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How one man made $35 worth of food last an entire month

How one man made $35 worth of food last an entire month
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Mike Timmermann |
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If you’re looking for ways to trim the fat from your budget in 2018, start with your grocery spending!

According to government data, American households spent an average of $7,023 on food in 2015 (12.5% of income), including things they bought at grocery stores and restaurants.

That’s a lot of money, especially considering that between 30% and 40% of food ends up in the trash.

RELATED: My 7 best money-saving tips for 2018

One man’s $35 a month grocery budget

Inspired by the story of someone who spent only $98 on food for an entire month, one Reddit user shared details about how he managed on a grocery budget of $35 for one month.

Extreme? You bet it is! But there are a few things we can all learn from his journey.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the grocery spending he shared. Here’s a breakdown of exactly what the Reddit user says he bought with that $35.

  • $8 = 4 packets of corn tortillas, with each packet containing 80 to 100 tortillas
  • $5 = 5 pounds of beans (multiple varieties)
  • $2 = 6 pounds of onions
  • $2 = 8 cans on tomato sauce
  • $4 = 10 pounds of rice
  • $3 = 5 pounds of lentils
  • $2 = 36 eggs
  • $1.50 = Milk
  • $3 = Cereal
  • $1 = Salt
  • $2 = Oil

The Texas man said he was only able to make this work because he was a college student at the time.

He explained that every week he typically cooked up one type of beans with onions, tomatoes and spices to make a gravy dish, which he would eat along with tortillas, rice and lentils.

The man said he shopped at various stores to find the best deals, including Aldi, Kroger and local Mexican supermarkets.

Mom with 13 kids reveals her secrets to making $1 meals

When I read about this man’s story, it reminded me of Sam Fatzinger, a Maryland mother of 13 who told us she feeds her family for less than $1 a plate.

Her secret? Keeping things simple! 

Fatzinger sent this picture of the pantry where she stores budget-friendly staples like pasta, rice and beans, which are incorporated into easy-to-make meals.

Sam Fatzinger's pantry


  1. Cereal
  2. Yogurt
  3. Toast
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Fruit


  1. Leftovers
  2. Nachos
  3. Sandwiches
  4. Fruit and vegetables

Menu options


As for dinner, Fatzinger loves her slow cooker! She whips up a lot of simple meals like tacos, spaghetti, chili and “many, many chicken dishes.” Rice, potatoes or noodles are served nightly.

She has posted some of her favorite recipes on her blog, including these:

Like the man from the Reddit thread, Fatzinger mostly shops at Aldi, but she spends $300 a week.

Buying meat is an exception. She gets that from a butcher who told her exactly when he marks down inexpensive cuts by 33% or more. The butcher at your store may be just as happy to help you!

How I cut my food bill by $1,200 in one year 

Smart shopping helped me cut my restaurant and grocery spending by nearly $1,200 last year, but my “restaurant rule” is what really made the difference.

At the start of 2017, I challenged myself to avoid buying restaurant food when it wasn’t part of a social experience.

Going out with family and friends is fine, but I eliminated those nights when I would order takeout from a Chinese restaurant or pizza place and sit alone in my condo watching TV. That’s not very social!

As a result, I learned to get better about cooking my own food, primarily on Sundays when I prep for the week ahead.

If you’re looking for more ways to save on groceries, we’ve put together a list of 21 ways to spend less money at the grocery store. You may be able to cut your grocery bill in half!

RELATED: 5 ways my Instant Pot pressure cooker makes life so much easier

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