That’s the amount I spent on groceries for a week. It’s kind of average for me but it never ceases to amaze me how possible it is to live on the cheap and still eat really well. 

I’ve said it before but we eat a whole foods mostly plant based diet. We don’t eat many processed food items. There are a number of factors that have led us to eat this way. My parents went vegan about 15 years ago, for one. This introduced me to a very different way of eating. My dad and his wife still eat a mostly vegan diet. They don’t sweat the small stuff, like if there happens to be a bit of butter in a cookie etc. Reading The China Study made a strong impression on me as well. It’s not touting any specific or fad diet. It shares long term scientific evidence of the health benefits behind eating whole foods and a lot less animal protein than is usually consumed by people today. Another factor is our small budget. It’s been pretty tight around here the last few years. We’ve had to make our dollars stretch further and further and yet my enjoyment in the kitchen has actually been growing and growing. You have to get creative when you have less to work with!

I’m planning on making these meals (in no particular order) this week:

So $112 paid for all the fresh ingredients I needed to make a weeks worth of food. As well, it went towards stocking up on a few staples I had run out of. I go with a rough plan but a willingness to change my mind depending on what I see on sale. Asparagus, for example is really affordable so I bought three bunches of it. For the recipes I don’t make all the time, I write the ingredients I need on the list that also includes the meals I’m planning on making and the random things we also need to buy. I never plan to make meals on certain nights and I always include a couple easy to make meals for the days I might find myself rushed. When the week is up, the food is gone! Buying only what we need saves us a lot of money and garbage/compost!

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11 Responses to $112

  1. Kevin was going over our food expenses for the past two months and sadly for just the two of is, our weekly price tag is about 30% higher. With chia and nuts for K’s breakfast, quinoa and $$ pasta and spelt flour I knew we’d be up there but I was sure our dried beans and more frequent vegetarian meals would bring it down. We meal plan nearly every week now too and it’s so sad when the weekend comes around and the frigo is empty. Maybe I’m going to have to start looking at flyers…oh no!

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a tasty week!

  2. paxye says:

    That is pretty reasonable! I shop for the week also… making a list of meals for the weeks and buying only what we need and are going to eat (without needing to go out again)

    I usually average around 130-140$ a week and I have been trying to cut down…

    It is crazy though how quickly it all adds up sometimes depending on what staples you need that week…

  3. Sabrina says:

    i might spend $75-$100 for our dinners for a week, but holy cow Aloka eats me out of house and home when it comes to her breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. She eats an apple every night at bedtime. an apple is $1.00! insane.

  4. ruralmamma says:

    Yup thats about where I am and very conservative as well…I have been watching others cheaper plans, but only want organics free range local etc in the house…plus I love love to cook .. its so tough right now.. makes me sick that people are eating junk right now because it is cheaper…we just scratch cook everything.. if we want sweets, we make em, but have been enjoying alot of homemade bread lately instead of sweets..from artisan bread in 5 minutes… I have been missing out on your blog lately because my link dissapeared…so I put it back.. am catching myself up now;)

  5. Colleen says:

    Oh My God! How do you do it. Can you come to my house and teach me. Seriously, we spend at least $300 per week. Of course, we eat meat, but I am trying to limit it to 3 nights per week. I am in awe!

  6. MamaShift says:

    Hi, I just discovered your blog. I’m not at all sure which road got me here, though. :-)

    I always find myself with my foot firmly planted in my mouth when I discuss food, so it’s a pleasure to read this post.

    I live abroad and find it hard sometimes because I don’t find things like chard and yams. But we strive for a whole foods diet as well — we take what we can get and try not to sweat the occasional packaged cookie, as long as it doesn’t contain anything hydrogenated.

  7. Annie says:

    It’s true that we spend less because we buy less meat and only butter for dairy! These things can be so expensive! I’m lucky that when we do buy a bit of meat that Pipers sells local, unmedicated meat at pretty comparable prices. A gorgeous chicken can be had for $12 but that is stretched into two wonderful meals (roast chicken/chicken enchiladas and tortilla soup).

    Pax- That’s right. Some staples can be very pricey but then most last a long time. This weeks staple purchases were, ketchup (organic), 18 containers of rice milk (12 were chocolate and I bought for $6!), oats, coconut milk, butter…

    Sabrina- I found that too when Leif was small. Now that he’s getting bigger I’m able to make more breakfast/lunch/snacks that are more filling and last longer (apple pancake=breakfast and snack). Maybe it will get better for you too? OH! I just remembered how crazy about fruit that girl was! :)

    Ruralmama- I’m with you. I’d like to stay as local and organic as possible. There are some things I buy like bananas and avocado that I will buy even though they’ll never be local but at least (?) I always buy organic.

    I would really question whether junk food really is cheaper. Do you really think it is or do you just think that the people who are buying it think this?

    Colleen- I hope to see you today at the gym! I’m not sure if I can help much but maybe you’d like to do a meal sometime?

    Mamashift- I recognise you from your lovely comments on Stacy’s blog. I hear you about having a hard time finding some foods. Where I currently live I can find just about anything but we have property in the northern part of the province I live in and it’s not always easy to find produce or even in good shape produce. Thank goodness for gardens and farmers markets! Even still it’s sometimes interesting to make what you have work! We are likely moving to a more rural community up north so we’ll be testing our creativity soon.

    Like you, I’m not a fan of hydrogenated but a bigger culprit for us is colouring! We avoid that more and more.

  8. ruralmamma says:

    I dont know … Our local news did an article about obesity and food stamps having a connection (weird right) and economy being down so people buying more junk like soda and chips etc.
    I know we love love organic lemonade.. sometimes we make it ourself and sometimes we buy forgot brand but in a glassjar or Newmans own and I know its gone in the blink of an eye, and pepsi is like a buck …organic lemonade.. a couple… maybe that was a dumb connection because we also drink alot of sun tea which costs hardly anything to make and thats organic….umm I think a box of oreos is like a couple of dollars right and to make like choc chip cookies with fair trade chips and whole flours etc. it isnt cheap…. we made some yesterday.. but then the hidden costs are larger of course buying the junk…like the cost to your health or environment etc…
    I dont know Im just gabbing, but yay I always thought it was cheaper to go with junk. Now after talking it out, it might depend… we make homemade fries…fries in a bag prolly cost more if you compare the amount you get..

  9. JT says:

    We decided to become a one income family so that I could stay at home to raise our little girl and in doing so we really had to take a look at our monthly expenditures. Our grocery expenses were in the budget cuts as well. We like to consider ourselves as “foodies” so we were really worried that our menus would become less attractive especially during these winter months when our garden is non-existent . But on the contrary…Although we have less cash to spend, we have become much more organized in regard to our weekly meals and our weekly grocery shopping trips. We have found that we buy less “junk” and more quality foods and are still able to try many new, tasty meals on a tighter budget. Thank you for the recipes…the Roasted Yam and Swiss Chard Enchiladas sound amazing! Will have to add that to our list to try!

  10. Annie says:

    Ruralmamma- I guess it makes sense that junk is cheaper if people are getting food stamps to buy those foods and/or they don’t have choice in buying basic ingredients (can be like this up north from here in some places). Even if you are buying expensive fair trade chocolate chips etc I still think it’s cheaper to make cookies than buy them- at least thinking it would be after you make a batch or two with them. The chocolate chips I buy are expensive (I think) at $6 for a 1 kg bag but I buy them because they are simply made with no artificial or chemical ingredients. Otherwise I use a block of dark chocolate with equally simple ingredients. What I do instead is use less chocolate to make them go further. Sometimes adding something else to make it not seem like less… But then instead of always making a certain sweet recipe that is pricey, I’ll make other sweet recipes that are really cheap to make.

    I absolutely think it’s cheaper AND more delicious to make your own and not buy premade food. Tortillas are another great example of this. I couldn’t afford to buy $4 tortillas that don’t taste nearly as good as my own. They seem like they’re a lot of work but after you’ve made them a couple times, they don’t even seem to take any extra time at all!

  11. Annie says:

    JT- I read a really great book years ago (I wish I could remember the darn name of it) about living on one income and decided it would save us a lot of money for me to stay home and take care of living more simply. So great to meet you and everyone else doing the same!! I had those enchiladas last night (and again soon for lunch). They are SO good!

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