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TOPIC: How to survive on 40-50 dollars per month on food.

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April 9, 2012 3:29 PM
Hi all,

I'm really trying to cut down my budget on food, extras, gas, etc. I can only spend at most 50 dollars a month on food. I usually spend about 100; I'm trying to cut it as close to half as I can. I eat pretty healthy (most of the time) and I eat mostly vegetarian.

I'm trying to come up with ideas of what I can buy at the store that is cheap, healthy and filling.

So far I've come up with: eggs, brown rice, bread, milk, some produce (apples, bananas, and frozen veggies), beans, whole wheat pasta, a little bit of cheese and yogurt. (and butter on occasion)

Does anyone else have any ideas/recipes for me?

Thanks!
Edited by californiansun On April 9, 2012 3:30 PM
  4923780
April 9, 2012 3:31 PM
plant a garden!
  3319896
April 9, 2012 3:34 PM
This site has many frugal recipes, and a sample menu for how to feed a family on $50/month.

http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/recipeindex.htm
  16405527
April 9, 2012 3:35 PM
beans are filling and cheap as well!!
  18284284
April 9, 2012 3:39 PM
Cabbage and potatoes. Potatoes get such a bum rap.

I've got a cookbook for cheap people, it's British though =/

Anyways it says peas also.
Edited by Toddrific On April 9, 2012 3:42 PM
April 9, 2012 3:41 PM
It looks like you have some good solid choices with fiber and protein which will keep you full without having to eat a whole lot! Be sure to get as much fresh fruit and veggies as your budget will allow - your body will thank you for it!

In terms of ideas/recipes: fried rice with eggs and brown rice
frittata with eggs and frozen veggies
whole wheat pasta with frozen veggies and tuna or canned chicken
crockpot chili or soup
you could buy a $5 rotisserie chicken and eat off that for 3 nights, easily (night one: breast meat, night two: leftover meat with rice, pasta and veggies, night three: using the bones to create stock for a soup base(easy in a slow cooker!)

I have a number of ideas on my blog, as well as this post in particular: http://kitchencourses.com/5-ingredients-that-will-make-100-meals/
April 9, 2012 3:44 PM
To save money on fresh produce try going to a farmer's market! You can buy a TON of produce for super cheap.
  4464830
April 9, 2012 3:47 PM
Far out! $50/mth I wish I could only spend $100/mth! The kids milk comes in at $4.97 per 2lt and having 3 little ones means a whole heap of milk - they have to drink A2 milk but it is much better than regular (regulat milk is around $3 per $2lt!

Groceries are really expensive in Australia ... 'cheap' apples are when they are $2.95/kg, tomatoes range between $3-$8/kg a single head of lettuce is around $2.80 on a cheap day! Oh, and these are regular prices, not organic or anything. I bought a 1lt of almond milk trying to be a bit healthy and it cost $3.95! Wont be buying that again!!!!! The cheapest cage eggs run around the $3 per dozen.

I will be watching this thread for some ideas ... am down to our last $$$ before our monthly pay day in 5 days ... grrr I hate getting paid monthly!

Oh, and I would love some of your tips for getting down to $100/mth spend :)

Edit: WOW! "$5 rotisserie chicken" the cheapest I have ever found one around here is $9.98 for a small one, the large ones (that barely feed a family of 5) are around $12.95!
Edited by DSCLBD On April 9, 2012 3:50 PM
April 9, 2012 3:50 PM
The cheap eats I buy (I don't eat milk, bread, pasta or eggs) are dry beans, lentils, tofu, brown rice, oats, on sale fruits and vegetables. Look for a store that offers a day when they reduce their produce when they bring in the new. Stock up on sales of frozen fruits and veggies.

Make your own, hummus, dips, soups, chilis, salad dressings, salsa, "ice cream" (frozen fruit placed in blender, such as over ripe bananas). I cut my veggies early and keep cooked rice ready to go in advance to help for quick foods.

I forgot to add (thus the edit), find a place that doubles coupons and match with a sale and sometimes even with a store coupon. Look at sites such as coupon mom (free) to find free and next to free items. Many coupons apply to processed boxed food, but there is much out there for canned beans, and frozen veggies as well as soy, rice and almond milk.
Edited by HopeFaithLove71 On April 9, 2012 3:53 PM
April 9, 2012 3:51 PM
QUOTE:

Far out! $50/mth I wish I could only spend $100/mth! The kids milk comes in at $4.97 per 2lt and having 3 little ones means a whole heap of milk - they have to drink A2 milk but it is much better than regular (regulat milk is around $3 per $2lt!

Groceries are really expensive in Australia ... 'cheap' apples are when they are $2.95/kg, tomatoes range between $3-$8/kg a single head of lettuce is around $2.80 on a cheap day! Oh, and these are regular prices, not organic or anything. I bought a 1lt of almond milk trying to be a bit healthy and it cost $3.95! Wont be buying that again!!!!! The cheapest cage eggs run around the $3 per dozen.

I will be watching this thread for some ideas ... am down to our last $$$ before our monthly pay day in 5 days ... grrr I hate getting paid monthly!

Oh, and I would love some of your tips for getting down to $100/mth spend :)


I live in the number one city in California that supplies most of the produce in the world, so produce/groceries are very cheap here.

I can get apples for 59 cents/pound, bananas for 13 cents/pound, etc. We have a lot of Farmers Markets in town that sell organic produce on the cheap and milk is from the company that is in my town, so milk is inexpensive. I buy a dozen eggs for about a 1 dollar to 1.23.
  4923780
April 9, 2012 3:52 PM
QUOTE:

To save money on fresh produce try going to a farmer's market! You can buy a TON of produce for super cheap.


I do! :D I forgot to mention that, oppsie!
  4923780
April 9, 2012 3:55 PM
I think someone mentioned it already, but farmers markets, or side of the road produce stands are really cost effective!


also some areas have food co-ops
Edited by jboccio90 On April 9, 2012 3:56 PM
April 9, 2012 3:56 PM
bump
  9593893
April 9, 2012 3:56 PM
That's about what I'm doing, except I'm not vegetarian --

Make sure you get your local supermarket fliers -- usually you can find them online, and look for comparison shopping. Especially if you like fruits -- I can't afford them unless aldi has them on sale.
April 9, 2012 3:57 PM
wow! I live in upper minnesota and fruit and veggies are $$$$
I got sick of prices for peppers and started growing my own in my house!
Looking forward to tomatoes soon!
April 9, 2012 3:57 PM
Where the heck do you live? I want to move there....(In reference to getting all that for such LOW prices!!)
  3766339
April 9, 2012 4:00 PM
bulk Onions, lentils, potatoes. Get indian and french recipes (esp. indian for vegetarians!)--a lot of them are based on "poor" foods, like legumes and cheap cuts of meat. Make sure you have a good spice cabinet. Go to outlet groceries or bulk food sellers. If you can prove you lack of income don't be to proud to visit your local food bank, you can get some staples there.
  8437110
April 9, 2012 4:00 PM
QUOTE:

Where the heck do you live? I want to move there....(In reference to getting all that for such LOW prices!!)


Fresno/Clovis, CA :)
  4923780
April 9, 2012 4:02 PM
QUOTE:
I live in the number one city in California that supplies most of the produce in the world, so produce/groceries are very cheap here.

I can get apples for 59 cents/pound, bananas for 13 cents/pound, etc. We have a lot of Farmers Markets in town that sell organic produce on the cheap and milk is from the company that is in my town, so milk is inexpensive. I buy a dozen eggs for about a 1 dollar to 1.23.


Wow, that seriously blows me away!!!!! Even the farmers markets here are not much off what you pay at the supermarket, sometimes they actually charge more!!! Bananas can range from 99c/kg in the high season right up to $22/kg (although this has only happened a couple of times in the past 10 years when cyclones wiped out the banana farms in QLD) the average price for bananas would be around $3/kg

And I know that a kg is 2.2 x a pound but there is such a big difference still! And my family are big meat eaters ... probably the cheapest half descent meat runs at about $18/kg a little cheaper when on special. I have tried buying the cheaper stuff but it isn't worth it, too fatty or tough, only really fit for the slow cooker!

Thanks for starting this thread, like I said, I will be watching it for some ideas ... I think if I can get our bill down below $500/mth for the whole family I would be really happy!
April 9, 2012 4:04 PM
Bumping I really could use help in this area too.
  15318592
April 9, 2012 4:04 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:
I live in the number one city in California that supplies most of the produce in the world, so produce/groceries are very cheap here.

I can get apples for 59 cents/pound, bananas for 13 cents/pound, etc. We have a lot of Farmers Markets in town that sell organic produce on the cheap and milk is from the company that is in my town, so milk is inexpensive. I buy a dozen eggs for about a 1 dollar to 1.23.


Wow, that seriously blows me away!!!!! Even the farmers markets here are not much off what you pay at the supermarket, sometimes they actually charge more!!! Bananas can range from 99c/kg in the high season right up to $22/kg (although this has only happened a couple of times in the past 10 years when cyclones wiped out the banana farms in QLD) the average price for bananas would be around $3/kg

And I know that a kg is 2.2 x a pound but there is such a big difference still! And my family are big meat eaters ... probably the cheapest half descent meat runs at about $18/kg a little cheaper when on special. I have tried buying the cheaper stuff but it isn't worth it, too fatty or tough, only really fit for the slow cooker!

Thanks for starting this thread, like I said, I will be watching it for some ideas ... I think if I can get our bill down below $500/mth for the whole family I would be really happy!


That's horrible!!! I thought I was paying too much... Thanks for putting things into perspective!
  4923780
April 9, 2012 4:06 PM
I keep two big Ziploc bags in the freezer, 1 for leftover fruit (primarily berries) and 1 for leftover veggies (including all the peels and bits that get cut off). I buy produce when its on sale and if I can't use it before it goes bad then it goes into the appropriate freezer bag for later use.

I use the frozen fruit and berries to make smoothies, to make "sorbet" (blend with water and refreeze), or to add in to oatmeal or Greek yogurt. The leftover veggies usually go to make homemade vegetable stock in the slow cooker.
April 9, 2012 4:08 PM
If you get cheap produce then I'd make that your mainstay - plenty of potatoes and veggies and you can knock up some tasty soups that will be filling and feed you for several meals.

In order to combat boredom I usually add different condiments when I reheat a batch (e.g. chilli, pepper, top with avocado etc).

Good on you for only spending that... NZ is so damn expensive!
April 9, 2012 4:11 PM
I think it's all relative ... just I have noticed in Australia that the cost of living has blown out like anything! Rent is pretty high, health insurance runs around $320 a month for a family, petrol is $1.38-$1.54 per Lt (a gallon is 3.785 litres - so at cheapest we are paying $5.22 per gallon!).

It makes it hard to prioritise what to cut back on ... my goal this year is reduction laugh reducing my waistline and our expenses!
April 9, 2012 4:14 PM
I wish I could do $50 a month. I am single and spend around $150/mo, not counting eating out.

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