Real Food on a Tight Budget: Week 3

by lydia on November 2, 2012

Are you working with a tight food budget, but still want to eat healthy real food? It can be done – follow along as I share how I am making it work on a tight budget of $600 per month for a family of 5.


Did my shopping for the week – hit 3 stores and spent $99.97.

Dinner: Leftovers!

Food Prep: Finished making both chicken and beef stock for soups to sell locally – finished making 2 large batches of soup; beef vegetable and chicken florentine.



Breakfast:Pancakes, scrambled eggs & bacon ends.

Lunch:Random odds and ends for all – boys left right at lunch.

Dinner:Beef vegetable soup for me!

Food Prep: Started a batch of water kefir



Breakfast: Eggs and sauteed mushrooms for me

Lunch: Boys had roast beef tortilla sandwiches with mustard, carrots and hummus on the side

Dinner: Tandoori Chicken Legs, Roasted Cauliflower, carrots & celery with hummus, pomegranate white iced tea, and pumpkin chocolate swirl brownies

Food Prep:Started a batch of kefir cream



Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Paleo Bread toast (boys were home from school due to hurricane Sandy)

Lunch:Beef Vegetable Soup with rice shell pasta and grated parm

Dinner: Millet cakes from leftover millet pilaf, topped with leftover chicken and leftover gravy. (This was ridiculously good – I will make this again! My teenager LOVED it!)

Food Prep: none- was too busy getting ready for the hurricane, other than strain the grains out of the kefir cream, second ferment it for a bit and put it away in the fridge.



Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins from the freezer, thawed overnight, fruit and granola

Lunch: Roast beef tortilla sandwiches, carrots, celery and applesauce

Dinner: Random leftovers (2 chicken legs, some roasted cauliflower, soup, 1 millet cake with chicken and gravy)

Food Prep: Bottled up water kefir and beet kvass. Since the boys were home for 2 days, they ended up eating more than I had planned for, so I had to run out and buy more roast beef for their lunch sandwiches. $8 more spent, not bad considering.


Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and Paleo Bread Toast. My oldest had a glass of raw milk and a pumpkin muffin. The original plan was a Pear Clafouti – which I made up and no one liked, except for me. Ah, well.

Lunch: The boys had roast beef tortilla sandwiches, clementines and pumpkin muffins.

Dinner: Just me – so I whipped up some Creamy Thai Spiced Butter Cup Squash Soup – oh yum! I may have to share that recipe soon!

Food Prep: I don’t think I did any!



Breakfast: Paleo Bread toast and homemade hot chocolate – not the best breakfast in the world, but it was something. Kids did NOT want eggs again. My oldest had two pumpkin muffins, 2 clementines and a glass of milk. I had 1 pumpkin muffin toasted with butter, a cup of tea and a bowl of my Creamy Thai Spiced Squash soup.

Lunch: Roast beef tortilla sandwiches, clementines and the last pumpkin muffins for the boys.

Dinner: I had planned Anticuchos (Grilled Peruvian Beef Heart) with soaked quinoa pilaf and sauteed onions and peppers, BUT didn’t get the heart out in time to thaw fully. Thankfully, I had some canned salmon on hand – so Salmon Cakes, sauteed green beans and steamed broccoli instead.

Food Prep: Start a new batch of sauerkraut. Make ranch dip out of the kefir cream.


Friday – Shopping Day!

My goal to include sprouts didn’t happen this week – I spent 3 days fully consumed with hurricane Sandy. I’m still finding lunches tough and my kids are sick of eggs for breakfast, yet they prefer and do best with protein at breakfast. I will have to tweak my upcoming week to do better at both. This coming week I am budgeting $125. The past three weeks were tighter because I spent a bunch of my monthly allotment the first week of the month, partly because I had to purchase food for a scout trip and snacks to send to school to keep on hand. I have realized that working with a tighter budget means I can’t buy much in bulk up front. So this month, I’ll spend $125 per week making my monthly food bill $600. I plan to use $10-12 per week to stock up my emergency food storage, and work harder to pull from the food I have in the freezer. Here goes again! Stay tuned – I’ll post the next two weeks on my food budget and take a break through the holidays – I’ll touch base again in January with an update.


Rachel November 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Very resourceful! I have a family of 6 and I think we spend about $800 or more per month on food. I live in Canada and we buy raw milk for $5/2L here (we typically get 4L/week). We buy beef and cow in the half and belong to a CSA from June-Nov. Winter’s are especially tough produce wise. I won’t sacrifice my diet for more money. It’s our biggest expense next to housing costs.

Rachel November 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Oops, I meant beef and pork 😉

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