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  • Primal on a Budget?

    Hey all!

    We are on a very strict budget, like a $50 a week budget for food after bills. There are two of us in the house and I'm the only one doing PB. I would love it if people would share their ideas on how to eat primaly with as little money as possible. I'm used to cooking for 5 people who all eat seconds and thirds and have no idea how much two (hungry) people really need to eat in a week. I know this can change once the body gets adjusted and I won't be as hungry, but until then - any tips and tricks?

  • #2
    There's nothing like a budget challenge and $50 is just that! I tend to think in terms of a monthly budget, knowing that there are quite a number of items that I might only purchase once a month and not weekly. So if I had $50 to spend for a week's groceries, this is what I'd aim for: $35 for weekly items and $15 for once a month or less stuff. Sales and food preferences Aill likely make your list look much different than mine. The prices are just a guess based on what I saw during recent shopping trips. The last few items on the weekly list are the nod to the non-primal person in your house. Good luck!

    meat $5
    catfish $5
    2 doz. eggs $3
    spinach $3
    lettuce $2
    kale $2
    avocado $2
    broccoli $2
    onions $2
    carrots $1
    sweet potatoes $3
    oatmeal $1
    pasta $1
    bread $3
    Total $35

    Once a month groceries ($15 x 4 weeks =$60)
    coconut oil $11
    pumpkin seeds $4
    fruits $15
    nuts $5
    coffee $5
    canned goods $10 (olives, tuna, coconut milk)
    larger cut of meat $7
    rice $3
    Total $60

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    • #3
      I asked the same question (was spending about the same) and got a bunch of people telling me to spend more. Hope you get useful advice. I eat a lot of eggs (crustless quiche) and conventional ground beef (buy in bulk at Sam's and freeze). Veggies come from the asian grocery where they are cheaper.

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      • #4
        Depending on where you live, it can be tough or impossible to go the grass-fed/pastured/wild route on $50/wk for two people. I've recently added back some rice a few days a week to stretch my food dollar, but honestly, the cheapest meat I buy is about $6/lb where it used to be about a dollar a pound for whole factory chicken or factory pork on sale. While this is somewhat countered by no more delivery pizza and hardly any more pre-made po'boys (maybe once a month), I spend a fortune on food in comparison to a year ago.

        Do the best you can. Pattie provides an okay guideline except for the pasta, bread, and oatmeal. I'd spend that $3 on potatoes or white rice, or upgrade my coffee or meat. Frozen greens are a lifesaver and are usually cheap. Also, if you qualify for EBT (food stamps), they'll help.
        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

        B*tch-lite

        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Patti View Post
          There's nothing like a budget challenge and $50 is just that! I tend to think in terms of a monthly budget, knowing that there are quite a number of items that I might only purchase once a month and not weekly. So if I had $50 to spend for a week's groceries, this is what I'd aim for: $35 for weekly items and $15 for once a month or less stuff. Sales and food preferences Aill likely make your list look much different than mine. The prices are just a guess based on what I saw during recent shopping trips. The last few items on the weekly list are the nod to the non-primal person in your house. Good luck!

          meat $5
          catfish $5
          2 doz. eggs $3
          spinach $3
          lettuce $2
          kale $2
          avocado $2
          broccoli $2
          onions $2
          carrots $1
          sweet potatoes $3
          oatmeal $1
          pasta $1
          bread $3
          Total $35

          Once a month groceries ($15 x 4 weeks =$60)
          coconut oil $11
          pumpkin seeds $4
          fruits $15
          nuts $5
          coffee $5
          canned goods $10 (olives, tuna, coconut milk)
          larger cut of meat $7
          rice $3
          Total $60
          You're spending too much on greens, and bread will make it all non-Paleo anyway. This is a really tough challenge though.

          My advice is find the cheapest meat you can, and eat a lot. Try to find a butcher that will give you free lard or tallow. There's your fat. It would be ideal if you could grow your vegetables. If not, eat whatever is necessary to be regular. Your most efficient energy source and vitamin/mineral source will be meat and fat. Cheap starch is good too. I'd recommend sweet potatoes at a discount grocery.

          50 bucks per week is nothing though! My real advice is cut out other bills and set your priorities straight. You will live and die by nutrition.

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          • #6
            If there is any spare money in the budget....Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution is marvelous for understanding Paleo on a budget.....he has a great website as well

            Comment


            • #7
              A utility grade turkey, purchased when they go on sale around Christmas or Easter time is a big purchase, but can provide a ton of food for 2. I just saw them at my local (Canadian) grocery store for $1.49/lb. So a $12-15 bird, over 10 lbs, is a large but manageable amount of meat. Once roasted, eat one meal (making gravy with the pan juices if desired), then carefully remove the entire breasts and legs, thighs, whatever you have left. In big hunks, they can go into ziplock bags and into the freezer for future meals. Then pick the carcass clean and you will have several cups of smaller meat bits, enough for an immediate second meal. Then put all the bones and fat and skin in a big pot, fill with water and leave to simmer all night. You now have a gallon or so of deep golden bone broth to use as beverage or in recipes. It can be divided down and frozen as well.

              I did this last week. I was alone at that point and had one thigh for supper. Then carved up the bird. Had a second meal of the small meat bits the next day, plus drank bone broth for days. Last night, I pulled one of the entire breasts out of the freezer, sliced it up, made gravy with a pint jar of my bone broth and had turkey and gravy again (hubby had a hot turkey sandwich, mine was sans bread). I still have another whole breast, two enormous drumsticks, and one of the wings left. At least 2 more meals, plus the remaining bone broth. A good deal, in my books!

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              • #8
                Eggs, (sweet/white) potatoes, bananas, cheese, whole milk, organ meats, ground meats, chicken thighs, sardines.
                The Champagne of Beards

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                • #9
                  I get my meat from Bi-Lo and Publix. Whatever is on sale, and plan menus around that. All produce comes from Aldi's or the farmers market. Aldi's is a great resource if you have one near you. Produce is so much cheaper. Eggs are 1.09 a dozen, bananas are .39 an lb, avocados are .50 each, etc. I also get some meat from my parents who buy a whole cow at a time from a local amish farm. The cows are pastured, supplemented with grain (but it comes from their fields and is hand ground in their mills) for 1.06 a pound!! You get everything, all cuts, packaged and frozen for that price. Its a big outlay for the freezer and first buy in, but you can save sooo much money. We also try to buy large roasts when on sale, they make several meals and leftovers. I recently roasted a boston butt. 1.19 a lb, 16 pound butt. It made about 6 meals for 2 people. Great deal.

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                  • #10
                    Can you cut your cable or cell phone plan? When we went through a tight spot, cable was the first to go. I'll always cut a luxury before cutting my grocery budget. Health is just too important to me. I still try to spend as little as possible, though. We buy our beef by the side, which saves a ton in the long run. If you have someone you can split with, it can make it more manageable for your budget. I always find pork to be the least expensive - one of my favorite things to do is buy a pork shoulder (I hit a good sale at Sprout's and spent about $7 per roast - not sure of the weight, but it's pretty big). The first day, I cook it in the crockpot and just eat it over cauliflower "rice". The second day, I stuff some into bell peppers. The third day, I add it to an omelet. A pork shoulder will go a long way. I like to use ground chicken, too, to make chicken nuggets with almond flour and cocounut. It's fairly inexpensive and freezes really well, so if you see it on sale, you can stock up. My best advice is to just look for sales and build your menu around that. Also, check if any of your grocery stores have double ad days. I know Sprouts has them on Wednesday - that's always my day to shop.

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                    • #11
                      i spend way less on food since i stopped buying grains. i could chow through a box of triscuits in 2 days. POOF! $4. i can buy a pound of grass-fed ground beef for that and get 3-4 meals.

                      eggs, a million ways. the pastured, local eggs are only a few cents more than supermarket eggs.

                      asian/latin grocers for stuff like lemons, garlic, jalapenos and greens. i also buy oogly bits of chicken, like heads and feet, for broth for pennies.

                      we found a local farmer who will sell us off-cuts of organic beef, like tongue and liver, for $4pp. that's cheaper than cafo.

                      i buy frozen cauliflower, spinach and broccoli on sale for $1 a bag.

                      tinned wild salmon, mackerel and sardines are less than $2 a can.

                      soups, stews, broth.

                      there are very few on here eating grass-fed ribeye everyday. just do the best you can.

                      i don't have cable and i don't have a smart-phone. i drive a 12-year-old car.
                      As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                      Ernest Hemingway

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
                        i don't have cable and i don't have a smart-phone. i drive a 12-year-old car. [/SIZE][/FONT]
                        Yeah, I think if it's important enough to you, you find a way. I make my own laundry detergent and household cleaners, hang dry my clothes to avoid running the dryer, iron my work shirts ($2/pop at the dry cleaner's adds up), and learned how to eke 40 mpg out of a car rated for 30. I drink less, and buy what I can at garage sales and thrift shops. So saving money for food rather than on food is another strategy.
                        The Champagne of Beards

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                        • #13
                          This is turning into the same BS that got posted when I asked about budget options.

                          Trust me, when you try to spend $50 a week for 2 people you've already cut EVERYTHING else. It sucks and no one would try to do that so they could go get mani-pedis or whatever you rich people do with all your money. It's insulting to make suggestions of other things to cut. I already spend too much on food that I should be saving to replace my car (350k miles and counting). I have to have a cell phone (old on a prepaid plan) and internet access for my job, and have never paid for cable. If you are a student you don't qualify for food stamps here.

                          I'll second Aldi and grocery store sales. I just bought a pork shoulder for $1/lb and will turn it into slow cooker bbq. I've got a rice cooker and eat white rice a couple times a week. One of my indulgences was kerrygold cheese for $6/lb at Sam's club, but I might have dairy issues so I'm going to try eliminating it. If you can have cheese Aldi has a great selection if you don't have a sam's club membership. I get all my ground beef at Sam's unless a local grocery store has a sale with a better price. I get lots of veggies at Asian grocery stores and make crustless quiche a lot to have around for snacks and breakfast.

                          I'm lucky that in the last year it's finally quit being such a financial struggle, but for years I was too sick to work more than a few hours a week. Making almost nothing and having to pay for insurance, grad school tuition, travel to specialists all over the eastern half of the US, medications insurance wouldn't cover, and gluten free food made it tough. I couldn't take out student loans because my department tried to kick me out for being sick with Lyme disease. I understand what it's like to have financial issues and wish you the best of luck trying to figure out the healthiest way to spend your budget and not feel guilty that you can't buy the "better" stuff. You're still doing so much better than if you were eating normal american food. Some of the people on here forget that. I left paleo for a while because of the condescending assholes that claimed it was only worth eating if it was free range organic heirloom breed and whatever other exotic BS they could come up with. Send me a PM if you want to talk with someone that's been there and done that.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by notlupus View Post
                            This is turning into the same BS that got posted when I asked about budget options.
                            Several of us posted ideas for very affordable food items. How is that BS?

                            If you can only afford Ramen noodles and dented cans of tomato paste, what do you want us to say, exactly?

                            Grow up and lose the entitlement mindset. If you can't afford to barely feed yourself on what you make, find a way to make more, or free up funds elsewhere. Don't ask for help, then complain that it isn't good enough when people put time and energy into answering you.
                            The Champagne of Beards

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                            • #15
                              The problem is that all the ways you suggest to "save money" are things this person probably already does. They want help with food, not rich people talking about giving up showtime so they could buy grassfed steak.

                              Hopefully the poster will try going to stores like Aldi and Save-a-lot and seeing how far they can stretch their food budget. $50 a week is enough to make some positive changes, and that's what we need to focus on. When you buy eggs at Aldi they aren't that much more than ramen. Stretch them out by having things like tamago kake gohan Tamago Kake Gohan (Egg Over Rice) Recipe ? La Fuji Mama for breakfast. Use steamed cabbage to make wraps instead of ordering expensive paleo flours.

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