$20 to Payday Grocery List

Posted on August 15th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

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When I was just starting out in my marriage I learned that sometimes surprises pop up, leaving us to live on less than expected. On the days when the car had broken down or the price of gas had gone up again, I would look in our pantry to find I had a few ingredients that didn’t make any meal my husband would eat.  I could get a meal out of what was left in the cupboard, however, with a few tweaks. With $20 left for groceries, and a few days until payday, here are some of the things I would buy.

A box of powdered milk

Powdered milk can be used in all sorts of recipes. I could add chocolate syrup to it for a treat. It can be put in cereal and soups. It can even be used to make pudding. Having a box of powered milk around for cooking and baking, even when you have a carton of cow or soy milk, will reduce the rate your carton of the good stuff disappears.

A box of pancake mix

I prefer to use a mix that only requires me to add water. Pancakes are a great way to not just have cereal or a toaster breakfast. I also use them to make sandwiches for lunchtime. They are more filling than bread and are just as easy to make. Lunch meat and cheese go just as well on a nice warm pancake.

A box of potato flakes

I started  out only using these as a quick way to make mashed potatoes. Then I started adding things to them. For example I added shredded cheese and bacon bits and it was now mashed BAKED potato. When I added mixed vegetables and some ground beef it became a casserole.  Next, I tried thinning them out with milk and adding canned vegetables and a can of chicken. I had chicken chowder.

A few odds and ends

Whether it’s a can of peas or some type of spice there is always something else missing. I would save a little of the $20 for things I could add to a base. Cheese and garlic powder were two of my favorites. I could add them to just about anything for a little variety in taste.


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