Apparently I have declared it to be Real Food Budget Week here at Heavenly Homemakers. There’s just a lot to say about real food and money…so I just keep going with this subject. :) If you missed the other posts, be sure to read Our Real Food Grocery Budget 2011 and No Grocery Budget Comparing Allowed.
Several have asked me to offer suggestions for how to eat a Real Foods diet while cutting back on the budget because of a super low income. This is a hard question for me to answer because I feel that it is very important to invest money in good food. Very important. If you recall, I used to be a Coupon Queen and spend only about $100/month on groceries back when we had only two kids. I’ve come a long way since then, learning about real food and health. I now understand that food is NUTRITION for our bodies…and we need to be careful and intentional about what we feed our families. It costs money to eat well, there’s no way around it…more money than it costs to feed our families food that contains little or no nutrition.
At one point during our family’s Healthy Eating Journey, we were making less than $29,000/year (with no benefits) for our family of six. We were still able to eat a healthy diet, because we made it a priority and because we were creative and because God is good and provides…all the time.
For some of you, $29,000 sounds like peanuts…for others,$29,000 sounds like a fortune. If you’re barely making ends meet, what are you to do?
The question has been presented to me from a reader with a very low income and a family of five: How would you eat a whole foods diet on only $50/week? What would you cut out? What would you keep?
First let me say that whole foods or not…it would be very hard to feed five people with $50/week and I would encourage you to find a way to supplement that budget if at all possible. In my next food budget post (because this truly is turning into a little series!), I’ll talk about food budget creativity and share how I was able to help supplement our family’s grocery budget when we needed to spend more on groceries but didn’t have the cash flow!
For now I will address, as best as I can, what I would do if I was only able spend $50/week on groceries….
Food I’d Keep:
- Eggs – free range if possible
- Raw Milk – though we’d likely cut back to 1- 2 gallons a week
- Fresh fruits and vegetables – in season and rationed – and I’d look high and low for free sources and I’d garden like crazy
- Venison – hunters often love to hunt but don’t always like the meat
- Beans – I’d likely get much more creative with my bean recipes!
- Wheat to grind and make my own flour
Food I’d Cut Way Back On:
- Meat – which is tough because we LOVE meat and feel like getting good protein is very important! I’d likely focus more on buying chicken than beef, because I can stretch a chicken to last six meals if need be. Or I’d skip the ground beef and buy soup bones and oxtail so I could make rich beef broth and stews.
- Cheese – this would have to be a special treat
Food I’d Cut Out Altogether:
- Sweets – these would be VERY limited – birthdays and Christmas only maybe?
- Purchased snack food – I hardly buy these anyway, but occasionally I splurge on a bag of chips or a box of Cliff Bars for a trip.
- Juice – again, I rarely buy juice anyway, but if I only had $50/week to spend on groceries, this would never make the list.
I know I’m not doing a great job of making these lists and there are a lot of holes. What about oil? Spices? All kinds of other things I’m leaving out?
In my next post, I’ll address some creative ways we save, earn and come up with great sources for food. In the meantime, help me round out these lists!! What would you keep, cut back on and cut out altogether if you had about $10/person/week to spend on groceries?