In no particular order:
- I think one of the easiest and fastest ways to cut the food budget is to go vegetarian (or semi vegetarian) The money it costs to buy even cheap meat can buy a whole lot of vegetables/ pasta/ legumes or quite a few eggs
- A few years ago I had an acquaintance who would sometimes offer me to come and pick up free food after others had taken what they needed. At one of these pick-ups the man was inquiring about my family and I told him that hubby was away visiting family. I was never offered the free food again. The interesting part of this is that I was cut out of the process because he decided I didn't need the help but he didn't really know anything about our circumstances and he didnt check. My husband might have been gifted the tickets, we may have been supporting more people than he realised or there may have been other factors. On a similar note, I have a friend whose husband had a generous income and family assets, he paid for the children to attend private school but she was solely responsible for providing food for their large brood. All of this raises the question of how to fairly distribute food help.
- I am aware of a group who advertises free packages of very basic items such as bread and potatoes. When recipients arrive to pick up their simple parcel they find that there is a range of other items in the pack, things like bagged salad, fruit and vegetables. I think this is a very clever way of selecting recipients.
- Once a day our local supermarket brings out a trolley of "aging" produce and customers can fill a small bag with this produce for just a few dollars. ( I recently picked up two punnets of strawberries, one punnet of cherry tomatoes, two leeks and a couple of pears. The regular price would have totaled over $15) For people on a tight budget this discount trolley would be a godsend but there are two problems: the timing is irregular so you would potentially have to wait a few hours to be there at the right time. Also, Nobody knows what will be on the trolley so meal planning would not be possible and the cook would need to be savvy enough to think of potential uses for the produce very quickly before the trolley is empty.
- I haven't verified this but a friend of mine tells me (and it makes some sense) that a combination of tomatoes and spinach/ chard/ silverbeet provide everything we need from our veggies so if money is tight, these are the things to eat.