No money ‘til pay day

When money is tight, food is usually the only expense that can be reduced. This may mean that every so often you find yourself unable to buy the groceries you need. This page provides a brief guide to how you can make the most of foods you may already have or can buy very little money.

So, there’s no money ‘til pay day and there are hungry people to feed.

Step 1: Stock Take

Make a list of everything (including sauces and unusual canned items) in the pantry, fridge and freezer. This way you know exactly what you have and you may discover food you didn’t know you had.

Step 2: Reduce Waste

If there are foods in the fridge close to the use-by date, use them first or freeze them to use later. Make sure you wrap or cover it well to prevent it spoiling. Chop up fruit and vegetables before freezing.

Step 3: Plan your meals

Make a note of what meals and snacks you need for each person until pay day. Start to fill this in with foods you already have. It is important to think creatively, you probably won’t have your normal snack foods available. Consider bread, fruit and vegetables as snacks and consider vegetarian meals.

Step 4: Shop for basics

Use what spare change you do have to buy some well-planned staple foods. The following can be used for various meals and are filling:

FoodUsesServesCost*
1kg Fruit Snacks, desserts 6 $3.00
1kg Carrots    Snacks, meals 10 $0.90
1kg Potatoes Snacks, meals 5 $2.50
375g Red Lentils Meals, instead of meat or to bulk up meat dishes 5 $1.95
Wholemeal bread Breakfast, snacks, meals 10 $1.50
2L Hilo Milk Snacks, meals 8 $2.00
900g Rolled Oats Breakfast, snacks 18 $2.00
500g Pasta Hot meals, salad, snacks 8 $1.00
* Costs are a guide only, shop around for specials.

Check out the FOODcents recipes for some tasty and cheap meals. Look for recipes with 1 $ sign, to show it is a cheap meal.

If you or someone you know needs financial, housing or food relief or counselling services and lives in Western Australia, there is help.

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The FOODcents program is no longer active in WA

A new interactive, cooking and nutrition program Food Sensations® for Adults is now available. Individuals and groups can book into the new program.

Click to find out more