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Old 02-19-2007, 10:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StirBlue
When you are working and have income, it is budget that is your concern.
You should never use your "eating out" money on groceries. In this day and age, cooking at home and dining out are very comparable especially for the single person.
One night I was at the grocery and decided to pick up groceries for hamburgers. (and hamburgers only). When I saw that I was accumulating about $20 for the hamburgers, I put everything back, dug up a coupon and headed for the drive-thru at the burger place, two value meals to include frys & drink (which I could not afford at the grocery) for about $12.
Sometimes you have leftovers when cooking at home; sometimes it is waste. If you don't have any plans for a head of lettuce except a few strands for a burger and you are not making plans for a salad, eventually you will throw the lettuce in the trash.
You should always have food at home called "staples" and beverages. But you should not go hungry at lunch because your lunch money is tied up at home in groceries and you did not have time to make lunch.
The difference is that your choosing fast food (which is fatty), where you could be buying a package of hamburger 90-95% lean and freezing whatever you dont use, and buy a package of buns. Fries, well just buy a bag of potatoes and that will last you forever if you store them properly. As for topping for your burger, hit the salad bar at your grocery store and only buy what you need. I do this whenever I want a fresh fruit salad. For example I will buy one orange, and bit of grapes by the pound, and then hit the salad bar for pineapple because I cannot afford nor will I pay $4 for a pineapple.

Anyway, good thread Constance
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:11 AM   #12
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Beans, beans the musical fruit! The more you eat, the more you toot! You simply cannot go wrong with beans, lentils, split peas, etc. As others have said, I keep a bag in the freezer, and bones, odds & ends of veggies, etc, go into the bag and become soup or stew.

Even when I was as poor as a church mouse, I did save up and eat out a couple of times a year. Not daily as some people who claim to be "poor" do. But when I eat out I want it to be on glass and have someone else do the cleaning up. In other words, I'd rather splurge on one good dinner a year rather than eat at chains every day. One thing that was nice, though, was that I lived in Hawaii for awhile, and Mom & Pop Asian places were extremely inexpensive, delicious. I swear you couldn't make the food yourself for the price you paid for a "plate lunch".

Luckily, I've gotten past the years when cheap food was an issue. But I can remember when I used to buy a pound of chicken livers (if I remember correctly, 99 cents) and big head of cabbage (I think 29 cents) and my cat and I would live on that for a week! Now my husband gets mad at me when I cut too many corners in the food department! Force of habit!
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:17 AM   #13
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Ah, the memories... In the early days of our marriage, DH was attending college part-time to finish his degree, and working the night shift, and we had a pre-schooler. I did tutoring (bringing the small one along with me) just so that we could have grocery money, since our budget covered everything but that.

I think we did everything on this list, except keeping live chickens and picking up seasoning packets at fast-food places. And I also tried to always keep a package of powdered milk on hand, in case we ran out of milk and there was no food money. I even remember arguing with a clerk who shorted me 2 cents on change!

Admittedly, this was "poverty by choice" and if I had wanted to leave my child at my mother-in-law's home 750 miles away (the offer was made), and find a "real" job, we would not have been scrounging. But raising my own child was important to me. And I did manage to keep everyone fed! (As a side note, my daughter still remembers Chee-tos as an extra special treat--a small bag was the cheapest snack in our grocery store, and sometimes we would all share that small bag on a picnic.)

Sometimes I think you eat better on a limited budget, because you consciously plan your meals, and you don't waste food.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:31 AM   #14
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Great thread Constance. Growing up in a lower middle class family in India I don't think I eat out until I was a teenager. That to once in a blue moon (like once in a year). We barely had money to make ends meet.

Came to the US as a student and struggled for several more years. Got married and struggled for another 4-5 years. So eating out was limited to maybe 3 - 5 times a year.

While growing up I missed the entire galmor on going out and enjoying a meal in a nice setting. As I got older I came to realize that I ate simple food yes but it was healthier than what you get when you eat out. My early foundation years has kept me healthy to date. So looking back drinking only water, milk and nothing else until my teenage years was not a big loss.

I echo what Claire mentioned. There are certain items like beans, rice, potatoes, milk, eggs, onions, pasta, canned tomatoes and chicken that go a long way. You can make so many different things with these relatively inexpensive ingredients that there is not much of a chance that you will get bored and tired of them.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:00 AM   #15
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As someone who kept chickens for many years, I found that business about keeping a couple of chickens in an apartment for egg production truly offensive & definitely inhumane. These are living beings - NOT machines. I don't care how "poor" you are. Don't inflict your financial problems on some helpless animal. And chickens need care & good food - not just kitchen scraps - to produce. Folks like me who raised them for eggs rarely even broke even costwise. We raised them for the fun of it & for the freshness of the end product - not to save food money.

Instead - grow up, read/learn something about nutrition & cooking, & couple that with some common sense budgeting. It's amazing how well you can eat these days, regardless of how much $$ you make. Supermarkets everywhere are carrying so many different inexpensive ethnic items that make cooking so much more fun than it used to be. That plus the internet with all it's gazillion recipes for every food item imaginable?

I really find it difficult that someone would actually need to consult that particular website on how to eat better on a budget. There are far far more sensible & reasonable websites on how to eat well on a budget than that one.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
As someone who kept chickens for many years, I found that business about keeping a couple of chickens in an apartment for egg production truly offensive & definitely inhumane...

...I really find it difficult that someone would actually need to consult a website on how to eat better on a budget.
I agree about the chickens, Breezy...that would have to be stinky and quite unsanitary.
In regard to your last comment, perhaps not everyone is as smart as you are.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:18 AM   #17
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Also beans and rice can go a long way.I had a girl friend with a baby and was on foodstamps etc.She could never get her money to stretch for food.I helped alot in this as she would go and buy avocados,strawberries,steak and so on {high dollars for little food.I taught her to buy the larger packages of cut chicken on sale of course and then split up the pieces and freeze she was so clueless.Showed her how to buy things on sale practical foods.I even had her go ahead and stock up on Mac&Cheese on sale.Canned soups on sale those were to be had at the end of the month if she did indeed run out of food.showed her alot as thats how I shopped I wasn't on welfare but my paycheck did not go too far after rent etc. That was in the in the mid 1980s.
My most brilliant idea at the time was to start a tiny garden in her yard including a big strawberry patch,plus some easy to grow stuff like zuchinni.I never really understood her obsession with avocados and strawberries.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:20 AM   #18
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Constance - I didn't mean to sound smarmy. I should have (& will) change that to "that" particular website. I don't think it's all that helpful.

And it has nothing to do with being "smart". It's just common sense.

I'd also like to add that hitting your local library for cookbooks is also a terrific idea.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
One night I was at the grocery and decided to pick up groceries for hamburgers. (and hamburgers only). When I saw that I was accumulating about $20 for the hamburgers, I put everything back, dug up a coupon and headed for the drive-thru at the burger place, two value meals to include frys & drink (which I could not afford at the grocery) for about $12.
Problem with this is that that meal from the drive through is laden with all kinds of additives and preservatives. How do you th ink they can afford to charge less than what you were accumulating in your cart? The quality is less.

I have yet to find the fast food burger joint that offered really "good" food. Tasty, maybe, quick, definitely, but little else.

I never go food shopping without a list. If I'm buying a high end item, I've planned it in advance.

Pasta and vegetable sauces are great budget stretchers, and can be delicious, as well.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:01 PM   #20
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Two things I do is to 1) always have a nice big bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breast halves on hand.

You can thaw & saute them one or more at a time in all sorts of ways - plain with veggies; topped with sauce & mozzarella cheese & pasta; cut up & stirfried with veggies Asian style; stuffed in taco shells or tortillas & topped with salsa or enchilada sauce.

They really have to be the best buy for versatile & healthy inexpensive cooking.

And 2) although pricier, I also keep a bag of cooked, peeled, frozen shrimp in the freezer. One bag can last a LONG time. You can toss a handful into ramen soup, into a stirfry instead of chicken, into pasta with a little olive oil. Again - add a salad & you have inexpensive healthy eating.

Buying large amounts of certain items (so long as they're lastable items) can seem expensive at the time of purchase, but when you figure in how many meals you can get out of them, you'd be amazed at how inexpensive every one of those meals actually is.
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