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Surviving tough economic times (cheap meals?)

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posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 03:25 AM
I was awarded social security disablity a few months ago. Since I'm getting SSD they cut my foodstamps from $200 a month down to $130 a month. After buying smokes putting gas in my car and car insurance I'm not left very much money for the month.

I've been trying to stretch my food stamps for the month. I'm not very good at it. So far I've been buying bags of potatos and lunch meat and I still can't make them last long enough. I can't eat rahmen noodles I've tried. I have dietary problems because of my medications and have to watch what I eat.

I'm thinking about picking up a pellet gun and shooting squirrls in my neighborhood. I've never eaten them before let alone gutted them.

What are some cheap meals for surviving tough economic times?

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 03:29 AM
reply to post by wantsome

I'd suggest you stop smoking and eat healthy..

If desperate, that's what I'd do

But also rice is cheap..
Throw in a little mince and green leaves and maybe some spice, curry or such..

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 03:35 AM
do you have access to a freezer? is so, try getting bulk amounts of cut price veggies, make yourself stews and soups. I used to dumpster dive and get enough veggies to live on lol

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 03:36 AM
Seriously try to ditch the smokes.
Get big bags of dried pulses/beans/rice if you can tolerate them. They are fantastic for bulking out meals. Invest in a big cheapo jar of multivits.
If you have a freezer check out local stores for when they reduce meat and fish on it's sell by date. Buy, freeze and use as when.
To save on fuel, cook up several meals in one go (you can ring the changes with herbs and spices).
Look at alternatives for expensive cleaning products. Vinegar is your friend!
Make your own bread or make your own concoctions with a bit of flour and water.
Been there, done that.
edit on 11-3-2011 by starchild10 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 03:42 AM
I've been eating the less desirable parts of animals.

Beefheart, tastes gorgeous, good for you too.
Liver, same as above.
I buy rice in bulk, 10k bags for about £10.
Also spices, a certain supermarket sells large 400g bags for couple of quid.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 03:45 AM
reply to post by wantsome

Are you only feeding yourself or are there other family members?

buy meats in bulk, large family paks will afford you many servings for much less, shop the sales without buying the impulse items, stick to a plan. Dry beans, brown rice, look in your area for 'day old' bread stores to purchase breads and you can freeze them, also try shopping in dollar stores, we have dollar general and dollar zone in this area, both have most condiments for 1 dollar or less, and good buys on shelf items such as canned soups and veggies. Some areas have food salvage store, or bent can stores. Perfectly safe foods as long as the cans are not damaged in the area of the folded seal, they always check for this though.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 03:54 AM
I fed 3 people for a month on 160 dollars a month thats 53 bucks per person!!! for 6 months or more... I'm doing better now financially but i know how bad this sucks!!!

We ate "alright" just shop and buy generic... no pop's or anything fancy to drink... use the water out of your sink... thats key... no pop... no junk food... maybe a cheap pack of cookies....

Rice... but the cheapest you can... not minute rice either... but bags of rice... I actually eat unsweetened/unbuttered rice for breakfast every morning... its not that bad... and it will keep you alive... will get used to eating it that way... lol

Keep some peanutbutter around its excellent for protein and a spoonful or two will keep hunger pains away...

buy flour and mix 2 cups flour with one cup of water... and fry it... make sure you buy cheap vegetable oil... the bread is nice!!!

Cheap generic cans of soup is also good... vienna saugage... potted meat... cheap.... the potted meat on sandwiches is filling...

cheap boxes of macaroni and cheese are a saver!!!
cans of tuna are good meals... add mayo and onion for tuna salad and eggs...

eggs are cheap and can be fixed a variety of ways..

I'm sorry your having hard times bro... I hope it gets better..

btw... i smoke too... and i cant giv eup my smokes... and all you people telling him to eat healthier... trust me... on 130 bucks a month he cant afford to!!!! i know i been there!

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 04:01 AM
reply to post by wantsome

squirrels are good btw... ate a many of them... but then again I am a hillbilly...

here is a google Link ...that shows you how to skin them

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 04:18 AM
Try poaching deer if it gets really bad but if you get caught you are screwed. I killed 89 squirrels last year and my son killed 62. Squirrel makes great dumplings. I trapped a skunk today and we skinned it and sold the pelt for ten bucks and ate the meat too. Just remember that you can sell the squirrel tails to lure manufacturers and make some extra cash.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 04:42 AM

Originally posted by EvolEric
reply to post by wantsome

squirrels are good btw... ate a many of them... but then again I am a hillbilly...

here is a google Link ...that shows you how to skin them

It's all well and good knowing how to skin them, but how do I catch the buggers in the first place?

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 05:10 AM
I buy dried milk, rolled oats in I Kilo bags, fish cakes, cheap margarine, there is a Monday market in my town, cheap cheese, and cold meat cut-off's packs, I do buy good wholegrain bread tho. And the two for one deals, three for two, etc. Take a good look around all parts of your town, walk, note address' for future use. Yes, ditch the cigarettes. Get a cheap bicycle (and backpack) I 'bike everywhere I can.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:11 AM
reply to post by wantsome

Stop smoking cigarettes! That's where all your money is going! Where I live, if you smoked a pack of Newports a day you'd be spending about $185 a month! That's just RIDICULOUS. And if you can't quit (which you actually can), you should at least start rolling your own....(I highly recommend smoking organic.)

Also, some cheap ways to shop...
1) Shop at grocery stores, NEVER at convenient stores.
2) Grocery stores usually have some sort of membership savings cards for different sales they offer each week. Get one.
3) Always buy items on sale, but be careful. Sometimes a store will jack up the price of an item and then place it "on sale" at the original price.
4) The best things to buy are pasta noodles, beans, and rice. For meats, buy the quick-sale discount packages (usually re-priced at a discount so they sell before expiration).
5) Usually the most expensive items, that is for the quantity you get, are seafood products, junk food (packaged cakes and chips, etc.), precooked meat/meals.
6) A REALLY good strategy when shopping is to compare EVERY item you pick up with others. This way, you can ensure you are saving money. Also, try to get every thing you need at once; don't shop every day, or every week.
7) The most important rule.....NEVER SHOP HUNGRY!!!

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:25 AM
reply to post by EvolEric

I fed 3 people for a month on 160 dollars a month thats 53 bucks per person!!! for 6 months or more... I'm doing better now financially but i know how bad this sucks!!!

That incredible..
I'm in Australia and I am in no way struggling but I do all the shopping and cooking and just couldn't imagine living on that little..
Well done mate..

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:50 AM
Do you have room for a garden ? If you are able too and have room you should planet a garden, a pack of buttercup squash seeds for example cost 2 bucks, and you can get around 30 squash or more , thats like 30 meals for $2 or abouts, if you like squash that is.. currie squash soup is very tasty. planet things that will store the longest, buttercup squash will store for 4 to 6 months I think in the right conditions.

Potatoes are likely your best bet if you have the room and can store them in some kind of cold storage, turnips carrots etc , but again you need the right storage conditions if you plan on growing alot of them.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:05 AM
reply to post by wantsome

Here's a recipe site from NZ
Budget meals


posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:21 AM
Roll your own cigarettes - it will cost you half as much to smoke.
Shop at the discount grocery stores if you have one.
Eggs are your cheapest protein.
Whole chickens are much cheaper than any cuts - any parts you don't want to eat throw in a soup pot - do the same with any vegetable scraps.
Boil the bones of any meats to create soup stock.
Crack open the bigger bones and eat the marrow - not tasty but very nutritious.
Buy bulk spices to make your own chili/ burrito/ marinade mixes.
Only buy whats on sale.

Fry your squirrel after you shoot them with a pellet gun, a BB gun won't kill them,
Good luck!

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:27 AM
reply to post by wantsome

Now you're talking my language wantsome!

I'm the cook in our family, and i make our food budget go a loooong way, and we can still have the odd bit of junk here and there, so you don't have to go without a little bit of what you like.

To all those saying to ditch the ciggs...that's all very well to say if you do not smoke, but if you do it's a hard thing to get rid of.

Here's a couple of meal ideas (and recipes) that will allow you to feed yourself and or your family good, nutritious and tasty food, that's *cheap*!

Chilli Con Carne (serves 8-10 BIG portions). NOTE: This chilli is *HOT*...that's how we like it.

800g lean minced beef.

3 large white onions (chopped).

4 large bell peppers, 2 red and 2 green chopped into 1cm cubed pieces.(smart price value brand @ £1.35 for 6)

2 tins plum tomatoes (chopped or whole, value brand)

2 or 3 tins of kidney beans (17p each at Asda/walmart value brand)

1 or 2 tins of generic/value baked beans.

1 tablespoon of tomato purée (generic brand)

2 beef stock cubes (generic)

3 or 4 heaped tablespoons of dried Oregano (generic)

6 cloves of garlic.

6 finger chilli peppers (or Bird eye chilli peppers) chopped very small. (can use dried if you want, cheaper)

2 heaped tablespoons of chilli powder (yep, you guessed it - generic brand!)

2 teaspoons of black pepper.

Cheap Olive oil / Olive pomace oil - 3 or 4 tablespoons.

NOTE; *Do not add ANY salt* to this chilli, the garlic will be enough, and if you add salt it will ruin the chilli.


In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-low heat and add the minced beef, stirring for a minute.

Crumble over the mince, your 2 stock cubes and stir.

Add in your 3 large onions (chopped into 1cm cubes) and stir for another minute.

Add your black pepper, chilli powder, finely chopped chilli peppers, *half* of your Oregano and *half* of your garlic, and stir.

Add your chopped bell peppers and again stir for a minute, turning everything over and mixing well (don't crush the ingredients though).

Add in both tins tomatoes, the tins of kidney beans (add the water they're in too, don't drain them) and mix well.

Top up with water, i normally don't measure the water, just go by eye...but usually i guess about 1 - 1.5 pints, and stir.

Add the tomato purée, and stir.

Reduce heat to a slow simmer (just bubbling) and leave *uncovered*.

Stir every 10 minutes or so, so the food doesn't 'catch' on the bottom of the pot.

I normally let the chilli simmer for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes.

You'll notice a kind of film will develop on the surface. It's a kind of orange foam that forms on top. When this foaming more or less stops, the chilli is almost ready.

Now add the baked beans, the rest of Oregano and garlic and stir, simmer for another 15 minutes.

It's ready! CHILLI TIME!!!!

We normally don't eat potatoes, not too keen on them in our family, but we eat Basmati rice almost every day instead.

We buy 10kg sacks of Basmati rice for about £12, and that would last us...well, ages. a couple of months at least, but you can buy cheaper rice varieties, but we like Basmati the best and it's only a little more money.

We eat what we want the day i cook it, and end up putting about 6 of those plastic takeaway trays (with lids) full of chilli in the freezer to have whenever. If you wanted to make more, just double or treble up on the ingredients, and get a much larger pot (if you have room in your freezer, why not?).

My chilli is famous far and wide! My recipe has found it's way all over the place through friends and family and they all say it's delish!

If anyone's interested i can do a similar recipe for Chicken curry (*HOT*) and Chinese pork and vegetables, both of which can be prepared and frozen for weeks/months in the freezer.

I once worked it out, that each meal costs less than £1.00 (about 60p actually), about $1.00 each.

Everyone can eat well and have enough to eat...just stay away from the junk, fizzy pop (soda).

A nice fizzy pop / soda alternative that is free of artificial crap, is to buy a value brand / generic bottle of fizzy water and add your own fruit juice to it (about 30% juice to water) i think apple juice tastes best, but orange is good too.

And it's healthy for ya too!

Good luck mate, don't worry you can manage.

Good luck.

edit on 11/3/2011 by spikey because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/3/2011 by spikey because: added info

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:29 AM
Start a garden - use heirloom seeds not the "modified" monsanto seeds.. Doesnt take much space and better than what get in stores.
Get a rod and reel go fishing - relaxing and fish are good eating.
Get roll your own tobacco - cheaper than pre-rolled packs.. Or switch to pipe pipe tobacco cheaper and better as well.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:39 AM
reply to post by noworldorder2012

7) The most important rule.....NEVER SHOP HUNGRY!!!

Excellent advice.

If you shop hungry, you'll end up with *all* sorts of rubbish in your basket.

Eat before you shop, make a list of what you need *and stick to the list*...don't be fooled by the marketing.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:41 AM

Originally posted by BrianDamage

Originally posted by EvolEric
reply to post by wantsome

squirrels are good btw... ate a many of them... but then again I am a hillbilly...

here is a google Link ...that shows you how to skin them

It's all well and good knowing how to skin them, but how do I catch the buggers in the first place?

For about $20 you can buy either a small wire trap or a cheap Chinese pellet gun. Both methods are good for urban squirrels. They will let you get close to them. I've used a Chinese pellet rifle to shoot them. Plenty of power at 30 or 40 feet. A Chinese pellet pistol is not accurate enough even though it has the advantage of concealment as you are out in the neighborhood "hunting." I would suggest you know the local regs on such guns. Some places ban them as a type of firearm..

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