A Peek at Our Real Food Budget

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 3.07.12 PMPhoto by fivedotdesign

What does our food budget look like while trying to eat a real food diet on a budget? Today, I welcome you to take a peak into our food budget. We keep to the basics in our eating habits, nothing fancy. I have come to realize that although real foods can cost more up front, the value is worth every penny. We feel better, we are satisfied longer, and we rarely need the doctor. Truth be told…I have realized you can always afford what you prioritize. When we first started out pursuing a more whole foods diet, Aaron and I sat down to evaluate our overall budget. We concluded that if we wanted to spend more on food, other things would have to go. One of the main reasons I chose to cloth diaper, for example, was so that we could eliminate that monthly expense and use the money for food. Other expenses that we chose to eliminate: we own no television, no magazine subscriptions, own one vehicle, eat out less, etc. I have found that if you have the vision and passion to eat naturally, you can make it work!

Our food budget is $400 per month for four of us. Yes, Titus eats his share! ;) Whole foods definitely seem to be more expensive here in the Portland area of Oregon, probably because there is more demand for it. This includes all our food and household products (bath, cleaning, and general household items). Where does it get spent? I have listed out the stores I buy my food from below. These are typically the best sources that we have access to that I have found the best price. As you can see below, I keep pretty much the same list monthly and keep it organized in the Shopper application on my I-phone (which has been very helpful, by the way!). All these ingredients are also based upon my monthly menu plans. This works for our family, but there is always room for flexibility as to the season of life.

Trader Joe’s - I make a monthly grocery trip to TJ’s to pick up various staples. I found they have some of the best prices on good, organic, and preservative free items.

Here is what I buy monthly or as needed, spending around $125 per month:

All Beef, Nitrate Free Hot Dogs – 1 pack
Nitrate Free Ham (lunchmeat) – 1 lb
Chicken Italian Sausage (2 lbs)
Organic Spinach (for smoothies) – 3 bags
Bananas (about 20 – freeze for smoothies)
Avacados (2 packs – mainly for Titus)
Raw Parmesan Cheese (in the bulk form)
Canned Wild Salmon
Organic Ketchup
Organic Mustard
Mayonnaise (sometimes I buy, sometimes I make my own)
Kerrygold Butter (2 pounds)
Olives (2 cans)
Organic Sour Cream (1 container)
Peanut Butter (2 jars)
Brown Rice Pasta (1 pack of spaghetti, 1 pack penne, as needed)
Chicken Breasts (1 bag)
Frozen Organic Peas (1 pack)
Frozen Organic Corn (1 pack)
Frozen Wild Salmon (2 lb = 2 packs)
Olive Oil (32 oz container -every two months)
Pure Maple Syrup (every two months)
Organic Quinoa
Organic Raisins
Toothpaste (every two months)
Shampoo (every two months)
Soap Bars
Toilet Paper
Coffee & Beer (for the hubby)

Occasionally, we will get a few treats…such as Jo-Jo’s, (yes, those yummy oreo alternatives), raw bleu cheese, feta cheese, etc.

Azure Standard (whole foods co-op) – $50 per month – most of these items are purchased on an as needed basis

Raw Cheddar (5 lbs) – every two months – grate and freeze it
Mozzarella (5 lbs – every 2 months – also grate and freeze)
Organic Whole Grains, Legumes: Wheat, Kamut, Spelt, Oats, Millet, Lentils, Brown Rice, Black Beans (purchased in 5 lb quantities, oats and wheat in 25 lb bags)
Organic Coconut Milk
Chia Seeds
Cocoa Powder
Leavenings -baking soda, baking powder, arrowroot powder, sea salt
Goat’s Milk Powder (for baby)
Produce on occasion – Organic Apples, Pears (20 lb box)

Milk & Eggs – local source = $75.00 per month
2 dozen eggs weekly – $3.75 per dozen
1 1/2 gallons of milk weekly- $7.50 per gallon – from which I make kefir, yogurt, and some butter, and occasional ice cream

Vegetables/Fruit- local farms- $15-20 per week – $80 per month
I stick with the frugal vegetables and fruits and whats in season for better prices. I rarely if ever buy cherries, peppers, pineapple, etc. We eat a lot of greens, apples, pears, carrots, broccoli, onions, garlic, squash, potatoes, etc. We typically serve raw veggies and fruit with lunch and dinner includes a fresh salad (even if its just greens sometimes), and usually a steamed or baked veggie.

Beef – annual local purchase of 1/4 cow – $375 - $31.25 per month
We typically eat beef twice a week, chicken once, fish once, vegetarian once and pizza and leftovers on the weekends.

Chickens – annual local purchase of 12 chickens (one per month) – $180$15 per month – I cook up one chicken per month from which we make chicken stock.

Produce stocked up on in the summer for freezer- Strawberries, peaches, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes (canned all my own tomatoes for sauce), pickling cucumbers for pickles, berries for homemade jam – I usually set aside $200 for such purchases, but I don’t really include this in our food budget. I just set money aside early in the summer from other earnings.

Other items from different sources:

Organic EV Coconut oil – order from Mountain Rose Herbs (we consume about 1 gallon every 2 months) – buy in quantity and split with friends
Cod liver oil – purchase through Vitacost
Pepperoni – I buy Applegate Farms nitrate free pepperoni from Fred Meyer’s
Bread – I currently buy sprouted bread, hot dog buns, hamburger buns from Dave’s Killer Bread OutletI can buy one loaf of sprouted 100% organic bread for $2.10 a loaf in bulk quantities (it’s been one of those seasons when making it from scratch has been a real challenge!)
Raw Honey -from a local farm – Honey House Farms (1/2 gallon every two months)
Vinegar, club soda, hydrogen peroxide, oxygen bleach and a few other cleaning supplies – infrequent purchases at wal-mart or Fred Meyers
Soap nuts – for laundry from NaturOli

What happens when we really need to cut corners? As my husband is self-employed, income is never quite consistent, so there have been times when we really had to cut back. In order to make it work, we cut the following out of our grocery list, and can usually get by with $300 per month:

limit to 1 gallon of milk
1 dozen eggs
no salmon
no lunchmeat
no snacks
make my own ketchup
make my own bread

What products do I make myself?

chicken broth
breakfasts (smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal – meaning that we don’t use packaged products, just use our own homemade recipes)
muffins and other breakfast pastries
salad dressings
ice cream and other desserts
protein bars for snacks
canned tomato sauce – homemade chili, spaghetti sauce, etc

I may have overlooked something…

What products do we avoid? As you can see, we do really strive to keep to the basics with the ocassional splurge on a special dessert or snack. I try to avoid mixes, cereal, soda, packaged snacks…

You can make it work! You just sometimes have to cut out some of those convenience foods. Alas!

Other Real Food Budgets:

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home – How My Grocery Budget Works
Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers – Breaking Down the Budget

What does your food budget look like? Do you have any tips to share on how to make it work on a budget?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

183 Responses to A Peek at Our Real Food Budget

  1. Faith September 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Would you still be able to budget like this if your family was dependent of food stamps/SNAP AND were not able to spend cash on food?

    What about if there were also no “organic” food stores in your area (like Trader Joe’s Whole Foods, etc…)?

    These are both real circumstances for many people, myself included. I am more than interested if someone has done a budget like this while on food stamps and having no organic stores in their area.

    • kristina September 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      Are there any Farmer’s markets near you. I know the ones near me accept SNAP/food stamps and actually give participants in the program $5 and a vendor coupon book to sign up. Also many farms accept SNAP/ food stamps for CSA food memberships. Just somethings to think about looking into if they are available in your area. I am in the Twin Cities.

      • Faith September 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

        How do you go about looking that up?

        • Michelle M December 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

          Start here…http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap

          Click on the hyperlinked list on the left that asks: Find a SNAP authorized retailers…

          A map of the US will come up…key in your Zip Code.

          I used it for our area and both our farmers market (who will double the benefits for SNAP participants) and our one natural foods store came up.

  2. sarahbethhomemaker June 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    This is delightfully thorough and informative. It’s great to see another blogger with a whole foods priority. It’s true that when it’s important to you, you make it work. My family of just two (with one on the way) has sacrificed television, cell phones, and we also share one car because good food is just that important.

    Affording whole foods saves money in other areas, too. Like you mention about making fewer trips to the doctor. I wrote a little about that here: http://themindfulhomemaker.com/2012/02/25/organics-and-affordability/ =)

  3. jimmie April 9, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    How do you feed a family of four, once a week for an entire month on one chicken? I for one find it hard to believe.

    • Michelle M December 23, 2013 at 6:17 am #

      We do the same. It depends on the size of chicken. I bake mine, we have our dinner, usually a Sunday or Saturday meal, then I boil it down and portion that meat out to use in casseroles or soup. If the chicken is more than 10# I can get enough to make 3 more meals. We are moving into more natural and bulk food buying so my extra dinners lean more toward comfort food than maybe 100% organic, but my other meals are usually – homemade pot pie, chicken and noodles and chicken Alfredo. Depending on what you buy, have on hand or make from scratch those extra meals range from “free” to $5.00. Our family is: Teenage boy, blue collar husband, mom and baby on the way.

  4. Young Mom February 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    How in the world do you only spend $400/mo for a family of four??? My husband and I eat like you — no processed, nothing packaged, all homemade, buying bulk.. and I get a 15% discount at the organic food store I work at (which brings costs to about the equivalent for organic there that I would pay for not-organic at Safeway). We spend $450/mo… NOT including household stuff… and we eat meat less too!!! Maybe it’s the difference of being waaay rural vs. closer to major metros??? Have other readers found this???

    • Lindsay February 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      Please view my updated food budget post here.

    • kari February 10, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      Young mom, I spend $350/month on food and toiletries for five of us! My husband is in ministry and it’s all we have. We eat like Lindsay, except I have a gluten intolerance, so have to buy all the gf flours. Although, lately, we’ve been mostly grain free altogether. :) It’s possible..you just have to be strict with your budget. Keeper of the Home has her budget broken down, too, and I pretty much mimic her old budget of $350/month. I will add that my husband hunts and that helps with meat.

  5. Stephanie December 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi – I am curious if your budget is still $400 per month since I noticed that this was written in 2009. I am always curious to how much people spend and if we are doing good or need to shore up something. We spend $800 per month on a family of eight and I make 98% of our food from scratch. We have eggs and next year, I will have a garden and hopefully in the next two years our fruit trees will produce lovely fruit. We even have a friend that gives us some basics (monthly) to help us. It is daunting to feed all these mouths, but God never ceases to amaze me in His provision and bless my children with good health as well!

    • Lindsay December 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      I’m working on an update to this post. We spend between $475-500 currently.

      • Kelly January 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

        Looking forward to your updated food budget! My husband and I have been trying to make a budget and are not having the easiest time. I eat mostly raw and we are all vegan so it’s tricky! I like how you buy locally though and spend the extra money up front rather than buying spontaneously at the store throughout the week.. something I need to work on;).

  6. kelle December 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    What do your kids drink during the day and with meals? We are going through an absurd amount of raw milk in a week. My daughter isn’t very fond of milk and was curious what you give your children to drink. Also, can you explain how you use the powder goat milk for your baby? I have a baby and would like to maybe include this for her. thanks!

    • Lindsay December 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      We mainly drink water to tell you the truth. They drink a small glass of milk occasionally with breakfast.

  7. Sarah-Anne December 4, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    Hi Amanda, have you used the search box or recipe index on Lindsay’s site? There are recipes for most/all of the items you’re looking for. :)


    • Amanda December 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

      Oh man!!! I didn’t even think about that :) I’m going to blame it on being almost 40 weeks pregnant!! Thanks!

  8. Amanda December 4, 2011 at 4:41 am #


    I loved looking at your real food budget. Money is extremely tight right now and we are trying to make ours work with very little wiggle room. I currently grind my own wheat for waffles, but haven’t found a recipe my husband likes for bread, biscuits, or muffins. Could you share your recipe for these?

    Thanks in advance!

  9. Judy December 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Thank you for such a wonderful post! I live in NE Portland, OR and would like to know where to find some of the whole foods co-op as well as your local sources for milk, eggs, beef and chickens. I really enjoy your blogs!

  10. Myra November 30, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    I found this very interesting. I’m curious why you would cut milk out of your diet before the beer ? I too have a limited budget and when funds allow, will purchase beer for my husband. Since it has no nutritional value and he is the only one who drinks it, I would never purchase it if I could not afford other things like milk and eggs.

    • Samara November 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      it makes sense to me. many of us make ‘health food’ choices that our husbands kindly tolerate, and even pay for, but wouldn’t choose if it was up to them. it only make sense to not cut their favorite things out when the budget is tight. better to cut my favorite thing out and show my gratefulness to him for his provision and love by finding room in the budget for something he likes.

      • Samara November 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

        I thought I would just mention that my “favorite things” are raw cocoa powder, grass-fed butter and raw milk. My family can get along without them, by using conventional products, or alternatives (non-dairy milks)…I don’t like it as well and I don’t think it’s as healthy, but I can tolerate it :) :) :)

    • Lindsay November 30, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      When on a tight budget, we certainly cut back on the beer consumption as well, but not all together. It’s nice to have on hand when he’s had a stressful time at work. We drink a lot of raw milk for pleasure and not necessity since I don’t cook a whole lot with milk. We like to drink it with our meals for the most part. So you see both milk and beer are more pleasure purchases than necessity at our house. They are both easy to cut back on as needed.

  11. Sarah-Anne K. October 23, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    I hope it’s okay I’m asking again, but is your food budget still about $400 a month? If not, do you mind sharing how much you’re spending each month?

    I’m working on our food budget and meal plan, and hoping our EBT will cover a monthly meal plan similar to the one you recently posted. I’m not quite stretching the money far enough with our current plan (or frequently: lack of a plan!).

    If you have a moment to answer, I greatly appreciate it. Be blessed.

    • Cathy December 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      I’m curious, too, with all the price increases the past few years. We’ve held relatively steady on our budget but are getting ready to raise it substantially.

  12. Carol July 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Thank you so much for your web site. I just found it as a link from GNOWFGLINS. I am a grandmother of 6. I am excited that Godly websites are available like these. Thank you so much for sharing information about fermenting food, and wonderful healthy recipes that are affordable. I live in Central Oregon and I’m fortunate to be able to get eggs from my son and his family. And to purchase affordable local grass fed beef. I am gluten intolerant and allergic to dairy. I plan to share your website with my 3 daughters and my daughter-in-law.

  13. Erin June 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I refer to this OFTEN and have found it sooooo wonderfully helpful! This may be way too much to ask but I have been hoping that somebody would do a current or updated budget since prices have gone up and your children are older now. I’m trying to keep as close to this as possible but am finding it nearly impossible so I’m just wondering if it may have something to do with food prices going up? (I also have four children—all with good appetites) Thank you! LOVE your blog!

  14. Tiffany Longo May 21, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    how do you freeze the banannas? Do you freeze the entire smoothie? ANd you also mentioned that you buy one pack of chicken for the monht….do you just not have chicken very often or do you stretch it between meals? I would LOVE to know!

    I have 4 little ones (7 and under) and one on the way and we get the two packs of organic chicken roasters (whole chickens) from Costco once every two weeks…if there’s other stuff I need, then I only get it once a month – BUT – I roast the two chickens at the same time in the oven. I remove all the meat and use a little less than half that night. There is meal # one (with sides, of course). THen I take the bones/skin and make a huge batch of chicken sotck, which I strain, add some of the cut up dark meat, carrots, noodles and that is chicken soup (meal #2).
    Then, I have all the leftover white meat that was not used in the first two meals, and use that for meal #3. This has seemed to work for us, and we have SIX EATERS!!

    I would LOVE any suggestions on how to use the leftover shredded chicken. It is so tender and tasty but mexican gets old, sometimes! THanks Lindsay!

    • Lindsay May 22, 2011 at 6:03 am #

      I freeze the bananas by first peeling them and then dividing them into 2-3 chunks. I then put it in a ziploc freezer bag and take out a chunk as needed for smoothies. I do not freeze the smoothie, but rather the ingredients. I purchase my berries in the summer when they are fresh and put in the freezer for the year. You can about how I make one chicken stretch for multiple meals here. It is very similar to your approach.

  15. Donna March 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Lindsay, I love your website, it is always so comforting and informative! I just wanted to tell you, Aldi’s food stores are owned by the same people who own Trader Joe’s and carry many of the same products. I was so surprised, yesterday, I did our shopping there, and found two different varieties of Kerrygold cheese from Ireland at 2.99 a brick each! We have tried the gouda, and it is so delicious. Each time we did our shopping at our former grocery store, our bill was always around $ 150.00, and this was after coupons. My bill yesterday, with a full shopping cart, was $69.00! They even have organic tomatoes and Tropicana oranges. Needless to say, this is such a godsend to our family, as I too, am a stay-at-home mom with three children. I just wanted to share this with you, as you are always so kind in sharing info. with your readers. Hope you are feeling well and have a healthy baby and speedy recovery! Donna

  16. Amy Davis February 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    What type of oats do you buy? I am putting my first order in for Azure and they have Oats and Oat groats?

    • aevi March 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      You may already have ordered…but in case you haven’t, thought I’d mention that I buy rolled oats for breakfast cereal or to put whole into oat breads or bars, and buy oat groats for grinding into oat flour.

  17. Damaris January 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I enjoy following your posts! I have been looking for an inexpensive shampoo. I see you buy it at TJ, but they have several varieties. Which would you recommend?
    Thank you so very much for this ministry!

    • Lindsay January 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

      We use the Nourish brand and like it alot.

  18. Bobbie December 5, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    What type of mayonnaise do you buy? We love Hain’s safflower mayo but I have read that safflower is a ”bad” oil. We are having trouble geting pastured eggs because of moulting so making my own is not an option right now.

    • Lindsay December 6, 2010 at 8:31 am #

      This is kind of a toughy. I prefer to make my own with a combination of olive oil, coconut oil, and non-toasted sesame oil, but it’s not always practical. Most of the time I just buy Trader Joe’s Real Mayo. IT uses canola, but no other crazy sweeteners or preservatives. IT’s most convenient for me at this time. Hain’s Safflower is suitable as well…not the best, but still okay. Wilderness Family Naturals makes a coconut oil mayo that is fabulous and probably the best option, but not so practical as it is expensive and hard to get apart from ordering online. Azure carries it but its not often available.

  19. Tessa November 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    I usually do one roast per week or fortnight. I save all the little bits of meat and bone and make a lovely natural stock that night. The next day I use it to make a soup with vegetables and beans.

    For example:
    1. Roast chicken – use carcass and then add red lentils, corn, vegetables, a amount of cream and whatever else you like to create a creamed chicken and vegetable soup.
    2. Roast lamb – use bones and leftover meat with tinned organic chickpeas, pumpkin, spices and whatever vegetables you like to create a moroccan style dish.

    It makes two meals quite cheaply and my family have a fortnightly or weekly roast to look forward to. It also saves me time and keep our meals wholesome and natural.

  20. Megan Austin November 3, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    I’ve been blessed with a hunter for a husband! It saves loads of money on meat. We still buy some pork and beef from whole foods, but having a freezer full of venison sausage, steaks, and ground is a life saver!

    • Michelle November 24, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

      Me too – my husband is an avid deer hunter! We have found one of the best and easiest ways to eat the meat as well – to pressure cook it! Sound interesting (canned meat:) and looks it too, but it’s the most delicious and tender meat! It’s right up there with the best roast beef I’ve ever had! Cut up chunks of venison into about 1 inch pieces, place in mason jar, add one piece of beef on top and 1 teaspoon of salt. Put on lids and rings, then cook according to your pressure cookers directions. You just warm it up when it’s time to eat. We eat it plain, or add barbeque sauce for loose meat sandwiches, or add it into burritos (kind of like chipotle burritos if you’ve ever eaten those). It’s great!

  21. Stephanie November 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Lindsey,

    Do you really get a quarter of cow for $375?? That is incredible! I have been looking at farms where I live (Florida) and they are all charging at least $500 for a quarter! Am I doing something wrong?

    • Lindsay November 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

      Yes. This is the only source in our area that is this low and they gal lives about 1 hr away. I find that the farther out you go in the country you can get better prices. It’s worth the drive for sure especially when it is only once a year. And our gal actually drives to us because I get a large group order arranged for her.

  22. Ashley October 27, 2010 at 9:29 am #


    I recently discovered your website through a friend of mine and have been truly blessed and challenged by what you have posted. It has even inspired me to help others by sharing my experiences as a wife on my blog.

    Also – I made a trip to Trader Joe’s this week for the first time and was very impressed. I will be going there once a month from now on as well. Thank you for the tip!


  23. Reidun October 20, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    My favorite grocery budget thing to do is to try to come in under budget, and then put the leftover money in an envelope to put toward larger bulk purchases that we don’t purchase regularly. Once spur of the moment I bought 30 quarts of honey from a honey farm because I had the fund to cover it (it was significantly cheaper than from the store). It pretty much covers all our meat which I get right from the butcher in large quantities a few times a year. Right now it’s saving for either a Vitamixer (or equivalent) or a milk cow for our own source of raw milk.

  24. Jane October 6, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    Hi Lindsay
    How do you make your own tortillas? Do you soak or sprout the grain? Can you please pretty please post your a recipe? Sprouted grain tortillas are not available here in Australia, so I just don’t buy them. I would love to make my own as I do love tortillas and miss them! Many thanks for all the info you share here too – I just love your blog!

    • Lindsay October 6, 2010 at 5:07 am #

      I use my own soaked tortilla recipe. It works great!

      • Jkf March 26, 2011 at 7:39 am #

        We found your site about 2 months ago and it has been the BEST resource for us! I have made most of your recipes and- unlike other healthy recipes we’ve tried which turn out tasteless and bland- we are thrilled with the delicious results every time!

        My husband actually makes these tortillas weekly and they are DELICIOUS!!! My mom is mexican and so i have grown up with tortillas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These tortillas taste even better and we feel great knowing that they are good for us. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  25. Tammy September 23, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    Thank you for this… such a big help!!! I am wondering, which cod liver oil do you purchase through Vitacost (brand, flavor, etc). I’ve wanted to try this for months, but haven’t fit it into the budget yet. Our budget is REALLY tight right now with my hubby in school… any suggestions for what is ESSENTIAL in the “real food” budget. It’s so disheartening to have to purchase processed garbage b/c it’s all you can afford… so I’m looking for the most bang for our buck right now! I already make tortillas, soak grains and try to stay away from processed snacks and HFCS. I do not have my shopping down to an art yet, like you do, but that is where I would like to be ASAP!! (Our food budget is probably about $300/month – still working through the budget too)
    Oh how I wish I would have had this all mastered at such a young age like you do!! BIG pat on the back for you, Lindsay!! You are SUCH a wonderful example of a Christian woman/wife/mother to all of us!!! Blessings :)

    • Lindsay September 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

      Cod liver oil is unfortunately very expensive, so I would probably recommend you put that on the back burner for now and focus on the essentials. We honestly are not using it right now because I wanted to move to the fermented brand (Blue Pastures), as it is most nutritious, but it is expensive. Make sure you are getting some good wild seafood (salmon, tuna, clams) in your diet on a regular basis and that will definitely help cover yours bases. Beyond that, get some good quality fruits and vegetables, avoid HFCS and sugar, and definitely try to make things from scratch as you are able. If you can find good quality meat (grass fed is preferred) than you can certainly make that stretch but still get the essential B vitamins. Sounds like you are off to a great start!

  26. Heidi September 17, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    THANK YOU for sharing, i am passing it along. so helpful ;)

  27. Amanda September 15, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    This was exactly what I needed to help me in my menu planning and grocery shopping. Thank you so much!!!

  28. Rachel -- Following In My Shoes September 15, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    Ok — just left a comment on you rmonthly meal planning post and then read this one; THIS post makes the monthly meal planning make so much more sense to me. From here, I can see what you’re doing with produce/dairy (such as grating/freezing cheese) and this seems so much more feasible to me.

    Fantastic . . now I want to try the monthly thing for sure!

  29. Becky August 31, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    One thing that helps my food budget is making my own snacks. I have been able to find every recipe I need on http://www.allrecipes.com including pretzels, graham crackers and wheat crackers!

  30. jan August 20, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    Glad i found your site!!

  31. Erin August 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    Hi Lindsay! I am a long-time (quiet) reader. I wanted to share that we were also paying close to $8/gallon for our raw milk. We kept searching and searching and recently found a superb, small dairy with wonderfully healthy, grass-fed heifers that sale their milk for $3.75/gallon. We feel so blessed! We now buy 12 gallons each month to make our own butter, kefir, cream fraishe, cream cheese and whey.

    Your blog has been an incredible blessing to my family and I enjoy checking in weekly. I especially appreciate this post and look forward to watching you grow in the future. Keep searching for a small, local dairy and you may get as lucky as we have. (BTW, we live in Alabama, so unfortunately I can’t recommend our dairy to you, lol).

    God Bless!

    • Wendy August 27, 2010 at 7:22 am #


      We are also in Alabama. I would love to know where you get your milk.


    • Christi September 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

      I am down to $400 a month as well for our family of 5, we have a 3, 2 and 6 month old.
      I am having to budget in to make my own baby food now as well as regular meals. I homemake everything I know how and am always learning.
      We just started on Raw Milk for a local Colorado dairy at $32 a share for half a gallon a week. I had to cut back my share because it was so expensive but I really want to know how to make my own yogurt and cream etc. Can anyone help me with this? I have the millk and my kids LOVE yogurt but I don’t know how to make it! I buy Organic Plan and add local honey to it for the kids and they love it. Please help if you can!
      THis is very inspiring to me!

    • Amy September 16, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

      We also live in Alabama and would love to know where you get your raw milk. We have been searching as well. What part of the state are you in?
      Thanks so much!

      • Lindsay September 16, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

        Have you checked out the list on realmilk.com?

  32. Emily July 6, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Hey Lindsay,

    Thanks so much for posting your budget and resources. It is so helpful in trying to find quality ingredients in the desert- which is where I live the Mojave desert. I have to purchase most of my items online because it is hard to find a local source. We don’t even have a Trader Joes!

  33. Sarah July 2, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    have you looked at the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil?
    I’m trying to figure out the best for our money. Plus the best for our body. Let me know what you think

    • amannda August 12, 2010 at 10:14 am #

      I always buy from them, if you get a group to do a buyers club split, great. If not you can watch the sales and buy accordingly.

  34. Sarah July 2, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    some of these things I have found at Costco, I also love TJ’s. I haven’t compared the prices of organic spinach or butter. Have you? Are you a fan of Costco?

    • Denise Flanders September 28, 2010 at 8:07 am #

      in NC, organic spinach is way cheaper at costco. it’s $3.79 for a tub of 16 oz, versus at TJ’s you’ll pay $2.29 for a 5 or 6 oz bag. i think the kirkland organic butter ends up being cheaper than kerrygold at TJ’s, but kerrygold is only 2.69 for 8 oz, and i like it better, so that’s what I buy.

  35. radmamma June 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    What do you use the goat milk powder for?

    • Lindsay June 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

      I use it for a natural milk supplement with my infants when my milk supply isn’t all the sufficient. Read more about it here.

  36. Sarah Doll June 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Hello! I was wondering where you get your raw milk for $7.50 a gallon! A great price! I also live in the PDX area (washington) and cannot seem to find raw milk at that price! Thanks!

  37. Kristen May 27, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    lindsay, your blog is a direct answer to my prayers. thanks for all that you’re doing! quick question, does your family drink raw milk? i’m considering making the switch and i was wondering your thoughts…?

    • Lindsay May 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

      Yes, we absolutely love raw milk! It is so rich and fresh and wonderfully nutritious. Highly recommend it! For more info, please check out: realmilk.com.

      • Kristen May 28, 2010 at 10:40 am #

        thanks, that’s a great website!

  38. mayme May 26, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    This is great for ideas AND to make me feel a little better. :) I had been feeling bad about the cost of our groceries/household items – $550/month for a family of 7 (one exclusively bfeeding). But unfortunately, right now none of it is organic. With no TJ’s or Whole Foods around, organic is really hard to come by.

  39. April May 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    I see you get coconut milk. What do you use coconut milk for what are the benifts to using coconut milk?. I bought some and use it in my bread recipy and wow what a difference. It was realy good bread. For the first time I see that I can afford a good healty whole food diet. I’m gald you broke your food buget for us. I was a little overwelmed about starting to eat a whole food diet. I just put in my first order from Azure Standard. Ya there is a drop off only 30 min from me.

  40. Angi May 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Wow, I wish our food budget looked like that! We eat very similarly to what you have described, but we spend about $200 a WEEK on groceries! We are a family of 6 with 4 teenagers who eat us out of house and home, so that might have something to do with it! I am going to be looking into buying more stuff in bulk. Maybe that will help us out somewhat. Any suggestions for a co-op on the East coast?

  41. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama May 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    Every single time I read a post like this (and they ARE very helpful), I think, wow. My family must really eat a lot. There are 4 of us, two adults and a toddler and a baby. Your “monthly” list — we could go through that much in 2 weeks or less! We eat about 3 doz eggs/week (sometimes more), 1 gal milk, 5 lbs. or so beef, 9 – 12 lbs. chicken…it’s ridiculous. I have to make 1.5 – 2 lbs. of meat per meal (dinner) even if I’m making a big salad, grains, etc. I sprout all my own grain and bake my own bread. We buy in bulk, we belong to a CSA. And I still spend…well…I guess $400 – $500 on food each month. So not that different, and we don’t eat that differently from you. But I still think my family just eats a lot!

    • Maryanne November 4, 2011 at 2:30 am #

      Wow. I’m really thinking I have to move to the country, NOW. Anyone else around the Boston area who can NOT reduce their grocery bill down to $400/month? We’re currently eating almost the same as your family, Kate, and we’re spending about $150-200/week. This includes shampoos, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. Every 2 weeks, I go through 3-4 dozen eggs, 2-3 gallons of milk (we drink one, and I use the other for cream, baking, etc), a ridiculous amount of butter (Kerrygold @ 2.99, but I’ll start making my own – though not sure that’s any cheaper, given the price of raw milk around here), a couple of pounds of meat for dinner, etc. There are 3 of us, and I usually make enough for leftovers for lunch the next day as well. I think maybe I’ll have to look into a meat CSA – although they are ridiculously expensive around here, but still (hopefully) cheaper than buying from any store every couple of weeks. I hate to have that big up-front expense, and I’m not sure I have enough room in my freezer, but somehow I’m going to buy me half a cow next spring.

  42. Tammy February 22, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    This post is exactly what I have been looking for – thank you so much! My one question is with Azure – how do you get around the shipping cost – I wanted to order my grains/flour/beans and the shipping was $42.00!!! Is there something I am missing? Thank you!

    • Lindsay February 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

      Azure Standard offers drop spots all over the NW and Midwest. They drop for free within their routes. Check out their website to see if you live in an area where they have a drop spot. Otherwise, you have to pay for UPS shipping and that can definitely add up.

  43. Jennie West February 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Ok, there is just no way one pound of lunch meat would last us a month. What other options do you feed for lunches. We do sandwiches so much and maybe if I had other options I could cut back on the very expensive cost of weekly lunch meat??? Oh do help please!

    • Lindsay February 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

      We honestly don’t eat many meat sandwiches on a regular basis because yes, it does cost a lot. I mainly make meat sandwiches for my husband to take to work. At home, the kids and I eat PB & J, tomato soup & grilled cheese, burritos, leftovers, salmon melts (find recipe in recipe section), etc. Leftovers is what we mainly eat for lunch though.

  44. Melody February 18, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Where do you get your Chickens & Beef? I’m down in Salem and lost my source so I’m looking for a new one and would be happy to drive!

  45. Musings of a Housewife January 28, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    This is incredibly enlightening. THANK YOU!

  46. Kari January 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Thank you, thank you for this post! We are a family of five, and I have just, in the past few months, cut my budget to $85/week (food and toiletries) from $170/week…yes, in half! But, we were eating stuff we’d never eaten before..boxed potatoes, velveeta..whatever I could find on sale to pair with coupons. I couldn’t stand it anymore, and really prayed and asked God to show me how to do our menus healthy on our new budget, have read alot of blogs, but this is the first that shows me HOW! :) I have printed out this post and plan to go over it and make notes for myself! :) I’m so very excited! Praise God! thanks, again!

  47. LM January 7, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    I was just looking over your food budget as we start CSA payments the end of this month. I like the way you have it all sorted…very helpful, THANKS. Do you have a specific source for your sesame seeds/tahini ingredients???

    • Lindsay January 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

      I purchase all my seeds, nuts, etc from Azure Standard. You can also find tahini at Fred Meyer Nutrition.

  48. Krissi December 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    After following your example and tweaking it for me, I have cut my budget in half for the last two months!!!

  49. Nina Nelson December 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    I just found your blog today and I’m so glad I did! This posting is especially helpful since my husband is finally on board with changing our diet. Yay! I’m in central Oregon so I’m pretty sure I can find most of this stuff. I checked out Azure Standard and I’ll definitely be ordering from them. (I thought it sounded familiar and sure enough my dad was telling me about them a month ago. Apparently he went up to their farm and really liked it. Small world.) Thanks for the good information!

  50. Willow November 30, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    Hope this isn’t a redundant question – I couldn’t find a comment with the answer. I am looking for a good local source to buy eggs from, hopefully that would support a local farm, and I noticed on your natural resource links that you did have one source but when I checked into them they are 4.50 a dozen. I noticed you pay less in your budget and was wondering if you could share with me where you get your eggs. We are local here in Vancouver as well.

    Thanks so much!

    • Lindsay December 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

      Please email me personally for this information because I cannot post it online. Thanks!

  51. Samara Root November 25, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Dear Lindsay,

    So…does this include ALL the random household stuff…like:
    baby feeding spoons
    razor blades
    occasional purchase of washcloths, towels, etc

    I mean, do you have any other budget allocated for household stuff, or is it all im with your food budget?
    Right now we have a food budget and a separate household budget but I was thinking of combining and I was surprised that if you do have all of the household stuff in that budget, you could keep it down to $400!

    • Lindsay November 25, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

      It covers all the regular household purchases (razers, bath & body products, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc). Purchases that need to be made on a consistent repeated basis. But it does not cover the infrequent larger purchases related to the household. We do have a small monthly budget for general household repairs, and that would cover towels, water filters, furnace filters, bibs, baby spoons, light bulbs, sheets, etc. Does that make sense?

  52. C November 25, 2009 at 9:40 am #

    What do you use as a body soap in the shower now if not Bronners?

    • Lindsay November 25, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

      I have been changing so frequently on this one, I don’t rightly know. ;) Right now we are using the NaturOli Soap nuts soap bars or any soap bars from Trader Joe’s.

  53. Nancy November 24, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    I haven’t read through all of the comments yet, so I’m not sure if you touched on this or not, but I noticed you had toothpaste on the list. We are currently using Toothsoap (except for my husband), but I was going to try your homemade recipe once we ran out. Are you not making it anymore for your family? And if not, did you find a satisfactory store-bought substitution? Just curious. I figured that would save some money, if I started making homemade toothsoap. Thanks!

    • Lindsay November 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

      I usually make homemade toothpaste as a back-up. I found it is not a significant money saver to make it yourself, especially now that I don’t buy Dr Bronners regularly. TJ’s is just $2 for a tube of all natural, flouride free toothpaste…so that works for us!

      • Nancy November 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

        I wish we had a TJ’s nearby! I miss it terribly. So I was wondering, if you’re not using Dr. Bronner’s soap now, what are you using for your body products? I was thinking I’d try the Soap Nuts for that use as well as cleaning, once I buy some. Have you tried that? I am also looking to make your shampoo recipe once we run out of other stuff. Thanks!

        • Lindsay November 25, 2009 at 9:29 am #

          I found the soap nuts is too liquidy for us to use in body products, but if you don’t mind that, it works great. We just prefer a little thickness and more suds (probably more of my hubby’s preference). I only used Dr. Bronners for shampoo and toothpaste in the past, and now I buy those products most of the time or use a vegetable glygerin in replacement of the Dr Bronners.

  54. Summer November 23, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    Wow! We’re trying to cut down to $400, but it’s more around $500. The junk food addict in the house doesn’t help. LOL

  55. Kristin November 18, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    What an informative post! I was wondering, so do you use just one chicken for all four chicken meals?

    • Lindsay November 18, 2009 at 7:47 am #

      I do buy a pack of chicken breasts at TJ’s once a month.

  56. Janelle November 17, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    You mentioned that you buy 3 bags of spinach per month. Do you buy it frozen or fresh? If you buy it fresh…how do you keep it for a whole month? Mine never lasts more than a week in the fridge.

    • Lindsay November 18, 2009 at 7:02 am #

      I buy it fresh. No, it doesn’t last us for the whole month. I buy various other greens from local sources, but it would be easy enough to freeze extras or buy more and freeze for smoothies as it doesn’t affect the texture.

  57. Joy November 17, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    This was interesting and fun to read, Lindsay. Thanks for sharing it! Our list looks similar, but I have never put it all down in writing.

  58. Tori November 17, 2009 at 2:45 am #

    Why buy microwaveable popcorn when you can air pop your own? You can buy a gigantic bag of organic kernels and pop as much or as little as you want. No matter where you buy from they ALWAYS charge you more for individual servings.

    • Michele November 25, 2009 at 10:45 am #

      I don’t believe that picture was not a picture of Lindsay’s grocery list. I think it was just a sample grocery list picture.

    • Alex December 30, 2009 at 9:47 am #

      I have also read this about microwaveable popcorn…scary!
      The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group:

      Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize — and migrate into your popcorn.

  59. Christine Fox November 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    Just wanted to thank you for sharing this with everyone. Very helpful. We too try to eat a whole foods diet. I was amazed at what you pay for a quarter of a steer. We live in New York and annualy get a quarter steer from a local farmer and pay $675! Our farm bought eggs cost $2.50 a dozen, just to share a few examples from the northeast! Our entire grocery bill per month is between $800-900 for a family of four. As several ladies already pointed out…God does provide. He is faithful!

  60. Flo November 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm #


    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been trying to get our grocery budget down on paper, and see what we can cut out to include more whole, nutritionally dense foods (like raw milk, which is so expensive here). We are a family of 5 (our 9 month old just started eating solids) and I am going to try and stick to $500/mo. on groceries. We primarily shop at Trader Joe’s, Costco, and get extra things from Whole Foods or Azure (my friend lives near a drop-point). While it is frustrating that healthy food is so expensive, it’s what I know is best for our family.

  61. Amy November 16, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    Lindsay, You are doing a great job with your budget. We live here in NW Iowa. It is very hard to get organic, whole foods and they are expensive! But we do eat almost 100% organic whole foods. We are a family of six and they all eat a lot! We budget about $1000/month for food. It is our biggest expensive. People think that sounds terrible. But we do not eat out anymore. That saved a lot of money and I put that towards our food budget. It would cost us at the least $50 to eat out. We also eat what is in season. I have three freezers that we stock up on all of our fruits and vegetables. We put one whole steer in the freezer and several chickens only once a year. We are very healthy and being also self-employed, we let our health insurance go about five years ago. That was an additional $800 plus/month saved. One of the best things we have ever done! My husband is a truck driver making about $34,000/year. I stay at home and home school our four girls 13 down to 7. If we can do this, anyone can do this. It is a matter of priority!

    • Elizabeth from The Nourished Life November 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

      Kudos, Amy! You sound like you are doing great with your budget. We also dropped our health insurance because we would rather do our best to keep ourselves healthy with local food.

      Eating out is our biggest problem *cringe*. We live 45 minutes from the nearest city, so when we go out, we’re always out long enough for everyone to get hungry. (And for some reason hubby is hands-down against brown bagging it.) So I’m thinking of cutting down on family outings to help eliminate those expenses. I’d much rather spend that $100 on nourishing food!

      • Amy November 17, 2009 at 9:50 am #

        Elizabeth, My husband use to be against “brown-bagging” it also. But my youngest daughter has many “food allgeries” and it is not as easy to eat out as it was. That has helped. Also, I have learned to make brown-bag lunches a treat. It takes planning ahead but it has worked for us. I will make jerky or some yummy dessert or special sandwiches. If I can make it work, in the summer I will find a nice park. This gives the girls a chance to run off some excess energy from the car ride.
        If I do not feel up to the brown bag, I have learned to leave immediately after a big breakfast and have a few snacks on hand and be back for a late lunch. Now that our diet is fairly pure, we find eating out causing us not to feel so out.

  62. Deborah November 16, 2009 at 5:17 am #


    I have discovered that unpasteurized milk can not be sold legally in my state of Maryland. I guess organic store bought milk is my only option? *sigh* It is expensive.

    • Elizabeth from The Nourished Life November 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

      Have you checked out other options for raw milk? We’re in Alabama, where our raw milk is legally sold as “pet milk” and not for human consumption. But you can still drink it. :) Also, many states have cow-share programs where you buy a “share” of a milking cow, worth however many gallons you need per week.

      Organic storebought milk is slightly better than non-organic (because of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides). However, it is still pastuerized, and often ultra-pastuerized (they can’t even grow yogurt cultures in ultra-pastuerized milk, it is so dead). Non-homogenized milk is slightly better if you can find it.

      • Deborah November 17, 2009 at 9:07 am #

        Thank you Elisabeth. A loop hole! I like it. I will look into it.
        The more I think about it the more upset I get. I should have the right to choose raw milk for my family. I don’t know that much about milk so your post educated me a bit. I had not considered milk to be “dead.” Kind of scary. I will at least look for non-homogenized until I can find raw.Thanks again.

  63. Jennifer November 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    I am so thankful I found this blog! I can’t wait to try the soap nuts!

  64. Tracey November 15, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    Thank you, Lindsay;
    For this informative site & your honesty in sharing your budget.
    We are a family of 8(6 children). Our budget is about $400-500 monthly. We are blessed to buy organic raw milk for our local farmer for $2.00 a gallon. We bought a whole grass fed cow(yearling)for $200 dollars (processing included). It was about 190 lbs. We buy local honey for 1.50 lb. We grow our own chicken for meat(we also sell some for $2.50 lb.) And have hens for eggs. We grow heirloom veggies(tomatoes, celery, peppers, onions, garlic, potaoes, beets, beans, garlic, shallots etc. Everything we raise is non certified organic. I just wanted to add that farmers in our area only get .80 a gallon for their milk at the creamery. Most farmers are getting .70+ lb at the auction for their beef. We raise grass fed Black Angus & are getting closer to a dollar. It’s hard to continue life living off the land, and will the future generations want too. This is what’s going on, at least for us farmers in the Midwest…

  65. Michele @ Frugal Granola November 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    I totally know what you mean about those little ones eating their fair share! :) Wow.

    Here is my “real foods” grocery budget: http://frugalgranola.blogspot.com/2008/12/real-food-grocery-budget.html


  66. Kim November 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    Haven’t read all the comments yet though I plan to but do you guys drink juice?

    • Lindsay November 15, 2009 at 9:53 am #

      No, we do not drink juice, beyond using a bit of organic juice concentrate in our green smoothies. ;) We occasionally buy apple cider during the season, but that’s about it.

  67. YW November 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    Thanks for this real-life glimpse into your budget! I, too, am working on a budget/menu plan that will work for me and my guy. This is relatively new ground for me, so I’m always looking for tips!

  68. Heidi November 14, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    I noticed you use organic frozen spinach for a smoothie. I was wondering if you would share that recipe with us?

    • Lindsay November 15, 2009 at 9:54 am #

      You can find that under Green Smoothies in my recipe index.

      • Heidi November 16, 2009 at 10:51 am #

        Thanks, I really appreciate what you do. I’m a mom of two young kid’s too and I know you are probably very busy, but blessed.

  69. Angie November 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Hi! I love reading your blog. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your food budget. (I think you used the wrong spelling peak. It should be “peek” instead of “peak”.)
    Looking forward to reading more!

  70. keren November 14, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    I’m loving the soap nuts. I’m sure they are the cheapest cleaning agent as well as the best performing. Toxin free and made completely free of commercial processing. Just got started with them and planned to give them as CHristmas gifts for everyone. I use them to do the dishes too. I dont have a dishwasher but I wonder if a bag could go in there? I just throw 4 in the basin of hot dishwater and everything comes out sparkling even the fatty greasy stuff. So simple and no TRASH.

  71. karyn November 14, 2009 at 6:55 am #

    Thank you for sharing this. But what really caught my attention are the things you cut out so you could increase your food budget and I would love to know – how do you manage with one car? Are you near public transportation? I keep flirting with the idea but haven’t made the leap because we live in the country and I couldn’t take the kids anywhere during the day.

    • Kate November 14, 2009 at 10:35 am #

      Well her husband works from home. It doesn’t work well for most families, where the husband works outside the home. Being somewhere w/o a car w/kids, unless you are in NYC, or Chicago just doesn’t work, IMO. Unless of course, you intend on walking everywhere during the time hubby works.

      Or you would get everyone in the car early in the morning and drop off hubby at work, and then pick him up later. or hubby could carpool.

      It definitely wouldn’t work for us, we both work outside the home, and we both need cars to get to and from work. The advantage w/us, both our cars are paid off, and are relatively new. (both are 2007)

  72. Heather November 13, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    Do you buy the 1/4 of cow for the whole year? I’m trying to decide how much to buy for our family & how long it will last. We have 6 littles ages 9 and under. That is a great price that you pay!

    • Lindsay November 16, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

      Yes, 1/4 of a cow lasts us a year. It is about 150+ lbs of meat. We just evaluated how much we normally eat or could afford and then make it stretch. I always calculate how much I have total and divide it over the year.

  73. kate November 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    Wow! Groceries are CHEAP down there in the US!

  74. Lauren November 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    Hi Lindsay!

    I was so excited to see this post! My husband and I have been in a tight place financially for the past few months and are really trying to cut back wherever possible, BUT reading your post has inspired me to take this one step at a time and slowly up our budget over the next year or so as we add more whole food options. I had a couple of questions for you….

    You made the comment that whole foods are more expensive in the Portland area…are you living in Portland now? I thought you were in Washington. Anyway, just curious!

    If you are in Oregon can you tell me about finding raw milk? I know you cant buy it except on the property of the farmers and it must be a small farm. Do you have a post with more on raw milk? We are thinking about giving it a shot, but I wasn’t sure since I am used to 1% and I know the raw is whole milk….will I just end up drinking less? That seems like a big change in fat intake! Just curious.

    Also, do you have multiple freezers? I am thinking that with 12 whole chickens, 1/4 a cow and a ton of cheeses and fruits in your freezer, you must have more than one…I know that buying whole chickens is going to be my best money saver when it comes to good quality chicken, but I am new to it. Do you roast it, cut it up and use/freeze, and then make stock from the carcass?

    I have noticed you have some natural sweetners on your list and in your recipes. What do you know about agave nectar? I saw organic blue agave nectar at costco for a fraction of the typical price, but I wasn’t sure if it is actually healthier!

    One more (sorry, this is just so interesting)…I saw that you hit TJs once a month and get all your spinach for smoothies….we are BIG fans of the green smoothies…how do you store/keep your spinach for a month? I have been blending the spinach, water,and OJ conc. and freezing when I get a big bag of spinach from Costco and then thawing as needed….just curious what you are doing.

    Thank you so much for all your encouragment! You have truly been a blessing to me and you provide a wonderful example of a Godly wife, mother, and woman!

    May God continue to bless you and your lovely family!

    • Lindsay November 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm #

      We are in Vancouver, WA…but as you know, that is right on the border, so that is why I say Portland area. ;) We are in Portland all the time! I do know many people that get raw milk in Oregon though. You may want to check out my Local Resources page and email Elice from there. There are many drop spots of good raw milk in your area. If you want to learn more about the benefits of raw milk, definitely check out realmilk.com and/or read Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. The amazing thing about raw milk is that that fat/cream is necessary for digestion of the calcium and nutrients in the milk. When they skim that out to make non-fat or 1%, your body is not able to digest it. The cream also helps you digest the fat, so it actually is thought to help you loss weight. It is incredible stuff!
      Yes, we have two small chest freezers in our garage. One is for meat and the other is for our berries and such. As to making whole chickens, I cook up a whole chicken at a time in the crockpot to make a stock and then use the cooked meats for other meals. I usually freeze portions of the cooked meat because we don’t eat it all at once. It’s pretty fun and easy!
      Yes, read more about agave in my natural sweetener post here.
      I freeze the bags of spinach if we don’t eat it all before its time. I usually use other kinds of lettuces later in the month from my produce source.
      Blessings, Lindsay

  75. jenny November 13, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    Lindsay! Thanks for your post – I am now a mom and was wondering what our grocery budget would look like now that we have kids – although it will be a bit before he is on solid foods.

    On a spiritual note – The Lord is using you in the most amazing ways with your blog. You are an amazing blessing and I pray the Lord would continue to give you encouragement from your posts, its awesome to see how he is using you through your blog!

  76. krissi November 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    This is going on my refrigerator! My husband and I spend closer to $600 on food/month and that’s not including shampoo,etc! It’s good to see it is possible to live on less. Thank you for the example and showing how it’s possible. I have a long way to go and you are helping me get there!

  77. Tiffany November 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    Lindsey, which iPhone app is it? Is it called “Shopper” for .99? I’m always looking for ways to make shopping easier. Right now I have a spreadsheet I print out each week and leave it in the kitchen. When I”m out of something, I just circle it. The spreadsheet is even orgazined by location of the store. So I always do produce section first, so the produce list is first on my shopping list. It works, but would like to go paperfree:)

    • Lindsay November 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm #

      Yes, that’s the one! It really works nicely for me and they keep adding good updates to it as well. Here’s the link: http://www.myshopperapp.com.

  78. amelia November 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    I LOVE this post! I just found your site through a friend of mine. We just moved to the UK and are on a tight budget as well. My husband is a post-grad student. I’ve got 3 boys 6 and under who seem to eat a ton! I’m still researching all the best deals on food here. Food is more expensive in the UK and we are in the process of figuring our budget and how we can stick to real foods. Some things are not easily found here like sucanat/rapadura. I haven’t been able to find it at all actually–maybe if we were in London or somewhere further south. Buying in bulk is also not very common.

    Thanks for laying your budget out though, it does help to see the details of how someone is successfully budgeting and doing real food.

  79. Colleen November 13, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put together and being willing to share this information. I’ve been trying for the past several months to buy all organic and stay within a budget but don’t have anything to compare it too since my idea of frugality is based on healthy, but not organic meat, produce etc. This gives me something to measure against to see if I’m actually saving or overspending when it comes to the new way of managing our food purchases and budget.

    Also, we don’t have TJ’s :-( but I’ve surprisingly found that meat at Gooseberries (hormone free and no antibiotics) is actually cheaper than regular meat at places like Costco. Go figure! If anybody lives near a Gooseberries, you might check out their meat prices… as long as you can get in and out of the store only buying their loss leaders.

  80. Joy November 13, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    Thank you. I currently budget $400 a month for groceries & household items as well… just not whole foods groceries. My husband isn’t supportive of switching to a whole foods diet & I assumed it would cost much more so I hadn’t asked him to reconsider. I don’t have a local Trader Joe’s but this post encourages me to look into my options & approach my husband about this subject again.

    • Jodie November 13, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

      Try watching movies like Food Inc. and King Corn with your husband. That worked for me:) He was blown away and no longer questions why I don’t get the cheap meat in particular. I do all the reading and research but he was more than willing to sit and watch a movie.

  81. Jessica Newby November 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Whoo hoo! Thanks so much! I wish I had access to some of your resources here in Boise.

    • Melissa D. SC November 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

      Hi Jessica,
      I am in SC but my mom lives just outside of Boise….I could be wrong, but I thought my mom was saying the other day that you have a store there similar to Aldi’s here. It would be a small grocery store and you have to bag the groceries yourself, but you get groceries really affordable because you don’t have to pay the overages that places like Walmart and other stores have…. it could save you quite a bit of money…. Aldi’s has a website and you can see what they are like, they don’t sell the brand names, it is their own brand but it is the same product in the packaging :) they only have 1300 products that also counts for lower prices…but I can do 85% of my grocery shopping there and the rest at WM or someplace else. If you want, I can find out what the name was, I know it wasn’t Winco I think it was a different name…anyhow…you can contact me through my blog. Good Luck!!

  82. Sheila November 13, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    Wow, great post! This is the first time I came across your blog, and I am impressed! I find it incredible what you make from scratch, and how much you can buy with $400/mnth. My husband and I have 3 sons, aged 14,11,8. My monthly grocery budget is $800/month, and sometimes I don’t think that that’s enough! Perhaps I need to figure out a way to revamp how I cook, bake, and can, and obviously shop!

  83. Megan November 13, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    I am a new reader to your blog and am loving it! Budgeting and meal planning are two of my favorite activities (am I crazy??) and this post is full of great suggestions. Thank you!

  84. Elizabeth from The Nourished Life November 13, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share all of this information. It’s so important for people to see that a real food lifestyle is much more achievable than it seems.

    We are a family of 2 adults, a 5-yr-old and a 4-yr-old. We spend, on average, about $115 per week on food (and general grocery items) – including 3-4 gallons of raw milk, 3 dozen free-range eggs, and 3-4 nights of grass-fed beef per week. I make my own kefir, yogurt, and some of our butter. We also eat a lot of coconut oil (some virgin and some refined).

    I would love to be able to buy everything local and/or organic, but my budget would have to run closer to $200 per week for that – and that’s not reasonable right now! But it’s fun working these amazing nourishing foods into our diet and realizing it’s not impossible at all.

  85. MelissaD November 13, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    I have truly been enjoying your entries on whole foods! Thank you for sharing!

  86. Shannon Hazleton November 13, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    Thanks, Lindsay. I know this is helpful to so many people, including me.
    I wondered about holidays, and those times when you have company over for a meal, or when you bring something extra to a church function… those are the times when our budget gets completely blown.

    Do you have extra earnings set aside for those times? Or do you just try to adjust your budget the following month to spend less?

    Thanks again!

    • Lindsay November 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

      Hospitality is included in our food budget. We typically do it just fine, but occasionally it does cost more. We technically have a giving fund in our budget from which we can drawl if necessary as well.

  87. Michele November 13, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    Can you share your typical weekly menu? I would love to see what you prepare with these ingredients. Your budget sounds very close to ours, we spend $500 a month for 6 people (2 adults, 4 children) and we strive to stay organic and healthy but often times I find myself spending more. Would love menu tips!

  88. Sarah M November 13, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    thanks for this post–this is very helpful to break everything down. We are in a crazy season of business and although I have broken down our budget/made lots of things from scratch in the past, right now it’s just not do-able. We also live an hour away from Whole Foods, which is the closest big name natural food store by abotu 300 miles! :( I would love to someday go to a trader joes since I have heard great thigns about them!
    We do have a small health-food store that is local, but it is mostly herbs and organic snack food…veryyyy little produce, etc. but we do buy some grains from their bulk section,too.
    Sarah M

  89. Tarah November 13, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    Hi Lindsay,
    Very helpful postings this week~! I was wondering what containers you use to store your baking flours, grains, and beans. Where did you purchase them from? I am about to make my first large purchase from azure in our new location, but I am wondering how I am going to safely store all these foods. Thanks!
    God bless,

    • Lindsay November 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

      You can see pics of my kitchen storage here & here.. I also talked about Safe Kitchen Storage which includes links to sources for difference sizes of jars. I typically use IKEA jars for some grains to display on my shelves, and then gallon size glass jars, and half gallon jars for everything else in my cupboards. Azure actually sells glass gallon jars if you are interested. Otherwise, check out craigslist. For large bulk, such as the 25 lbs of oats, I use food grade plastic 5 gallon buckets as described here.

  90. Beth November 13, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing your budget! It is very encouraging to see that it is possible to eat healthily on a budget. The food/household budget for my family of 3 is $70/week (we have a $30/week cushion but try not to use it). This is for groceries and all household supplie (toilet paper, soap, etc). I try to make most things from scratch and use only real foods. I have been doing this for some time. I have not delved into the organic foods as such yet… We live in rural Minnesota and therefore some things are harder to find–asure standard doesn’t deliver in our area, but I’m not giving up! I’ve found good local sources of raw honey, organic raw sugar, coconut oil and I can get raw goat milk for $4/gallon — what are your thoughts on goat milk? Still looking for more variety in our flours/grains especially to purchase in bulk — we go through 5 pound of flour a week and 3-4 pounds of oatmeal! WE eat meat free for breakfast and lunch every day and meet free supper a couple times a week. We tried your Sloppy Lentils recipe last night and it was a hit (even with my husband who is not a big fan of lentils)!

    I have found that the dough setting on our bread machine is a huge time saver — I can put all the ingredients in and push a button, then when it beeps just shape into loaves and put in pans to rise and bake. Actual hands on time is about 5 minutes — great with a toddler running around!

    Thanks for all your great advice!

    • Jodie November 13, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

      We have a share of goat milk giving us a gallon a week and we pay $10 a gallon. It is actually better for us than cow milk but some people don’t like it. My kids and I all use it but only two of mine drink milk plain. My husband can’t stand it though. I would say go for it if it is that cheap. I would do 3 gallons a week at that price:) The other down side is that goat milk is naturally homogenized so you can’t make butter from it.

    • Tami November 14, 2009 at 11:04 am #

      I’m looking at purchasing from Azure Standard for the first time and it appears they deliver via UPS to anywhere in the US. Am I wrong? Have you checked into that? Or does UPS not deliver where you are?

      If they don’t, I’ll be heartbroken, because I’m finding I can do much of my non-perishable shopping on there and have it shipped straight to my door. In my opinion, that’s worth it (as long as shipping is reasonable), as then I can carefully calculate what I’m spending, rather than going to the store and a few “extra” items make their way into the basket. ;) (Just got back from the store and yep, a few too many extras came home. Whole family went and that’s a huge no-no, if you know what I mean. Haha!)

      • Jennifer November 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

        Azure delivers to many cities at monthly drop points (no shipping). Just give Azure a call and see if there is a drop point location in your area and who the contact is.

        Hope you have one in your town!

        • Tami November 15, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

          Thank you, Jennifer, for mentioning that! I doubled checked their policy and found the specifics. I am definitely not within driving distance of a drop off point. I’m on the opposite side of the country. ;) UPS is cheaper and faster. Hehe. But it does say they ship USPS if your area does not have a UPS route, so I’d think Beth would still be able to purchase from them.

          For anyone interested in Azure Standard’s specific policy on shipping, drop off points, ect…, here is the link:


          Hope that helps someone else! :)

  91. Brittany November 13, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    Wow… I have to give you credit! We currently are on a military salary and have just the two of us (baby on the way though) and we spend about $400/month on food as well. For the two of us, this is fine — except I don’t buy snacks, pop, alcohol or anything that isn’t an ingredient for a meal.

    What kind of meals do you make? I typically make a lot of things from scratch (though not condiments since we don’t go through them much)… and am wondering why our $400 seems to just cover us 2, and your $400 covers a family!

  92. Melissa D. SC November 13, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    it is possible to stick to a budget and I love that you posted this topic!! We are a family of 6…2 adults, and the children, 7,5,3,1 and one on the way. We our working on getting out of debt and we have $100.00 a week for all expenses for groceries , paper goods and toiletries. I cook from scratch and am always looking for ways to improve. I make my menues out before going to the store. Where we live there is an Aldi’s and I have a spreadsheet that I made up that I would share with anyone, just email me through my blog…..it has all the items that we might use and then some with the prices. Prior to going I check off the quantity I need and the price is there and it calculates how much I am spending. We pay cash for everything no credit or debit cards and this way when the money is gone from the envelope that is all there is to spend, no going over my budget. My daughter being the oldest, is learning to help cook the meals as well as the snacks…we cut out convenience foods and cook wholesome food, it is possible to do!!

    • Shannon Hazleton November 13, 2009 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks, Melissa.
      It’s encouraging to hear that someone else, trying to get out of debt, can eat well on $100 a week. We have 2 kids and one on the way, so I know if someone with 4 and 1 on the way can do it – so can we!

  93. Jenell Martin November 13, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    Fantastic post !

  94. alexis November 13, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    This is a really good post, Lindsay! We have a $400 monthly grocery budget as well. It seems to be working really well for us, but I am expecting my third son any day now, so I am expecting to sit down with my husband and discuss making some adjustments. My 10 month old son, like your Titus, eats his fair share too! One thing I want to budget in as soon as we can find it is raw milk…as of now, we haven’t been able to find a good source. However, we are pretty lucky, as the going rate here is only about $4 per gallon. Thanks, also, for the link to Dave’s Killer Bread…I am not able to make much of my own bread right now in this season of my life either!

  95. Katie November 13, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    When I saw this I was discouraged “Other expenses that we chose to eliminate: we own no television, no magazine subscriptions, own one vehicle, eat out less, etc. I have found that if you have the vision and passion to eat naturally, you can make it work!”

    Because we’ve already cut those corners — the only corners left to cut are internet & phone.

    However, then I saw that you only spend $400/month, and I was very encouraged! I have 1 adult and 3 kids, and I spend about the same, or more. So I could do it too!

  96. Jessica Telian November 13, 2009 at 7:48 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this…it was very encouraging to me! As a new wife, I often get discouraged reading the I-spend-$40-a-week-on-my-family’s-food posts since that’s really not possible if you want to eat “real food” (and live in CA, as we do). And I’m finally coming to terms with that, but it was still very encouraging to read a post on a food budget that’s much more similar to our own. So thank you again…and YAY for Trader Joe’s! :)

    • Tiffany November 13, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

      I second the “YAY for Trader Joe’s”! It makes shopping on a budget much easier. The alternative is going to Whole Foods and then blowing your budget.

  97. Jennifer November 13, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this! It is so helpful to me :-) I spend about $250 a month buying food for my husband and I. I think that is a reasonable amount considering that my husband is working and I am a full-time student, so time is a valuable commodity. I know we can do better in many areas, so I find all your whole foods posts very helpful. Baby steps is the key!

  98. Jill November 13, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    Thank you for posting this. It’s very helpful.

    I see you buy your coconut oil from Mountain Rose Herbs. I looked at the site, and I’m confused as to which coconut oil to buy for cooking & baking. There’s refined organic and virgin unrefined organic, expeller pressed, cold pressed… I don’t know which to buy. I want to use it for cooking and baking, and don’t want a really strong coconut flavor added to our foods. Which one would be best? Are both the refined and unrefined suitable for cooking/baking? Thanks for the help!

    • Lindsay November 13, 2009 at 7:50 am #

      Extra virgin unrefined coconut oil is what I purchase. It is most ideal for cooking because it has a highly level of nutrients, as some are lost through the refining process. On their website they recommend the refined for exterior use on your body and the unrefined for cooking. I have never had a problem with it adding a try flavor to our foods. You can use refined for cooking, it is just not ideal.

      • ~M November 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

        Hi Lindsay,

        Besides the extra virgin unrefined cold-pressed coconut oil, what else do you buy from Mountain Rose Herbs? I would like to place an order soon and am trying to distribute the shipping costs over as many items (that are good deals!) as possible. Any other tips regarding ordering from MRH are appreciated! Thanks!

        • Lindsay November 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

          MRH has wonderful loose leaf teas that we love (Women Balancing has been a particular blessing lately!). I also love their bath salts, herbs, and essential oils. I also buy shea butter from them.

  99. Katie Carter November 13, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    For the past couple years I have been trying to change our eating and buying habits. My monthly food budget is $450 for a family of 5 with 3 boys (7, 5, 2.5). This is what I use just for our food I shop every 2 weeks and most of it is done at Costco with a monthly order from Azure Standard. I use Azure Standard monthly for grains, sweeteners, produce sometimes, etc. Costco had a pretty good variety of natural and organic items. I get organic carrots, organic spinach, organic apples, organic butter, organic eggs and a variety of other non-organic items there. I live in an area abundant with wild blueberries and blackberries so I try to freeze what I can in the summer. This summer I was also given a bunch of peaches that I canned, froze, and dried. I had a garden this summer, but it was fairly small and I don’t have extra veggies canned away or frozen this year.

    We have not been able to afford switching over completely to raw milk as we use at least 7 gallons every two weeks and the price is now at $10/gallon for raw. I purchase whole chickens from costco, but our other meat is all game meat (the Lord blessed us with a large buck this fall again). We will hopefully have Elk meat in the freezer in the next few months as well. We use the game meat for stew meat, ground, sausage, roasts, etc. I know some may find it difficult to think about eating game meat, it is such a blessing for our family with 3 growing and eating boys. When we are out of game meat, as we were early in the summer, I bought all natural ground turkey (in frozen 1 lb. chubs) from Costco, thankfully I no longer have to make that purchase every 2 weeks!

    • Colleen November 13, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

      My husband and I just butchered this season’s elk and our freezer is full! I feel so blessed to serve what I consider to be “organic, free-range” meat, without the cost. Although my hubby tells me not to count his hours in the woods, the gas, the gear, or his “hunting” food into the budget, or I will begin to question whether his hobby is really saving us money. :) I’m glad to see another mama who uses wild game in her kitchen on this site.

      • Katie November 14, 2009 at 7:40 am #

        My boys love that we are eating something that their daddy was able to provide directly for us. I think my hubby likes the opportunity to have his hobby be valuable to the family as well! Congratulations on the Elk…I am praying we will have Elk come January as well.

  100. Deborah November 13, 2009 at 6:30 am #

    Thank you so much Lindsay. I know a budget is very personal. Sharing yours has inspired me to dive in and just do it. I know if you can so can I. My budget is $600 a month for our family of 3 and that includes gas and dog food.
    I knew right away what one of my biggest problems was when you wrote that you go to the grocery store once a month. I drive by my grocery store nearly everyday so I go about every other day. I will go in for a few things and half of what I come out with is not on my list. I need to be more serious about meal planning. That should keep my out of the store.
    Another thing that must go is cereal. I buy organic granola type cereal in tiny boxes and it is expensive.
    I bought the book Real Food. Thanks so much for posting about it. I am going to copy your list. Thankfully I have a Trader Joe’s nearby also.
    You are such an inspiration to me. It’s nice to be challenged as a homemaker. Sometimes I go on auto-pilot and that is when I become less passionate and bored. This will be a challenge. It’s not just about money, this takes extreme organization.

  101. Amanda November 13, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    Seriously, thank you so much for posting this. I had a very serious health scare this week with a CT scan and so on and so forth. Based on the symptoms I was experiencing, what might have been was something that very probably would have killed me within a few months, and if it were that, it could have been prevented with a more conscious approach to eating and living.

    That said, the night between the call that my doctor needed to see me face-to-face to go over my test results and the actual consultation, I committed to be more thoughtful, more responsible — bargaining, perhaps? However, the thought of switching from the lazy, easy, highly-processed, common American diet to something slower and more considerate is nearly as overwhelming as the threat of death.

    I went to bed last night thankful to a merciful God that this pain that has been plaguing me is not a plague that will kill me. Still, I was overcome by the thought of a major diet overhaul. Your post, though, gives me a launching point. What may have just seemed to you to be blog content, something to fill a page, is to me a lifeline. Thank you, THANK YOU for posting.

  102. Jill November 13, 2009 at 5:51 am #

    Thanks for sharing. This is really helpful. My hubby and I have been talking about revisiting our food budget since we are spending more money on whole foods now.

  103. tarena November 13, 2009 at 5:49 am #

    This is great! I am just posting about what we eat and was going to list what we buy also, so it will be great to be able to link people here too so they can see what others do!
    Have a great day!

  104. Jennifer November 13, 2009 at 5:04 am #

    Great post! I’m linking to it on Monday, Nov. 16!

  105. Jessica November 13, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    I’ve been thinking of asking you about what your food budget looks like, especially after I saw a jar of coconut oil for $20. I’d really like to go to more “real foods,” but right now with my husband in seminary our budget can’t afford it.

    We have $160 month budgeted for groceries (or $40 a week if there’s 5 weeks in the month) for our family of three. I plan my menus, so I always know exactly what I need to get. We eat a mostly vegetarian diet with meat a few times a month depending if I can get it on sale. I cook pretty much everything from scratch.

    We have a lot of beans, rice, veggies/fruits, potatoes, and soups lately. About the only canned products you’ll find in our pantry are tomatoes (diced, stewed, paste, & sauce), partly because the price of tomatoes are going up as the weather gets cooler (we live in Kentucky) and with an active toddler who always wants to be in the kitchen it’s easier than cutting them myself. I’d really like to learn how to make my own tomato sauce and paste, but I think time is my biggest hindrance right now.

    We moved from San Diego this summer, so I’ve had to get used to the higher prices and smaller selection of produce. So, I’ve been cooking with more seasonal vegetables.

    I’d really like to buy more organic, especially with our dairy products. I think it’ll just have to happen little by little and making more from scratch. I’d love to learn how to can and preserve. We live in an apartment, but our complex has a garden where we can rent a plot and we’re planning to do that in the spring.

    Thanks for all information. I even checked out a copy of In Defense of Food and it’s pretty interesting. It’s definitely good to be more mindful of what we eat and whether it’s real or not, which sounds funny…food that’s not really food. Anyway. :)

    • jessica November 13, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

      i’d say you’re doing REALLY GOOD!! I spend that much per week, for a family of 5 (3 toddlers) but still… you must work really hard to stay in that budget! I would also say though that if you REALLY want to go more organic, you could try praying about it and see how God might provide…not that you have to, but you might be suprised…

  106. Alene November 13, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    Thank you so much for this. I currently work full-time. My husband stays home with our 15-month-old son during the day and teaches at a local college part-time in the evenings. I pray daily (if not hourly) for the day I can be home full-time caring for my family and home. Given my schedule, I am not able to make as much from scratch as I would like to but then I get so confused (even at TJs) which packaged foods are ok. For some reason I picture you making everything………even hot dogs and cold cuts :) !!!

    I have 3 questions.

    Which shampoo do you buy from TJs? I recently started playing around with some shampoo recipes from your website because I was developing terrible itching and dandruff. My mother developed terribly sensitive skin after having me, so I assume maybe I’m having the same issue. Using the homemade, I’m noticing a drastic improvement.

    Where do you get your Dr Bonner’s? Is TJ’s price competitive?

    Do you use mason jars to freeze everything such as the fruit and cheese?

    Thank you for your blog. You are such a blessing.

    • Lindsay November 13, 2009 at 7:54 am #

      TJ’s can definitely be a little tricky with the packaged convenience foods. They are all free from preservatives, but often have refined ingredients. I use the Nourish Shampoo from TJ’s. My husband likes a real shampoo over my homemade varieties, and it was cheaper in the long run, so we are using that right now. But I also don’t buy conditioner, so that cuts costs there. If the homemade works for you, stick with it! I currently don’t buy Dr. Bronner soap, but TJ definitely has the best price, although they only carry the peppermint variety. No, I use ziplocs for freezing my fruit and cheese, because I don’t have enough freezer space to use all glass jars for these purposes. Ziplocs lay nice and flat and stack well. Hope that helps!