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GARHCSL SparkPoints: (21,357)
Fitness Minutes: (1,300)
Posts: 18
6/15/13 12:01 P

I thought it was expensive at first too. We are on the other end of the spectrum, retired and finding it hard to make ends meet. Our daughter is in the same boat as you are. You would be amazed at how much you can save by not stopping at McDonalds, Starbucks or even out with friends. Pack your lunch. I used to love those noodle cups but if you look at the sodium content, they aren't a bargain. Fresh fruit is in now. Some is really cheap but then it goes back up so watch it. I have never met an expensive carrot and a small potato or half of one with some yogurt and chives is great. Granted vegetables go up and down. Check your pantry, make yourself some soup, bread can be inexpensive (whole wheat of course). You can do it. Put yourself on a budget. After the rent, gas and utilities food is a must. You can do it!!!!!
Good luck.

KARATE_KID SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,005)
Posts: 1,546
6/15/13 9:48 A

I remember how hard it is when you first move out on your own (although in my case my mother moved out emoticon ).

Right now lots of fruit and veggies are in season; look for deals. Initially you'll spend some time until you find stores that you can always count on for good sales. Your staples - like others have said, beans are fantastic. Brown rice, whole wheat flour - making your own bread is not that hard and you can slice a loaf and freeze it, only take out what you need for the day so it won't go bad.

Congratulations on cutting out alcohol; that's good for both your health and your wallet.


JULIACOLLINS62 Posts: 1,705
6/14/13 10:15 P

Eggs, dried beans, bulk brown rice, peanut butter, apples, banana, carrots, celery, bulk oatmeal. PORTION CONTROL. It is amazing how far food goes when a person eats one serving at a time.

MYKIDSRSWEET SparkPoints: (12,017)
Fitness Minutes: (7,799)
Posts: 366
6/14/13 9:19 P

I back the dried beans plan, they have protein and fiber. I buy meats that are on managers special, just cook them that night since they are near the sell by date. If you have more time than money, you can grocery store hop and just buy what is on sale at different stores. That only works if they are nearby because of gas prices. We are on a tigh budget. Each week we do have a pasta night, whole wheat pasta, a refried bean taco night...they seek cheap fat free refried beans at most stores, an egg night, and then I fill the others nights in around those cheap staples. I have $110 a week to feed 5 people, and that includes any eating out and extras like toothpaste etc. I usually plan the extra meals around whatever is on sale.

WHITNEY0814 Posts: 1,850
6/13/13 8:38 P

I am so glad you posted this, I'm 22 and just moved out with my BF in January and we buy SO much junk food it's ridiculous. I'm starting to feel the effects of it. I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow and I would like to buy some alternatives. I mean.... last night I made enchilada's for us, and I used a WHOLE bag of cheese (yes... 2 cups!!) And as much as I would like to blame the bf since he's a cheese lover, I can't since I'm the one who put in it the pan.

Not much advice here since I'm struggling as well... but I appreciate the ideas and I def feel for ya!

CHELHART SparkPoints: (4,110)
Fitness Minutes: (1,780)
Posts: 97
6/13/13 10:29 A

Here's some ideas

Dried beans: You have to soak them the night before, but you can cook down some navy beans with a little bit of cubed ham (or whatever is cheap) with either canned or frozen corn...makes a good soup ...a LOT of soup that you can put in containers...that's lunch or dinner for several days.

Baked Potatos: usually pretty economical, you can load one up with broccoli and lowfat cheese or sour cream..not the best, but somewhat balanced.

Tuna melts: use about 1/3 to 1/2 can tuna and some LF cheese and melt it b/w two pieces of bread on the skillet w/ a tiny amount of butter (kind of like a grilled cheese). You can put the rest of the tuna in the fridge for the next day.

Eggs: Any leftover vegetables/meat items you have can be put together w/ scrambled egg(s). That way, you're not wasting anything.

Whole wheat/grain pasta with marinara and some FF cottage cheese & Italian seasoning is pretty good (sort of like the lasagna effect minus the calories, but a good source of protein).

Figure out what works for you. You CAN do this. You will thank yourself for this later. A triple bypass surgery is also very expensive :-)

FITGLAMGIRL Posts: 2,045
6/12/13 3:38 P

I am all for reducing bills too. We don't have cable or phone. We have our cell phones through Virgin Mobile. No contract and we pay minimal amount for unlimited data and texting and get 300 phone minutes. We use Netflix or Hulu and switch off between them. We have xbox, wii and Blu-ray player to stream the service. We use our laptops for news. You can connect live stream for news to your local stations. At least, we can do that in our area. We use internet streams for our sports or watch them via the xbox. I find cable tv so expensive and then all we would do is watch all day. Now we keep busy with other activities. Don't really miss it. Now if we could reduce our internet bill. I find that one to be outrageous for high speed internet. We need that one though and the faster speed to use all our devices at the same time effectively.

DUTCHESSNIQUE SparkPoints: (704)
Fitness Minutes: (408)
Posts: 14
6/12/13 3:03 P

I was wondering about the Roku. I really don't watch tv much but my daughter does and I have it mostly from her. I currently have a cable bundle with phone, cable and internet. I, too, am having financial struggles and have cut and trimmed everything but cable and my cell which I am in a contract on.

DUTCHESSNIQUE SparkPoints: (704)
Fitness Minutes: (408)
Posts: 14
6/12/13 2:57 P

I have found this to be true quite often when shopping at Kroger.

BETHS60 Posts: 570
6/12/13 2:16 P

Is there a farmer's market near you? Sometimes you can get fresh fruits and vegetables at half what they cost in the grocery.

KMFITZ721 Posts: 89
6/12/13 11:56 A

One other thing maybe help you with wanting fresh fruit and veggies is sometimes when a grocery store has something close to its sell by date, they mark it down. You have to eat it within a couple of days of buying it. This also works with meats and yogurt.

6/12/13 10:50 A

You also didn't say what your bills are - I'd look at that and see if you can cut some $$ that way - I recently got rid of my satellite service and opted for a Roku instead. I still have wifi for it to work, but the device itself was only $50, and I pay $7.99/month for Hulu. I honestly don't miss the satellite - it's resulted in me watching less TV and I'm saving close to $90 a month. There may be other things you can cut - can you lower your cell phone bill or other bills?

Lots of others have already said to buy frozen. Depending on where you live as well, look into if there's a community garden or CSA - some places will let you come work for a few hours a week on the farm (weeding, picking, etc) in exchange for an assortment of what was harvested that week. Exercise & fresh veggies!

Good luck!

AARMANI SparkPoints: (12,881)
Fitness Minutes: (32,648)
Posts: 40
6/10/13 10:57 P

If you can't do fresh then do frozen! Make sure and eat 5 servings a day of fruits & veggies & you'll be in good shape. Also, bananas are only about 44 cents per pound, so they're an incredibly cheap fresh fruit.

Make things from scratch. Home made tortillas, bread, etc are cheaper and healthier because there are less preservatives.

Use coupons! Good luck lowering your bill and staying healthy emoticon

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/9/13 1:54 P

Did anyone suggest eggs yet?

Eggs used to be my go-to protein when I was on a tight student budget. I remember (with some fondness, truthfully) my girlfriend and I whipping up scrambled eggs with steak sauce and a side of air-popped popcorn, and calling it "dinner." These days I might see the wisdom in swapping out the popcorn for an actual vegetable, but hey, at 19 I didn't care that much about my Daily Fruits and Veggies, I just wanted something fast, easy and cheap! Eggs! Oh gosh we ate a lot of eggs.

You can throw a beaten egg into your noodle-soup (whether it be ramen noodles or lipton noodle soup with the million short noodles or whatever), you just beat it then pour it in slowly while stirring the soup. It ends up vaguely like take-out-chinese "egg drop soup" and adds some nutrition to those kinds of emergency-ration meals.

SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
6/9/13 11:14 A

Not sure if you have an Aldi in your area, but shopping here will save you a ton of money and the chain has lots of healthy options. If you don't do dried beans, a can of black beans is just 59 cents (give them a good rinse to get rid of a lot of the sodium) and tuna is 69 cents a can. I try to stick to the produce specials for the week and they are really good. I'll stop in the day before the sale ends and if they have too much stock, they really slash prices. For example, they had strawberries for 25 cents a pound and a three pack of colored peppers for $1. If I hit one of these great deals, I stock up and freeze. Farmer's markets often offer great deals. Rather than plan a menu, I lets deals and sales dictate what I'll eat for the week. And if something isn't in season, go to frozen. Alcohol and pizza is way more expensive than these choices.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (199,935)
Fitness Minutes: (298,868)
Posts: 27,311
6/9/13 5:54 A


Congratulations on your new apartment ! It's true. Eating healthy can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. When I was laid off, I wasn't able to spend a lot on food. You may not be able to afford organic, but you can still eat healthfully.

Do you have a dollar store near you ? Dollar stores do have good deals on things like tuna, baked beans, canned salmon, cereal, etc. So, before you buy at your local supermarket, check to see if some of those items are available at a dollar store. that's one way to save.

Dried bean, pasta and rice are STAPLES in many countries. Red beans and rice is extremely nutritious. Beans and pasta is a popular dish in Italy. so, eat more beans. If you can't afford fresh veggies, then buy frozen ones. Frozen veggies are nutritious and cheap. Try to buy what's on sale and if it's not on sale, buy the store brand. Store brand foods are inexpensive and can be tasty.

For fruit, eat bananas. Bananas are cheap and healthy. Buy whatever fruit is on sale as well as in season. When you buy in season, fruit/veggies are cheaper. Look for local farmer's markets. Those are going to be popping up soon. Buying from local farmers is another way to save on veggies.

You might find these articles helpful.

LEAHLEGS Posts: 184
6/9/13 2:59 A

I've been there. I understand that sometimes there is no more money, and that a 99 cent cup o noodles wins the dinner battle.

Just be smart with your money, and try to stretch it where you can. Maybe you and a group of your broke friends can each bring a healthy ingredient, and you can all cook something together. I person could bring whole wheat pasta, another a jar of tomato sauce, another some canned veggies, and another bagged salad. It may not be the most nutritious meal on earth, but it's cheap, and it's better for you than taco bell.

EDENFELL Posts: 212
6/9/13 1:27 A

Hi! Congratulations on getting your own place. Excellent question..I'd say, cut down on other expenses and make focusing on getting healthy food into your system a huge priority. Noodles and potatoes are just not any good for you and will make you binge even more because they are highly glycemic. Think about each meal as a needing a fist size of protein, a fist size of a complex carb and a fist size of veggies and plan according to that. You can do oatmeal cooked in milk for breakfast with a banana which is reasonable budget-wise, buy whole wheat high fiber bread on sale and maybe a thin slice of turkey sandwich meat with lettuce and a slice of tomato for lunch with an apple..and then a chicken breast with salad for dinner. Also, if you're drinking soda, cut out that expense and drink iced water with lemon instead. Buy frozen veggies in bulk when they are on sale and stock up your freezer. Same thing with different meats as everyone suggested..wait for sales and stock up. Spend time looking at the flyers for every store in your area and make it your mission to identify healthy foods in your budget. Also, watch youtube videos on how to cook healthy recipes on a budget..there are so many out there.You can totally do after awhile you'll look back and wonder why you thought it was difficult..because eating healthy on a budget will be second nature. emoticon emoticon

Edited by: EDENFELL at: 6/9/2013 (01:30)
FITGLAMGIRL Posts: 2,045
6/9/13 12:52 A

Well it's your health. You can choose to pay the Dr or the farmer in the long run. If money is so tight and nothing left over for food I would get to a local food bank and get some help. I try to just eat the same thing over and over. So typically breakfast is oatmeal with egg whites, snack apples or celery with peanut butter, lunch is a delicious salad made with lots of fresh chopped veggies canned corn, frozen peas, some type of canned beans, maybe some boiled eggs and homemade salad dressing, then another snack of yogurt and nuts and then for dinner a protein smoothie. On the weekends I will change it up with some meats, brown rice, and veggies. All the items I mentioned are relatively inexpensive. Find the best deals and shop around. If you make all your food rather than processed it is so much better for you and taste so much better too.

I hope you can find some alternatives and not cave to junk foods. You won't be able to lose the weight eating that stuff anyway. Good luck!

KACAR51 Posts: 1,453
6/8/13 10:21 P

I am on SS disability and I have very little money after bills either! But I have found that healthy food is usually cheaper that processed packaged food. I spend about $!00 per month on food. I watch for sales on fruits and veggies! I get to try new things this way! I only buy meat when it is on sale and I buy a lot and freeze it. I really don't buy much package food any more. I cook my own healthy food instead. Right now is a good time to get fruits and veggies. Find a farmers market. You can usually get good deals there if you go towards the end of the day! It takes a little planning, but eating healthy can be fun!

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (253,473)
Fitness Minutes: (41,531)
Posts: 27,137
6/8/13 9:34 P

Congratulations on taking this step. There are a lot of positives and some negatives, but even the negatives can be turned into a positive. In this case, you can learn how to eat very healthily AND be on a tight budget. I have lived off the smell of an oily rag for many years, but am not deprived of good nutrition.

Do you have a freezer? If so, take advantage of the good specials that many supermarkets and farmers markets (if there is one near you) have - bulk buy as much as you can afford, and then bulk cook, containerize into single serves, date and label and freeze. Frozen veges can be just as healthy as fresh, in fact, often it has more nutrients because 'fresh' can be a few days old before we get it, whereas 'frozen' is often snap-frozen within hours of picking, thus preserving more of the nutrients.

Eek out your protein by using things like lentils and split peas. They are a good source of protein AND fibre.

Casserole meats are generally cheaper - buy lean meat on special and then use veges and lentils to extend them, thus reducing the cost as well as increasing the veges consumed.

Often you can buy meat that has a big mark-down because it is near the end of it's 'shelf life' - it doesn't mean it isn't good - just that the store needs to sell it that day. If you don't use it that day, then freeze it.

Make a lot of thick, pureed vege soup, with lentils, and freeze in individual serves. It helps to extend a main meal, thereby saving money and calories. They are also good for a snack. Soup is even good in summer - cold cucumber soup, and tomato/basil soup are very refreshing on a very hot day.

Have a variety of healthy snacks.

Gradually build up a good store cupboard of basic long-shelf-life foods - brown rice, lentils, healthy cereals, cans of tomato, cans of kidney beans and baked beans, cans of fish, etc. Then you will find that when you are caught short financially OR with time, most of what you need is there to make a quick, healthy meal.

Finally, filling up on foods such as Pizza and Burgers, only fills a person for a little while, but the calories are generally waaaay over the top.

Good luck, and enjoy your new life :-)
Kris xxx

Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 6/8/2013 (21:36)
SWIMOM Posts: 366
6/8/13 9:13 P

Congratulations on being out on your own! How exciting that is for you. I remember having $28 for food in my budget once upon a time. I am the queen of searching stores for the best buys. It's a habit I've kept all these years. Take your time and get to know your favorite grocery store. I bet you can find all sorts of good, delicious, healthy foods. It does mean cooking so you don't have all the overhead of pre packaged foods. Cooking is cathartic so enjoy it!

Luckily, it's summer and produce is a better buy right now. Add a bag of frozen chicken breasts and that's meat portions for 5-7 meals depending on how many are in the bag. Store brand cereals are decent. Dollar store fat free dressing is good too. In fact, I prefer them over some others. 7 medium apples is less costly than 7 big apples and more serving appropriate anyway. A loaf of bread lasts if you freeze half and keep half out so it doesn't go bad. Whipped butter goes further than regular. Eggs are your friend on a budget too! You can add anything to eggs to make a meal. Add a scoop of low fat cottage cheese and a half of a tomato or steamed broccoli to a baked potato and voila, a meal! Baby carrots are about a dollar and that lasts a week if you portion them out in servings. Go crazy, buy two bags!
Tuna is usually on sale, so are frozen bag veggies. I buy ground organic turkey or ground beef and split a pound for sauces which feeds 4 easily. Pasta and brown rice is cheap. Look for store brand whole wheat pastas for a healthier choice. Be creative. This is your time to shine!

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,314
6/8/13 8:31 P

Get yourself over to Walmart as most Great Value Brand can goods are around 68 cents....
you can buy a box of Great Value Brand 12 tacos for $1.00
A huge box of Cheerios for AROUND $3.50
18 Chicken Legs Around $6.50
1 large Great Value Brand oatmeal $2.50
Tuna 68 cents

You don't saywhat your budget it's hard to KNOW WHAT TO suggest. If you do buy some sweet potatoes, a bag of green beans that you can steam in the microwave, carrots are cheap, a cucumber, Roma tomatoes, celery, cabbage, sardines ....check out the prices there

Black Bean Sleeve
Brown Rice Sleeve
Lentils in a sleeve

Edited by: SUNSHINE6442 at: 6/8/2013 (20:38)
JULEA1 SparkPoints: (4,328)
Fitness Minutes: (9,534)
Posts: 3
6/8/13 7:01 P

While I'm sorry to hear about how tight your budget is, I'm glad that you cut out drinking alcohol as it's expensive to both your wallet and your calorie count. My only advice is to look to canned and frozen section of your supermarket. Frozen fruits and veggies are almost as good as the fresh stuff and so much cheaper! My grocery store does a regular promotion where you can get 10 bags of their frozen fruits and veggies for $10. Also, there are bags of frozen chicken breasts that (when on sale) are quite a bargain. You can also get some good veggies in the canned food section - look for low sodium. A can of tomato soup with a little cooked pasta, some black beans and taco seasoning can be (fairly) healthy and inexpensive.

I should note that I'm not a nutritionist, so maybe this isn't the ultimate best option, but it would seem to be better for you than just noodles or potatoes.

I hope this helps a little.

HLAMBERT47 SparkPoints: (83)
Fitness Minutes: (20)
Posts: 10
6/8/13 6:38 P

I'm 23 years old and just got my own apartment for the first time. Once my bills are paid I have almost no money left for food. I eat a lot of instant noodles and potatoes, stuff that is really cheap. I hate it, I want to have fresh fruits and veggies so bad but I can just rarely afford them. I gained a little over 100lbs in a VERY short amount of time, mostly due to losing a good job I had and I started drinking almost every night which led me to binge eating. I would eat as much as a large pizza and breadsticks to myself. I am still counting calories but my meals are just odd, basically whatever I can find to keep myself from starving. Also, I have completely cut out drinking alcohol for the time being and I'm hoping that in itself will help some.

(Btw I posted this in another section but thought it was better to put over here)

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