$28 weekly food budget - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-13-2015, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 131
$28 weekly food budget

Hello all. Due to some unforseen expenses, I will have roughly $28 a week to spend on food until mid-March. However, if I can keep that rate up, I'll be able to be credit card and school loan debt free in about a year and half. The point is, I want your cheapest vegan recipes. I need a lot of them. Please share. Thanks!
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#2 Old 02-13-2015, 05:33 PM
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Some suggestions for relatively cheap vegan dinners

1) 4.5oz soya mince with 6oz pasta, 5.5oz tofu with 6oz pasta, 4.5oz lentils with 6oz pasta.

2) 4oz vegan cheese with 8oz pasta and plant-based milk = vegan macaroni cheese.

3) 2 potatoes/ 1 apple/ 4 mushrooms/ half an onion/ 3oz vegan cheese all wrapped up inside vegan pastry = vegan pie.

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#3 Old 02-13-2015, 06:02 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions, Go Vegan! At $5 per container, I think vegan cheese is a little out of my budget at the moment. I've got plenty of nooch in my fridge, though.
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#4 Old 02-13-2015, 07:43 PM
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Spaghetti with canned tomato sauce, lentils, zucchini, mushrooms on top

Oatmeal, banana, a few tablespoons of sunflower seeds or dollup of peanut butter

baked potato with broccoli and carrot sauce poured over all of it (steam three or four carrots, then blend with 1/4 cup soy milk, water, curry powder, onion, garlic powder for a thick sauce)

canned vegetarian baked beans over cooked polenta (cornmeal); simple garden salad on side. For a dressing, in a pot on stove, heat 1/4 cup peanut butter, a few tablespoons of cider or rice vinegar, soy sauce, water to thin and stir to incorporate flavors. Pour over salad.

sandwich with tomato slices and avocado slices. Make a few and keep the extras in the frig so you don't have to waste any of the avocado. If you can't afford vegan bread, you can make your own by hand for very cheap (I make two at a time and freeze one for later) with very few ingredients, or use a common commercial bread like Sara's or Arnold's that is technically vegan but may have some fillers or sugar.

Scrambled chickpeas, green bell pepper, celery, onion, and diced potatoes for breakfast or dinner, with spices like garlic powder, black pepper, basil etc that are relatively cheap.

I have found some of the following foods at my local dollar store (all for a dollar each):

6 pack single serve boxes of raisins
canister of oats
aseptic cartons of organic plain soymilk
packages of roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds with shell on
dried beans
canned beans
spaghetti and macaroni
cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauces
rice vinegar
lb of brown or white rice
cliff bar
frozen vegetables and fruits
small 6oz cans of organic coconut milk (Thai brand no kidding!)
corn flour (can make corn tortillas with just corn flour (masa flour) and water and add beans and sauce over them)
canned pumpkin (I love to mix this with a banana, cinnamon, and cooked white beans for breakfast)

Sometimes a simple macaroni salad with canned diced tomato, black beans, olives, and some kind of vinegar can be very satisfying.

I have to say though that $28 is pretty sparse for a week of food. Ouch! Is there some way family can help? Or maybe a local food shelf?
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#5 Old 02-13-2015, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2014
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Originally Posted by Naturebound View Post
I have to say though that $28 is pretty sparse for a week of food. Ouch! Is there some way family can help? Or maybe a local food shelf?
It is a lot tighter than I'm used to lately, but it's not the end of the world. If worse comes to worst, I've got plenty of dried beans, and I'm sure I can bum a few meals from the family. It's only for a month. There are plenty of books that claim to make this sort of meal planning possible (such as "Vegan on $4 a Day") so I'm sure I can get through it.
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#6 Old 02-13-2015, 08:46 PM
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I guess a month doesn't sound too bad. I lived on that for a grocery budget when I was in my very first apartment in 1992-1993 (granted that was a long time ago when prices were cheaper than now) and in my second year of college at Ohio State University and it was tough. I remember back then living on ramen noodles, fried vegetables and potatoes. I had to walk everywhere, couldn't even afford the bus. I had a coworker at the university library that knew of these book clubs that would meet at various houses near campus and they provided free food/potlucks with the meetings so we would go just for the food lol. I didn't even read half the books they discussed. I was just so hungry I would do anything for a meal. I really feel for anyone in that situation. Years later (as an omnivore), when I was broke I signed up for some program where you could get some produce and other food for $15 a month through some county program and you had to meet income guidelines which I did. A lot of it was not vegan but some was. You had to fill out an order form ahead with your choices of what they had and send it in and then pick it up on a certain date at a designated location. I can't remember what it was called.

I wish you the best with it. If you lived close by I would feed you. My omnivore husband doesn't eat half of what I make....grrr.. and I love to feed people. I was giving some of my food to a homeless guy camping out at the fitness center for a while during the cold spell recently but the cops chased him off eventually and I haven't seen him since.
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#7 Old 02-13-2015, 10:10 PM
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If you shop at Hispanic and Asian markets, the prices are much lower than at regular supermarkets (Ralphs, Vons, etc.).

Hispanic markets have very good prices on all types of dry beans, and rice. Vegetable and fruit selection is good.

Asian markets usually have an incredible selection of vegetables and fruits, at very good prices.

When I got my first apartment in the mid-1990s, my grocery bill was only $10 to $15 per week. I was already a vegan, which helped. Also, I lived in an African American community, where leafy green vegetables were very inexpensive (3 big bunches of mustard greens for $1).

Here are some inexpensive dishes that I used to make:

Boiled/nuked potatoes with a little salt or ketchup

Lentils and brown rice

Soup: Lentils, onion, mustard greens or kale, canned tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce, which is too sweet for soup), with soy sauce and red pepper sauce to taste

Stir fry: Onion, lentils or tofu, celery, and mustard greens or kale. Homemade sauce made from soy sauce, white vinegar, and ginger (many recipes available on internet)

Spaghetti with lentils and canned spaghetti sauce (sometimes cheaper than jar spaghetti sauce)

Natural peanut butter on brown bread (this is more expensive)

Here's what I learned from that time:

1. Dry grains are way less expensive than pre-made grain foods (like bread and cereal)

2. Large dry beans take a looong time to cook. That's why I stay with lentils - they require no pre-soaking, and they cook in 45 minutes or less.

3. Homemade sauces are easy to make, and are way less expensive than pre-made sauces

4. There's nothing cheaper than potatoes. If you shop around, you can find 10-pound bags of russet potatoes for $1 or $2. Just remember that potatoes are low in calories, so remember to eat plenty!

Potatoes are dirt-cheap. Here's an interesting video from Washington State Potato Commissioner Chris Voight, who ate nothing but potatoes (with a little oil and some condiments) for 60 days. He did this in order to prove that potatoes are healthy, and surprisingly nutritionally complete. In this video, he buys a week's worth of potatoes for $7.50:
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Last edited by David3; 02-13-2015 at 10:28 PM.
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#8 Old 02-13-2015, 10:17 PM
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Big bags of brown rice and dried beans, produce in season, frozen veg are all cheap and stretch for lots of meals. Pasta on sale, potatoes, oatmeal, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, winter squash, all filling and often inexpensive.

Things like microwaving a potato and putting precooked pinto beans and frozen veg on top is a quick meal. Same with rice: if you have freezer space, cook a batch and freeze portions. Then you chuck whatever beans, lentils, or peas you have around on and some spices or balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Peanut butter and a little fruit or jelly in oatmeal or on bread is filling amd yummy. I wouldn't worry about recipes too much, just combine a grain, a legume, and some inexpensive fruit or veg. Onions are inexpensive and a little can go a long way to flavor.

Your budget is very small. Please make sure you eat enough food. $4/meal is pretty tight. I'm impressed by your goals, best of luck!
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#9 Old 02-14-2015, 08:09 AM
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Just for yourself right?
So much depends on your resources. I shop mainly at Aldi and feel thats very doable

Soup. carrots can be .50 cents a lb. Potatoes are cheap, dried beans or lentils. I just grate some veggies into the water and use discount store dried garlic, onion, sage ... If you sautee the veggies and spices before adding water it'll kick up the flavor a bit.
Make soup thick
Rice, or other grains and/or pasta with whatever veggies are on sale or discounted. Frozen spinach is usually a dollar a box.
Save up whatever condiments you get, even from friends. I get all my red pepper flakes for instance when I'm asked if I want pizza. They'll give handfuls of packets Same with soy sauce, hot mustard and sweet sour sauce.
Add some peanuts or sunflower seeds.

Peanut butter makes a good sauce thinned with water or non dairy milk- add the condiment packet of choice

For go the ramen noodles- any dried pasta cooks that quickly and is so much better for you (packaged ramen is full of bad fats)

Don't say no when offered fruit or other non vegan items. When in food discussion you can say how you'd like to try something and often people will say they'll bring you some. I've tried many ethnic foods and spices this way.

I would go to a food cupboard to supplement

Cream of wheat and oatmeal can be very cheap when generic.
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#10 Old 02-25-2015, 07:51 PM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 131
Just as an update, everything worked out just fine. My boyfriend (who has been out of work since summer) was starting a new job, and so we had to pay to fix his car. His training was supposed to be about an hour commute each way (which would mean a horrendous amount of money for gas.) Luckily his car was an easy, cheap fix and his training got changed to being ten minutes from home. It was such a relief, followed by him getting his state tax return today. Then a program we had signed up for was cancelled due to weather, so we got money back. I still need to budget, but nowhere near as drastically. Thanks for all the advice!
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