Eating on $5 a Day

sandwich-2301387_1280

Sandwiches save big money if you make them yourself

Most people think getting a meal for $5 is a bargain. It ain’t. I figured that out a while back, and came up with what I thought at the time was a radical plan to make that much money cover an entire day. It worked wonderfully, and I enjoyed everything from steaks to eggs, bacon and homemade pancakes while at home. Every TNMM reader already knows Anglobitches won’t raise a finger to cook, so we have to “man up” (heh) and learn how make our own food.

Since adopting minimalism, and realizing I can buy experiences that will last a lifetime with my money rather than meals that will soon become excrement, I’ve slashed my food costs to $5 a day. And I have been quite happy with my arrangement. But trucking presented a new set of problems. Mainly, not having a full kitchen to take advantage of.

As I mentioned before, I’ve literally been eating on a budget like this for years. I’ve lost weight by planning meals. I’ve cut down on waste and aggravation by streamlining and simplifying. I’ve saved tons of cash. And I’ve adapted this plan to hyper-save while I’m in the throes of The Matrix, driving 3,000 miles a week earning that precious freedom money to power my mini-adventures here in the USA and my major adventures abroad.

In an orally fixated, obese culture, some will no doubt find the way I handle my food budget horrifying. I look at it this way. If you want to spend your paycheck on over-processed, over-seasoned food at Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag (yes, that’s a Simpsons reference) then be my guest. Your wallet and your waistline will take a beating. Enjoy yourself.

But here’s how I eat on $5 a day while on the road, and fatten my bank account.

Bologna, ham, and other cold cuts are part of the agenda. Sandwiches made with wheat bread are a staple, and cold cuts can be stored in the mini-fridge I bought for my sleeper. A spice rack help keeps things interesting when preparing tuna salad or chicken salad. There’s even some potted meat that actually goes will with mayo and mustard mixed together. Then there’s potato chips (always the store brand) alongside cans of chili, Chef Boyardee, and other canned goods.

Since I don’t have a stove, or a lot of time, everything I do on the road is pretty much ready to eat food. Some will say I should install a stove and a microwave and all this, but to me it’s not minimalism if I’m spending money unnecessarily. I’m only planning on being in the U.S. for 6 months or so at a time. Things have to work, and they have to work without needlessly spending money on comfort-maximizing accessories.

Bottled water and Walmart store brand sodas are my daily beverages, along with instant Kool-Aid and iced tea packets to keep things interesting. It’s Walmart brand Pop Tarts for breakfast. Celery sticks, carrots, cherry tomatoes and a big tub of ranch dressing for snacktime.

This all comes out to $3 to $5 a day for 2,000 calories. To me, the whole idea is cheap calories that are there whenever I need them. While food snobs will be aghast, I know I’m not missing anything by skipping the drive-thru and the sit down restaurants they worship. (I eat a fast food burger once or twice a a week to remind myself how bad they are, and reward myself with a proper meal at a nicer restaurant once a week.)

The good news is, I’m literally gaining $400-500 extra a month in my budget vs. other truck drivers (and GloboWorldCorp employees) who eat out every meal. Just the savings on food is enough to pay for a monthly excursion when I finish my 23 days on the road and take my week off.

And as a result of cost-cutting like this, I’m currently saving around 95% of my income to take with me abroad, where I’ll have hot Latinas and Asian women cooking up delicacies right in front of me that make ersatz American food taste like the crap it is. You know, to make up for the sacrifice I made eating on the cheap in my truck.

See, it’s not so bad after all.

Do you know how much you’re spending on food each day? How do you do things at home? Or, if you’re on the road how do you eat decently while saving?

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8 comments

  • try a crock pot slow cooker in your rig. i know many guys that do since they have the free electricity. i do it at home. just throw in meats, vegs that you like, seasoning, onions, whatever and you can make an supply that will last over a week. stores in a few containers in your fridge. eliminates excessive carbs and junk from bread and the stew meats and cheaper cuts purchased in bulk are cheaper than cold cuts and healthier.

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  • I spend $10 a day and food and hardly ever eat out. I eat like a fucking God too. Ribs, Steak, BBQ Chicken, Crab, Lobster, Pot Roast, and Burgers. I cook/prepare all of it myself. Eating a healthy delicious meal is a wonderful daily experience. I fast all of the day so when I get home from work and finish cooking the meal experience is the best part of the day. It’s also the perfect time to go over my day with my girl and listen to whatever dramas went down at her job or with her family. Meal time is the best time.

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    • Escape from the Anglosphere

      A Wise Man I do what you described above fairly often but this past August I took it to a new extreme. I don’t eat until dinner — fast all day — a very good and massive home cooked meal. A pudgy male coworker once went into beta consumer bitch mode because he could not imagine waiting until the end of day to eat. I basically told this guy to go piss off because I don’t have to explain my consumption habits to anyone. I don’t really care if people want to shove food in their mouth all day every damn day of the week but don’t try to push that shit on me.

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  • I discovered the joys of home cooking years ago. True, I do occasionally afford myself a decent meal at a decent fast food place, but most of my meals are prepared from scratch. Minus those occasional fast food meals, my food expenditures for 2016 averaged $252.21 per month (which included laying in some storage). Not bad, eh?

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  • Been a minimalist for about five years now, most of it in a motorhome, doing all my own cooking. About six moths ago I settled into a travel trailer at the beach with a full kitchen. The ovens in travel trailers and motorhomes are small propane models and generally don’t cook worth a shit. I looked into a countertop oven and settled on a top of the line Breville. It was pricy, about $300, but I use it constantly and can turn out some serious gourmet shit with it. Looking back, I should have bought it a long time ago for the motorhome.

    My food budget is double that of our host, TNMM, at $10/day. Breakfast is a bagel or English muffin with spreads, a banana, and a grapefruit or cantaloupe slices. Lunch is fresh broccoli, carrots, and Ranch dressing for dipping. Dinner is a homemade chicken salad (I’ll share the recipe) sandwich or something on the grill. Beverage is usually ice water – I gave up iced tea due to the caffeine. Desserts are homemade chocolate chip cookies (I will share the recipe), homemade banana bread, homemade fresh fruit cobblers, etc., all thanks to the Breville.

    I haven’t eaten in a sit down restaurant since early January. In May I went to the doctor (I hadn’t seen one outside of a doc-in-the-box in five years) and had complete blood work done. All my numbers were in the normal range except for slightly elevated cholesterol, all in spite of being a serious drunk for five years.

    Bottom line, a proper diet of fresh foods prepared at home is the key to everything. I’m living proof that you can abuse your body and be OK as long as you eat right. Most men are loathe to shop in the produce section, but that is where you stay healthy by staying out of the prepared foods section, and save a ton of money to boot. As usual, TNMM is right. Listen to him. Cheers.

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    • Escape from the Anglosphere

      Relampago Furioso thanks for writing this article. I usually cook for myself but sometimes I do hit ruts and eat out and drink way to much, my BF% and budget aren’t to fond of the results whenever I do either. My grocery shopping rate per day is usually $15 to 20 — I don’t live near a Walmart and I usually go to the quasi-organic store near my place. I try to to just spend $5 to $10 per day but I find this to be very difficult because of the geographic (higher cost of living) area that I live in. The sad part of it is many women in my area easily spend over twice my usual rate and are twice as large too. I’m natural broad shouldered / mesomorph that is slightly taller than average height just to let you know.

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    • Rookh Kshatriya

      Ignoring expensive brands is sage advice. A study in the UK showed that famous food brands were often manufactured by the same folks who made much cheaper, store-brand products. Slap a fancy logo on the tin and the masses – women in particular – will pay twice the price for the same product. Ridiculous but true. Most food is ultimately made by a handful of corporate giants, anyway.

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      • Escape from the Anglosphere

        Rookh Kshatriya good advice. I’ll try this in August and see if it works.

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