Full-day meals and snacks

No buyer’s club and only 2 digital coupons!

The prices you see on this table are no longer available. I have found even better deals since taking this picture. Other sales or coupons are long gone.

At worst, I would have to pay about $3.75 for this table full of food, based on what sales, BOGOs, manager’s specials, discounts and coupons are available.

The point is, it’s easy to eat like this for roughly $4 if you smart-shop.

The SNAP Challenge is not realistic

With the SNAP Challenge, you are supposed to buy food for one week on your food stamp budget. That doesn’t make sense. People on food stamps don’t receive their benefits for only one week.

Therefore, they should be buying in bulk – even if that means just buying six boxes of pasta to get them for 49¢ per box instead of $1.25 per box. If you guy a jar of instant tea, that’s going to last you for a month. What single person eats an entire loaf of bread per week?

Read the information on this website to learn how to eat very well for less than $5 per day.

Southern BBQ dinner – 91¢

bbq chicken lunchbarbecue chicken dinner

  • 1/4 chicken w/ BBQ sauce
  •  potato salad or Cole slaw
  • baked beans
  • salad
  • 1/2 can soup
  • corn bread
  • iced tea

Smart-shopping cost: 3-course dinner  = $1.31; single plate  = 91¢

29¢ – chicken quarter, BBQ sauce

32¢ – potato salad (Kroger manager’s special)

Please check this page to see how I get such low chicken prices.

20¢ – salad

20¢ – 1/2 can of baked beans

12¢ – corn bread

5¢ – iced tea

5¢ – BBQ sauce*

5¢ – 28¢ – Soup

Cheap soup is .50¢ a can, regular price. I found some cheap onion soup packets on manager’s special that came to 5¢ a cup. I priced this meal using a 20¢ price.

*Kroger sells Kraft BBQ Sauce for $1.49 per bottle, but puts it on sale for 49¢ per bottle several times per year. Just buy 4-6 bottles and you’re set for the year.

Tex-Mex breakfast – 88¢

  • Tex Mex breakfast

  • 2-egg omelet with Mexi-blend cheese
  • 1/3 can (5.3 oz) refried beans
  • Salsa
  • Slice of bread
  • 2 tomato slices
  • 8 oz. glass of orange juice

Smart-shopping cost = 88¢

14¢ – Eggs on sale at Aldi and Kroger at 79¢ per dozen – often cheaper

10¢ – Shredded cheese is a guesstimate. I bought Kroger cheese @99¢ and used a Kroger digital coupon for 65¢ when buying 2.

9¢ – Salsa – Publix has it BOGO once in a while

20¢ – Refried beans were dented cans at 50¢/3 servings

3¢ – Bread was 50¢ per loaf at Kroger (manager’s special)

20¢ – Tomatoes full-price – 2 slices

12¢ – Orange juice (I dilute by 1/2 to cut calories and sugar)

23¢ – tomato juice

Cereal, yogurt, juice breakfast – 87¢

  • 1 cup cereal
  • 1 cup milk (8 oz.)
  • Yogurt cup
  • 1/2 banana
  • 8 oz. glass of orange juice or tomato juice

Smart-shopping cost = .87¢

10¢-15¢ – House brand cereal*

13¢ – 1 cup Kroger milk at $1.99 gallon

9¢ – 1/2 banana

40¢ – Yogurt cup (10 for $4 at Kroger)

7 to 23 cents – glass of orange, grapefruit or tomato juice**

*Never buy brand name cereal without a paper or digital coupon. Post, Kellogs and General Mills run coupons every single week. Also, look for the generic versions of Grape Nuts, Life, Corn Flakes, etc. They taste just the same and are up to half the cost.

I buy frozen concentrate orange juice and generic grapefruit and tomato juice (or V8 on BOGO at Publix). You can also dilute a glass of orange or grapefruit juice with water to cut the calories and sugar content. It still tastes good and you cut your juice cost in half.

Baked chicken dinner – 59¢

baked chicken dinner

  • 1/4 chicken
  • mashed potatoes
  • green beans
  • salad
  • 1/2 can soup
  • bread
  • 12 oz. milk or iced tea

Check out this post to see how I get chicken quarters anywhere from 29¢ to 59¢ each at Kroger.

Publix has 10-lb. bags for $8.85 (as of 1/21)


29¢ – chicken quarter

25¢ – Soup (sales lower this – as low as 5¢)

20¢ – salad

8¢ – mashed potatoes

17¢ – green beans

19¢ – 12 oz. milk

5¢ – iced tea

18¢ – 12 oz. soda

3¢ – bread

Salmon & asparagus dinner – $2.19

salmon dinner

  • Salmon filet (farm raised)
  • 4 asparagus spears
  • Rice pilaf (1.25 oz)
  • Multi-grain roll
  • Salad with lettuce, tomatoes and dressing
  • Iced tea

Smart-shopping cost = 2.19¢

$1.50 – Salmon (large filet on sale 1/2 price manager’s special, cut into 8 individual portions)

14¢ – 4 asparagus spears (99¢/lb. at Kroger – sometimes 77¢)

12¢ – rice pilaf (Kroger BOGO on Uncle Ben’s Country Inn rice at 89¢ box)

6¢ – mulit-grain roll (manager’s special)

32¢ – salad (1/8 99¢ head of lettuce w/two 1 tomato slice and dressing)

5¢ – iced tea

3 Spaghetti dinners – 89¢

Cheap spaghetti dinner

Lidl spaghetti dinner

Lidl pasta dinner

The top picture (with canned tuna) features all items from Kroger. The bottom two four-course meals (with meatballs and Italian sausage) come from Lidl. Swapping out a couple of items from Kroger, the two Lidl dinners would have been even cheaper.

  • pasta
  • tomato sauce
  •  canned tuna
  • salad w/dressing
  • bread
  • milk

I never pay more than 50¢ for a box of pasta – even brand name pasta. I usually find jars of pasta sauce for 99¢.

Ronzoni has been running a special several times per year for 49¢ per box if you buy 6 or 10 boxes. I buy that and I’m good for the year.

I used to be able to get Ragu, Prego and Classico for 99¢ a jar several times each year, but haven’t seen that for a while, so I buy Hunt’s canned sauce or Kroger’s house brand for 99¢.

The tuna adds a lean source of protein and is much less expensive than ground beef.

10¢ – tuna (49¢ can divided by 5)

10¢ – pasta (49¢ box divided by 5)

20¢ – tomato sauce (99¢ jar divided by 5)

19¢ – 12 oz. milk ($1.99 gallon)

20¢ – salad (99¢ head of lettuce divided by 8; 99¢ bottle of dressing)

10¢ – garlic bread

Soup & sandwich lunch – 60¢

soup and sandwich

  • Tomato or ham sandwich (w/lettuce and bread)
  • 1/2 can of soup
  • 8 oz. milk

Smart-shopping cost = $60¢

The most expensive part of this meal is the tomatoes. If you have a garden, your cost for this meal is only 40¢.

25¢ – 1/2 can of soup*

20¢ – 2 tomato slices or 4 thin slices of ham (on manager’s special)

6¢ – 2 slices bread

2¢ – lettuce

13¢ – 8 oz. milk

*I recently bought Kroger instant onion soup for 39¢ a box (10¢ per bowl of soup, or 5¢ per cup of soup).

Soup & salad lunch – $1.05

soup and salad

  • 10.5 oz. bowl of soup
  • Wedge salad with cheese and dressing
  • Slice of bread
  • cookie
  • Glass of iced tea

Smart-shopping cost = 1.05¢

50¢ for Walmart 10.5 oz can of soup*

25¢ for 1/4 head of lettuce

10¢ cheese

10¢ salad dressing

3¢ slice of bread (Kroger manager’s special at 50¢ loaf)

3¢ cookie

Iced tea = 5¢ for 12 oz. glass

*The inexpensive soup is usually cream soup (not the chunky soup pictured here). I also got Kroger onion soup mix for .39 for two packets that make four cups each (2 bowls per packet or for cups), bringing the price of soup down to 10¢ for this deal and 75¢ for the whole meal. This was a one-time closeout, but you can see that every week, there are new deals.

Franks & beans lunch – 98¢

franks and beans

  • 1/2 can baked beans (8.oz)
  • 2 hot dogs
  • Slice of bread
  • 4 oz. potato salad
  • 12 oz. glass of milk

I thought I had scored a good deal when I got Gwaltney chicken dogs and Ball Park franks for $1 per 8-pack…until I found 8-packs of Kroger’s Heritage Farms chicken dogs on manger’s special for 29¢ per pack, or .0375 per hot dog!

I’m using the 13¢ per dog pricing here, but you might often them cheaper.

18¢ – 1/2 can baked beans

26¢ – 2 hot dogs

32¢ – Kroger potato salad

3¢ – Bread was 50¢ per loaf at Kroger (manager’s special)

19¢ – 12 oz. glass of milk at $1.99 per gallon, Kroger

Stuffed tomato lunch $1.99

Surprisingly, this is the second-most expensive of all the meals I’ve posted because it contains the two most (regular) foods I eat: milk and tomatoes. The tomato alone cost $1.18! If you grow your own tomato and substitute a soda for the milk, the price drops from $1.99 to 67¢. Start a garden!

stuffed tomato

  • 1 tomato
  •  1/2 can chunk-light tuna (2.5 oz.)
  • salad
  • 1/2 can soup
  • bread
  • milk

Smart-shopping cost: $1.99

$1.18 – tomato at Kroger

19¢ – 12 oz. milk

19¢ – cup of soup

25¢ – 1/2 can of tuna (2.5 oz.)

10¢ – lettuce

5¢ – squirt of mayo

3¢ – bread

Pizza lunch – 65¢

cheap pizzapizza lunchhomemade pizza

Pizza and soda

  • 1/2, 12″ veggie pizza (600 calories)
  • glass of soda

Pizza, salad, milk

  • 1/2, 12″ veggie pizza (600 calories)
  • Salad with dressing
  • 12 oz. milk

60¢ to $1.10 – 1/2 a pizza (home made vs. Tombstone Publix BOGO)

20¢ – salad

18¢ – Soda

19¢ – 12 oz. glass of milk

5¢ – iced tea

*I can make a personal cheese pizza for $1.20 (60¢ for half serving). I get flour for 99¢ for a 5-lb. bag a Kroger twice a year. I found yeast packets on sale, 3/99¢. I get cheese for 99¢ for 8 oz., less a 42¢ coupon. Add some olive oil and sauce. The cheapest frozen pizza I’m finding (1/21) is Publix BOGO on Tombstone (final price of $2.19).

I once got a crazy deal on Tombstone pizza you will probably not see again, but deals happen on a regular basis, so you’ll probably get another deal like this on something else in your area. That’s how Smart Shopping works. Keep your eyes open and you’ll keep finding these rare deals without having to jump through hoops.

Tombstone pizzas were as much as $6 each at Publix a few years ago, but Publix has regular BOGO sales. Occasionally, Tombstone runs coupons in the newspaper, reducing the price even more. Today, they are $2.19 after BOGO, or $1.10 for a half a pizza.

Kroger sells Tombstone for about $4. Kroger had a special, 2/$4. They also had a digital coupon, buy 2 Tombstone pizzas, get $2 off, so I got 2 pizzas for $2, or $1 each! If I had found a manufacturer’s coupon, I might have got the pizzas for free, but that’s taking advantage of a loophole in the system and is obnoxious.

Recently, I got two of Kroger’s fresh deli-made pizzas for $2.50 each (on manager’s special).

Because they know I like Tombstone, Kroger occasionally sends me a coupon for a free pizza to get me into the store.

Another nice, but repeating deal, is Publix soda. They regularly put their 99¢, 2-liter bottles of Publix soda on BOGO, so it’s 50¢ a bottle, giving me a drink for 9¢. Sometimes, they offer a $1 off soda if you buy three bottles, lowering the cost of a 2-liter bottle of soda to 17¢!

I think they might have figured out that brain fart, because I haven’t seen that deal for a while.