4. The rules

OK, you want to play the game. For a day, a week, a month, six weeks--you decide--you're going to try to eat tasty, healthy food without spending more than suggested in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's thrifty plan, which is the basis for food-stamp allotments.

To calculate how much you can spend, you can click the link in the previous sentence and work out a precise amount based on your household's number, ages, and genders. Or you can go by these fairly generous approximations:

  • For one adult: $6/day, $42/week, $180 month
  • For a two-person household: $12/day, $84/week, $360 month
  • For each additional person in the household: $4/day, $28 week, $120/month
In Illinois, these are the rules:
Food stamp benefits can be used to buy:
  • any food or food product for human consumption,
  • plus seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food.
Food stamp benefits cannot be used to buy:
  • Hot foods ready to eat,
  • Food intended to be heated in the store,
  • Lunch counter items or foods to be eaten in the store,
  • Vitamins or medicines,
  • Pet foods,
  • Any nonfood items (except seeds and plants),
  • Alcoholic beverages, or
  • Tobacco.
(Not that there will be enough money left over to buy those things anyway...)

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