How to Live on a $10 Food Budget

Johnson.Survivingona$10foodbudgetWe’ve all been there.

Your rent was due and you barely made it this month, running to the bank to deposit that last, seemingly insignificant check before it closed. Maybe you spent way too much money on Wings Over or bought one too many peppermint mochas at Starbucks before you realized you were going for broke. Regardless, when you run out of money, like really run out of money, it’s as scary as it is inconvenient. It makes you become fully aware how much money you use to just feed yourself each week, let alone contribute to your clubs, buy school supplies or pay your gasoline bill.

You’re supposed to be becoming an independent adult during your time here in between parties and classes, so calling up mother for money is not an attractive option, even if you are starving. However, there is always a way to fend for yourself, even with heartbreakingly low monetary funds. Here are some of Valley’s tips for how to eat for week with just $10 alone, even if you still won’t have money for that peppermint mocha. 

1. Scrape your Cabinets

Remember when you first moved into your apartment close to four months, you had so much extra stuff to carry you were miserable? Remember how your parents completely bought you way too many canned goods and boxes of pasta to count? For months, they’ve sat in the back of your kitchen cabinets, with your new, more desirable groceries always standing in front of them. Now that you literally can’t afford to do much shopping, those inferior foods come into play. Scrape your cabinets and it may surprise you what you actually have in the very back that could feed you for a few nights, even if it’s not your favorite thing in the whole world.

2. Carbs & Cans

Unfortunately, with such a low budget, if you buy a decent portion of any sort of meat or poultry, your entire budget for the week is instantly gone. A good thing to stock up in during this miserable time is carbs, because there’s so many different options and they all go for so cheap. For example, At McLanahans, a package of any flavor of rice goes for $1.89, and a package of Stove Top stuffing goes for $2.39. Get a couple of them and you’re set for a while. Also, cans of vegetables, such as corn or green beans and peas, also come to about $1.50 depending on the brand. Make sure you save every leftover you have, too. You’ll be eating this stuff on end for days until your highly coveted paycheck is deposited.

3. McDonald’s

You never thought you would have to stoop so low to consider McDonald’s a quality dinner option, but seriously, you’re desperate here. Continuing on with the important statement you seriously cannot afford any sort of meat or poultry, here is where the McDonald’s dollar menu becomes your best friend. A McChicken, for example, with tax is a $1.06. Get used to greasy, cheap food and you will survive this treacherous time.

4. Ramen

As cliche as it sounds, ramen is best thing ever in times of financial struggle. Being only 40 cents, your $10 will barely even be dented after you buy a few packages for your lunch or midnight snack throughout the week. There’s more than one way to eat ramen too if you’re bored of the traditional standard. For example, try draining it, and then mixing in your packet. It adds a spicy flavor as well as saves you from having a big bowl for all the excess broth.

Photo by Lauren Johnson


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