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$5.31 Left Until Payday

Updated on March 28, 2018
Tilly Rogers profile image

Tilly Rogers is a mother, writer and thrift loving woman! She has a B.A. from UNC Charlotte with a B.A. in Education.

$5.31 Left Until Payday

So what are you going to do?

You still have two days to s t r e t c h that $5.00. It's easy to swing by the local garbage pit serving up a heart attack in a bag. You think about the dollar menu and remember your vow to yourself to make better food choices.

So What are you going to do?

You're going to get scrappy!

With $5.00 you can make enough meals to make it to the end of the week.

Shopping List (Meat Lovers Chili)

  • 1 to 2 lbs of ground beef (2.00)
  • 1 bag of whichever dried beans (black, pintos, navy, red kidney) are the cheapest (1.00)
  • small onion, jalapeno (.30)
  • small bag of carrots (1.00)
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce or paste (just the small can of tomato without seasoning - you pay extra for the dash of spices they throw in there!) (.50)

12 servings for ($4.80) That's 40 cents a serving.

Shopping List (Healthier Cheaper Vegan Chili)

  • Seasonal Vegetables (in summer zucchini or yellow squash, in winter broccoli or cauliflower (1.25)
  • 1 bag of whichever dried beans (black, pintos, navy, red kidney) are the cheapest (1.00)
  • small onion, jalapeno (.30)
  • small bag of carrots (1.00)
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce or paste (just the small can of tomato without seasoning - you pay extra for the dash of spices they throw in there!) (.50)

12 servings for ($3.55) That's 30 cents a serving.

Show Me How the Magic's Done

I have heard people complain again and again about "Ohh....I don't want to soak beans!" as if there is something hard about it. It's literally putting beans in a large bowl and putting water in (a semi-trained spider monkey could do it!). If that's the hardest thing you have to do today than you have a very easy day ahead of you.

The reason we soak the beans is to soften them so they cook quicker. They can sit on a counter (covered to avoid dust, a gnat or a nosy cat) for an hour, all day, over day or twenty-four hours. It's actually impossible to soak beans wrong (again think spider monkey).

Okay, What's Next?

Now you want to cook the beans. The time it will take depends on how long you soaked them. The more soaking time = the less time they need to cook.

3 Easy Steps (Note: NEVER ADD SALT to the BOILING WATER or the beans won't soften.)

1. pour out the water they were soaking in.

2. put them in a large pot with double the amount of water (don't get obsessive, just eyeball it).

3. boil them on medium high heat for 40 minutes - to a hour and a half (again depending on soak time).

Side Note for Busy Moms

Use your time most efficiently

1. soak your beans over night

2. cook them when you first wake up (even before you make your coffee).

3. Set an alarm on your phone for 1 hour (it's easy to forget something on the stove when mornings are particularly busy).

4. Store them in the refrigerator until it's time to prepare the whole dish.

Putting it All Together

Now that your beans have cooked (eat a couple to make sure they're soft), drain the water (rinsing is optional).

It's time to put it all together.

1. cook the ground beef or vegetables (Vegan) in a large skillet. Add preferred spices (some ideas, garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil).

2. cut up onions, jalapenos and 3 or four carrots (small pieces).

3. Put tomato sauce, beans, meat, vegetables all into a large pot and cook on medium for 30 minutes to an hour. Again it's really impossible to do this wrong.

4. Add salt and pepper

Remember portion sizes.

We are consistently inundated with messages to overeat. 1 cup is a serving size for an adult. If you serve your chili with some raw cut carrots. You'll be living the good life on a dime!


What's your favorite spice to add to chili?

See results

© 2018 Tilly Rogers


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