Cory Booker has been in the news attempting to bring awareness to the use of food stamps. I was pretty curious about it so I started reading up on his challenge and what he's learned as well.
The first thing I learned is that food stamps aren't meant to provide all the food for you and your family when things are hard. They are provided as a SUPPLEMENT to what you already have so they assume you have a minimum income.
Here's a basic snapshot of how much you'd get:
I'm not going to say too much about how having that as a maximum income wouldn't even cover our basic living expenses like our mortgage, electricity, water, etc. cuz really...that kinda depresses me with what you COULDN'T do on that MAXIMUM qualifying salary.
So...we would get $367 a month to feed ourselves with and that's the MAXIMUM amount we could get so we might not get that. That said, we'd have about $12 a day to feed ourselves all of our meals. Two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners...plus snacks.
And Jaru and Lucy wouldn't be covered.
When I sit down and think about what $12 buys...it makes my head hurt.
So...I told Robby how much we'd get and he did some quick head math and was like...so about $90 a week? I think we could do it. As the grocery shopper in our household who actually knows how much we spend on food...I know we couldn't without some SERIOUS, serious changes.
I started thinking like my mother, the queen of a big azz bag of rice in a fiberglass type bag, and I felt like we could probably eat but we'd be doing LOTS of dried beans and rice with chicken from the rooter to the tooter AND...I'd have to seriously grow stuff. Like...I use a LOT of fresh, organic basil. Yeah...I'd have to grow it. Shrimp? Um...yeah...no. Wild caught fish? We might get that for Christmas dinner. Dinner parties at 13700? No more. NO.MORE. It would seriously be potluck with us providing serving dishes and utensils ONLY looking forward to whatever yall bring.
I'd probably have to only buy 7 apples a week and cut them in half so we each had a half of an apple a day. That good locally roasted coffee we buy from Mayorga at a little over $20 a pound? Um...yeah...no. And whatever coffee we could afford...we'd be reusing those grounds for that second pot we put on daily.
Gosh...and I probably couldn't have any more creamer.
No more wine. No more organic, free range eggs since they cost $4.00 a dozen and we eat 28 eggs per week. Grain fed beef? HA! Thing of the past and honestly...I'd probably choose to NOT have beef if I couldn't buy grain fed beef.
My gluten free bread? Probably never again cuz that's $5 per loaf.
And the list goes on.
So yeah...we're food spoiled.
I think we could do it because we're hustlers and survivors but it wouldn't be without SERIOUS challenges.
Robby asked me if I wanted to try to do it and I asked him when? He said we'd should start this week...Monday.
Me: I just spent $153 on groceries for the week on Saturday and I have a freezer full of meat and seafood.
Robby: Oh...well, let's try it after we eat all of that.
Me: I still have a cabinet filled with stuff I could do stuff with. I'm sure that when your finances have dipped to the point of qualifying...you've emptied your cabinets.
And now we feel all first world and ish and then the doorbell rang and it was a delivery from Amazon with a Christmas gift for someone who lives here and we're all weird feeling now knowing that 46 million Americans are on food stamps.
So yeah...if we're to judge...Cory Booker's experiment is a success. It made us think about this and empathize with the millions of Americans who need the supplemental assistance. It was a good household exercise for us because we talked about it and it led to an excellent conversation for us regarding waste and what we could do to help others. If that wasn't the focus of Mr. Booker's experiment...it should have been because that was pretty powerful.
Have YOU thought about it since he started? Do you think YOU could do it? Would you have to change drastically? Do you think you'd start having unhealthy habits or would this force you to be even healthier in your choices since you wouldn't have many options to choose from?