The War Menu: Living with $100 a month for food

Inspired by my West Coast girl Krystal, who caught some flack for mentioning wanting to try out an emergency food budget of $100 a month, I thought I’d post BF’s war menu.

See, this idea came about when he saw our food budget rise *

*Mostly due to his desire to make me gain a little weight because he thought I was too skinny. ūüėõ

He was surprised at our food budget going out of control, and then he started thinking about how much we actually needed to spend in food per month.

Side note: In Portugal, the recession is really tough to the point where people are STEALING food from the fields.

They go to a grocery store and stock up on potatoes and olive oil. It’s how they make it through this tough time, and they aren’t eating much meat.

So he came up with a “war menu” of sorts just in case.

What he considered:

  • There wouldn’t be a variety of nutrition involved, as it’s a subsistence war menu
  • Barely any veggies ūüôĀ
  • NO JUNK FOOD! (No $1 ramens or processed stuff)
  • It would be meals to keep us feeling full, give us energy and not be cranky from hunger
  • Not many luxuries like meat but we have eggs instead
  • Doable in times of a crisis of any sort
  • No growing of any food included in this menu (no gardens to supplement)

What the meals consist of:

Breakfast: Cornmeal made with brown sugar and milk


  • 2 days: Potatoes with olive oil, cumin and salt
  • 2 days: Fried rice, soya sauce, olive oil, onions and an egg each
  • 2 days: Beans with garlic and olive oil with salt
  • Sunday “Feast”: Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil with salt

Dinners: Oatmeal with brown sugar and milk with 2 bananas

Granted, these are not meals that are meant for growing children, nor for adults, as it has barely any calcium, no nutritious values whatsoever and are just meant to make you FEEL full.

… but still, it’s possible to eat 3 square meals a day for $100 a month if you desperately, absolutely have to.

The Cost

This is what we’d buy in a month if we wanted “good quality” items that we currently purchase, such as good jasmine rice, or great canned tomatoes.
We could always downgrade on the quality of the food to save more money if need be.

Here are the rates he used for the meals above:

  • $2 for 2kg of cornmeal
  • $4 for 2kg of brown sugar
  • $6 for 4L of 3% milk
  • $0.75 per kg potatoes
  • $10 for 1L of olive oil
  • $2 for 100 grams of cumin (lasts for 2 months)
  • $1 for 500 grams of salt
  • $2 for 1kg for good rice
  • $4 for a small bottle of soya sauce
  • $4 for 5kg of onions
  • $6 for 12 organic eggs
  • $2 for 2kg of beans
  • $4 for 1kg garlic
  • $5 for 500 grams of good dried spaghetti
  • $3 for 1kg of oatmeal
  • $1.30 per kg of bananas

$57.05 in total for one of each above. Assuming we drink a bit more mik, eat more potatoes and “adjust” the amounts accordingly for our appetites, it works out to:

TOTAL = $80 per month for 1 person

If we added meat, it’d be $100 a month because we could buy a little dried meat.

It’s plenty of food in my opinion, but granted, we haven’t actually tested it the way Krystal wants to.

Why? Because this conversation transpired after the war menu was perfected:

BF: I finished the war menu.

Me: Great. What is it?

BF: Potatoes. Oatmeal. Rice. Spaghetti for special occasions.

Me: ……….. and the cost?

BF: Under $100 a month each.

Me: What about a little meat or eggs in there for protein?

BF: Nada. Maybe we can increase the menu to $100 a month even, and we could have a bite of dried sausage on special occasions.

Me: I see.

BF: Wanna try it out this month to see if it’s doable?

Me: *long look* Not particularly. We’d undo all the work we’ve been putting into getting me fatter.

BF: True. You’re costing us a bundle to try and fatten up. I’d have to pay again to keep you in good shape.

And there you have it folks.

I don’t really want to test the menu. It sounds like a lot of food, and from my experience eating oatmeal at home, and potatoes in Portugal with olive oil, it definitely packs a punch in terms of feeling full.

I would like a can of tomato in there for flavour on our “special feast” days, but during times of war, canned stuff is hard to find.


Have you ever thought about your own war menu?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.