Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

Chicken Breasts are a healthier alternative to ground beef. Ground beef is of course more filling.
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After years of being in the restaurant business, food cost has always been very important to me for planning my prices.  Everyone wants to save a little money here and there so here is some advice on getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to cooking at home and planning meals.  This way you can have some extra money for other things, or if you are a poor college student (or artist) you can eat well without breaking your bank account (textbooks and supplies can be pricey, I know).  Maybe you have a big family and need to balance your budget in order to save for the future, but still provide your children with the best foods.  Maybe you’re an alcoholic who would rather spend his money on booze and not on food.  Or maybe you’re one of those 30K Millionaire douche bags who would rather drive a flashy car but can’t afford anything else.  Whatever your situation or whoever you are, here is some advice on how to plan your next meal and save some money.


ground beef 300x198 Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

hamburgers can be made cheaper than McDonalds’s


Ground beef is fairly inexpensive and so is bread.  If you want to save money you can buy the largest hamburger meat bag and turn them all into patties the same day.  The patties will last indefinitely if you put them in the freezer.  Do not use actual hamburger buns as they are more expensive.  You can get a loaf of bread for one dollar and it will have at least 20 slices in it.  You should be able to make twenty quarter pound burgers for under $12 bucks!  That is a better deal and healthier than going to Mc Donald’s!

Total Cost: $12 for 20 quarter pound Hamburgers.  That is .60 cents per hamburger (and they are quarter pounders!)



chicken Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

Chicken Breasts are a healthier alternative to ground beef. Ground beef is of course more filling.

White meat Chicken can be found for about 2.30 a pound.  While it may not be a cheaper choice than hamburger meat (ground beef), it may be healthier.  A bag of Chicken usually costs around 6.99 for 3 pounds if it is on sale.  I’ve never really seen it any less (unless you can get it whole sale).   Usually there are 9 about 9 breasts in a 3 pound bag, so you will be paying .78 cents per chicken breast.

Total Cost: .78 cents per meal (assuming you only eat one chicken breast per meal), so eating healthier is costs less than .20 cents more per meal (assuming the chicken is on sale)!



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pasta is a great source of fiber and is very filling

Pasta is generally inexpensive.  You can get a one pound of pasta for a dollar and a can of pasta sauce for also one dollar.  A pound of pasta makes about 8 servings according to the box, so you will get at least 3 meals a day for under two dollars.  This is definitely a cheaper alternative than Ramen!

Total Cost: $2.00 for 6 – 8 servings! (Includes one can of pasta sauce)  That is .25 to .33 cents per meal!



rice Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

Rice is very filling and ultra cheap! You can also add a lot to it such as meats, fruits and vegetables

Rice is also very inexpensive (Depending the strain of course).  Basmati rice and Japanese Sushi rice tend to be the most expensive when purchased at a grocery store, but if you like this type of rice, you can always go to an Asian store and buy it cheaper.  If you are going to the grocery store, just purchase a bag of long grain rice.  The Asian store will of course sell bigger bags of rice for about $10 – $18 dollars for a 15 – 20lb bag.  This is A LOT of rice by the way!  Generally one cup of rice can feed one person very well, two cups for a person with a bigger appetite. One cup of rice is about 185 grams and 20 pounds of rice will be 9071.85 grams which is around 49 servings of rice!  That’s at least one meal a day for less than $20 bucks!
Total Cost:  $10.00 per 20 pound bag of rice (assuming you get the cheapest).  This is .20 Cents per serving of rice!


Now you need to add fruit and vegetables as they are essential to any diet.  Fruits and vegetables usually change prices more often than meat or grains, but here’s what you can expect as I have listed the most inexpensive fruits and vegetables out there relative to their health value.



apples Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

apples are great; as they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Apples are probably the cheapest fruit and you can freeze them too.  The price of apples can vary but are typically a few dollars for a 5 pound bag.  I’m not sure how many apples this will translate to, but I think there are 15 – 18 small apples per bag and 8 – 10 large apples.



peaches 300x197 Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

Peaches are delicious and sweet. This may be great for those of you who have a sweet tooth!

I like peaches because you can do a lot with them.  You can dice them up and add them to your rice while it’s steaming, which is why I chose peaches.  Don’t worry about the fuzz, because you can eat the peach fuzz.  I generally like to dice up these peaches and throw them in my rice with my choice of meat for a really tasty rice dish!



carrots 300x225 Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

carrots are good for your eyes and they are nutritious and delicious!

Carrots are a good source of vitamins and minerals which is good for your eyes (at least that was what my College chemistry professor told me).  Carrots are usually inexpensive and filling so you should be able to purchase a bag of them fairly cheap.  You can freeze carrots in order to preserve their life expectancy.


Sweet Potatoes 

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better for you than actual potatoes!

While regular potatoes are cheaper, they do not have any nutritional content, which is why I recommend sweet potatoes if you are looking out for your health.  A bag of sweet potatoes are fairly inexpensive and you can buy them in bulk.  They also last a fairly decent amount of time.



onions Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

onions… you either love them or you hate them!

Onions are the cheapest vegetable out there and you can buy white onions in bulk at inexpensive prices.  i used to hate them as a kid, but now I’m fairly indifferent and I can eat them just fine.  High in nutritional value!  You can add the onions to both pasta and rice.  If you don’t like them, then what the hell are you reading my article for?  I thought you were trying to save money, not be picky!

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About Daclaud Lee
Daclaud Lee is a resident of Columbus Ohio.

2 Comments on Analyzing Food Costs for Meals on a Budget

  1. This is a great way to help me plan my meals! As a poor college student I need to save money and be able to do other things!

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