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Old 02-16-2019, 04:29 PM
Location: Kirkland, WA (Metro Seattle)
3,776 posts, read 3,035,929 times
Reputation: 6637


Originally Posted by Magic Qwan View Post
After seeing Iíve been spending $200 a week on food just to feed myself, and since this is rediculous for a single man and means I have no extra money to save by the time I pay my bills, Iíve decided to eat on no more than $4 a day (including tax), for 2 meals a day (brunch and late dinner). Iíve been eating ramen and hot dogs the past 3 days and am already really bored and craving the more expensive food. Iíve stooped to trying to bum food off of coworkers and family to still meet my budget while eating something interesting.

Iíd like to pay off my house early so I can save even more money, or possibly use this house as a rental property if I decide to go to law school (I live in northwest louisiana, but want to practice as a law professor in southeast texas so Iím nearer the beach and can enjoy more big city stuff and lower taxes).

Sticking to this food budget is key, though, and Iím already struggling just because of the blandness.
Yeah, eating bulk hot dogs and ramen is no way to go through life. I remember doing that on spring break in Daytona Beach, FL in college. Kids will eat anything, and since I was broke we ate quarter hot dogs in the lobby or free Happy Hour food, all of which is loathsome, to get by on a few bucks a day.

Hang out in the Mumbai slums a few weeks, if you want some pointers. We might say most of those people, living in precarious shacks, don't have much. They're mighty resourceful, though. If you don't want to go that far, try Ensenada, Mexico for awesome street tacos on the cheap. Think how cheap it must be to make them, for the vendors to sell them for like $2/each USD.

Go dumpster diving. When I was a poor college student, we weren't...quite...that desperate, but in modern dollars let's just say $10 was a big deal. You probably feel the same, for your experiment.

As a single guy, I was quite the coyote through my 20s. Throwing out those conference room sandwich boxes? Screw that, I'll take three home! Too many pies at your conference? Sure, I'll take one! I was always the guy on top of that, not having a pot to **** in back then either (though I did have a BMW convertible: don't ask about that logic). If there was free food, drink, or (very rarely) liquor, I was ON IT. If people looked askance, I don't know or care. Free soda? Yeah, I'll liberate a few cans. Do that for a month, you've got a fridge full of sodas to tide you over, too. Granted, that's pilfering, so tread lightly...

Also: hit the bakery outlets. Granted, most of that is crap carbs or way, WAY worse (donuts in bulk for a buck a dozen), but if you need cheap somewhat-quality wheat bread...white is bad for you...that's where to go. Buck a loaf, can't beat that. A loaf of that and some Jif, you're off and running for like $4 for three day's food that is nutritious, if not exactly healthy. I survived on cheap-ass bologna sandwiches in college when I had to, that being Mystery Meatģ for the most part. Just go heavy on the mustard, my personal favorite condiment to this day. Make it Gray Poupon if you want to be Continental.

I was never quite clever enough to hit pizza parlours late (after midnight) and ask about either screwed up orders or those never picked up. "They" say that's a way to grab some cheap or free stuff; were I managing the Little Caesars or whatever, I'd write it off as a Dead Order on the books then sell it out the back door to bums and college students for $.25 on the dollar, cash only thanks. Same goes for any restaurant that does take out. That's a half-step above dumpster diving.

Think about all the food thrown away, if you've actually seen it in dumpsters and such. Not that I tour dumpsters, but I've walked through an alley or two in my day. Must be some way to intercept some of that.

If you're cooking from scratch, it can be done though I hate it personally. Rice, beans, tortillas, flour, cooking oil, and the nastier cuts of chicken, pork, and beef can be had right off the hoof and/or in bulk at the Costco. Any Mexican will tell you that a sack of flour, some cooking oil, and what I mentioned above (plus maybe some hot sauce) can be whipped up to feed a family in an hour or two. I loath cooking, but I've done it and made poor man's biscuits a few times. That, and some margarine, can feed you a couple days too. On a severe budget, as poor people are (they have no choice), I'd say 3/4 the Earth's population makes do on such fare. As in, daily. Forever. Think on it.
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:38 PM
Location: North State (California)
31,840 posts, read 2,495,254 times
Reputation: 10871
The dollar tree has some frozen vegetables, ($1) that make a really good stir fry. Once a month you can buy a bag of chicken pieces on sale, check the sales flyers for supermarkets in your area.. Lentils & split peas can be easy to cook, & are very filling..
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:14 PM
Location: Shreveport, LA
1,131 posts, read 890,071 times
Reputation: 552
Originally Posted by evening sun View Post
The dollar tree has some frozen vegetables, ($1) that make a really good stir fry. Once a month you can buy a bag of chicken pieces on sale, check the sales flyers for supermarkets in your area.. Lentils & split peas can be easy to cook, & are very filling..
Thats a good idea for variety.

Ideally, Iíd like to save 10,000 a year the next 10 years.

Iíll come up with the best way to make extra money at that point.

Iíd like to take some of that money I save and create some sort of business, spending as little of what I saved as possible so I still have a huge financial cushion.

It seems the really rich people in Forbes got there through being frugal and starting a business. Even if I never have kids, Iíd like to build a big inheritance I can give to my niece. By the time I die, sheíll be middle aged and hopefully mature enough to handle it.
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Old 02-17-2019, 12:50 AM
Location: Silicon Valley
17,621 posts, read 21,706,003 times
Reputation: 33402
Not everything at the Dollar Tree is great in the frozen section, but they have frozen sliced peppers and onions that are great. You can get at least two meals out of one bag, stir fried with whatever you want. I'm vegan, and I use them with beans and rice, basically like fajitas. They're roughly the same price as buying the peppers and onions fresh, so why not buy them already cleaned and sliced up?

Another great find at the Dollar Tree is their mushrooms in jars. I think they come from Poland. But, they're really good and cheaper than you can find anywhere else.

Just as an aside, if you like candles but normally don't want to spend the money on them - you can find candles at the Dollar Tree for just a dollar each, that are really great. It's nice to have scented candles, and to be able to find decent ones for a dollar, is actually pretty amazing.
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Old Yesterday, 10:27 AM
Status: "TRUMP2020MAGA" (set 14 days ago)
3,828 posts, read 717,535 times
Reputation: 2037
If you aren't a picky eater here is a very good recipe for something cheap. You can buy a bag of frozen chicken tenders at Aldi for 4.99 which has enough chicken for about 3 meals for a guy. (maybe 2)

You will need some butter, onion, honey, salt, pepper, rice lemon juice.

Very inexpensive, so simple and cheap if you already have the honey and it is very tasty as I said above. Not hard to cook either.
You can use fresh chicken breasts as she does which is good to have no additives, but having Aldi's frozen on hand makes it a go to meal.

Livingonadime.com and dineonadime are great places to find cheap, good ideas.

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Old Today, 10:08 AM
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,260 posts, read 9,624,279 times
Reputation: 9810
Beans, brown rice, eggs, salsa (make your own--easy), a bit of cheese and fresh, seasonal produce and occasional chicken/turkey is the way to go. Millions of folks live on these healthy foods.

Gotta cook a bit, but lots of easy-peasey ways to combine these basic ingredients in delicious ways...
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