Consider yourself fortunate that you have never had to subsist on a diet of ramen noodles alternated with red beans and rice (seasoned with the unused half of the ramen noodle flavor packet). And since the flavor enhancement of expensive preparation and seasoning can be somewhat offset by increased fat, salt, or sugar content, fatty and starchy foods are quite cheap relative to leaner fare.
While it's better than turning to crime or the public dole, it's not pleasant, and I'm glad you've never had to find out first-hand.
Sounds like a Dave Ramsey diet.
Herbs and spices are remarkably inexpensive on a per serving basis.
Starches are generally the cheapest foods. You can pick up 50 lbs. of rice for about $12 and 50 lbs. of beans for $20 at the local Costco. Interestingly, in 1957 the average retail price of navy beans was .16/lb, or $8 for 50 lbs., although presumably this does not include a discount for volume like the Costco price does. Still, it doesn't show a huge increase in the cost of this basic food, even without inflation being taken into account. .16 in 1956 money equates to $1.16 today, which is more than beans usually cost for a single pound today.
While not the most variable or perhaps enjoyable diet, that will provide the basis of a reasonably balanced diet for one person for about two months, at a cost of about 50 cents/day. An investment of another $10 at the local Dollar Store will get you enough spices to last at least this long, raising your cost to about 65 cents/day.
Admittedly this requires access to minimal cooking facillities, and some supplementation with vegatables is recommended to prevent deficiency diseases, but it is still possible to survive for remarkably little money.
The cost of basic foodstuffs has come down to a remarkable degree over the last 50 years, when inflation is considered. However, very few of us cook using basic foods, as a trip through the grocery store will show. Hardly any shelf space is given to flour, beans, rice, cornmeal and other basic foods. Everything is frozen or pre-prepared. Of course it costs more.
You missed my point, or something. Candy, sodas, chips and other junk foods are not less expensive than nutritional food. No, I have never had to subsist on ramen noodles, nor would it have entered my mind to do so. I was taught the old ways as a child and wouldn’t have even known what ramen noodles were. I did know how to hunt and trap game, grow food, and even go to the forest and get some possum grapes for grape dumplings for dessert. So, don’t chide me because you obviously misinterpreted what I wrote and have no idea about what I have had to “subsist” on.