Just Got Paid & I’m Hungry: Meatless on a Budget

So you’re at the store, the deposit went through and that stomach is growling.

Let’s just rewind and see where we went wrong with this fantasy. My number one tip for any “BROKE ‘BODY” is to NEVER shop while hungry. You end spending more than what you’ve budgeted for, and cravings pass on (believe it or not). The latter gives way to many wasted items and funds.

Let’s imagine ourselves full and frugal, got it?

My general shopping list when it comes to food items, are things you can pair up with anything else and have it last for a good week as leftovers. Let’s prepare a list assuming you already have enough of the “essentials” (seasonings, herbs etc.)

My Shopping List
Pasta (any kind – try whole wheat if you’re feeling healthy)
Meatless meat – Brands like Gardein and MorningStar are more common in my area, but try to go for the bags of meat crumbles rather than single items. These aren’t cheap!
Seafood – because I don’t eat meat, seafood is nice replacement and if you’re smart about it, it can’t set you back and you can end up saving a bit. I tend to go for shrimp, talapia and if I’m able to spring, salmon.
Veggies – try to go for filling items (think starch and bright colors)…I’ve seen bags of steamed yams, potatoes, carrots & broccoli combos. These can last a while and taste better than frozen (in my humble opinion). Spinach is also a great saute item and as is for a salad snack. Celery can be added to anything or just eaten alone.
Soup!! A can or box of this is probably the staple of my entire dorm/campus life. If you’re trying to go out of your comfort zone in terms of tomato or lentils, try other lines. Other than the usual Progresso can, I’ve been getting into Pacific Soups. The Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato is pretty awesome, I must say if you want to feel fancy for two days.
If you’re trying to be creative, you can also thrown some stock in the cart as we have veggies and meat substitutes on the list. May it be vegetable or fish-based, these generally last about a week. For the cheap route, Swanson’s are pretty reasonable and simple in terms of ingredients and pricing.
Sweetener/Sugar alternative, such as honey or Blue Agave
Olive & Vegetable Oil
Minute Rice & a big bag of Brown Rice – You’re better off getting the big bag of rice (you’re broke remember) or capping the minute stuff at maybe 6 or 10 pouches. The latter is easier to prepare, however Uncle Ben’s does have a great option for those looking to crunch time – these bagged rice which can be part of two servings for a quick dinner.
Tomato on the Vine – these are a bit pricey but you’ll find yourself using these more often when you taste them! For cheaper but better results (in due time), get your own vine.
A large onion
Trail Mix , and or Fruit Bars or cups of any kind
Eggs – You need your protein remember?
Fruit – apples, oranges, grapefruit

An estimate of these items (if you stick to store brand versions for a few items), can be about a total of $30 to $47 US dollars. Oh and while you’re at it get yourself a store membership card to take advantage of sales. Coupons are never just a mom thing either…

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