Ok, budget shoppers…

If you read my previous post, you will see that I am currently unemployed, and because I didn’t work fulltime during most of the cycle considered by the state, I am getting considerably less than I did when previously unemployed. We are barely skating by, and like many in this position, the biggest savings to be had are in the food budget.

So, you budget shoppers out there, give me your best, cheapest meals (minus spam and/or velveeta please). I want to cut my normal food budget by a third.

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6 responses to “Ok, budget shoppers…

  1. To echo Shadow, meat and meat by-products are a surprisingly big expense. If you cut down on them, you’ll notice the savings.

    Tofu, salted and fried in butter/margerine until it’s golden tastes a lot like fried egg. In fact, you can stretch the volume of scrambled eggs by adding crumbled tofu to it.

    You can make your own (very yummy) yoghurt quite cheaply. It’s simple, but it takes time. Look for a yoghurt recipe on the web if you want to do this, but the basics are:
    1) Bring a quart of milk to the boiling temperature
    2) Set the milk in a non-metal container and allow it to cool to 100F (plus or minus 10 degrees F.) This takes about an hour.
    3) Once cooled, whisk in a tablespoon or two of plain yoghurt that says on the label that it has live or active bacteria. This is your “starter”. (A small container of store-bought yoghurt is enough to “start” about 3 batches of yoghurt.)
    4) Turn on your oven light to keep things warm, and put the milk+yoghurt mixture in to incubate for 8 to 12 hours
    5) You now have yoghurt! I usually strain it through a cheesecloth or clean linen/cotton tea towel for a few hours to make it thicker (the whey protein is the clear, yellowish liquid that comes out.) Otherwise, it’s a bit runny.

  2. Use Trader Joes! They’re cheap in price but the food quality is amazing. I would have only been eating Ramen for years (I’m not kidding) without their options!

    Don’t forget all the great stuff you can do with potatoes – baking in pan, layering & roasting, stuffed skins (with beans & other veggies for cheap options). All those cheap whole or mashed pumpkin cans are versatile too – soups through baked (put the mash in a baggie with some cornflour, spices and sprinkle cheese – or real cheese if you have it – , snip the end and pipe out little swirls onto a greased baking dish – in the oven & bake till crispy. Very yum.) 🙂

    And don’t feel weird about going and getting food stamps – if you qualify it makes all the difference to how well you eat and how well stocked your fridge & pantry are. My husband just got a permanent job this week (paychecks yet to kick in) and our cupboard is still full from the last round!

    Think zombie apocalypse & pick up weird cheap canned food for a few extra cents here and there (yes TJs have lots of options with these too) then imagine you’re bunkered in and be creative. 😉 It’s much more fun that way, Heck you could even have a Zombie Apocalypse pot luck party – make it clear you’re providing the space but they’re all bringing the food – people love helping this way and it makes everyone feel good.

    Happy Thanksgiving Jim – we’re bunkering with you in spirit. 😉

  3. Try some ramen recipes. Their cheap, generally less than five bucks to feed the whole family. And their really good. I get mine from 101 things to do with Ramen, but I’m sure you can find some on the internet.

  4. Sucks about the job – good luck with the hunt! Our cheapie go to meal is hot dogs and lentils. The ingredients are…wait for it…hot dogs and lentils. Basically, you cook lentils per the directions on the bag (they’re like a buck a bag at any grocery store), with some cut up hot dogs (cheap hot dogs are actually better in this – none of that all beef crap) thrown in, and voila. Okay, so hot dogs and lentils doesn’t really call for a “voila”, but it’s cheap. And usually perfectly edible.

  5. Beans are a cheap easy protein that can be used in place of some meats. Or mix cooked beans with meats (hamburger). buy frozen vegetables instead of canned. More for the $.

    Truthfully your biggest expense is going to be meats, ridiculously expensive, either cut back on amount used or don’t make meat meals.

    Turkeys are cheap right now, get one or two if you have room in the freezer. Will make many meals. Cook and freeze portions.

    coupons coupons coupons! find places that double or in some cases triple the value. My mom is awesome at this and on occasion gets paid for buying something.

    discount grocers. Some of the food is out of date, cans are bent, boxes are crushed, but hey the food is still good. You can come home with a carload for what you spend for a few bags.

    See if there are any community grocery outlets. We have a local Church that provides a huge amount of food for $30 (it would be 2 weeks of food for my family) and through the city a food co-op where you not only get groceries but household items as well. You might also want to apply for commodities not sure where you would do that, but calling DFS could point you in the right way.

    thats about all I can think of right now. I’ve been there before. you’ll make it through you might not like what you have, but you will have something to eat.