I know I’m not the only one on here who struggles to even have food sometimes, and I know how scary it is when you’ve only got a couple dollars in the bank and you’re wondering how you’re going to eat until your next paycheck, commission, etc. So here’s what I do when I’ve only got a couple dollars to my name and I need to eat.
All the prices I’m using are from Walmart, simply because no matter how shitty they treat their employees, they do usually have the cheapest prices and I’m pretty sure every state has them…
And before people get up in arms about walmart, as someone who use to work as management staff at another very common grocery store chain, grocery stores keep prices HIGH to give the impression to their shoppers that they aren’t “cheap”, that their produce is “higher quality” than walmart’s even though it comes from the same place, which is pretty shitty as well and when you’re broke you don’t have time to take the corporation’s actions into consideration, you need to feed yourself.
Ramen Noodles: 12 pack for $5-$9 depending on flavor
they are extremely cheap and can be bought in bulk, they are also easily dressed up with other foods like vegetables, eggs or meat (if you can afford it) and even cheese.
Baked beans and toast: 28oz can of beans- $3 Loaf of white bread- (couldn’t find exact price but again, a couple dollars, usually less than $5 )
ok, I got this idea from my friend in the U.K. and I know to people in the US this might sound weird but this is the best cheap breakfast food ever. Gets you carbs and protein to start the day and is actually pretty tasty. Just some cheap white bread and some canned baked beans and butter if you like butter. You can freeze your bread to make it last longer as well
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches: Giant 64oz container of PB - $6 32oz container of Jelly: $2
Peanut butter jelly sandwiches are both delicious and made quickly, plus both peanut butter and jelly last for an extremely long time. You can premake sandwiches and store them in the freezer for a quick grab that’ll thaw by lunch and that will keep your bread from going moldy
Rice: $3 per 5lb bag
rice is a food staple around the world, it’s very cheap, filling, and can be dressed up with all kinds of flavors or eaten by itself. Adding rice as a side dish will help you stretch out your meals longer if you portion it. Feel free to experiment with flavors as well as keeping to the classic rice meals ( rice and beans, rice and vegetables, etc.), try adding rice into soup like dishes to make them more filling as a kind of faux jumbalaya
Potatoes: usually less than $5 for a 5lb bag
potatoes are the single most nutritious food on their own, the skin holds lots of vitamins and minerals while the starchy insides keep you full. Make mashed potatoes with some of the skin left in, baked potatoes, cheesy potatoes… just like rice potatoes are fairly bland and like to absorb the flavors you add to them which makes them very versatile. To make them last longer, place them in the oven for half as long as you would if you were making baked potatoes, allow to cool and then freeze for later use.
Canned Fruit and Vegetables: ~$2 a can
While not the healthiest variation of fruit and vegetables, they are definitely the cheapest. Canned fruit is great for straining and eating straight up or if you’re baking savy with supplies around, great for pies and cobblers. Canned vegetables are easily thrown on the stove and strained for side dishes to your meals.
Frozen Fruit and Vegetables: ~$3-$10 depending on bag size
Not as cheap as canned, but much healthier for you and waaaay cheaper than their fresh counterparts. Frozen fruits are great for smoothies or making a sorbet by just throwing it in the blender with a bit of sugar and lemon juice without thawing. Frozen vegetables are great for steaming and usually taste much nicer than canned.
Macaroni and cheese: Usually on sale for about $1 per box
Mac and cheese, need i say more? Great for side dishes or a filling meal on it’s own, you usually only need to add milk and butter. Add hotdog slices or cooked beef for a heartier meal
Eggs: (walmart says ~$2 for 60 eggs… not sure how accurate that is but if it is accurate then go for it)
Eggs are full of protein and healthy fats and are extremely filling. You can hard boil them to make them last for a very long time. Make egg salads, scambled eggs for breakfast, add eggs to your rice meals or to your ramen noodle meals. Eggs are versatile and cooked in many different ways, you can make your own noodles with just eggs flour and salt and some elbow grease that you can then store in the freezer for later use.
Frozen Chicken: ~$20 for a 10lb bag
Ok, the most expensive thing on this list but hear me out, a 10lb bag usually holds about 20 chicken breasts, making it closer to $1 per breast, so still much much cheaper than fresh and lasts a lot longer. Protein is important to keep on top of when you’re struggling to eat, and while there are cheaper options for protein, sometimes you just get sick of eating beans and peanut butter all the time.
Stretch out your meals, use side dishes, eat left overs first:
Portion control is a MUST when you’re broke. Cooking a large meal and breaking it down into smaller portions to be eaten later not only saves time but money as well. Give yourself balanced meals, Chicken rice and vegetables, rice beans and vegetables, fruit for dessert. Keeping well balanced meals will keep your energy up for when you have to go longer between meals.
Adding side dishes will help your proteins stretch further by filling you up. Rice is a great filling side dish
Use your leftovers! Don’t cook another meal and risk it going bad. Yeah, sometimes that means eating the same meal for a week but remember that wasting the food hurts a lot more.
Check your local food bank!
Do not be ashamed for using resources that are here for you. There is no shame in needing to feed yourself or your family. The more food you don’t have to pay for the more money you have left for your other needs like medication, bills, and emergency situations. You are not asking for handouts, you are using a resource that was made for people in your situation, that is not shameful.You are deserving of food, and tell anyone who sneers at you to fuck off, because everyone has a right to eat.
Women with young children please apply to WIC (women infants and children). The cashiers at the grocery stores are trained to help you figure out which items you can get, they are trained to HELP you. If anyone makes you feel badly report them to a manager immediately, but please do know that WIC requirements are extremely strict and they have to follow guidelines in order to still be allowed to offer WIC products. They are trained and understand that it’s complicated for new mothers on the program, and again, are trained to be helpful, do not be nervous or ashamed to use it.
My heart goes out to anyone else who needs this list other than myself. I can’t give you monetary help so this is all I can do. We are in this together, we can get through this. You will not be desperate for food forever, you will get back on your feet. You can do this.
For the head cannons ... how about the letter M and with Bucky. 💖💖
M for Making you breakfast! Aww. Ok!
- Bucky is a terrible cook. He can pretty much do scambled eggs and toast and that’s about it. For decades food was nothing but fuel.
- Usually you’re the one to make breakfast for the two of you but when he wants to surprise you he sneaks out of bed early and starts with the really simple things: bacon, pancakes. It’d be hard to screw that up, but he reads the box of instructions like it’s a nuclear code.
- Bucky makes the best orange juice. You never buy it by the carton when that metal arm can squeeze every last drop of liquid out of a real orange with ease. (This one’s so silly omg 😜)
- Bucky loves to make you breakfast because he loves when you try to sneak up behind him while he’s cooking and wrap him in a hug. He wants to scoop you up and take you back to bed but then everything will burn, so he settles for your soft hug and bright smile when you steal a piece of bacon.