Dave asked me recently how much we spent on food per week. He was shocked when I said a little under 200 as my best guess. He thought we spent more like 100 per week. I decided I would record every penny we spent on food for 30 days and break it down into categories.
We eat probably 95% organic. If I am at walmart and need a low pesticide fruit like bananas, I’ll buy some non organic ones. If I need ricotta for a recipe and I forgot to buy it, Dave will stop on his way home from work at the close grocery store which doesn’t have organic, oh well. And we pretty much never eat out, although we did find a restaurant around here that serves organic! We made a decision a couple years ago that paying the extra for organic was an investment in our health and worth the extra money. Especially with things like chlorine washes on non organic baby carrots and non organic chickens being fed arsenic in their feed for faster growth and pinker meat! You just never know whats in your food, but organic (along with careful attention to ingredient lists) are a step in the right direction. Ideally, I’d grow all of our own produce and meat, but that’s just not realistic I do have a pretty good sized backyard garden that we are able to get produce out of year round thank to the amazing eastern NC climate.
We don’t eat anything that comes from a box. I make our own pastas, breads, crackers, hamburger buns, etc. I use whole wheat flour and I soak most of our grains before cooking them. I know all of this seems like a little much but I believe strongly in eating all whole foods and I really like cooking so its not a chore for me. I enjoy it and its healthy for my family, win win.
I am at a point in my life where I am lucky enough to stay home with my children and I have plenty of time to live this way. I understand not everyone has that luxury and I greatly appreciate it.
Here is the breakdown for the last 30 days…
Other: $32 (this is stuff like spices, vinegar, cocoa powder, baking soda)
Whole grains: $21
$638 to feed 2 adults and 2 kids. Our going out portion is a combination of frozen yogurt (which we gave up for lent after realizing we ate waaay too much of it) and 2 quick meals in the airport for a weekend trip to see in laws.
If you break down the $638, including our dining out budget, that’s
$159.50 per person per month
$5.31 per person per day
$1.77 per person per meal.
And in reality each meal is actually cheaper than that, because that’s assuming we just eat 3 meals a day. Which we don’t, because we eat snacks and dessert most days too. If you broke it down into meals and snacks, each meal would cost less. I was pretty impressed. Who says eating healthy and organic has to be expensive?? And this is will eating things we desire like steak and salmon. We don’t live off of beans, rice, and potatoes to be cheap.
After looking over the breakdown, it looks like a pretty representative for the average month. We didn’t spend much on whole grains this month because I had a well stocked pantry, but we spent more on produce and meats because my freezer stash was pretty much gone. So it all evens out.
Things that help us eat for less:
We very rarely eat a meal out, usually once a month. That’s including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I truly enjoy cooking and I like having control as to what goes in my food.
We don’t eat any processed foods at all. The flour, baking soda, cheese, and water to make my own crackers are much cheaper than a package of cheezits crackers.
I plan ahead and make meal plans so I am never left without food in the house. I never have the problem of having “plenty of food in the house but nothing to eat”. I always have things to put together for a full meal. So we are never forced to eat a meal out or get take out from lack of food in the house.
I buy out of bulk bins for things like oats, steel cut oats, lentils, quinoa, flour, etc.
I don’t waste a single bite of food. Literally. If there are 3 bites of food left on one of our plates, I save it in a container in the refrigerator and it will be incorporated into lunch the next day. Also, since I meal plan, I never have food that goes bad. I buy all food for a purpose and it all gets used.
But even though I meal plan, I still am flexible if need be. I noticed our milk was on its last leg this morning so instead of egg and cheese sandwiches, I switched gears and made smoothies with a milk base.
We always eat our leftovers. We never put leftovers in the fridge, let them sit, then have to throw them out. We eat every bite of food I buy…literally. We even just started a compost pile of inedible scraps to recycle into fertilizer for my vegetable garden.
And our latest money saving attempt is that we just bought 6 chicks to raise for eggs!!!
They are all huddled under their heat lamp. They have already grown so much in the 5 days we have had them and their feathers are already starting to come in. Not to mention the girls love them!
This weeks meal plan:
Grilled Steak, baked sweet potato, roasted broccoli
Chicken, white bean, mushroom, spinach, and brown rice stuffed peppers (will make it up as I go along)
Homemade pizzas (one with cauliflower crust, one whole wheat)
Almond crusted salmon with balsamic glaze, parmesan quinoa, roasted green beans
One night leftovers