Eating on a Budget

2

Replies

  • AZAlyssa
    AZAlyssa Posts: 19 Member
    Cheesy567 wrote: »
    One of my favorite cookbooks for learning to cook on a budget is the “More with Less” cookbook. It’s a Mennonite cookbook with recipes from all over the world

    I second this cookbook. Not only are the recipes affordable, they are nutritious. This cookbook also has a lot of tips on frugal living.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,350 Member
    Your local outdoor market might be useful as well close to closing time. Depends. In the last country I lived you could get masses of fruit and veg at the end of market day for very little. I went to two markets here though on Saturday, and found all produce to be A LOT MORE expensive than in the supermarket, and prices weren't reduced by the end. It was all organic farmers. Oh well... the only good thing: I could get starchy potatoes in tiny amounts there (they aren't popular around here, and come in 2.5kg bags, if at all - which is far too much for me alone), and single eggs while I need to buy at least 6 in the supermarket.
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,511 Member
    If you buy many spices/herbs, check out to see if you have a natural food store that sells bulk products. I save a bundle by buying from there as opposed to buying McCormicks or anything else like that at the regular grocery store.
  • bold_rabbit
    bold_rabbit Posts: 1,198 Member
    edited May 2
    My best advice is not to assume that one store is always the cheapest. Get the store apps and spend a little time checking prices on the items you buy. Look at the weekly ads. Etc.

    For example, I'm making a quick stop at a store today that is generally not inexpensive. However, they have deals on milk (1/2 gallon for 99¢), mangos (3/99¢) and Oreos (99¢). Yeah, 99¢ is the theme! They also have a couple coupons "just for u" on items I've bought there before that are good deals.

    I also use the Ibotta app to get some money back on items I buy, but I have to be careful not to buy something just because it has a good Cashback deal.
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,511 Member
    edited May 2
    Oreos for .99???? Wow! Haven't had those in years. :/

    I have 2 stores that I shop between and always comparison shop. The bigger store I go to only when they offer great deals because, being an impulse buyer, I can be tempted by their wonderful bakery department. :(

    I know my niece shops Shaw's sometimes and has been known to grab fresh pineapples for .99, along with various weekly freebies. I only shop locally, within a 4 mile radius, especially with current gas prices.

    Grocery shopping is getting depressing though, all the prices are getting ridiculous! :(
  • perryc05
    perryc05 Posts: 137 Member
    edited May 3
    Good vid:
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,276 Member
    edited May 3
    $10 meals from Walmart? I eat on about $7 a DAY. I hope that video is for a family meal.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,350 Member
    edited May 3
    $10 meals from Walmart? I eat on about $7 a DAY. I hope that video is for a family meal.

    These meals are very, very limited I think. And I always question real cooking on a budget but actually using electricity for nearly every meal, especially cooking beans for an hour or longer. On the other hand, $7 sounds a lot. I spend about 90-120 Euro per month on groceries, including too many snacks. However, I only cook one meal a day, and the rest is muesli that I mix myself, bread, and banana with milk or something like that.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,793 Member
    $10 meals from Walmart? I eat on about $7 a DAY. I hope that video is for a family meal.
    $10 meals from Walmart? I eat on about $7 a DAY. I hope that video is for a family meal.

    It's not $10 per meal. It's $10 for the whole week of meals (for one person).

    Title's also exaggerated: She updates the total at the end to $14 and change. I assume that's because she used more eggs and tortillas than in her initial grocery buy, but she didn't say.

    She also used pantry staples that she maybe didn't count: Oil, cinnamon, soy sauce, parsley were the more cost-meaningful ones.

    For those not curious enough to watch the video but wondering, the core substance foods (from memory) were oatmeal, eggs, brown rice, pinto beans, tortillas, with some fresh carrots, bananas, jalapenos, an onion and an apple. No meat, no dairy.

    She made oatmeal/fruit for breakfast; for lunch/dinner, scrambled eggs/tortillas, rice/egg/carrot stir fry, rice/beans, with onion/jalapenos in small amounts in those. Repetitive meals through the week.

    I don't know how outdated the prices are. Some, though.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,874 Member
    It probably varies depending on where you live, but my budget staples back in the day were oats, bulk beans, bulk rice, canned tuna, hardy bread, eggs, potatoes, and a cheddar cheese block. Condiments and spices I kept pretty basic...ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, Italian herb blend, and Tony Chachere's (cuz it's pretty good on just about anything).

    As veggies go I usually just kept hardy veggies on hand like green cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and onion. For meat I would definitely just watch for sales...but typically chicken friers or whole chickens, ground beef, and pork chops.
  • KayHBE
    KayHBE Posts: 705 Member
    There is a book 'Good and Cheap" by Leanne Brown 'Eat well on $4/day" It was first published 2013 and with todays price increases those will be a little higher. I believe it's free to download!
  • perryc05
    perryc05 Posts: 137 Member
    edited May 4
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    $10 meals from Walmart? I eat on about $7 a DAY. I hope that video is for a family meal.
    $10 meals from Walmart? I eat on about $7 a DAY. I hope that video is for a family meal.

    It's not $10 per meal. It's $10 for the whole week of meals (for one person).

    Title's also exaggerated: She updates the total at the end to $14 and change. I assume that's because she used more eggs and tortillas than in her initial grocery buy, but she didn't say.

    She also used pantry staples that she maybe didn't count: Oil, cinnamon, soy sauce, parsley were the more cost-meaningful ones.

    For those not curious enough to watch the video but wondering, the core substance foods (from memory) were oatmeal, eggs, brown rice, pinto beans, tortillas, with some fresh carrots, bananas, jalapenos, an onion and an apple. No meat, no dairy.

    She made oatmeal/fruit for breakfast; for lunch/dinner, scrambled eggs/tortillas, rice/egg/carrot stir fry, rice/beans, with onion/jalapenos in small amounts in those. Repetitive meals through the week.

    I don't know how outdated the prices are. Some, though.
    You're right -- the video is not perfect and prices would vary on location in the world. It's just to generate some ideas about meals and money management. The person took the time and effort to make the vid and that is worth some praise.
    Did you know the world is also not a perfect sphere (it's slightly pear shaped) -- yet when we calcualte distance across the globe we use maths that works with a perfect sphere? It's work well enough. There is always some distance between the ideal and reality.
    Kind regards,
    Canaan
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,511 Member
    That video had a lot of good ideas! I'd be curious what the calorie count basically is for a typical day. I guess I could sit down and figure that out. :)
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    Thank you everyone for all the great advice, the most affordable store here is Aldis so I am going to make a short list and see what I can do today.

    Many posters here have praised the low prices at Aldis :)

    I cooked for a few months at a small, startup yoga retreat center in Costa Rica. Our staples were rice and beans. We got these delivered in 50 pound canvas bags by horseback. Maybe you should start with 5 pound bags though :lol:

    To create variety, I used a wide range of spices from various ethnicities.

    Back here in the US, I almost never buy spices at grocery stores - an exception would be the big cannisters of Badia. Dollar stores can be great sources for spices, as can Asian stores. I often buy in bulk. For example, I will get a pound of Italian seasoning, which contains oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil and sage, and whenever a recipe calls for one of those ingredients, just use this mix.

    Here are some of my favorite rice and bean dishes:
    • Hoppin' John (Southern US)
    • Cuban Rice & Beans
    • Lebanese Rice & Lentils
    • Various Indian rice and dal

    I also like to add beans to pasta dishes. For example, I just made chicken cacciatore with 2# boneless chicken thighs in the crock pot and added 1/2 C of dry lentils.

    For meat/chicken, I look at the sales flyers, buy in bulk, and freeze. We have a chest freezer in addition to the freezer with the refrigerator.
  • LilithReigns
    LilithReigns Posts: 96 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Thank you everyone for all the great advice, the most affordable store here is Aldis so I am going to make a short list and see what I can do today.

    Many posters here have praised the low prices at Aldis :)

    I cooked for a few months at a small, startup yoga retreat center in Costa Rica. Our staples were rice and beans. We got these delivered in 50 pound canvas bags by horseback. Maybe you should start with 5 pound bags though :lol:

    To create variety, I used a wide range of spices from various ethnicities.

    Back here in the US, I almost never buy spices at grocery stores - an exception would be the big cannisters of Badia. Dollar stores can be great sources for spices, as can Asian stores. I often buy in bulk. For example, I will get a pound of Italian seasoning, which contains oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil and sage, and whenever a recipe calls for one of those ingredients, just use this mix.

    Here are some of my favorite rice and bean dishes:
    • Hoppin' John (Southern US)
    • Cuban Rice & Beans
    • Lebanese Rice & Lentils
    • Various Indian rice and dal

    I also like to add beans to pasta dishes. For example, I just made chicken cacciatore with 2# boneless chicken thighs in the crock pot and added 1/2 C of dry lentils.

    For meat/chicken, I look at the sales flyers, buy in bulk, and freeze. We have a chest freezer in addition to the freezer with the refrigerator.

    haha 50ibs would for sure last me for a bit, I actually have bags of beans and rice I am just low carb so I include them in side dishes for fiber but don't eat it often. same for rice I use it for cultural dishes on occasion but not often. I am a meat eater I love chicken and fish so those are my go to but lately chicken has been pretty pricey here. On the plus side I can buy a big bag and have it last for a bit longer because as I have stated I live alone so only one mouth to feed. If you don't mind though I would enjoy some flavorful recipes if you have any you want to share!!!!

    I am still learning to cook and would love to build up on my spice collection but I don't know anything outside of well...basic seasoning for meats and soups.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    perryc05 wrote: »
    First of all, look into Asian style cookery as they have so many recipes where food goes a very long way and it's not usually expensive to purchase the base ingredients.
    If you have access to an Asian supermarket check that out. You can often get things there for a steal -- not only the food items and condiments but cooking implements and utensils are also very well priced.
    Some staple items in my household are Thai curry pastes and tins of coconut milk. These can be used to make a simple simmer sauce that you cook veggies and protiens in which can then be served up with rice or noodles.
    You can freeze curry leftovers for months if you make in bulk.
    Stir-fries are also a good option and you can make large batches which reheat pretty well.
    Outside the Asian sphere soups are always an excellent option which can make pasta, veggies, beans and meat go a long way. If you need more Americana on a budget check out the WolfePit as this YouTuber has lots of very cheap meal vidoes here:
    https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/budgetmeal
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnJm8wC-ABOvOn2piAt2WYg

    When I have been in hard times I often purchased meaty soup bones. I would boil up the bones for several hours, take the meat off and then use the broth and flaked meat for a number of meals.

    Raw meaty soup bones make the most amazing stock!

    I save cooked bones in the freezer for stock, or make stock with the carcass from a rotisserie chicken. I simmer in the crockpot for at least 8 hours. FAR superior to store-bought stock.

    People in the Boston area in search of an Asian supermarket should check out Kam Man - fabulous prices and selection!

    http://www.kamman.com/quincy
  • perryc05
    perryc05 Posts: 137 Member
    edited May 11
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    perryc05 wrote: »
    First of all, look into Asian style cookery as they have so many recipes where food goes a very long way and it's not usually expensive to purchase the base ingredients.
    If you have access to an Asian supermarket check that out. You can often get things there for a steal -- not only the food items and condiments but cooking implements and utensils are also very well priced.
    Some staple items in my household are Thai curry pastes and tins of coconut milk. These can be used to make a simple simmer sauce that you cook veggies and protiens in which can then be served up with rice or noodles.
    You can freeze curry leftovers for months if you make in bulk.
    Stir-fries are also a good option and you can make large batches which reheat pretty well.
    Outside the Asian sphere soups are always an excellent option which can make pasta, veggies, beans and meat go a long way. If you need more Americana on a budget check out the WolfePit as this YouTuber has lots of very cheap meal vidoes here:
    https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/budgetmeal
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnJm8wC-ABOvOn2piAt2WYg

    When I have been in hard times I often purchased meaty soup bones. I would boil up the bones for several hours, take the meat off and then use the broth and flaked meat for a number of meals.

    Raw meaty soup bones make the most amazing stock!

    I save cooked bones in the freezer for stock, or make stock with the carcass from a rotisserie chicken. I simmer in the crockpot for at least 8 hours. FAR superior to store-bought stock.

    People in the Boston area in search of an Asian supermarket should check out Kam Man - fabulous prices and selection!

    http://www.kamman.com/quincy

    Oh yes -- I love that. I always keep all my bones (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, ham) in the freezer. I also freeze carrot, celery, turnip, swede, parsnip, onion, garlic offcuts/peelings and any stripped herb stems as well. Every few weeks I make up a big pot of stock from these, strain it off, and bury the scraps in my garden. Lots of ways to extract food value before it's turfed out.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,350 Member
    edited May 11
    perryc05 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    perryc05 wrote: »
    First of all, look into Asian style cookery as they have so many recipes where food goes a very long way and it's not usually expensive to purchase the base ingredients.
    If you have access to an Asian supermarket check that out. You can often get things there for a steal -- not only the food items and condiments but cooking implements and utensils are also very well priced.
    Some staple items in my household are Thai curry pastes and tins of coconut milk. These can be used to make a simple simmer sauce that you cook veggies and protiens in which can then be served up with rice or noodles.
    You can freeze curry leftovers for months if you make in bulk.
    Stir-fries are also a good option and you can make large batches which reheat pretty well.
    Outside the Asian sphere soups are always an excellent option which can make pasta, veggies, beans and meat go a long way. If you need more Americana on a budget check out the WolfePit as this YouTuber has lots of very cheap meal vidoes here:
    https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/budgetmeal
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnJm8wC-ABOvOn2piAt2WYg

    When I have been in hard times I often purchased meaty soup bones. I would boil up the bones for several hours, take the meat off and then use the broth and flaked meat for a number of meals.

    Raw meaty soup bones make the most amazing stock!

    I save cooked bones in the freezer for stock, or make stock with the carcass from a rotisserie chicken. I simmer in the crockpot for at least 8 hours. FAR superior to store-bought stock.

    People in the Boston area in search of an Asian supermarket should check out Kam Man - fabulous prices and selection!

    http://www.kamman.com/quincy

    Oh yes -- I love that. I always keep all my bones (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, ham) in the freezer. I also freeze carrot, celery, turnip, swede, parsnip, onion, garlic offcuts/peelings and any stripped herb stems as well. Every few weeks I make up a big pot of stock from these, strain it off, and bury the scraps in my garden. Lots of ways to extract food value before it's turfed out.

    All these things only work though if you have a big freezer. My freezer is so small that I can freeze 3 loafs of bread, about 6 tupperwares with precooked food, and a few portions of chicken, fish, mince or other things that are cheaper per 600g compared to 100-200g servings. Most places I've lived in Europe tend to have smaller freezers, especially when you live in a flat in a town. Plus those things eat up tons of electricity, which is a reason why many people don't have big fridges (apart from space, and people eating more food you can't freeze well compared to meat) I don't know how much electricity 8hrs of crockpot costs, but electricity prices here are currently over 30 Eurocent per kwh, thus if you've short of money it might be a lot cheaper to buy a pack of 10 stock cubes for 60 or so cents.