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

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April 12, 2012 9:03 PM
QUOTE:

$50 dollars a month!? How is that possible? I pay that much at least a week and I am single.
$35 - $40 dollars a month just on chicken $12-$15 dollars a month on bananas, chinese cabbage $16 a month, baby spinach $30 a month, other leafy greens and salad stuff $35 a month various condiments extras $25 -$ 35 a month Brown rice $3 a month potatoes $5 tomatoes $15 a month. Almond milk $ 20 -$28

So thats over 200 dollars a month just at the top of my head and I am sure there are things I buy that are not included. Like apples oranges blueberries figs etc.


Luckily food is cheaper here! I usually spend 100 a month, but losing my job with gas prices is killing me. I have to do this!
  4923780
April 12, 2012 9:08 PM
I am so glad its possible for you. Its hard when there isnt income coming in. I am just amazed how cheap food is over there.
  16010003
April 12, 2012 9:16 PM
QUOTE:

I am so glad its possible for you. Its hard when there isnt income coming in. I am just amazed how cheap food is over there.


Yeah, I'm amazed that food is so expensive for you!!! That's unheard of.
  4923780
April 12, 2012 11:10 PM
For aussies there is a women doing a blog of feeding her family of four with $120 a week.

http://120dollarsfoodchallenge.com/

I have been checking out the difference between buying chicken at coles and going to a butcher 8.90 kilo for chicken thighs at coles and 5.99 for chicken breast at the butcher. I think its time I changed where I shopped.
The central market in Adelaide has a amazing range of fresh local produce but I have been shopping at coles for convenience. I can see now that "convenience"is costing me alot by the end of the month.
I am now searching for a good place in Adelaide for bulk rice. And found a place http://www.gaganisbros.com.au/go/home does alot of bulk food. Anyone else in South Australia have good money saving tips?
  16010003
April 12, 2012 11:53 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Roux: equal parts flour and oil (or butter) used to make gravies or thicken just about anything. Best done a good non-stick pan. Stir over medium (or lower if your pan is of dubious quality) until starchy smell/taste is gone. Since the proto-roux doesn't have water it easily gets to napalm temperature so be careful tasting it. Cook further for more flavor but less thickening power. Add a cup of stock(or broth or ramen noodle packet...) or two to a pan you just cooked a meat in and then add, carefully, the warm roux until the gravy is a little thinner than you'd like since it will thicken as it warms. Make sure to whisk or mash the roux into the sauce- roux lumps are better than flour gravy lumps but they're both worse than no lumps.


I basically lived off this during my first year of grad school. I stirred in tuna and either peas or broccoli and served it over rice.

What I use is about 2T butter/other fat, 2T flour, 1C milk, scale as desired. After you have made it several times you will be able to add the flour and milk until it 'looks right', but measure at first.


Sounds a lot like bechamel sauce... which is good ;) . There's something about it, really, it's rich without being too heavy. Simple if you have a candy thermometer - you want to get the milk nice and cooked without burning (>180F iirc) and the milk will thicken itself, though the roux adds flavor and thickens it more. I made this for a lasagna and enjoyed the smell through my house for awhile - a mild, rich smell. Add some cheese (parmesan esp.) for added flavor. Again, if you're on a regular diet then this is probably not the right direction but, if you're on a pauper's budget then the fatty foods are probably fine for you.

Another recipe:

(Gringo, slightly pretentious) Refried beans:

Melt a stick of butter or a half cup of oil, again in the best 12"+ non-stick you've got over medium high heat. Garlic and/or onions are traditional but the last time I did this I tried shallots and it turned out well. Add several cloves of garlic to taste and maybe a half chopped onion and cooked until the onion is translucent (making sure to break apart the onion layers while sauteing). Alternately, one large shallot or two smaller ones is what we used to good effect. We used 3 cans of black beans last time. Drain the fluid but reserve (or not -- more later). Add the beans a can at a time and mash. Cook in the oil until pasty, approaching dry, and then add fluid. You cook in oil to develop the flavor in the beans (Maillard Reaction I believe) so take your time-- thick is fine as long as it doesn't burn or go too dry. I like the fluid from the cans or the fluid you used to soak the beans but, supposedly, this is where all the flatulence inducing sugars are so maybe just a little chicken broth/stock. Now, finish seasoning: Use a good paprika - sweet or hot to taste. Paprika is more than food coloring, though you will use more than you'd use of, say, pepper. Add until you can taste it. Use garlic, garlic salt, or none to taste. Salt, pepper, etc. or whatever you like. Cook thin (less time after adding fluid to pan) if for dip/nachos but thicker for burritos.

Work at lower temps, or perhaps more vigorously if you worry about the quality of your pan.
April 13, 2012 12:03 AM
bump. compiling a list of these ideas for grad school budget :D
  13730439
April 13, 2012 1:00 AM
Is there a group that does healthy budget food recipes and cost saving ideas?
  16010003
April 13, 2012 1:22 AM
bump for later
April 13, 2012 3:23 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Roux: equal parts flour and oil (or butter) used to make gravies or thicken just about anything. Best done a good non-stick pan. Stir over medium (or lower if your pan is of dubious quality) until starchy smell/taste is gone. Since the proto-roux doesn't have water it easily gets to napalm temperature so be careful tasting it. Cook further for more flavor but less thickening power. Add a cup of stock(or broth or ramen noodle packet...) or two to a pan you just cooked a meat in and then add, carefully, the warm roux until the gravy is a little thinner than you'd like since it will thicken as it warms. Make sure to whisk or mash the roux into the sauce- roux lumps are better than flour gravy lumps but they're both worse than no lumps.


I basically lived off this during my first year of grad school. I stirred in tuna and either peas or broccoli and served it over rice.

What I use is about 2T butter/other fat, 2T flour, 1C milk, scale as desired. After you have made it several times you will be able to add the flour and milk until it 'looks right', but measure at first.


Sounds a lot like bechamel sauce... which is good ;) . There's something about it, really, it's rich without being too heavy. Simple if you have a candy thermometer - you want to get the milk nice and cooked without burning (>180F iirc) and the milk will thicken itself, though the roux adds flavor and thickens it more. I made this for a lasagna and enjoyed the smell through my house for awhile - a mild, rich smell. Add some cheese (parmesan esp.) for added flavor. Again, if you're on a regular diet then this is probably not the right direction but, if you're on a pauper's budget then the fatty foods are probably fine for you.

Another recipe:

(Gringo, slightly pretentious) Refried beans:

Melt a stick of butter or a half cup of oil, again in the best 12"+ non-stick you've got over medium high heat. Garlic and/or onions are traditional but the last time I did this I tried shallots and it turned out well. Add several cloves of garlic to taste and maybe a half chopped onion and cooked until the onion is translucent (making sure to break apart the onion layers while sauteing). Alternately, one large shallot or two smaller ones is what we used to good effect. We used 3 cans of black beans last time. Drain the fluid but reserve (or not -- more later). Add the beans a can at a time and mash. Cook in the oil until pasty, approaching dry, and then add fluid. You cook in oil to develop the flavor in the beans (Maillard Reaction I believe) so take your time-- thick is fine as long as it doesn't burn or go too dry. I like the fluid from the cans or the fluid you used to soak the beans but, supposedly, this is where all the flatulence inducing sugars are so maybe just a little chicken broth/stock. Now, finish seasoning: Use a good paprika - sweet or hot to taste. Paprika is more than food coloring, though you will use more than you'd use of, say, pepper. Add until you can taste it. Use garlic, garlic salt, or none to taste. Salt, pepper, etc. or whatever you like. Cook thin (less time after adding fluid to pan) if for dip/nachos but thicker for burritos.

Work at lower temps, or perhaps more vigorously if you worry about the quality of your pan.


Thank you for your ideas! And the recipe is pretty much a bechamel sauce, easy to make and tastes yummy!!!
  4923780
April 13, 2012 3:27 PM
QUOTE:

Is there a group that does healthy budget food recipes and cost saving ideas?


I don't think so on MFP, but there could be on other websites! Someone should start one on MFP! I don't know how to start groups.
  4923780
April 13, 2012 3:30 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

What I use is about 2T butter/other fat, 2T flour, 1C milk, scale as desired. After you have made it several times you will be able to add the flour and milk until it 'looks right', but measure at first.


Sounds a lot like bechamel sauce... which is good ;) . There's something about it, really, it's rich without being too heavy. Simple if you have a candy thermometer - you want to get the milk nice and cooked without burning (>180F iirc) and the milk will thicken itself, though the roux adds flavor and thickens it more. I made this for a lasagna and enjoyed the smell through my house for awhile - a mild, rich smell. Add some cheese (parmesan esp.) for added flavor. Again, if you're on a regular diet then this is probably not the right direction but, if you're on a pauper's budget then the fatty foods are probably fine for you.


Yes, it is. I use it as a base for a heck of a lot of sauces. I just haven't been having it as much lately :P
April 13, 2012 3:31 PM
QUOTE:

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.


Wow~
April 13, 2012 3:32 PM
QUOTE:

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.


I love cabbage with potatoes! I was going to make this tonight and I throw in some smoked sausage....It's really yummy and even better is my little one loves it too!!
April 13, 2012 3:33 PM
Don't forget the windowsill herb garden, mmmm fresh basil and dill.
  10883811
April 13, 2012 3:38 PM
plan out a menu! this is the best advice i can give you. we live in ohio and it sounds like our food prices are not even remotely close. We have expensive farmers markets here in the city too :( when i plan out a menu, i use up all the food i buy and i only buy what's included in the menu. it's amazing how much money that saves and how little food we throw out. And cooking from scratch helps a ton with the budget too.
April 13, 2012 3:39 PM
I too am looking for ways to budget and food is so expensive nowadays and the healthier the more $$! I think anything in a crockpot you can never go wrong and better yet you can freeze what you don't eat and save for another night....

I used to make a pot of beans and freeze what's not eaten, you can make a veggie soup with a bag of frozen veggies, add some potatoe....
April 13, 2012 3:45 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

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.


I love cabbage with potatoes! I was going to make this tonight and I throw in some smoked sausage....It's really yummy and even better is my little one loves it too!!


I'm really going to try this... I've never had it but people keep bring it up so it must be good!!!
  4923780
April 13, 2012 3:46 PM
QUOTE:

plan out a menu! this is the best advice i can give you. we live in ohio and it sounds like our food prices are not even remotely close. We have expensive farmers markets here in the city too :( when i plan out a menu, i use up all the food i buy and i only buy what's included in the menu. it's amazing how much money that saves and how little food we throw out. And cooking from scratch helps a ton with the budget too.


I don't know why I didn't think of this.

Someone gave me milk so I can make a bunch of stuff now, I'm going to try to go another week without shopping! I doubt it'll work out, though haha.
  4923780
April 13, 2012 3:57 PM
Hi! We spend 250 bucks a month for food for a family of 5. Some things we do are make our own bread from bulk wheat, make our own yogurt, make chicken stock, make beans from dried, and make sure you are not wasting food. Good luck!
April 13, 2012 3:59 PM
Wow!! I spend way too much on food!!!
April 13, 2012 4:02 PM
Hi,

I do a lot of shopping for staples at ethnic stores. Fruits and Veggies can be purchased for a song and a dance at most Asian grocery stores--just be selective WHICH Asian grocery store you go to. Meats are cheaper there too if thats your thing. Same with Middle Eastern, African or Hispanic stores.

I eat a lot of lentils and because lentils are so versatilte, you can easily eat them several times in a week without having to get bored with them. I pay 1.39 a pound for the organic red ones at Whole Foods.
  12786696
April 13, 2012 4:02 PM
QUOTE:

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.


Cabbage, taters and kielbasa all boiled together is delicious. I don't usually eat the cabbage itself (something about the texture I just don't like), but I love the flavor it gives off.
  20836725
April 13, 2012 4:03 PM
poorgirleatswell.com!
April 13, 2012 4:07 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 :)

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!


Yeah but your average income and minimum wage is twice what ours is. You really cannot compare AUS to the USA.

P.S.: Milk is not a required food. ;)
  4853758
April 13, 2012 4:07 PM
QUOTE:

Hi,

I do a lot of shopping for staples at ethnic stores. Fruits and Veggies can be purchased for a song and a dance at most Asian grocery stores--just be selective WHICH Asian grocery store you go to. Meats are cheaper there too if thats your thing. Same with Middle Eastern, African or Hispanic stores.

I eat a lot of lentils and because lentils are so versatilte, you can easily eat them several times in a week without having to get bored with them. I pay 1.39 a pound for the organic red ones at Whole Foods.


We have a lot of Hispanic stores here, it seems like the Asian ones are more expensive, but I'll check em out! I just got a bunch of ads in the mail so I'll look before I go shopping. Lentils are a good idea!
  4923780

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