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Clintonista2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:12 PM
Original message
I need some tips
I'm living on my own for school this year (FINALLY!!), but I'm unfortunatley on a VERY tight budget. After tuition, rent, books, and school supplies, I have 800$ to spend on food to last me the next 4 months (until my next loan installment comes). Does anybody have some tips that can help me last the next 4 months on only $7.15 worth of food per day?
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City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. Can you cook? Do you have a freezer?
You can always make a big pot of sauce and use that for a 2-3 nights of pasta per week. You can get a lot of cheap foods but don't cut corners too much on quality and make sure you get enough whole grains...it's not easy but you can do it...good luck!
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. do you have a trader joe's near you?
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Clintonista2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. No, I've never heard of "trader joe's" in my life
I don't think that they have that here in Canada.
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KitchenWitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. Do you have a Costco near you?
Buy in bulk when you can. Does your fridge have a decent sized freezer?
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Clintonista2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. My parents shop at Costco.. isn't there a membership fee?
Would it be worth the fee, since I'm only shopping for one person? And about the freezer, there's a huge freezer unit.
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KitchenWitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. See if your parents can add you to their membership
Usually they can, even if you are not living with them.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #8
25. Who else is using the freezer unit
If it's a common fridge you wouldn't want everyone stealing your food.
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Dora Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
29. Costco will save you $ on some things, not on others....
If you can go with your folks to Costco, I would advise you to stock up on some things, but to skip others....

frozen ravioli
cereal
cheese (tillamook blocks are a bargain and rbgh-free)
spaghetti sauce
rice
pasta
organic chicken broth

If your "food" budget is actually your shopping budget, then don't forget that you'll be paying for non-food essentials too. Costco can save you money on...

toilet paper
paper towels
laundry soap
shampoo/conditioner
vitamins, and other OTC meds

Skip the household cleaners, unless you really need a six-pack of toilet bowl cleaner.

Avoid the snack foods. Costco has some delicious temptations - but buying them won't save you any $ in your budget.
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MissMillie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:28 PM
Response to Original message
5. frozen veggies go a long way
also, you can make up your own "rice bowls" (a la "Uncle Ben's") and Bertolli (like they did on Top Chef--I tried this and it came out great) to reheat

Regular popcorn that you pop yourself on the stove top is monumentally cheaper than microwave popcorn--and tastier.

Kool-aid is cheaper than soda and you can control the sugar yourself (or use sugar substitutes).

Buy meat (on sale) in the large family-sized packages and then separate it into meal portions before freezing it.

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Omphaloskepsis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:29 PM
Response to Original message
6. Take that money and separate it into 14 parts..
Get 14 envelopes and put each part into a envelope. Label each one with the day you can open it on (a Saturday works well). Hide the envelopes in a secure spot.

It is easier to be hungry a couple days at the end of the week than for the last month of the term. I have done both. And if you can save some from the previous week you can get a treat.

And pasta and potatoes go a long way when you are broke.
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MissMillie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. I have a great recipe for hotdog hash
it's really just a baked potato cut up into a skillet w/ onions, garlic and parsley, and a few hotdogs cut up and added.

Sprinkle on some cayenne pepper sauce (tabasco) and it's quite yummy.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. Mexican potatoes
Take a baked potato, add scallions, cheese, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, olives, and anything else that sounds good.

Pure yum. :9
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Connonym Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
46. that's a really great idea with the envelopes
I'd also add that rice, beans and eggs are also cheap and protein always makes me feel fuller than just a starch. My favorite cheap standbys are ramen with a whipped egg boiled in or, when I'm really lazy, a can of chickpeas with salt and pepper.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
7. Banquet meals...
they are about a buck each.
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. and about as nutritious as cardboard
and healthy as being Michael Vick's dog.

:shrug:

I'm just saying!

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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
27. Truth!
Although the chicken-fried steak is good.
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
10. See if there's a food co-op in your area...
Buying staples like rice, pasta, and flour can help make a meal more filling.

Use everything! When you have scraps of veggies, freeze them to make vegetable soup stock later.

If you eat meat, buy what's on sale.

Roasting chickens can be a great bargain (when they're on special). After roasting, you can make a casserole or chicken soup or stew...just boil the meat from the bone, then strain and eliminate the bones. Add whatever veggies and seasoning you like.

When the holidays come around, ask for your favorite spices as a gift. They aren't terribly expensive, which makes them a nice present for younger siblings to give, and they'll keep your meals interesting.

Avoid boxes of individual packets of food...like oatmeal and hot chocolate. You're paying a lot more money for the packaging.

Just my random thoughts... :hi:
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Clintonista2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
12. Bookmarking this.. tips given so far are EXCELLENT. nt.
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ceile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
13. Buy "family" size items and freeze.
And for one person, $200 a month for food is actually not bad. Clip coupons and go grocery shopping on "double" or "triple" value days. It's a good way to save money on your non-food items (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) Congrats on being on your own!!
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FreedRadical Donating Member (309 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Poor kid. About to get a crash course in empathy for the poor.
Mothers who make minimum wage have faced this dilemma for years.

The truth is you starve.

You ask others for help.

You go to food banks.

Please remember this time after you get your degree and are no longer poor.

Good luck.
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Road Scholar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
15. Man, do I remember those days. Potted meat and crackers
for a meal. Yuck. Sometimes for a treat and change a (small) can of Beeny-Weenys. Not too often though, because they made my stomach turn flip flops. We had plenty of water to drink though. It was back in the early 60's. My wife and I both lived like that for a couple of years. We laugh about it now, because that was the bad ol' days. We are glad we hung in there and counted our pennies. It paid off in the long run. Actually, I think it made us appreciate things that we took for granted (like good food). I wish you the very best.
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carly denise pt deux Donating Member (855 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
17. didn't you get a meal plan thru your school?
Edited on Mon Aug-27-07 03:26 PM by carly denise pt deux
always get that first, so that you will not go hungry.....
but until then....

1 case of raman noodles will last about 1 week
1 carton eggs, you can hard boil, fry, scramble, about a week
milk, or powdered milk if you can stand it
catch canned soups on sale and crackers on sale
buy bananas or other fruit on sale at the store, or a bag of potatoes
bread from the bread store

a pound of hamburger can be made into 4 patties and fried, 4 meals

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Clintonista2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #17
24. I don't live on campus this year
It was extremely, extremely expensive last year anyways.
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #17
28. a pound of hamburger
should never be eaten alone as a hamburger or meatloaft .... those 4 patties could be broken done even further and added to stirfry or noodles or rice or sauce - it stretches much much further.

Same thing with any kind of meat really - "steaks" (cheap flank), chicken, turkey, etc. - don't eat it as just a "piece of meat" - cut it up into tiny little cubes and add sparingly to other ingredients. Just enough for flavor, etc. Bacon works well for this. A tiny bit of bacon fried with onions and garlic and then added to whatever - goes a loooooooooong way.

That is - if you're a meat eater.

I'm not anymore, but when I was a single mom with my daughter - we very rarely "ate meat" as a dish by itself. I couldn't afford it.

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Dangerously Amused Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
18. Can you get a part-time job,
Edited on Mon Aug-27-07 03:25 PM by Dangerously Amused




...even if it's just on weekends or occasional weeknights, at a food service place where they let you take leftovers home at the end of the day? Or at least provide you with a decent meal the day you work there?

You will probably also find a bonanza of free extra food to take home if you volunteer to help out at school, community or church/charity food-related events (fundraising pancake breakfasts, chili suppers, campus cookouts, etc.), especially if you stay and help clean up until the very end.


Also, high quality vitamins are about $1.00 a day. I know that is a big chunk of your daily allotment, but I think them well worth the investment.


Good luck!


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Omphaloskepsis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. They have 200$ per month...
Lets not pretend that s/he is going to starve on that. Save the charity for people who need it. The OP needs to bake a potato instead of eating a pack of Twinkies.
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Clintonista2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. Yea I plan to, my problem is
My courses are very erratic, its extra hard finding flexible hours.
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DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 05:53 AM
Response to Reply #23
33. I know that problem all too well...
that right there is one of the main reasons I'm not in college anymore. :\ Can't pay for college without a job... couldn't hold down a job with my major because of the class schedules.
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Connonym Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #33
47. god bless america
:patriot: we all get a chance to pull ourselves up by our bootstrings! Sucks for those of us w/o the fucking bootstrings. I know exactly the dilemma you face and it's not right that we call this the land of opportunity because for a lot of us it's just an illusion used to dangle over our heads and make us feel like we're shit because we didn't figure out how to win the game (or have rich parents)
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:27 PM
Response to Original message
19. Go get a big sack of potatoes and a big sack of rice
Edited on Mon Aug-27-07 03:32 PM by XemaSab
Every meal you make, use some rice or potatoes.

Ditto for oatmeal, beans, pasta, and loaves of bread.

Go to the dollar store for staples. Go to the discount grocery too. Eat ramen.

Good times.
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Rambis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #19
42. Thats what we did
Just make sure you keep the rice and spuds somewhere the mice won't get at them.
Soy sauce is cheap but we used salt and pepper after a while. Good luck!
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montanto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
22. don't waste your money on
prepared foods. for the price of two cans of chili you can make a gallon of it. for the price of a couple of cans of soup you can make a gallon of it. buy dried stuff like pasta, beans, rice, and fresh veggies and cook for yourself. get soba noodles and miso and make your own "ramen" type soup with eggs, leftover meats, etc. (the packaged stuff is so bad for you, but cheap). also, try to get a part time food svc job. i delivered pizza and always came home w/something (more than i needed even). i got through my first two years of college w/o borrowing and w/o starving on less that $7.00 a day.

good luck!
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MissB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
26. Sure.
Assuming you can cook from scratch, you can do this! See if your parents can loan/buy you a crockpot. It'll make your life much easier. Cooking from scratch isn't complicated, but sometimes it helps to be able to throw something in the crockpot and let it cook all day rather than try to do it in the evening.

So... can you cook? Also, what sort of meals do you normally eat? Can you eat leftovers for lunch, or does your lunch need to be portable?
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Danger Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
30. It sounds daunting, but it is very do-able.
A lot of great suggestions here. Make soups and sauces...they freeze well, they can be made cheaply, and they can be made in large quantities. Pasta is cheap and makes a quick and easy meal. Forget about meat, it's too expensive unless you want to eat scrapple and souse loaf. A lot of veggies keep for a long time, and can be bought at a low price. Ramen noodles always work in a pinch, but personally I can't stand them (even when I was dirt poor I couldn't bring myself to eat that shit...i'll eat bread sandwhiches before ramen)
Beans are also easy to prepare, rich in protein, and can be made into many meals. My roomie in college was fond of a dish he called Cuban black beans...easy and cheap to make, and lasts for many meals...sorry don't know the recipe offhand. But go with stuff like that.
Good luck.
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carly denise pt deux Donating Member (855 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-27-07 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
31. ya know, when I see stuff like this, it kinda sickens me
Edited on Mon Aug-27-07 06:27 PM by carly denise pt deux
here is a young person on their own trying to make a better life for themselves by going to school, and having to about starve to get to their goals. Young people going to school shouldn't have to go hungry...what is worse, is the fact that most of the inmates in the prisons are eating very well this evening, as well as for the next 4 months. It is very sad.
Carly
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DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
32. One thing I did to help keep the food budget down
was to make a big pasta casserole... just get a package of pasta, a jar of tomato sauce and pound of ground meat (I use turkey instead of beef because it's lower fat, but they both cost about the same.) and eight ounces of cheese. (whatever kind you like, doesn't really matter) Boil the pasta, cook the meat on the stovetop or in the microwave, doesn't matter. Pour the sauce, some of the cheese and the meat into the pasta. Mix it all up. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Shove it in the oven at 350 for at least fifteen minutes, preferably more like 30. But if you're in a hurry, 15 will do. :) As long as the cheese melts, it works. And you've got a big casserole that'll last you at least two or three meals right there.

If you need extra flavor, just about anything works. Italian spices. Garlic. Oregano. Basil. Pepper. Anything goes. One small spice container will last you a while.

You'll get tired of it if you eat it all the time, but if you make it every other week or so, it'll last you dinner for a couple of days.

Also, PB&J is your friend. Simple lunch, or light dinner. Bread is cheap. Peanut butter is cheap. Jelly is cheap. And they all last for a bunch of meals. Just make sure you only buy the bread when you know you're gonna use it, otherwise it'll get moldy before you're done. That's one of the hazards of living alone... with no one else to use it, half the stuff you buy will go bad if you don't eat it fast enough.
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DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #32
43. And that casserole is 2 or 3 meals by my standards...
and I have a huge appetite. :) For most people it's at least four meals.
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eyesroll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
34. Is there an Asian food store in your area?
Rice, noodles, condiments are all much cheaper there. Fresh produce is often a lot cheaper, too.
Mexican groceries have good deals as well -- a package of corn tortillas at the Mexican grocery near me is 33 cents; meat, especially pork, is very inexpensive there, too. While the weather is still cooperative, farmers markets can be a good source of fresh produce, especially if the vendors sell the uglier fruit/veggies at a discount.

Sometimes, you can find about-to-turn produce at the supermarket for next to nothing. I got a bag of about 10 brown-with-yellow-specks bananas for 50 cents once -- at a gourmet store, no less. I turned quite a bit of it into banana bread (which is good for breakfast) and used a few in smoothies. (sometimes, though, the discount produce is too old to be worth it.)

I'll sometimes buy a rotisserie chicken ($5.99 or so) and use the breast meat in, say, tacos or a sandwich or a casserole, the rest for chicken salad, and the carcass for soup. OH: Keep all your meat bones in the freezer (separate them by variety if you want), and use them for stock when you've got enough. (Simmer the bones for a few hours with scraps of onion, carrot, celery -- basically, whatever you've got lying around -- plus a bay leaf or two if you've got them -- in enough water to cover; strain and use.) You can use some of the stock for soup (just add cooked egg noodles) and freeze the rest in 1-cup containers to use when a recipe calls for it. Much, much less expensive than packaged stock (I consider my stocks to be pretty much free, since I'm making them from scraps.)

Take advantage of free food opportunities at school -- hell, I'm a long time out of my parents' house, but back in school, and I still go to a lot of activity meetings, networking receptions (sponsored by the career center), and other events; my university probably takes care of 5 meals a week during the back-to-school weeks, and 1-2 meals thereafter. (Yeah, a lot of it is pizza, but a lot of it isn't.)

Potlucks with friends can also stretch your budget, and vary your diet.

Even though some of the posters above say you'll starve on $200, I found I could eat very well for less than that. I cook a lot, though. The more prepared food you eat (with the exception of ramen), the harder it is.

If you need to budget for TP, toothpaste, laundry, etc., out of that, it'll be a little more difficult, but still doable -- don't wash your clothes after one wearing (except underwear) if all you've been doing is sitting in climate-controlled classrooms. Buy in bulk if you have the space -- toilet paper doesn't go bad. Use paper towels sparingly. Reuse plastic bags. Sometimes the store brands are worth it, sometimes they're not. I'm pretty brand-loyal for toilet paper, tampons (didn't click to find out if that applied to you), toothpaste, and pretty price-conscious when it comes to laundry detergent, dish soap, plastic wrap, foil. I still try to buy on sale, though.

Good luck.
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BellaB Donating Member (64 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
35. Have you thought
about a part time job??
When I went to college I worked at Sears part time, tutored part time AND worked the campus help desk. It IS possible, you just have to budget your time. Shoot when I was working the help desk and tutoring when I was not busy I was studying, cant beat that, got paid to study LOL
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
36. Make 'fridge-clearing' dishes
Develop meal templates that use up the miscellaneous ingredients in the fridge and pantry. The "fridge-clearing" mentality is critical to managing one's food stocks effectively.

Soup is the classic example. But also consider casseroles, stir frys, pot pies, calzones, pizza, polenta, wraps, tacos and curries. I have a couple of homemade pizza crusts in the freezer ready for when I have half a jar of spaghetti sauce, several remnants of cheese and some on-the-edge vegetables.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #36
41. Meal templates
An example
Pizza
Crust: Fresh or frozen crust, pita bread, English muffin, tortilla
sauce: Leftover spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, tomato paste with seasonings, peanut sauce, pesto, sundried tomato, caponata sauce, eggplant and red pepper sauce, bruschetta toppings
toppings: Almost any leftover or remnant vegetable, salami, sausage, hamburger, garlic, capers, anchovies, leftover chicken satay, tofu, just about any cheese, sundried tomato, herbs, canned pineapple, the little cheese and pepper packets from the pizzeria, bacon...the list goes on

you can certainly use up leftovers in a pizza.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
37. Bake your own bread. Give up milk.
It does take some time and skill to bake bread, but less than you think once you get the hang of it.

The most expensive ingredient in bread is the yeast; get your folks to pick up a huge bag of it at Costco and ship it to you. You can bake several loaves at once and freeze a couple.

If that doesn't appeal to you, buying tortillas in bulk are the way to go.
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MiniMandaRuth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
38. Top ramen, soups... damn, I dunno.
If you're worried about vitamins, can you get something cheap like Energen C to hold you over?
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
39. I worked two part-time jobs, attended school full-time and
fed myself on about $50 a week when I went back to school.

You can do this and here are a few tips to make it easier:

(1) Plan ahead. Probably the single most important thing to your success.

(2) Shop sales. Read the weekly grocery ads and go buy what is on sale and fits into your budget. If you have to buy family packs then divide what you will not use quickly and freeze for later use.

(3) Use coupons. Not glamorous and requires some effort. Go through coupons and keep those you think you might use. Word to the wise: only use coupons for stuff that you otherwise intend on buying - if you do not adhere to this rule you will find that you are buying too much stuff. It is not a good deal if you don't need it. Do not buy stuff you don't need and don't use. It is an unnecessary expense.

(4) Shop grocery markdowns. By mid morning or so most grocery stores have moved items that are approaching their expiration date to a markdown area - or they have marked them with managers discounts. These markdowns can be significant. This will enable you to pick up specialty breads and desert items that might otherwise be outside your budget. You can also find some nice savings on meat. Don't buy these items unless you intend on using them almost immediately.

(5) Don't let yourself feel deprived. It is easier to be disciplined and stick to your plan if you eat foods you like. It is also nice to be able to look forward to dining out or eating a meal that includes a special treat.

(6) Plan on dining out from time to time. You don't have to order an entree. Make a meal off the appetizer menu. Drink water. Use a coupon. Dine out during special promotions. Find out if they offer student discounts. Go to dinner early so you get lunch prices.

(7) Set a routine for yourself. It's easier to stick to a plan that has some consistency. Eat three meals a day and try to eat at fairly consistent times. It's healthier. It makes it easier to control your appetite. And mentally you define your expectations. IF you routinely eat a sandwich for lunch three days a week then the question becomes "what kind of sandwich shall I eat" rather than "what's for lunch?"

(8) Learn a little bit about nutrition. It is easier to plan, shop and prepare your meals if you understand what your nutritional needs really are.

(9) Pay attention to what you are drinking. Colas can be expensive - and they can leach calcium from your bones. Opt for tea (hot or cold) and coffee (not Starbucks!). Drink plenty of water. Use a water filter and your water may very well be of higher quality (and cheaper) than many of the bottled waters that are sold. Buy cheap beer and wine - you will find some of them are surprisingly good.

(10) Cook soups and casseroles. Freeze some for later use. Think of it as your own version of convenience food.

(11) Use a crockpot so that you do not become a slave to your kitchen. Spend an hour or so after shopping to prepare and clean fresh foods for later use. This can be a big time saver.

(12) Buy generic foods rather than name brands.

(13) Consider adopting a semi-vegetarian diet. Avoid meat products a few days a week. You'll be surprised how much money you can save. Rice and beans offer a whole protein and can be made quite tasty (think TexMex or Cajun for example). Nuts and eggs are also good sources of protein. When you do eat meat consume quality meats. Don't think of meat an an entree. Protein, including meat, is nothing more than a component of a healthy meal. Again, think stir-fry or casserole or soup or stew.

(14) Seasoning is important. We all find flavorful foods more satisfying.

(15) Ask for meal suggestions and start your own recipe collection. You can probably get some good suggestions for affordable meals here in the Lounge - or in the Cooking Group or in the Vegetarian Group. There are cookbooks designed for students - usually the recipes are for single servings and are relatively inexpensive to prepare. Find some at the library or at a bookstore and look through them for ideas. Every time you prepare and eat something that you like note the preparation instructions on an index card. Use the cards to plan your menu.

(16) Limit your snacks. It is ok to snack but let it be a treat not an everyday habit. Better to use your resources to provide more filling and more nutritious meals.

(17) Look for foods that are easy to prepare and fairly inexpensive. Do you like chicken and noodles? Try this. Take two cans of cream of chicken soup with herbs. Add water as directed. Add about a cup and a half or so of uncooked egg noodles. Add a small can of chunk chicken. Add a can of peas (or peas and carrots). Add a small can of mushroom pieces. Cook until egg noodles are done - about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking. This should make enough for about four servings. Total cost should run you about $5 or so. Add a beverage, a veggie and some fruit and you have a meal. It is not gourmet food but it sure as hell beats Raman noodles IMHO.

(18) Use your leftovers. They can almost always be combined in a stew or soup or casserole. Or used to top baked potatoes.

(19) Don't forget that food is a social tool. Get a small group of friends together and take turns hosting meals once a week. Set a spending limit - and rules if necessary. After the meal stay in and play a game. Play cards. Play dominoes. Watch a movie. Over the entire semester you will find this is cheaper than going out and it offers a good opportunity to build long term friendships. When you feel comfortable doing so, invite that special someone over for a home cooked meal. They will probably appreciate the effort and find it charming.

(20) Finally, look at this as an adventure. Experiment. Try new foods, new seasonings, new dishes. You can make this a positive and valuable experience.

Good luck.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-28-07 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
40. Starving Students Cookbook
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
44. Become a vegetarian. You will save a bundle of money on meat. n/t
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
45. you're going to need some vegetables mixed in
with all the pasta, potatoes, etc... I have read that frozen veggies can actually be much better for you than fresh produce - frozen is "flash frozen" meaning the good stuff (vitamins and minerals) is locked in almost immediately after the veggies are picked, whereas "fresh" produce has often been trucked all the way across country and the produce has already really started to degrade by the time it makes it to your supermarket.

Frozen is also usually much cheaper. I prefer fresh, even with the caveat above, but sometimes it's just easier to buy a bag of mixed veggies from the freezer section of the store. I would often make angel hair or thin spaghetti pasta, toss the frozen veggies into the pasta water just as the pasta was nearing completion. Once drained, you have pasta and veggies mixed together, top with grated parmesan cheese (buy in a block - much better than canned parmesan) and voila! Good food, a lot of it, and pretty cheap.

Anyway - the other thing to do is just buy fruits and veggies that are in season. Out-of-season stuff will be so sky-high you probably wouldn't even consider buying it. Generally, bananas and apples can be pretty inexpensive.

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philosophie_en_rose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
48. $50 a week is not that bad.
I usually spend more, but it's very easy to spend less than $50 a week.

Buy some bread, peanut butter, jelly, noodles, rice, and vegetables. Drink water.

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Kipling Donating Member (929 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
49. Split red lentils are a good idea.
Just boil them in water and you get a reasonably tasty and very filling orange sludge. If you can afford it add cumin, turmeric and paprika to make dal, which prevents 1000000000 Indians from starving.
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
50. if you have freezer space you are WAY ahead of the game already
rule #1 anything in a box or a can can be made MUCH cheaper and tastier from scratch (several examples above - chili, for one) make in bulk and freeze in portions. Key is freezing - food made or bought in bulk that goes bad is worse than buying junk.

rule #2 save everything that looks like a scrap, including cooking liquids. These can be simmered together for nutritious tasty broths that can be the basis for other recipes, especially soups.

A crock pot is a good investment, as are saving containers and plastic bags for storing all those goodies in the freezer. Why buy plastic containers or baggies when you have yogurt containers for free? A wide sharpie is your friend too - label that stuff or you may forget what it is - dating it can be useful too though not that essential.

On meat - lots of good suggestions, I would add this: really watch per pound prices especially if you like to use ground beef. Often there will be some cheap cut on sale - round steak or 7 bone roasts - see if the store will grind if for you. Not only will it be cheaper than burger, but possibluy safer bacteria-wise as well. If there are bones ask to keep them (roast for stock) Experiment with the cuts you have ground - you will find that the meat you have ground is often WAY leaner than the leanest hamburger they sell (even if it seems to have a lot of visible fat) and may even need a bit of oil for cooking. Of course those same roasts are good crock pot meat as well. Cook for a day on low with an onion, garlic a bit of pepper and then shred it up for use in other recipes. (again use any bones and scraps for future stocks)

cut your own stew or stir fry meat from lean cheap cuts - you can save big

whole chickens are often much cheaper than cuts, but watch - sometimes leg-thigh (and a chunk of back) combos are a deal. You can do a BUNCH of tasty meals with a whole chicken.

My store sells bacon "ends" for less than regular bacon and if you rumage throught the packages you can usually find a good one with lots of meaty peices - GREAT for flavoring - especially beans.

In place of "cream of" soups used in a lot of recipes learn how to make thick and thin white sauce. Use your broths for flavorings half broth, half milk.

For eating out treats: Chinese buffets feed a lot of starving students, but here is something we figured out with some - often you can stuff more food in one of their to-go containers than you can eat in one sitting so getting it to go is a better deal. :rofl:
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-29-07 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
51. Chick peas. Then cover them with some fancy oil based dressing and lots
of pepper. Makes a good entre.
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