~~ The "Poverty Diet" ~~

This type of diet is never voluntary. The money coming in does quite equal the money that has to go out for rent, utilities, and food. I don't know about you, but I tend to cut food first.

What to buy, what to cook, without starving

So much for filet mignon, or even a cheap prime rib dinner. Don't even look at fast food places. When you first get that layoff notice, take your final paycheck and lay in a stock of BASICS. This list assumes you already have a well stocked spice rack.

What How Much Cost
What for
Rice Lots (as in pounds of the stuff) Less than $0.50/pound. Don't get instant (except for quickie jobs) A basic staple food, rice provides some proteins, fiber, and starch.
Tuna By the case $0.50/12oz can is a good price. Never pay more than $1/can. Meat protein, versatile, albeit it can get boring quickly.
Macaroni & Cheese By the case Only get the cheap stuff!! Don't bother with "brand name". If you pay $0.50/box, you paid too much. Quick meals. Add tuna and you're set.
Margarine, Butter Multiple pounds - freezes well I prefer to pay less than $1/lb for margarine, and less than $2/lb for real butter. Fats and oils - needed for mac & cheese, toast, etc. If you are allergic to soy, don't bother with margarine.
Boullion Lots - Beef, Chicken ?? Meat flavors, gravy, sauces
Cream of Wheat,
By the pound - don't bother with the packets or cup sizes Cheap Fiber, breakfast, baking, etc.
Flour 10+ pounds buy bulk cheap baking, biscuits, gravy and such.
Sugar By the 20# bag Should be ~$0.50/lb in bulk Lots of things, including comfort foods.
Yeast Depends on how much you bake ?? Bread makers must have this
Beans Lots, in variety. Buy only in large lots. ~ $0.50/lb or less Stick to the ribs, put with rice for vegetarian proteins
Split Peas By the pound Less than $0.50/lb Soup
Lentils by the pound Less than $0.50/lb Soup
Whole Grains Wheat, Oats, etc, in bulk Varies These can be cooked as cereals or as fillers in soups
Eggs by the dozen $1/dozen is a very good price plain, scrambled, egg drop soup, biscuits & baking needs
Frozen Veggies By the big bag varies Eat your veggies! Quick to fix, not over processed, fairly cheap.
10 lb boxes/bags Cheap Versatile, takes all kinds of sauces
Tomato - Sauce, Paste, Puree by the case of cans Varies, go for cheap a real good base for sauces. With cheap hamburger, you can make and freeze portions of spaghetti sauce
Tea, Coffee by the pound - freezes well varies - avoid the pricey "gourmet" stuff Get stuff to make into warm drinks for cold days
Barley by the pound Varies Soups, meatloaf, etc. A staple
Canned Corned Beef By the case $1.50/can or less is a good price Soup, with pasta or rice.
Cream of Mushroom Soup By the case Watch the 2/1 sales A versatile sauce base
Instant Mashed Potatoes by the pound Varies used for soups, stews, or a quick side dish.
Hamburger By the 5# chub Buy this at ~$1 - $2/lb, split and freeze! Meatload, hamburgers, soups and sauces. A versatile protein source, esp when put with rice/grains and legumes
Sea Salt By the pound, bulk under $0.50/lb Don't just buy the small box things, buy bulk
Milk By the gallon, in twos under $2.50/gallon If you have a household of milk drinkers, be sure to buy milk on sale in two gallon lots (the second one is usually heavily discounted. Be sure to keep it refrigerated, and watch the expiration date.

Page built: October 19, 1998.

Page last changed/tweaked on 4/28/2004