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Cheapest Foods/Ingredients?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by WyrmDL, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. WyrmDL


    Feb 15, 2008
    I am a student. I have low income, and I like to eat and cook.

    For the more experienced individuals and cooks, what are your favorite inexpensive foods/ingredients?

    I like onions and garlic. I want to say that most of everything I cook will have onions and garlic.

    Rice, noodles, and potatoes are cheap too. So a lot of times I will just make something with rice, noodles, or potatoes. Maybe beef or chicken. Apparently tri-cut beef is pretty good for being a fraction of the price of sirloin, but I haven't checked the grocery stores if they have that.

    For example, bechamel sauce is pretty inexpensive. Just butter, flour, milk, and spices. Alfredo, on the other hand, is pretty expensive.

    Also, I like eating relatively healthy. Looking forward for your insight :D

    EDIT: I also love salad, but I haven't looked into prices of already prepared stuff, or if I should just make it all on my own. Also note, that I like food to be relatively simple and fast, unless if it's a slow-cook thing, then I'm ok with that too. Shredded beef makes me excited.
  2. Beans are cheap as a mother.
  3. WyrmDL


    Feb 15, 2008
    Beans actually never came across my mind. I'm not really a fan of beans though, but I do like them in chili.
  4. KsToaDangr


    Apr 17, 2007
    Columbia, SC
    i used to live off of what my brother and i called ****up stew. take a pack of ramen noodles(cut up potatoes, rice, or noodles can be substituted), a can of whatever veggies you have on hand, and some type of meat(browned ground beef, diced chicken, diced ham all work well). stir it all together in a pot and boil it until the noodles/potatoes/rice are done, and serve. generally, it'll cost you about $7-8 per day to live off of it.
  5. LaklandBass


    Jan 26, 2005
    grilled cheese can be really cheap and tastes good.

    Also get some mac n' cheese and a bag of peas. make both... mix. save whats left over and warm it up the next day.

    also a lot of stores have the frozen pizzas on sale every so often 5/$10. at that rate its $2 each and if you woof down a whole pizza you're rather full
  6. stir fry is your friend :)
  7. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I buy 90% of my stuff in bulk and make most everything from scratch. That keeps things way cheap.
  8. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002 Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz CA
    costco (or sams if youre not west coast) is the way to go.

    i prefer them for getting like 10lb bags of onions and 6 packs of peppers. dont buy the pre-skinned garlic there. buy the real (3 or 6lb maybe, but it lasts forver). buy a big can (gallon?) of tomato sauce (not diced, but sauce) and you can make like 3 gallons of pasta sauce there. thats way cheap.

    personally, i prefer getting london broil (kind of steak [2.49-3.99 per lb, though boneless chicken breast are sometimes cheaper]). london broil with some onions on a kabab skewer with the peppers (i like anaheim at 1.69-1.99 per lb) directly on the grill (can kabab a couple garlic cloves on the grill... really pretty tasty). thats a great man mean to me.

    if you go potato... just dont always steam them. i say boil and mash, with sour cream (again, costco has jumbo sized ones). you can make and freeze like 2-3 gallons of that **** too. anything you can make in bulk and freeze does well. if you have a vacuum packer, you are in an even better position.

    try to get roommates and convince them to go in with you on bulk store buys. you all save money, and group cooking brings a house together.

    oh- almost forgot... learn to bake bread and pizza dough from scratch. its dirt cheap, and you can get 3lb of yeast
  9. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Beans and rice - what half the world lives off (out side the US of course).

    With pinto beans and black beans and rice (white or brown) you can make all KINDS of stuff.

    Tortillas too. You can get them cheap, cheaper than a loaf of bread.

    Buffalo is way cheaper than steak, and it tastes very similar, and is a good protein source. At least it is cheaper here.

    Also, oatmeal is very filling and cheap.
  10. rr5025


    Nov 12, 2008
    Farmer's markets are your best friend. You can get veggies so ridiculously cheap and not only are you eating healthy but you can really stock up on stuff for stir fries and ect.

    When I was in my apt every friday I would hit up the weekly farmer's market and load up on onions, garlic, peppers, squash, carrots, potatoes and other assorted things. Then I would buy bulk dried beans or snag some from a friend who was a grad student in the ag fields. Rice and noodles I would get from costco. I would also hit up Panera's dumpster for awesome bread. Yes this sounds gross but they put it out as soon as the store closes (they have to bake fresh bread everday), you could literally just grab the bag off of them without it ever hitting the dumpster (even if it did it was bagged so it was ok). Lots of places that bake their own stuff follow this policy so a really easy way to pick up free food and make sure it doesn't get wasted.
  11. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    grits, you can add anything to them and have pure awesomeness.
  12. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    This isn't always true. My local farmer's market is one of the more expensive places to buy produce.
  13. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    Culinary skills are much less important for surviving on a budget than impeccable timing.

    What you are going to need to do is wait around in shopping centres after 3:30 pm. Start with the Bakeries, as they normally shut at 4, spring on them at the last minute and get ahold of whatever you can as cheap as they will give it to you. Whatever the employees are not taking home gets chucked, so they normally don't quibble about the price.

    The next stop is fast food joints, ones that sell hotdogs and donuts. Generally you can get quite a few left over hotdog sausages for nothing, as well as some serious sized bags of donuts for about a dollar. The donuts will generally be good to keep a few days in the fridge, make great desserts (and breakfast :D ), however i'd not recommend reheating the hotdogs at any point in time.

    This one may not apply to you, but in Australia Woolworths supermarkets sell hot chickens. 15 minutes before they shut, these go for about $2 each. These can quite easily be refrigerated and used at a later date, go great in sandwiches for lunch, and also work well in salads.

    As far as fruit and veg, try to hit up some local farmers markets or something as they are generally a bargain, head down just before they close for the day (often around lunchtime) for super deals. Generally fruit and veg lasts a while in green grocers, so they are not keen to get rid of anything, however they quite often will clear out things that have been sitting around a while at a cheaper price.

    My experience, YMMV, I wouldn't recommend living entirely off day-old hotdogs and donuts, however they do help to pad out your diet a little bit and give you more to spend on food for healthy meals :)
  14. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    Thats odd.

    However, I expect the fruit and veg you buy there lasts about 4 times as long, as it hasn't been kept in storage for a month already.
  15. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002 Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz CA
    how did i forget cat food? old people have been doing that for years. so... yeah... eat cat food.
  16. Absentia


    Feb 25, 2009
    Don;t forget to call the numbers on the package for everything you get, complain about it being stale, bad tasting or any number of complains, they will send you coupons for free food.

    You can also steal food from neighbors.
  17. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Raman, canned potatoes, peanut butter, day old bread = your friends.
  18. Ground beef is your friend.

  19. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    rice, noodles, and potatoes
  20. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Unfortunately a lot of the foods I eat are perishable, so buying in bulk doesnt work for me. If I buy some vegetables Ive got to use them up in a few days or rish throwing away stinky broccoli.

    Canned potatos? That cant be very cheap. I prefer to buy a 10lb bag for $1 and have it last me 3 weeks.

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