The Chronicle

Feed them for $30



Whether out of necessity or curiosity, keeping to a tight budget to feed the family can be challengin­g. Have you ever tried to see just how far you can stretch your dollar? What if your budget for the weekly shop was just $30? How would you approach grocery shopping and prepare for mealtimes?

Here are a few tips.


Most of us have at least a few pantry staples like tinned food, flour, sugar, half-full boxes of pasta and perhaps some rice hiding in the cupboards. Look at what you have already and start to imagine what kinds of meals you could fashion with these ingredient­s if you had just a few more cheap items. You can often make delicious fried rice just with what you have at home.


Write a concise list and stick to it. Minimalism and repetition are going to be your friends here. Have a look online to find recipes that require just a few inexpensiv­e ingredient­s and ones that will go a long way.

Breakfasts may consist of porridge every day, but you may already have some bits and pieces in the pantry to help with variety. Staples like cinnamon, peanut butter and cocoa powder can make a significan­t impact on humble oats.

Lunches may look like a simple Vegemite sandwich and a piece of fruit. You might surprise yourself with what works between two slices of bread.

For dinner, consider recipes that you can make in batches, such as soups, stews and casseroles. Recipes you can bulk out with rice, pasta, potatoes or legumes will help stretch the meal further and fill you up.


Have a look at where you could save money by choosing wisely and looking for cheaper alternativ­es. Keep your eye out for specials and clearance items, opt for “no frills”, shop frozen or tinned if it’s cheaper than fresh and consider long-life milk or even milk powder. Soups, legumes, fruit and vegies in a tin will help keep the dollars down.

Pasta and rice are cheap, filling and a little goes a long way. Buy and prepare whole cuts of meat instead of premium cuts that cost a lot more.


Cooking in bulk is one of the best ways to make ingredient­s stretch further and get more than one meal out of one big batch.

Meals like soups, stews, curries and casseroles are perfect for leftovers because they are often made from cheaper ingredient­s. By design, they’re also hearty.

Shop in season and make a habit of using as much of every ingredient as possible to reduce food waste.

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