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NoGunzJustSkillz 12-04-2012 02:16 PM

Eating on $4 a day
Cory Booker spending week on food stamps


(CNN) – Hoping to break any stigmas of government assistance, Newark Mayor Cory Booker of New Jersey will live on food stamps this week–a challenge that first began as a Twitter conversation.

The Democratic mayor will operate on a food stamp budget of about $30 a week ($4.32 per day), roughly the same amount provided to people in New Jersey who take part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Booker, who's considered a potential gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey's 2013 race, vowed to go on the budget after getting into a debate last month with a Twitter user, who argued "nutrition is not the responsibility of the government."

"In my own quest to better understand the outcomes of SNAP assistance, I suggested to this specific Twitter user that we both live on a SNAP equivalent food budget for a week and document our experience," Booker wrote in a blog post Monday.

To promote the experiment, Booker, who's known for his frequent Twitter posts, will use the hashtag "#SNAPChallenge."

More than 47 million Americans used SNAP benefits in August, according to the latest monthly data available. In New Jersey, 787,460 participated that month.

Those using the benefits are allowed to purchase breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products. They are not permitted to buy alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, hot food and any food sold for on-premises consumption.

The Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, also states that soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream count as food items and are therefore eligible items. The list also includes seafood, steak, and bakery cakes.

Pretending to be on food stamps, you have a $4 budget to spend on food everyday. Keep in mind that means no fast food. Chicken pot pies and waffles all day, everyday for me. What would be your go to food of choice in this situation?

ElKuKuy 12-04-2012 02:31 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
Ramen noodles.

blablabla 12-04-2012 02:32 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day

yobore 12-04-2012 02:39 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
If I'm trying to survive longterm goto foods would be beans or lentils & canned veggies.

LJJ 12-04-2012 03:02 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
Frugal student as I am, I don't even spend more than that now. If we are talking purely the food I buy to feed myself? I'm not topping $30 a week. Go to foods are basically rice and sandwiches.

Of course I go out and have drinks, I go out to eat on occasion and I cook nice meals for other people, all contributing to my budget in this rule-set. But if you are in need of food stamps it speaks for itself that you don't do those things. You can feed yourself off $30 a week comfortably though.

Crystallas 12-04-2012 03:15 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
I actually did something unintentionally this summer. Because I was on the road for 2 weeks, I wanted to avoid eating out all together. It almost became an obsession to make it through the two weeks, and now some of the changes from that experiment have become a permanent part of my diet.

For the two weeks, I spent $30 on a month supply of meal replacement shakes. I prefer to mix with water, so I didn't spend anything on juice. Like someone said, there are more extremes out there, like the high starch diets(ramen, potatoes, bread, rice, ect.)

You could also buy canned soup, which is pretty filling and very low cost.

Even a $2 tomato plant will yield a few weeks worth of food over time. So don't count out nature's gifts and a little green thumb.

LJJ 12-04-2012 03:21 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day

Originally Posted by LamarOdom
Seriously? 30 a week isn't a lot. I'm soon going to college so I might need to cut down on eating out been averaging at least 4-5 times a week for over two years.

Eh, not a lot of meat. About once every two or three days, 300 grams total a week I guess.

IGOTGAME 12-04-2012 03:23 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
Typical Story Booker.

Nick Young 12-04-2012 03:25 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
mexican beans, the kind you bug in huge bags dry and cook yoursef, not cans of refritos, salt, 2 liters of milk, 2 loafs of bread, a bag of oats and granola, the rest on instant noodles and apples.

Pretty nice

dab0yech0 12-04-2012 04:51 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
I was on a similar budget last year living off campus. Every week spent about:

Bag of brown rice = $2
Jar of oatmeal = $3
Weeks worth of chicken = $18
Can of black beans = $1
Weeks worth of salad = $5

Ate oatmeal everyday for breakfast and had brown rice and chicken with black beans everyday for lunch and dinner. I also went to the gym a lot so of course I had my protein shakes too but I thought I was eating good on 30 a week for food

TheSilentKiller 12-04-2012 05:15 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
Jimmy Johns day old bread would be helpful ($0.50 per loaf). I already utilize that a lot.

SourPatchKids 12-04-2012 05:50 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
:( Yesterday I had a Thai meal that totaled to $54 :(

IGotACoolStory 12-04-2012 05:57 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
I like to walk around the dumpsters of bakeries and pizza places for a nice snack.

Asian food, Italian, and other stringy, messy, food establishments doesn't work too well.

blablabla 12-04-2012 06:02 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day

Originally Posted by SourPatchKids
:( Yesterday I had a Thai meal that totaled to $54 :(

bmulls 12-04-2012 06:05 PM

Re: Eating on $4 a day
Peanut butter, milk, rice, bannanas, oatmeal, salad, beans. Then you could buy a bulk pack of chicken and be set for a week.

You can definitely eat a balanced diet for $30 a week. In fact if you just ate the foods I listed you would be healthier than 95% of Americans.

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