Jump to content

Tight Budget Meal Plan Help


Ba'sini'on

Recommended Posts

My husband and I are looking to lose a LOT of weight between the both of us. But we're also paying debt off which means we have a really tight budget for food. So it's making it hard to eat anything special. At the moment we're making pasta, bread, burrito bowls, chicken soup, etc to save on money and have a lot of leftovers.

 

Our budget for two weeks is $100 or less. Any advice on how we could be eating better? 

 

The budget won't be like this forever, we're hoping to be debt free by June. Just have to live scorched earth lifestyle a little while longer.

Link to comment
3 hours ago, calanthrophy said:

Do you have an Aldi or similar store nearby? My grocery bill plummeted when I started going there.

Beyond that, buy stuff in bulk whenever possible and if your store runs sales, watch for when meat is on sale. For me at least, meat is the biggest expense.

 I have Aldi, Costco, and Meijer. So bulk isn't an issue so far haha. But I'm at a loss of what to make that doesn't need special ingredients. You see meat is pretty cheap for us, but veggies are not cheap over here in Ohio really. Pasta, potatoes, celery, and carrots are the cheapest we can get so far. And our freezer is to tiny to hold meat in bulk as well as frozen vegetables. Any ideas?

Link to comment

I think the biggest thing that will blow out your meal budget is eating out. The more you eat out, the more expensive it is. That doesn't mean never eat out. Set aside date night once or twice a week, then aim to cook all your other meals. Plus date night doesn't have to mean going out to a restaurant. My partner and I started cooking dinner, then putting it in a picnic basket and walking over to a nearby park to eat. 

 

Another thing to reduce your grocery bill is to reduce the amount of flavourings you put into your food. For example, rather than putting many ingredients into a salad (lettuce, carrots, cucumber, feta, olives, etc), you can make a 1 or 2 ingredient salad (use half a lettuce for example), then put on 1 or 2 things for dressing (salt, olive oil, vinegar). You'll find the food is still as delicious, but it was easier to make and cheaper.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

Beans, lentils, rice, oats, and frozen veg! I dunno how much food costs in your area, so I'm going to use walmart.com prices if that's ok?

 

Meal plan for one person:

 

Breakfast

1c steel cut oats

1c frozen berries

1scoop of protein powder

 

Lunch:

1 apple

1c rice

1c curried lentils

1.3c broccoli

 

Dinner:

1c green beans

1c green peas

1c taco black beans

1 tortilla

 

Cooking oil (assume 2TBSP, 1T each per bean meal) = 240kcal, 28g fat

 

Daily total: ~1,750kcal, ~90g protein (21%), ~260g carb (59%), ~38g fat (20%)

Boring, but gets the job done with 5x veg/fruit a day (and if you calculate out the net carbs it's under 200g of carbs, which brings the ratios right in line around:24%|53%|23%). :) Also leaves extra room for treats (if budget allows) and the odd sloppy measurement of cooking oil without it putting things totally out of whack.

 

Cost per week for two people: $55.53, easily less if purchased in bulk

 

$2.98: Steel cut oats: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Organic-Steel-Cut-Oats-Oatmeal-24-Oz/54300726

$8: Guessing at price for frozen berries: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Wyman-s-of-Maine-Triple-Berry-Blend-3-0-LB/16554757

$8.40: 14/25 servings of whey: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Golds-Gym-Muscle-Supreme-Whey-Protein-Powder-Cookies-Cream-100-Whey-Protein-Workout-Supplement-Muscle-Mass-Strength-Building-25-Serving-2lb/217722075

$5: Guessing at price for bag of apples

$1.54: Lentils: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Lentils-16-oz/10314942

$2.42: Curry paste for lentils: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Thai-Kitchen-Green-Curry-Paste-4-oz-Jar/10801531

$2.16: Rice: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mahatma-Extra-Long-Grain-Enriched-Rice-32-Oz-Bag/14940615

$6: Guessing at price for broccoli: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Birds-Eye-Florets-Broccoli-52-oz/10790990

$6: Guessing at price for beans: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Birds-Eye-French-Cut-Frozen-Green-Beans-48-oz/22259039

$4: 2x Frozen peas: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Sweet-Peas-26-oz/51259428

$2.78: Black beans: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Black-Beans-32-oz/10315983

$0.60: 14/110 servings of taco seasoning: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ortega-Taco-Seasoning-Mix-Original-24-Oz/13727041

$3.08: 2x tomato paste for beans: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Contadina-Tomato-Paste-18-0-OZ/10295177

$1.90: 10/20 tortillas: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mission-Flour-Medium-Soft-Taco-Tortillas-20-ct/49238673

$0.67: 28TBSP/250 Cooking oil: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Canola-Oil-1-gal/13281828

 

 

  • Thanks 1

...but I'm adorable! Ask anyone who doesn't know me...

Link to comment
23 hours ago, Ba'sini'on said:

 I have Aldi, Costco, and Meijer. So bulk isn't an issue so far haha. But I'm at a loss of what to make that doesn't need special ingredients. You see meat is pretty cheap for us, but veggies are not cheap over here in Ohio really. Pasta, potatoes, celery, and carrots are the cheapest we can get so far. And our freezer is to tiny to hold meat in bulk as well as frozen vegetables. Any ideas?

 

What about canned veggies? I don't like them as much as fresh or frozen and they're not as good nutritionally, but better than no veggies at all and usually pretty cheap.

Link to comment
On 3/15/2018 at 12:27 PM, calanthrophy said:

Do you have an Aldi or similar store nearby? My grocery bill plummeted when I started going there.

Beyond that, buy stuff in bulk whenever possible and if your store runs sales, watch for when meat is on sale. For me at least, meat is the biggest expense.

Is it okay to buy meat from Aldi's? Doesn't it spoil quick?

Link to comment

Thank you guys for the advice! We did a big haul Saturday and got a lot more veggies as well as salmon because we crave fish a lot. Another thing we always try to eat weekly is liver because it's high in iron. For those who don't like liver and have only had it boiled...gross...I am so sorry you were traumatized.

 

Sending hugs

See the source image

 

The only way you should cook liver is by soaking it in lemon juice for a few hours, in order to get rid of the impurities. It also takes away that god awful bitter flavor. And then coat it in whole wheat flour, that's been seasoned with salt and pepper. And proceed to fry it in bacon grease on a skillet. Texture is great, flavor is amazing. You're welcome.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
On 2018-03-19 at 1:50 PM, Ba'sini'on said:

The only way you should cook liver is by soaking it in lemon juice for a few hours, in order to get rid of the impurities. It also takes away that god awful bitter flavor. And then coat it in whole wheat flour, that's been seasoned with salt and pepper. And proceed to fry it in bacon grease on a skillet. Texture is great, flavor is amazing. You're welcome.

 

Whole chickens are great because you have so many meals from the one bird. There’s the major cuts of meat by themselves, leftover scraps of meat for stir fries and stuff, throw the carcass in the slow cooker with some veggie trimmings and some sort of acid (wine or vinegar) and then you’ve got stock to make any kind of soup with, and there’s some liver for you too :P  (You might have to buy it from a butcher and specifically ask for your liver to be included, as sometimes they take it out... but they shouldn’t charge you extra, it belongs to the chicken you’re buying!)

Current challenge: Tei gets the zoomies 

Previous challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,  13, 14, 15, 16, 17

 

Link to comment
On 3/19/2018 at 3:36 PM, calanthrophy said:

 

I've never had a problem with it. Doesn't spoil any faster than meat from other vendors.

I just remember one time when my mother bought meat from a Save-a-lot (over a decade ago) and the meat would spoil within a day.  When it was cooking it would stink. She usually does not buy from there and picky about her meats. We were pretty much in a efficiency at the time because my mother could never keep a place to stay.

Link to comment
45 minutes ago, Will35 said:

I just remember one time when my mother bought meat from a Save-a-lot (over a decade ago) and the meat would spoil within a day.  When it was cooking it would stink. She usually does not buy from there and picky about her meats. We were pretty much in a efficiency at the time because my mother could never keep a place to stay.

When you buy meat or fresh veggies check the sell by date. Sometimes grocers will place the oldest stuff in front. I generally choose the newer stuff in the back, so that it last longer before I have to cook it. The exception is, sometimes they will discount the meat that is older and needs to be cooked right away.Which is a good deal, just know that you have to cook or freeze it right away.

Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

Link to comment

I live in one of the most expensive cities in the US.  I usually eat on less than $35/week, I had to for years.  It's not too hard, if you are willing to forgo processed foods and cook from scratch.

 

 Eat rice, potatoes and beans instead of bread.  They're cheaper.  Corn tortillas (not flour) are also very cheap.

 

If you're buying chicken soup, don't.  The canned soup you buy in a store is basically salt water with a little chicken flavoring.  Make soup at home or don't eat it.  it's pretty easy to make from scratch, and much more nutritious.

 

Don't buy fruit.  It's sugary, you don't need it (veggies have all the vitamins you need) and it's expensive.  If you really WANT fruit, get it frozen, it's cheaper, especially in March when nothing fresh is in season.

 

Carrots, cabbage and onion are the cheapest fresh veggies. Salad greens are very expensive and spoil fast, so I don't eat a lot of salad.  Frozen veggies are cheap and highly nutritious, so buy those.  If you have a yard, now's a good time to think about planting a garden.  I don't buy canned veggies except for tomatoes, and rarely chiles or sweet corn.

 

Consider making eggs and milk your proteins of choice.  they are much cheaper than meat.  lentils and beans are even cheaper.  Canned fish is also pretty affordable.

 

No "convenience" food.  Crackers, cookies, juice, bottled drinks, etc are all sold at a huge markup, and not real nutritious.  Make them at home or live without them.

 

Leftovers are fine, if they're made of something good.  Don't waste em.

  • Like 2

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Link to comment

Not quite sure what you mean by specialty ingredients, if you're referring to spices, they are worth the cost, especially once you start thinking of cost/meal.

 

In your original post you seem to mention a lot of carbs (e.g. pastas and breads). We've gotten pretty bready free (due to allergies of SO), but you could cut those out as they tend to be expensive.

 

I'd echo all the advice thus far: Live at aldi, freeze what you can, or just go frequently (if you can avoid impulse buys). I tend to splurge when Aldi throws those 2-3 dollar off stickers on things, then freeze.

 

A great resource is a free ebook called "Good and Cheap." I like how she breaks down each recipe by cost/meal, helps you really see that it is cheaper eating at home.

 

As far as strategy, try to think of multiple uses for the same proteins. I have 2-3 pork shoulder recipes that allow the left overs to be used in multiple ways (e.g. tacos, soups, salads, or straight outta the tupperware). 

Fitbit username: farflight   (would love to have more people on there)

Getting life in order is a challenge worth doing.

 

Happiness is the journey, not the destination (took me forever to learn that)

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

New here? Please check out our Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines