shit you don’t know about food stamps: a guest post!

21 08 2011

when i was little, we were on food stamps, and i they looked like this. now you get a fancy plastic card!

i fell in love with amanda pleau and her totally sweet blog, misadventures in portland, about a year ago when she wrote a post about her spanx addiction.  it made me laugh so hard that i was extremely disruptive to others in my workplace. apparently, tax spreadsheets should not be quite so hilarious. also, i was wearing spanx at the time, so it really struck a chord with me.

point being, misadventures has had a place in my “best maine blogs” sidebar (and my heart) for a long time. a few months ago, she wrote this really amazing post about being a recipient of food stamps, and i knew i wanted her to write a companion piece for broke207, because i think there are a lot of young people out there who could benefit from the program, but either don’t know about it, or don’t think they qualify. shockingly, she accepted my request for an unpaid guest post (in between writing her own blog, working, and being a full time student), and here it is. please enjoy it for both its educational and entertainment value, and you should probably add her to your google reader and twitter feed, and head on over to her blog and devour the whole thing, leaving copious comments all the way.


You know that feeling when you log into your Internet banking; your breath is caught in your chest, you start panicking? “Where the did all the money go? Oh my god, how am I going to pay my rent/phone/student loan/insurance? How exactly does one start turning tricks and how long does it take to get the money?” I’ve had that feeling intermittently throughout my twenties, from when I moved out at 21, to when I had a real job with the proper salary, and especially now that I’m a student again.

Two years ago, I wrote this article or my friend Mary. It was my first year back in school at the University of Southern Maine, and I was working twenty hours a week at a coffee shop. I felt great about my financial situation, hopeful for the future. I had goals! A budget! It’s laughable how much things have changed since then: I caused a car accident while driving without insurance, I’m looking at almost $30k in student loans after I graduate this year, and I lost my lucrative waitressing job for doing something really dumb. Once the shock of being fired wore off, that panicky feeling slowly crept up, and I fell into a bottomless pit of despair. “What am I going to doooooooo?”

I figured out my income/expense ratio. It wasn’t good. It only took a few days for me to decide to go to the Department of Health and Human Services and apply for food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Once upon a time, there were actual stamp-like bills, but now it’s like a credit card.  I’m sure social service workers are probably super annoyed by the difference between the actual name of the program and the common vernacular. My case worker was pretty short with me. He said I needed a letter from my former employer confirming my termination (that was an awkward email), signatures from my roommates saying they were not feeding my sorry, lazy ass, proof that I was a full-time student working at least 20 hours a week, and pay stubs from my jobs. My jobs at that time consisted of a monthly column in the Portland Phoenix (for which I earned one whole Jackson), and my work-study job at the student newspaper. Very shortly after submitting all of my paperwork, I was admitted! There was no phone call, no confirmation, just a shiny new EBT (Electric Benefit Transfer) card with my name on it. Read the rest of this entry »

weekend pickthrough- put your sorries in a sack edition.

20 12 2010

yeah. it’s been a ROUGH WEEK, and holy shit i’m sorry i haven’t posted. this is actually the longest i’ve ever gone neglecting my poor blog, but i assure you it was necessary! 6:30 am get up and walk dog, 7:45 am leave for work, 5 pm leave work, 5:15 pm grab a snack and pack bag, 6 pm arrive at show for performance, 11 pm return home from performance, eat snack, do laundry if applicable, 12-2 am go to sleep- maybe. wash. rinse. repeat.

i finally got a chance to sleep a bit this weekend (ok, 12 hours each night), but i still feel like i’m gasping for breath. and as i’m slowly bobbing to the surface for air, the universe is stuffing an xmas stocking in my mouth trying to smother me a bit further. anyway, i know my apologies mean nothing, but i’m giving them to you anyway (and you’ll take them! or else!).

here’s some mass linkage to help ease the pain. you may even get a real entry tomorrow!

waking up to a freshly ironed dress and a half-eaten watermelon, gary suspected elaine was back on ambien.

welcome to photo 1. please leave your photos of homeless squirrels romping in a graveyard as shot through your rearview mirror at the door.

harness the force and make yourself some festive last minute party decorations.

the free press compares hannaford, trader joes, and whole foods so that i don’t have to.

kind of a cool idea, until someone tries to rob you.

epic local cupcake showdown. and i do mean epic. oh, and epic over here too.

wow, this whitman’s sampler is serious about putting the christ back in christmas.

can’t go wrong with a heartwarming xmas tale where the punchline is “NAKED SANTA”.

3 bedrooms, 4 baths, and an unspeakable loneliness we can’t contemplate.

and emotionally scarring human interest story to brighten your morning!

best ink cartridge description EVER.

dewey decimal THIS.


dear hannaford. shut your damn face.

27 10 2009

hannaforddear hannaford.  i never post about you. ok, one time i called you hannafuck, but seriuosly… your prices are mediocre, and you’ve got no deals to be had. your current feeble attempt to show some savings with your “buy and save” program is utterly laughable. for every 4 HANNAFORD PRODUCTS, you get ONE CRAPPY DOLLAR back to use on your next shopping trip. with a MAXIMUM OF $10. whatever. everyone knows that you can overall get better deals on name brand prodcuts than you can on generics anyway… and most of your qualifying products are over a couple of dollars (unless you want to buy 40 boxes of hannaford brand cream cheese). i get more savings up front from the in-ad coupons in my weekly shaw’s flyer… and i don’t have to eat your crappy cream cheese.

in conclusion hannaford, PLEASE TRY HARDER, or you’ll be going the way of stop and shop in no time at all (and no one will miss you).

full shaw’s takedown

14 10 2009

since i moved to portland in 1999, i’ve been shopping at hannaford (hannafuck to some).  it’s true, they have lower overall prices. but what i’ve recently realized, now that i’ve been sucked into the coupon vortex, is that there are just better deals at shaw’s. 10 for $10s, double coupons, in-ad coupons, sexy sexy catalinas… it’s all there. so yes, the prices are higher, but they give you the technology to make them lower- way lower. i seized that technology on sunday. view the evidentiary support below:

shopping trip 101109 001sm10 boxes of quaker granola bars for $1.50/box. $15- $6 worth of coupons, and an in-ad $5 off when you buy ten= 10 for $4, or $.40 a piece

4 boxes of kleenex at $1.89- $7.56. on sale for buy 2 get 2 for $3.78, and 2 $1/2 coupons= $1.78 for 4 boxes, or $.45 a piece.

2 boxes (well, 1 box and 1 bag) of ronzoni healthy harvest pasta @ 10 for $10= $2. $1/2 coupons= 2 boxes for $1 or $.50 each.

1 bag birds eye steamfresh lightly seasoned vegetables on sale for $2- $.50/1 coupon doubled= 1 bag for $1

2 hormel compleats @ $2/ea- $4 with one bogo coupon and 1 $.75/1 coupon doubled = 2 meals for $.50, or $.25/ea. *these are for the boyfriend, i think they’re gross.

1 balance bar on sale 10/$10= $1 w/ $.55 coupon doubled= somehow i made $.10 on this one.

2 4-packs of schick quattro disposables @ $5/ea- $10 minus 2 $3/1 coupons= $4 for 2 or $2 each.

1 lady speed stick deoderant @ $2 + $1.50/1 coupon= $.50

TOTAL PURCHASE PRICE FOR: 10 boxes chewy granola bars, 4 boxes of kleenex, 2 boxes of healthy harvest pasta, 2 hormel compleats, 1 bag steamfresh vegetables, 1 balance bar, 1 lady speed stick, & 2 4-packs for schick quattro disposable razors= $12.68, for $43.56 worth of groceries before coupons/deals.

shopping trip 101109 004smnow clearly, woman can not live on kleenex and granola bars alone. i also purchased the following (some on sale some not on sale) merchandise to fill out my menu this week:

3 boxes of zatarain’s rice, 1 can black beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 8 oz. container sour cream, one container cucumber/dill cottage cheese, one dozen cage-free eggs, 1 bag celery, 1 bag carrots, 1 box grape tomatoes, 1 green pepper, and one giant bag of baking potatoes.

total for all that jazz without deals or coupons*= $14.25.

total shopping bill for the week: $27.74 after tax. i know there are people out there who get more for less, but it’s important to me to buy food that i actually eat, and that are (save for the granola bars which are a once-daily treat),  fairly nutritious.  sure, i can get cans and cans of pillsbury cinnamon rolls for dirt cheap, but i can also get diabetes. not much of a trade.

*i made a deal seeking faux pas on the zatarain’s rice. it should have been 10 for $10, with a $1.25/3 coupon- making it $1.75 for 3 boxes… but sadly, i carelessly grabbed 2 flavors that were not part of the deal (read your shelf tags!!!), and 2 out of three rang up at $2.19. so for $1.38ish a box, i had to lump them in with the regular groceries. boo-urns.