Food & Drink

26 Eating Habits Of People Living On A Tight Budget

Ramen, mac & cheese, and free office snacks. These are food necessities when you're eating on a serious budget.

We've all been there: You have a wild weekend of great fun (i.e. drinking, eating, not paying attention to your spending) and you wake up in a daze on Sunday. You decide to take a glance at your bank account and sadness ensues. You have to pay rent this week and you're not getting your next paycheck for another twelve days.

It's time to go into survival mode. You need to start thinking about the necessities and eating is definitely one of them. It's time to get creative. We've highlighted 26 eating habits only people living on a shoestring budget will understand. If you're lucky enough not to have been there, maybe you'll learn some new ideas.

1. Ramen is everything.

Everyone knows this cheap move. It's less than 50 cents for a package. And don't feel bad: If you gussy it up with some sesame oil, an egg and pickles you may have hiding in the fridge, you'll be feasting on a gourmet meal.

2. You wait to get the free coffee at your office.

If you're lucky enough to be employed in this tough economy, the promise of another paycheck isn't the only perk. Many workplaces like to keep their employees caffeinated, so instead of getting your own morning coffee, you suffer through a zombie-like state until you get to work to guzzle down your free cup of joe.

3. You live off a carton of eggs.

The average cost of a dozen eggs is about $2. The variety of omelets and sandwiches you can make with eggs is limitless. Fried, poached or hard-boiled, eggs will save the day.

4. You start drinking more water to fill you up.

It will keep you feeling full for a little while, so you can at least suppress the hunger pains.

5. Dollar pizza slices make a great dinner.

Whoever thought of this life-saving price is officially your hero this week.

6. You frantically search for happy hour deals.

Sure, spending your money on booze is probably part of the reason you're in this predicament in the first place, but just because you're scraping along doesn't necessarily mean you need to stop going out. You'll probably feel better about not being able to eat a nice meal if you're a little tipsy.

7. You're getting used to drinking $1 cans of beer you've never heard of.

It may make you cringe every time you take a sip, but it gets the job done.

8. Or you're forcing yourself to abstain from alcohol.

Admit it, alcohol is just out of the question when you're at the point of searching your couch cushions for extra change. You'll survive, and maybe even feel about getting your priorities in order.

9. You buy a lot of lettuce.

And you eat it with whatever old dressing you have tucked away in the fridge door.

10. You're so happy you found those canned beans in the back of your cabinet.

You might have inherited them when you moved into this place, but those black beans will taste delicious with that leftover rice from your takeout two days ago.

11. You've started clipping coupons.

You're going to take the time on Sunday to sit down with those ads. There are some really great deals!

12. Bagels with cream cheese is the cheapest and most practical breakfast.

This may only be an option at the beginning of your budget experiment, but this meal usually costs less than four dollars and if you're lucky, it'll keep you full until lunchtime.

13. Pasta is your go-to dinner.

Buy a box of pasta and a can of tomato sauce. Cook the pasta and put tomato sauce on it. If you're really short on cash, just throw some olive oil on it. That's dinner for a few days.

14. Kraft mac & cheese is lunch and dinner.

For two days straight...

15. You experience severe agony when your friends ask you to go out to eat.

This whole situation is just getting cruel because now it's really messing with your social life.

16. You're too tired to cook but you can't afford delivery.

AND you can't go out with your friends...

17. You've brought your packed lunch to work every day this week.

And you almost cried that one time when you got to work and realized you left it at home.

18. You have started hoarding all the free snacks at your office.

You know to take advantage of those complimentary bananas and granola bars.

19. You know the exact change you need to get that meal at McDonalds.

$2.69 will get you a snack wrap and a small fries. Lunch of champions.

20. You actually bought a sack of potatoes.


Potatoes are some of the cheapest vegetables you can buy (most bags go for less than four dollars), and you can do so much with them. For example, you can bake a potato and put salsa on it. That's a whole meal that costs less than a dollar.

21. You eat a sophisticated dinner of mashed potatoes and canned beef stew.

So, you may not know what most of the ingredients exactly are in this off-brand beef stew, but you did mash those potatoes, therefore you are eating a real grown up meal.

22. The rotisserie chicken at the grocery store saved your life.


Yes, it was kind of an investment, but this baby has been supplying you with good meals the whole week.

23. The guy at the food truck knows your name now.

His two-dollar special of chicken and rice has been your lunch every single day. And it's really filling!

24. You have used hot sauce on every bland dish you have made at home.

It gives it the flavor you deserve to have.

25. You ask whoever you're eating with to pay.

Forgot your wallet again? You'll get them back next time, you promise.

26. Your roommate ate the food you were saving for later.

Never have you unleashed such intense fury as you did upon making this horrible realization.

Quick Pasta Recipes