Real Food on a Budget: Eating From The Pantry

by lydia on December 2, 2013

Are you someone who is trying to buy healthy real food items for your family while on a budget? Perhaps you are one of those people who say it’s too expensive to eat real food, including grass fed meats and raw milk. Either way, I’m here to share a series of posts with you to show you how I manage to feed my family of 5 healthy food on a budget all year long.


This week, we will be eating out of the pantry. This time last year, I found myself doing the very same thing. It’s always a tough transition financially into December each year. There are a lot of additional expenses, such as filling my oil tank, the pending Christmas holiday, 2 birthdays and last year my car died at this time.Thankfully, I work on building up my pantry and stockpile as I can year round, so that when the budget needs to tighten up I am prepared to manage it.

Part of the beauty of planning meticulously and counting pennies and working towards food storage is for times just like this. The times when the budget dips so low and you don’t have enough cash to do a full grocery shop, it really pays off. This year I worked really hard in the months that my finances were more ‘plush’ to build my pantry up. I consider it kind of like building a ‘food savings’.

I did spend a little bit of money on a few items for my son’s birthday cake and lettuce for our guinea pig this week. Other than that we will be eating from what I have on hand all week. Last year, I spent a couple months posting how my family eats on a budget. I shared my shopping trips and weekly meals, as well as shared thoughts and tips regarding eating real food on a budget. My goal in 2014 is to share two posts per month that revolve around real food on a budget. I will share with you how I plan to build my own stockpile and pantry throughout the year, so stay tuned for that. (See my list of posts below).

Currently, my budget is around $600 per month for my family of 5. I have 4 growing boys and I marvel at how much they can pack away. It seems like I am ALWAYS feeding someone (including my guinea pig who runs to my feet for lettuce every time I open up the fridge door. And yes, he is a ‘free range’ guinea pig). Some months I have a little more wiggle room and that is when I really work to stock up or purchase meat in bulk if I can.


One resource that I’ve used to help me in my quest to eat real food on a budget, as well as build my real food storage is,  ‘Real Food Storage: How to’s & Recipes‘. This eBook has been an invaluable resource for me, helping me to map out just what foods to stockpile as well as quantities for my family size. The recipes have been very helpful as well since they are all gluten free and include many dairy free recipes to work with as well. It was through this book that I learned how to make several gluten free sourdough baked goods for my kids in the fall-winter time. Be sure to check it out some time if you are in a similar boat as I am.

Real Food on a Budget Posts

Have you learned to work within a budget and still manage to consume healthy real food year round? I want to hear from you. What tips and tricks have you learned along the way? Please share in the comments.

Want more soup recipes? Winter Soups, a downloadable recipe eBook, is a collection of 52 nourishing soups from your favorite real food bloggers. Click on the banner below to learn more about ‘Winter Soups‘.



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Christy December 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm

$600 for a family of 5 with 4 boys? I definitely need to figure something out. I’m at $500 with a family of 4 and 2 of those are only 1 & 3! Can’t wait to learn some tricks to cut my budget down.

lydia December 4, 2013 at 7:22 am


There are times of the year when I can up my budget a bit – but this tends to be the average budget I’m working with. I’ve even done it on $400 a month before. It takes lots of planning to make it work – but it can be done!

Debra E December 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I know that you purchase part of a cow (and perhaps a pig?), so does the $600 per month include that meat or not?

lydia December 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Not likely – but I’m gonna teach you how I do it! 😉 Stay tuned…….

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