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Unread 05-08-2009, 11:33 PM   #11
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Always buy sammich stuff! Bread and peanut butter and cheap jelly will last you a long time. You can buy cheap sandwich meats to mix up the variety a bit. Usually store brand items are cheaper and don't taste all that different.

As a matter of fact experiment with all types of store brand items. You might be surprised with how it works for ya. And it'll also train you to keep an eye out for such things automatically in the future.

Also Ramen is ALWAYS a good budget option. (damnit batgirl you ninja'd me)

One last thing:

Quote:
Originally Posted by krylo
Just make sure you'll actually HAVE fifty dollars every week after rent, internet, cable, and whatever else isn't included in rent. Not to mention enough left to put aside for emergencies.
Just adding that it's best to check your account BEFORE you decide on what you're going to buy that week. Or even check it on the way if possible. That way even if you did make a list you'd know what you can and cannot buy. And if you don't quite know the exact number (or cannot get to an ATM) try to remember the range of money you have in your possession. And always assume the lesser value over the higher. That way you won't get surprised at the checkout.
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Unread 05-08-2009, 11:41 PM   #12
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Buy your fruits and veggies in bulk bags. Bagged apples, bagged oranges, bagged potatoes (seriously, potatoes seem like an indulgence, but they're cheap and healthy and you'll eat like a king with "baking" them in a microwave for 3 min. with holes poked with a fork), etc. Veggies otherwise are measured by weight. Buying the bagged ones is ultimately cheaper, as you're essentially paying a lower, flat fee for the same product. Also, anything that's a root keeps forever and a day, so taters are your best friend.

Other things to look for:
- bananas are filling
- green apples keep much longer before they lose their crispness and have reliable flavor
- potatoes + microwave 3 min. + butter + store brand sour cream = Heaven
- carrots are a crunchy veggie raw and soft, sweet veggie cooked (also if you have a juicer, the juice is amazingly good)
- celery + peanut butter + optional raisins = yum (beware, as celery wilts, though)



In terms of other stuff, jelly is good for a whole week without being refrigerated after opening, and much longer if you keep it cold. Peanut butter is unlikely to spoil in your effing lifetime and can easily tide you over a rough spot. Meat should be bought in bulk when it's on sale and frozen for later when the price goes back up. Milk is your friend, and you shouldn't be afraid to go through a gallon a week, since it can be used to tide you over between meals. Juice is also a healthy choice, and apple is dirt cheap and can be bought in a large container, if you have the space. Don't be afraid to buy condensed soups. It's a meal you can make with water that's nutritious and tasty. Two meals, actually, since most cans hold 2.5 servings, although I'm in the habit of eating it all at once. (God bless my metabolism. ) Also, when buying any food, even junk food, the store brand is not a dirty thing. Pick 'n Save has Roundy's products, and I dare say the only major brand their potato chips aren't outright better than are Lay's. Roundy's sour cream is consistently sold out at the end of the day because of its high quality and low price. Store brands are also often produced locally, meaning they're fresher and of better quality than major brands that need their products to travel and keep well more than taste good.

Think of it like stocks: buy low and sell high. Only when you're "stocking" up on food, it's buy low and eat high, instead.
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Unread 05-09-2009, 12:19 AM   #13
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Buy two cheesecakes a week and just eat like 1/8th of one for every meal.

Mix up the flavours weekly to avoid boredom. And don't forget, June is Ramen Month!
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Unread 05-09-2009, 12:56 AM   #14
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There are already a lot of good suggestions here. I might also add that diet and location may be factors. This probably isn't an issue for you, but I don't eat meat, so there's that. $50 was about the upper limit of what I would spend in Ames, if I didn't already have anything. In NYC, though, I wasn't in reasonable distance of anything that could be considered a supermarket. If I wanted to eat something that wasn't, like, cereal, canned soup, junk food, or a handful of fruits/vegetables, there were transportation costs and the fact that wherever I went would invariably be pricier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krylo View Post
Nah, man, I spend about seventy bucks a week eating out every single day.
I totally ended up doing this... it was just a whole lot simpler. It's pretty easy to get a day's worth of food for $10. Now I live about two blocks from a Publix, so it's all good... I never thought I'd miss actual cooking.
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Unread 05-09-2009, 01:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katiuska View Post
I totally ended up doing this... it was just a whole lot simpler. It's pretty easy to get a day's worth of food for $10. Now I live about two blocks from a Publix, so it's all good... I never thought I'd miss actual cooking.
For most people, yeah... but I'll like, go to Hardee's, get a large mushroom and swiss meal, then still be hungry, and go to McDonald's and get a Big Mac and fries.

I'd probably spend under $50 a week if I ate normal amounts of food.
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Unread 05-09-2009, 01:36 AM   #16
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Find someone with a sam's club card or some other bulk place. I bought groceries for the next two weeks with $48.64 today. I got a 100 pack of Ramen, an 80 pack of Hot Dogs, a giant bag of off brand Rice Krispies, a case of soda, a giant jar of peanut butter (like 8 lbs!), and a bulk thing of hot dog buns (About 120 or so).
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Unread 05-09-2009, 02:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krylo View Post
For most people, yeah... but I'll like, go to Hardee's, get a large mushroom and swiss meal, then still be hungry, and go to McDonald's and get a Big Mac and fries.

I'd probably spend under $50 a week if I ate normal amounts of food.
It also sorta depends on how you approach it. I think of food in terms of spreading it out anyway, because I can only eat so much in one sitting. So like, a sandwich/chips/drink would be more than one meal, but not quite two... but if I got a thing of curried vegetables and a quart of rice, that's fairly cheap and more than plenty.

Dining Hall was kind of difficult that way. They always have signs everywhere telling you not to swipe food, but I did so all the time. It was the only way I could get enough every day without hanging around for hours on end until I felt hungry again.

Actually, this led to a couple of great "is there a banana in your pocket" moments.
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Unread 05-09-2009, 03:32 AM   #18
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Go to Aldi.
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Unread 05-09-2009, 06:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McC View Post
Go to Aldi.
This.
Discounters rock if you're living on a budget. And the food is just as good as with big-name supermarkets.
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Unread 05-09-2009, 06:54 AM   #20
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$50 a week is a huge amount. You should be able to feed yourself for half that.
Your first shop will be considerably larger as you stock up on essentials. After that stick to specials. If things are on special and they can last, buy them in huge doses.
For perishables, try to mix it up to get on specials so if apples are dear buy pears instead.
Supermarkets tend to rotate specials around goods so if you can get onto the same pattern as them, 95% of your food will be on special.
Also avoid a list. This will get you buy stuff that you don't really need and is too expensive simply because it is not on your list.
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