Monday, March 21, 2011

Gas and Food prices are up - Breaking News?

An article in Yahoo News explained how the rising food and gas prices are a double whammy for rural folks.  The gist is that is costs more and now rural folks are suffering.  I agree that it costs more for us rural folks.  I'm not sure suffering is accurate to describe it, although belt tightening is definitely a consequence.  The two people they used as examples were examples of wasteful spending and what not to do.  I'm sure that the few items that have been written are just the tip of the iceberg on how these people live.  I bet neither have more than three days worth of food in the house.  I've provided a few simple suggestions to alleviate their suffering.
The article interviews two people who both live outside large cities.  One is 30 miles away, the other 45 miles.  The one who lives 30 miles outside of town said that her family lives in HUD housing, they receive Medicaid, they have food stamps, and still had the audacity to complain that even with all this they still struggle!  It’s not that I’m not sympathetic.  I would be if the person wasn’t so wasteful of what they are given.  This complainer makes the 60-mile round trip into the city twice a week for groceries.  She's not driving in for doctor appointments or work, but groceries.  She said she spent $50 on gas to fill the car and it will be gone in three days.  She was complaining that she’s had to pay $200 more a month in groceries the last couple of months – on top of the food stamps that she receives for her family of five. 
Suggestions: You get your food stamps only once per month and the government doesn't ration the money out twice a week.  Don’t drive to town twice a week to go to the grocery store; cut it back to once or twice a month.  If you run out then eat something else that you have on hand.  Sure you may not have bananas that will last for the entire month but that’s ok.  Don’t eat bananas at the end of the month, eat apples!  Don’t buy the Capri Sun that you were unloading from your car during the interview.  Drink water.  Your kids won’t like it but the fact is the stuff isn’t needed and you can’t afford it.  Don’t buy anything that says instant, quick, or is ready to eat – unless it’s fresh fruit.  Watch your portions. 

What to buy.  Look at the servings on the oatmeal container.  Buy the largest non-instant container the store has.  Since there are five of you, you will need to get 125 servings of oatmeal.  Get four dozen eggs and three loaves of bread.   Get a big box of powdered milk.  Get some apples.  That's all you need for breakfast for the entire month. For under $50 you can have breakfast for the family.  This isn't the most exciting menu but it will get them through.  Use some of the food stamp money to grow a garden. 

The second person drives her 22 year old gas guzzler car two miles, parks it, and then hops in with a friend to carpool the 45 miles to grocery shop.  She makes twice weekly trips to town and helps pay for gas.  This lady lives on 20 acres and she’s been there for 12 years.  She lives off grid in a trailer.  She runs her generator three hours a day so she can watch the news and do chores.  She raises chickens and has a garden.  She can’t wait for summer when her chickens will start laying and the garden will provide fresh vegetables. She heats with wood and a propane heater.  Her only income is Social Security.   She wants the politicians to donate their paychecks to Medicare and food and services for children.  She says they should step up because they are already wealthy and if they did this then it would give her faith and hope because she loves America. 

Suggestions: Her situation is a little different.  I wouldn’t say that she should only go to town once or twice per month as I thought the other person should.  This woman is using the trips as her social experiences yet she still needs to stop the two trips to town each week to cut down on gas expenses.  Once the good weather comes she should spend more time in her garden and expand it.  She needs to either dry or can what she produces and not depend on it only for fresh food.  Perhaps if the 20 acres is usable, she should rent some of it out to a neighbor.  Become more self sufficient and don't base your happiness on what the government gives you.

Around here weare still using canned spaghetti sauce that cost 78 cents a can (at least when we don't use home grown and canned sauce).  The store is now selling it for 96 cents and the calorie content is less!  Why?  Because they are adding more water and less tomatoes. 


  1. Great ideas. How come the people that can benefit the most think outside the box the least? Or even use some common sense? You intrigued me so much I looked up the article, and your thoughts are spot on.

    "The definition of a fool is someone that does the same thing over and over, but expects a different result."

  2. Ask yourself how anyone on welfare and food stamps and HUD housing has a car. Between the cost of the car, the upkeep, gas, etc. and insurance a car costs $200-300 a month, maybe more. I can feed a family of four on that much money. I don't have sympathy for the people who feed off the system.

  3. It's very easy to have a car while having those government benefits. 20 years ago, I did. I had the car from when I was a teenager that I worked for, and paid cash. Then when I got married and had my first baby, I had to quit my job because he was disabled and a daycare wouldn't take him. I hated using the food stamps and WIC, but I did because his welfare was at stake. Being 20 years old with a baby, and your husband working 60 hours a week at minimum wage ($3.35 at the time), we made enough to pay our rent and cash for him to work. Now 24 years later, I am a stay at home mom, we have four paid off vehicles, two we paid cash for after saving for awhile, one was gifted to us, and the other has been in my husband's family since 1964. We don't have food stamps now, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility for people to have a car. Not everyone feeds off the system, though many do.

  4. I think food stamps and welfare are great programs. I wouldn't mind using either if I needed to for the SHORT TERM. If you are on benefits you need to figure out a plan to get off them! That's the problem with many people who are on these benefits. They expect them to be permanent and all they need. The benefits should be there to provide the bare minimum. Otherwise what's the incentive for many to get off them?

  5. I agree, these entitlement programs need to be for a set time, and under strict circumstances, the rules and procedures to apply and receive are too easily circumvented and fraud is so easy. I've suggested to our local food stamp/WIC office to allow me to teach people how to shop, what to buy, how to really cook. I think it would be great if only basic staples and hygiene products were allowed to be purchased. Way too much crap is allowed to be purchased.