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The State of Poverty

So I've got a bit of an issue... I'm poor, as most of you know... and when I say poor I mean the no cable, no Internet, no Bath & Body Works, or movies out once a week. I mean the 'can't afford a babysitter', 'contemplating selling a car' (and possibly some extra body part I might not be using) sort of poor. I'm the kind of poor that you're paying for poor.

Why is this--you may wonder? Well law school is expensive and they have this silly rule about people not working while attending said academia.

My issue is this, when one with a large family (like mine of 3 1/2 kids) is on food stamps the government sees fit to give you more than enough to get by.

No, no more is an understatement, they see fit to give you so much that any honest person would feel as if they are somehow ripping off the tax payer.

Case in point: Me... I checked my account balance for food stamps today and I have.... are you ready? $963 waiting for my use and that's just till the 10th, when I get more.


What am I supposed to do with that much money? An amount that I can only use for food. I can't buy diapers, I can't buy toilet paper, I can't buy tooth paste. Just food.

Am I wrong to feel slightly guilty about so much money? Am I wrong to say to the DSS people "I don't need this much."???

It's overboard to me... I can't come up with anything to do with it all but let it accumulate. I've tried buying food storage but there's only so much you can buy at the Wal-Mart food center before you've got a basement full of beans and corn!

I like the idea of being able to someday give back what I'm taking out, but really... this is ridiculous, I'm slightly ashamed to even admit that I have that in my account.

And what's worse is that evidently you can sell your food stamps to other people. Which utterly appalls me. I've been approached about this more than once and with shock and shame I can tell you that I know exactly where the black market in my town is. I repeat however that I have never ever ever shopped there.

So what do you do with a bunch of money that everyone seems to want and you feel bad about having? Anyone have an answer to that?

It might actually fall under a cosmic question!


Claire Wessel said…
This might make you feel even more guilty about it, but you could always do what I always did with overabundant food stamps: eat high on the hog.

Can anyone say "lobster"? :)

Back when stamps were still stamps, I did occasionally trade someone who also was receiving food stamps my extras for diapers and such because I had NO money. It's illegal though, so don't do it! (Statute of limitations is loooong gone on that misdeed for me though)

I have to say though, I have yet to have anyone clue me in on the food stamp black market out here, not even once! I can't believe people would even take risks like that with everything being on a card now. Anyways, you can now also spend your food stamps at the farmer's market in town on Thursdays. They just got an ebt machine this season! I'm pretty dang excited about that!
Claire Wessel said…
oh, I also forgot to mention you can sell blood in Sioux City for a few bucks if you guys get really really desperate (and have a little gas in the car)
TerĂ©sa said…
Jarrod and of friend of his donates plasma. They can get $200 a month each doing that. (I can’t’ because I have too much protein in my urine. A.k.a. type II diabetes) But if we were both able to do it that would be $400. I know a lot of students do it, so they probably have one close to the campus, and up at BYUI they actually get more money then we do here... just a thought. (oh, you will have to wait until your baby is 10 months old-I just remembered)

You don’t have to use all the money on your food-stamps. And what you don’t use they will take back when you are done needing the help. So if you do feel guilty about it, just eat frugally and eventually they will take the money back.
The Paynes said…
Yeah, just don't use it. Then you can help yourself feel better knowing you only took what you really needed. We never had to go that route, but we did have to use the govt health insurance for about a year, and I felt horrible about it, too. But I know that I only used it when I had to. I know some people on it that take their kids directly to the ER or Urgent care instead of making a regular appointment with a doctor, cause it's faster and they aren't paying for it. I appreciate your honesty, since I know so many people who abuse our over generous system. And don't forget, lawyers pay lots of taxes off those big salaries! Isn't sharing the wealth gonna be fun!
Lisa said…
Twinkies... lots and lots of twinkies.
Lisa said…
Is this a cosmic question?

Do animals have accents? I mean does a dog's bark in America sound exactly the same in India?
Jenn said…
HOLY HANNAH!! With my family of 6 we don't even come close to eating THAT much each month....
I can relate to feeling guilty though. I couldn't believe that back in the day we had WIC...I was certain we made way too much $$, but apparently not...I felt guilty as i was stealing food from someone who REALLY needed it!
But hey use what you need and like the previous posters let it accumulate and they will take back what you don't use
Amy said…
Good for you for even feeling bad about it. This is my husband's biggest pet peeve ( he works a 2nd job at Wal-Mart) and is disgusted by the amount of money that food stamps gives to families. Why the government feels poor families need to eat like rich families is besides him. But remember that the program is designed to help people like you who someday won't be poor people and will give back!

In the mean time, don't you think if we slash food stamps in half it would go a long way to clearing up the national debt? :-)
Polly Blevins said…
Start to do dinners for missionaries, take food to the shut ins, do some service work with the extra food because lots of people are working 2 jobs and eating sandwiches all the time. You have the food that is extra, give it away to people who are struggling to make ends meet.
Claire Wessel said…
@ Polly: That's actually illegal to give away or otherwise share the food bought with food stamps. But yeah, until the gov't put cameras in our dining rooms, I don't think anything bad will come from feeding the mishes or something!

@the bloggy
Honestly, I'm guessing the food allowance is so high because they don't want people to have any excuse for watering down baby formula.

I can guarantee that you have probably already paid this much in taxes previously (wasn't your husband some kind of engineer?) and will definitely pay it back in taxes soon enough after law school. Don't feel bad about it! I think people in this country would feel a lot better about it if they knew that people were only using the welfare system to get ahead in life and not just hang out.
IB said…
Don't waste time feeling guilty. Use what you need. Let the rest sit there. Eventually it'll all work out.

Don't sweat it. It's there for a reason. Use it as you see fit.

cannwin said…
Thanks guys! Love it when I get so many comments.

Today we went through our food storage and rearranged everything (we meaning 'I' while he helped with the big cans of wheat) I realized I haven't bought half as much as I thought I had.

We also went down and stocked up on some more 'food storage' the other day (seeing as how we have so much money in the account) we filled the cart with canned goods until my husband said, "wow I think that's enough."... we spent $100.

It's just ingrained in us from being frugal at the store for our entire marriage, it's physically, and mentally impossible for us to spend a lot... even when we buy chips and sodas. *rolls eyes*

yes Ralexwin was a civil engineer so for the short period of time that we were making that nice check we did our duty towards the country.

I'm on the same wave length with you all, I feel like I'm going to give back someday so it will all be okay... it's just until then that it kills me. :)

@the Paynes
Seriously? When did going to the emergency room or instacare become faster than going to the doctor? I've NEVER found that to be true. In fact I'd rather wait till I'm dying before heading to the emergency room.

Short story, last fall the baby was breathing really rapidly and sucking in his little tummy like nothing was getting in so at midnight or so I took him down to the ER and they diagnosed him with... ready... heavy breathing and sent me home.

Next day I go into the pediatrician and he immediately x-rays his chest and says 'you're baby has pnuemonia.'

I don't do ER's very well.

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