So as we approach February the government shutdown shows no signs of disappearing. This breeds fear in many government workers and benefit receivers alike. It specifically breeds fear in me as I am a recipient of SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). I have been receiving about $200.00 in SNAP monthly for about six months or so now and I don’t feel bad about it. The reason why I do not feel bad is that I have been working and paying taxes since I was 16 years old. I am now in my upper twenties and boast two Masters degrees and a Bachelors degree which I paid for myself through hard work and scholarships. When I graduated I tried hard to garner “acceptable” employment but due to A LOT of external factors failed at doing so. I’m now in a job making minimum wage with several side hustles using my Masters degrees as conversation starters.
Basically my point is this, I did EVERYTHING that adults tell you to do in order to have a successful life and I’m still out here with my EBT card making groceries. So don’t stereotype people that rely on SNAP as poor people that don’t have any skills or desire to work.
So in my search for reducing food costs I stumbled upon a now deleted Youtube video which made a good point. The video made the point that due to the absence of governmental assistance faced by previous generations food habits were different. The points made to prove this were ones that I experienced growing up and still practice. I was primarily raised by my grandparents and if anybody knows how to “make a dollar out of 15 cents” its old southern (black) people.
aSo the points made in the video that were the ones which I still ascribe to and have been the most helpful to me economically as well as nutritionally are the admonishment of snacks and second helpings. My Mawmaw policed the refrigerator like the border control police should be policing the border. She would cook a big breakfast, lunches, and dinners and hand out ONE snack about two hours before bed. Any other snacking was not allowed.
Also there was no such thing as picky eating. You ate what was put on your plate; and you ate it all. Because allegedly starving kids in Africa would somehow care if you did not.
Another point made was on the prevalence of food now vs. the amounts most of us grew up having. Back in my day
we would make groceries one day a week and if we ran out of something oh well.
We had to wait a week to get another of that item because no one was running to the store for a couple of things. As a result if I wanted a second bowl of Fruity O’s or some other generic cereal I had to consider the fact that it had to last a week and if I was habitually taking two bowls of cereal it wouldn’t last and I would then have to face days without my favorite off brand cereal.
Also utilized heavily by my grandparents was the brainwashing of my brother and I to eat slowly and to take small bites. They would drive home the importance of this by reiterating its importance and correlation to class. Because I learned to eat this way I still eat extremely slow. As a result it will take me an hour to finish a meal that would take another person 10 minutes; and then I won’t even finish it! Your brain is alerted that you are full after about twenty minutes so as a result of eating slower and allowing for your brain to be notified you eat less and thus save more money.
The final point that truly resonated with me was the lower cost content of the meals. I grew up with red beans and rice, yakamein (ramen noodles with an egg, green onions, etc.), spaghetti, etc. on rotation. In addition meats were a delicacy that we might have on Sundays. The meals focused more on containing fresh and tasty locally sourced ingredients and being adequately seasoned. Lower cost ingredients were used to achieve this but due to the factors previously mentioned tastier foods which were also lower in cost resulted.
These methods utilized from days past can help to ease the stress resulting from the ensuing revocation of SNAP benefits. Do you have any ways to reduce food costs?