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When You Have No Money For Food

Last post Wed, Feb 12 2014 9:04 AM by babsagain. 27 replies.
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  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 11:17 AM

    When You Have No Money For Food

     Has anyone here been in such a tight spot that the pantry was low and there was little or no money for food purchases?

    Having been a squirrel in a past life has been very helpful to me.

    No, seriously, I am the product of a family of planners who believed in use it up and stock it up. I learned lots of lessons from my grandparents, other relatives and my mother-in-law.  For all the hard times we have weathered, we have managed to be able to have enough to eat. I have friends though who I have seen struggle with empty wallets and empty pantries.

    What do you do to make it when you have reached that point?

     

    $ Dollar Stretcher Community Manager $
  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 1:08 PM In reply to

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

    My standard response, although I have not found myself in such dire straits, is to always have some dry beans and whole grains. Not only can the beans be cooked and used in a variety of ways, but they can be sprouted for use as fresh veggies. I try to always have some cinnamon, some chili powder, some curry powder, and some soy sauce. Onions are pretty critical to my cooking as well. Also, except for the current extreme cold, I can often go outside and find some weeds which are quite edible, not filling, but good for a change. AM
  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 1:08 PM In reply to

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

    My standard response, although I have not found myself in such dire straits, is to always have some dry beans and whole grains. Not only can the beans be cooked and used in a variety of ways, but they can be sprouted for use as fresh veggies. I try to always have some cinnamon, some chili powder, some curry powder, and some soy sauce. Onions are pretty critical to my cooking as well. Also, except for the current extreme cold, I can often go outside and find some weeds which are quite edible, not filling, but good for a change. AM
  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 1:46 PM In reply to

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

     When going thru my divorce 23 years ago, ex and his girlfriend cleaned out my pantry (and bank account) when moving him out.

    BFF gave me a tube of oatmeal and half loaf of bread alonf with a stick of butter.  That lasted me for almost 2 weeks until my next paycheck. Then I bought dried beans and a jar of mustard.  I didn't know about food pantries in our area or I would have gone to one.

    retired 

  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 2:16 PM In reply to

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

    Retired, wow, more power to you. AM
  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 2:22 PM In reply to

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

    Beans. At my lowest financial point, it was a can of beans one night and ramen with wild onion and soy sauce the second, and keep alternating, adding the occasional can of greens.These were dented cans bought for a dime or quarter. What made it bearable was a huge bunch of expired yogurt I got for a dime a cup. This is why I keep a big stash of canned goods and dried beans. Granny Miller's pantry plan appeals to me as a life-saver and I have a 365-jar plan (with, of course, plenty of beans) worked out for retirement.
  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 2:35 PM In reply to

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

    never been there we always had enough DH and I like Brandy came from prepares DH was born right after the depression and my family were savers we had our house paid for soon after we married and then we opened our buiness we added land and keep it growing 

    Gayla57

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Frugal Food and Cooking and in Slow Cooker Foods



  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 3:07 PM In reply to

    • Mimi
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, May 4 2008
    • Posts 993

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

    Sad to say, I've been there, but it did teach me to learn to like beans and oatmeal!

    The beans and oatmeal suggestions above reminded me of an oatmeal "meatloaf" I posted a few years ago on the Unique Meat Stretchers thread I started.  That was a lifesaver for awhile.  There was also an awesome bean thread and another in there about most useful groceries when you have to scrimp linked to somewhere on that very long thread.  http://community.stretcher.com/forums/t/5698.aspx?PageIndex=1

    Food pantries are there for a reason.  You can always volunteer and donate later when your circumstances improve and you'll know first hand what a difference that makes.

    If you have an Aldi nearby, it is usually MUCH cheaper than other grocery stores, but they don't take credit cards or checks.  (Also bring a quarter for a cart which you get back when you return the cart, and bring your own bags so you don't have to buy them there.)  That is a great place to use a few dollars.

    I like the following article because unlike so many "frugal" articles with "only $5 per serving" recipes, it uses beans, lentils, the cheapest fish (tilapia), eggs and some of the cheapest produce (like carrots, oranges, apples & canned tomatoes) to make cheap, healthy food that doesn't make you feel deprived. A couple of the recipes call for things like pecans that are a special treat, but if I don't have them, I just leave them out. Bottled peanut sauce can be pricey, but I've made homemade peanut sauce with a little peanut butter, water, dried ginger and a dash of vinegar (I think that's all) that works really well on greens (like their recipe), rice, veggies, ramen noodles, etc.

    For the roast chicken, I use leg quarters because they are cheaper per pound here than even whole chickens, and I just drain off and reserve any extra fat to use for gravy or frying in the future.

    http://www.yourlifetodaymagazine.com/FrugalHealthyFood.php

    That reminds me that I learned to save any and all extra fat so that I don't have to spend so much buying it.  It freezes well and adds flavor.

    Homemade soup is easy and saves a lot of money.  Dried onion flakes, salt and a dash of turmeric create a nice slightly yellow base that looks like broth and anything you cook in it will just add to the flavor. 

    Tomato paste with some water and italian herbs & garlic make cheap and tasty pasta sauce.

    Homemade dumplings are cheap and filling.  Same with homemade crackers/biscuits. 

    If I think of anything else, I'll post it.

    Blessings to you all!

     

    "...for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil." Proverbs 15:15b-16 NLT

    The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.--Winston Churchill
  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 3:20 PM In reply to

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

     Back in college that happened a time or two.  I went to the store and bought whatever got me the most calories for the fewest $$.  At one point I lived on sugar, cocoa, flour and 1 lb of hamburger for quite a while.   The meat was in the freezer already.  The cocoa and sugar were in the cupboard along with a few cups of rice.  I bought the flour with a couple of dollars of change I scrounged around the apartment and got a sourdough starter going.   I made bread (thank goodness utilities were included in the rent so I could run the stove as much as I wanted).   I would fry up a tiny bit of the burger.  The first meal was the meat on bread.  The 2nd was the bread fried in the left over meat grease.  Side dish was a bit of rice.  Dessert was rice with cocoa and sugar in it.  For beverages there was water, or on a big day...water.   It wasn't great but it got me through a few weeks until I had a bit more income.  I stuck with the bread making.  I was a great way to get some calories for really cheap.

  • Wed, Jan 29 2014 3:43 PM In reply to

    • Mimi
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, May 4 2008
    • Posts 993

    Re: When You Have No Money For Food

    Something I learned the hard way too is that there is a big difference between short term "get you through" eating and longer term eating with very little money.  The homemade crackers, dumplings, gravy and rice was wonderful for filling me up when I was out of money, hungry and flour was the cheapest thing I could find.  As the weeks stretched into months, I learned that it was crucial for me to find a way to get produce and a variety of protein sources, and while I still really enjoy the dumplings and crackers, gravy, etc. that I learned to make at that time, it can't be the bulk of my diet or my health suffers. Frozen veggies are usually the cheapest with apples, carrots, and bananas sometimes being a good deal. I like the idea of sprouting beans that someone mentioned. I'd rotate protein sources in addition to beans.  One week I'd buy eggs, another a jar of peanut butter, another a bag of frozen chicken leg quarters, that I'd use for soup, casseroles, gravy, etc. 

    Prayers for your friends going through this! 

    "...for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil." Proverbs 15:15b-16 NLT

    The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.--Winston Churchill
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