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Eating on the Cheap

#1
In times of crisis, there are situations when you need to eat as cheaply as possible. Right now, my goal is to eat for $25/week. Here's my breakdown: 
  • Multivitamin, to make up for the total lack of nutrition on everything below on the list. 
  • Lots of canned soups. Chef boyardee when you can get a sale, especially. 
  • Ice cream. Has a TON of calories and is very cheap. 
  • Ramen noodles as overflow. When I run out of other things, Ramen noodles are about 20 cents a meal if you eat two packs every time. 
  • Cheap frozen pizzas. We can get them for about a dollar a meal around here. 
  • Cereal on a good sale. 
  • Pop tarts as a snack (only because a nearby store sells them hella cheap). 
How are you saving money during this time? What's on your list for the dinner table every night?
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#2
I reckon I ate for about 30$/week about two months ago when rest of family went on a trip to England for some family issues and I needed to take care of my dog.
Spent more money than that because I'd buy my dog nice steaks with the saved money, of course, but overall for myself I ate real cheap.

I'd stay away from canned soup and whatnot. Canned food isn't bad by any means, but canned 'meals' like that are typically a lot more expensive than just buying the ingredients yourself.
Had some frozen steak and pork in the freezer (cheap cuts) which I used for most of my protein, as well as a bag of shrimp although shrimp is mostly water and more expensive. Get yourself something like a tri-tip roast or any other roast cut (a big one) and they'll be way cheaper than anything else, at the cost of being able to chew it easily. But, if you know how to cook roast cuts (not necessarily roasting, even just tenderizing it yourself using pineapple pulp, a hammer, or if you have a skillet on hand that you can throw in the oven,) then you're set with a whole lotta protein.

If you don't want to eat just steak and pork, canned tuna is also basically 100% protein or something. Good alternative if you're a fan of seafood, although sometimes more expensive unless you buy in bulk.
Beans are good too. I honestly love chickpeas so I throw em in a lot of stuff as well.

Stir-frys, stews and soups are incredibly easy to make, don't take too long most of the time, and are gonna typically be more nutritious than canned stuff anyway. Plus, you can make huge portions if you buy ingredients in 'bulk' and eat for the whole week off leftovers. I love my stews, so that's my style, but maybe you get bored after a day or two of something.

Spices are also dirt-cheap if you have a plug.
I mean, like a dedicated herb/spice shop. No amazon, no grocery stores. We got one in our town with more or less everything you could possibly want. Self-serve out of an old apothecary cabinet. Nice aesthetic, and you can get a ton of spices for like 5$. I go maybe once a year or something and spend like 10$ when I leave (depending on how many spices I'm low on.)

Spices not only sometimes have health benefits (curcumin from turmeric will 100% stop you from having a hangover after a long night of drinking if you eat a teaspoon before bed) but they'll also add that variety you need to the barebones food you eat.

Lots of oriental supermarkets will also have sauces and soup/stew stocks that you can use as well, although they might be a little more expensive. A pack of Japanese Curry sauce (the kind you add like a bouillon cube to a soup, but waaaaaay bigger) costs like 4$ but jeez, you can fill up a pretty big dutch oven with food off that one box, and you don't need to use it all at once. At that point, you'd have your week-long food ready there, and curry gets better after sitting in the fridge for a day IMO.

Cheap noodles are great for the carbs it gives you. Stock up on Maruchan or Nissin and you're set. Rice and rice noodles are also a good substitution if you're gluten free or something. Barley and buckwheat are less known but also good subs and I love adding barley to stews because it adds a little more thickness to the whole thing.

For the rest of your nutrients, whatever veggies are on sale are fine, and a pack of multivitamins to get the rest. A kilo (2.2lb) of frozen veggies in a mix (diced carrots, green beans, peas, corn) is usually like 3$ here and will keep you going for a while too.
If you have a community garden then don't forget to take advantage of that (but maybe volunteer a bit tending to the plants, just so you don't feel like a complete leech.)
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#3
I buy a vegetable smoothie or a box of straberries or blueberries once or twice a week. Good for antioxidants. Plus some essential oils that my family sent me a while back.

Regarding soups, they have worked well for me. Each can has 400-500 calories (not bad at all), and you can eat 4 of them in a day and some sort of snack or soda or sweet tea somewhere and get your 2,000 calories. It works out to about $4 a day easily. Of course if you throw ramen noodles in the mix and get two cans of soup instead, you can easily eat for about $3/day. So it's worked well for me.

Fish sticks are something I forgot to mention. You can get an entire bag (three or four full meals worth) for about $4. Works out to about $1/meal, which is great. And it's a good source of protein and omega 3's.
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#4
Dry rice and dry beans. Cost effective and will store well. Eating all the perishable stuff first. I also have about 48,000 calories worth of olive oil to make stuff with, so I'm good on calories alone. Tongue
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#5
Don't live off ramen alone.  I did that for a bit, sure $0.33 a meal is great but over time it tears up your stomach  Sick
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
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#6
Oh, I forgot potatoes. We're also loaded for bear on potatoes to last us for months.
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#7
(March 23rd, 2020 at 11:15 PM)Darth-Apple Wrote: In times of crisis, there are situations when you need to eat as cheaply as possible. Right now, my goal is to eat for $25/week. Here's my breakdown: 
  • Multivitamin, to make up for the total lack of nutrition on everything below on the list. 
  • Lots of canned soups. Chef boyardee when you can get a sale, especially. 
  • Ice cream. Has a TON of calories and is very cheap. 
  • Ramen noodles as overflow. When I run out of other things, Ramen noodles are about 20 cents a meal if you eat two packs every time. 
  • Cheap frozen pizzas. We can get them for about a dollar a meal around here. 
  • Cereal on a good sale. 
  • Pop tarts as a snack (only because a nearby store sells them hella cheap). 
How are you saving money during this time? What's on your list for the dinner table every night?
It's curious about how some things apparently are super cheap in another countries while in your most of the item list are actually luxury.

Taking local prices:
  • Rice and beans are always a nice combo for emergencies. 1 kg of each cost around 1 US each and servers for multiples dishes. Also with spice or curry is better.
  • Few meat + vegetables: Cucumber, broccoli, onion, tomato and few chicken is a 2-3 US max for a good dinner.
  • Cheap sausages + tomato sauce. A dollar or 3 for a better quality.
  • Sweet bread + smashed beans: Sounds gross, tastes good.
  • All with tuna! Tuna is slightly expensive here but is a must for emergency situations. Can be server only with crackers or mayonnaise.
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