Posts: 4050
From: The Boundless
Registered: Mar 2003

posted March 16, 2004 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trillian     Edit/Delete Message
Harpyr, I am so sorry to hear this. I wish I had some advice for you on stretching those food dollars for your family, but I live alone, buy what I want....

though I am regularly dismayed at what I see people buying. My diet is far from perfect, but all that processed food, all that sugar and hydorgenated oil...and yet, these are the foods people on a budget can afford. It's sad...

Is there any sort of work you can do from home, even part time? Piano lessons? Psychic readings? Adult phone calls? Kidding on that last one.

Or perhaps a small part time business of your own, perhaps even providing some inexpensive yardwork or landscaping. I remember reading about a local woman strapped for cash for her family, who started her own business cleaning the yards of people who owned dogs. She cleaned up the, um, poop. And she developed quite a few clients, too!

Best wishes to you...

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JustAmanda
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Posts: 548
From:
Registered: Jan 2003

posted March 16, 2004 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JustAmanda     Edit/Delete Message
Bless your heart....kudos to you for staying home with your young son! Now, have you applied to get WIC? Is that what your food stamps come through? Because I know that you can get milk, eggs, cereals--things like that through the WIC program. My sisterinlaw used to be on WIC and it was a really good thing.

Also, save up all your loose change and get a newspaper every Sunday, so you can clip those coupons. You can also find coupons online that you can print out to use at the grocery store.

Another hint that I can offer is through that Sunday paper, look through the sale ads for like Kmart/Walmart/Target for paper products. Also check out your grocery store ads too, because like some stores will carry hamburger at 99cents a lb. At that point, buy the biggest pack you can afford and then get some cheap wax paper and some cheap freezer bags and take it home to divide up.

I will divide up my hamburger into like 1lb increments, and freeze...that way, if we want spaghetti, I just take out a lb and thaw it out...I also will go ahead and patty up some hamburger, putting a piece of wax paper inbetween each patty, because sometimes thawed hamburger doesn't want to patty very well.

Alot of times, when I'm strapped for money, I will make my own spaghetti sauce. It consists of hamburger, onion, ketchup, a can of diced tomatoes, sugar, salt/pepper, chili powder and a bay leaf. And by doing this, it can serve not only as spaghetti sauce, but as chili beans, sloppy joe and hotdog chili. So, I can make a big batch up and we eat on it all week long...and it's much cheaper than jar sauce--and better too!

When you buy a bag of potatoes, utilize that into your week as well...baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and even make french fries out of them....potatoes are a very filling food.

I don't know if these are very good tips, considering I went last night to the store and spent $177.00 for 4 people that will probably last about 2 weeks...so, I'm not sure I could actually cut it on $140 a MONTH. However, apply for that WIC, seriously, if you haven't already..it's a great program....

If I think of anything else, I'll pass it on!

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gloomy sag
Knowflake

Posts: 355
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted March 16, 2004 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloomy sag     Edit/Delete Message
Harpyr, I understand, I've been there. My family has lived that way for many many years. We had to conserve electricity, not use too much water, cook fast meals (gas bills.) That's behind me for now...
I make my own bread now. For the one that I use yeast on - a bread machine is the best solution.
Uhm - I don't know how to say this so I'm just going to say it. There are wonderful bread machines in one of the stores here and they are on sale - so really cheap but good. I can send you one if you just give me your address. It could be like an early birthday present. I know - the end of November is far but who cares
Please don't take this the wrong way.
If you want you can email me at consuela_castillo@yahoo.com

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gloomy sag
Knowflake

Posts: 355
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted March 16, 2004 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloomy sag     Edit/Delete Message
Harpyr, here is a very simple bread recipe. Enjoy!

French Bread Recipe

This is one of the easiest bread recipes. It only uses four ingredients, and makes a wonderful loaf of chewy bread.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm water, 110-115 degrees
2-3/4 to 3 cups bread flour
1 tsp. salt


Dissolve yeast in the warm water and let stand five minutes, until bubbly. By hand, add 1-1/2 cups of the flour and the salt. Beat well for a few minutes. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth, springy and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place bread dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise until double, 1-2 hours.

Punch down dough. On floured surface, roll dough to a 12x6" rectangle. Roll up dough tightly, starting with 12" side. Thoroughly pinch edges and ends to seal. Roll and stretch dough carefully to shape, making ends thinner than the center. Place the loaf of bread, seam side down, on greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to an hour.

Slash top of bread loaf with very sharp knife in three places, if desired. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped with fingers. (You can, if desired, spray the loaf with water a few times during baking for a crisper crust.) Remove from cookie sheet and let cool.


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FishKitten
Knowflake

Posts: 1033
From: on the trail of the Old Ones
Registered: Aug 2003

posted March 16, 2004 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FishKitten     Edit/Delete Message
Bless you, Gloomy Sag. Maybe we should call you Sweet Sag hereafter.

Harpyr...don't fret. You can do it. Aphrodite had a good list of foods there. Lots of other grains and legumes are really inexpensive and super nutritional. I once fed two adults and a 14 year old boy for 10 days on $8.11. Since it was in the winter, we didn't get a lot of variety, but we didn't go hungry. I'm not sure what your situation is logistically. Do you live in a rural area? Do you have a yard? If so, I can recommend lots of wild foods that you can use. Remember that the people who first lived in Colorado didn't have any grocery stores. I can send lists of stuff that grows in your area. If you have a yard, do you garden? Seeds can be a bit expensive when you are on a budget, but I would be very happy to send you a bunch to plant. Squash and corn and peas and and tomatoes and beans and carrots and onions...double yummm. I know plenty of good storage methods as well. As for milk and eggs, do you know anyone nearby with a farm? Way better and way cheaper than retail prices. You could even get a couple of chickens and have all the eggs you want. Three to five hens will provide more than enough eggs for three people. Let me know how I can help!

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gloomy sag
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Posts: 355
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted March 16, 2004 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloomy sag     Edit/Delete Message
Another good reason to have a gardening forum

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gloomy sag
Knowflake

Posts: 355
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted March 16, 2004 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloomy sag     Edit/Delete Message
Another delicious recipe that was very popular in my family. I cook it without measuring so hopefully you can do it too

Boiled cabbage with carots and celery

Chop the cabbage in tiny pieces. Put a teaspoon of salt in it. Now you have to smash it a little. With your hand just grab cabbage in your fist and sqeese it tight. This could be a lot of fun for your son to do too. The idea is to make the cabbage softer so it cookes shorter. After you are done with all the fun, put the cabbage in a deep cooking pan, add chopped carrots and celery. (See, the amouths vary according to your taste Anyway - for a small two pound cabbage I put 2 medium carrots and 3-4 celery sticks. Put water( maybe 2 cups) and 2 table spoons oil in the pan. In the end - when the cabbage is almost cooked - put half a cup of canned tomatoes or a whole one if you like tomatoes. Stir them well and cook them while everything blends together.
This is one of my favourite recipies ever. Hope you like boiled cabbage

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trillian
Knowflake

Posts: 4050
From: The Boundless
Registered: Mar 2003

posted March 16, 2004 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trillian     Edit/Delete Message
gloomy sag, what a generous offer.

You're not so gloomy after all.

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juniperb
Knowflake

Posts: 6830
From: Blue Star Kachina
Registered: Mar 2002

posted March 16, 2004 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for juniperb     Edit/Delete Message
Lean times seem to be everywhere

I make inexpensive whole wheat bread, 12 loaves at a time with enough dough left over to make cinamon rolls.

We only eat 3 loaves and I barter the rest. A loaf for some home canned anything I`m out of, eggs, milk, butter. Whatever a friend or family member has to part with. It is an even-steven solution with everyone winning. I even barter bread for my chickens corn in late winter!

Oh, ya, we eat the rolls ourselves

juniperb

------------------
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~James Herriot

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NikiSpeedy
Knowflake

Posts: 345
From: NC
Registered: Jul 2003

posted March 17, 2004 01:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NikiSpeedy     Edit/Delete Message
I do understand Harpyr --For the first time in my life i have recently had to do the humiliating walk to the same place. True, when you have no income they give you plenty. For a single in this area, is $141. This is actually more than i can eat -i have some stockpiles -- stop by -- i will give u some of mine. I eat at home like 98% of the time and enjoy cooking --

I also have a bread machine and use it often. I like making buns for sandwiches instead of the loaf for some variety. Made some cinnamon buns just the other day - Yeast sure is expensive these days ic. I am willing to let the FS program in my area pay for some yeast for ya - to go along with that machine Sag will send. Let me know.

I'm just glad it's about time to plant the tomatoes.

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Harpyr
Knowflake

Posts: 2255
From: land of the midnight sun
Registered: Dec 2002

posted March 17, 2004 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
wwow everyone.. thank you all so much for the outpouring of support! And all the great suggestions... and gloomy sag! I am deeply touched by your generous offer.. The email is sent.

Trillian~
I have been thinking about putting up fliers around town advertising for hand drawn astrological charts with a brief basic reading included... Perhaps this is just the kick in the pants I needed to go ahead and do that. It seems there is an unusual amount of people in this town who are interested in astrology.. For a longer term goal, I'm taking a home study course on how to buy property with no money down and become a real estate investor. It's not my life's ambition by any stretch but the course makes it sound like anybody can do it and certainly one of my life goals is to own my own home.

J.Amanda~
I've been on WIC in the past, before I moved in with my partner. I was under the impression that it was only for single mothers so I don't know if we'd still qualify since we live with a man. I am going to check into it for sure. I also just found out that the local church hands out food bank boxes twice a month so that will help.

I've also been looking into this technique called Once a Month Cooking.. Basically you spend a whole day cooking large quantities of food and then you freeze it and eat it for the next month. I think we may try a mini version of that and just try making all the breakfast burritos for a week and freezing them. I've heard alot of tips to buy hamburger meat on sale and freeze it but... I'm hesitant to do that cause we are mostly vegetarian. Though I have been wanting to eat more meat lately. Not everyday but atleast once a week. I'm just really wary of beef for a multitude of reasons.. I did just buy two pounds of ground turkey meat that I will be pattying up and freezing today. We are sort of going through a transition right now with the meat thing.

FishKitten~
We do live in a somewhat rural area. I may just have to go lookiing for farms that I could get cheaper milk and eggs from. I would love to grow our own veggies but we are just renters and plan on being out of this place by August and it would take more money than we have to set up proper beds with good soil and compost. I am going to make EVERY effort to find a house with a yard and garden potential that we can move into after this place and that we would be wanting to live for more than just a year. I get so sick and tired of moving every year simply because it's not conducive to having a garden.
I would be very curious to see any lists of local foodstuffs in the North Central Rocky Mountain area you might have..

Juni, what a great idea about bartering with the bread.. I'm a big fan of the barter system.

gloomy sag~
great recipes! I can't say I've ever had boiled cabbage before.. There's a first time for everything I guess.

NikkiSpeedy~
You'd mail me yeast? That is so sweet to offer..I don't think we'll need to take you up on that.. atleast not just yet. I am so tickled with the outpouring of kindness from everyone, really! Next time I'm in NC I will definetly have to stop by for a visit and a taste of your hommade cinnamon buns!

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trillian
Knowflake

Posts: 4050
From: The Boundless
Registered: Mar 2003

posted March 17, 2004 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trillian     Edit/Delete Message
Harpyr, what a great idea, to do the charts!
Go for it!

But about the real estate thing, be sure to peruse the threads about it in Global Unity, I think both Randall and jwhop are involved in such ventures. But be wary, I was just reading about a lot of those courses being worthless...I will find the link for you tonight when I am home.

I wish you so much light and luck and love...

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trillian
Knowflake

Posts: 4050
From: The Boundless
Registered: Mar 2003

posted March 17, 2004 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trillian     Edit/Delete Message
Oh, and I seem to remember that my married sister was able to get WIC support many years ago...I think it has to do with income. Definitely worth checking.

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talaith
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Posts: 271
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted March 17, 2004 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for talaith     Edit/Delete Message
hi Harpyr ~

i'd like to commend you for your commitment to your son....you are shaping a life that will create the future of this planet and that is the most important thing anyone can do. If you will know and have faith in the universe you will be provided with what you need. i'm sure you already know that, but it is good to have place like LL that you can express what's going on in your life....and i'm positive it helps many others.....

gotta run for the moment, but will return soon.

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talaith
Knowflake

Posts: 271
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted March 20, 2004 12:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for talaith     Edit/Delete Message
i'd like to add....may i be one of your clients in for an astrological chart and interpretation?.....i've wanted some insight here for quite a while...if you'd like, you can ask webmaster for my email addy if you'd care to discuss it.

also, i just purchased a number of books on surviving on a tight income and one of the authors has a very good website i think you'd appreciate a lot:

Miserly Moms
(she's big on the frugal recipes)

you can do it, and enjoy doing it!

p.s. (i found the books at the least expense at http://www.bestwebbuys.com/books/ -- this will give you a list of sellers starting with the very least expensive....excellent source.)

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divinia
Knowflake

Posts: 366
From: The Crossroads of America
Registered: Mar 2003

posted March 27, 2004 10:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divinia     Edit/Delete Message
Have you tried Ramen Noodle soup? It's delicious with wheat germ, brewers yeast, ginger, and fresh garlic added and it's pretty healthy.

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Harpyr
Knowflake

Posts: 2255
From: land of the midnight sun
Registered: Dec 2002

posted March 28, 2004 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
talaith~ Thank you for the words of support! Sometimes it's hard for me to justify staying home for Quinn. I know it's best for him but at the same time we could really use extra money. It's especially hard when I talk to my hardworking, frugal Cancerian father. He always seems so worried and dissapointed when I tell him I don't have a job.

I feel kinda weird about doing charts and interpretations for money yet. I feel like I would need to commit myself to some serious brushing up study for awhile since I've been in a lull in my reading in that dept for awhile. There was a period of about 2 years when about 90% of all the books I read were astrolgy books. And I am a voracious reader. But after that I began occupying my reading time with other subjects and studying astrolgy only by observation, mainly. I ask most people their sign and obsrve my loved ones with thought to what I know of their charts and let the knowledge in my head stew around but I just sort of consider that 'backburner' kind of learning.

Anyway.. I will definetly keep you in mind talaith, when I decide to kick my butt into gear and go forward with this astrology business...

and thank you for the miserly mom link! I will look into that.

divinia~ I do like ramen soup.. good stuff. I"ve never tried it the way you mentioned it.. Sounds delicious.

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talaith
Knowflake

Posts: 271
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted March 28, 2004 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for talaith     Edit/Delete Message
dear Harpyr ~

thanks for considering. my astrological knowledge doesn't extend far beyond sun signs, so any explanation you'd want to provide would be a delight for me. consider me practice and charge me an intern's fee!

as for your babe....how important is every single second with him, especially these formative years! i realize every day how every minute my son and i spend together is a lifetime....and i determined today that i will work harder to make each one count to the utmost with him.

i wear him in a backpack sling to accomplish things around the house, walk the puppy, etc., and he often puts his arms around my neck and strains his head around to look me in the eyes and smile his pure golden beautiful smile and laugh his carefree sweet laugh....as though we share some awesome universal secret....

well, today, a most beautiful and brilliant day, after a sun-drenched walk, he fell asleep in the backpack so i gently laid him down to nap.

moving about in the quiet house after doing so, i bent over, and literally felt his sturdy little body on my back. i turned my head as i felt his little arms wrap around my neck and his angelic face reach around to mine to give me his brilliant smile.

of course, he was on the bed asleep, but it seemed so so real. and that moment sat deep in my heart, as if suspended in time, and remains there, a chiseled moment, untouched.

and for some reason, each time i return to this strange moment, this overwhelming feeling of importance floods me....showing me that our every action together, every nuance of every moment, has the greatest impact on his little soul, and mine.

there is nothing, absolutely nothing, in the world that could even begin to approach the value of that.

you do have a job, the most real job in this universe, and that is as Quinn's mother. cherish every moment, and be very very proud to do what you do.

love, talaith

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Harpyr
Knowflake

Posts: 2255
From: land of the midnight sun
Registered: Dec 2002

posted March 29, 2004 12:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harpyr     Edit/Delete Message
oh talaith, thank you so much for such a beautiful story!

It brings great warmth to my heart.

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