Shopping on a Budget
1. Bargain food is no bargain if it can't be stored. Assess
your circumstances honestly, and only consider buying foods
that can safely be stored in facilities you control. Canned
foods are great sources of quality nutrition for the price,
but once they are opened, there is no turning back. Without
adequate refrigeration, canned food turns unedible fairly
quickly. Eat all you can while the food is still fresh and
hot, but avoid storing open cans in a warm environment. If
you do not have access to a refrigerator, you might buy some
bagged ice and an igloo cooler. This arrangement won't last
forever, but it may keep you from getting sick, which is even
worse than not eating. Spoilage of food is never a good thing,
but takes on even more urgency when every slice of bread counts
or every cracker needs to be eaten. Keep these items wrapped
and stored tightly. The best choice is to buy only those foods
that can survive the heat, such as peanut butter or powdered
2. The grocery store can be your friend. When budgeting your
food money, consider the advantages of the local grocery store.
Instead of spending money on an entire loaf of bread and a
pound of unstorable bologna, you can economize by purchasing
one 10 cent roll at the deli, and asking for 1/8 of a pound
of meat and two slices of cheese at the deli meat counter.
You now have the makings of a healthy sandwich, at a fraction
of the cost of the individual ingredients bought in bulk.
Some grocery stores who feature a food bar often make leftovers
available at significant discounts after the bar has closed.
It may be beneficial to check out this possibility.
3. Water is the most important key to your survival. The human
body can live up to three weeks without additional food, but
only three days without water. On the plus side, water is
free and widely available. Drink plenty of it throughout the
day, and store as much of it as possible for nighttime. Water
will ease hunger pangs, and will keep your energy level up.
Adding a little sugar and salt to the water will help maintain
your blood sugar level, which can drop dramatically during
4. Pride will not fill your stomach, so take advantage of
the free food programs offered by the community. Churches
and other private enterprises often offer free groceries to
people in need, and as hard as it can be to admit, this means
you. You might view your economic situation as temporary,
but your human needs are immediate and permanent. Expect mostly
staple items, such as flour and powdered milk, but explain
your living situation honestly. If you have no cooking facilities,
then flour will do you little good. Ask for more usable items,
such as canned meats and crackers.
5. If you only have enough money for one meal a day, timing
can be everything. Drink plenty of water for breakfast, to
overcome the feeling of hunger when waking up. Do whatever
you had planned to do to improve your situation, then consider
your meal options. Buffets are the most economical choice,
if your budget will allow it. Pick a time in the late afternoon
to eat, and get as much food in your system as you can handle.
This is not good for your body's metabolism, so once you find
your circumstance improving, start eating smaller meals at
more regular intervals.
6. Fresh produce sellers often have fruits or vegetables that
aren't sellable, but are perfectly healthy. You might try
negotiating a fair price for some blemished fruit or damaged
vegetables. Starvation diets can drain the body of many essential
vitamins, especially water-soluables like vitamin C. Try your
best to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables, even if you go
to the grocery store and pick up one orange or an apple.