As the New Year is upon us, many will be making their New Year's resolutions. If you haven't decided on one as of yet, I invite you to join a challenge.
The challenge: Make and follow a 3 meal a day menu for less than $200.00 a month. This has to include all things eaten for one person for a month. In this you may include one bottle of one a day type vitamin unless you can compensate with food items.
Are you up to it? I hope all will try.
Good luck to you and I hope you will share your results with us.
Sounds like a good idea to me. I could stand to lose a few pounds.
Let us know how this turns out. I have been doing a pantry list, and I may just be able to do an entire month for 100 a person.
No prepackaged foods though. Things like hamburger steak, baked potatoes, homemade pizza, bbq chicken, baked beans, deviled eggs. I am getting creative. It is doeable.
Save money, lose weight, help others. Yeah, I CAN do this.
one-a-day vitamins aren't as healthy as many think. our system will only process so many vitamins per day . as for eating 3 meal a day menu, that isn't really healthy either. the human body works better and more efficiently if we eat 5 times a day in smaller amounts. eating 3 meals a day doesn't mean you will lose weight, in fact it will probably cause weight gain so i'm thinking i'll pass on this challenge.
Oh, done and done.
I already spend less than $400/mo for myself, daughter and pets that I feed. Being a single mom for past 16 years, I have bargain shopping and penny-stretching down to a fine art. Didn't mean to put a kabbosh on the topic, just wanted to post my 2cents worth . . . .
It is a tough thing to do, and i normally spend around 250/275 on groceries a month which includes tissue, soaps, h&b products for my family.
I am going to try to do a budget for as close to 100 as I can, not any more than 150.
the idea behind the challenge is to gain ideas on how to save. Maybe, this would be information that others could use. Like recipes, substitutions etc.
And, you put this under social issues why exactly?
This is a personal issue, not a social issue. Secondly, many people are unable to take vitamins due to the fact that they are prescription medicine for others things.
Top of the day to you Cags, hope you are enjoying it to the max.
I put this under the social issue category for the fact that many are forced to live on much less. We have a problem that is not being met with a solution and it is an awful one.
With this challenge, I was hoping that we could gain some much needed ways we can start to fix the problem.
It is no fun when a person, man woman or child, is forced to lay down with a tiger.
Cags, part of the problem is there is also fraud or flaws with the system.
As far as the vitamin thing, ideally one should get their dailys from their diet. Again, one faced with not much food would fall short on a simple, yet needed thing.
You see, even with this challenge, you noticed right off the bat, the hidden, meaning. It is a choice one or the other. Food as all need or medicine which all need. Vitamins I believe would fall under the medicinal category.
So Cags, are you up to it? Want to join the challenge? You can do it. I know it.
Good day to you too and hope you're enjoying it as well.
You seem to be misinformed, as like many others are also. No one is forcing people to live on much less and to think that they are being "forced" as you say, is pure distortion and misinformation.
Want to fix the problem, then I suggest taking a stand on fixing the educational system in this country, because without it, things will only get worse.
I'm figuring your use of "tiger" is a metaphor. Now why don't you tell me it's implied reference?
Yes, there's always fraud and flaws in any man-made system. But, that fraud is less than you might think, not more than it appears.
Then there would be no need to take a vitamin, so you've just contradicted yourself, which means there's no sense in continuing to have this conversation with you.
Everything begins with choice. Food is needed, there's no doubt in that and at times, so medicine(herbal or prescription) is also needed. Vitamins don't belong in the categorizing of medicinal. It belongs in personal health. It's not medicine per say.
No, simply because you're misunderstanding of the economy, it's products available and unrealistic goal of $200 per month isn't rational or make sense.
I must have indulged just a bit too much. (not alcohol)
Tiger: Yes, one can't focus when their stomach is growling at them like a hungry tiger.
Fraud: Here, from where I live, what I see day in and day out, it happens. Less than what I might think? Just the opposite Cags, I would have argued til blue in the face if someone told me they bought that big diamond ring with food stamps.
How do you figure I contradicted myself? We need food. We need vitamins. Period. Without either, the body, over time, will start to fall ill. In a perfect environment, we will get the proper nutrients from the food we eat, however, there are some who do not have that luxury, and as a thought, and to help the body compensate for the lack of vitamin/mineral, one might want to think of a supplement. Either way, the ingestion of which usually comes from food, and the reason why I included it with a dietary budget.
Choice: I have echoed this for years. With the exception of children, they do not have much say so in how their parents ignore their needs and with the elderly. No explanation needed there, I hope
Cags, I am one who lived 2 years after the death of my parents unable or mentally stable enough to return to the workforce. I lived on a lot lot less. It can be done. No, you will not eat steak and eggs three meals a day, no you will not have to live on noodles, even though they are good, ....you can have 3 meals a day, balanced, probably for 150 a month per person. This does apply to those that have the means to prepare food. A homeless person may or may not have a way in which to prepare food, therefore, his/her budget would have to include prepackaged food. Oh, I can hear it now, a loaf of bread and a roll of bologna. YUK. for starters.
Most one-a-day vitamins are OTC but the cost will delete much of the $200.00 budget. If you break down into daily amounts this averages out to about $6.00 a day. Most pay near that for a cup of starbucks coffee.
What about those that come in big bottles of at least 30 pills? If I am not mistaken, they cost around $10.00 to $12.00 bucks a bottle. It is my understanding they provide the needed vitamins and minerals for a day.
Coffee. That isn't in my budget. (I do not drink it).
Seriously, geo, how bout it? Gonna plunge with me?
Sorry but I only get $100.00 per month that's only $3.00 a day. My budget is stretched too thin as it is.
Yeah, $200 a month for food and I'd be as fat as a pig!
And they reckon everything is so much cheaper in the US too.
Not any more John.
Everything is expensive these days.
Hello Mr Mason,
Hope you are enjoying the day today.
Are you up to the challenge? It's tough. I have been thinking a lot lately of the misfortune of others. It is sad.
I am right now trying to "build" a pantry list.
This is doeable but will take some creativity. We can.
Up to it?
That is pretty much the budget now.
There are two of us here and we spend four hundred a month for food and pretty much all personal necessities. There are times when I splurge and we get a lil more food or other items. But it pretty much has been about 200 a person for years now.
I should probrably designate a lill more money for it though. My mother is old and diabetic so her diet is med condition approp. And since the heart issues and hypoglycemia, I have been trying to eat a lil better and a lil more.
But so far so good.
Good luck to you and your mom.
I miss mine every day more and more.
Me, too, John. My wife and I have used a $300 per month budget for some time now, and although it's getting a little thin sometimes we still stick to it.
If you indeed only spend 100 a month on food, would you care to give us a sample of one days worth of meals.
Breakfast-2 eggs, 2 slices toast, 1 glass water
Lunch- 2 packs Ramen noodles mixed w/1 can soup
Dinner- Same as lunch
Total cost $3.25
This leaves about 1 week of even less
Ok, but where are the nutrients? On this diet one will fall ill quick.
I like a little corn with my ramen.
What ever nutrients are present. In order to eat properly for my hieght and weight I should eat between 2500 & 2700 calories per day( those numbers are from a registered dietician in town. Try to find a place that will let you but that much food for $3.00 a day and I'll buy my food there!
I don't know where to begin!!
That is the biggest waste of money I can think of.
How much do onions cost? Rice and lentils? Tins of tomatoes? Greens?
Let's start at the beginning. Onions are ok but not in every meal.
Rice and lentils are mostly starch and nutrient low. Tins of tomatoes cost about 1.25 per( more than a third of my daily budget) not cost efficient. Greens? at 2.25 per pound way too expensive and they spoil quickly.
Anything else I can clear up for you?
Onions not every meal but two eggs a day is acceptable!!
Rice and lentils are stuffed with protein and not nutrient low. How are noodles for nutrient?
A tin of tomatoes will easily do two meals, and how much do you pay for a tin of soup or a packet of noodles?
And I suggest that you buy greens in much smaller quantities.
Soup- in can-$.89 or more
noodle packs- $.20
Too much starch in rice and lentils to offset for the little bit of protein in them.
Peanut butter is also a main staple I use a lot of.
As for greens, smaller amounts equal a higher price.
Bulk rates are actually much cheaper
Boy oh boy! Too much starch in rice and lentils! Ramen noodles are almost pure starch and little else.
When you have to use noodles as a basic food, you cut starch in any way you can
Then use rice and lentils as your basic food. They are actually much better for you than noodles providing fibre which will help with some of your aliments.
Trust me, I'm not a doctor.
John, I for one do not like rice. Period.
I will take my chances though with the noodles.
Dried pinto beans, cooked of course, are also an excellent source of fiber.
If you don't like rice, you can always try pearl barley which you can use in exactly the same way as arborio rice, to make risotto. And it's much cheaper than arborio rice, at least it is in my part of the world!
Are the ramen noodles you're talking about the moist, ready to eat flavoured ones that come in small packets? I use flat dry rice noodles instead - just boil them for a minute to soften them and drain them. While the noodles are boiling, stir fry a load of chopped veggies (onions, garlic, peppers, spinach, cabbage or whatever) before adding some stock and then finally the drained noodles. If you want a bit of protein in there then either use meat (stir fry this with the veggies if it's raw rather than left over cooked meat), or prawns or peanuts.
Another cheap meal I like to make is soup - a nice cheap and filling one is leek and potato. Fry chopped leeks and a small handful of chopped onion, and add stock after a minute or so and then add several small peeled, chopped potatoes. Simmer for half an hour or a bit longer, then blitz with a hand-held blender. Add grated Cheddar cheese if wanted.
I am a big believer in using leftovers - e.g. roast a chicken on day 1, make curry out of the leftovers on day 2, boil the bones up for stock and then use the stock for gravies, risottos, chillis or pasta sauces.
That should read "if you want more protein" vegetables contain plenty of protein.
Surely it depends on the vegetable? Legumes, yeah. But onions, peppers and spinach?
Weight for weight spinach is higher in protein than minced beef.
Peppers and onions both have a reasonable amount of protein in them.
No way LOL!
Spinach has 2.2 grams protein per 100 grams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinach)
Minced beef has 24 grams per 100 grams (random weight loss site - http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/ca … d-Beef.htm)
I have to admit, I'm surprised that spinach has any measureable protein at all but there's no way it contains as much as meat!
Depends how you look at it, 100 calories of spinach has 12 grams of protein whilst 100 calories of minced beef has 10 grams of protein.
Whoops, I did say weight didn't I? Durh.
According to Wikipedia, spinach contains 23 calories per 100 g serving.
So 100 calories' worth of of spinach contains (100/23) x 2.2 g of protein = about 9.5 grams
According to that weight loss site, 100 g of cooked minced beef contains 286 calories.
So 100 calories of minced beef corresponds to (100/286) x 100* grams protein = approx. 35 grams.
*EDIT: that should say (100/286) x 24 grams protein, i.e. 8.4 grams.
Blimey, you're right. Spinach does come out ahead when you look at it in terms of calories, albeit only slightly.
The amount of sodium in this diet is extremely high with the ramen noodles and a can of soup. It could be contributing to your health problems. I think John has given some good advice as far as lentils and rice. Pinto beans are also a good source of protein. The sodium content is much less and these foods provide protein which helps give your body a healthier 'fuel'.
1 package of ramen noodles contains 1960 mg. of sodium, which equals 82% of daily limit. The daily recommended limit is 2300 mg OR only 1500 mg daily if over 51, black, have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
I, for one, do NOT use the whole of the flavor pack. Only about half, most of the time I just use the noodles plain as a filler.
Firts of all: Congrats to all contributors for these lively contributions :-)) As for your "diet", geord, it could easily be popped up with just a small portion of vegetables and a fruit once per day. Bananas would do too. No vitamin pills needed.
Can you do it for a month and then let us know how it works?
What kind of food to eat?
Vitamins to take?
There are three people in my family. You can give us a list and directions.
I would read it. I will be leaving soon, but would look at it, if you do it and let us know the results.
I've been doing it for five years. It's NO FUN and you get sick of ramen noodles quickly. Also this is not by choice, but by what I get to spend for food.
I am sorry about that, I pray that more good things happen for you. I will do that.
This is the reason behind the challenge. Many people do not realize what others go through just to survive.
Some say it is by choice one lives this way. In some cases, yes, I can see how, but the majority of people who are forced to live on less, much less is not by choice.
I lived for 2 years, raising a teenaged son, (not old enough to work) on less than 300 a month. That had to include utilities and food. My home is paid for. If I had had to pay rent I would not have been able to survive.
This is a hard challenge for many, but for just as many it is a way of life.
I would like for everyone to see if they can do the challenge and let us know things like meal plans and so forth. Many people could use this kind of assistance.
Here is a recipe for a ramen based meal that tastes pretty good but is a bit more expensive.
2 packs ramen noodles
1 pound ground beef
1 bag frozen veggies(I prefer broccoli and cauliflower mix w/ carrots
Put beef into boiling water with the flavor packets to cook
When beef is almost done add the noodles( I break them up)
when noodles are done add veggies
heat until veggies are hot through out but still crunchy( adds a little body to the meal)
Do you mind me asking what your disabilities are? I work for a company who may can be of help to you. Are you able to drive?
Asthma, A protruding vernal hernia, diabetes and thanks to the doc over-medicating me, weight. And yes, I can drive.
geord, why musi it be RAMEN noodles? Did you consider any kind of pasta, there are so many varieties, makes some change and they might even cheaper than ramen. Cook them in the soup, adds flavor!
Wish you all the best from Switzerland :-))
@auktionator Here Ramen cost only $2.25 for a dozen packs. Other pastas are a bit more expensive.
OK, didnt know :-)) Things may seem very different here and there. Keep up struggling :-))
Mom101 great post to start with. I have already done the challenge and it can be done but you will live a very frugal life style. I see figures from people that show that NC must have some very high food prices because you can't buy food here for some of the prices I see posted.
Most Americans don't get $200.00 in food stamps. Most get a lot less. Fraud is much more wide spread than you would ever believe. I have reported at least 50 stores in 7 states in the last year. Less than a mile from my home until recently you could buy tobacco products and gasoline with food stamps. In big cities like New Orleans for example people stand on street corners to buy food stamps for half price. In the tenderloin district of San Francisco it goes on on each day food stamps are issued.
You see I have worked with the poor and hungry for the last 18 years. I live with these issues every day of my life and I appreciate your forum post Mom101 I really do. Thank You
I wish there was no fraud. How horrible is it to steal from the poor? The ones who are struggling to feed their children? I cannot even immagine.
I am on disability because of epilepsy.
Had brain surgery in Sept. 2010. My disability insurance would not pay for all of it because it was not in one of the hospitals that it covored. It was at the Cleveland Clinic and was just a bit over $250,000. So, I am also on bankruptcy.. I spend over $250 on medicine, $700 on bankruptcy payments, and also lost my house because of all these things. My epilepsy is so bad, my seizures include breathing stopping. The worst one was two minutes. This one was in the hospital. The nurse started to help me breath. My heart did not stop, so it was not one of those starting to die incidents. But, it is horrible that people fake problems so they can be put on disability! I put my pictures up, but it is never a close up ( except for hub on epilepsy), because I have a large dent in my head, where part of my brain was removed. I still have to take a lot of medication, because there are lesions on most of the left side of my brain. So, I just do not understand why people fake, being on disability. It hurts people who are on it because they need to be on it!
Actually, here in Ohio you can. In the next county over one of the farmers sends his cows over to a butcher, who butchers them. You can buy 1/4 or 1/2 of a cow. Have not bought one yet. My freezer is too small. They are supposed to be good. None of the problems cows in factories have. They don't live on dirty floors. Just graze on grass.
Wow! You really touched a nerve with this one! Many seem to be really upset by any implication that there is inequality in our system. Whenever anyone brings up food consumption it stirs up a hornet's nest!
You know, they say that 2 can eat as cheaply as one and we are proving it in this household. We spend about $100 each week on food from the grocery store so we are averaging $200/month each. However, I know our diet is not as healthy as it could be and I didn't include vitamins we buy in this figure. One of us is over 80 so has special diet and medicine considerations. Still I think we're doing very well, and can continue to do better. Oh, and we go out to eat about 3 times a month and I know that puts us over the limit. I'm pretty much satisfied with how we eat.
I see the point you make. I don't know why people want to argue with your challenge - either do it, consider it, or don't! It's simple. And yes, there are many people out there I know of who have to decide between paying their rent and getting enough food and medicines each month. They are forced to make these choices because our social plans don't consider their needs important enough. I blame it on the purity of our capitalism and the lack of planning for everyone, including better education to eliminate poverty. Good luck to you and I appreciate your challenge because I am always thinking this way too!
I just found out that my food allotment has been raised since I lost my benefits. NOW I can eat like a real person.
After reading this thread, I see that hubby and I are spending WAY too much on groceries!
That's me. I was major shocked to sit down and keep a tight count on what we spend on an average month.
My new years thingy this year is goin to spend no more than 150 this jan. That will be for 2 people. I dread it already. I normally spend at least 100 on just sodas.
Well, I was thinking about low-carbing for 2012, but that's an expensive diet. Meats and cheeses are the foundation.
If you have a problem with blood sugar, you may want to rethink this.
Too much protein for a diabetic, will cause the person to what is called, throw ketones. Other than that, this is a great plan.
My mom could eat 24/7. Anything. Evrything. Never gain an ounce. Me,, I just smell food and can feel the scales goin up up up.
Good luck with the low carbing idea. It is a challenge to learn to not sandwich. I tend to be more of a salt/carb snacker rather than a sweet one. (That makes me sound like a bad person)..lol
Reasonable but challengeable. People who can achieve it for a whole year is smart. Ok, then, why not?
OK> Got my plan worked out on paper. Oh what a deal this was. Its not that bad, 4 days a month of "cooking" then, just heat n eat. I like it.
Menu? Lots' s of good stuff, and I don't mean diet stuff.
Going to start it the first. You will be surprised at what the final budget amount is.
I do however have to forego my "soda". But, I figured in a big bottle of pain reliever to compensate and to keep the headaches at bay.
Are you sure that your headaches aren't caused by your rather large intake of soda?
Probably so. Ya know, I prefer unsweetened tea over soda, the thing is, sodas are just more handy. This helps in a busy schedule.
Since it is a deal, we should take care of it carefully. Heating leftover, or say, ready-made food, doesn't count. It is really unhealthy. I hardly use micro-wave. Many diseases, including fatal and non-fatal, are caused by little details of living, but people including doctors fail to find the reason. Is it sad? We should know: to prevent is over to cure.
No no Hui, no ready made around here. I share just about the same view as you on the microwave.
Years ago, I bought one, and thought it was as handy as a button on a shirt. BUT THEN, I invited our local Dr. to give a presentation at the weight loss group of which I was in charge of, one of the ladies asked about how healthy microwaved foods were. His answer shocked a lot of us. He said, it is normal for those that use them to stand near them and maybe look inside as the food cooks. He said there had been studies to show that by doing this, they increased their risks of cataracs (misspelled I know) two fold. So, out went my new found "foe".
I am more or less an old fashioned cook. I grew up in a large family where the amount of food we had to cook at one time was enough for my son and myself to live on for at least a week. Those habits are hard to get away from. Things like meatloaf, soup, spagetti sauce and the like as well as several vegetables can be cooked say on a Sunday and refrigerated and are easily heated in a double boiler or so.
Sorry about misunderstanding you. My mum always warns me of the harm of microwave, so I only occasionally use it for the necessary. You put a scene in my head with your big family cook. I guess you might have felt tired back then, but now you got warm memory. But keeping dinner for next days may not be a good habit. There used to be a TV health program talked a lot harm about overnight dinner. I assumed them right.
Warm memories indeed.
Several foods freeze very well and safe. All i do (or will do) is grab something out of the freezer that morning, lay it in the sink, and by evening it will be thawed enough to toss in a pot or pan or oven, whichever need be, for a few minutes while I get "undressed" from work and get redressed for dinner. (Usually shorts n tee shirt).
If you want to save money and improve your health, 'can' the soda and drink water.
You will notice a difference in how you feel. I never buy soda or drink it. I notice people who drink large quantities often complain about their health.
I am with you on this one. I have gone without them in the past and did feel soooooo much better.
I just can't drink unflavored water. I have tried so many times. Unsweetened tea if my beverage of choice. I have tried the green teas, but can't get used to them.
On occasion, I can drink water and seem to not be able to get enough of it. But, that is rare.
in general, the healthier the foods the more it is expensive so that makes it more difficult to budget the money.
Ok, half a month and my goal was $200.00.
I have spent $75.00 and have been eating just fine.
I plan to finish with around $150.00.
Haven't been dieting, and haven't had the first box meal as yet. Kinda. I like to eat ramen noodles for a snack, so if you consider this box food, then that would be it.
Tonight for supper we had BBQ pork ribs, baked beans, potato salad. brocolli/cauliflower with ranch for dipping, and deviled eggs.
For lunch, we had homemade chicken salad, ritz type crackers, and a pepsi.
For breakfast, I was in a hurry so we had bacon and egg sandwiches.
Anybody doing this challenge? If so, how you doing?
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