I am officially 5 days done with the #surviveon35 challenge and it has been a difficult challenge to participate in.
Eating for $35 calls for making some drastic changes to your lifestyle. Eating out, having your favorite cocktail, enjoying fro-yo are all things that you have to reconsider when your budget is that tight. Also, you really have to examine needs from wants when going to the store.
However, I have learned a few things in the past few days to make eating healthy on a budget more manageable:
1. Let what is on sale dictate your menu for the week.
Your grocer will typically have on special certain meats or produce each week. If you planned on having grilled chicken for dinner but the pork chops are on sale, purchase those and tweak your meal as needed. I did this by purchasing boneless skinless chicken thighs, instead of breasts. It was almost $1.00 cheaper per pound and chicken thighs have more minerals in them vs. the breast meal! Cheaper and healthier!
This entire meal, grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, and grilled asparagus, cost $2.42 per person.
2. Buy in season produce.
Have you seen the cost of oranges right now? Outrageous! Or how about the cost of berries? Not bad…right? Well that is because berries are now in season while citrus is more of winter fruit. You’ll save money by focusing on in season fruits and veggies.
3. Make a Plan!
Going to the store and winging it will cost you more money than if you made a menu for the week. This way, you only buy what you need and less food goes to waste.
Here is a fun printable to help you menu plan and create your grocery list.
Also, if you are a house of 1 – 3 people, plan on leftovers. Don’t plane to make 7 dinners, because you will probably have leftovers from a few of them. As a house of one (plus cat), I plan 3 meals per week, which gives me 3 days of leftovers and 1 free/fun day!
4. Make your own
Channel your inner Better Crocker and start whipping up your favorite healthy eats. I’m a huge granola fan and could easily spend much of my disposable income on it. After crunching the numbers, I found I could make a 3 week stash for only $9 and it would be around $0.83 per serving. Considering most bags of granola cost me $5 and they’re gone within the week, I’d say that’s a good savings.
Other homemade items to consider include beans and rice. We buy canned beans and 90 second rice for convenience. But if you take the time on a Saturday or Sunday to whip up a huge batch of your favorite beans and rice and then freeze what you don’t need, it will be just as convenient for a fraction of the cost.
What would you try to make on your own to save money?
I can’t tell you how much I love having my own herb garden. I bought my basil plant for $2.50 and it produces all the summer. A bunch of basil at the store costs around the same amount for a 1 time use.
You can also make friends with people who garden. Really though, no joke! I’ve heard a lot people who just want to give it away because they can’t eat it fast enough. It’s true! Zucchini can grow like a weed and there is only so much you an eat.
I’m fortunate enough that my family participates in different food exchanges such as splitting the cost of a cow, harvesting their own honey, and gardening that I get delicious and healthy food for a fraction of the cost – sometimes free! Do your research and see how much living off the land would save you?
Total cost of meals thus far
(Wednesday through Sunday)
What have I been able to eat on that price?
2 different breakfast options = overnight peanut butter oats + banana or homemade granola yogurt parfait
2 different lunch options = grilled chicken sandwich with a side of cantaloupe or blueberry french toast (love eating breakfast during other meals)
3 different dinner options = meatball sub with a salad, grilled personal pan pizza, or grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and asparagus
Note: I must give credit to those who must make this budget work for the long term. I hope that some of the tips on my blog and the recipes by the 10 bloggers gives a few ideas on how to make a tiny budget stretch enough to make healthier meals.
DISCLAIMER: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.