As the blog clearly shows, I’ve been eating out an awful lot lately. So I’m going to change tack for a little while and show you how you can eat pretty well (and reasonably healthy) even if you’re on a budget.
I just want to note in advance, in some cases I haven’t bought the cheapest available option here, so in these cases I’ll list the cheapest possible options to the side in [square brackets] and when I total up the week, I’ll do the same. Also, this works largely because I am quite happy to eat the same thing for several days, but if you’re not, you can freeze this sort of food and eat it over 2-3 weeks so you rotate through 3 or 4 dishes instead of eating the same dish 4 days in a row 🙂
I assume that you already have basic things like cooking/olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper etc. However I have nominally added $1 a week for the cost of gradually using up these basics.
I also generally assume that I will go out for dinner about twice a week.
General Consumables $1
1 Dozen Eggs $4.10 [$3]
1L Milk $2.60 [$1]
1 Large Tub of Yoghurt $4
3 cans of soup $6
500g Regular Beef Mince $3
2 Heads of Broccoli $2.53
1kg Carrots $1.88 [these will last me a few weeks so the nominal value for this week is really about $0.60]
6 apples $2.53 (I buy whatever is on sale that week)
7 bananas $2.48
1 red capsicum $1.03
1 green capsicum $0.78
2 tomatoes $0.77
2 onions $0.50
4 cans of tomatoes $2.76
1 tub of porridge $4 [$1.55]
500g packet of pasta $1
Total $40.91 [$33.48]
The only way I can eat this way is if I plan in advance and have everything boxed up ready to go. I utilise tupperware extensively, and I really only cook about 1-2 times a week, the rest of the time I just reheat it, which is great, because I’m hardly ever home.
Think about what you’re cooking each night, and whether that will roll through into the next day’s lunch. As soon as you don’t have lunch ready to go, you end up buying it at a cafe or sandwich bar, and then your budget (which may or may not be exactly $40.91) is totally blown. A typical weekly plan for me will look something like this.
A typical day of: oats, banana, pre cooked meal like Budget Pasta #1, seasonal fruit (e.g. apples, mandarins, pears), a boiled egg (I boil several at a time so I can take them cold as snacks – I do know this isn’t for everyone) and a can of soup will cost about $5.40 and total around 1100 Calories. Scale that up according to how much you need to eat (I’m 5’2″ and female, a 6′ active male will probably need to double everything listed above).