Jump to content

Whole 30: Budget Edition


Recommended Posts

Grocery bills are something that seems to come up fairly often on the forums, especially when folks are trying to build a Whole30 pantry from scratch, so my husband and I decided that, with our current Whole30, we'd see how low we could go on the weekly shopping. And just to add to the fun, we're assuming that at the start of the Whole30, we've got nothing in our pantry, fridge, or freezer except salt and pepper. No coconut aminos, no exotic spices, no broth or stock, no nothing unless we buy it and/or make it ourselves during these 30 days.


Now obviously, I really do have a lot of these things in my pantry so we have a special "get out of jail" basket in the pantry to separate out what we've "purchased" and can use for the challenge and what's still off limits.


Jump to the weekly write-ups:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3 Grocery List


A couple of things to keep in mind when reading through this stuff:


-My goal was not to have an absolutely, positively rock-bottom budget. We're not eating the same protein every single meal just because that was the cheapest option at the market. We're still trying for variety both for nutrition AND our own sanity.


-I live in a suburb of north Dallas which means I have pretty decent options for where to shop and can hit a different store each week depending on who has the best deals. I realize that not everyone lives in an area where this is possible. I also realize that cost of living in my area is about 85% of the national median meaning that we're on the cheaper side of average. To help even the odds, I'm going to avoid running to every market in town to get the cheapest deal on everything on my list. 


-We do have a Thrive Market membership, but for folks who are really watching their money and/or who don't have an established track record of paleo-style eating, this probably isn't an expense that folks feel is worth it. Outside of this challenge, I go through enough Epic Bars (about a box per month) that their discounted price makes up for my membership cost. (We do buy other stuff, but the Epic Bars were, admittedly, a big motivating factor.) For purposes of this challenge, I'm not making use of Thrive. If we do eat the Epic Bars (or anything else I normally get from Thrive) they'll be listed at whatever they currently cost is at our Sprouts.


-I WILL however make use of our Costco membership. The husband and I debated on this one given the cost-factor of membership, but given the option of sharing the cost of membership with a roommate, family member, etc., or being able to tag along with someone to use their membership, I feel it's a fair inclusion.


-We have a weekly dinner date with another couple who are close friends of ours who are pescatarian. Sometimes we contribute the protein for the meal, sometimes a side, sometimes everything, and sometimes nothing. It varies from week to week and our contributions are also going to skew the budget a little since we'll be cooking for four adults instead of two on those nights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Week 1


Total spent: $103.39


Off to a rocky start because I had things in my fridge that I hadn't planned on having. (Kombucha and berries leftover from 4th of July, mainly.) I didn't want to throw them out, so, since we would be eating them during the week, I wrapped them into the budget. I had also failed to do any kind of prepping for Sunday because of the holiday so we had to leverage some ready-made items. Here's what we bought:



Raspberries 6oz @2.50

Blueberries 18oz @1.98

Strawberries 1lb @2.50

Green cabbage 5.96 lbs (2 heads) @$0.49= 2.92

French Green beans 2lbs @4.99

Broccoli 4.1 lbs @$0.98= 4.02

Organic rainbow carrots 2lbs @2.50

Red radishes (2 bunches) $0.48 (checker missed one bunch, should have spent $0.96 and the above total reflects this)

Sweet potato 6.43 lbs (7 large) @$0.98 =6.30

Yellow onion 0.80lb @$0.77= $0.62

Garlic 1 @3/$1= 0.34



Rotisserie chicken 6.99

Pork roast 2.15lbs @1.99/lb= 4.28

Omega 3 Eggs 2 doz @2.50 ea= $5

Grassfed beef 2.43 lbs @5.99/lb= 14.56

Lamb shoulder chop 2.08 lbs @2.99/lb=6.22

Split chicken 3.14 lbs @1.89=5.93



Avocado oil 1L 9.79



Kombucha 2.99

21-spice 1.00 (it doesn't actually have 21 spices in it, but the flavor is close enough that I'm using it instead)

Coconut water 1.50

Can Crushed tomatoes 1.69

Vinegar 2.99

Emergency husband food (avocado +2 HB eggs): 2.38 (He didn't pack enough for breakfast and lunch that day)




What we ate (our only fat source this week was avocado oil and whatever was on the meat we ate):



Sunday- nothing. Planning and prep failure

Monday-Friday: My breakfast is more or less the same set-up every day. Leftover protein, shredded cabbage, sweet potatoes. I'll add other previously cooked veggies like green beans or broccoli if they're already in the fridge. Salt and 21 spice on top and I'm out the door.

Saturday- "Garbage frittata"--leftover lamb and grassfed beef, diced broccoli stalks, cabbage, sweet potato, 8 eggs beat together with the last of the tomato sauce. Served w/ more diced sweet potato on the side





Sunday: Rotisserie chicken, sweet potato, roasted broccoli

Monday: Grassfed ground beef with vinegar and 21 spice. Green beans, roasted sweet potato

Tuesday through Friday: Lamb in tomato sauce with cabbage "noodles" and sweet potato on the side. Some of the days got the addition of broccoli leftover from dinner.

Saturday- Leftover garbage frittata, last of the sweet potatoes




Sunday: Rotisserie chicken, sweet potato, roasted broccoli (repeat of lunch)

Monday- Pork roast, sweet potatoes, green beans, hardboiled eggs

Tuesday- Dinner w/ friends. Planned to bring shrimp to feed the 4 of us, but they opted to cook cod for us instead. We brought our berries instead.

Wednesday- Roasted split chickens, roast sweet potato, roast broccoli

Thursday- Leftover chicken, green beans, roasted radishes, sweet potato

Friday- Shrimp, broccoli, roast carrots

Saturday- We were at a wedding. Husband didn't eat. I had dry salad greens topped with steamed zucchini, a handful of grapes, slice of mango, raw asparagus tips, and a few baby carrots. When we got home I cooked up grassfed burgers, roast yukon gold potatoes, and roast carrots. (The burgers and potatoes were from our shopping trip on Saturday which is why you don't see them listed above.)



Altogether, I went through 20 meals this week plus a night or two of pre-dinner snacks (hardboiled eggs, maybe some berries). The husband missed breakfast and/or lunch on several days. I think he ended up with about 16 meals this week.


All told, we averaged 2.87 a meal this week. (That price actually includes the things we bought, but were able to save so the actual average is lower. Maybe I'll number crunch later.)  I also made 3 quarts of chicken stock (plus whatever my husband drank straight from the crockpot) from the leftover chicken parts that we'll use in the coming weeks for soup. We managed to save one of our packages of the grassfed beef for later in the challenge and I have about 4 eggs leftover (plus 2 left over from the dozen I hardboiled). Our second head of cabbage was also leftover so we'll eat that next week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



This is fabulous! Please keep doing this. I'm at day 15 and feeling a lot of energy. Finding variety in my meals, but am a bit bummed on the out put of cost at Whole Foods for our Whole 30. 



Link to comment
Share on other sites



This is fabulous! Please keep doing this. I'm at day 15 and feeling a lot of energy. Finding variety in my meals, but am a bit bummed on the out put of cost at Whole Foods for our Whole 30. 




I was actually thinking to myself that I should get to work on writing up my week 2 shopping list. Thanks for the encouragment!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Week 2


Total spent 78.31


Leftover from the previous week:

Grassfed ground beef 1.25lbs

Head of cabbage

4 eggs

About 1/3 bottle of avocado oil

A few garlic cloves




What we bought this week:



Broccoli crowns 2.58lbs @0.98= 2.53

Cauliflower 2.49lbs (1 head) @0.98=2.44

Cucumbers 2 @$0.48= $0.96

Eggplant 2 @$0.48= $0.96

Avocados 3 @$0.48= $1.44

Zucchini 2.23lbs @$0.98= $2.19

Honeydew melon $0.98

Radishes 2 bunches $0.50= $1

Sweet potatoes 4.51lbs @$0.98= $4.46

Yukon gold potatoes 3.07lbs @$0.99= $3.04

Green beans 2lb pkg



Omega 3 eggs 1 doz $3.79

Split chickens 3.26lbs @$1.49= $4.86

Boneless chuck roast 2.78lbs @$2.99= $8.31 (half off manager special!)

Country style pork ribs 3.95lbs @$1.49= $5.89

Grassfed burgers 2lbs @$0.99= $1.98

Frozen catfish pieces (2lbs) $3.99

Shrimp 1lb $7.99



Coconut oil 14oz $5.99




Louisiana hot sauce $0.79

Tomato sauce 2 small cans @$0.69= $1.38

Coconut flake 8oz $2.49

Turkish figs (2 from bulk section) 0.06lbs @$5.99= $0.36

Frozen spinach 1lb $1.99

Spices (cumin, paprika, oregano, cinnamon) 4 @$0.88= $3.52




We ran to Walmart for sunscreen and I feel like I hit the motherload for cheap spices. Lots of basics (onion, garlic, parsley, what I listed above, maybe some others) all for $0.88.




What we ate this week:

(The husband added cucumber to some of his lunches. I generally don't eat cucumber.)


Meal 1- chopped hamburger, roast potatoes and carrots
Meal 2- Chuck roast, green beans
Meal 3- Roast split chickens, green beans, sweet potato
Meal 1- skipped due to running late
Meal 2- Chuck roast, green beans, sweet potatoes, cabbage
Meal 3- Chuck roast, Yukon potatoes, roasted radishes
Meal 1- Chicken, cabbage, sweet potato, green beans
Meal 2- Chuck roast, cabbage, green beans, sweet potato
Meal 3- Paprika shrimp w/ cauli-rice and Thai red curry (curry prepared by friend) 
Bonus: friends sent us home with a couple of limes
Meal 1- Chopped hamburger, cabbage, roast yukons, hot sauce. Hardboiled egg.
Meal 2- Chicken, cabbage, sweet potato, green beans. HB egg.
Meal 3- Cheapskate MDA buttery catfish, zucchini with oregano (For the catfish, I sauteed garlic in place of shallot and used all coconut oil for the cooking fats. Deglazed with the juice of one of the limes and finished it with coconut milk that I made at home.)




Meal 1- chopped hamburger, sweet potato, green beans

Meal 2- Moussaka, HB egg, honeydew (Moussaka filling made with ground beef, 2 cans tomato sauce, oregano, cinnamon, ACV, and the frozen spinach)

Meal 3- Impromptu dinner with a girlfriend at Chipotle (salad, double pico, guac. No carnitas :( ), pork ribs once I got home




Meal 1- Pork ribs, Yukon potatoes, honeydew

Meal 2- Moussaka, HB egg, honeydew

Meal 3- Shredded pork ribs, avocado, zucchini




Planned for Saturday


Meal 1- Moussaka, last of the melon

Meal 2- Pork ribs, broccoli soup (homemade chicken stock, broccoli, coconut milk), maybe potatoes

Meal 3- whatever we find on our next shopping trip




We got SO lucky this week on meat. There was an overstock clearance on grassfed burgers. Normally $6.99, they were marked down to $2.99 so we grabbed two pounds of them. When I got home and checked my receipt, I realized that they had rung up for only $0.99 a pound! And they were delicious! I went back the next morning after church in the hopes of finding more, but they were gone. Sad day. But we got a nice roast for half off (it was almost past the sell-by date). My pork ribs rang up at full price instead of the card price which, again, I didn't catch until we got home. When I went back to get my refund for the difference in price, the clerk just refunded the whole package for me. (But I still included what I had intended to spend in the above totals.)



I'll be eating 19 meals at home this week and the husband ate 18 which means we spent about $2.12 per meal. If I add in the cost of foods that we bought last week and ate during this week (ground beef, cabbage, eggs), that brings the total to about $86.59 which is $2.34 per meal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Week 3: Total: 74.62 (plus $6 in celebratory kombuchas for a total of 80.62)


My husband had already worked 40+ hours by Thursday of this week due to his company's annual inventory. I beat him home twice this week which NEVER happens so I stopped by Sprouts for a couple of kombuchas so that we could kick back and toast an end to all the crazy prep work he's done these last few weeks.



Strawberries 1lb @1.98

Broccoli 2.10lb @0.98= 2.06

Cauliflower 5.01lb (2 lg heads) @0.98= 4.91

Garlic 1 @0.33

Ginger Root 0.11lbs (~3in piece)@3.99= 0.44

Kabocha squash 2.50lb @1.29= 3.23

Green beans 2.25lbs @1.49= 3.35

Hass Avocados 2 @0.77= 1.54

Roma tomatoes 1.01lb (6) @0.98= .99

Sweet potatoes 3.59lb @0.98= 3.52

Onion (2) 1.72lbs @0.77= 1.32

Yukon Gold potatoes 2.53lb @0.99= 2.50



Omega 3 eggs (dozen) 3.79

Split chickens 3.9lb @1.69= 6.59

Country style pork ribs 3.08lbs @1.99=6.12

St. Louis style ribs 2.9lbs @1.99= 5.77

Chicken breast 2.64lbs @1.99= 5.25

Canned sardines 2 @1.00= 2.00



Olive oil (24oz, light tasting) 7.49

Green olives (14oz jar) 3.69



Kombucha (3) 9.00 (1 with the regular shopping, 2 more later in the week)

Coconut water 1.69

Tomato paste 0.69

Tomato sauce (small can) 2 @0.37= 0.74

Frozen spinach (1lb) 0.99

Curry powder 3.99



Meal plan and cost per meal breakdown coming later after I figure out how many meals we ate this week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...