We’re on Week 4 of the $29 Grocery Budget Challenge and doing well. As I report in my numbers below, we’ve spent $32.16 per person per week, well below the almost $40 we were spending (which include toiletries and paper products). To complicate the challenge this month, we had a family birthday party, I did the Whole30, and my husband decided to join me for the Whole30.
Whole30 for Husband and Wife
Basically the Whole30 is a very strict form of Paleo – meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and oils – no dairy, no peanuts, grains, alcohol, or sweeteners. Yes, this can be difficult to do if you’re used to the standard American diet of pasta, processed food, and lots of dairy. My husband is struggling a bit since he’s used to some sugar and dairy in his diet. However, he’s been trying some new recipes like zucchini noodles and new foods like plantains.
Doing the Whole30 can be expensive if you’re not careful about what you eat. If you rely on nuts as a snack, they run about $10 per pound. Dried fruit can be almost as expensive. Almond and coconut flour cost about three times as much as all purpose flour. If you stick to the organic, pastured meats, they cost at least $2/lb. more than conventional meat, sticker shock for those used to buying conventional meat.
On the other hand, many vegetables and fruits are frugal in their natural form. Looking at my updated price book, I find most fruits and vegetables are $1.99 and under, with the majority falling at $1.50 and under. Meat, and yes, organic, pastured meat can be frugal depending on the cut of meat. If you buy meat with the bone in, you can use the bones to make stock (along with the vegetable peelings) which can be used to flavor dishes and become the base for homemade sauces. Stock is also something you can drink.
Don’t forget that by eating protein regularly at each meal, and making sure you eat until you’re full, you can avoid snacking between meals. No snacking means less food being consumed. You won’t be buying processed snacks since just about everything has sugar in it; processed snacks can be as expensive as meat. You may find your fridge empties faster because you’re eating up leftovers sooner since you know you can eat them on the Whole30.
The last plus for your grocery budget for the Whole30 – no eating out. It is almost impossible to eat out while doing the Whole30. Many sauces contain gluten. Some restaurants have alcohol in many dishes. Even if the restaurant can cook a #whole30 compliant dish for you (which is almost impossible), there’s no guarantee that sugar, gluten, or dairy does not come in contact with your dish. Instead use those entertainment dollars to buy pastured meat and eggs and organic produce. It’s a much better investment of your budget.
Grocery Spending Week 4
Keeping a running list of items we run out of each week has kept my grocery shopping organized and focused. I also do the same with food in the fridge – leftovers and unusual items. For example, I made a dish with beef cubes last week. Because I wrote down beef cubes on my menu planner, I made sure to make a dish this week using the leftover raw beef cubes still in the fridge.
This week’s trip to Giant was more than normal because we had run out of items, and my husband needed some additional items to facilitate his doing the Whole30.
Week 3 and 4 Breakdown
Total Spent: $292.60
Total Spent this Month: $900.42 divided by 7 people = $128.63 per person for the month
$128.63 divided by 4 weeks = $32.16 per person per week
June $29 Grocery Budget Challenge
Next month, we will be having a large high school graduation party for my oldest son. I’ve decided not to include the cost of the party food in the challenge even though we will use leftovers from the party in our menu the following week. I feel including the party food and beverages unnecessarily inflates the budget and doesn’t help me with trying to go below $32.16 per person.
My kids will be finished school by June 12th which could be a good thing or a bad thing for our grocery budget. With all the kids home, I will have more time to make food from scratch. Though, my kids appetites could increase with increased activity like going to the pool. I think if I focus on protein, long-acting energy, first in every meal, I can keep snacking to a minimum and keep our grocery budget in check.