All of us are struggling. No matter your income or social status, denying life has become expensive is difficult.
Soaring rents, rising gas prices, and high grocery costs affect everyone. With no end in sight, many wonder how they will make it until payday.
The good news, at least when it comes to food, is that you can make a little go a long way with some planning.
Bills are piling up, the rent is due, and your car is out of gas. You have 20 bucks to feed yourself for a week. Can you do it?
Being broke does not mean you have to starve. In fact, there are many ways to stretch your cash and create filling, healthy meals.
Stay Stocked Up On The Staples
First things, first. There are a few items that should always be found in a kitchen. For example, pasta, rice, and beans can be stored in large quantities and purchased in bulk when they are on sale.
Luckily these products last a long time and are effortlessly kept for extended periods. However, even without a stockpile, you can get by on as little as $20 a week if you carefully plan your meals.
Let’s look at a $20 meal plan to generate some ideas…
Breakfast: 2 slices of toast with peanut butter
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches
Dinner: Spaghetti. While this will not be fancy restaurant-worthy spaghetti, it will fill your belly and curb hunger.
Both pasta and sauce can be purchased for less than a dollar each and can be stretched to make more than one meal. Create the spaghetti using half a package of pasta and half the sauce, storing the rest for later in the week.
Breakfast: Eggs and toast with some milk
Lunch: Leftover spaghetti
Dinner: A hamburger on toast with tomato and lettuce. If you purchase 1lb of hamburger, you can use ¼ of it to create a pretty good burger and have plenty left over for later in the week.
Add some instant potatoes to the side if you need more than the burger. Instant potatoes are cheap and filling.
Breakfast: Toast with cheese and a glass of milk. Milk is healthy and helps to fill you up, giving you the fuel you need for the day.
Lunch: A sandwich with ham and cheese
Dinner: Shepherd’s pie. It is important to note that Shepherd’s pie is an underrated meal that will leave you feeling full and happy.
To make this meal, use instant potatoes, brown some beef with onion and any seasoning you have on hand, and pack it into a muffin tin. Pile the potatoes on top, add some cheese, and bake for 10-20 minutes or until brown and crispy on top. This meal goes a long way, and you will likely have leftovers.
Breakfast: An omelet. You can add cheese to your omelet, a bit of ham, and some tomato. Remember to drink a glass of milk too.
Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich
Dinner: Chicken, rice, and salad
You can find chicken drumsticks or thighs for cheap and use them to prepare yourself a healthy, satisfying meal. Coat your chicken in bbq sauce, a very inexpensive product, or any sauce or spices you have on hand.
Bake the chicken until cooked and cook a cup of rice. Create a small salad with your leftover veggies, and use any dressing you have at home. Alternatively, add cheese or one of the remaining eggs to the salad to make it more appealing.
Breakfast: Cook yourself an egg any way you like, and eat it with some peanut butter toast and a glass of milk.
Lunch: Some leftover Sheppard’s Pie
Dinner: More chicken, rice, and salad. Cook the chicken any way you wish and serve it with rice and a small salad.
Breakfast: Toast and milk
Lunch: Leftovers, or rice and beans
Dinner: Spaghetti. Remember that sauce and those noodles you stored away? Time to pull them out and have them for dinner again. Since it has been a few days, it won’t seem as redundant.
Breakfast: Eggs and toast, with milk. Don’t forget to use your peanut butter to get added fat and protein.
Lunch: Leftover lover’s lunch. See what you have left from earlier in the week and whip yourself up a meal.
Dinner: Poor Man’s Supper. Taking whatever potatoes, meat, beans, and veggies you can find, cook up a poor man’s supper for yourself and finish off the week with a full belly.
You Made It.
Okay, so the meal plan above is not the most exciting and does not win any culinary awards. Still, your belly will be full, and your bank account will stay out of the negative. To show you the savings, I will share the shopping list.
The Strapped For Cash Shopping List
Cheese slices (16-slice pack) – $1
1lb ground beef – $3
A loaf of bread – $1
1lb Chicken – $2
Noodles – $1
A dozen eggs – $2
Dried beans – $1
Deli ham – $2
Peanut butter – $1
Instant Potatoes -$1
Veggies – $2
While prices vary depending on location, you can find deals, especially if you shop sales and discount stores. The examples in this meal plan are simple, and a little creativity and stockpiling will go a long way.
Still, assuming you have little to nothing stored away, it is always good to know that you can still eat three meals a day and be relatively healthy for only 20 bucks.
There are also many alternatives to this plan. You can easily shop your local sales shelves and use what you find to create filling, healthy meals for a week on very little cash. It is even better if you already have items stored at home that you can use to spruce up your meal plan.
These are only a few of the things that you should consider when you are building your stockpile or looking to save some money on meals. There are countless ways to approach preparedness, and each person will have their own methods. Find the best one for you and your family.
We would love to hear how you save money on groceries. Do you create meal plans? Do you think you could get by on $20 a week? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments. Stay Safe.
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