Trouble With Toast

Eat on $60 – Day 3 | October 14, 2009

I woke up on Tuesday morning determined to eat well all day, but to take our final dollar amount down from Day 2.  Specifically, I was really focused on bringing the cost of breakfast to a more budget-friendly place.  Jason stuck with his usual yogurt and cereal, but I decided to make myself an egg sandwich and take it to-go.  Two eggs at $0.08 each, two slices of wheat bread at $0.07 each, and one slice of cheese at $0.25 made a filling meal for only $0.55.  It takes more effort than an energy bar, but it’s a lot nicer on the wallet.


Betty – egg sammy ($0.55), two cups of coffee ($0.24).  Total – $0.79

Jason – yogurt and Smart Start ($0.90), two cups of coffee ($0.24).  Total – $1.14

For lunch, I packed Jason his usual, and I decided to take the leftover pizza from the night before.  It was too tasty to waste, and I knew it would keep me full enough that I wouldn’t snack as much as usual in the afternoon.  I wasn’t planning on buying any yogurt for myself, but the stuff I like was on SUPER sale, AND I had a coupon, so I figured that I could have my own at a quarter per serving.


Betty – leftover pizza ($3.35), Dannon immunity yogurt ($0.25).  Total – $3.60

Jason – chicken salad sandwich ($1.27), crackers ($0.20), Fig Newtons ($0.37).  Total – $1.84

Snacks were pretty light for me, with crackers ($0.20) being all I needed to get me through a long afternoon at work.  Jason, on the other hand, ate an apple ($0.41), some grapes ($0.69), AND an energy bar ($1.08).  Again, the budget was particularly difficult while hubby was doing boot camp, since he still wanted to eat 5-6 times per day and get a good mix of proteins, carbs, and other nutrients.  Which brings up an interesting point…

There are plenty of people who suffer from hunger who…well…don’t LOOK hungry.  There is certainly a link between food stamp benefits and obesity, the obvious reason being that the cheaper foods tend to be the more calorie-dense, high-fat, processed, “junky” choices.  But another factor is exercise, of course, and the fact that many people in the United States (and NOT just food stamp recipients) just don’t get any.  While it is most definitely crucial to address hunger issues, making healthier food available to all is only part of the solution.  I’d be interested to hear if anyone knows of organizations with a focus on fitness in low-income populations.

For dinner, I threw together cold sesame noodles with chicken and cucumbers, from a recent Cooking Light magazine.  I cook with Asian flavors quite a bit, so I had almost all of the oils and spices required for the dish.  I started calculating things out, but it truly started giving me a migraine.  Math hurts, kids.  So, I decided to estimate high and go with $5.00 total for the small quantities of rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce (which I bought on sale at Kroger for $1), ginger, and honey.

  • 8  ounces uncooked dried Asian noodles (I used lo mein, at $1.59 for the box)
  • 1/4  cup rice vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon honey
  • 2  teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger
  • 2  cups  shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast ($2.35)
  • 2  medium cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced ($1.06)

Total – $10.00.  I split the finished dish into 5 servings, so each one was $2.00.

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain.  Combine rice vinegar and the next 5 ingredients (through ginger) in a large bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add noodles, chicken, and cucumbers to bowl; toss gently to coat.

Eat on 30 noodles

I served the noodles with some Steamfresh frozen broccoli, which calculated out to $0.43 per serving.  So, dinner was $2.43 per serving, which brought my total for the day to $7.02 and Jason’s to $7.59.  When we added that $14.61 to the numbers from Days 1 and 2, our week-to-date total became $33.77.  We were more than halfway through our budget, but not quite halfway through the week.  Would we make it through the challenge with our budget intact?  Only time would tell…



  1. Here is my savings tip for the day….Steam Fresh Vegetables are great and coupons are often available. Publix frequently has them at 50% off so stock up if your freezer can handle it. I do!!
    That’s how I justify the diamonds 🙂

    Comment by Mom — October 14, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    • I dunno, I think you would justify the diamonds any way you could. 😉 Thanks for the tips!

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 15, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

  2. Great post & a great observation how the cheaper foods are def more calorie dense. (& btw the Math is getting to me too 🙂

    Comment by Paula - bell'alimento — October 14, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

    • Thanks so much–the hunger issue is a complicated one, particularly when you broaden the scope to discuss overall nutrition.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 15, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

  3. great job. I think your point about obesity and poverty is very important and so true.

    Comment by maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) — October 15, 2009 @ 3:15 am

    • Thanks! Again, I feel like the problems our country has with food are very multi-faceted. It’s not as simple as just putting food in peoples’ mouths, which is part of what this challenge is showing folks (I hope).

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 15, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  4. Betty,

    Just looked at the Publix add for the upcomming week….Steamfresh Veg’s 50% off….stock up folks. Baby carrots 1.29 1 lb. 2.49 2 lb 2.99 3 lb. Thomas’s Eng Muf. $2 Ronzoni healthy harvest Pasta 1/2 price….Starkist solid white tuna 4 cans $3.15. Happy shopping!

    Comment by Mom — October 15, 2009 @ 11:33 am

    • That’s for the week starting when, this Sunday the 18th? I could use some frozeg veggies.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 15, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  5. Today until next Wednesday.

    Comment by Mom — October 15, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  6. I am on disability and food stamps. I am fat. After about 30 years of off and on prednisone, it would be a miracle NOT to be fat. I have myasthenia gravis which makes exercise difficult. The more we MG’ers do, the weaker we get. I fall a lot, I aspirate liquids, I choke on foods, all made worse by exercise…makes everything a challenge.

    When people are really on food stamps, they can’t stop at McDonald’s and buy something. Also, it’s REALLY hard to build up a pantry of spices, staples and a variety of foods. A better challenge would be to live the life of a food stamp recipient in ALL facets for a week. I doubt many people would volunteer.

    I just summed up my financial life on my blog…

    Comment by WendyUsuallyWanders — October 17, 2009 @ 1:40 am

  7. […] challenged myself (and my husband) to eat and drink on $60 for an entire week, and it was an incredibly eye-opening experience that I hope to try again in the coming year.  Also in October?  I met […]

    Pingback by 2009 – Full Throttle, Full Circle « Trouble With Toast — December 29, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

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