Some people aren’t doing so great financially these days. The number of those below the poverty line has risen since the pandemic began and so many people lost their jobs. Some were able to work from home, but many businesses closed, many permanently.
Since then, America, as well as the rest of the world, has struggled to get back on its feet. That means job hunting for some people even while they get the vaccine. Some individuals have had to move back in with their parents, while others must cut corners financially every way they know how.
In these times, it helps to know how to stretch what money you have. Let’s talk about some versatile foods that won’t break the bank and which you can always have around the house.
Some people were collecting long-term disability insurance or unemployment benefits even before the pandemic began. Others, such as senior citizens, were on fixed incomes. In other instances, you might have college students who can’t afford lots of food options because tuition costs them so much.
Whatever the circumstances which led you to your current belt-tightening, though, you’ll have to find food choices that can get you through those tough times. The noble potato can certainly be one of those.
You can find potatoes at the grocery store or your local farmer’s market, and a five-pound bag often costs between $2-5, depending on where you get them and what kind you purchase. Baking or redskin potatoes are virtually everywhere, and you can get a couple of bags every time you go shopping.
You can mash them, bake them, fry them, and boil them. You can use them as a curry or soup base. They’re filling, and if you leave the skins on, they provide some fiber, which is helpful from a dietary standpoint.
Rice is another starch, and most people don’t think of it as a main dish, but you can utilize it as a base to start many different meals. You can use it for a side dish with just a little salt, butter, and paprika. You might also make chicken-and-rice soup from it or add some fresh veggies and have it alongside meat or fish.
You’re better off getting brown rice instead of white since that offers you some fiber as well. Like potatoes, rice will fill you up, and if you’re trying to get the most from your money, it’s a must-have.
You can get a big bag for about $2-3, and you can also make it in the microwave, on the stove in a pot, or in an instant pot, if you have one.
You can purchase canned beans for as little as fifty cents in many instances, or you can buy dried beans in bags for a couple of dollars. There are many different kinds, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, etc.
Beans and rice go great together, and you can use some spices to kick them up a little. With beans and brown rice, you’re getting both fiber and protein. If you want nutritious food that also fills you up, it’s hard to go wrong with that particular combination.
You can also use beans in a salad or to make chili. You can look online for recipes if you have several cans or bags and you’re tired of making the same things with them.
You might feel like you can’t often afford meat if you don’t have very much money. When you’re trying to stretch those dollars, you’re not going to be able to spring for a juicy steak very often.
Canned, cooked chicken is very versatile, and you can usually pick up a six-pack of cans for about $9-10. There are many ways to utilize it, and since it’s fully cooked, you can usually whip up a meal with it very quickly if you’re in a hurry. It will also last in your cabinet for multiple months because of the preservatives.
You might use it in soup, stew, chili, or curry. You can serve it over rice or use it to make chicken salad sandwiches if you have the other ingredients.
If you find you’re stretching your food dollars, you might want to consider getting a Costco card. You will often find the initial financial outlay worth it because you can get a ton of food at one of these spots that can last you weeks or even months.