SINGAPORE: The high inflation rate over the past few years has been a challenge for most people, and we’re all looking for ways to cut our budgets, even when it comes to the everyday things we love—food. As painful as it is, many of us have had to draw from our bag of tricks and tips when saving on food bills.
This is probably the reason why when a Reddit user recently crowdsourced ideas as to how to slash his food bill in half, a lot of people wrote the equivalent of “I gotchu, fam,” and were more than willing to share their ideas. “I have about 1.2k available to live off for about 4 months,” wrote u/Green_Community_8054 on r/askSingapore on Tuesday (Sept 26).“I’m planning to keep $600 for investments at a later time. My current food expense is about 300 per month, I want to cut that to $150 per month. Is it feasible? If so any tips to help me achieve this?”
Many commenters happily obliged with their best money-saving tips.
“If you have a steamer and an airfryer, 4 portions of rice – basically free. 1 cauliflower – $2. 1 broccoli – $1.2. 2 carrots – $0.7. 600g frozen chicken breast – $4 or 600g fresh chicken breast – $6. + maybe can cook eggs before every meal too (8 eggs) – $3. 4 meals for $10.9+ and its filling and p healthy. I used to do this to eat healthier (with some alternating of similar foods). Cooking 4 portions at once saves time too,” wrote one.
“It is also a good idea to buy at wet markets. Because the vegetables there are cheaper and, for some reason, can last longer (provided that you store them properly),” another added.
“Change chicken to tofu, tofu is cheaper. Tofu or lentils,” chimed in one Reddit user.
And when it comes to adding spices, “Now the real insane frugal tip is getting the salt packets from McD’s,” quipped one.
“Get some pasta (I suggest the fresh egg pasta, which is like 1.5$/pack) – that’s roughly 4 servings. Or rice. Rice should be even cheaper, but more difficult to cook in small portitions. Anyway, it will be about 30-50 Cents/portion
- Pack of veggies, like Shanghai Green with 4-5 pieces for like 1.2$ – 20-25 Cents/piece
- Onions/Garlic, etc – 20 Cents/serving
- Pepper, Salt, Spices – 5 Cents/serving
- Tomatoes, eggs: 35 Cents/piece
- Tofu: 40 Cents/piece
In short, you can cook with basic ingredients for less than 2$. Or about 3$ if you want to add some meat,” wrote another.
“$150…. Maybe meal prep. Buy frozen chicken in bulk, broccoli, rice, potato. Get free groceries from olio or carousell. Then cook and freeze. Assuming u have access to freezer. Then just eat same meal. At least somewhat nutritional,” another wrote.
One even provided some very useful links:
- “Get some free veg by joining little India food rescue Mon wed Fri night
- Get Frozen Chicken Products (loose packed) like New Multi (10pc 800g total, 9.90, so 1 dollar a piece)
- Get Tau Kwa at $1.40 or protein for 2 to 3 neals
- Then just cook lots of white rice to be cheap.
Assuming each portion of protein is $1 for 2 meals a day and 30 days that will be $60. 1 cup of rice per meal = 60 cups or 12 kg of rice. One 10kg pack of happy family rice from sheng siong is about 14.60 so assuming bulk buy, 12kg will be 17.50.
Leftover budget = 150 – 60 – 17.50 = 72.50
If no time to go veggie rescue can get China Chinese cabbage $2.70 for 1.3kg (around 12 portions of veggies) = $0.25 per portion or $15 for 60 meals. China baby dou bai $2.48 for 400g (around 4 portions) = $0.62 per portion or $37.20
If you mix up your leafy greens, there should be good variety and still being able to stay within budget.” /TISG