I am constantly hearing that it is cheaper to eat from a fast food value menu than it is to eat food from a grocery store. I don’t believe it. This is a fantastic article from Reddit.
Q: I need to eat very cheaply until I can find more work. So I need your help. Should I just eat crappy cheap noodles every meal? Or can I eat better and a bit healthier for not much more cost?
A: The trick to mundane food that is purely for cheap nourishment is to make it different every time, and eat it at a pretty place.
first: eat it at a pretty place. even if it’s crap. take it somewhere. a park, a lake, a river or pond. take it to the roof. eat it in your back yard.
noodles: pesto. chicken and pesto. chicken and a milk/flour/butter sauce. lemon pepper with mayonaise (it sounds weird, but tastes great. this is a macaroni type dish)
rice: rice with milk, sugar and cinnamon. rice with vegetables. rice with butter and salt and an egg. rice with cheese and butter.
use ground beef when you cook with meat that isn’t chicken, and never spend more than 3 dollars per pound on it. actually, if you can find any other meat that is 2 per pound, have them grind it at the counter. then you can put small amounts of meat in food and make it seem hearty.
chicken should be the thing you eat most of as meat is concerned. it’s the cheapest. look for it for a dollar fifty per pound. don’t buy it for much more than that.
potatoes. mashed potatoes, baked potatoes. cut potatoes up and put them in your soups. hash browns in the morning, or chunks with spices and eggs. fries for lunch. cook it with cheese. put it in your rice (hint… throw EVERYTHING in rice… together)
eggs. throw eggs in your ramen. put eggs in your rice. put eggs in your soups.
water. drink a lot of it at every meal.
oatmeal. for every breakfast, and every snack. make sure you splurge on brown sugar, it makes it worth it.
bread. make it yourself. one cup warm water. two tablespoons sugar, two teaspoons yeast (or one package) a quarter cup oil, some salt, and three cups flour. bake it at 350 for a half hour. Flavor it with cinnamon and sugar, or chocolate chips. put dill in it with pepper and garlic powder (I fucking hate garlic, but other people seem to like it) substitute a half cup flour with oatmeal.
eggs with onions, green beans, and chili powder. eat it with tortillas. tortillas: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-flour-tortillas/ this recipe is alright. instead of lard I use a quarter cup oil, and a little less water. tweak it as you go if you want, or follow it exactly. not just green beans and eggs…. but also re-fried beans with eggs in a tortilla.
yogurt. just buy the one thing. make sure it’s active. put it in any gallon of milk that is going bad. the next day you’ll have yogurt. keep the culture alive and put it in milk. that’s like…2 dollars for a GALLON of yogurt.
make your own laundry detergent. look up recipes online. super cheap. does a reasonable job.
use margarine instead of butter. better yet… just use vegetable oil and salt in your recipes instead.
Bananas. they’re super cheap for fruit. you can get bananas for like… fifty cents per pound. think about that for a second. you can fill yourself on fruit. eat five pounds of it…… two dollars, fifty cents.
when water is hard to drink because everything is tasteless from being miserable and poor…. make kool-aide. cherry kool-aide goes well with rice.
tuck your chin. toughen up. go out every day and do your damnedest to get yourself a job. come home tired, boil up a big plate of pasta, mix in tomato sauce and cheese… and go out to your pretty place to eat it and cry. remember these feelings. remember what foods got you through. remember how cheaply you lived, and how easy it was. when you have a job again…. .this is pretty much how you should eat anyway. with a few adjustments. this diet fed my family of four for a long time. it cost me about a hundred dollars per month. that included shopping for discounts, and sometimes trying to treat ourselves to butter. or cheese that wasn’t “economy muenster”
remember your meals though, remember who ate them with you. remember who got you by the best. hold on to that person. they will know more about you than anyone you happen to tell your story to.
oh, and don’t be ashamed if you need a little help from a food pantry or anything… just be sure to donate back to it when you’re back on your feet. that’s what it’s there for, and people like you, who use it when they’re down are always loyal donators.