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Old 11-04-2015, 01:47 AM
Location: morrow,ga
847 posts, read 1,243,976 times
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Just wondering how you would get by if you were poor/didn't have a lot of money and didn't want to eat packaged meals or processed food all the time. How would you manage to still eat healthy/hearty meals? Is it possible to cook from scratch even if you didn't have a lot of money? Alot of poor people i know ( including me, im semi-poor..not poor enough for food stamps) seem to survive off of hamburger helper, pasta roni, ramen or some other packaged food but there has to be a better way .
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:47 AM
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buy reduced /markdown foods in the supermarkets..

I see bananas reduced to 10 cents per lb

buy the front page loss leaders on grocery store flyers,,

chicken drumsticks are .39lb yes only .39lb!! that's cheap!!
buy cheap pork on sale .. too

this time of yr,,,buy the cheap thanksgiving turkeys

sometimes its what you DONT buy,,

drink water,,,don't buy soda,,,or sugary juice..

don't buy cigarettes or booze,,,ive had friends that would claim they were poor but both smoked and drank beer...

I was poor for a time in my life,,,and I bought marked down reduced foods in grocery stores,,,

from meats to produce to breads,,

this saved big bucks!!

I also looked at cheap meals,,,,,,like French toast , pastas , sandwiches,,,i love peanut butter and fluff

cut out sweets...candy cakes, cookies...
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:10 AM
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Homemade vegetable soup is very nutritious, easy to make and can be made with any number of fresh vegetables. Just buy the fresh produce that is on sale or reduced, every week you could have a different combination of vegetables in your soup.

Don't waste food. Plan to use your leftovers.

Pasta is cheap. Boil a box of spaghetti or macaroni, drain, and mix with a package of frozen mixed vegetables. Sprinkle cheese on top and you have enough for a couple of meals.

Study the grocery fliers every week and only buy what is on sale.

Make the reduced produce section your first stop every time you go to the store.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:45 AM
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,177 posts, read 20,555,890 times
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Of course you can cook from scratch on a budget.

This website has good recipes: Hillbilly Housewife | Low Cost Home Cooking From Scratch She used to have a section about cooking on an extreme budget, I don't know if she still does, but it got my family through some tough times.

When my food budget was really tight, I used to make pancakes one night a week for dinner, fried rice another night, spaghetti usually twice a week, grilled cheese sandwiches another night, and then the last two nights would be whatever I found on sale or markdown that week. Since you said you're not poor enough for food stamps, I'm guessing you have at least two hundred dollars a month to spend on groceries (add an extra hundred for each person you're feeding...if you have less than that, get a crock pot and make beans a couple nights a week to stretch the budget). If I'm right, then that's enough to base your diet around some lean meats, which is a lot healthier in the long run than having most of your meals be mainly carbs. You also need a bit of freezer space to make it work...not a huge freezer, but at least a regular sized one...if you're using a mini fridge, that makes it more difficult because it's cheaper to buy the meat in bigger quantities and freeze it in individual portions.

Cooking from scratch gets better when you have enough time to develop a few skills...for example, I make my own bread, pizza crust, and tortillas. We don't eat at restaurants anymore because the food doesn't taste as good as the things that we cook. But even if you don't have time to practice stuff like that, cooking from scratch will be better than eating hamburger helper and ramen.

If you have an oven and a baking pan with edges, baked chicken is the simplest thing to make. While your chicken is in the oven, use your microwave to bake a potato and then cook a quick veggie to go with the meal...those steamable bags of frozen veggies are really easy to cook and they taste pretty good too.

You can also cook a bunch of chicken in a crock pot and then freeze it in serving-size portions. I have a really hard time getting all the bones out when I cook the really cheap bag of leg quarters, so I usually only use boneless chicken in the crock pot.

Another thing that's good in the crock pot is pork, and you can usually find good deals on it. A Boston butt or a pork picnic cut are usually the cheapest big chunks of pork...the picnic cut generally has skin and a lot more fat, so if the boston butt is $1.50/lb and the picnic is $1/lb, the boston butt is a better deal. To cook it, rub it all over with seasonings (find a recipe for a dry rub, or just buy one), drizzle with liquid smoke, and cook all day on low. When it's done, pull the meat out and shred it with a fork, making sure to get rid of the bones. Then add a little barbecue sauce (the mustard kinds are best with pulled pork) and eat it on cheap white bread. One Boston butt will make enough for a lot of meals...freeze the leftovers in meal-sized portions (I just use ziplock bags to store it) and warm it up in the microwave when you want to eat it.

Whenever you make pancakes (try this recipe, it's really good Fluffy Pancakes Recipe - Allrecipes.com), make a double batch and then freeze the extras so that you have quick microwave breakfasts.

Also, muffins are easy to make and good for breakfast. Make them the night before so you're not rushing in the morning. Freeze the extras. Look for berries on sale cheap...blueberries or blackberries make good muffins, like these: Blackberry Muffins Recipe | SimplyRecipes.com
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:49 AM
Location: Canada
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There is NO reason a person on a low budget can't eat healthy. Shop stores that are known to have lower prices and go to the reduced shelves. Buy in bulk when you find a good sale.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:04 AM
646 posts, read 430,388 times
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If possible buy your fruits and vegetables from a farmer's market instead of the grocery store. This past weekend I bought a whole pineapple ($3), 3 zucchini ($1) 2 heads of romaine lettuce ($2), 4 oranges ($1), green beans ($1) and 2 peppers ($1) all for $9. These same items would have cost me about $20 at the regular grocery store.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:41 AM
Location: Chicago. Kind of.
2,895 posts, read 1,655,810 times
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Originally Posted by melovescookies View Post
If possible buy your fruits and vegetables from a farmer's market instead of the grocery store. This past weekend I bought a whole pineapple ($3), 3 zucchini ($1) 2 heads of romaine lettuce ($2), 4 oranges ($1), green beans ($1) and 2 peppers ($1) all for $9. These same items would have cost me about $20 at the regular grocery store.
It's funny - I've heard a lot of people say this, but while we do have a Farmer's Market in our town, the prices are CONSIDERABLY higher than the produce I can get at the store. I'm thinking it's probably a difference between a large farmer's market in say, the city, where access is easier, versus our small one in our train station parking lot 35 miles away from the city.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:58 AM
Location: Niagara Region
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Once every couple of weeks I buy a (precooked) rotisserie chicken for about $7 to $10. We get 2 meals out of it the first night - I'll usually cook mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans. There is enough for 2 sandwiches the next day, and then I toss the carcass into some water (usually add the water from the green beans and carrots) and make a soup. Into the soup goes a tomato, sometimes pieces of butternut squash and a handful of macaroni. No further seasoning needed. Throw in some fresh broccoli about 3 mins before it's ready and you have a healthy tasty soup.

That's about 6 meals from one chicken plus the potatoes, veg etc. Extremely cheap.

If I have time, I'll roast the chicken myself but I don't find the price difference that great.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:05 AM
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Yeah, farmers markets aren't always the cheapest option.

OP, be sure to avail yourself of cheap filling foods like beans and rice. And focus on cuts of meat that are cheap per serving. The reason I say per serving is that a 4 lb roast may not necessarily be cheap, but it's a LOT of meat. Once cooked (crock pot works well for this), you can slice it up, have leftovers that can be repurposed, freeze portions ... you can get a lot of meals from one roast. It's a lot more cost effective than buying, for example, one package of chicken breasts or a steak.

Also, avoid boneless skinless anything. You're paying a lot for someone to do the work. Go on youtube and find videos that will explain how to break down a chicken.

Or if you're squeamish breaking down a whole raw chicken, then just rinse it (remove the bag of giblets inside), pat it down, season it, and put it in the crock pot on top of some balled up tin foil. Nothing else needed. Cook 8 hours, and it will literally fall apart as you're removing it from the crock pot. Then as a bonus, put all the bones and fat and skin back in the crock pot with some onions, carrots, salt & pepper, and fill it with water. Cook overnight, and you'll wake to the heavenly aroma of home made stock. strain the liquid and use it to make soup (or freeze it for later)
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:13 AM
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Baked potatoes are your friend.

Cheap filling nutritious delicious.

I will often have one for dinner. Topped with bean salad sour cream and cheese - nom. Good for you and healthy too. And less than $1 a serve.

I try to avoid processed food entirely and have taken to going to my local store daily as they change the specials around and have new markdowns every morning. They mark down cartloads of bread and meat.

I usually only buy marked down meat no matter where I am, or at least, something I consider good value. I've been a budget shopper all my life and rarely impulse buy anything, and most things I do buy are reduced.

I was born with the soul of a Scottish Pawnbroker. No matter how much money I earn, I still bargain hunt.

So basically, I can live on the smell of an oily rag. I always ensure I have bread, eggs, cheese and tomatoes because you can make a host of cheap meals from that combo. And its easy.

Macaroni cheese is another good cheap meal, and my kids loved it so they pretty much requested it once a week. It costs about $3 for a huge pot.

Last edited by cindersslipper; 11-04-2015 at 09:21 AM..
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