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Old 05-20-2009, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
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Default $150/month Budget for groceries. How do you do it?

This was a side topic from another thread. I have a friend who is a single woman that claims she lives on a $150/month food budget. Some people thought this was doable, but I couldn't see how.

So... this seems like a good topic for a thread. How do you guys do it? I'm open to the idea but I can't quite grasp how you eat three nutritious meals a day on $5 a day. Please give as many specifics as possible, and remember I'm talking about living on a budget like that all year long (this person is not fasting or trying to lose weight). A grocery list would be great.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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This is for a single person, right?
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
This is for a single person, right?
Yes. But if you can feed 2 people on $150/month, even better.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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I personally could have a staple of curried rice + beans, potatoes, with some meat added now and then. Rice, grains are very cheap and folks who eat them spend like $50 a month a person. Plus, your own greens all summer long. For drinks, black tea or your own leaves tea.

However, my husband can eat only particular things (part of it his allergies, and part of it just stubborness) so he has to eat a lot of meat, and sweets. I know, not good. Kids get on his bandwagon at times, too. So we are far from being food-frugal.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
This was a side topic from another thread. I have a friend who is a single woman that claims she lives on a $150/month food budget. Some people thought this was doable, but I couldn't see how.

So... this seems like a good topic for a thread. How do you guys do it? I'm open to the idea but I can't quite grasp how you eat three nutritious meals a day on $5 a day. Please give as many specifics as possible, and remember I'm talking about living on a budget like that all year long (this person is not fasting or trying to lose weight). A grocery list would be great.
I could easily do it on half that (in other words, yeah this could be a 2-person budget for me). You buy everything in bulk, you buy seasonal vegetables, you do not buy any prepackaged food, you bake your own bread, and you don't go out to eat.

It's damned easy for one person to eat well on $150/month if you just think about what you're buying. Buying things like rice and beans in bulk is key. Just for laughs sometime, compare the price of a 1-lb bag of rice to the price of a 20-lb bag of rice.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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It really depends on your food preferences, but I would start with foods that give you a lot of bang for your buck: bulk whole grains (oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice), a whole chicken or two (remember to make stock with the bones for soup), dried beans, basic baking supplies (sugar, whole grain flour, yeast, cornmeal). I'd supplement with whatever produce is in season and inexpensive, and I'd start an herb garden on the windowsill.

I've gotten great ideas from The More with Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre. And, in the interest of frugality, check your local library for a copy.
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:21 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, CA
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I don't think it would be that hard. My monthly budget for a family of four is about $400. I could easily feed just myself on $150 a month.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Some place very cold
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It also depends what she considers "groceries."

For example, is toilet paper, laundry detergent, cat litter 'groceries' or do they fall into a different category?

What if she orders a pizza out? Is that groceries?

And how does she know she only spends $150?

I know how much I spend because I save every receipt and log every penny in an Excel spreadsheet. Not everyone does that. So how is she tracking her expenses?

And the other thing is, what is she eating? I can spend $100 on groceries a month and eat pasta and Top Ramen every day. It's not fun. Good food costs a little more.

W.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:35 PM
Status: "Lethargy bordering on sloth." (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Warwick, RI
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I can't touch $150 a month, but I could if it was just me. I have a wife and 4 kids to feed, and we do it on roughly $400-$450 per month. If it were just me, I'd make $150 work, no problem.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Back Home In TN…YAY:):)
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If you are talking about just food I think it can be done very easily. Here is an example of some of the foods you can eat cheap.

Breakfast-
Oatmeal with a little milk and fruit. Buy fruit on sale or buy large cans. I use powdered milk because I can make a small amount, it doesn't go bad, and for me it is cheaper.

Toast with peanut butter and jelly and fruit.

Cereal with fruit. If you but it on sale or buy generic "and" measure a real portion size it isn't that expensive.


Lunches-
Sandwich like tuna and homemade veggie soup. I make a veggie soup that I have a cup of everyday with a small sandwich. I make a big pot with cabbage, carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, rice, beans and chicken bouillon cubes. I freeze in smaller portions because I make a lot.

Peanut butter and jelly is a great cheaper lasting staple.

Grilled cheese.

In the summer I love having a big tomato sandwich.


Dinners-
Eat meat free 2-3 times a week.

Pasta with tomato sauce whether it is canned tomatoes or sauce. Whatever is on sale.

Rice and Beans.

Roast a whole chicken when it goes on sale. Buy extra and freeze. You can get 4-7 meals from one small bird. Then make soup from the frame.

Have pancakes once a week.

Have eggs for dinner.

Chili.

Bean burritos.



No eating out including pizza. If you want it make it at home. Make water your main beverage. Do not buy any processed or convenience foods unless it is an incredible deal. This may not be healthy but it could be cheaper. Like a frozen dinner for $1.00. Just don't eat too many of those.


These are just a few examples. It really can be done. Buy the foods that you use in bulk. Buy fruits, veggies, and meats on sale. Watch for and stock up on sales. Cut back on meat. Grow some of your own food or hit a Farmer's Market and learn how to can. Eat smaller portions.


Not only can it be done but I'm sure it is much healthier as long as you mix in your fruits and veggies.
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