I won’t bore you with the math, but this meal plan cuts out all the extras. No snacks, no OJ, no organic milk at $5.99 per gallon, no Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of that pasta, no frozen yogurt at night in front of DWTS. The husband brown bags it to the office. I’ll admit I included my coffee, at $2.15 per week, because I consider it essential, along with milk for the kids at every meal.
I have actually been extremely poor and I begin to think that most financial journalists have never been in that state. I remember saving up to buy powdered skim milk (as the only possible option) and would never have dreamed of affording organic milk. Some of the cheap food options that are listed are good but I remember buying huge bags of rice (10 kg, if I remember correctly) so I could stretch a tiny food budget out over a month. I notice this level of extreme economy is absent from the discussion.
In a lot of ways this is a good thing. The United States is wealthy country and it is good that inexpensive food is an feature of our society. But one should not mistake this advice as being how one would actually deal with dire poverty.