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Eating on a tight budget??

I'm extremely short on funds these days, but find that Top Ramen and Macaroni and Cheese just isn't going to cut it! Any suggestions for low budget meals?? Convenience is important too!!!

Mon. May 9, 1:28pm

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ugh not to mention the low nutritional value of ramen & mac!
Canned tuna (low sodium in water),
mixed greens salad w/ added good stuff- like goats cheese, nuts, dried fruit
I make up a little tupperware container with my salad "goods" then its easy to just throw a handful on a salad.
whole wheat pasta w/ fresh veggies

Monday, May 09, 2005, 1:58 PM

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Those ingredients seem expensive.

I've lived through broke and on a diet before. If you can invest a bit of time instead of money - start cooking more beans: Stewed black beans, lentils, curried chickpeas - good protein sources for little cash. Cheapest if you shop in an ethnic market (think Goya brand or bulk for these items). Add in small amounts of flavorful meat (turkey sausage, for example) and you've got a well-balanced meal when served over whole grains.

Cook big batches of brown rice or substitute barley - even cheaper AND healthier than rice. Cook them up ahead of time and refrigerate/freeze in individual portions. Soups are inexpensive, too, but you need the time to prepare them.

If you have a Trader Joe's in your area - buy up the frozen veggies - high quality and much less expensive. I like the spinach, asparagus and broccoli best.

Good luck!

Monday, May 09, 2005, 2:10 PM

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Im always low on funds!! Cheap eats: eggs-can make healthy egg white & veggie omelettes. They are so easy to throw together even when you are low on time. Cereal (low sugar kinds) with fresh fruit is a cheap meal, no matter the time of the day. Try shopping at a local produce store and stuff is usually much better and cheaper too! Lean Cuisines are often on sale at the store, like 5/$10- so not a bad buy if youre short on money and time.

Monday, May 09, 2005, 2:12 PM

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Don't shop in supermarkets..

Discount stores like Food4Less are a LOT cheaper!

Monday, May 09, 2005, 2:20 PM

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buy veggies in china town

If your city has a china town produce market this is a very cheap option for buying veggies. Buy bags of bok choy, bay bok choy, greens, bananas, tomatoes, bell peppers, celery, carrots, onions, scallions, kale, snow peas etc. You could seriously buy all of the veggies mentioned and spend less then five dollars. I also agree with the person who recomended beans and rice. Buy them in bulk, make a lot at once, and combine black beans and brown rice with steamed veggies inside tortillas for a healthy on the go wrap... but skip the cheese, avacados, and chips. One last thought -- if you have access to trader joes don't shop at Albertsons or Safeway. Best of luck. I know how it is. I have become a very savy grocery shopper due to my income.

Monday, May 09, 2005, 7:19 PM

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Low-cost and healthy

Felafel: this comes in a mix. 8 servings (I'm not kidding, 8 dinners) is $2.70. It's so high in fiber, low in fat (beans and spices). You just mix with water, let it sit then fry in pan (I don't fry it in oil, I just kind of bake it). They're soooo good and you can eat alone or with lowfat yoghurt and pita (pita is incredibly cheap)

Tofu soup at chinese restaurant: So cheap and so healthy, usually full of veggies and lasts for at least a couple of days.

Rice and beans: combo is an incredible food - great source of energy.

If you're out - I'd opt for a bagel/egg sandwich. They're usually less than $2 dollars and so filling (take off 1/2 bagel and save for later. Not the absolute best but pretty good and cheap.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005, 8:04 AM

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Stock Up

There have been many times we are low on funds. My mom always taught me to not waste anything. She would use left over taco meat to add to spaghetti and things like that. If you can buy in bulk and freeze, then you always have something on hand to throw together even when the cupboards look bare. I try to keep chicken on hand so I can always make something with that. Fresh veggies are expensive and don't last so frozen ones work and you can just use what you need and save the rest. I buy Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, Lean Pockets, etc when they are on sale and keep them on hand. Even from reading these posts I think I'm going to purchase brown rice in bulk instead of pasta and start having that with chicken and veggies instead of the pasta.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005, 4:04 PM

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Cheap eats

I meant to post this comment to yours but added my own thread instead. Peanut butter sandwichs.
Manitowoc Ovens Hunger Filler bread is great (no artificial anything) and old fashioned peanut butter. Manitowoc Ovens is a little pricey but worth it's weight because it really fills you up! And I like old fashioned peanut butter because you can pour the oil out before mixing it up. One of my favorite treats is a slice of Hunger Filler bread toasted with peanut butter and a banana sliced on top! Extremely filling!

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 5:52 PM

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eating on a tight budget

buy your whole grain bread at the discount bread store. keep it in your freezer. have peanut butter & honey in your cupboard. excellent soft or toasted for breakfast. oatmeal is very cheap also and good for you. add a bit of honey and some cinnamon.
beans/rice burritos w/ a bit of salsa for lunches. add fresh veggies (only buy what's on sale!) this would be all carb but no fat. very healthy and will help you maintain energy.
i agree w/ the crock pot idea. using one small piece of meat (or none at all), use canned/frozen veggies (only buy what's on sale!) and just water w/ salt & pepper. add some of the cooked beans and you've got a tasty meal. eat w/ a piece of whole grain toast.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005, 8:53 AM

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Crockpot

I second that emotion - the crockpot is a great way to save money, eat pretty healthy, and feel like you're still having real meals. The Betty Crocker Slow Cooker book is pretty good. If you can get the funds together at the beginning of the week for one roast, like pork, it can last you the rest of the week.

My absolute favorite recipe in there is for a pork and dried fruit roast. And I never used to be a pork person at all.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005, 11:26 AM

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Eating on a tight budget

I agree about starting from scratch. If you learn how to brine a whole chicken (easy!) it will make even inexpensive chickens taste very moist. Then roast it and you can eat it for dinner and lunch over several days. Then put the carcass in the freezer and when you have a few of them, make a chicken stock, which you can freeze and use for soup or home made risotto. When you make a dish, freeze portions of it for later and use them instead of frozen dinners. If you can go to Costco with a friend who has a membership and split your bulk purchases, you'll save money there as well. The most important thing, though, is to use up what you buy, otherwise it's money down the drain. And if you are temporarily surviving on ramen noodles, then at least take vitamins too so that you don't get malnourished. And don't be afraid of visiting your local foodbank or applying for foodstamps, either. It's better than going hungry and they can help you find other sources of inexpensive food.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005, 10:41 PM

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Eating on a tight budget

For people on a tight budget or just wanting to avoid wasted food - A great way to store lettuce so it doesn't go bad is to put it in a glass bowl (NOT rubbermaid or any type of plastic), then cover the bowl with a plate. The lettuce will last much longer than any other way I've found of storing it.

Thursday, June 02, 2005, 7:13 PM

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Mmm, oatmeal

Cold cereal is kind of expensive and is more calorie-dense than is ideal for me. So what I do is buy my favorite cold cereal (usually granola types like clusters, nuts n' honey, etc) and use it very sparingly with oatmeal. So get yourself a 1/2 c of raw oatmeal, a very small scoop of your favorite (crunchy is best) cereal, and some fruit, and it's a really good for you and cheap cold cereal breakfast. Because oatmeal is like $3 for a WHOLE TUB. So it stretches well.

To make it even more healthy I've started using Kashi Good Friends Crunch as the scoop cereal, plus light soy milk. Adds a great nutty flavor.

Friday, June 03, 2005, 3:04 PM

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RICE, etc.

Home-made rice is great when you're on a budget and dont' have a lot of dough. ALso, frozen green beens. You can add tuna, chicken, nuts and then spices like turmeric or curry and Olive oil for a yummy mix. Or olive oil and italian seasoning. Very filling, extremely cheap and not too fattening.

Monday, March 05, 2007, 8:04 PM

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Wal-Mart

I used to be fairly anti-Wal-Mart, but then they opened a Super Center and I started shopping there to see if it would save money.

I ended up saving $40 on average, per week, on my grocery bill. Keep in mind, I didn't buy crap like cheap potato chips or anything like that. I was buying whole wheat foods, veggies, fruits, lean beef and more.

As much as I like to bitch about Wal-Mart, for groceries, they can't be beat.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 9:50 AM

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Wal-Mart - me too!

I just want to second the idea about shopping at a wal-mart supercenter. They are so cheap compared to other grocery stores, and I have no problem with quality.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:11 AM

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I agree with some of the comments already posted:
The staples are pretty cheap - rice, couscous, oatmeal, frozen veggies and canned goods.
The crockpot cooking also sounds like a great idea. Making soups from scratch can be pretty cheap too - a can of chicken broth is only like 89 cents - and you can make a lot all at once.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 12:20 PM

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Yes, but what are we ultimately sacrificing by supporting stores like Wal.Mart?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 3:21 PM

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we sacrifice the high priced equal at a different store.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 3:24 PM

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