Singles - shopping/cooking for one
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  1. #1
    Registered User vigilant20's Avatar
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    Default Singles - shopping/cooking for one

    I live alone and am only a week into frugaling up my life. I'm curious as to what kind of grocery budgets other singles have. I think I could get away with $20-30 a week, but I'm not sure if that's a reasonable goal.

    Anyone have any tips for cooking for one? Mine is to use recipezaar or a similiar site which can convert recipes into 1 or 2 servings. I still make up to 4 servings depending on how it splits up ingredients and whether I think I want to eat leftovers that long.

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    Registered User StaceyS's Avatar
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    I try to be under $50/mo. I like a lot of things like beans and grains, though. Not much meat. I have a small bar-type fridge, so I don't stock up on much perishable food. It's easiest to stick to the budget if you shop only once a month. I go to Trader Joe's and get as much as I can for the month. Oh, and I don't drink milk, so I don't have that perishable expense. I just got a free bread maker, so i won't even have to buy bread (I had been getting tortillas since they keep longer). In the summer it may go up, since I like to can things like tomatoes and green beans, so I buy them buy the bushel.
    Stacey

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    Mine is at $150 a month. Have been going over since I have been also trying to maintain a small stockpile. This amount includes home, bath, and animal products. I think it depends on what you eat and use. Also don't mind leftovers, so I will make a serving for two and eat the leftover the next day or freeze it. I also like to freeze soups, stews, roast. Right now I am mostly eating salads. Eating vegetarian meals a couple times a week helps, also managers specials in the meat department also helps. I will divide the meat up into single servings and freeze. One thing I like to do is either make banana bread or cornmuffins. The bread I divide up and wrap each piece then freeze. The muffins get frozen also. This way I can have whichever I want for breakfast, heat in microwave, without worrying about it going to waste.

    It may take a little time to figure out what works best for you.
    Last edited by Hamada; 04-24-2008 at 07:20 PM.

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    Registered User Marie78's Avatar
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    When I was single and cooking for one, I used to have a lot of light dinner nights. I would have a baked potato and salad, soup and crackers or sandwich, homemade taco bowls (with fake meat), homemade tortillas, I would always make more pasta and freeze any extra. Any meal that had leftovers I would freeze for later meals. I usually spent $35-$40 when it was just me and that included HBA, TP, and cat food/litter. I just remember that food used to last such a long time when I was single and now it doesn't!

  5. #5
    Registered User Frugal Cook's Avatar
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    If you have a microwave, check out this site and enter their monthly contest to win a free cooking for one cookbook.

    http://www.microwavecookingforone.com/

    You're probably not going to have much luck converting most recipes down to 1-2 servings. Spices and some ingredients just don't scale properly. After 40 years I finally tossed out all those books and recipes as useless.

    You will find that being a "box cook" is the most practical and frugal way to go when alone and then gradually expand your kitchen basic ingredients and spices (over the years) for doing more meals with your own ingredients. It will be a natural transition.

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    Registered User justpeachy92's Avatar
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    I don't cook for one, but my mil does. She gets alot of her food at the dollar tree. We have a big one near us, that has smaller bags of frozen fruit, vegis, fish,chicken for just $1. The bags hold like 2 servings.

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    Registered User StaceyS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marie78 View Post
    When I was single and cooking for one, I used to have a lot of light dinner nights. I would have a baked potato and salad, soup and crackers or sandwich, homemade taco bowls (with fake meat), homemade tortillas, I would always make more pasta and freeze any extra. Any meal that had leftovers I would freeze for later meals. I usually spent $35-$40 when it was just me and that included HBA, TP, and cat food/litter. I just remember that food used to last such a long time when I was single and now it doesn't!
    I was wondering about the pasta in the freezer. When I'm home, I can cook it fresh, but it'd be convenient for work lunches.
    Stacey

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    well i'm not "single" but there are plenty of times i go to the store only to buy things I'll end up eating.

    I average about 12$/week for myself.
    I'm a veggie, no meat, no dairy... so lotsa grains (going up in price), lotsa fruits/veggies (going up in price).

    Usually in the middle of summer, when all the fruits/veggies are 'in season' i can get a weeks worth of food for about 7$.

    I use LOTS of fresh veggies in cooking, fresh fruit as snacks/desserts.
    grains are the basis of any meal of mine.
    And of course my fresh herbs.

    I think 20/30$ a week is reasonable.
    As long as you give yourself some leeway here and there for cravings/specials/sudden necessities/etc.

    Once you have a basic stock of foods, you usually just need to buy fresh produce (fruit/veg/meat).
    But if you buy a lot of canned soups, frozen entrees, etc... you might wanna extend your budget.


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    Hello,

    I am new at being a Frugalite.

    I also purchase mostly organic food. I was stunned beyond belief when I decided to keep a record on my budgeting spread sheet, of every penny I spent on food, and it came to over $400.00 this month already!!!

    I was horrified to say the least. I spent this much after making a concerted effort to reduce my spending!!! Sheeeeeeeesh.

    I had set a goal of trying to only spend $200.00 this momth!!!

    There are very few coupons for organic food in the Sunday newspaper, or in the papers in general. So I try to only purchase items that are on sale at my local health food store. A novelty for me!!!

    I love cooking. However I am learning to try to plan my menus around the foods that I already have. It is too easy for me to think up a lovely menu for diner, go shopping for the ingredients, and end up spending more money than budgeted for.

    I have a chest freezer, so I prepare some meals such as home made soups and put them in the freezer.

    I envy those who say they can discipline themselves, and only spend $30.00 per week. I would really like to challenge myself and only spend $100.00 in one month. It is hard resisting purchasing items on sale and stockpiling them. You should see my cupboards, I have long-life food that I have forgotten about,.........I still feel the urge to shop though.

  10. #10
    Registered User SuzyBee's Avatar
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    I'm a single person also and am trying to stick to $50 per week, which is really hard, especially if you need to buy extra things besides food. I really don't feel like cooking when I get home, so I'll eat a sandwich or have leftovers from before. I can make up a large batch of stew or soup and eat it all week. I do want to eat better. I tend to buy veggies for salads and they land up going bad in the frig. I wish I knew a good way to make salads because it's healthy.

  11. #11
    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    I don't know what your money situation is or what kind of room you have, but if you don't already have one, a small freezer could be your best friend and a great investment, especially if you eat meat. You can stock up at good sale prices and save an amazing amount of money. The smallest chest freezer would be large enough; they are inexpensive and don't cost much to run, especially if you keep it full (add containers of water for space fillers), and that increase in the electric bill can be easily offset by your savings on food.

    Also, as many have suggested, you can save a lot of cooking time and the convenience is great. You can cook larger quantities and freeze the leftovers, so you don't have to eat the same thing for days on end. It doesn't take any longer (or any more energy) to look a large pot of beans than a small pot, or two meat loaves at the same time.

    Also, even for singles, stockpiling is a big money saver. You won't need as much as families collect, but try to take advantage of sales on non-perishables that you know you will eat. This will help you see your food budget go down. Maybe not at once while you are beginning to collect the stockpile, but gradually as you can use more food on hand and replace it with mostly foods on sale, you will begin to see a difference.

    As for a dollar amount, that's hard to say. It depends on what you eat and where you live. I'm in Louisiana, but visit friends in Maryland, and the grocery prices there are shocking to me. To see what budget works for you will just take some experimenting and watching costs.
    Donna

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