Part 36 Claire’s Story: It’s not easy to live on a budget

By A. Hosack , P. Berman, & K. Hecht

I really want those ice cream bars. I wonder what I could put back on the shelf so I could afford them.

The Carsons’ had been thinking a head till when Claire graduated from school and would be living with Davy in her own apartment. They had opened a bank account for Claire and put money for food and clothing into her account every month; they took this money from the stipend they got from Child Protective Services for caring for Claire and Davy; they didn’t keep anything for themselves but expected Claire to buy food for the entire family. They sat down next to Claire every week and helped her consider what she might need to purchase. They started by helping Claire balance her bank account each month but now she knows how to do this herself. Claire would be struggling to find enough money each week for food if she didn’t have the Supplemental Income for Women, Infants, and Children.

supermarket supplies for school

Program (WIC) to rely on until Davy is 5 years old. This government program for poor families has been found to improve children’s health and school achievement. Claire met with someone at WIC in her town who was very friendly and talked to her a lot about how to pick healthy food.

Claire was working so hard to follow a budget and select healthy foods. Yet…. she wanted those ice cream bars. Would it be so bad to pick them just this once? She was looking carefully in her cart but there was nothing to put back that she didn’t need. She saw another mother who had a lot of store brands in her cart. She noticed this mother had a quart of ice cream.

Should I talk to her? Will she get mad? Will she think I’m stupid?

The other mom happened to look over and noticed Claire looking at the ice cream. She seemed to read her mind, “buying a quart of store brand ice cream is cheaper than buying those small bars you are holding. They also last a lot longer if you are careful to only give everyone one scoop at a time. I notice you have apples, I bought the oranges today because they are on special and cost less- and they are bigger!” Claire smiled and thanked her and then the other mom smiled back before walking off down the aisle.  Mrs. Carson was right again. There were friendly people out there who would help her.

The WIC program had been found to increase the health of pregnancies as well as to reduce other negative outcomes in children. You can learn more about the program at:



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