If I'm out for the day, I might buy something to eat but I try to keep it minimal. Fast food prices have skyrocketed due to higher labor rates of $10-15/hr. I might get a cheap burger by itself or even fries by themselves. The other thing I do is buy a slice of pizza from the local convenient store chain, Casey's. Pretty good pizza. $2-3.00 is about as much as I'll spend. McDs double cheeseburger with bacon added is about $3.00
I don't drink soda anymore but do drink sweet tea. If I buy it, it will be from a convenient store so I don't have to pay for ice aka water. I buy sweet tea by the gallon for $3.00 and when I buy a 16oz bottle, I rinse the bottle and refill from the gallon and take the bottle with me.
My sister used to be a USPS rural carrier aka mailwoman. She would put cereal in a tupperware and munch on dry cereal all day.
I've been tightening up our food budget lately and potatoes are a big help. I also got an Instant Pot which also helps though I wish I'd have gotten the 8 quart rather than 6 quart. $4.00/lb chuck roasts come out good. I rarely pay more than $4.00/lb for meat. If whole chickens are on sale down close to $1.00/lb, I get 4-6 of them and stick them in the freezer. I built a smoker a couple of years ago and mostly do Boston Butts when they're around $1.50/lb. I know when our local grocery store puts out the manager's specials in the meat dept. Any weekday around 2:30-3:00. Any meat I buy is either a good sale or a manager's special. Hit the jackpot a couple of days ago and got a two pack of good sized T-Bones that had a $5.00 off sticker. That put them at $11.50 and fed the four of us. That was a splurge really but we get quality cuts of beef so infrequently, it's nice to have a good steak a couple of times a year. Had potatoes and carrots with them. Probably a total of $12.50 for the four of us. I try to keep us under $10.00 for dinner for the four of us. Occasionally, it's as low as $4.00 (chicken & rice)
Meat goats (small acreage and hilly/rocky - average kidding of twins)
Kunekune pigs (small, docile, cute as hell and don't root much at all - average litter of 8 or so)
Laying Hens (already have - super cheap eggs)
I raised some red rangers one time and it came out to over $1.00/lb so I don't know if it's worth it. Maybe if I can find a way to supplement the purchased feed.
Haven't grown a whole lot yet. Did taters for a few years and tomatoes a couple of years. I'm digging a root cellar this winter and building a high tunnel that will go up in Spring.
I'm digging a root cellar this winter. You can grow a bunch of stuff but then you have to store it or process it and processing it takes a lot of time and energy and energy cost $$.
Our income is around $1200/mth and right now food is about 25% of that or $400. Would love to get it down to $100/mth. I'm hoping to have the livestock pay for itself. Will sell kunekunes to individuals, maybe processed but probably live. Might sell meat goats the same way or might take them to the sale barn. For both, I'll be keeping some for the freezer and sell enough to pay for feed and other expenses. hopefully.
I got some fertilized eggs from a neighbor which saved some money and we'll be keeping a rooster so we can have our own fertilized eggs.
We really don't eat enough greens but that's definitely something that will be grown in the high tunnel.
We don't have a choice but to use a budget but at this point, I don't have to break down food costs because I spent the last year keeping track of how much a meal costs. I just know what I can buy and what I can't. No $4.00/lb fruit. No prepared/packaged food.(except for sauces/condiments) No $8.00/lb beef. No $4.00/lb chicken.
Speaking of chicken. When you buy them whole, there's a bit of work to be done to prepare them. These days, I spatchcock pretty much all of them and then roast. Very quick and easy. I've got half a dozen chicken carcasses in the freezer I need to make stock from. Probably make some chicken soup out of most of it.
When warm weather comes again, I'll start grilling them. I built a crude wood fired grill. Field fence wrapped in a circle. Fill 2/3 with large rocks. Lined the top 1/3 around the outside with flat rocks. Fill with wood, set on fire, wait for coals, set grill on and cook. My neighbor's got a neat one. It's a steel outer tractor rim and his grill hangs on a line that he can raise and lower the grill with by using a boat winch. Mine just kinds of spans across the rocks and isn't adjustable. It's something I threw together one day. I need to rig something up to raise and lower the grill. I've got an old steering column from a 1950 truck I'm thinking of using somehow. Just turn a steering wheel to raise and lower.
I've got an abundance of wood here and will for some time as I continue to clear land. Nearly free cooking fuel. I want to make a rocket oven someday as well as a rocket water heater and rocket mass heater. Thought about designing and building one of those "Improved Stoves". Basically a rocket stove with a hole for a pot to sit down in that's a couple of inches larger in diameter than the pot. I'm hoping to power a pressure canner with it.
Something like below but since I'm a fabricator, I'd probably make it out of steel plate.
One thing that cuts the cost on fast food is you don't have any time or energy costs. Might only be $0.25 per meal but money's money.