So you’ve pared expenses down to the bone. You got rid of your car, the extra phone, and stopped eating out. Every remaining expense has been calculated down to the last penny, and you breathe a sigh of relief that it looks like things will work out after all.
Then the next month’s bills start coming in, and they make your hair stand up. It seems that all those days of sub-zero temperatures this winter have caused your heating bill to double, and the city has added extra fees to your electrical service while you weren’t looking.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. How can you possibly cut anything else from the budget? The only feasible place is the grocery store, and here is a handy list to help you survive without going hungry-for only $40 a week.
Start with protein
Eating meat may seem like an indulgence, but doing so every day will keep you from feeling hungry between meals and you won’t be tempted to eat more. Here is what I bought on my last grocery run:
- A stewing hen: $6.08
- Ground beef (1 lb.) $1.99
- Ground sausage (12 oz.) $1.89
- Beef soup bones (manager’s special) $1.09
- Total meat: $11.05
Don’t forget dairy
More protein plus calcium and vitamin B-12
- Skim milk (1 gal. store brand) $2.99
- Large eggs (18 ct.) $2.79
- Butter (8 oz.) $2.19
- Total dairy: $7.97
Grain is good, too
Healthy carbs, and filling too.
- Old-fashioned rolled oats (store brand) $2.42
- Yolk-free egg noodles (store brand) $1.50
- Italian bread from the bakery: $1.68
- Total grain: $5.60
Can’t pass up the fresh fruit and vegetables
The biggest punch of vitamins in any diet. Root vegetables are fairly inexpensive. Beware of added salt in frozen vegetables.
- Potatoes (5 lb. bag) $4.99
- Apples (3 lb. bag) $3.98
- Carrots (1 lb. bag) .89¢
- Italian parsley (fresh) .98¢
- Tomato paste .68¢
- Total fresh fruit and vegetables: $11.52
Total for a week’s worth of groceries: $36.14
Prices may vary in your area, of course, and you might want to tweak the list to suit your own tastes. Maybe you’d rather have less meat and more veggies? Stick to fresh produce where you can, and hunt down managers’ specials. If you have coupons, use them, but stick to things you’d normally buy anyway. They may be cheaper, even without the coupon.