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Paleo for the almost broke college student?


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Okay, I'm going back to school in less than a week, and due to not being able to find a job this summer, I'm a little short on money.  I plan on trying to find a job around town, but for the time being, what are some cheap Paleo things I could prepare for myself that don't cost a whole lot of money?  

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Eggs.  Eggs x a billion.

I shop meat exclusively on sale - being able to freeze meat makes this easier because if you find a really bangin' sale you can stock up a little and freeze stuff for later.

I raid the discount produce rack.  The stuff they are selling really cheap because it's about to go bad... I buy it, take it home, wash/chop/process it, then either eat it or freeze it for later.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are relatively cheap here.  Maybe not ideal if you're trying to low carb it though.


I don't buy organic.  I just can't afford it.  I do buy the local grocer's meat, the stuff they butcher and package up in their meat room rather than, say... Tyson.  Buy the best you can afford.

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I second eggs and sweet potatoes!


Grab a thing or two of fruits each time you go food shopping.  They're not cheap, but they may curb a sweet tooth better than going out and spending money on cookies.


I get bags of frozen chicken that are just supermarket brand (we have Giant Eagle here).  It'll feed you for a long time. Stock up on some different seasonings to keep it interesting.


Don't forget your veggies.  They last a long time too. Broccoli's a good go-to. 


Just buy in bulk - it sucks when you look at the price tag, but it's ultimately a lot cheaper.

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I guess it's a little late for this year, but if you can invest in a community garden co-op, it could save you some $ on veggies.  Get out in the country and hit a few farm-gate markets.  Not the central farmers markets in town where they sell their produce to high-paying foodies.  Roadside stands can be expensive, but often have great deals.  50 lbs of potatoes for $15?  Yes please.  And if you're interested in buying in bulk, say so; you can negotiate a better deal.  


Go together with some friends or family and buy a side of grass fed beef to stock the freezer.  Or buy the whole cow!


Do you like to fish?  If you have the means to get out fishing, here in Ontario a fishing license costs about $30.  We're lucky enough to have a boat and we're five minutes away from the Bay of Quinte, which offers world-class fishing.  My hubby and I really enjoy it as a hobby and it helps fill the freezer.  If fishing for yourself isn't your thing, there's always tuna...


And then of course there's always foraging if you're in a rural area.  There are plenty of books and websites out there that show how to find free food in nature.

More comfortable with being real than most people are comfortable with.

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ariella10, those are great tips for future reference.  The only thing is that I don't have tons of room in my dorm for bulk products, and farming wouldn't be possible, as I live in Western New York, and its always super snowy there.  That's good to know for summers though! Thanks for your input!

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Get the flyer from the stores closest to you. Each week they will have sales. Buy the meat and veggies that are on sale. You can usually buy ground beef pretty cheap. I wouldn't worry about organic/grass fed at this point in your life. Whole chickens are cheaper than breast, so look up some recipes for cooking a whole chicken and do that. Just prepping food will save you money if you eat in rather than go out. Stay away from pop, as that is a super easy way to save money and eat healthier.

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Hm. Okay, there are two supermarkets around, and one smallish "fresh meats and deli" place.  Not sure if they sell produce or not, but their meat seems affordable.  As for the other two, I'll definitely get the flyers, look at sales, and perhaps get my produce there!  Yeah, I definitely don't have the funds to maintain an organic/grass-fed lifestyle yet.  But this is all really good advice! Thanks, Elastigirl. :D

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This is exactly my issue too, and I'm not even going full out paleo!


Easiest thing I've thought of is; buy cheap cuts of meat - screw organic - and buy it in bulk. Then separate into individual portions and freeze! so I can get like 12 chicken thighs from my local shop for like 3£, that'll do me for 6 meals.


I also either buy frozen veg, or fresh veg from the market, then prepare and freeze it myself. The freezer is your friend. 


Prepare meals in bulk too. I can't begin to say how much 200 calorie chili I froze last year - I had a drawer full xD. 

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Hi shibz, sorry about that.  I'm a in a pretty rural area (south-eastern ontario) where, if I need a root cellar/cold storage room, I just dig one with my backhoe.  I know about snow!  It sucks.  Maybe tap into clubs or networks through your college/university.  I work at a university and I'm sure these kind of student-run co-ops are around.  If you don't find one, start one.  Join a couple of freecyle groups and keep an eye out for helpful kitchen gadgets (juicers, spiralizers, blenders, dehydrators  etc,).  Hope this helps.

More comfortable with being real than most people are comfortable with.

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Prepare meals in bulk too. I can't begin to say how much 200 calorie chili I froze last year - I had a drawer full xD. 

This. Also soups and stews.

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You've got a bunch of great tips already, so let me approach this from a different angle.  I don't know what your health status is, but unless you're skinny and trying to gain weight it helps to look at portion size.  You can save money just by eating less - and this is a great and helpful thing if you have any weight to lose.  The most helpful items to work toward this goal are a food scale and a notebook or app for tracking your eating.  Just by recording what you eat and looking at calories (and protein, fats, and carbs, too, if you use an app) you can start looking at what you eat and then start making decisions.  Me as a case in point - by doing the above I've worked my way down from 3500 cals/day to 1600-1800/day, which believe me is a lot less food, ergo less expensive.  Helps with the weight loss, too.


Obviously this is a temporary strategy, but if you've got lots of food stored in your body (like I had/have less of now), it's another way to at least temporarily reduce your food budget and get healthier.


Good luck!



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Everyone else already said some great things, so I just wanted to add a cheap recipe I love to make.


Chicken Skillet:

1 lb ground chicken (can sub beef or turkey if you need a change)

1 large bag frozen spinach

1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (found a nic pepper and onion one)

about 1-2 tbs coconut oil

Seasoning of choice (I've been using salt free Greek seasoning lately, sometimes do Indian spices)


Brown the chicken in a large skillet with the coconut oil

Throw in the spinach, veggies, and seasonings and mix it all together

Let simmer about 20 minutes, periodically stirring it together and mixing it up.

Viola! ^_^


The only tricky part of this recipe is 1: if you don't have a stove DX and 2: needing the super large skillet. Otherwise, it's a pretty simple recipe and takes about 30 minutes to make. Creates 3 servings for me, but then again, I eat a lot XD

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Might be a late reply :D


Best thing i EVER BOUGH! was a food dehydrator.... when ever i go shopping i will buy a box of seconds (mangos!!!!!!) of fruit you get it CHEAP CHEAP i mean 2$ for 15-20kg (au), throw it in the drier for a day ish, then just chuck it in zip lock bags, i hunt some of my own meat (don get angry) i get about 15kg of kangaroo and make jerky from it, makes great snack and its practically free.

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