countrygirl

Spending way too much $$ on groceries!

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I am on Day 12 of my whole 30 and loving it, but there is one problem....I am going broke to pay for it! I am working part time and don't make much money. I think I am spending about $100 on food per week. I buy almost all of my meats and eggs at costco to save money. I always get organic, which price-wise is not much more than conventional. I also go for the cheaper one- whole chickens, ground beef, ground turkey. Most weeks I stop at the farmers market to stock up on veggies. I pay close attention to the prices and if I can get an organic fruit or vegetable at the grocery store cheaper, I will get it at Trader ;oe's instead. I have found that for the most part, farmers market has the best prices. For anything I can't find at costco or farmers market, I go to trader joes (spices, olive oil, frozen veggies, chicken sausage.) I am probably not even eating enough vegetables, but I can barely afford the foods I am eating now. I should also add that I love in California, so it might be more expensive here than other parts of the country. How much do you spend on groceries? Any tips on saving some money?

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Here is what I learned from what I have read here...

Cheaper cuts of meat can become tender and delicious thanks to the crockpot.

Not all fruits and veggies have to be organic. For example, if there is a peel that is not consumed as part of it, I don't go organic.

Tuna and sardines are delicious, compliant and cheap :).

You are so lucky to have Farmer's markets available!

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I am also spending a lot of money on groceries!

I buy "tupperware" every time I go to the store,( it is teetering on hoarding) I upgraded some kitchen utensils and cookware and i needed spices and pils etc (i have spent $18 on coconut oil alone and need more ASAP! ) so i spent close to $1000 this month. (I'm on day 28)

But ...whole9 has a list of vegetables and fruits that has saved me some money... it lists fruits and veggies that are clean or dirty... And I only buy the dirty items organic ( for me that is green leafies and celery) and shop the sales /seasonally otherwise. ( ie asparagus was cheap... So I ate a lot... Now it's $3 per pound...and it is off my menu.) and I made some mistakes... Spaghetti squash costs $7 and I don't love it it ( but I can make a huge pile of zucchini noodles for a couple bucks (pasta may never need reintro)

When I buy eggs at $5/ dozen it helps me to think about how much 2 egg mcmuffins cost...

( financially and to my health) and I realize $1.25 per meal for protein is CHEAP!

(Buying Grass fed beef however still makes me a lil shocky)

Eating this way is not cheap... But if I audited my food and drink spending pre whole 30 i'd find that I spent at least as much... At culvers, Babbo, , McDonald's, Starbucks, quicktrip, crispy cream, and buying food in pretty boxes and beer etc. and this month I only spent $15 ( a pound of Sumatran coffee)

So ...I think I'm spending my money wisely for a change! �

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I'm feeling the same way...especially as we are trying to figure out how to cut expenses so that I can stay at home full time (sooner rather than later). Obviously there are other areas we can and are working on (a bit of credit card debit), but the food expense stresses me out. Looking forward to reading more suggestions from others

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I guess its good to know I'm not alone! I was starting to feel like I'm just not planning right. Any other tips would be GREATLY appreciated. I have been thinking about getting a second job for a while, but I know that with other things I have going on in my life, working more would really stress me out.

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I really don't even buy organic. :( only thing I regularly but organic is apples because all 3 of us eat them with skin on.

I do buy grass fed ground beef from butcher that is $5.99/pound and chicken that is antibiotic free from Fresh market but that's usually only when the breasts are on sale for $2.99/pound. Ground pork I get for about $4.19/pound that is from local farm. I guess I do but organic cage free eggs which are $3+ per dozen. Other than that....I'm just buy fruits/veggies/oils, etc.

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I buy "tupperware" every time I go to the store,( it is teetering on hoarding)

Eating this way is not cheap... But if I audited my food and drink spending pre whole 30 i'd find that I spent at least as much... At culvers, Babbo, , McDonald's, Starbucks, quicktrip, crispy cream, and buying food in pretty boxes and beer etc. and this month I only spent $15 ( a pound of Sumatran coffee)

So ...I think I'm spending my money wisely for a change! �

Trust me. It's not bordering on hoarding unless your kids can't come to your house/s anymore and you have sunk your loved ones in a psychodrama of tragic proportions.

But, anyway, it seems crazy when I spend, as yesterday, $98 at the grass-fed beef stand at the farmers market (in NYC that gets you a big pork shoulder, brisket, and 3 lbs of ground beef--consider yourselves lucky!) . And since I am planning most of our meals I am buying groceries all at once instead of $60 here, $100 there. And, exactly: No take out. No $16 at the coffee shop 5X a week for me and the kids. No pasta/side dishes from the prepared food shop. I'm not buying three boxes of kid snack bars a week. Or half and half or tubs of yogurt.

I have yet to do the math--except vaguely in my head--but I think I'm coming out ok. As others have said you don't need to do all organic produce. I'd spend the money first and foremost on the best meat you can afford (filling in with canned fish a few times a week) and go from there. Chicken thighs! An organic chicken seems pricey but you can get a second meal out of it (for yrself) and make nutritious broth. Prioritize the http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/"dirty dozen" veggies and try to buy seasonal veg. There is a section in the book on budgeting. And whole9 links ppl have posted in other budget threads.

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Everybody above has some good thoughts. M&D definitely stress the importance of quality (pastured, organic, etc), but they also tell you to buy what you can afford. If that means conventional everything, so be it. Eating the conventionally raised stuff is STILL better for you than munching down on wheat, corn and processed foods.

One of the big takeaways (imo) is, if you can only afford to buy one type of higher quality food, prioritize the protein before the veggies. For the longest time in my Paleo life, the only high quality thing I could purchase were eggs. It was the best bang for my buck, imo. I don't eat a lot of fish, because I can't afford the wild stuff that I want. (though lobster will be on the menu this summer!)

Other options:

  • Buy frozen veggies
  • Buy in bulk. Tropical traditions has 5 gallon buckets of coconut oil on sale OFTEN. way cheaper than what's in the stores
  • Grow some of your own veggies, or at least greens (kale, spinach, lettuces) They're pretty fast growing and way cheaper than organic options
  • Understand that this is only for 30 days. There are some "less bad" options that you may be able to add back into your diet if you want to, or feel like you need some cheap calorie fillers. Note that this is NOT optimal for health, but if that's what your budget requires, we aren't going to flog you for it.

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Thanks everyone. Like many of you have said, I focus on getting the high quality meat first, then I determine whether I can afford organic vegetables or not. Most of the time the price difference between organic and conventional produce seems worth it to me. One thing I could really cute back on are those trips to the coffee shop. Even though I am only buying iced tea for myself, it costs me 2.50 per day....or $5 (!) if I also get one in the afternoon. That adds up to anywhere from $17.50-35 a week! This week I bought a large jug of iced tea for 3.99. It should get me through the week.

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I am starting Wednesday and we have been buying stuff so we have things ready to go when we start (New spices, vinegars and oils that are compliant). It has been an expensive past couple of days, but the way we look at it, it is almost impossible for us to eat out when on the Whole30 (Or much more difficult to find something compliant, easier to just make it at home). This means that we will save money on eating out, which can then be put toward buying more fruits, veggies and meat, and in the end, I figure we will either break even or save money over when we were eating out a one or twice a week even.

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We probably spend £100-£150 on restaurants/the pub. That's about the same as our typical food budget for the month, which means that I can double my food shopping budget on a Whole30.

Growing your own salad greens and spinach is great advice. They grow really well in containers and don't take much effort on your part.

And Starbucks is the biggest money sinkhole ever... I saved for my first round the world trip by cutting out coffee houses and packing my own lunch every day.

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I am on Day 28 and decided to see how much I have spent compared to the previous month of eating out and my normal grocery shopping. Turns out that it was about $100 more this month but that can be explained with buying staples such as coconut oil more EVOO than normal, Coconut Amino, Coconut Flour...and other stuff to have around since I am cooking all the time. A lot of the stuff won't need to be bought again for awhile. My husband and I don't have any kids and make decent money so we don't have to worry about keeping a tight budget, or at least I don't! :P Eating this way has definitely made some differences in how I feel and for the better so it's worth spending a little more than normal.

I am looking forward to more veggie and fruit options at the farmer's market that are typically cheaper than at the stores. I do find myself trying to stretch meals out over a few days so I don't waste anything. There's no telling how much food I threw away because it didn't get eaten due to going out to eat so I know I wasted a ton of money there! After I finish the 30 days, I will continue with a few re-introductions but I will also work on finding ways to save money too. After all, I'll have to buy new clothes to go with my new body, right?? ;)

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It's funny. I see all these comments that fruits and vegs are "cheaper at the farmers market than in the store". Not here. And I've been to Farmers markets where they sell bananas. I have yet to see a banana "locally grown" in the Chicago area.

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It's funny. I see all these comments that fruits and vegs are "cheaper at the farmers market than in the store". Not here. And I've been to Farmers markets where they sell bananas. I have yet to see a banana "locally grown" in the Chicago area.

Same here in Dublin, it's for the "nicely-off" folks to potter around whilst drinking their lattés!

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Wow, bananas at the farmer's market? I wonder how their growing those. My neighbor planted some banana trees and the grew nicely, but no fruit.

I would love to start a vegetable garden. I think growing greens is a great idea. I've got an area of the yard in mind, but it will take some work to build raised planter boxes and get some decent soil. I have to save up a bit to buy the supplies. I know it would save me money in the long run, and I enjoy growing my own stuff. It makes me feel accomplished. I had a great vegetable garden at my old place.

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Pre-Whole30, we spent between $600 and $700 a month on groceries FOR TWO, and eating out was about $150/mo. I live in a very rural area and we only get to the better-priced stores a couple of times a month, and on a budget. Local prices here are expensive, and we don't have a lot of choices for organic, grass-fed, or even some Whole30 staples.

During my first W30, my food costs skyrocketed to $900 that month, because I was buying for me and buying regular stuff for husband -- until he joined me halfway through. This month (end of my W60) everything settled down because we were both eating less food (but better stuff!) and not eating out! I think I'm at about $400 for the month.

Word to the wise though, we had to take a three-day trip out of town with no options for eating other than out (except in the car on the way over), and we stayed compliant but it cost us dearly. I'm used to eating from the Dollar Menu, and instead it was $12 omlettes from Perkins and $12 salads from Chipotle! But, we did it, and it was actually delicious (ate places I never would have, so it was great experience as well).

Next time I budget $100/day for eating while traveling, lol!

(Hit up Whole Foods on the way home though!)

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My grocery bill was getting out of control so I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and started making connections with local farmers through the CSA and farmers market. My CSA has shares that range from single up to large family and they deliver to the local farmers market. Localharvest.org is a great way to find farmers and CSAs in your area or simply ask around at the farmers market. Be sure to ask a lot of questions because some farms are not certified organic because they want to be able to treat their animals if they become sick but they don't give antibiotics routinely, other farmers just don't want to deal with the hassle of becoming certified. By asking around you may be able to find grass fed meat that is almost as good as certified organic.

I was able to find eggs for $1.50 a dozen simply by stopping by a local farm and talking to the family. I know the eggs are free range because I often have to stop because the chickens are in the road. :) I also saw on a blog that one person was able to find some local eggs on Craigslist.

Now that the weather is better, I'm going to start to grow herbs in a planter box. I'm challenged when it comes to growing plants but I figure it's worth a shot!

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I rarely can afford grass fed and organic. I have a family of 5 I feed on $100-200 a week. I live in California too. I get some veggies at the farmers market and stick to what is in season as that will always be cheaper. I go online every week to see what is on sale for meats, and usually only buy meats that are on sale for less than $3/lb. I have found that Raleys in our area has best quality meats so I wait for them to go on sale and buy a bunch and throw it in the freezer. Even though I can't afford grass-fed right now I am still eating healthier than before with all that pasta and rice and beans.

On the Whole30 you can't eat most sausages, chocolate, processed foods and wine so it lowers the cost of your weekly shopping. I find myself doing a weekly cookup (Well Fed - best investment so far). I avoid ice tea at coffee houses, since sometimes bagged tea contains soy. I splurged for organic tea and made my own iced tea every day.

Because I can't afford to go out to eat on our budget right now, and fast food is out, I find myself rarely letting veggies and meats go to waste, so am saving more money than before. Planning your meals for the week will definitely help your budget and time. Good luck!

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Wow, bananas at the farmer's market? I wonder how their growing those. My neighbor planted some banana trees and the grew nicely, but no fruit.

I would love to start a vegetable garden. I think growing greens is a great idea. I've got an area of the yard in mind, but it will take some work to build raised planter boxes and get some decent soil. I have to save up a bit to buy the supplies. I know it would save me money in the long run, and I enjoy growing my own stuff. It makes me feel accomplished. I had a great vegetable garden at my old place.

Plant your greens in containers for now, then worry about building your proper garden when you have time.

My back "garden" is paved... (don't ask, it's a British thing), so I just have a collection of different sized pots to grow in while I wait the 5-7 years for my allotment.

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I try to grow fresh herbs myself. They are generally easy enough to grow and maintain and add a lot of flavour to the dishes I make.

I signed up to receive a box of produce from a local organic farm that delivers year round. I will receive my first box tomorrow. If the quantity is good I will continue to get my produce this way, but if it is small or they send a lot of stuff I don't eat, then I will probably go back to just picking stuff up at grocery stores. Its $50 for a box for 2 people, which at first I thought was expensive, but then when I actually looked at it, it could last 1-2 weeks. If it lasts 2 weeks, that is $25 a week for fresh organic produce delivered to my door. Otherwise, $50 really isn't that much, last week we spent something like $120 on groceries (an expensive week but a lot more produce), so if we don't need to buy much other produce, our only other real expense for food will be meat.

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I know that planning helps a lot but I try to go to the store without a real set plan. Instead I make sure I know what I have in the house and how far certain foods should take me through the week. Then I buy what is on sale. We haven't had good kale here in months and I refused to pay for the wilted, scrawny bunches that were available and then this week viola: amazing, beautiful kale!! And it was on sale!! One of the really great bonuses of eating almost completely protein and veg, IMHO, is that with a host of different spices most any combination can be complimentary. Shopping this way has not only kept the grocery bill down but has also introduced me to some great things that I had never tried before. (Pork steak!!! Delicious and ridiculously inexpensive! Who knew??) It has been educational and fun really!!!

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Between my leftovers and food I already have, this week's groceries were $39, not including breakfasts (we eat at work, where I don't get any choice about the oil my eggs are cooked in, but I do get a scramble with tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and, when I'm not W30ing, ham and cheese). I like leftovers and freezer meals! I am moving in 3 months...time to start working on those freezer meals and pantry stuff!

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