Whole 30 planning for the budget conscious

Pandora Black

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I am low income, and I'm having some trouble getting through a Whole 30 because I cannot afford to eat that much meat. I have about $400 a month to spend on food (for 2 people), and that's it. I cannot spend more than that. If I buy my food at Whole Foods, $200 gets me about 10 days worth of compliant meals, if that. Do you have any tips and tricks for getting the most out of your dollar? 

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Two of our long standing members have kept logs of budget Whole30s which you might find useful.

Here's a link to one by @kirkor, and within it a link to one by @Munkers

Also, if you google 'Whole30 on a budget' you should come with up with links to a lot of old threads with money saving tips - and even some success stories from members who have completed their Whole30s on welfare.

Hope this helps.

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While I would love to eat grass fed, organic everything it is simply not in my budget! I shop at Wal Mart & Kroger (small town) and buy the sale meats & veggies for the week. I did shop Amazon for some of the specialty food (coconut aminos). I made my own clarified butter & salad dressings. I used a lot of eggs (free from neighbor's with chickens). I skipped nuts almost completely (they were only used for the crunchy factor in salads). I did spend $$ on coconut oil, good EVOO, & Kerrygold butter (for clarified butter). 

My grocery bill definitely went up while on Whole30 but it was still manageable. 

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yes, check out some of the other budget conscious threads, they are helpful. 

I live in a really expensive part of the country. My max budget for groceries is $400 and I rarely hit that. I try to come in at $350 (this is for 2) so that I have a bit of roll over for things like bulk sized oil (coconut, olive), coconut and almond flour, red boat fish sauce, or some kind of "treat", like a nice cut of steak or  some wild fish. 

We eat very plainly, I do not recreate elaborate meals whole30 style. For the most part we eat plain template meals - grilled, baked or fried protein. Sautéed or roasted veggies, and some form of starchy veggie. I buy large jars of olives for my fat, eat lots of mayo. Like I said, nothing fancy. 

On this budget I am able to buy some grass fed meat, but not all. We eat a lot of ground beef - I can get grass fed for a reasonable price so I do that. I render the fat from the ground beef and save it for cooking with - stretches my precious oils further. I have found brands of meat and cuts of meat I'm comfortable with - I can buy humane raised chicken at my grocery store, it's not pastured but it's something I'm comfortable with. Same with cuts of meat. We eat lots of chicken drumsticks and bone in thighs, and whole chickens as well. You may need to step outside of your comfort zone with cuts of meat you're used to. 

I always keep cabbage in my fridge because it's cheap and lasts forever, so when you get to the end of the month and need a filler you can make a nice coleslaw or sautée it with onions and garlic - super good. 

I never eat nuts, nut butters (I have 2 old jars in my fridge going bad :(, never eat prepared meats like hotdogs or aidles sausage, anything in a package like that is going to be crazy expensive. 

Sometimes I throw all of my meat and veg in the slow cooker and get inventive with spices (my dollar store actually carries a decent brand of spices). 

I have honestly never stepped foot in a whole foods, and RARELY Trader Joes as there isn't one near me. I shop at 2  different grocery stores and am lucky to have a produce store available to me that is cheaper then the regular grocery store. I don't even have a Costco membership, but sometimes go with a friend for the olives. Aldi - if you have one near you, can have some good deals too. 

This summer I have practiced shopping for what's in season, and it has saved me a ton as well, and I have started to enjoy some veggies I previously didn't care for. 

It takes a bit of imagination sometimes, and sometimes I wish I could go blow an obscene amount on groceries but it is doable and you do get used to it. 

When I first set my budget I planned out my week meal by meal and was down to the penny. Now I don't really need to do that (although I've found our bill has crept up a tiny bit since I've stopped being so rigid with meal planning. 

Just remember this is YOUR journey and you have to do what's best for you. I do struggle with wanting to eat 100 % grass fed, or all organic produce, but I simply can't right now and that's ok. There that saying "live like no one else, so that you can live like no one else". Well that goes for spending within your means as well as eating to fuel your body. If you do those things - you'll live like no one else. 


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Thank you for your informative, helpful post!! I do have a Costco membership (my mom added me to hers) and I am going to go there for all my meat I think, and veggies and fruit too. I have a couple of specific items I am going to buy at Whole Foods, because I can't get them anywhere else, but that's going to be my "treat" for the month (acai berry puree is what I am going for, specifically). I think this is a great idea. Why did it not occur to me earlier to try Costco? I guess because I always spend a fortune when I go there, but that's for stuff that I won't be buying anyway because it isn't compliant (sugary drinks and pre made foods, specifically).

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