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Thread: $30 Challenge

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cypress's Avatar
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    $30 Challenge

    I am a little short on cash and have $30 budgeted for food next week. Tell me what you'd get at the market with this. I am not a huge fan of beans so beans and rice are just not going to get too far.

    Needs include cereal, one dinner dish that can expand to 5 days lunch left-overs

    Thanks, time to pinch a bit but I still want a yummy meal every day.
    Here is a link to my blog page http://francesannwy.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Well, eggs are fairly inexpensive. Some vegetables (like broccoil) have surprising amounts of protein, making them good meal stretchers. Soups stretch all ingredients. Beans may be off the list, but rice or noodles/pasta still can be there. Spices and herbs you have on hand can make meals more interesting. Maybe a frying chicken that provides chicken parts for one meal, chicken salad for lunches, and soup toward the end of the week?

    You may be better off selecting a different market. Around here, the cheapest food is at the Asian supermarkets. In some locales, farmer's markets provide significant savings (around here it's great fresh food but not cheap). Some supermarkets have sections of the meat department where the soon-to-hit-shelf-date meat is put. Use it immediately or freeze it for later in the week. There even are some "salvage food" supermarkets that sell, say, water-damaged boxes, slightly dented cans, odd lots of frozen food, etc. Those are really hit-or-miss in my experience, but a good cook can be creative.

    Hope that helps...
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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    Oatmeal instead of milk and cereal will save a lot of money

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I totally agree with the eggs and a chicken. My DH makes chicken stew and it is wonderful (cumin and turmeric make it really special). We had some last week with a pan of popovers, which elevated it to gourmet status! I'm thinking eggs, store brand cereal and/or oatmeal, bananas, peanut butter, a chicken, carrots, celery and a starch for the stew - potatoes, rice or noodles.
    I personally would need lettuce, tomatoes and olives for salads, which might be pushing it on the $30, but would still come in close. You will probably want milk for the cereal, which I would not, so maybe go with a cheaper starch for the stew or ship the peanut butter.

    Tammy: my DH said the same thing!

  5. #5
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    OP I wish you lived near me. We have so many garden items to give away, great dor someone willing to cook!

    Add cabbage, always cheap and good raw or cooked.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    A jar or two of marinara type sauce and a package of pasta could get me by for several meals and probably under $10. I often add broccoli or vegetable leftovers to mine. I'd second the oatmeal suggestion. If you have a little time to bake, the marina can be used on homemade pizza crust for cheap.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cypress's Avatar
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    I like the eggs idea. I enjoy pancakes for dinner sometimes and have a buttermilk powder mix in the fridge. A dash of vanilla and it's yummy.

    There are reduced meats in the market, maybe $.50 or a $1.00 off. There is a farm stand I routinely drive by to get fresh produce for low cost. He's down to peppers and tomatoes now. Other farm stands will have zucchini. I could have the chicken, use the bouillon to help flavor the soup. Fresh green beans would be nice. I have lovage in the yard for flavor, basil and oregano. I have pasta on hand and flour to make popovers. I cannot remember the last time I made popovers. Eggs and flour, salt and a hot oven?
    Here is a link to my blog page http://francesannwy.wordpress.com/

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    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    I took one $4.00 chicken breast and cut it in thirds and had plenty for a pot of chicken soup with lots of veggies, peanut sauce noodles with chicken and veggies, chicken tacos. Granted I buy chicken one breast at a time at the Harter House meat counter and they are pretty big. We aren't huge meat eaters and prefer more veggies, beans, and rice.

    I took a $9.00 2 lb lean ground beef package and prepared it with onion and peppers. It's been the base for spaghetti sauce, tacos, taco salad, enchiladas, chili.

    Oatmeal over cereal, definitely.
    Having some french toast and eggs for dinner is nice.
    If you are bread eaters, biscuits are really pretty easy to make. I grew up eating a lot of creamed eggs or beef in white sauce over biscuits...sausage gravy was a real treat.

    I find home made pizza not very expensive. We don't use a lot of cheese, we're more interested in coming up with new toppings and it's a good way to make meat stretch and one little 4 oz can of tomato sauce (plus olive oil, sugar, spices) can cover 2-3 pizzas. Favorites: BBQ sauce with diced chicken, bacon, onion, peppers. A little alfredo sauce with a sprimp, bacon, spinach, onion. Husband always wants tomato sauce, peppers, onion, mushrooms, pineapple.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    Fun question--I might join you this week. AT our Meier, I can buy 18 eggs for 99 cents, plus a gallon of milk for 2 dollars. I would buy oatmeal if you don't have it. I would probably buy bread and cheese so that would be another 7 dollars or so.

    Then I would check the pantry and plan out a week's worth of food as I have these basics to fall back on and incorporate. We are still eating from garden--lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and squashes--so anything else I plan would involve these. I make the dog food so I buy chicken or ground turkey for them and cook the meat with potatoes and squashes. We generally don't eat meat but they do.

    I guess first I would see what you already had, and plan from there.

  10. #10
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post

    I guess first I would see what you already had, and plan from there.
    Yes! What is lurking in your pantry or freezer?
    Egg salad is my favorite lunch sandwich and if I don't have bread then a dollop on lettuce. I love no-shopping or budget challenges.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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