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Old 01.11.2011, 15:44
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Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

As an enthusiastic amateur cook, I've set myself the goal of feeding my wife and I (there's just two of us) for a week on just CHF50.

The rules of the challenge I've set myself are:
  • the CHF50 will cover breakfast, a DIY lunch and dinner each day for two for a week
  • apart from dried pasta, yoghurts, cheese and ham, all ingredients will be raw, fresh, seasonal and/or unprocessed
  • the dry goods cupboard (flour, spices, pulses, sugars) can be plundered
  • there will be at least 4 meals with meat in them
So far the closest I've managed is CHF83 for a week...

I don't need to feed the two of us on CHF50/week, but it's a fun challenge. I wonder how others could do.
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Old 01.11.2011, 15:54
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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As an enthusiastic amateur cook, I've set myself the goal of feeding my wife and I (there's just two of us) for a week on just CHF50.

The rules of the challenge I've set myself are:
  • the CHF50 will cover breakfast, a DIY lunch and dinner each day for two for a week
  • apart from dried pasta, yoghurts, cheese and ham, all ingredients will be raw, fresh, seasonal and/or unprocessed
  • the dry goods cupboard (flour, spices, pulses, sugars) can be plundered
  • there will be at least 4 meals with meat in them
So far the closest I've managed is CHF83 for a week...

I don't need to feed the two of us on CHF50/week, but it's a fun challenge. I wonder how others could do.
I know plenty of families who MUST do that, but, hmmm, not in Siwtzerland
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Old 01.11.2011, 15:55
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

sorry... a fun challenge?.... I consider eating good, healthy, tasty food fun.

mrs. and I couldn't survive one day on CHf 50.--


anyway.... if it's your thing.. good luck... let us know how you get on.

p.s.. if "ouchboy" should offer you a peanut butter sandwich.. just say no.
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Old 01.11.2011, 15:58
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

You might just about manage something edible if you're prepared to go across the border to shop, or if you're prepared to go totally vegetarian. But let's not kid ourselves: this diet is going to be very carb-heavy if you don't want to starve.

CHF50- a week boils down to CHF3.57- per person per day.

So, think about:

- Making your own bread / pasta (flour is cheap)
- Vegetable-based soups, which can be thickened into stews with flour
- Minimal meat used only for flavouring (bacon/lardons/smoked sausage/etc)
- Egg-based dishes
- Lots of pulses (lentils, chick peas, etc)
- Lots of carbs - rice, pasta

Not sure if you could do it on the tiny budget you've outlined, but one of my favourite challenges is to see what I can do with cheap cuts of meat. I actually prefer many of these cheap cuts over their more expensive (less flavourful) cousins. I'm thinking about things like pork belly, lamb neck, ox tail, beef cheek, etc. Gives me plenty of chances to be creative in the kitchen without having to worry about a diet that was too repetitive or boring.

Good luck with your challenge - let us know how you get on (and what you're cooking!)
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Old 01.11.2011, 15:58
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

If you are living in BL, you should be able to do cross-border shopping quite easily. In that case, it should be possible.
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:01
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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As an enthusiastic amateur cook, I've set myself the goal of feeding my wife and I (there's just two of us) for a week on just CHF50.

The rules of the challenge I've set myself are:
  • the CHF50 will cover breakfast, a DIY lunch and dinner each day for two for a week
  • apart from dried pasta, yoghurts, cheese and ham, all ingredients will be raw, fresh, seasonal and/or unprocessed
  • the dry goods cupboard (flour, spices, pulses, sugars) can be plundered
  • there will be at least 4 meals with meat in them
So far the closest I've managed is CHF83 for a week...

I don't need to feed the two of us on CHF50/week, but it's a fun challenge. I wonder how others could do.
Hey, that's an awesome idea! I will pick up the challenge and try that next week (as this week has already started), but with a CHF 25 per week budget as I am on my own. Perhaps (hopefully) I will lose some weight too I will report back on what I made, menus, costs, etc.

I am glad you didn't mention drinks - THAT requires a separate budget for me
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:02
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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p.s.. if "ouchboy" should offer you a peanut butter sandwich.. just say no.

Challenge accepted

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Old 01.11.2011, 16:21
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

This is totally do-able, and doesn't need to be carb heavy.
But you would need to shop somewhere like Lidl or Aldi if you really want more than just a sprinkle of meat 4x during the week. (Or across the border as another suggested.) The best way for this to work is to PLAN all of your evening meals in advance.
I would make things like eggplant parmagiana or stuffed eggplant one night, which is totally filling, and not really expensive. Something I learned from my mother: Buy a whole chicken and you can get 3 dinners from it. The first being a regular chicken dinner. With two people you probably won't eat more than half of it. Use the other half of the chicken to shred and make enchilladas (or something similar) and finally cook down what is left on the bones in a tomato sauce for chicken cacciatore. There I just gave you three nights of dinners WITH meat!
Don't forget soups like lentil, pea or black bean. Again, not expensive ingredients, yet very filling.
Have fun!! Maybe let us know what you end up cooking.
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:22
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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...Good luck with your challenge - let us know how you get on (and what you're cooking!)
Actually, I can manage a fair bit of meat and veg on that budget. For example, I bought a good free-range "boiler" chicken for about CHF15, bunged it into a stockpot with two carrots, an onion, a stick of celery, a bay leaf, coarse sea salt and peppercorns.

After simmering for about 2 hours, skimming every so often, the resulting stock was poured through a sieve into a clean pan. From this I got
  • chicken meat enough for 6 mushroom and chicken pasties (served with salad), for a shredded chicken, vegetable and pastina soup (4 servings) and for 2 rounds of sandwiches
  • stock enough to make a large pot of mushroom risotto (easily enough for 4 servings)
  • stock enough to make a pot of carrot soup
So that's about 8 meals for two (not all huge meals, though, I'm on a diet!) for about CHF25 in ingredients.

I do make my own bread (often better and sometimes cheaper than the shop) and I do enjoy vegetables (although I get frustrated about the poor choice of vegetables here [although Farmer's shops sometimes have a better selection])

As for avoiding "ouchboy's" peanut butter sandwich, if he uses home made bread and homeground peanut butter (both perfectly doable), why not?
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:25
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

If you cook Indian vegetarian meals then you could kind of manage on 50 quid a week.. The dals are rather inexpensive and then of course the vegies and rice would just about come within the target of CHF 50. This would involve cooking from scratch..

To manage on CHF 200- 300 / month is doable if you make Indian Vegetarian meals but then there are NO frills and fancies rather basic home cooked food...
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:26
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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As for avoiding "ouchboy's" peanut butter sandwich, if he uses home made bread and homeground peanut butter (both perfectly doable), why not?
MiniMud made a heluva batch of homeground peanut butter this morning (amazing), made us late leaving and she almost missed her school field trip!
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:30
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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As for avoiding "ouchboy's" peanut butter sandwich, if he uses home made bread and homeground peanut butter (both perfectly doable), why not?
Ouchboy uses Mexican peanut butter.
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:34
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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This is totally do-able, and doesn't need to be carb heavy...
Indeed, this challenge I've set myself is part of an ongoing process of improving my cooking skills, whilst trying to be environmentally friendly by sourcing local, seasonal produce - hopefully leading to great meals at low cost

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... But you would need to shop somewhere like Lidl or Aldi if you really want more than just a sprinkle of meat 4x during the week...
I don't completely agree, a really good butcher (and I know of one) can get you those cuts of meat (like beef cheeks) that require attentive careful cooking, but have huge flavour and are cheap. Turkish butchers are (I'm told) also a good source of flavourful, cheaper cuts of meat. Meat is not all filet, loin, steak and chops

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The best way for this to work is to PLAN all of your evening meals in advance.
Your are so right, it's the onlyway to do it!

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.... Have fun!! Maybe let us know what you end up cooking...
Will do
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:39
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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Actually, I can manage a fair bit of meat and veg on that budget. For example, I bought a good free-range "boiler" chicken for about CHF15, bunged it into a stockpot with two carrots, an onion, a stick of celery, a bay leaf, coarse sea salt and peppercorns.

After simmering for about 2 hours, skimming every so often, the resulting stock was poured through a sieve into a clean pan. From this I got
  • chicken meat enough for 6 mushroom and chicken pasties (served with salad), for a shredded chicken, vegetable and pastina soup (4 servings) and for 2 rounds of sandwiches
  • stock enough to make a large pot of mushroom risotto (easily enough for 4 servings)
  • stock enough to make a pot of carrot soup
So that's about 8 meals for two (not all huge meals, though, I'm on a diet!) for about CHF25 in ingredients.

I do make my own bread (often better and sometimes cheaper than the shop) and I do enjoy vegetables (although I get frustrated about the poor choice of vegetables here [although Farmer's shops sometimes have a better selection])
I like the fact that you're doing it with principles (i.e. free-range chicken).

I'm interested in this sort of thing because all I seem to hear from people in the U.K. is that they can't afford to eat healthily so they just eat ready meals or take-aways everyday.

It's impossible to convince them that eating healthily need not be more expensive, and is, with a bit of thought, actually cheaper.
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:46
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

Jocasta Innes wrote a book called The Paupers cookbook in 1971, with a section called 'Programmed Eating'. Basically you based a week's worth of main meals around one cheap piece of meat. A whole chicken for example provided boobs, legs and then scraps for three meals, plus stock for soup. A piece of boiling bacon (gammon) was another week; sliced hot and cold, quiche, and again, soup.

Forty years later I'm still using it for inspiration; will try your challenge as I'm spending as much weekly for two as I used to when I had two grown sons living at home!
On condition that I can claim the booze budget is a seperate account.
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:52
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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Basically you based a week's worth of main meals around one cheap piece of meat. A whole chicken for example provided boobs, legs and then scraps for three meals, plus stock for soup.
Mmmm. My favourite part!
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:53
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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I don't completely agree, a really good butcher (and I know of one) can get you those cuts of meat (like beef cheeks) that require attentive careful cooking, but have huge flavour and are cheap. Turkish butchers are (I'm told) also a good source of flavourful, cheaper cuts of meat. Meat is not all filet, loin, steak and chops
I take full advantage of our Turkish butcher. But there are some meats from him I just won't buy (cubed beef being one of them), and for some things, he's really not that much cheaper than Coop.
I have to admit, when it comes to meat, I'm not that adventurous and will not easily try things like "beef cheeks." I don't eat their tongues or eyes or balls, liver gets put only on hubbys plate, etc. I might be willing to go out and try Ox tail though... I've heard good things.
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:54
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

We have our very own Jocasta Innes of the English Forum then in the form of the lovely (and inspirational) MarieZug, who has written previously on the subject of feeding a family of four on 100 Chf a week. It boiled down to lists, preparation before you go shopping, carrying cash (so you can't splash out) and monthly forays to Germany/Austria wherever for stocking up on cheaper store cupboard items etc. Marie - apologies if I have incorrectly paraphrased you.

I think, with effort, your plan is achievable. Having been inspired by many culinary and shopping threads here, I have certainly managed to reduce our weekly shop very drastically, although the 100 Chf a week for a family of 4 remains tantilisingly just out of my grasp. (Something to do with my well documented love of a French store called Picard I believe ...)
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Old 01.11.2011, 16:58
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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As an enthusiastic amateur cook, I've set myself the goal of feeding my wife and I (there's just two of us) for a week on just CHF50.

The rules of the challenge I've set myself are:
  • the CHF50 will cover breakfast, a DIY lunch and dinner each day for two for a week
  • apart from dried pasta, yoghurts, cheese and ham, all ingredients will be raw, fresh, seasonal and/or unprocessed
  • the dry goods cupboard (flour, spices, pulses, sugars) can be plundered
  • there will be at least 4 meals with meat in them
So far the closest I've managed is CHF83 for a week...

I don't need to feed the two of us on CHF50/week, but it's a fun challenge. I wonder how others could do.
Good luck with your challenge......for me and the OH that is impossible. We spend 200 CHF on food a week. It incredible what we spend to eat healthy here.
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Old 01.11.2011, 17:00
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Re: Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?

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I've set myself the goal of feeding my wife and I for a week on just CHF50.
Now........ by "week"

Does that mean 'working week' or does this include weekend?


Personally, I would struggle if it was a working week with three public holidays.



I'm stoked if I can feed two people for under 20chf.



Pasta has it's limits
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