Have you ever thought about the cheapest food to buy when broke? If you have never had to ask yourself this question then you are a very lucky guy and lady.
Unfortunately, I am in the group that at some point in our life had to find a way to survive in a little income. It is during those times that you learn quickly what type of foods are low cost.
Despite the challenges I faced at that time there were a few positive things that came out of that experience. One of those things was the fact that I learned to prepare my own lunch for work.
To this day I still bring lunch to work, thereby cutting down on food expenses. That is one thing that you too can learn from my experience.
There is no reason to buy food from a restaurant or take away restaurant when you are at work. You can prepare your own healthy food that meets all your needs and specifications other than standardized food in restaurants.
Your money is precious so spend it well and if you have excess save it.
I will now try to share my experiences. And I hope that you too can learn from my experiences and be able to survive and thrive afterward.
Cheapest Food To Buy When Broke
Below are some of the low-cost food that you can get if God forbid, you become broke.
During the time I was financially stretched I discovered that one of the most economical foods that you can buy is eggs.
One can easily get stocked up for a whole week on a dollar or a little more.
I used to buy at least two crates just to make sure that come what may, I at least had something to fall back on.
Eggs are some of the most nutritious foods out there. According to webmd.com, one egg has 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.
It is also a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.
2. Tinned Fish
Another low-cost food that kept me going during the time I was broke was tinned fish. One can easily get tinned fish for a few pennies in most supermarkets.
The reason I liked tinned fish was the fact that I hate cooking so any low-cost and ready-made food would do at that time.
The good thing about fish is that it is low in fat but filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins D and B2 (riboflavin).
It is also rich in other minerals that include magnesium, potassium, zinc, iodine, iron, etc.
Besides the tinned fish, one can also go for fresh fish but in the area, I was living in I felt that the price was too high for someone who is broke.
I am not sure about other big city areas but I would assume the situation should be the same.
I would urge you to consider your own situation and find out whether fresh fish is cheaper than tinned fish in your area.
Another type of food that would work for those short of cash is beans. I am a big fan of beans and has been like that since I was a little boy.
Growing up I was surprised that not many people like beans. Beans were to me, the best in the plant kingdom. Given an opportunity, I can survive on beans alone if it was a healthy thing to do. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
In terms of nutrition, beans are the closest thing to meat from the animal kingdom. This is because of their protein content which is higher especially in soya beans.
In beans, you have 15 grams protein, 1 gram fat, 45 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fiber. Besides this, beans contain iron which is equivalent to 20 % of the daily value you need for good health.
There is also calcium and magnesium which are 8% and 21% of the daily value respectively. And last but not least phosphorus which meets 25% of daily needs.
4. French Fries
I honestly did not want to include french fries on this list but that is what I survived on during my difficult financial days. I survived on this junk food because it was the most affordable at that time.
I remember I used to buy the frozen french fries bags from my local supermarket. If my memory serves me right I think I was paying less than a dollar for a packet.
On some days I would just put it in an oven for 30 minutes. This was a bit healthier option than dipping them in boiling oil.
I must confess that I preferred frying it than putting it in an oven. This is something I would not honestly encourage anyone to do. French fries are not good for your health.
The gravest danger of french fries comes from the trans fats that are created by the cooking in oil at very high temperatures.
And as most doctors will tell you trans fats are bad for you.
Trans fats are associated with a higher risk for many cardiovascular diseases i.e. diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels.
It is very easy to forget the good old staple of rice. It is probably one of the most affordable foods available.
Personally, I like brown rice as it is the most nutrient-rich form of rice. It is a must-have for any health-conscious person out there.
White rice may be more palatable to many people but is deficient in many ways as the processing gets rid of the nutrient-rich parts.
As one nutrition expert once told me, it is almost useless in terms of its nutritional value.
I would, therefore, encourage you to consider switching to brown rice if you want to get the best type of rice.
Rice is mainly rich in carbohydrates and some proteins. A half-cup of rice contains 28.7 grams of carbohydrates and 2.36 grams of protein.
Therefore as you can see rice is dominated by carbohydrates.
One thing I noted during my difficult days is that it is much cheaper to buy a 5 or 10 kg bag of rice than buying a packet every day. You actually save if you buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk is one of the best ways to save money and cut your budget for any home purchase.
I remember during the time I was studying for my exams, I was too lazy to cook and relied on eating just bread and juice. At other times I would add an egg as it is also the easiest food to prepare.
Actually one can do away with rice and just use bread in his meals. On bread, I am a fan of brown bread as white bread puts me off. I simply do not like the taste of white bread.
I know I am an exception to this as most people prefer white bread from white bread.
However let it be known that in terms of nutritional value, brown bread is way ahead of white bread. It, therefore, makes sense to stop eating white bread and go for brown bread.
One of the major advantages of brown bread or wholemeal bread is that it is a good source of fiber.
And it is well known that a high fiber diet helps in digestion preventing cases of constipation and the like.
It has also been shown that a high fiber diet reduces the risk of bowel cancer.
And for those fighting obesity, they too also stand to gain from wholemeal bread. This is because the high fiber in it helps to make people feel fuller and therefore reduces the craving for more food.
And the less food you eat the less weight you gain.
7. Some Fruits and Vegetables
One thing I also noted during my time is that vegetables were a bit expensive for someone who was struggling financially.
At that time I was not in a position to be spending more than a dollar on fruits and vegetables.
For example, I remember seeing mangoes being sold at a dollar each. I honestly thought that that was too expensive for me.
I was then not getting any salary and therefore it was a question of subtraction only on my money.
There were however some vegetables that I found to be reasonably priced. These vegetables included lettuce and some leafy vegetables.
It is for this reason that starting this year I have started growing my own vegetables. It has been tough but worth it.
I am at the moment watching how my tomato plants are growing. They have just started flowering so hopefully, in the next few weeks, we could see some tomatoes developing.
The easiest crop to grow and one that I have now fallen in love with is potatoes. I have grown some in the ground and some in the plastic paper bags.
The ones in plastic paper bags appear to be growing fast and are in a much better position than the ones that are in a small plot of land behind our house.
Even though I am no longer in financial difficulties, I have really enjoyed growing my own crops. I hope to continue this farming next year.
Currently, I am trying to root heads of lettuce in water in the hope of transplanting them in the soil later on. If this works I should have my own lettuce harvest soon.
I wish I had had my own vegetable crops when I was going through my difficult times. Then I would not have been complaining about the prices of vegetables.
When one is broke and is a meat eater he will discover that meat is actually much cheaper than vegetables. As someone who does not eat meat I wish it was different.
However, the reality is that due to farm subsidies, meat is very cheap nowadays and affordable. For some reason, farmers are the most pampered of any group of citizens in Europe and America.
Even though I don’t like offering subsidies to farmers, I must confess that such policies have helped in making sure that food is affordable to all people.
Though this has completely distorted the international markets making farmers in other parts of the world struggle to export their goods to us.
If you are struggling financially I would advise that you go and get meat from the supermarkets such as Walmart etc.
Their prices should be more affordable than buying it from the smaller grocer on the corner of your street.
It is fine to support the small grocer when things are going fine but not when you are struggling. You can support them again once you get back on track.
I hope you have been able to learn from the cheapest food to buy when broke list that I have provided to you. I understand that I was living an extreme life back then and only went for the most basic of supplies.
I refrained from all sorts of fancy foods that people eat when things are going well. For me, it was just a question of survival. It was a time I learned how to be frugal. Though it was not by choice back then.
My advice to those going through a difficult time is to visit a few shops first before you start spending your money.
During these visits, jot down the prices of goods from each shop and use your findings to help you find the best option for yourself.
Don’t confine yourself to one shop. During this time you have no such luxury.
If you are going through a tough time like I was then, I just want to say keep on keeping on. You will get through this tough patch and will come stronger and better on the other side.