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The $30 Challenge

October 17, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGroceries for $30 for a week? Are we crazy? After seeing prices on the coast, perhaps! But here in Alabama, yes $30 per week is possible. Comfortable – maybe not. Fine dining – no. But it beats going hungry. This is a monthly amount of $120.

Sample breakfast items (repeat for weekend!):

Oatmeal, water or coffee

French toast, Pancakes or waffles, sausage, egg, water, tea or coffee

Toast, peanut butter, jam, water or coffee

sausage, hashbrowns, toast, water or coffee

oatmeal, scrambled egg, water or coffee


Sandwich, soup


hash browns, cheese, onions, peppers




Spaghetti, sauce, garlic toast (lightly buttered, garlic powder), salad

Casserole – veggies, potatoes, 1/2 pound ground meats

Steak strips, pepper strips, onions and rice

BBQ chicken leg quarters, veggies, salad

potatoes, 1/2 pound burger, veggies

Tacos or burritos

Soup, salad

Snacks/desserts – ice cream, fruit, nuts, oatmeal cookies, homemade muffins


canister of oatmeal – $3

Pancakes or waffles $2 (plus $2 for syrup if desired)

Sausage – $3

coffee – $6 for larger tin (I’m not a coffee drinker!)

eggs – $3 if we bought them

Peanut butter, jam $5

bread $1.25/loaf

potatoes 50# bag $17

soup – under $1 per can (often store brand)

crackers $1.25

peppers 4/$2.80

onions $2 for 3 pounds

cheaper pizza $1.50

Chicken leg quarters – 10 pounds $8.00 (divide into meal servings, freeze)

canned or frozen veggies, or fresh in season $2-3

lettuce $2

rice – $3

steak strips (discount meat counter) $2 (cut into strips!)

BBQ sauce $1.10

spaghetti, sauce $3

burger 2 1/2 pounds $6-7

ice cream $6

fruit $6

nuts $5

Cheese $5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis allows for snacks and although stretched for three people – not generous helpings, but for one person it should allow plenty of leftovers for lunches that are much better than vending machines. Water in the mornings helps with water intake.

One person won’t go through that much potatoes before they spoil – cut up, boil in water for 2 minutes and dry in a dehydrator – these store on the shelf and can be used like boxed potatoes. Done that way, shredded or thinly cut, the potatoes is not an every month item, and the alternate month you could stock up on veggies, meats or other food preferences.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re near a farmer’s stand, that’s another way to get fresh fruits, veggies and other items in season. Eating in season and basic preserving at home can pay off!

Saving money and tight budgets are a challenge, but can move beyond the dollar store fare and fast food! These prices are *not* at a WalMart either – but typical at Bill & Son’s grocery at Carbon Hill, Alabama. We occasionally get a pound cake, cookies or other treat, but it’s not an all the time fare. If it’s not in the house, we don’t eat it mindlessly.

Drink water! Water hydrates us and among livestock folks is said to be the cheapest nutrition we can give. People could benefit from more water too – drinking water with meals and snacks can be of a health benefit and help you feel full.

No doubt it’s a tight budget for three people! But for one or two people, it’s absolutely possible in our normal shopping. Prices when I looked in a store in Ocean City Maryland last winter were a sticker shock, and could be a challenge, but all costs are higher there!

There are benefits to “flyover states” and food prices, food choices are but a couple of them! Get beyond junk food…get healthy!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2013 12:21 AM

    To me, most of it sounds good except the chicken. For quite a long while, a while back, I have made the decision to not eat chicken. That just works better for my life. Your writing here— about food and agriculture , is interesting.

    • October 18, 2013 2:42 PM

      Thank you – and thanks for stopping by. There are deals to be had if we look around. Food choices certainly dictate! It’s not a deal if you can’t eat something or don’t like something. Fish can be an option for some, while others make a mean hearty chili in the winter months especially!

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