For almost 3 months, Brandon and I have been limiting ourselves to $50 a week for groceries (this includes eating out!). In the beginning, I had high hopes. I felt extremely encouraged because we were doing it! We were saving money, eating healthy and delicious, and only spending $50 on food!
After the first month and half though, my “staples” started to run out; nuts, seeds, nut butters, dried fruits, dressing/sauces/vinegars/oils, beans, flours, etc. In order to stock ourselves back up, we had to strategically spend from the extra $25 we allotted for non-food items; baby stuff, hair product, toothpaste, etc. If we absolutely needed these items though, we would either spend over-budget OR sacrifice our meals for the week (aka eat REALLY boring foods).
This got old REAL fast. I wasn’t the first to cave. Brandon wanted out. The accountant decided that we should spend MORE on groceries because his (and my) taste-buds were killing us.
After a long talk this past weekend, we decided to add another $25 to the food budget. We can spend $75 on food and $25 on toiletries. I am hoping that an extra $25 can either be used to occasionally go out to eat OR on those “staples” that keep me able to make many a home-cooked meal!
My final thoughts on eating healthy AND organic on a budget? It’s tough. If you want to eat 100% organic on $50 a week it takes CAREFUL planning; planning that most of us just don’t have time for. It also takes creativity and a little (or a lot) of extra time in the kitchen; prepping foods, baking breads, making your own sauces. Thankfully, these are all things I love, but if you are super busy, it might not be very practical!
Do I still believe you can eat healthy on $50 a week? Absolutely. Even if you aren’t able to feed your family 100% organic, conventional fruits and vegetables are better than none. And let’s be honest here; frozen meals are definitely NOT cheaper than making a home-cooked meal, especially when you can get more than one or two servings out of most recipes.
My BEST advice to anyone looking to eat well on a low food budget is:
- Plan ahead.
- Make recipes that will give you more than one night’s meal.
- Keep cash. I find it so much easier to stick to the budget when I only use the cash in my wallet. Less room for impulse buys.
- Stick to SALE ITEMS ONLY. If your recipe calls for an ingredient that happens not to be on sale that week, don’t buy it! It’s not worth it. Many foods swap easily for the other! Google. Someone, somewhere is probably looking for the same swap!
- Fresh vs packaged. I have found that the less processed and packaged items are always cheaper. Don’t buy Quaker Oatmeal for $5 when you can get the same amount of oats from the bulk bins.