Affording Whole30 on a Budget


NicBimber

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I'm always surprised when people recommend the farmer's market for cheap produce ... my farmer's market is slightly more expensive than Whole Foods and hardly anything is organic ... I think it's because shopping there has become trendy, and I can't blame the farmers for asking prices people are willing to pay.

This is really interesting to me! There are several markets in my area. The one downtown is definitely trendy and more expensive, but the local city ones aren't - there are people there to shop. $4 per dozen for fresh eggs vs $3.99 for "cage free" eggs from Sprouts. $2-3 for a basket of apples. Giant beets - 2/$1. Large spaghetti and butternut squash - $2 each. 20lb bag of red potatoes - $10. Bell peppers - 3/$1. Now, I did notice an interesting thing this last year - one of the vendors was far less expensive than some of the others and I even made a comment to him about how great his prices were. I was at his stand each week, and by the end of the summer he was literally throwing free stuff my way. At another stand I spent some time chatting with the girl working there, and when I picked up my basket of peaches, she said, "Oh, why don't you throw a few more in there." I'm NOT suggesting manipulation - but building a relationship with the vendors can go a long way, and shopping between vendors - don't just buy the first thing you see.

 

Ladyshanny, you mentioned maybe it's because we live in farming areas? Not sure about that. I'm in Salt Lake City, Utah and most of the farmers come from the more rural areas of Utah. So, maybe??

 

One other comment about the organic... I asked a farmer one time if his produce was organic. He explained that getting certified as organic is a lengthy, expensive process. While he didn't use chemicals or toxic pesticides, he wasn't certified and couldn't call his produce organic. It's worth asking the farmers how they raise their crops.

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One other comment about the organic... I asked a farmer one time if his produce was organic. He explained that getting certified as organic is a lengthy, expensive process. While he didn't use chemicals or toxic pesticides, he wasn't certified and couldn't call his produce organic. It's worth asking the farmers how they raise their crops.

I have found this too!  In fact at our little market all the proprietors that I talked to don't use chemicals or pesticides but only one is actually certified as organic...and her stuff is always more expensive.  

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I have found this too!  In fact at our little market all the proprietors that I talked to don't use chemicals or pesticides but only one is actually certified as organic...and her stuff is always more expensive.  

Makes sense, though! If the farmer has to go through an expensive process for a certification, it's going to be reflected in the price of their product. Unfortunate, but a reality nonetheless. If a farmer tells me he doesn't use toxic chemicals, that's good enough for me!

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If you have a Trader Joes nearby I highly recommend them! My boyfriend and I have been shopping there and our grocery bills have been no more than $150/week, usually closer to $100. That includes chicken, eggs, whatever produce looks good, nuts (usually cashews, almond & walnuts), several bottles of sparkling water, whatever random pantry items we need (broth, coconut oil, hot sauce, canned tuna) and then he'll grab whatever he wants for his lunches (I usually have salads and leftovers). Every other week I throw in an extra $50 or so to add extra food for my two boys who stay with me on alternating weekends. And no one is starving or missing out on anything.

If you can find a farmers market those tend to be inexpensive as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We've looked into becoming certified organic and it's insane the hoops you have to jump through. Can't have one single treated fence post on your property. Our veggies and chickens never touch fertilizer or pesticides but because we have treated fence posts we cannot be organic.

OP - myself, husband and two boys spend $150 a week. We have chickens, a huge garden, husband hunts, and we raise meat rabbits so very rarely buy meat.

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I think someone mentioned this upthread, but I wouldn't count what you spend during your first Whole30 as the norm for each month. I remember when I started my first Whole30, I had to spend a lot stocking up on the basics (coconut oil, a cabinet full of spices, ghee). It might be different for people who ate paleo/primal before doing their Whole30 and already had a lot of these things in their cooking collection. But a lot of these items do not have to be purchased every month!

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I joined a farm share program a few years ago and I get a big (and I mean big) box of veggies every week and a dozen farm fresh eggs.  The share works out to $32.75 per week and I also have a small veggie garden so I try and put my own salsa's and sauces during the growing season.  My share is billed as feeding a family of 4-6 and it really does.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been subbing in white potatoes in the place of grains. I buy the cheap 10 pound bags. I wasn't allowed white potatoes on my first whole 30 so I was curious to see how they would make me feel eating them this time. I feel exactly the same and am still losing weight too. I I grated them to the cheese grater to add them to cabbage rolls instead of rice and it worked perfectly. I'm going to try it for other dishes that normally include rice. 

This is a really clever idea - especially since potatoes are cheaper than cauliflower (the traditional rice sub) at least where I'm at.

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This thread has some great ideas! I finished my W30, and wasn't worrying about the budget for those 30 days - just buying whatever I needed/wanted. Now that its become something I want to mostly adhere to indefinitely, I'll need to get the food budget back in line so it can be sustainable.

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  • 1 year later...
On 8/31/2014 at 5:18 PM, NicBimber said:

I'm on Day 17 of my first Whole30 and the only one in my home doing it.

I'm wondering about affordability for life after Whole30 (and during). Wondering what some of your monthly food budgets and expenses look like.

We were eating what I thought was pretty well when I began this, but now I know better and my husband is basically finishing off what's left of the "bad" foods. We were spending about $500/month for myself, my husband, and our (almost) 10 month old who is mostly exclusively breast fed, so he doesn't count very much yet still.

I just finished our budget this month from spending and we spent OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS on food this month! :o

Please give me some ideas of what it costs to live a Whole9/Paleo lifestyle. Wondering what next month will be like, cannot BELIEVE how much I spent this month on FOOD.

If there's a better section of the forum I should post this to, please let me know! I wasn't sure where to post.

Thanks in advanced!

I know this is a very old thread but I think it's a great one. My 6 person household consists of my husband and myself, my mother in law, 2 teenagers and a 6 year old. I initially spent about $50-$75 extra buying almond butter, nuts, non-dairy milk, coconut milk and oils. Since then I have stuck to my usual budget of about $300 every 2 weeks. My husband and kids all take lunches from home. Kids eat snacks after school every day. My grocery budget also includes household items and toiletries. I don't buy organic unless it's similarly priced to non-organic. I wash my produce and meat well.  I buy what's on sale. I have apps or bookmarks to all the local stores' sales flyers and plan meals based on what's on sale. I price match what I can at Walmart so that I don't have to go to each store. I screenshot the ad and show it to the cashier at the register. I've always cooked from scratch so that's not an issue. I make my own ghee. I buy lots of cabbage, kale, potatoes and bags of apples and oranges when on sale and bananas. Other fruits and vegetables are a treat when they're on sale. We use frozen veggies. I buy discounted produce from our new neighborhood Walmart. I don't buy prepackaged salads. Hope this helps and I'd love to see what others are spending.

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  • 2 months later...

I started my Whole 30 yesterday and so far I've spent: 

$42 at Wegmans 

$26 at Trader Joes

$25 at Giant. 

I have enough to get me through the first week plus I got my sauces, ghee, oils, etc. 

I didn't get a ton of meat- I think just chicken sausage for this week and we had some steaks and chicken breast already. I bought the TJ turkey burgers. 

We have a 4 person household but I'm the only one doing Whole 30. Our normal weekly budget is $200-250 and I'm trying to stay in the $75-100 range for myself each week. It's tough to go to so many stores, but the savings are worth it. I also planned for large batch meals (soup, spaghetti squash, tuna salad, etc) so I'm eating a lot of leftovers for lunches. 

Also the 13oz container of Organic Valley ghee is 50% off at Giant this week. Only $6.99. That was a nice surprise. 

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We're a 1.2 income family of 4  (I work 1 day a week or less most weeks) so we're on a pretty strict budget. I buy a lot of whole chickens, only buy other meat on front page sales, and eat a lot of seasonal and frozen produce. I price match at the grocery store and only buy certain things at costco when they go on sale or if they are always cheaper (like salad greens). I tend to use cheap bulk spices more than expensive condiments (I make a lot of seasoning mixes out of things like paprika, garlic powder, etc rather than buy things like $11 bottles of coconut aminos). I use avocado oil from costco.

I grow things in my garden to eat and trade garden produce with friends. This fall I made a huge batch of pesto with all my remaining garden basil and froze it in portions to use all winter. I also buy a giant case of red peppers in the fall every year and chop it into baggies to freeze for chili and fajitas the rest of the year. In the fall I buy 10 pound bags of onions, carrots, beets and potatoes for less than $2 each and make a bunch of fall soups to freeze. I get free apples from my neighbor's giant tree in the fall (she just throws them away). I also belong to a buy nothing project group and people are often giving away garden produce or food they don't want. Twice in the past year and a half local families has moved out of town and given us everything in their fridge, freezer and cupboards. I passed on anything we wouldn't use and kept all the meat, eggs, produce and spices.

Everyone always talks about how much work it is to eat whole 30 and how expensive, but since we've always been on a budget and cooked everything from scratch it wasn't a huge deal to make the switch. Carrots, potatoes and broccoli, eggs, apples, ground beef and whole chickens are much cheaper than processed food. You have to get more creative with recipes when you can't buy whatever you want, but it's still not impossible. 

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Everyone!

I apologize if this topic has been addressed in the past, but I would like to discuss budgeting and savings on my Whole30. Currently I am feeling great on Day 26 of my second ever Whole30, and would love to plan another whole 30 later this year. What are your favorite budgeting tips during the whole30 process. In life pre-whole30 days, my shopping style is grabbing the cheapest mayo, butter, deli meat on the market, but due to the way this program is structured obviously it is not possible. 

What are the best ways to budget and reduce the amount of grocery store trips when - oh crap, I forgot to thaw out whatever chicken is in the freezer. Do you like to plan out your meal weeks (something I've never been good at tbh), set a grocery store budget beforehand, meal prep, online ordering, etc. Everything else in this program is so consistent, I figured I want to get in a little routine about spending habits during W30. Does this factor in what your buy for the rest of your household? Do you buy two different deli meats, etc.

I realize not everyone may want to address how much money they spend during the Whole30, but as someone who is actively trying to save each month, I would love some friendly real advice on what works best for YOU. 

Thanks so much in advance! And hope everyone is doing well!

Steph

 

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Hi @golden4 - this subject has been discussed at length. I've merged your post with another thread that has a lot of great information in it. You can also google "Whole30 budget" and quite a few informative threads come up as some of the first results.

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Thanks - I appreciate this thread, but I am asking more along the lines of which do you prefer when trying to save

1. meal prepping 2. budgeting your shopping trips 3. planning out your meals., etc. 

I want to know what works best for you, not necessarily how much we spend on whole 30. 

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49 minutes ago, golden4 said:

Thanks - I appreciate this thread, but I am asking more along the lines of which do you prefer when trying to save

1. meal prepping 2. budgeting your shopping trips 3. planning out your meals., etc. 

I want to know what works best for you, not necessarily how much we spend on whole 30. 

I have an 'everything that goes in my mouth' budget of $100 a week (for one person, includes coffees, drinks etc.. I don't usually end up spending this much but it's budgetted for).  This budget is ALWAYS set.  I then go grocery shopping one time, usually on Thursday evening and get everything I will need for the meals I'm making (usually decided on Thursday afternoon before I make my list). 

I cook everything for the week on the weekend.  Breakfast and lunch each go into a pint mason jar so I end up with 10 pints in the fridge and whatever I make for dinner ends up in a storage container/pyrex.  Of the 10 pints and dinner item, THAT is what I eat for the week.  If I want lunch for breakfast and breakfast for dinner and dinner for lunch, that's fine but I don't spend any more money that week... I eat what I made.  I don't buy drinks/coffee out, I bring what I need from home and the coffee/coconut milk is part of the budget.

I also budget $25 per month on top of the $100/week for items like oils, spices, seasonings and pantry stock (this is where coffee/coconut milk is ledgered to).

Tea (fancy tea from David's Tea) goes in my 'fun money' budget not my food budget because I don't really 'need' it.

I don't shop sales (because I don't have that kind of time to look at flyers and go to multiple stores) but if I was going to make a chicken thigh meal and I found whole chickens for cheaper at the grocery store, I'd probably do a quick meal change on the fly to make the cheaper protein option work.

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2 hours ago, golden4 said:

Thanks - I appreciate this thread, but I am asking more along the lines of which do you prefer when trying to save

1. meal prepping 2. budgeting your shopping trips 3. planning out your meals., etc. 

I want to know what works best for you, not necessarily how much we spend on whole 30. 

We don't have a budget for food but in an effort to not waste money, I do try to stick to a meal plan. I used to do all my cooking on the weekend but I was fortunate to change my hours and I'm now home at 330pm which means I have ample time to make a decent dinner. We typically eat leftover dinner for breakfast and lunch.

My husband is retiring in 3 months and we will be tightening up how much we spend on groceries each week by NOT making a meal plan in advance of shopping but rather buying what is on sale and then creating something out of that. It will be an enormous change. 

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4 hours ago, golden4 said:

oh crap, I forgot to thaw out whatever chicken is in the freezer

Over the years, I’ve gotten lots of questions about my Defrost Bowl, but there’s really nothing all that magical about it. It’s just a big bowl in my fridge that I use to thaw a bunch of frozen meat. (Note: It’s a bowl – not a colander. I certainly don’t want to clean up the bloody goo that inevitably oozes out of my packages of meat.) Every few days, I transfer some frozen protein from my freezer to my trusty Defrost Bowl; then, when it’s time to get cooking, I grab whatever Emergency Protein is no longer icy, and then decide on a cooking method.

 https://nomnompaleo.com/post/41781593486/whole30-day-29-garbage-stir-fry-with-curried

 

3 hours ago, golden4 said:

but I am asking more along the lines of which do you prefer when trying to save

1. meal prepping 2. budgeting your shopping trips 3. planning out your meals., etc. 

Buying on sale and in bulk is probably my biggest thing.  This ties in with my style of simple eating, because I can buy more of the same stuff since it's always rotating.

Hamburger in the big "family size" packages ... chicken leg quarters ... multiple packages of chicken thighs ... the crate-type package of 5 dozen eggs ... big jars of pickles ... big canister of coconut oil ...

See the links in my sig below for some real examples of this.

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