Monthly Food Budget Summary

Standard

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…

Produce: $195

Dairy/eggs: $143

Meat: $127

Out: $76

Other: $32  (this is stuff like spices, vinegar, cocoa powder, baking soda)

Nuts/raisins/beans: $27

Whole grains: $21

Total: $638

$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!!!

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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!

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This weeks meal plan:

Grilled Steak, baked sweet potato, roasted broccoli

chicken and zucchini enchiladas

Rosemary Dijon chicken over wild rice, salad

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

Lunches will include frozen veggies, leftovers, tuna and bean burgers, loaded sweet potatoes, greek yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit, sharp cheddar grilled cheese on homemade hamburger buns.

Breakfasts will be steel cut oats, apple omelets, greek yogurt pancakes, and omelets with fresh bread.

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5 responses »

  1. Thanks for linking up, Lindsay! We’re a lot alike- I’d much rather make all my own food than buy it, although we buy some crackers/break occasionally. I wish our food budget was a little less, but it’s not something I’m willing to skimp on!

  2. Stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago as I was looking for a recipe. I liked the idea of “fuel my family” so I subscribed to see if your blog fit our family. Well. It’s where we use to be and where I hope to get us one day. We’ve had some tremendous challenges the last couple of years and I stopped buying most Organic foods. I also stopped soaking our grains. I try and get most of our food to be all natural- no artificial stuff, no hormones in the dairy products, etc. but our diet has changed considerably. I haven’t noticed any changes in us, but there is always this underlying feeling of wanting to give better and a lot of what ifs. It was a lot of work to soak all our grains and the flavor was tolerable but not preferable. I soaked with yogurt or apple cider vinegar. I look forward to receiving your posts and will continue to try and find ways to incorporate a more “whole” approach to our diet.

    • Even if you have not been able to budget for organic, I honestly feel like checking labels and sticking to whole foods is more important. I think people have the misconception that organic means healthy and thats not always true. Organic cookies are still processed and full of atrificial dyes, perservatives, etc. A homemade non-organic snack with whole wheat flour and low sugar would be much better for your health. So it seems like you are still doing your best given your circumstances, and thats all you can do! As far as soaking grains, I haven’t noticed a taste difference really. Although I do not soak with vinegar because of that reason. If its something like a bread, cracker, cereal, oats, etc I soad with kefir or yogurt. If its something like rice or quinoa that I am going to use in a savory dish I use lemon juice. I have also read different articles saying that you should soak in warm water only, and not with an acidic medium added. It has to do with the calcium in the dairy. So if you really don’t like the taste, then soaking in just warm water may be something you want to try. And I also agree, its all about the “what ifs” for me too. Sure my family could survive off of fast food and processed foods, as most people do, but if some health concern arose in my family I would sit there and think, “what if i had fed us healthier, would that had made a difference?”. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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