The number of children in the United States relying on food stamps for a meal spiked to 16 million last year, according federal data, signaling a lopsided economic recovery in which lower income families are still lagging behind.Christ, I can't imagine trying to feed my household for under $100 per week. That seems like a perfectly adequate figure until you get to the grocery store and see what SNAP doesn't pay for, or you don't have adequate storage at home, or your baby grows into a teenager whose "mealtimes" kind of last all day long.
Since my divorce about 10 years ago, I've been raising my kid as what I like to call "pretend middle class." I don't qualify for food stamps because -- horrors -- I have a tiny bit of retirement savings for myself and a tinier college fund for Glomarization, Jr. Cashing those funds out and spending them down to zero would have been a prerequisite to getting some $340 per month.
Now, at this point I have household budgeting down to a science and can feed the two of us for under $5 per day. But I'm also intelligent (if I do say so myself) and educated. And I've had some resources, including credit cards, a helpful personal network, and the ability to work from home. So I can save serious money by making my own bread, buying in bulk (a strategy that the seriously destitute cannot use), and preparing things ahead of time. If you don't have the resources I have, though, you can't pressure-can vegetables in the summer for convenience meals in the winter, because a pressure canner costs $200.00, not to mention the cost of canning jars and a bulk purchase of soup vegetables. If you move frequently because you don't own your home, then what are you going to do with a chest freezer full of food? But I'll stop, since other people have written a lot more eloquently than I ever could about how you can't make and save money unless you have some to start with; here's a recent piece.
Speaking of people who write better than I can on the subject, whatever happened to Cracked.com's John Cheese? He disappeared from Twitter and I haven't seen him write anything new on Cracked for several months now.