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Old 11-30-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
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I have to feed a family of 3 for 10 days on $65- what would you buy?

It's been tough recently with my husband unemployed for over 6 months, but thankfully my paycheck lets us get by. Unfortunately, after paying the bills this month, we have $65 left for groceries for the next two weeks until next payday. I plan to clean out my freezer, that will get us through 4 days. And we have cereal and pancakes- enough for 2 weeks of breakfast. This will leave us needing 10 days of lunch and dinner and $65 in the bank.

What would you buy to stretch the farthest? - I have pasta and rice, thankfully.

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Old 11-30-2011, 12:40 PM   #2
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Eggs
Dry Beans
Tortillas
Frozen vegetables
Canned tuna

Look for sale proteins. Large packs of chicken thighs are usually very cheap in my store and are very versatile. Sometimes ground turkey is BOGO -- also a versatile protein.

Obviously look for sales on other items

Ramen noodles fortified with frozen veggies isnt the worst thing to eat for lunch.

It's doable!!
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:42 PM   #3
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Dried beans. After you soak them and cook them, you can make a vegetarian chili, serve it over rice (you'll need canned tomatoes). You can also grind some and add to ground beef to stretch the beef for hamburgers, meatballs, or meatloaf. If you can afford a whole chicken (or two--it takes just as long to roast 2 as it does one--I noticed Price Chopper has whole chickens on for $1.29/lb, but there might be a better price at another store), roast the chickens, have chicken one night, use the bones to make stock and make a chicken soup/stew from the stock and some of the leftover meat. Chicken pot pie out of the rest of the meat or chicken spaghetti. Buy milk, peanut butter, and eggs. You can always do scrambled eggs for "breakfast for supper." What canned goods do you have?

Check for fresh produce on the discount rack. You can make apples into applesauce.

Good luck. And, if there is a local food bank, see if you can get some of the staples there. That's what food banks are for--to help.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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You already have the rice and beans and rice make a complete protein, so you can skip the meat in meals with both. Buy some dried beans and cook them up in a big pot or crock pot with salt, onion & maybe garlic & use them for several dishes. Do you have spices? If you like spicy, serrano chiles are usually pretty cheap. 1 or 2 would add some heat and flavor to a whole pot of beans and probably run you about 50 cents or less. Serve beans and rice once or twice, blend some into refried beans & serve in tortillas with rice & frozen fajita veggies, make some into bean soup. Split pea soup is really cheap. Try to find ham on sale to add, or get a small container of ham base if you like ham in your pea soup. If not use chicken stock/broth/base/boullion. If you get a whole package of chicken thighs or legs like Jennyema suggested, you can cut the meat off the bone, then boil the bones to make the stock for your soup. You can also make chicken and rice soup with the stock. Onions, celery, and carrots are usually pretty cheap and add a lot of flavor when you're limited on ingredients. Things like chicken salad, egg salad, and tuna salad are easy to make and fairly cheap and tasty lunches. You can go lots of cheap ways with the pasta. Oil and spices (if you have them already), make your own tomato based pasta sauces, minestrone-type soup with chicken broth, frozen veggies, a can of tomatoes, and some pasta.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:04 PM   #5
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Oh, and I hope things get better soon. Prayers and positive thoughts coming your way!
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Ramen noodles fortified with frozen veggies isn't the worst thing to eat for lunch. It's doable!!
You can add to them, left over chicken or even canned chicken, any leftover meat from the previous night, other inexpensive canned meat you can find on the shelves, shirred eggs, add a bullion cube or two and double the broth, if you use canned veggies, make sure you use the broth that comes with them to stretch the broth, and last but not least. Those reliable breakfast standbys. Pancakes and French toast. If you have flour and a good recipe, make your own pancakes. My kids always liked sugar on their pancakes and FT. Saved on buying expensive syrup. They also like to make sandwiches with them by putting PB&J on one and folding it in half. I also have found over the years, by having the butter soft, they tended to use less when they spread the butter than when they cut off a chunk. Eggs, bread and potatoes can be spread to feed a family for at least two meals.

My mother was a child of the Depression and I was born at the tail end of it. So a lot of meals my mother made were the ones that kept her family going during the Depression. Save all trimmings for soup stock. Then toss all leftovers into the pot. Search the market for bruised veggies. All markets have a section for them. If there is no mold, then just cut out the bruised part, cut up and toss into the pot. collect all bones from a previous meal, and as long as they haven't been gnawed on, toss them into the pot. Waste nothing. Keep the pot on a back burner with a low simmer and I guarantee you will have a soup that will wow your family. Happy Cooking!
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:23 PM   #7
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I'd look for marked down turkeys or chickens etc. You can make several meals out of one bird.

1 roasted
2 pot pie
3 hot turkey sandwich
4 enchiladas
5 soup
6 stew

One big birdie can feed you for a LONG time. And the stock will be useful for making other things with lentils, beans, etc. (See above posts for ideas)

I find a large ham is also helpful. Same sorts of things, but you can use it for lunches etc.

Rice rice and more rice. Filling, cheap (usually) and can be combined with so many things to make a filling meal.

In Costa Rica, the staples are corn, rice, beans and coffee and the prices are regulated so everyone can eat. Use that as your guide and you should be able to do just about anything. Good luck and prayers for easier times ahead.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
And, if there is a local food bank, see if you can get some of the staples there. That's what food banks are for--to help.
I live about two minutes from our local food bank. And in today's economy, you see families going in the door that you never thought would need their services. And they are showing up every week. And there has been a tremendous increase in those needing assistance. The food bank has had to extend their hours. The funny thing is that you see mothers going in the door with kids in tow. Dad is waiting outside to help with the bundles. Each family gets two large bags full of groceries. And if there are more than two children, they get a gallon of milk also.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:35 PM   #9
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I am with Alix, look for a turkey!

Also a 10pound bag of chicken leg quarters is usually a good buy, FRESH eggs, a big sack of potatoes. If you are a baker I would also go with a bag of flour and some baking powder, margarine etc...

I also agree on hitting the food pantry. Most of them will give you a three day emergency supply with no questions asked. Some will want to see a utility bill to verify residency. Check with them first and use the cash to fill in the holes.

Check with your children's schools to see about free breakfast and lunch on an emergency basis.

The biggest thing is to make the calls.

If no one knows they can't help!
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:09 PM   #10
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Most bang for the buck...

1. 1 lb. pasta, a can of diced tomatoes, and a head of lettuce makes pasta with a side salad. You can feed a family of three for under $5 and have enough food left for reheated lunches the next day.

2. It costs 50-75 cents to make a loaf of bread from scratch. Buy an inexpensive roast and make your own deli sandwiches.

3. As stated above, you simply cannot beat beans and rice for nutrition at very little cost. You can also make it many different ways. Some of our family's favorites are Mexican style black beans, pintos with canned pineapple chunks, or Cajun Red Beans & Rice.

4. Eggs and fried potatoes.
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