Sunday, May 10, 2009

Time/Money, Money/Time

The previously mentioned Spend No Money day was only partially successful. I left the house without the coffee that I had set up the night before. Didn't get around to making a lunch.

Which brings me to the thought that I've had for awhile: living cheap takes time and work. I've thought about this for a long time in the context of having less money. Put bluntly, being poor is hard work. Fixing meals at home, after a days work, rather than eating carryout. Buying groceries over the weekends or in the evenings when the stores are crowded with everyone else doing the same, rather than during the day when things are much less frenetic. Planning meals and shopping trips ahead so as to know what is priced well, what is in season and available, rather than using commercially produced food.

This has implications to me for those living on food stamps and other forms of public assistance. The Food Stamp Challenge was in the news a few years ago. The challenge was put out to live on the food stamp budget of $3 a day, 21 dollars a week a typical alotment to food stamp recipients. Various public figures, Congress people, state senators and the like took up the challenge and reported their experience with buying a weeks food on a food stamp budget. I remember being surprised at the choices that so many made, that cost so much money; boxed cereal for instance, instead of oatmeal. Sometimes food choices are made in light of the time available, and sometimes those choices are not the least expensive or the most healthful, but, "you do what you gotta do".

Now, I'm gonna go start the sprouts, before I go to the farmers market and put up some food for the week. Time...there's never enough.

1 comment:

  1. I can't fathom how someone can eat on $21/week!!!