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SAS Master
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The ramen noodle diet inspired me to ask this...This coming year at college (just weeks away!) I'll be living on my own for the first time. My parents want me to stay within about a $50 weekly grocery budget....so what do you recommend I buy that is healthy, tastey and fits this budget? Thanks!
 

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Keep your foods simple then. Don't buy a load of ready-made pizzas every week or anything like that. Fresh food isn't too expensive.
Make sure you always have eggs, flour, milk, bread, some meat, cheese, salads (tomatoes, lettuce, onion), and you should be good. Try to avoid fast food as often as you can.

Also, learn to freeze. Personally I have to freeze my sliced bread when I buy it otherwise after several days it grows mould. Same with all my meats and such.

Tonight I think I'm making a pumpkin soup (and I can make enough to eat over the next week). nomnomnom. It's just pumpkin, some apple, onion, chicken stock, and some nutmeg (ground, lasts ages).
 

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There are these microwave meals called Compleats... they only take 90 seconds to microwave and the taste awesome - as good as my mom used to make (and she was a good cook).... they are $1.98 each at WalMart and the spaghetti is awesome, so is the pot roast w/mashed potatoes and the turkey and stuffing. These are a great supper meal ... at a can of veggies and you are all set. We also do Totino's/Jeno's Pizza's (they are .98-$1.25 each most places), and we buy Banquet dinners for $1 each. Neither is as good as the Compleats though.

I'm still huge on pb&j but that is because I really like it... I like mine rolled up in whole wheat wraps.

I put stuff in my mac n cheese --- ground hamburger or tuna.... and a can of veggies.

If you have a crockpot you can make chili, soup, or a stew -- those go a long way and are relatively inexpensive.

Apples and bananas are a mainstay at my house... I buy a bag of the small green apples and a bunch of bananas every week that I shop.

Cereal and toaster waffles are a breakfast mainstay - with an occasional box of Poptarts thrown in for a treat.

Can you tell I cook for a 10 year old... but it's all good. I have to cook this way during the week because I work full time and we don't get home till 6 p.m.

But on weekends I buy stuff to throw on the grill - chicken legs, or leg quarters (a lot less expensive), hamburger (for burgers), or pork chops.

Otherwise I make homemade spaghetti, broccoli chicken rigatoni alfredo, enchilada casserole, baked ham, roast turkey, lasagna, anything you can make and then cut up or portion out and freeze for future meals.

Just some ideas from what we do -- we spend $40 a week on groceries (food alone - not other stuff).
 

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is getting over herself
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Drugs. lots and lots of drugs.

only joking. Stay away from the fast food places. basmati rice, and basic veggies like celery, potatoes, etc. for protein, if you like it, get cottage cheese. you can do other things with it besides just eat it as is. Any chance of growing your own vegetables? If so, you can save even more.
 

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Buried at Sea
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Anything pre-prepared (is that even a word?) is expensive. Staying under $50 should be easy (and probably healthier) if you buy lots of simple foods.

Boring, but easy.
 

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I don't really watch my grocery money closely and I average about $160 per month (if I need it, I get it.. unless I think it's stupidly expensive). I'm sure I could drop that down much lower if I wanted to - I just can't be bothered going to multiple stores and sifting through flyers, etc.

It should be simple to stay within $50/week.

The key (for me) is leftovers. I don't waste food - only very rarely will I throw something out (bread being the frontrunner there).

If I do spaghetti I'll do enough for three meals. If I do a chicken/potato/vegatables dinner, I'll do three meals worth. When I make homemade macaroni and cheese, I do four meals worth. That's 1/3 of the month right there.. You get the idea.

Of course, if you're the type of person who has to have 7 different flavours of mustard on hand and has to have seasoning, spices, etc. on everything, you'll encounter some issues with your budget. :)
 

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Pasta! (And for some odd reason, when I eat pasta that is in weird shapes, it seems like a totally different meal)

Frozen Veggies
Bread! (american cheese singles for toasted cheese)
Cereal
Assorted Sauces (differen bbq or maranades (sp!?!))
Rice
Eggs

Frozen Chicken Breasts and Pork Chops...my roommate had a good idea. After you buy them, put them individually in a ziplock bag with whatever sauce or marannadnandade you want and freeze them. Whenever you want to eat them pull them out lil bit before ya cook to defrost
 

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Rice is excellent for bulk (Fills you up) and is very cheap. It can be a PITA to cook though. You'll definitely want a rice cooker that's easy to clean. And don't try to live on just rice. You need protein and other stuff too.

You'll want some kind of good meat that's highly nutritious and relatively inexpensive. And as someone else suggested, spices. Every meal needs spices. Bland food will make you feel like you didn't eat. Tasty food is more satisfying.
 

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Plan all your meals in advance so you only buy what you need and you have enough until you get your next bit of money. That way you won't get to the end of the week and be left with nothing to eat!

When I was at university, I'd make a meal that would last 2 days, so I only needed to cook every other night. It's much less hassle and much cheaper to do that than to plan a different meal for each night, which involves buying loads more ingredients.

It depends on what you like to eat, but I would buy cereal and milk for breakfasts, bread and either eggs, cheese, or tinned stuff for lunches, then whatever else you need for dinners. Fruit. Tea. I avoided buying snacks because I'd just end up eating them in one go... :p

I love to cook and would be happy to share some recipes if you need any ideas :)
 

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Viva La Raza!
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thats about how much i spend on a week. i shop at walmart and my weekly grocery list is:

14 cans of water packed tuna
2 dozen eggs
2 loafs of whole wheat pasta
2-3 yams
2 bags frozen veggies
2 cups of fat free yogurt
a can of soup (any)

i also buy a bag of frozen chick breasts that have about 10 services, 4 4% ground been patties and 4 bags of talipia (sp). these i get every two weeks cause i alternate them.

i also buy a box of cereal that has less than 7g of sugars, a tub of oatmeal, a packet of buckwheat pasta and a bag of brown rice. these three last me for a good while so i dont buy them once a week
 

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Dude, Im on the same boat...and it is boring and mundane when you can only get a restricted amount of groceries.

That said, you gotta throw satisfaction out the window, and just eat modestly, but smart.

For instance, many of what people have mentioned here like choice veggies (whatever your into), tuna, very little meat or fish, cheese is a no go (its just too pricey for you at the moment), eggs are a good bargain, BREAD, BREAD, BREAD...its cheap, and should be a staple when on a budget. Its my breakfast most of the time (ei, toast and butter), and can be worked in most of the time...so I suggest getting 2 loafs, and freezing one, or get 2 different kinds (pita, etc..). And of course pasta. Pasta is so damn cheap and goes a long way, only problem is that if your like me, I cant eat it with low quality sauce, I gotta get the ones in the jar, which are 3-5$ each...:mum

This whole budjet thing can only work if you can, and are willing, or like to cook, if you can't cook (ei..dorm, no kitchen)...than I am afraid to say it is not possible without getting real lean and developing starving pains, in which case (as someone jokingly suggested in a post above)...you might want to take up drugs to numb out the pain!:um

I hope you can cook, my friend, if so it is possible! There is a bunch of great advice in this thread from many different members.

p.s...oh and if you learn how to cook good...it gets better. Experiment with flavours, herbs, spices, and you'll rather eat your own food than that of a restaraunt.

As qouted in the great movie RATATOULIE..."Anyone can cook!"...lol:D
 

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SAS Master
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you all. I shopped for the first week here and I did pretty much $50. I need to get more comfortable buying meat. For some reason going to the deli or just buying uncooked meat seems harder to me than the rest of shopping. Plus, I'm not looking forward to having to shop for food every week. Wal-mart sucks. I can't walk two feet without having to do some strange maneuver to get my cart past someone elses. :(
 

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I highly recommend a yearly membership at a warehouse club, like Sams, Costco, etc and a slow cooker (a crock pot or the like). You'll make up the cost of the membership in one visit if you buy judiciously and anyone over the age 12 whose not stupid can cook in a crock pot. Your parents will go for these if you'll use them all the time.

For example
Pinto beans, 10lb dry (125 servings) for less than $9, flavor w/ ham hocks (50cents a piece), or country ham
Rice, 50 pounds of basic uncooked or 25 pounds of really tasty uncooked for less than $20
Olive oil, basic Bertolli 101 oz for $14 or Extra light 68 oz for $11
Peanut butter 6 pounds for under $10
Bulk sugar, salt, paper products ,etc. etc.
Don't forget oatmeal
All of these keep for a loooong time, but if you eat lots you'll save lots of money

Eggs 18 for $1.15,
Whole chicken 89cents a pound (for when you want to splurge ;-) etc. etc. etc.

Eat lots of whatever fruits and vegetables you find cheap like bananas, cabbage, apples in season, etc. etc.
 

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Mooltipass!
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fruit and veg, freeze the stuff you're not gonna use and throw them into a smoothie/soup when times are tight. Works a charm nutrition wise.banana and spinach might sound disgusting but its surprisingly tasty. ^^
 
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