Primal on a Budget?
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?
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!
2 doz. eggs $3
sweet potatoes $3
Once a month groceries ($15 x 4 weeks =$60)
coconut oil $11
pumpkin seeds $4
canned goods $10 (olives, tuna, coconut milk)
larger cut of meat $7
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.
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.
"Now I'm just another anonymous shut-in with an online shopping addiction." - Georgina Sparks.
"I puked like a hero for the rest of the night." - Anthony Bourdain, 2002.
"Brain: an apparatus with which we think that we think." - Ambrose Bierce
You're spending too much on greens, and bread will make it all non-Paleo anyway. This is a really tough challenge though.
Originally Posted by Patti
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.
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
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!
Eggs, (sweet/white) potatoes, bananas, cheese, whole milk, organ meats, ground meats, chicken thighs, sardines.
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.
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.