About a month ago I decided that I wanted to start feeding my family more whole/real foods. I didn't know exactly what that meant when I started though. I knew we needed to eat more vegetables, but that was about it.
Scanning blogs tends to be a good place to start. I was already following The Humbled Homemaker, so I started there. She just so happened to be advertising a healthy living bundle. It included information on essential oils (more on that later) and various books and informational sessions about eating healthy on a budget. I splurged and got the bundle. SO WORTH IT!!! **DISCLAIMER - the Healthy Living Bundle offer has ended. There are more bundles in the process for the end of this year and beginning of next.**
I knew I needed to start simple, the book 22 Days To A Fresh Start from DontWasteTheCrumbs.com was exactly what I was looking for. (That is my new favorite blog, I always go to her first for recipe and meal ideas). I removed all the trans fat and high fructose corn syrup from our home, I started making menu plans for all three meals and snacks, and I now make most of our foods from scratch. I don't buy all organic, we definitely can't afford that. I pick and choose the worst offenders and the things we eat the most of.
Ready for the kicker? I feed my family on $70 a week. My husband, our 11 month old, myself, and the 2 year old that I watch 4-6 days a week. I try to make that include paper products and health & beauty products, but I can't always stick to that. I have successfully been making this work for an entire month now. I will be outlining how I do it over the next couple posts. For now I will do my first budget check in. I will do this at the end of every month for a couple reasons. First, so that you can see how I manage such a small budget. Second, so that I have a check-in. If I know that the world wide web will be seeing my purchases, I'm less likely to impulse buy.
I currently only shop at one store, I don't have the time or energy to jump between stores with a young toddler. I hope to branch out eventually, but I'm taking it slow for now.
I didn't start this whole ordeal until halfway through September, so my first shopping trip was September 18, 2014. You will see as the weeks go on, I get better about buying whole foods, rather than premade, boxed foods, and I get better about managing the budget These 2 weeks were really easy because I had a fully stocked pantry when I started, and my menu plan included tons of food that I already had.
1lb 93% Ground Beef - $5.48
1/4 Turkey Breast, presliced - $12.26
1/4 Ham, presliced - $10.03
1 dozen Cage Free, Grass Fed, Organic, Brown Eggs - $3.78
1 bag Organic Apples - 3.97
2.39lbs Red Grapes @ .98 per lb - $2.34
1 package of 36 Corn Tortillas - $1.98
24 pack Bottled Water - $3.98 (I know, I know)
1 Gallon store brand Orange Juice - $3.98
1.75 liters name brand Orange Juice - $3.78
Almond Milk - $2.98
Health & Beauty:
5 Pregnancy Tests @ $0.88 each - $4.40
Birthday Card - $3.97
Cling Shade for car - $4.78
Total: $72.69 for 19 items
That much meat really did me in, but half the ham and turkey went into the freezer for next week. Water and name brand orange juice are my splurge. I just ran out of water, so next week I plan to buy a filter for my Britta instead of more bottled water.
Week 2: September 25, 2014
I'm typing these out by reading my receipts from these shopping trips. So please bear with me, I can't decipher all of them.
Boneless Ribeye Roast - $4.32
1 dozen Grass Fed, Brown Eggs - $2.98
1 bag (3 hearts) Organic Romaine Lettuce - $3.38
1 bag (2 hearts) Celery - $2.08
1 bag (1/2 lb) Organic Carrots - $0.98
0.35lb Broccoli @ $1.48 per lb - $0.52
2.20lb Red Grapes @ $1.98 per lb - 4.36
1lb block Sharp Cheddar Cheese - $1.98
1lb block Colby Jack Cheese - $1.98
1lb Unsalted Butter - $5.28**
1lb bag Brown Rice - $0.84
Flour Tortillas - $1.82
1 gallon store brand Orange Juice - $3.38
1.75 liters name brand Orange Juice - $3.00
Vinegar - $1.50
Chili Powder - $2.18
Worcestershire Sauce - $1.00
6oz Tomato Paste - $0.57
Paprika - $0.88
Ground Red Pepper - $2.98
Soy Sauce - $1.48
3 Cans Red Beans in Chili Sauce @ $0.92 each - $2.76
Total: $50.85 for 24 items
** I only bought butter at this price because I could put it into 2 different phone apps and get back $3.31, essentially making it only $1.97 for the pound. But what I get back from those apps will be used towards Christmas presents so I don't count it in my immediate budget breakdown.
So there you have it, my first 2 weeks of meal planning, serious budgeting, and eating as much whole foods as possible. I hope this was helpful!! Next I will start posting the menus that go with my shopping trips.
Join the discussion. How is your meal planning and budgeting going? Chime in every month and share your budget check in! You don't have to type it all out of course, but staying accountable is what keeps me going!