Selling Food from your kitchen – Survival ideas

One of my survival ideas while we were at our lowest was making and selling food from my kitchen

A group of construction workers descended upon our apartment complex one day and  realized they were repaving all of the parking lots. I wound up speaking to their foreman and learned they they were going to be there for 3 days. I had seen similar groups of workers at fast food restaurants and convenience stores buying inexpensive but big lunches. I calculated what they probably spent for lunch and came up with a plan.

I went to the foreman again and told him of my idea. He spoke with the men and they agreed. YES! I would make lunch for 7 of them for the following day at 1pm. I told them it would cost $8 per person.

I decided to make giant burritos with beef, cheese, pico de gallo, rice and beans.  

In looking it over, I decided I needed to offer them 2 burritos each.

  • I got a bunch of tomatoes at the mark down shelf at grocery to make pico de gallo.
  • I also had a giant bag of shredded cheese from a costco trip.
  • I had gotten some ground beef at a rock bottom price that was in the freezer. (This plan would not have worked out so well if I had not gotten meat so inexpensively, fyi.)
  • The beans I soaked and cooked.
  • Rice is soooo cheap!
  • I would also include a big batch of sweet tea.

It was important to me to make good food, and make them feel they got a good value.

I also needed to make a profit as all of my survival ideas were about me getting paid! Since they were in my neighborhood, I didn’t have to travel with the food.

I was so nervous!

I calculated my costs and thought I could do it with $22 worth of ingredients. This number included what I already had  in my pantry/freezer.

Getting paid!  

At lunch time, they came to the house and I gave them each a plate of food. They took it to a big oak tree by my house, sat in the shade and ate. I watched them from the window and they seemed to like the food. I came out part way through and filled up their tea. I wasn’t sure when to ask for the money so just waited. After they ate, I went around the oak tree and took up their trash. They pulled out their money then.

2 of them gave me $10 bill and said no change needed.

I earned $60 and my profit was $38!

They were so nice and appreciative! They drank up that sweet tea! It was a very hot day.

After that, I had some real confidence. I made my husband’s co-worker lunch 2x at a nearby job they were working on. He said he usually paid about $7-8 for lunch a day.   I made them both lunch and it cost me about $5. He gave me $15 for his own meals. $10 profit and my husband, technically, ate for free! This worked because I had to bring my husband to and from his job since we were down to one car.  

Thinking outside the box is a frugal muscle to exercise and build as we work to make ends meet. This muscle develops into a skill that is useful in all areas of life and jobs.


If your idea fails, focus on what you learned instead of the fail part. If the foreman had said no, they weren’t interested , well, nothing lost nothing gained. If they had not shown up that day, my family would have eaten the food. I tried to think through possible scenarios that could be a problem and anticipate them. “Be prepared!” as the boy scouts would say. Thinking this way really helped to build my confidence.

Scott #1145

Side note: I was worried that they would ask if my kitchen was Health Dept approved. In retrospect, they did not care. They were looking for what we all look for, good food at a good price. I don’t poison my family when I make meals in my kitchen. Those rules apply when making food for large numbers. Something between neighbors and friends does not apply. Of course I was scrupulously careful with washing and cleaning.

Getting someone sick from my cooking would not frugal!  

Have you sold food to make ends meet? Share your thoughts and ideas below.


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