Could you feed yourself for $38 a week? Page 1 / 3

mjhdeal, Apr 20, 4:32am
I'm interesting in trying, just to see if I could keep my principles of healthy eating on such a minimal amount.

Gwyneth Paltrow couldn't meet the challenge:

The Rules:
• Limit yourself to US$29 (NZ$38.50) total food budget for the week, per person.
• DON’T accept free food from friends, family or colleagues – this includes food served at work, parties or events you are attending
•DON’T use food you already have in your home* *You may use common spices and condiments already in your pantry.

mbos, Apr 20, 5:05am
Nope. Not now.

lilyfield, Apr 20, 5:08am
yes, easy, by myself.

bedazzledjewels, Apr 20, 5:25am
You could fast for a couple of days!

mjhdeal, Apr 20, 5:35am
Me fast? The world would be a dangerous place to be if I had to go without food ;)

I am going to try it. One week, two people, three meals a day, for $77 - I think it would be quite difficult. Will see if I can budget some recipes first, then start in a week.

buzzy110, Apr 20, 5:37am
I was just thinking that. I have a garden and an orchard. Does that count? I could also, if I learnt how to shoot, eat rabbits and pheasant. I can fish as well and if I was fishing near a beach with kaimoana, I'd gather that. I love watercress and know how to gather than free as well.

I seriously doubt I could eat well on $38 a week if I had to buy everything I ate. Still, if I chose a cheap, fatty meat with bones, cooked it with a lot of vegetables and pulses and ate that for 3 or 4 days for dinner, stuck to eggs (10c each) for b/f, liver and vegetables for lunch, plus did intermittent fasting I could probably come in close to that figure. My DH definitely would rebel on the first day though.

It would mean no glass of wine with a meal, severely limiting coffee (don't drink tea), reducing my butter and eating a lot of sauerkraut which I always have plenty of and shouldn't count as food in the house because I make it.

strebor1, Apr 20, 5:48am
I think it would probably be easier in the winter than the summer, as soups can be very nourishing and also very cheap, but boy it would be some challenge wouldn't it? I guess you would need time to plan it well also, so you made sure you were getting all the necessities out of the food.

cgvl, Apr 20, 6:11am
2 of us here and I spend $60 per week on food, that's all we have after bills, mortgage etc. If I don't need petrol I can have $80. Buys not just food but all other household stuff and personal stuff for us.
We eat very well but I must admit that at least I have a vegie garden over summer which keeps us going for a bit into winter and my neighbours swap fruit with us for vegies.
Idea of winter menu: Chicken enchilada's (home made not from a packet)
Soup Pumpkin, sausages cook 6 and make do 2 meals ie toad in the hole and sausages with vegies, mince makes lots of different meals, ie tacos, nachos, spag bol, plain mince, meat pie, meatballs, patties. bacon and egg pies, pizza make the bases at home. I also do a couple of non meat meals like beans made into patties, fish souffle, fish pie, cheese souffle.
For 2 I buy only 150-200g of meat per meal.

molly37, Apr 20, 7:58am
Good Grief, you are amazing.

brightlights60, Apr 20, 8:31am
Mrs B here. If it was just food, nothing else than yes. Our budget for a family of 4 adults is $250 but that's everything, and with three of those adults female, well you can imagine what some of the budget goes on. We too have a big vege garden, but I figure the majority of people on food stamps in the US would not, just as here, people on the bones of their proverbials probably do not either, its almost a priviledge these days, whereas I thoroughly believe every household should have one!

ruakokopatuna, Apr 20, 8:35am
Yes, do it all the time. Two of us here, I just spent $50 at P'n'S and $70 at Countdown and thats it for two (or three if I push it) weeks!

ritebuy, Apr 20, 8:43am
I spent $35 at packnsave last week my meals consisted of chicken neck stew with all veges from the garden added I don't buy milk or butter or marg or bread I still have mince and a bacon hock soup I made tonight

asue, Apr 20, 11:01am
Guess you could if you live on porridge and soup and not much else. Guess you buy sub standard ingredients. Interesting to see how it would go long term.

cgvl, Apr 20, 11:46am
Budget: $10 4 loaves bread and 3 litres milk, 2x butter on special, bacon 1kg, Pnut butter, flour, rice, banana's, onions, potatoes, coffee, $42 at Countdown but I tend to do this then shop at pak'n'save checking the savings first. eggs $7 a tray at market. This weeks necessities but it could change depending on what I run out of, ie swap rice/flour for tortilla wraps (the countdown $4 ones), buy cheaper coffee etc.
Next week I would buy meat instead of the Pnut butter, flour, coffee, eggs, bacon and rice but I get it from a butcher so approx $10-$20 and vegies from the market approx $6.
I try when I have a little extra to stock the cupboards, I also do shop very frugally, My staples I buy fortnightly or monthly are flour, eggs, bacon, coffee and cheese. Milk and bread are weekly.
If I have eggs, bacon and cheese in the house I have a meal.
Oh and things like liver and kidneys keep the meat bill down too.

mjhdeal, Apr 20, 5:41pm
It is very impressive reading these posts to see how resourceful you lot are.

I'm sure I can do better than just porridge and soup. But I can see my usual choice of free-range eggs and chicken would cut into the budget, badly.

Hadn't considered cutting back coffee in this, oh dear!

The challenge means no food from outside sources, so no veggie garden, no fishing/hunting. You cannot use what is already in pantry/freezer, except spices and condiments.

I don't think oils and vinegar count as condiments so that's another expense I hadn't thought of. Please someone say they do, ha ha. It's the expense of extra things like that, that will make this hard for me.

I've informed the husband we shop Sunday, start eating on our $77 budget next Monday! Eek.

lythande1, Apr 20, 6:50pm
Same here, well not an orchard but I have strawberries, lemons, oranges, cherries, passionfruit and grapes.
We have a winter garden also. Currently growing, miniature silverbeet, beetroot, leeks, caulis, capsicums, potatoes, herbs.
Can grow potatoes all year.

Even buying it all, well pasta and rice are cheap. flour is cheap - I already make our bread, veges cheap at local vege shops.
Chicken pieces at local chook shop - $5 a kg.

It's do-able here anyway.

buzzy110, Apr 20, 10:17pm
If I couldn't 'hunt', fish, gather kaimoana, forage for wild food, scrump, or use what is growing in the garden then I doubt I could do it. At least not continuously. Cheap grain foods (bread, pasta, rice, enchilladas) would leave me in pain for the entire week. I cannot imagine a day without vegetables. The menu given in post #19 would only be acceptable to me if there were plenty of fresh vegetables. The poster didn't mention vegetables which can cost something like $7 - $20per person, depending on the season.

cgvl, Apr 20, 10:52pm
buzzy110 vegies from the garden at moment or buy from market a bag of mixed carrot. cauli, potatoes and parsnip approx $6 lasts us 3 weeks.
We have a lot of frozen tomatoes that I use. So for instance the enchiladas I made for dinner last night, 6 wraps, 1 small chicken breast, ¼ of a large onion, grated cheese, and a jar of enchilada sauce, a a few drops of tabasco for heat. You can add other vege to the enchilada's but I don't always bother but have added in the past peppers, grated courgette and carrots. Followed by yoghurt and peaches.
Tonight I haven't got around to thinking about but it will be carrots and parsnip, potatoes, corn (from garden) and possibly frozen peas (home grown), Meat probably sausages or maybe I will cook the above vege and then make a quiche with eggs for protein.
Another night will be cauliflower crumble, cauli ½ cooked, the a cheese sauce made using some of the cauli water and wholemeal flour, add in corn kernals, onion, and parsley, then pop all into a casserole dish cover with a crumble topping and bake until golden. I would serve with either green beans or a salad depending on what I had in garden and fridge.
We have just finished the last of the beans so have had lots of meals with those. Fish if the budget runs to it is a treat on a friday night.
Saturday night might be pizza, make the bases myself then add homemade plum sauce, cheese, bacon, salami, peppers, olives, pineapple if I have it, and generally make a garlic butter one as well, left overs for lunch or dinner the next night also.
We don't eat a lot of meat, I make rissoles from canneloni beans, with brazil nuts in them and serve with a tomato pasta sauce or plum dipping sauce over spaghetti noodles.

strebor1, Apr 20, 11:04pm
One of the most nourishing things you can eat is chicken soup, made from chicken necks or frames. A lot of goodness comes out of those bones, not to mention flavour. Add some vegies that are in season, and you have a complete meal. There is nothing substandard in that!

clydris, Apr 20, 11:32pm
I could at a push, have done in the past. Don't think I could do it currently, to be able to access food at a low price I need to drive 45mins each way, would spend that whole budget on fuel just to get the food lol.

mjhdeal, Apr 20, 11:41pm
I agree - if I don't have my loads of vegetables I feel unsatisfied and sad :( It's the focus of my meal. I don't know how much we usually spend on vegetables a week. I am guessing $50-70.
I tinkered with meal ideas - ended up with $17 over to buy all our fresh vegetables. So back to the drawing board, cos that ain't never going to work for me.

mjhdeal, Apr 20, 11:43pm
I am planning on doing a chicken, and making stock from leftover carcass and vegetable ends. Not as good as fresh carcass, of course, but it's still something from what would otherwise be waste :)

strebor1, Apr 21, 2:57am
Good on you, some very tasty meals can be made out of "waste".

lazkaz, Apr 21, 7:00am
I do the 21 dollar challenge, making use of what you have and not spending more than 21 dollars, admittedly it is using up everything. I do it every couple of months, I have a son who is flatting and he comes for a meal every week, plus I give him extras to take home. Another son who is a huge but healthy eater, fruit etc . We do not buy biscuits etc as my son needed to lose weight, he lost 34 kgs. I am on a low carb diet, under my dr at the moment and no salt, so that is easy but hard. Soups etc are great, and good for the soul. I cannot have barley or soup mix which is so nice!

lazkaz, Apr 21, 7:02am
Very proud of my son for that, a potato couch, etc, and now going to Uni in July, progress at long last. I had several TIA's and a terrible relux problem, all good now. Lost 3.9 kgs since 2 March,

Share this thread

Buy me a coffee :)Buy me a coffee :)