- 10 Servings of Oatmeal (1 cup dry volume, 5 cup total) .57
- 1 can of Evaporated Milk .69
- 40 Tablespoons of Sugar .40
- 10 Teabags .22
- 2 Hot dogs per day, 8 Hot dogs total (only 8 in a pack) .99
- 2 hot dog buns per day, 8 hot dog buns .75
- 1 loaf oat bran bread, 10 slices, one PB&J per day. .50
- Store Brand PB, full jar $1.29, expect to use about half. .64
- Strawberry Jam, $.99, expect to use about half, .99
- 10 packs of Beef Ramen, 2 per day. 1.20
- 5 Eggs .54
- 3 cans green beans 1.17
- 5 Apples 1.43
(I shall make up for the .09 by not eating a PB&J one day, or skipping some other food, there is to much anyway, read on.)
Observation number 1: Aldi is CHEAP.
Obviously the plan changed a little at the grocery store. I must have been quite the odd sight, wandering around the store with my notebook, calculator and pencil behind my ear. Occasionally uttering sotto voce expressions of delight or disbelief. Aldi knocked just about half the cost off my original shopping list. They did not have a very good selection but apparently you have to be there early to get a crack at the cheap white bread. They had about a dozen bread racks stacked up empty. At .50 cents a loaf, I suppose I'm not surprised. It was rather odd for me to actually be paying attention to the specific price of what I was buying. Around Casa Pari and Beenie, we usually do our shopping about once a week and we buy whatever is necessary. We've long ago weaned ourselves off of big ticket items, i.e. no steaks, no ducks and no fancy organic food. Since we buy only the cheap stuff, we don't really look at the prices. Like people who can cook, we buy a lot of raw ingredients and very little prepackaged food. I think I'll be eating more prepackaged food this week than I have in years.
Observation 2: This was not hard.
If I thought I could stomach a simpler diet, I could have easily gone down to a dollar a day. I wound up being so shocked at how cheap this all was that the thought struck me to see how much food I could eat on $2 a day. So after a little menu re-work, I realized I could quite easily pile it on. I was worried about going hungry and now I'm thinking I'm going to have to add some time to my afternoon walk. Here's the caloric breakdown. Breakfast - Oats: 380, Sugar: 144. Lunch - 2 Hot dogs: 380 2 hot dog buns 220. Dinner - 2 Packs of Beef Ramen and one egg: 838 calories. Total: 1962 calories. You may also notice that I've got hot dogs AND PB&J for lunch. After buying everything else, I found out I had enough for a jar of PB, a jar of jelly and a loaf of fancy whole wheat bread at .99 cents. I'm also eating TWO packs of Ramen at night, a feat I've never accomplished before (that's a lot of damn noodles!).
That's the basics, I didn't add the green beans and the apples. What concerns me about this kind of meal is the almost complete lack of fresh anything. I put apples and veg on as an afterthought, but the veg are canned green beans, not something you'd choose unless, like me, you were determined to have some vegetables in your diet. The apples were the most expensive thing on the menu at $1.43 for 5 apples. I think this illustrates, anecdotally but still, that a person of limited means in this country is probably not going to starve, but this kind of diet is not exactly the healthiest thing in the long run.
I'm so not looking forward to eating this stuff all week. I have promised myself pie on Sunday.