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May 11

How I Survive/Thrive on $50/Month For Food

This week’s [optional] theme for the Fit Dish link up (hosted by Jill Conyers @ JillConyers.com, &ย Jessicaย Joy @ TheFitSwitch.org) is on your favorite healthy dessert!

I was totally going to make something for this week, but I disappeared to Lewisburg over the weekend to meet my baby ducklings (THEY ARE ADORABLE) and life got busy (so what else is new), and let’s face it–one of my favorite desserts of all time still has to be Soupervan’s Apple Nachos…so here’s my copycat recipe! (Click the picture for the recipe!)

applenachos

…and since no one ever seems to believe my brother when he tells people that I’ve been living pretty effing comfortably on <$10k per year since around 2006, ย I figured I’d also share how I survive/thrive on $50/month for food. :]

Other than tuition ($50k/year, hooray hooray!), that $10k includes absolutely everything (rent, groceries, boards licensing exams, traveling to/from conferences and/or vacations, you name it). There was actually one glorious year where $10k actually covered tuition too because scholarships and grants are wonderful things. <3!

Back in the day, I had a bunch of side jobs to fund my livelihood (e.g. teaching piano, being an accompanist, tutoring, working at the music library, being a research subject, selling my belongings)…

…But ever since the start of grad school and then med school, the possibility of holding down a job has kinda plummeted into nothingness.

I wrote a rather comprehensive post on frugal living tips I’ve been living by, but here’s one on just the food!

How I Survive/Thrive on $50/Month For Food

Stock your pantry with healthy food staples.

This is what I like to keep stocked in my pantry. I’m definitely not saying that I have all of these in my apartment at any given time, but the list provides a good sense of the things I’ll typically buy.

Stocking up at Costco before I started med school was a must. My most current “$50/Month For Food” spree started after I made an initial $250 Costco trip back in July of 2012, before I started medical school.

I buy seasonal fruits/veggies, and if nothing fresh looks all that wonderful, I go for frozen. Kroger also has a “discounted fruit/veggie” bin where all the riper bananas, noncomformist-shaped apples, etc. go, and I tend to snatch up the ones that are still perfectly fine.

Maximize free food opportunities.

But where do I go to do that, you ask?

Just to be clear, I am not advocating that you pilfer food from all these places without giving anything in return. (Translation: please be a decent human being. >_> ) I contributed to all of these events by volunteering + making food for them, and with church, I sing + play piano for em’.

For that last one, it really depends on my preceptor, but almost all of them have been pretty wonderful. <3

Once upon a time, I even wrote a proposal to my grad school for funding on a class dinner to foster camaraderie and good relations + get to know everyone in our class. (I pitched this in March/April-ish and we graduated in May. >_> ) It worked though, and we had a pretty awesome time. ๐Ÿ˜€ When you are dirt-poor and living on imaginary money (student loans), you learn to be creative.

Food Get-Togethers/Potlucks

You know what beats awesome food? Awesome food with great company!

Another way I saved a ton of money on food without sacrificing food variety and/or quality is through our potluck group–We D.O. Food. In the first two years of med school, we’d have monthly-ish get-togethers where all of us would make a dish and convene to pig/hang out.

Make your own meals + food prep!

Now that we’ve been scattered across the state(s), we don’t get to do our potlucks as often anymore but I try to get together on weekends with my friend to meal prep for the week!

Don’t go out to eat.

I rarely ever go out to eat because all those meals add up quickly, and I like making my own food. ๐Ÿ˜€ (It’s also healthier.).

On the offchance that I do go out to eat, however (once a month-ish, maybe?), I order water instead of a drink to help cut costs, and scout out the menu beforehand to see if there’s something semi-healthy + not too expensive that I can get.

Coupons/Grocery Store Apps

I mostly do my grocery shopping at Kroger (sometimes Aldi). Kroger has a free app where you can automatically download coupons that will automatically be applied when you check out your items. I save money by…

  • Exclusively shopping the sales (manager’s specials, “last call” items, and reduced-price fruits/veggies make my world go round)
  • Maximizing on the personalized coupons for free/discounted products they give me on products I’d normally buy
  • Getting free products on Fridays (they have a different product each week that you can download a coupon for!)
  • Filling out the customer feedback survey (4 surveys at one per week saves me 20 cents off per gallon of gas)
    • They’re also doing a 2x-point special on weekends right now (through August!), so spending $50 in one month altogether on the weekends will get you an extra 10 cents off per gallon!
groceries

This entire pile of food was $22.24.

That being said, I’ve actually only spent $20 since the start of April because I’m on another grocery ban/mission to eat everything in my apartment before I buy anything new. Half of that was to get my surgery preceptor a present + to buy heavily-discounted sunscreen (it’s skin cancer awareness month!). Let’s see if I can last til June! :O

  • What’s your favorite healthy dessert?
  • About how much do you spend per month on food/groceries?
  • What tips do you have for saving money on food?

Dish The Fit

Click the image to read my other Dish The Fit posts! :]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/how-i-survivethrive-on-50-month-for-food/

92 comments

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  1. Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating

    All fantastic tips. Especially the ones I can relate to–like winning foods from blogger giveaways. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do that too! No shame! Hey, if it saves me money for some healthy snacks, why not? And those new ducklings are ADORABLE!! So cute! Do they have names?

    1. Farrah

      Exactly! They need entries, we need to eat…win-win! ;P

      Indeed they do! We decided to name them after The Land Before Time characters! ๐Ÿ˜€ (So they’re now called Littlefoot, Petrie, Ducky, and Chomper. Collectively, we call them Quackers. <3 )

  2. Dixya@food,pleasure, and health

    These are some great tips.. I think eating at home is probably the best thing to do in terms of saving money and health wise. I wrote a similar post long time ago on $50/week grocery budget, I am very impressed by you.
    Dixya@food,pleasure, and health recently posted…Chocolate Chip Banana Oat WafflesMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! <3 Eating at home is definitely my #1 tip for keeping costs low (and eating healthy/healthier)!

  3. Winding Spiral Case

    Such a great post! Is there anything you’re not amazing at?! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll admit I’ve been spending a little too freely these past few months and reading this is just the inspiration I need to smarten up with my expenses! Thanks ๐Ÿ˜€
    Winding Spiral Case recently posted…A Walk In Beckwith Park, VictoriaMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, there are plenty of things I’m terrible at! (Test-taking, organic chemistry, choosing a place to eat, not tripping over things, being graceful, to name a few! ๐Ÿ˜› )

      Glad to have helped! ;P Good luck on the budgeting! It’s a never-ending process for me too! (Food is where I’d most want to splurge! :O )

  4. Rachel G

    I am impressed! And yes–when I was a student, I was all over all of the free food opportunities. At my college there were a bunch of meals for leaders of students organizations, in order to tempt leaders to actually come to info sessions and budget meetings, and I loved those. I feel like I could eat very, very inexpensively, as my tastes are pretty simple–I grew up on rice and veggies and am usually content with that….but the husband is my greatest expense when it comes to a food budget. He eats probably 2 or 3 times as much food as I do and loves going out to eat. So, I know we’ll never have the smallest food budget around, but I still like being strategic and shopping all of those clearance produce bins, especially!
    Rachel G recently posted…We Had Visitors!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, the best way to attract students is pretty much always free food! ๐Ÿ˜› I think part of why I can keep costs so low is because it’s just me that I’m feeding. I’m sure it’d be a whole ‘nother story if I were living with someone! :O (I adore food and usually eat a ton, so if hypothetical person I was living with was like that too, we’d enable each other like no other!)

  5. Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness

    I spend toooooo much on groceries! I just prefer to cut off on other things ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t remember the last time I went clothes shopping or even home shopping. I love your potluck tip! Such a great way to have some fun with friends and slide in some cooking competition. Ha!
    Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness recently posted…Should We Be Filling Up Our Food Plates?My Profile

    1. Farrah

      haha, food is the one realm where I would splurge above all other expenses! On my super-splurgey months, I’ll sometimes let myself spend $100, because that equates to another extra 10 cents off per gallon! ๐Ÿ˜›

  6. Susie @ SuzLyfe

    DAYUM. Yeah, you definitely can’t go out to eat on a budget like that. I wonder how much I would spend on food without Alex? We spend double your budget on groceries every week. His cereal in particular adds up. Now I want to see!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…#RWCoverSearch and My Top 5 Crohn’s Related Health ConcernsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      haha, I definitely cannot! Unless I do that whole bartering thing! Sometimes my guyfriends will treat me to dinner if they’re going out somewhere and want me to come along, because I often make food to feed them! ๐Ÿ˜›

      It’d be a fun challenge! ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. Bri

    Wow, that’s impressive. I don’t think I could eat for less than $50 a WEEK here where I live. Food is super expensive, even at the cheap grocery stores and farmers markets (I live on an island). I spend about $100 a week on food, it’s brutal!
    Bri recently posted…Why you should run when youโ€™re on vacationMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Living on an island would definitely make it monumentally more difficult! x_x But yay for maximizing cheaper opportunities wherever possible! :O

  8. Pragati // Simple Medicine

    Your grocery habits remind me of my sister (also in grad school). Super inspiring! We spend between $50-60/week so, you’re doing an amazing job! I do occasionally like to go on a “clean out the pantry and fridge” binge and my husband hates it. But I hate wasting food! I usually win since I do all the cooking ๐Ÿ˜›
    Pragati // Simple Medicine recently posted…4 Guilt Free, Healthy DessertsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, glad that you’re winning on that! I hate to waste food too, which is how my grocery bans started! I felt like it made no sense for me to go out to buy food when I already had a bunch of food sitting at home waiting to be eaten/prepared! :O

  9. Kimberly

    This is awesome, thanks for sharing! I am all about being frugal but still getting healthy food. I’m a big fan of the discounted produce bin so I was happy to see that in your post. Ugly apples = great applesauce! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kimberly recently posted…Corporate Crunch Time!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! For a lot of the ugly produce, they’re still completely fine, but just not that pretty. Still the same nutrients! ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl

    This is seriously impressive, and hats off to you for making it work! Law school is similar, but many students simply add a higher cost of living to the “bill” of student loans when they’re doing school and plan to work after in NYC. It’s definitely tougher to be frugal here!
    Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…Acres of Ice CreamMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      The housing alone in NYC is super frightening, so I can definitely understand that! (Not to mention, all the different eateries! *-*) It’d be infinitely harder for me to be able to manage this if I were living there! ๐Ÿ˜ก

  11. Jess @hellotofit

    Not going out to eat is a big money saver for me. And not buying too many drinks out! I try to spend between $60-$80 a week on groceries – feeding a 6′ tall fiancรฉ takes a lot of ingredients haha.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Link Love #17 and party pantsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, that’d definitely make it a lot harder! I don’t have to worry about that just yet, so I’m gonna hold onto my pennypinchin’ for a while longer! ๐Ÿ˜›

  12. Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    These are some great tips. I spend WAY too much money on food at the store and really need to do a pantry/freezer eat down period as well.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Greek Yogurt & Dill Potato SaladMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I like the term, “eat down period!” ๐Ÿ˜› I’ve been doing that for the past 1.5 months and still going! I wonder how long it can last til…

  13. Nina

    Wow, you’re so frugal & wise! I am getting ready to officially live on my own, and I want to try to live on $300 a month, and save the rest. This counts for food + gas + coffee dates. I’m not going to lie, I love my lattes. I like to think that when I get my own espresso machine, I will stop going out on coffee dates as much, and just have my girl friends over. Thankfully, the job I have will cover my food + gas + hotel expenses when I travel, so I will save even more money then! I’m going to pocket these frugal tips. I seriously need to learn to start cooking and start eating healthier!
    Nina recently posted…Where I’ve Been pt.1My Profile

    1. Farrah

      That’s good that you have a plan for budgeting! Getting an espresso machine could be a good investment for you! ๐Ÿ˜› All those drinks really do add up (quite unfortunately :[ ). That’s awesome that your job will cover your travel expenses though! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Learning to cook was probably what made the biggest difference for me in terms of saving money and eating healthier! :]!

  14. Sheryl

    WOW! You are so frugal! That is awesome. I have a family of 4, so there is no way this would work for me. It’s awesome that you are able to take advantage of all these opportunities. Save everything you can. Life is SO expensive. Especially when you have kids.
    Sheryl recently posted…Chocolate DreamsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’ve been saving whatever’s possible, but my quarterly loan statements are still wildly depressing. :[ Tis probably a good thing that I don’t want kids–they’re so, so expensive!

  15. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West

    Hi Farrah! Wow, girl! You are so frugal and will likely look back on this time and be amazed that you did it. I really try to eat up what I have at home and never let anything go to waste, but there’s no way I could survive on $50 a month heheh Plus, everything is more expensive in the Bay, which you know. Happy Tuesday and keep up the awesome work!
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…How to stay healthy while you travelMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Ashley! <3 And...yes indeed. :[ The bay area is frigggghteningly expensive to live in. I don't know that I could afford to live in CA (if I make it back there) if I don't end up living back at home again! :[

      I think eating the things at home + not letting things go to waste make a huge difference on budgeting! :] Every bit helps!

  16. Stephanie Silv. Lui

    Great tips!! It reminds me on the days how I survived in uni back in the too!! Thanks for sharing (:

    http://stephlui.blogspot.com
    Stephanie Silv. Lui recently posted…Kyoto | First NightMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      The plight of the starving student! ๐Ÿ˜›

  17. Gloria

    I’ve been trying to save up some money after having to put a lot of money into my car, so this helps! Thanks for all these great tips.
    Gloria recently posted…Throwback Thursday: All Smiles EditionMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m glad they’re helpful! <3 I'm sorry to hear about your car, but I hope it gets fixed up and stops giving you trouble! <3

  18. Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together

    Wow. I wish I could spend $50 a month on food. I mean, clearly I can, but it takes serious dedication, willpower and hard work. You are so smart to not live beyond your means. I am so impressed!!
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together recently posted…How to Go Wine TastingMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Cassie! <3 My student loans make me sad, so I figured I'd try to keep them as low as humanly possible while still living comfortably and maintaining as healthy a lifestyle as I could! :O

  19. Smitha

    I really like the potluck tip! I know when ever we hots a party we end up with a TON of food (and drink!)
    Smitha recently posted…Tried It Tuesday: #PEZHedz Review & #GIVEAWAYMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! I love having the extra meals for later on in the week! <3

  20. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    All I know is, I just NEVER let a thing go to waste! I eat and freeze it all! But with food allergies and celiac, eating is going to be more expensive. We can’t take advantage of “free food opps”.
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…To Be An Empowered WomanMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      That’s definitely true, but it’s awesome that you don’t let things go to waste! I eat and freeze everything too! :]

  21. Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    Oh my gosh I have to try this. I spend way to much on food!! It’s awesome that you have the ability to do this!! Great tips!
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors recently posted…Hummus WrapMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Sam! :] I’m trying to see how long I can keep it up for, hehehe. Best of luck to you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. Elizabeth

    My favorite thing is that you’re helping to prove that eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. You really are an inspiration. Cutting down on grocery spending is one of my goals for the next couple months so this post came at a great time for me! If only there was a Kroger where we are….
    Elizabeth recently posted…Fighting in MarriageMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks so much, Elizabeth! :]! I’m trying hard! Hopefully, I’ll be able to convince my [future] patients that eating healthy can be done, even on a super-limited budget!

      If you have anything like Costco around where you can buy stuff in bulk (and exercise major self-control–I love food-shopping, so it’s extra-hard in those places), I think that’d help a lot too!

  23. Anne|Craving Something Healthy

    Great tips! I love to stock up at Costco too – unfortunately I don’t think I’ve ever gotten out of there for $250! You’ve inspired me to try a bit harder ๐Ÿ™‚
    Anne|Craving Something Healthy recently posted…Baked Ricotta with Caramelized TomatoesMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Oh, it’s definitely hard to escape Costco without spending a small fortune! ๐Ÿ˜› I was limited by my budget + how much I could pack into my car for the mini-road trip back! (The state I was living in had no Costcos. :'( )

  24. sarah grace

    As I head to grad school and am now on my own spending account..I’ve realized how expensive LIFE IS. haha, I’m going to try to budget my food expenses to somewhat along these lines too!

    1. Farrah

      It really is! :[ But you can do it, and I like to think that every little bit counts! Best of luck to ya! <3

  25. Marisa | Marisa Moore Nutrition

    Great post and reminder. I have a goal to reduce my grocery inventory too… I tend to stock up on frozen veggies and beans then forget what’s in the freezer and pantry!

    To answer your questions… my favorite healthy dessert is simply berries with fresh whipped cream. I spend probably $60-80/month on groceries – mostly because I rarely buy meat. To save money, I stock up on frozen veggies and other deals, cook at home more often than not and try (really try) to use up what’s in the fridge before I go shopping for more.
    Marisa | Marisa Moore Nutrition recently posted…Try it Tuesday: Get to Know Chard & Try 6 Chard Recipes!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’ve cut back on buying meat too and that’s definitely saved me a lot of money (same with all the frozen stuff!)! This grocery ban that I’ve been on has also been doing wonders in terms of forcing me to use up everything in the fridge/freezer! :]

  26. Sonali- The Foodie Physician

    Wow, you’ve really got this living on a budget thing mastered! Awesome tips Farrah! Having established such great habits now should really set you up you for financial success later in life ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sonali- The Foodie Physician recently posted…Reading with the Doc: Greek Eggs and a Cookbook ReviewMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks so much, Sonali! Workin’ hard on it, haha. Watching my student loans pile was a really wonderful motivator! ๐Ÿ˜ก

  27. genevieve @ gratitude & greens

    You are a superwoman! I need to get better at budgeting myself. I used to eat only at home, but lately I have been eating out more than I want to. I find that having lots of dried goods like chickpeas, lentils, rice, etc are super helpful for saving money. They’re filling AND healthy, not to mention super cheap when you buy in bulk. I’m going to put your tips into action!
    genevieve @ gratitude & greens recently posted…Raw Vegan Pistachio Ice Cream – For My MotherMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thanks! <3 Dried goods are alllll sorts of awesome for saving money! They last ages and I love that they're filling and healthy. Best of luck to ya! I like to think that every bit counts! ๐Ÿ˜€

  28. Heather @ The Nerdy Fox

    That’s super impressive! I’m always interested in how other people spend so little on groceries. I grow a lot of veggies and when I have excess, I can them. It really helps save on groceries.
    Heather @ The Nerdy Fox recently posted…The World Needs More Love LettersMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      That’s awesome! I really want to be able to grow my own veggies once I’m done moving all over the place! :]!

  29. Jessica Joy @The Fit Switch

    Go Farrah Go! So impressed, and love that you shared it all with us. And, you have a talent for getting free food, in a very fair and friendly way of course! I did a little bit of dumpster diving (freeganing) in the past with a bagel shop. Haha. That was fun; I was inspired by a book I read. THanks for the inspiration. I can definitely see how we could tighten up our food budget now. : ) So appreciated. Go get ’em. You are the very epitome of ‘no excuses.’ Take care, friend!
    Jessica Joy @The Fit Switch recently posted…Coconut Horchata Chia PuddingMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thanks so much, Jessica! I hope you’re having an awesome weekend! <3

      Yayy for dumpster diving! I did that in college for furniture, hahaha. (That's how I scored my bookshelf!) June and August were wonderful times to scout for free books/furniture/supplies! ๐Ÿ˜›

  30. GiGi Eats

    $50 on food for a MONTH!!! UMMMMMM my life sadly does NOT allow me to do such a thing ๐Ÿ™ Food allergies/intolerances and………….. The fact that I eat enough for 10 people – yep! LOL!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Carnival In Your Mouth!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, my friends like to joke that I eat enough to feed a small family too! I’ve curbed it down a little because I don’t get to exercise as much as I’d like anymore, but ahh, allergies/intolerances would definitely make it infinitely harder! :[

  31. jill conyers

    All kinds of great info in this post! $50/month? I can’t imagine. Not even when it was just me I was feeding.

    Have an awesome day Farrah and thanks for sharing your grocery saving wisdom with #fitfam!
    jill conyers recently posted…Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice CreamMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Jill! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m tryin’ hard to keep my student loans down! ๐Ÿ˜›

  32. Jaime

    You’re doing awesome! =) I currently spend about $240 a month for our family of 3. I know I could spend less, but I’m starting to eat healthier and it’s nice to have that little cushion to help out!
    Jaime recently posted…FREE Hersheys Caramels With mPerks Coupon! Clip Now!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Although it probably doesn’t look like it from my current budgeting, food is one place where I definitely think a splurge can be worth it! <3 It's an investment toward better health, so I'm all for it! :] You're doing a great job! ๐Ÿ˜€

  33. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I like to shop at Whole Foods, and so I have to be pretty creative with my food budget. We don’t eat out all that often, and there is very little waste at our house. I bring leftovers for lunch. I don’t know if I could eat on $50/month per person at our house tho!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…ChallengingMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Ahh, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have that around here! I’d have issues with keeping my budget down to $50 too! ๐Ÿ˜ก

  34. Jessica

    Oh these are GREAT tips! Must start saving on groceries- my husband has a coronary every time i go!
    Jessica recently posted…Taking a Toddler to Universal StudiosMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      haha, I feel ya! Shopping for food is my favorite form of shopping, so it can definitely be a struggle!

  35. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    I spend way too much on groceries and know that we waste a ton of food. Good tips here! Love the drug rep lunches ๐Ÿ™‚
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Real Women Move & Skirt Sports GiveawayMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’ve been trying to eliminate waste by not getting more food until I’ve eaten everything I already have in my fridge! (Case in point, aside from some baby carrots, apples + yogurt, I haven’t gone to the grocery store since March. ๐Ÿ˜ก We’ll see how much longer this can go on for! ๐Ÿ˜› )

  36. Ariana

    You are so amazing with your frugal living! I live right in the downtown core so it’s basically impossible to live on less than $10k per year (my rent alone is more than that haha), but most of the time I try my best to spend as little as possible on groceries.

    I have a few different veggie shops I go to, because some produce is cheaper at one than the other. There’s also a really popular tourist market here (kind of like Pike Place) which is super expensive, but if you go first thing in the AM they want to get rid of the “non-conformist” fruit & veggies, so it’s pretty cheap ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I buy a lot of stuff in bulk and get no-name brand things wherever possible. Frozen vegetables are also awesome when fresh produce gets really expensive (like this time of year…$3.99 for a pound of bell peppers!)
    Ariana recently posted…Fibralogy….Does it Work? {review}My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Living in any city definitely makes the cost of living super difficult!! I pay $675/month right now for rent, and even that feels like a lot (probably because I’ve gotten so used to living in the middle of nowhere)! ๐Ÿ˜ก

      I definitely like price-comparison-shopping for produce! :] That market sounds all sorts of awesome! I’d totally go there early on to get nonconformist fruits + veggies! <3

      Same here! Name brands usually don't make too much of a difference, so I'm all about non-brand shopping whenever possible, and hooray for frozen stuff staying almost the same price year-round! <3

  37. Sam

    At last, you wrote it! What an epic post. Thanks for sharing all the ideas.

    1. Farrah

      Thanks for keeping me on top of things! :D! I probably wouldn’t have gotten it done as quickly if not for you! ๐Ÿ˜›

  38. Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes

    WOW! I’m highly impressed by this. I can honestly spend that much on food some days depending on if I grab breakfast on the run, eat out for lunch and/or meet up with friends for dinner after work. It’s a little out of hand and I know it’s definitely something that I need to work on. Thanks for sharing all of your tips!
    Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes recently posted…Friday Favorites โ€“ Lake Days, Adventure Runs, Books and More!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Tricia! :O I hope they help! It definitely adds up really quickly (quite unfortunately), but every little bit saved helps!

  39. Sam

    What a great list of tips! I am pinning it for future reference.
    Sam recently posted…Yumms! Grill Mat Review (& Giveaway) #YummsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks! I hope they’re helpful to ya! ๐Ÿ˜€

  40. Valerie @ Indecisively Restless

    I cannot seem to get the hang of buying food and eating it. It seems that one thing I buy always gets eaten first and then I have nothing left to cook it with. This is definitely one of my goals for the year. Buying good food, eating it without it going bad, and keeping my wallet with at least a few bills in it.
    Valerie @ Indecisively Restless recently posted…Thorn by Intisar KhananiMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I wish you the best of luck at it! It can definitely be challenging! I’ve been struggling with using up stuff in my fridge lately because sometimes, I’m just reallyy craving some other type of food! :O

  41. tonygreene113

    I’m going to try this after the Christmas season to see how far I can go. Living on a fixed income and trying save and survive is a neverending journey.
    tonygreene113 recently posted…10 great science toys for kids under $100My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Yay! Best of luck to you! I hope the tips help!

  42. kerri mcgrail

    Oh my gosh- serious props to you for being able to live on $50 a month for food!! Thats so crazy. I consider myself to be pretty frugal as well, but I spend about $35-40 a week! Which actually is probably pretty low for most people. I can’t/don’t usually do the free food at events thing because of my diet (GF + vegan). I agree that minimizing spending while in grad school is so important! Dental school is over $60K where i’m at and is going up 2200 next year so I will have to try to implement some of these tips so I can get my food bill even lower!
    kerri mcgrail recently posted…WIAW: Curry Obsession + January Fitsnack ReviewMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Kerri! $35-40 is definitely pretty low too! I maximize free food opportunities like nobody’s business, but that’d definitely be a lot harder if you have dietary restrictions! I’m so sorry to hear about your tuition, but can also definitely relate (sigh)! Someday, it’ll all be with it! :] I hope these tips help!!

  43. masala girl

    wow! you’re doing amazing eating healthy and cheap, and making time for it at med school, and you’ve been doing it for so long! girl that’s my goal. i shop pretty cheap, but then i also buy some expensive things- vega protein, sprouted almonds, mulberries, and goji berries. but i have spent HOURS (over the course of days/weeks/months) to find the best store or website or brand out of 100s on amazon that has the best deal or price. so i’m trying!

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! I think spending that initial time definitely pays off in the long run! That way, you know where the great deals are, so when you’re shopping for your staples, you automatically know where to look! :]

  44. Jenn - a traveling Wife

    This is genius, and makes me feel horrible for spending $80+ per week. Perhaps I could cut back and still eat well?!
    Jenn – a traveling Wife recently posted…Mulligatawny Soup [Whole30 and Paleo Friendly]My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Ahh, don’t feel horrible! I think it’s always possible to cut back, but not always absolutely necessary! I’ve just been trying to live wellllllll under my means so that I could take out as few loans as possible and not be in as huge of a mountain of debt! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  45. Giselle Rochford

    Mind blown. When I’m feeding myself, I can probably do about 20 – 25 a week (canadian) but when you factor in the blog and all the recipes I test, I’m lucky if I can get away with 50 a week, far less an entire month. Definitely need to use some of these tips in my life.
    Giselle Rochford recently posted…Being less introverted & stepping out of my comfort zoneMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I hope they help!! It’s been kinda harder these days for me to do $50/month because I get tempted by all the fresh fruit around me! ๐Ÿ˜›

  46. A.K.

    After the first semester of undergrad I really had to adjust & fine tune the art of budgeting(spent too long living on convenient semi processed junk such as pre-made prepacked udon noodles)In retrospect buying, canned veggies, rice as well as meat in bulk when on sale, then freezing the latter has made living on $55-60 per week possible with almost no prep or cook time. Tuesday’s haul should last almost four weeks alone, however the crockpot & portable roaster hate me due to our prolonged ongoing co-dependent relationship :p

    1. Farrah

      That’s awesome! I definitely had wayyy less healthy tendencies during my first year of college when I was on a mandatory meal plan in the buffet-style dining commons! I started learning to cook in my second year but only really branched out when I moved out to live entirely on my own. My crockpot and ricecooker probably hate me too! ;P

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