I recently posted that I needed to be better about my finances and directed my readers to Dave Ramsey’s site.  Since I’d just touted it, I thought I should pay a visit myself.

I did the free budget, using (mostly) the amounts suggested by the site.   For the record, I put food right at the max percentage and debts a little over (because otherwise I’m never paying those suckers off!).

First of all, it’s going to take a huge step of faith to faithfully tithe an amount that is more than half of my food budget.  Ouch!

Second, I’m not sure how I’ll find a place to live on the housing limitations (and I put housing almost at max), but at least I know now to say no to anything well out of the ballpark.

The big one, though?  Food!  How do you feed three growing boys and two less-voracious females on $60.50 per week??  I have problems feeding just me on that amount.

I’ve already had beans and rice recommended to me.  Beans are not a friend of my ulcerative colitis, but brown rice is.  Maybe I’ll start having brown rice with every meal.  I don’t seem to have any sensitivities for that. 

This might not be the best time to be giving up eggs and dairy, though.  I don’t mind the soy, gluten, corn, and sugar.  I can manage with the peanuts.  But eggs and dairy… those get me through a lot of tight budget days.

Time to get creative.

I try to keep up with nutrition and health information.  This morning, I was skimming news and blogs before work and came across this article by Greatist.com.  They offered 44 “healthy” foods for under $1.  I put “healthy” in quotes because some of the choices are borderline.  I also thought their serving sizes were a little suspect.

For example, they included eggs, peanuts, whey protein, yogurt, milk, whole grain pasta, popcorn, cottage cheese, and edamame… all members of the Sensitive Seven list.  They also listed chicken breast, canned tuna, canned salmon, apples and canned tomatoes.  Chicken breast may contain corn and soy, hormones, and be injected with a broth-mixture.  Canned items should be limited, especially for sodium, and tuna and salmon should be watched for high levels of mercury.  Apples should only be bought organic if possible.

So… I didn’t really agree with their list.  (I won’t even go into them regularly changing serving sizes to make sure they were under the $1 limit.)

Here are my items, around $1 per serving, that were on their list:

  • Most fruits and vegetables in season can be bought for under $1 per serving, even some organic.  Just remember to buy the Dirty Dozen organic and don’t stress over the Clean Fifteen.
  • Beans, especially bought in bulk, will be under $1 per serving.  Just remember to soak them.
  • Brown rice (never white) runs about $0.25 per serving (or $5 for a 2-pound bag).
  • Quinoa will run about $10 for 24 ounces if organic; that comes out to about $1.67 per serving.
  • Lentils (very good with brown rice) should be about $1 per 16 ounces if bought in bulk; per serving, this will come out to about $0.55 per serving.
  • Organic, free-range chicken breasts can be bought for about $3.75 per serving (3.5 ounces) without any effort at all.  No, that’s not under $1… but it’s breasts.  If you want to pay about $1.25 per serving, get a whole chicken.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  It’s possible to eat healthy food, even with food sensitivities, for very little money.  It just takes a little time, a little effort, and a little more money than your Dollar Menu takeout.