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Monday, February 2, 2009

Meals for $5.00 a Day (Per Person)

Prices of food continue to rise. Meanwhile, we are struggling to keep our heads above water. Some people talk about eating for only a dollar day, and some blog about $5.00 a meal. We're trying to do $5.00 a day (per person) so for our family, it would be $15 total a day. Here's the info we've researched:

Here's a list of what NOT to do if you're watching your pennies, like we are:
  • DON'T buy frozen dinners - they are full of salt and chemicals and not good for you anyway
  • DON'T buy the pre-packaged cereals
  • DON'T buy hot dogs or lunch meat
  • DON'T eat out or bring home fast or restaurant food
  • DON'T use refined flour or buy bread
  • DON'T buy pre-made cookies, puddings and other desserts
  • DON'T even look at the junk food, chips, crackers and soda pop - empty calories
Here's a few suggestions:
  • Buy rice, flour, salt, oil, popcorn, honey, pasta, nuts, sugar and beans in bulk from a bulk food club.
  • Make your own bread and other baked goodies.
  • Watch your portions. Americans eat way too much. Use smaller plates and follow the "per portion" suggestions on packages. You'll get used to it.
  • Stock up on dented but still good canned goods, and other canned goods when they go on sale. That means watching circulars and unadvertised sales.
  • Clip coupons. But if you're going to pay more for the item even with the coupon versus store brand, buy the store brand.
  • See if your grocery store has a discounted meat or discounted dairy section. If they do, ask when is the best time to find the best deals. Go then.
  • Don't buy deboned and deskinned meats because you're paying for that extra service. Buy whole meats on sale, cook, and freeze in meal portions. Use the bones to make broth.
  • Rely on soups, stews and stewps (thicker than a soup, thinner than a stew).
  • Grow as many fresh fruits and vegetables at home as you can. Make every bit of your landscaping edible - fruit trees, berry bushes, asparagas, rhubarb, and annual vegetables.
  • Learn to raise animals (like fish, chickens or rabbits) for meat, or hunt. Keep chickens for eggs - more bang for your buck!
  • Sprout your own seeds to eat the sprouts - a little goes a long way for nutrition.
  • Use your slow cooker (crockpot) regularly to make your dinner meal easy. If it's ready when you get home from work, you won't feel as tempted to order in.
  • Use aromatics (strong-smelling herbs, onions and garlic) to make the food more pleasing to your sense of smell and taste.
  • Be sure to have 2-3 different colors on your plate to make the food more pleasing to your sense of sight.

Here's a suggestion for one day:

  • Breakfast ($.69) - 2 eggs (.22), cheese (.1o), grits (.34), tea (.03)
  • Lunch ($1.22) - chicken salad (.67), 7 yellow pear tomatoes from garden (0), sliced apple (.55)
  • Dinner ($1.12) - black beans (.22), double serving rice (.12x2), vegetable salad from garden (0), salad dressing (.66)

Wow! The above total is $3.03 per person! We even have money leftover for snacks like dried fruit, nuts, or homemade flatbread. And VHTS could have a big glass of soy milk with his breakfast!

Most of the above is good info for people who are working to exist on their stored foods. Hopefully, our blog will help you find a way to eat your stored foods, like that big bag of rice or making your own bread.

So... who has tried to eat on $5.00 a day? Or less. We are trying, but with a Very Hungry Tween Son (VHTS) who is always hungry but can't eat wheat, we are averaging about $8.00 (gluten-free bread is expensive). However, we've discovered we can grind our bulk rice and bulk almonds to make an unbelievably delicious cookie-thing. We'll keep trying to reduce our costs.


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