Food & Drink

$30 budget challenge

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 20th, 2017 1:02 pm
[OP]
Deal Expert
Dec 4, 2010
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Quarantine Bubble

$30 budget challenge

I'd like to know what you can come up with for the modest budget of $30. For this exercise the meals can be for any time of day and does not need to be conformed to say a simple cup of coffee and toast but be realistic about your submission because someone may be tempted to say Kraft dinner 3x a day which in that scenario would probably be good for a whole week, if you make it that far.

The purpose of this thread is to see how far you can stretch $30 in terms of number of meals and or days. I'll reveal the reason behind that after a few responses.

Go!
54 replies
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
16378 posts
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Toronto
When I think $30 budget to last, I tend to focus on frozen foods mainly.
If Costco doesn't help in the frozen food section, then maybe give this store a try for groceries: http://www.almostperfect.ca/toronto/
@ Almost perfect $30 gets you an amazing variety of TV dinners, bread (5 days before expiry, $1.49, brand pending, usually white or whole wheat Wonder bread)
& many other groceries below regular grocery store pricing.
(the savings allow for more grocery, including condiments, if desired)

Note: Please be sure to be careful of expiry dates (& BB dates, if quality is an issue) @ Almost Perfect/Grocery liquidation as the sale may be final.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
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Mar 31, 2017
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You can easily buy $17 worth of chicken breast, at around $3.50 a pound at a Chinese grocery store, then buy a giant bag of white onions ($3.99), use 1/4 of that 10lb bag and add whatever sauce you want to it and make it last 2 weeks. You will get a nice balance of meat and veggies this way.

I think I spent way more on ice cream and chips.
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
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Does it include basics like oil, salt , pepper, seasonings, etc? Since there are very few parameters, I will make up my own, such as I assume I can buy on sale, and in bulk, using sale prices I see, or know. Didn’t factor in tax. Also assuming this is for emergency budgeting vs eating like this forever.

Eggs $3 for 18
Rice $11 for 8kg
Beans $4 for 2 kg
Bag of flour $6 for 10kg
Oatmeal $2.5 for 840 grams
Onions, carrots, 2 for three pounds.
Bananas .76 lbs or whatever fruit is on sale
Veggies, whatever is on sale for less than $1lbs
Meat. Cheap cuts on sale, last week pork should was $1 a lbs

Breakfast would be steel cut oats for the whole month.

With the rest of the ingredients above, i could make for lunches and dinners

Rice (obviously, so in spirit of the exercise cut it in half for cost and quantity of about 40portions). done in multiple ways, steamed, fried, in a soup,
A roasted pork (which coincidentally I am making tomorrow) would last about 12 meals based on a proper 3.5 ounce portion. I could get more out of it if it was just a side. 8 would make a soup out of the bone. Though normal i would do it, I would save the skin and fat and use it for cooking, and flavouring
Beans - I could get another 16 servings of protein easily. I could make a bean salad, rice and beans, pork and beans, added to the rice.
Flour - I would make pasta, two cups makes me over a pound of fresh pasta, bread, buns, pancakes, there are many possibilities with flour. It would easily last the month or longer.
Soups - with the peels and bones then add in the rice, leftover meet scrape, whatever veggies, I could get 4 portions.
Eggs - they get added, used for baking, eaten whole.

Dairy would be the hardest, Fruits and veggies would be A treat after the basic.

So looking at my menu I could go for about a month getting enough protein, and carbs.

Pretty much everything is made from scratch, n9 processed, no convince, no treats.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 16, 2004
9414 posts
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Toronto
For how many people?
For myself, all my home cooked meals are less than $30 and includes some form of meat or fish,some carbs and sometimes some legumes.
Lasts me quite a few days as well so saves on firing up the stove everyday.
Member
Apr 19, 2015
296 posts
126 upvotes
N/A
$3.50 - 1.8 kg kidney beans @ No Frills
$2.00 - 5 lbs carrots
$2.00 - 5 lbs onions
$1.29 - 1 bunch celery
$0.80 - 3 heads garlic
$3.00 - 3 cans diced tomatoes
$0.50 - 1 can tomato paste
$4.00 - 2 to 3 lbs chicken @ best before date markdown
$1.29 - 1 lb broccoli
$3.00 - 2 bunches of kale
$2.00 - 2 lbs sweet potatoes
$1.12 - 1+ lbs apples
$2.50 - 1 kg rolled oats
$3.00 - 2 litres milk

Total = $30 for many meals of chili, bean/veggie soup and oatmeal. Can swap out kidney beans, tomatoes and sweet potatoes for chick peas, tahini and pita bread to make hummus. Can swap out beans and tomatoes for red lentils, cauliflower and curry powder for an Indian touch. Or chick peas, tomatoes, curry and basmati to make chana masala. Lots of healthy and cheap options!
Member
Apr 19, 2015
296 posts
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I'm giving this way too much thought. If the point of the $30 is to survive, rather than enjoy life, then I would do the following:

$2.80 - 1.8 kg kidney beans @ No Frills including PC Plus discount
$8.00 - 15 lbs brown rice
$3.50 - 10 lbs carrots
$2.95 - 5 lbs cabbage or leafy greens
$1.47 - 3 lbs onions
$1.00 - 1 369 ml can tomato paste
$3.00 - 18 eggs
$2.99 - 1 kg peanut butter
$2.00 - 2 loaves of multi-grain bread
$2.29 - 1 kg No Name large flake rolled oats

Total = $30 for ~48,000 calories = 30 days @ ~1,600 calories per day
Jr. Member
Oct 17, 2013
165 posts
94 upvotes
Ontario
I give my grade 6/7/8 students an assignment where they have to cook a healthy family meal for $15 for a family of 4, $10 if they want a higher mark. We research flyers, the food guide and recipes they might not normally look at. I also cook a meal in class that might normally be something they turn their nose up at. If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it, but I had students coming back for thirds when I made a kale and chickpea soup, or chicken curry with coconut rice. I teach at a very rural school, but the meals they come up with are amazing! $30 would be gourmet for us Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Deal Fanatic
Nov 15, 2008
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$6 - 4 lb pork chops
$4 - 2 dozen eggs
$4 - 10 pks ramen @ $.39
$2 - 1 kg rice
$3 - 1 kg oats
$1 - large celery 2-3 lb
$2 - 5 lb carrots
$2 - 10 lb onions
$2 - 4 pk sweet peppers 2 lb
$4 - 4 lb cabbage/greens

That might do core meals for a couple or so weeks but that's with no snacks and beverages and DAMN no condiments: I could really use a bottle of oyster sauce with all that for $3 or so.

For 2+ weeks of beverages (and something to go with the oatmeal) I'd buy 2 x 4L milk $9 and 216 tea bags $4 and 2kg sugar $1.50 for another $14.50, with sugar and tea left over of course. Then I would need treats, the remaining $12.50 of my second $30, because even in prison you get dessert every day.

I'm sorry, I did it in $60.
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Jan 27, 2004
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Dried Mushrooms
Rice
Rice Flour
Lean pork shoulder $1.70/lb
Beef round roast $2.99/lb
Beef Shank $1.79/lb
Suet (beef fat) $1.99/lb
Pho $0.40/lb
Cabbage
Eggs
Butter



1. Bahn Cuon, steam rice rolls, Like below without the fancy garnishments. And use shredded pork floss as the filler instead, much cheaper. Its made with the cheap lean stewing pork and rice flour. Both very cheap.
Image
cheaper filling
Image

2. Pho. Beef shank soup. Cheap beef shank bones and inexpensive noodles. Theres a factory on markham rd that has it for $0.40/lb. Thinly sliced beef roast $2.99/lb this stuff is cheap on sale. Tip... IF you bug the crap out of them the'll custom make a smaller one for you. ASk to speak to a manager. Speak to the Manager's Manager. IT will get done ! Its also cheap @ Asian super markets
Image

3. Roast Beef with yorkshire pudding. Braise it long to get it tenderized. PRetty easy to make with flour and butter. You can make a fine gravy with suet you can find at a butcher. They just sell whatever they trim off. Serve with sauteed cabbage.
Image

4. Mushroom Risotto. This is a bit of a curveball. Dried mushrooms have a lot of flavor. On a budget this enhanced flavor will stretch your dollars. Maybe not as good as fresh. But you have something to give you some variety!
Deal Guru
Jan 12, 2017
13283 posts
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Scarberia
UrbanPoet wrote: Dried Mushrooms
Rice
Rice Flour
Lean pork shoulder $1.70/lb
Beef round roast $2.99/lb
Beef Shank $1.79/lb
Suet (beef fat) $1.99/lb
Pho $0.40/lb
Cabbage
Eggs
Butter



1. Bahn Cuon, steam rice rolls, Like below without the fancy garnishments. And use shredded pork floss as the filler instead, much cheaper. Its made with the cheap lean stewing pork and rice flour. Both very cheap.
Image
cheaper filling
Image

2. Pho. Beef shank soup. Cheap beef shank bones and inexpensive noodles. Theres a factory on markham rd that has it for $0.40/lb. Thinly sliced beef roast $2.99/lb this stuff is cheap on sale. Tip... IF you bug the crap out of them the'll custom make a smaller one for you. ASk to speak to a manager. Speak to the Manager's Manager. IT will get done ! Its also cheap @ Asian super markets
Image

3. Roast Beef with yorkshire pudding. Braise it long to get it tenderized. PRetty easy to make with flour and butter. You can make a fine gravy with suet you can find at a butcher. They just sell whatever they trim off. Serve with sauteed cabbage.
Image

4. Mushroom Risotto. This is a bit of a curveball. Dried mushrooms have a lot of flavor. On a budget this enhanced flavor will stretch your dollars. Maybe not as good as fresh. But you have something to give you some variety!
u viet? one my fave foods is banh coun with viet sausage! my mom makes good chit! esp with the fried shrimp/bean paste crispy bread! with homemade dipping sauce 'nuk mum' my viet is bad lol
*SIG: Ryzen R5 2600 cpu w/ ASrock B450M OCd to 4.0ghz@1.265v stock cooler 16gb ram win10 pro w/radeon rx460 rogers Gigabit<< xb1 gamertag: mikka2017 >>
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
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Supercooled wrote: I'd like to know what you can come up with for the modest budget of $30. For this exercise the meals can be for any time of day and does not need to be conformed to say a simple cup of coffee and toast but be realistic about your submission because someone may be tempted to say Kraft dinner 3x a day which in that scenario would probably be good for a whole week, if you make it that far.

The purpose of this thread is to see how far you can stretch $30 in terms of number of meals and or days. I'll reveal the reason behind that after a few responses.

Go!
Just curious if you are going to reveal the reason soon. Was thinking way too much about it. I did survival mode, but that’s jat one extreme. I could blow $30in one meal too
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Nov 15, 2004
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Egg, tomato, & rice can last me quite a while, especially with some onions.
Potato curry & roti or rice can last quite a while as well
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Jan 27, 2004
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mikka2017 wrote: u viet? one my fave foods is banh coun with viet sausage! my mom makes good chit! esp with the fried shrimp/bean paste crispy bread! with homemade dipping sauce 'nuk mum' my viet is bad lol
Yeah i'm half viet.
my fondest cooking memories was me waking up sunday morning with the smell of seasoned ground pork frying. Thats when i knew the filler for banh coun was being prepped. I would run down stairs and my mom would give me a fresh banh coun straight off the silky white steamer she made with the sewing machine in the basement.

After we would make banh coun all morning. When my older brothers woke up, we'd fight for the biggest ones. Lol

The pork floss version isnt my favorite, that was only put up here to follow the $30 challenge... My favourite is seasoned ground pork with diced fungus and cilantro.

I also remember for lol's my mom would make me a special one with hot dogs, or bacon, and cheese. It was soooo weird. but i always got a good laugh out of it & it oddly taste good...
Sr. Member
Jul 19, 2014
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Snow Road Station, O…
$880 food costs for a month, for a family of 4 is about $30 a day . This was a news item a week or so ago .
Deal Guru
Jan 12, 2017
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wow, 30 bux can go a long way! i spend 30 bux on food in a couple days :(
*SIG: Ryzen R5 2600 cpu w/ ASrock B450M OCd to 4.0ghz@1.265v stock cooler 16gb ram win10 pro w/radeon rx460 rogers Gigabit<< xb1 gamertag: mikka2017 >>
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
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mikka2017 wrote: wow, 30 bux can go a long way! i spend 30 bux on food in a couple days :(
In Ontario, starting in January, when the min. wage jumps from $11.60 to $14/hr, it might be a lot tougher to work with $30...I'm scared to see what prices will be like @ Dollarama...just to name one place.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
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Jan 27, 2004
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mikka2017 wrote: wow, 30 bux can go a long way! i spend 30 bux on food in a couple days :(
Get creative!
Round roast is tough :( but cheap! Braise it low and slow and it makes for a hearty protien. Its a bit dry even when braised nicely... So you can make a fine gravy to go with it!
Yorkshire pudding is sooo cheap to make... Eggs, butter, flour.
Cabbage can be sauteed, and it always retains its texture... So you can pack it with flavor eith a good stir fry.

Stews and chili's also make great meals for a low cost. And nutritious

Stewing hens are $3.99 for a 2-3 pound bird.
Beef shank can be under $2/lb on sale.

Example. 5lb beef shank $10.00
Bag of frozen veggie mix $2.99

$13 can feed a family of 4 easily with this meal!
[OP]
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Dec 4, 2010
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Quarantine Bubble
Macx2mommy wrote: Just curious if you are going to reveal the reason soon. Was thinking way too much about it. I did survival mode, but that’s jat one extreme. I could blow $30in one meal too
Lol, I forgot.

Well, I hope my reasoning won't disappoint you too much but the last three days prior to making the thread I had subways for lunch. 3 subs = $30 more or less. The last time I had subways was probably in 2010.

It got me to thinking about just how much fast food cost both monetary and health wise. . I remembered a comment about obesity some anonymous person made on YouTube which was quite an eye opener. The video in question was grainy footage taken on the streets of new York City in the 70s. Predominantly the comments were observations about why there were no fat or overweight people. Everyone seemed fit and svelt. They said largely because the saturation of ready to eat foods. Both on the streets and grocery store. Why would someone buy fresh produce which spoils in less than a week when they can buy chips, frozen dinners, and the like and have a significantly longer shelf life? Last week I bought some huge peaches. 2 came out to be just a hair under $5. Seemingly every other week that's 2 bags of doritos.


I think at some point people just forgot about discipline or personal responsibilities. It's much easier to blame someone else for our problems then admit fault.

With all that said, I do appreciate the contributions thus far. Went out and bought some big bag veggies and will start bringing home made lunches to work. Knock off Pyrex at dollar ramma $4, at Walmart it was $7-10 bucks.
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Nov 15, 2008
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If you want a meal that has a generous amount of vegetables, doesn't use a lot of meat, isn't calorie-dense, is ready-to-eat, nothing beats making and living off a pot of soup, and if you can tolerate dumplings that's a cheap substitute for bread (e.g. the Poet's Yorkshire puddings or traditional doughboys, etc.)

I'm going to make a lentil dal this week in honour of Piro's suggestions. I'll switch it up by serving with rice/naan. SE Asian food is brilliant because there are so many ways to serve legumes whereas there are only two ideas for them in Western cooking, sweet baked/bbq, and with pot herbs and the usual suspects (carrots, celery, onion). Spices make living cheaply so much more palatable and nothing says you can't use the $.99 bags of the stuff.

The other thing is to have a little herb garden. I still have parsley and cilantro on the go outside and I had green onions earlier. I buy parsley seeds at Dollarama late in the season when they go on sale for 3/$1 and whole cilantro from the Indian spices section for $.99 to get those seeds. Onions I grow from the onions I let bloom the year before. I'd spend in a week what I spend for the year on herbs if I didn't have the garden.

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