It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Surviving tough economic times (cheap meals?)

page: 2
<< 1    3 >>

log in


posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:58 AM

Originally posted by wantsome
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?

Actually I read on a website (I am a big time foodie) that Chilli or chili depending on which part your from in the USA, saved a lot of lives in the depression (I am also a bit of a chili connoisser so I was researching the history of it), and dry beans can be kept forever literally, and go along way, and are fairly cheap, One bag makes about four meals (using a cup for each pot of chili).Also pasta and pesto (parsley is relatively cheap as compared to canned or fresh tomatoes and pesto is healthier as well) Pesto is simply oil and parsley garlic salt and pepper. It calls for extra virgin olive oil but I personally don't mind the substitution of simple corn or veggie oil, the taste to me is the same.

By the depression years, the chili joints meant the difference between starvation and staying alive. Chili was cheap and crackers were free. At the time, chili was said to have saved more people from starvation than the Red Cross. The Dictionary of American Regional English describes chili joints as: "A small cheap restaurant, particularly one that served poor quality food."

Taken from HERE.

Also I wanted to add if you can buy the cigarettes that are rolled in tobacco leaf (they are much like cagarellos but are really more a hybrid cigarette/cigar) there is no tax on these my carton costs ten dollars, we buy one a week, between 2 people. that's another option to save on costs.

edit on 11-3-2011 by ldyserenity because: edited to ad junk. "

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 10:20 AM
Ditch the lunch meats! They're so expensive! Just make your own. Buy a whole chicken or a turkey breast and brine/spice it how you like it, a roast of some sort and marinate it how you like it. Then just pick your chicken/slice the meats and bag them up and stick them in the freezer.

Why buy 1 pound of sandwich meat for 4-5 dollars when you can get 3-5 pounds for about the same price!

Some others mentioned gardening; did you know that you can buy food seeds/plants with your food stamps? Almost anything can be grown in a container if you don't have garden space.

If you're going to keep smoking, ditch commercial brand smokes and get tins of rolling'll last a lot longer than a carton and is a lot cheaper as well.

edit on 11-3-2011 by MzMorbid because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 10:40 AM
Thx for the tips everyone I'll be using some of them. I don't smoke name brand cigarettes. I buy pipe tobbaco and role my own. It comes out to about $8 a carton. I've tried quiting but can't. I've seen close family members die horrible deaths from smoking and it don't deture me. I'd like to grow my own veggies but my yard don't get enough sunlight. My neighbors trees block it all.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 04:15 PM
reply to post by backinblack

Eating healthy isn't cheap.

Stop smoking though...that's way too big of an expense for someone solely on Social Security. I'd recommend weening yourself down first, then eventually cold turkey, or using a stopping aid, if needed. Bottom line, it's going to be your cigarettes or eating....your choice. At least you seem to have a cheaper option, but still, how many cartons do you go through a month? That $8 could add up.

Rice and Pasta based meals are cheap. There's always the college foods like Ramen Noodles, PB & J, and Chef Boy-r-dee types too. Canned veggies are pretty inexpensive. Numerous TV dinners can be dogs, chili. Banquet brand TV dinners are typically $1 each.

edit on 11-3-2011 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 05:37 PM
Dude, I feel for you; your situation makes my military retirement seem like a friggin fortune.

Anyways, I own a small farm (like 40 acres) and have a suggestion for you.

Check your local laws and see if you can raise chickens. May sound silly but bear with me. A lot of places will allow hens but not rosters for obvious reasons; however, a lot of the uninitiated believe that hens need roosters to lay. That is not the case. Actually there are groups of people vegans who will pay more (like 3-4 times the price) for the kind of unfertilized eggs. There may even be a rule like in the nearby town that limits the number to a dozen or something.

Now is the perfect time to buy chicks - if you have a local or semi-local farm store they are probably in the thowes of "Chick days" or some similar nonsense term. Go there and tell the manager you'd like to buy the leftover chicks at the end of the season. For some reason people want the newly hatched chicks and when they get bigger like 2-3 weeks in the cages at the store they don't sell.

I got all of our current hens that way last year for 36 dollars (1 dollar each rather than the 3.95) Plus they are past the die off stage and don't need medicated feed anymore. I ended up with some roosters as well but we just killed them off in the fall and put them in the freezer.

Look on Craig’s list for free fence or ideally a dog run. Lots of people give # away when they move. Also dog houses (or wood if you can build stuff) but the plastic ones are ideal. You might also want to see if you can find the large tidy cat litter boxes which are what my hens use as nesting boxes - little straw in them and they are in heaven. Let them free range during the day unless you have a lot of dogs in the neighborhood. If so just move the dog run around the yard in a pattern every few days so they can pick bugs and grass.

It is very key that you know which kind of chickens you end up with - anything labeled as a pan fry special or a Cornish cross is a meat bird and are very stupid and unhealthy they won't forage and will drown in the rain. But they pack on weight fast if you keep them in commercial feed - from 0 - 4+ pounds dressed in 8 weeks.

Any dual purpose bird is what you want. If you take all the left overs you will end up with some roosters and likely that will be part of the deal so you can feed em for a few weeks and kill them off or trade or sell them so someone else. However, the money is in the hens; Rhode Island reds and buff orphingtons is what I have and depending on your climate they are very hardy surviving the winter as long as you can keep them from the wind and from getting frostbite on their combs/feet.

It will take them six months to start laying but when they do they will lay about an egg a day decreasing some in winter to like once every 2 days. The more you feed them the better they lay.

That is virtually free protein. We have 3 people in our house and sell most of ours we get (with 36 hens) average 24-30 eggs a day.

Chickens can and will eat almost anything mine eat all the scraps from our table to include their own egg shells which are excellent for their calcium (makes their own eggs stronger). You will have to buy some chicken feed in the winter since they can't forage.

Hope this helps if you time it all right and don’t get in a rush to do it all at once you can do it all for almost free.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:08 PM
reply to wantsome:

I am sorry you are going thru a hard time. I really think between the Dollar Tree stores primarily (if you have one in your area or another type of dollar or less store) and a buying a few things at Walmart, you can really stretch your food budget. As an example, can of Star Kist tuna in water, 62 cents each at Walmart; And at Dollar Tree these items: 15 oz can of DelMonte Sloppy Joe sauce, undented cans, and expiration dates of July 2013, $1 each , six individual four packs of peanut butter& crackers, $1 each , expiration Oct. 2011, a 11 oz box of Ginger Snap cookies good thru 1-2012, $1 or Coconut Macaroon Cookies, $1; 12 oz package of mini-pretzels, good thru July of 2011, $1; 20 oz package of Pasta Noodes, $1; 7.5 oz jar of Dry Roasted Peanuts, expiring January of 2012 $1; 16 oz jar of Vlasic dill pickles $1; and of course they have a variety of many more other types of food and non food items all for a dollar or less. The key on buying food items at discount stores (or anywhere for that matter) is to check the expiration dates, and of course check cans for any damage. Best of luck to you for the future.

P.S. Forgot to mention those bread thrift stores if you have any in your area. Unbelievably low prices, and you can always freeze any you may not be able to use or need immediately if the expiration dates are close.

edit on 3/11/2011 by manta78 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:23 PM
Some super cheap meals my kids love are casseroles. Boil some cheap noodles, drain them and add a can of cream of chicken soup add a lil water if its too thick, milk works best but water is fine too. You can top it with stale potato chips...sounds gross but really isnt that bad! Crackers work well too, oh and if you have any cheese toss that on there too and bake till its all warm.
Another SUPER cheap meal is plain old spaghetti noodles boiled of course and topped with ketchup.. my sons eat this for lunch. I tried it and its pretty interesting
My personal favorite is left over spaghetti noodles fried in a lil bit of butter and garlic salt. You can also add an scrambled egg to it as well.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:51 PM
I'm sorry you are having a tough time. My grandfather was paralyzed and my grandmother had to provide for a large family. Pinto beans and cornbread were served a couple of times each week. For dessert we had cobblers:
cheap margarine or butter melted in an iron skillet = 1/2 stick
flour= 1 cup
sugar = 1 cup
milk or canned milk mixed with water= 1 cup
Mix these three ingredients and pour on the hot melted butter
Place berries or peaches (single layer) on top and bake at 375
The batter rises above the berries or other fruit.
You can have dessert for a few cents per person.

Also use coupons when you can. is a great source! I frequently get sale items for free when using the coupons.

You'll be fine and I hope this helps.
reply to post by wantsome

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:57 PM
Dude, if you figure out if you can have chickens let me know they are really a great source of food insurance.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:16 PM
I didn't read the whole thread, so forgive me if I have repeated any ideas here. I feel for you, OP. We are struggling now as well and are trying to find ways to make ends meet while still feeding our children. This economy sucks.
  • Buy whole chickens and bake/roast them. You can use the left overs for soup, sandwiches, casseroles, etc.
  • Potatoes are versatile. Baked, mashed, fried, julienned. You can add all sorts of things to them as well. Cheese, peppers. onions, sausage/bacon, egg/eggbeaters, chives, sour cream, etc.
  • Buy things on sale and freeze them. Meat, bread, etc.
  • Buy off brands. Some of these products are made by the same companies that make the name brands.
  • Make casseroles. They go a long way and there are always left overs. Some staples for casseroles are potatoes, hamburger, cream of mushroom/celery/chicken soup, canned or frozen vegetables and cheese.
  • Eggs, eggs and more eggs! They are cheap and versatile. You can throw all sorts of things in with them to mix it up. Think omelets. You can even please everyone by letting them choose their own add ins.
  • Try to make things where there can be two purposes. Roast and potatoes tonight can be beef vegetable soup tomorrow. Roasted chicken tonight can be chicken noodle soup tomorrow.
  • Plant herbs in a window box or container garden. Grocery store herbs are expensive and fresh ones are so much better.
  • Chili. Its cheap and it goes a long way.
  • Search online for recipes. Some sites have a feature allowing you to enter the ingredients you have on hand and will find recipes for you containing those items.

edit on 11-3-2011 by daryllyn because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 12 2011 @ 02:36 AM
reply to post by wantsome

1. Quit smoking
2. Buy in bulk from places like Costco or Sam's Club
3. Plan your meals
4. Grow your own food if possible

posted on Mar, 12 2011 @ 02:51 AM

Originally posted by Gazrok
reply to post by backinblack

Eating healthy isn't cheap.
Stop smoking though...that's way too big of an expense for someone solely on Social Security. I'd recommend weening yourself down first, then eventually cold turkey, or using a stopping aid, if needed. Bottom line, it's going to be your cigarettes or eating....your choice. At least you seem to have a cheaper option, but still, how many cartons do you go through a month? That $8 could add up.
Rice and Pasta based meals are cheap. There's always the college foods like Ramen Noodles, PB & J, and Chef Boy-r-dee types too. Canned veggies are pretty inexpensive. Numerous TV dinners can be dogs, chili. Banquet brand TV dinners are typically $1 each.

edit on 11-3-2011 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)

Great advice but aimed at the wrong person..
I'm in no way struggling but really would like to give up smoking anyway..
Very expensive habit here in Australia..
Between my wife and I it's roughly $10.000 a year..
Illegal to grow your own here and NO cheap alternatives..

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 11:02 PM
1. quit smoking ( I'm a smoker also so I know it's hard) crap. I spend about $240 a month for smokes!!!!

Anyways, I will assume you won't quit because I didn't either.

At Wal-mart:

Rice is about $14 for a 20 pound bag.

Generic Pasta is $1.00 for a pound box of whatever kind you like

Dry beans are about $1.50 - $1.90 for a pound bag.

I spent about $46 yesterday and bought:
10 pounds of rice
10 pounds of spaghetti
10 pounds of assorted dry beans.

That's a ton of food when cooked. enough to last me a month or close to it.

Rice, some veggies, a chicken can make one big @ss pot of soup. you can eat for a week for a few dollars.

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 11:06 PM
reply to post by finalword

Sales at Kroger are even better.

Today name brand 1 lb macaroni, spaghetti, rigatoni, etc. are 50 freeking cents a pound.
40 lbs of sugar for $20
Buy low, stack high.

50 lb bags of rice are $17.... potatoes $3 for 10 lb bag.

When they have the large cans of Campbell's soup 10 for $10 buy a couple of hundred.... for this guy, quit smoking and that should be easy.
edit on 13-3-2011 by infolurker because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 26 2011 @ 03:37 PM
reply to post by wantsome

Places like Sams Club offer #10 sized cans of Fruit,veggies,meat dishes such as Ravoli,and other stuff for about 3-4 bucks a can...stuff keeps 2 yrs or so...good eats cheap

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 02:44 AM
rice, canned tuna, all cheap and you can do alot with them.
get canned beans or canned chili, even more taste.
learn to fish, and if there's decent fishing around you, have at it, alot you can do with fish, and fishing's easy enough to do

and quit the cigarettes, you can have more for food that way

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 07:37 AM
here is a suggestion if you have a your local game warden and tell them if there is a list to put you on it. If someone hits a deer, or they catch someone poaching deer, duck, or other wild game---they have to do something with it. Many times they call someone up to come and pick up the game.
Also, squirrels are excellent eating---fry them like you would a chicken.

and please quit smoking.....having emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma is horrible.

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 08:19 AM
reply to post by BrianDamage

Very carefully.

My last Pointer, rest his precious soul got skunked twice.................and when he arrived home at the front door, the little bugger really got him good, god the smell almost knocked me out, dripping from his face.

Ohhhhhhhhhh poor little dear. And no tomato juice, lemon juice, vinegar, even skunk off don't work, only time.

Be careful, those little buggers if they get you with their little squirters are bad news.

Can you grow some of your own food? If you are in the country you could have a couple chickens? What about pigeons if you are in the city? Some of the homeless I serve dinners too say that many restaurants throw out really good food and if you go look in their dumpsters right after they close you might find some good stuff, same for grocery stores.

There are "food distribution centers" use to be called soup kitchens where you can grab a free meal in many cities, ask around - many homeless people know where they are.

Money may rule the world, but it doesn’t have to rule yours. Barter your skills and services for the foods that you need. A quick car repair or a bit of mending work could turn into your next meal such as mowing lawns, staining a deck, painting, car repair, putting in flowers, even picking apples or help harvesting fruits and veggies, cleaning out a stable or barn, if you know how to do simple home repairs advertise at the local supermarket, dog / cat sit.

And now this is might gross you out but a big bag of dry dog food is cheap and will sustain you. I tried a kibble (Iams) just to see what my dog was getting and it's not is food.

Good luck in these hard times..........................many more people that think this could never happen to them are going to be in the same boat shortly.

Now on another post I hear McDonald's is going to have self service cashier machines (no work for cashiers).

If you are a woman, you could also babysit.

Salvation Army has centers where you can grab a meal.

Also, look around neighborhoods on trash day, sometimes people throw good stuff out, got a china hutch, two chairs, a lamp, chair and table that can trade or sell said items.

Festivals, church events, meetings, grand openings, receptions – it seems every occasion includes food these days. Keep a look out for any event that offers free food to the public, and take advantage of it. You can easily knock out one meal a week this way – even if it's just light hors d'oeuvres. Free is free.

Start a Perennial Food Garden - (seeding will come up every year) you can even grow stuff on a roof top.
Annuals get all of the attention in the world of edible plants, but it's perennials that are the real bargain. Start a garden of perennial herbs, vegetables, fruits and legumes, and every harvest after the first will be free.

Google: "how to eat free" here's a start

My son's future mother in law lives in Wisconsin and she has 1,000 lbs of deer meat she got with a bow and arrow in her downstairs freezer (now she got a gun for mother's day) While I am a animal lover, I have a lot of respect for anyone that can get their own might have to have a license if you're not in a real rural area.

A gun is noisy and might alert a forest ranger. Also, the skin/fur can be used as a good blanket. My son has a buffalo hide he bought for $500.00 so animal skins, particularly bigger animals might bring you in money. If you live like in Florida you could try catching a croc or wild pig but they are nasty and mean. One guy I use to work with said wild pig is very good, but he lost a finger hunting one.

You could try geese or ducks too, we have them all over where I'm at. Also, try fishing and if you live in the West, snake is suppose to be good.

Now this next one might be gross but it was a big sucker and cooked with spices might just give you enough protein for one day........and bears eat and survive on these suckers too.

Also, and this might gross you out but bears eat grubs, worms, bugs..........I would wash and cook them first but hey, there are a lot of bugs and bugs are high in protein low in fat, many many people thoughout the world eat them.

I saw that people in the Amazon eat big tarantulas, the native guy said after cooking it they are quite tasty..........also cactus plants.

Yes some of these ideas are pretty far out there, but free is free

Hope this You Tube site proves helpful.

edit on 24-5-2011 by ofhumandescent because: added lauva video.............looks icky but maybe if you cook it and add spices, the one was a big sucker

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:06 AM
Honey, honey, honey.
You can stockpile them on sales.
Very helpful for the immune system, especially manuka honey.

Also you can become an extreme couponer. It seems you can get shampoo or tooth pasted for a lifetime for 0$ if your are aware. For the tabaco you can even grind the whole leaves yourselves for a even cheaper result.

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 11:49 AM
reply to post by wantsome

Get your fishing license and a fishing pole. Catfish have more fat in there meat so try to go after them. Also you get more bang for your buck becase they contain more meat.

new topics

top topics

<< 1    3 >>

log in