) -- Food costs can

add up quickly

, but a little careful planning can help keep you well-fed even on a tight budget.

Dozens of users on the social news site


recently offered up their tips in a forum about how to keep one's monthly food budget to $40 or less. One user in particular caught our attention with a five-step plan for saving on food that is as good as any we've ever seen.

Coupons, rice and avoiding frozen foods are among the secrets to a tiny food budget.

"In my dirt poor days (as opposed to my just kinda poor days) I used to feed a household of five roommates on $120 a month," the user who goes by the name iheartvintage wrote on the site. Here's how:

1. Lentils and Rice. An 85-cent bag of dried lentils and about 25 cents of rice will make eight to 10 servings of food.

2. Price out your food in terms of meals per dollar and shop only by the unit price, not the item price.

3. Shop daily and keep track of prices daily. Sometimes stores will have one-day sales to clear off inventory.

4. Use coupons and shopper loyalty cards. You don't have to put your real information since nobody checks and you can print out coupons online.

5. Avoid frozen foods, meals in a box, instant anything and brightly colored packaging.

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