Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The $20 Weekly Food Budget

I came across this article today about buying a week's worth of groceries for only $20 if you are broke and have very little to spend on food.  While the lady's list will ensure you don't starve, I wouldn't recommend eating the stuff on her list long term as it seems to be heavy on processed food and light on vegetables.

But, using her $20 per week budget for one person, multiplying it by two people ($40 per week), times four weeks in a month ($160) I think people could actually eat pretty well on such an amount.

Our local 99 Cent Store provides a wide array of fresh produce ($1 for six to eight tomatoes, $1 pineapple, $1 bag of onions, etc) and lots of other food items (pound of beans/lentils, etc) all for very cheap.  Add in some bulk items from Costco (25 lbs of flour for $9, 10 lbs oatmeal for $10) and loss leaders from the local grocery store and the hubby and I could eat very well for $160 a month!

If we had a very limited food budget I would:

  • Buy produce in season.  Bananas are always cheap while strawberries, apples, and watermelon are quiet inexpensive in season.  For $20 at the 99 Cent Store we would have a month's worth of fresh vegetables (5 lbs potatoes, big squash, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, etc).
  • Use beans, rice, pasta, and/or lentils in at least a couple meals each day.  These items cost around $1 per pound or less and there are an infinite number of ways to use them in tasty recipes featured on the internet.
  • Cook from scratch as much as possible.  Bread is super cheap to make when you buy the ingredients (flour, sugar, oil, yeast, salt) in bulk.  Oatmeal makes a great breakfast on its own or can be dressed up as granola, cookies, and other desserts (you can even make oatmilk out of it!).
  • Spices can be found cheaply (at Costco in bulk, at Asian or Mexican stores, and at the $1 store) and can mean the difference between bland and very tasty food.
  • I always buy canned tomatoes on sale (sometimes 2 cans for $1, sometimes .69 cents per can) and these can be the base for all kinds of things from homemade pasta sauce to soups and stews.
  • We don't eat much meat or dairy at all so instead of spending big on these items we would use our money to buy peanut butter, nuts, maybe a couple cans of tuna and mayo and the ingredients for hummus (chickpeas and hummus).
  • My splurges would be on almond milk, maybe a dozen eggs which would last us an entire month, honey (I prefer it to sugar), and add ons for smoothies (chia seeds, flax seeds), and of course a bit of chocolate!
  • Note, if you are 100% vegan you should probably buy a bottle of B12 vitamins which vegan foods lack.
While you can't do much about most of your monthly bills (mortgage payment, electric bill), your food budget can really be stretched with a bit of imagination, some resourceful shopping, and great ideas from the internet!

No comments:

Post a Comment