Thursday, September 28, 2023


As an adult, have you ever been so poor you were challenged to feed yourself or your family?

Have you ever been so poor that you had trouble feeding yourself or your family? We’re talking about in your adult life.

Heaven knows, many of us have had setbacks in our lives, some financial, that made life difficult, and even buying food became a huge challenge.

Feel free to leave a comment if you wish. And remember, it may take a few moments for the poll to load, so stand by.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


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2 years ago

I was a veteran living homeless in the SoCal area back in 98-04 time era. I re-enlisted after 9/11 just to survive and ended up getting deployed overseas just to get shot at. I still survived though and was able to retire later. Life is better now

Ted Combs
2 years ago

Not as an adult, but as a kid we grew up poor and often didn’t have enough or any food to eat. I believe that’s the reason I’ve worked hard and did whatever job I could get to make ends meet.

D Haley
2 years ago

Been there done that. Retired military with wife, 3 children. Retirement paid mortgage, electric. Lost job that covered water, auto, gas, food, champus, insurance car. Youngest 5 months diapers were hand and dish towels. $1.15 over to draw unemployment. Learned how the coupons (doubled/triple) worked to purchase food only paying the tax. It can make one humble instantly. I’ll say thanks to Ford Motor Credit for taking $15 bucks a month in car payments until I got on my feet. Did and 4 months and paid off car a year early. Feel sorry for those that lost their jobs no fault of the own doing. But we never took a hand out.

2 years ago

Not as a parent but as a kid. Mom worked as a cashier at a mom and pop hardware store raising us four kids and was to proud to take any kind of government handout. She made some great meals, on school days we would have Post Toasties for breakfast, potted meat or PJ sandwich for lunch and then a nice dinner like chicken stew or fried chicken and MP’s. She did wonders with a $1 a day food budget. A garden (from seed) and a chicken coup helped a bunch. Three generation government raised families that have never worked a day in their life have more money than we did back then. Mom had priorities and new how to live within the means. The house payment came first. We never got into trouble, we we’re to busy taking care of the garden and chickens or mowing neighbors yards and some time’s peddling bags of vegetables door to door for a quarter.

2 years ago

As very young adult (20), I struck out on my own and moved 1500 mi to a warmer climate. It took several months to get a decent paying job that would let me have a roof over my head and enough food. Until then, saltine crackers, canned tuna, peanut butter and soup were the staples of life. Well, those, and my once a week splurge at an all you can eat buffet on its discount day!

Rita Rosson
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Same here…early 70s, 22 y/o switched professions bc laid off from airlines bc of gas shortage. Fried bologna sandwiches, tomato soup, etc. 😖

2 years ago

As a new Ensign in 1969 with a pregnant wife, we had just enough money to get in the drive-in movie, buy one small soda and one small popcorn, Not even a penny left.

Glen Cowgill
2 years ago

I noticed in the comments that many were military families so Thank you for your service. I could tell the same story but I won’t as I retired from the USAF in 1979. But after retirement with 4 children and my own business which was doing fine until a couple crooks virtually put me out of business. We suffered for several months until I finally got a job teaching.
I retired from teaching in 2002 but look back on those tough times as an education. There is always work if you are willing to do it.
In 2002 after retiring, I was sitting in the VFW listening to a fellow complain about not being able to find a job. I won ,a cup of coffee bet, on being able to find work. Took me 3 days and it turned into a profitable trucking company that I sold in 2007.

2 years ago
Reply to  Glen Cowgill

Great story Glen. I can remember my Great Grandfather telling me stories from the Great Depression. (he was born in 1892) He said that he was too proud to stand in those soup lines and found that there was work. One example he would use was a job that paid 15 cents to sweep the stairs of building.

2 years ago

Active Duty Army, E5, wife and newborn. Many nights eating “Helper”….without the hamburger. WIC helped a lot, but we were just above the cutoff income for food stamps. Like $5 above….

Dave J
2 years ago

Yes. Two stripe Airman. Stationed on a remote site a long ways from a regular airbase. With wife and baby. Skipped many meals so wife could eat and make milk for nursing daughter.

2 years ago

Split with the ex – he left the state. Two kids, no job, hadn’t worked in 13 years. It was a rough couple of months until I found a job and a place for us to live. Thankfully I had good friends who let us crash on their apartment floor and others who would slip me a little food money from time to time.

Marsha Ross
2 years ago

In 1965 I had one semester of college until graduation. I attended during evenings. I worked 8 hours each day for 6 days each week. My pay was $30 per week. The studio I rented cost $12 each week. I had to put gas in the car to get to work. I ate dry cereal, tuna from a can, hot dogs and beans. I did that for 5 months until I got a teaching job that paid $4500 a year.

Vanessa Simmons
2 years ago

Not as an adult but I remember eating field peas and cornbread w/sawmill gravy for several days in a row so my parents could make the $39/mo house payment. I also love onion sandwiches (with mustard) and potato chip sandwiches!

John Koenig
2 years ago

Fortunately no, I never found myself in such a situation. In my college days, I had several friends who had left their parents’ homes DID face hard times on their own. When I finally went out on my own, I “stocked up” on a variety of staples that had long shelf lives (canned soups, crackers etc) just so I would NOT go hungry if my situation deteriorated (which fortunately never happened). A decade+ later, those “emergency items” were still in the back of my cupboard! They got tossed out but, to this day, I still keep a few basic food staples in stock. Better safe then sorry (or hungry).

2 years ago

Late 60’s as a young Marine with a family found it difficult to have enough for me after ensuring wife and baby were taken care of. Fortunately that period was short lived and from then on managed well with the help of part time jobs to assist…BTW, that lasted for the next 10 years…. life is good though…

2 years ago

worked as many as 3-jobs and went to school full time. ya do what ya gotta do.

2 years ago

Growing up poor and always had an attitude of being proud of it. Everyone around me (close circle of friends I grew up with) were all the same. After High School, we went set out and picked up jobs in the summer picking fruit in Eastern Washington. MANY hungry days and stories to tell. Found out that if I became a Fry Cook, I could get a job in any town. As a young man that meant a job, immediate food and usually a girl friend (one of the waitresses). Sometimes the town would even have cheap apartments we could rent. Then, I forced myself to go into the Army to grow up. Still proud of those days and my humble but proud roots. Many, many stories from those times….

Mitzi Agnew Giles
2 years ago

When my libertarian/randite/sociopathic/cheating ex left in 1978 I had a kindergartner and a 5month old infant. I was breastfeeding my son, and had no job skills(ex claimed if I put him thru school then he would put me thru school. He lied) I applied for Food stamps. Before Entitlement, the states got block grants. If there was nothing left in the State treasury, too bad. The Human Services guidelines said we would need $110 monthly for food, and they didn’t have it. They could only give me $33 a month. I learnt to cook dry beans and used the Cornell Triple Rich Flour formula from Joy of Cooking. Before measuring flour, put soy flour, wheat germ, and dry milk-1 tbsp each-in measuring cup. Then fill w/flour. Saturday was baking day. Pizza crust for that night, 2 loaves of bread for week, and noodles made with a rolling pin and butter knife. I saved left overs for free soup. During this time I was able to buy fresh fruit and vegies as well as canned, rarely cheese or ground beef. Someday

Deborah Mason
2 years ago

In the late 1970s I quit a well paying job that was killing me & went back to school. At one point, working only 3 days a week, minimum wage, on work nights, I was buying a potato for 20 cents, using the store microwave to cook it. About once a month I’d buy a stick of margarine for my spuds. That allowed me to afford a few more meals a week.

Old Ron
2 years ago

Just married in !966, joined USAF ahead of draft and used all savings to exist on tuna noodle casserole and Mac and cheese until promoted enough to eat. Wasn’t all bad as was MUCH thinner back then

Randy Boggess
2 years ago
Reply to  Old Ron

Just married in 1966, joined USN ahead of the draft. Luckily I went to a ship so I had pretty good meals. Sent all of my money home. Extra money from covering someone on their duty day. Gave me the incentive to make rate. I made E-5 a little over a year and a half out of boot with no schools. I worked hard, was good at what I was doing, and kissed a lot of butt. Then transferred to shore duty San Diego. I think BAQ (Basic Allowance for Quarters) was around $50 a month. Didn’t buy much for housing even then.

Michael Lloyd
2 years ago

I’ve spent two stretches in my adult life being unemployed or under-employed for extended periods of time, late 1987 – late 1988 and 2000 – 2007. During those times I had to shift my food shopping criteria to how much food costs per pound. The most effective item I could get were large, government-issue sized cans of fruit cocktail. For months at a time, fruit cocktail was all I had to eat as it cost about 18 cents per pound back in the day. That was many years ago, and I cannot eat canned fruit cocktail any more without gagging from the sweet syrup and peaches. I can’t even eat whole peaches any more as I remember they syrupy slippery texture, and felt like that were tasting me back…..

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