Overheard on CNN.com: $30 a week for food is plenty
CNN.com readers weigh in on whether they could get by on $30 a week for food.
September 21st, 2011
04:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: $30 a week for food is plenty

Comment of the day:

“I feed a family of four for about $100 a week. $30 seems like a lot of money for one person for a week. Yes, I could definitely do that!” - shandaar

Could you eat on $30 a week?

As part of a special report on hunger in America, CNN producer Sheila Steffen challenged herself to a grocery budget of 30 dollars a week—the average food stamp allotment for more than 40 million Americans. She wrote a blog about her shopping experience and asked readers: could you eat on $30 a week?

The answer from commenters was a resounding yes—and plenty of suggestions on how to do it, too.

Hungry Jack said, “I am in grad school and can eat pretty well on $30 week, and I don't mean Ramen Noodles. It is just a matter of planning, using coupons, and buying things on sale. Anyone who has even rudimentary cooking and math skills can get by just fine.”

BrendaS said, “In my household, there are three adults and two teenagers. We spend, on average about $250 a month and we don't get food stamps. All the adults work, but cost of living for utilities, gas to and from work and basic living needs, leaves us very little to buy quality, nutritious foods that are healthy for my family. We do it all the time, but it's not what everyone likes or would want if we had a little more to buy with.”

KindaSorta said, “Depending on where you live. The cost of food varies (from) state to state.”

Desy said, “The answer is obviously yes, but would I get the healthy variety I get now? Absolutely not.”

Charles said, “Here's an interesting epilogue – ask John Boehner, Rick Perry and Sarah Palin to feed themselves and their wives on food stamps amounts.”

victim of democrat hypocrisy responded, “Here's a more interesting epilogue–we're ALL going to be trying to live on $30 a week to pay for Obamacare, Medicare, and Social Security!”

Aaron said, “If you are not concerned with the origins of the food, $30 is possible, but if you wish to eat healthy, avoid processed foods and keep things natural/organic (as in no pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, etc), then $30 is a joke.”

T3chsupport said, “Here are some meals I was raised on. "Ronies": My dad's invention: tomato sauce + macaroni (Tabasco optional). Chilli Noodles: just like it sounds, chilli + macaroni (Tabasco optional). Hamburger gravy over white rice, or leftover mashed potatoes... mix all of that up with some frozen corn and nom nom. A snack was often times a flour tortilla laid directly on a stove burner, left to grill up a tiny bit, with some melted butter spread around inside. Roll up and nosh.”

Mary said, “The egg is really the world's most perfect food. And if you had to (and didn't mind the cholesterol) you could stretch a $3.00 carton to feed yourself breakfast lunch and dinner for a week. I'd rather eat scrambled eggs with salsa and toast than ramen."

Nick Frugal said, “Can of oatmeal ($3) + raisins ($4) = breakfast for a month ($7 total). Pound of dry beans ($1) + cup of barley/rice ($1) + cup of frozen chopped spinach ($.50) = lunch for a week ($2.50). That's two meals for $4.75/week. That leaves about $25 for dinner and snacks. It's doable. The key questions are number of calories and complete nutrition. That's not so easy.”

Jen said, “Trader Joe's is a great place to shop. They've got lots of healthy food and low prices.”

Yougottabekiddingme said, “OMG. $30 for a WEEK!? That's a luxury I can't afford. Try this: peanut butter sandwiches (on wheat bread) every morning for breakfast. A homemade spread (like bologna salad) on wheat for lunch. Hamburger Helper for dinner (or hot dogs.) Where are the fresh fruits and veggies? THERE AIN'T NONE – can't afford it. Consider yourself VERY lucky if you can afford more than $30.00 a week for food.”

KWDragon said, “Okay, I get what many of you are saying. I could do $30 per week when I was in college, too. So could my husband. However, we now have two teenage daughters. They have certain nutritional needs that Ramen seven days a week will not cover. Nor am I interested in mac & cheese all the time. It is not healthy. Milk is a requisite, as are fresh vegetables. We have a good supply of meat in the freezer, as we buy a whole animal or two every fall (whole pig, quarter cow). We don't eat fancy, but we do eat well. And there is no way we could feed the four of us EXCLUSIVELY on $120 per week, without hitting our freezer and the extra veggies we can each fall.”

American churches struggle

A newly released decade-long survey of American congregations shows religious health and vitality are weaker than they were 10 years ago. Fewer people are attending weekly services (a drop from 130 to 108 during the decade) and churches are facing harder times financially due to the recession.

Many CNN.com readers shared their own worship experience and thoughts about what caused the decline.

Chris said, “I know my religious attendance went down over the last ten years. I started the decade in a foreign country serving a mission for my church and I was 100 percent sure what I was doing was correct. Ten years later I still am glad I served, but my church attendance is down and I don't feel the same I used to. I think it is because I am 30 now and I see things differently.”

Ralph in Orange Park, FL said, “Maybe it is the result of people who used to think they were "obligated" to go to church finally figuring out that they are not."

DJ said, “Don't know where you are getting your info, but the Pentecostals are growing by leaps and bounds. This year, they are growing by the thousands.”

Ed Galbraith responded, “Sorry, DJ. Not so.”

Grant said, “I'm kind of glad. Never seemed to me that God needed all that earthly wealth anyway. Maybe folks will get back to praying without paying."

Believer said, “This decline must be taken in context. Certain denominations have been declining while others have been growing tremendously. And perhaps, could there be any co-relationship between our declining faith and worship, and our worsening economy – humm."

free2do said, “I think some people are turned off by some of the hypocrisy and political activism.”

Eli responded, “You are right...at least for me. The biggest issue with the church is the fallacy inside and outside of the whole organization.”

Jman said, “The fall away from the church is foretold in Revelations. 90% of what is written in Revelations has already come to pass. Maybe it is time for TakeaHike to wake up and ask for forgiveness and mercy from God.”

TheTruth72 said, “Christians are the ‘church.’ We don't need buildings to have a relationship with Jesus. I got out of Catholicism about a year ago due to tradition that didn't make sense to me and many things not even in the Bible. It’s hard telling people who are caught up in it, because they just continue to believe the man made doctrine.”

Unhappy Facebookers

Facebook has rolled out an overhaul to users’ home pages and they all thrilled. Among the changes, ‘Top Stories’ hover over recent posts in News Feeds and there is a new quick-scrolling ‘Ticker.’ Facebook says changes help people find the top news, not just the latest updates.

CNN.com readers shared their disapproval:

Anolderguy said, “’Top Stories?’ It is a top story if I think it is a top story. I don't like an algorithm deciding what is important to me. Some things just don't need to be automatic unless I ask it to be.”

ladycyanide said, “I don't care for most of the new changes, but they're tolerable. What's outright hexing me is the fact that my status updates, which are set to friends only, along with most of my profile, have become visible to anyone.”

Austinstar said, “Personally I have enjoyed using Facebook. I'm talking to people from my past that I probably wouldn't be communicating with otherwise. It also has helped me promote myself as a musician. However, I do not like the new changes. The ticker thing is way distracting. What annoys me most is that there is no way to opt out from these ‘improvements.’"

lbrunett said, “I haven't logged on to see the changes yet but I have heard plenty of complaints from my friends. I certainly do not want non-friends to see any of my posts and I hope they fix that right away.”

rpeck1971 said, “Facebook will not exist by 2016.”

Vsaxena said, “I'm getting very sick of this. I had organized my feed by hiding stuff I didn't care for, and Facebook has managed to undo all that with one stroke.”

ilstonehenj responded, “Ohhhh noooooeeesss!”

WebsterLong said, “Does Facebook think its time for me to have lunch? I'll await their answer.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity

soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT (kcmo , hut tub repairman & maker of disco balls)

    I EAT FOR FREE... i just mess up pizzas on purpose, put them in the freezer, then when it's closeing time sneak em out the back door..
    the other is take pizzas out while delivering.. trade them to a fast food place for food..
    one time i traded pizzahut cheese stix for little ceasars crazy bread...
    one time i traded 35 large pizzas for thanks giving dinner from boston market...(next day the manager was wondering why we were missing a bunch of product)...

    September 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    (You win the first one of the day!)

    I would think it would be very difficult...I haven't had to do that kind of budgeting for *years*, thankfully!

    September 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    As for 'American Churches Struggling', is it any wonder?
    So many false prophets, so many pedophile priests and the rampant hypocrisy of the RCC, so many Revs with an 800 number saying to pay for a prayer, even Pat Robertson telling some dude it's fine for him to divorce his wife who suffers from Alzheimer's and start over...
    People can find their path to God without OR.

    September 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    ...And FB?
    I had a rude awakening when somebody here used it to spy on me and then used what he found to make disparaging remarks about me, my daughters, and my granddaughter!
    He also says that I'm a classic abuse victim because I didn't have my husband as a friend.
    Paul's not *on* FB.
    This person then deletes his account, so no harm, no foul, I guess.
    Moral of the story?
    Be careful who you 'friend'.
    There's always one out there...
    And be better aware of FB controls, because I didn't set it up; my daughter did.
    That would be the one who he called 'An Ocean-Bound Barge', which I *still* don't understand...

    September 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pauline

      Believe it or not, this comment section is NOT for your personal issues. Get OFF now,please!

      September 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      It's relevant in that it's about FB, and the FB experience. YOU get off now, please!

      September 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jess

      I had the same problem!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael Velli

    $30? That works out to over 60 cans of cat food per week. i don't see a problem.

    September 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LadyeCatte

    All those that say they can do it.. PROVE IT! Facebook is always there. It is a LIE unless you supplement with things you already have in the house (and try to stretch even THAT more than three months!) or you will sacrifice nutrition just to say you've eaten "a meal".

    I dare any of those (and you know you are) lying Teabaggers to prove it is both possible AND life-sustaining.

    September 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sigma

      Rage much??

      I do it. I've done it since I was forced to when I lost my job. I had to make my budget go as far as I could, that meant buying bulk and making stuff from scratch – which is always cheaper and healthier for you. Now that I'm well employed again, I've never found the need to go back to spending money unnecessarily on food I can make myself for 1/10th the cost.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. genomega1

    Could you eat on $30 a week yes, could you eat healthy no.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Babs

      Totally agree. A good loaf of bread is over $3.00, lunchmeat about $8.00 a pound. Two apples cost about $1.60 and up. That's almost $15.00 with those few items. Guess it depends on where you live.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sigma

      Don't buy bread: make it. Don't buy 'lunch meat' – buy a whole chicken and bake it. Don't buy processed, pre-made, packaged foods, buy ingredients and make your food.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. s kel

    RUFFNUT wheres my GATES BBQ? Hey Bansay.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (kcmo , egg poacher)

      one time i traded 10 large pan supremees and a 20$ sak for a presidential platter... then i took the 5 other pizzas and got some maddog and a bottle of royal crown.. we went to my trailer and smoked all night and had ribs and gates brisket, and watched the evil dead movies... my friend dave got sick cause he said his whole body was buzzing.. luckly my dog ate his barf so clean up wasn't a problem..

      September 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Hey, s kel.
    What's the good word?

    September 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. s kel

    Hey Bansay , i wrote u on another blog that I just came back from a farmers mkt on capital hill, damn the food is good. Its about five blocks from capitol bldg.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. s kel

    Damn food was average to high prices there, some local farm fresn.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Edward

    I'm a vegetarian, and have a sensitivity to gluten. No way $30 takes care of the grocery bill.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gregoir

    Seem pretty ridiculous to me. However, to gain the benifit of doubt, I plan on doing a little research. Stay Tuned!

    September 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RUFFNUTT (kcmo , egg poacher)

    u take that 30$.. go over to my dad's house... tell em ruff sent you..
    he'll hook you up for a half ounce... then you take that half and sell it.. then you go back and buy some more.. soon you'll have food money...

    September 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. s kel


    September 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
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