Dinner on the Cheap


My grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and one thing people learned to do was to eat on the cheap. How do you turn an one egg, some sour milk and a bit of flour into a feast? Pancakes! 

So maybe you’re as rich as Gwenneth Paltrow and want to perform an experiment on how to feed a family on $100/ week, or you’re broke and clawing to make ends meet, or anywhere in the middle and trying to save some money, this post is for you! 

What would you do if you had $100 extra dollars? Send it to Haiti? Save it? Buy new shoes? Think about that over this tasty dinner:

Tonight I had a hankering for Chinese food but I really didn’t want to shell out for it (or pile the kids into the car to pick up the take-out). So, I looked around the kitchen and came up with a chow mien style dinner and it cost me almost nothing. Best of all? All four kids cleaned their plates. 

My ingredients:

Chinese noodles similar to spaghetti–1/2 package. Cost $0.75

Eggs purchased on sale for $0.79/doz 4 eggs. Cost $0.26

1/2 T Soy sauce (or a packet saved from take out). Cost $0.05

Vinegar, 1 tsp. $0.03

Small onion, $0.20

Swiss chard from my garden. Okay, I know what you’re thinking–not everyone has Swiss chard lying around. But, most people do have dandelion greens or plantain greens growing nearby. Wash ’em, chop them up, and fry them in a little oil-maybe $0.20 worth if you don’t have some left over fat lying around and they’re tasty! Cost $0.00 

Throw in a pinch of garlic powder or a bit of pepper or whatever spices float your boat, and voila! A lovely dinner for 5 under $2.00

First I sautéed the onions and chard in a little left over fat and then boiled the noodles for 5 minutes. Then, I drained the noodles and tossed them into the sauté pan and stirred in the eggs with the seasonings. It took about 15 from start to finish.

More ultra cheap dinner ideas coming soon! If you cook on the cheap long enough, pretty soon you’ll have a nice little cache of cash!