Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

How Does Your Real Food Budget Grow?

April 19th, 2011 · 63 Comments · Frugality, KS lifestyle

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When I first started blogging, I read a post at Faith and Family Live that asked readers to share what they spent on food in a week. The comments were hopping, some with frustrations that they spent so much, some annoyed that the author asked them to compare to others in a faith-based situation, and many simply sharing their food budgets. (photo source)

Amy at Finer Things wrote a response that hit the nail on the head: “What we spend on groceries compared to others is irrelevant.” Her post is called Grocery Stewardship, of course a perfect title, and brings an important and sensible perspective to the sharing of grocery budgets. Although we can learn from what others spend, because of differences in location, family size, eating habits, resources, choices, dietary needs, ETC., it’s not really fair to compare bottom lines.

I am going to share my grocery budget today, just because I’m fascinated by how we’ve changed our habits and choices over the past three years. I hope I can give you some insight into how real food may or may not change your budget, and some hope that you CAN eat well, spend less – without going into debt.

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I really do keep track of every penny, practically, and it’s really coming in handy to evaluate how we’ve spent money on food in the last three years.

2008 Total food expenditures: $3818.96

That’s $318/month or about $73/week for a family of two adults and a three-year-old. Our lifestyle at the time included some make-from-scratch foods but also a great deal of sale shopping and couponing. We ate whole grain breads, but I was already making homemade yogurt, for example.

We also had a baby that summer, which meant that people brought us dinner three times/week for about two months (my network here is an amazing blessing), which probably reduced the budget a bit overall.

Category Breakdown:

  • bread store: 9 trips, $40.19
  • Farmer’s Market: 15 trips, $207 ($14/visit)
  • U-pick fruits: $72.85 (plus I’m certain we picked blueberries, but I didn’t mark them as such. Probably $10-20 more.)
  • no raw milk, what’s a health foods store?
2009 Total food expenditures: $4178.95

I see I actually added $150 to the food budget from the tax refund, $50 from a credit card rebate, and $60 that I made selling stuff at a friend’s garage sale. That was how important buying good food was becoming for me…

This year comes out to about $350/month or $80/week for a family of two adults, a four-year-old, and an emerging eater from 6-18 months.

We started getting a gallon of raw milk and a dozen eggs each week in February of this year, and every week that went by, I was making new changes, from making more of my own bread to switching to meat from the farm (starting in May). You can see a little about where I buy my meat at my local resources page and more on Country Life bulk orders at today’s other post on making use of local food sources. My bulk oil source is here.

Category Breakdown:

  • health food store: 9 trips, $206
  • bread store: 9 trips, $22.99
  • Farmer’s Market: 20 trips, almost $500 ($25/visit)
  • U-pick fruits: $110.10
  • about $370 on raw milk and pastured eggs, plus additional eggs in the Farmer’s Market category
  • cheese and butter: $35 6.5
  • Country Life bulk orders: $35.95
  • Quality meat: $215.69
  • Oils: $111.50

I’m excited to see that I could shift the budget around, increase my Farmer’s Market attendance by more than double, start buying (some) more expensive meat, AND add an eater with very little difference in the monthly output. Making more and more from scratch certainly helped a lot!

2010 Total food: $5730.25

Yikes! That’s up to $477/month now and $110/week for a family of two adults, a growing five-year-old boy, and a two-year-old girl who is always hungry and loves nuts best of all. Winking smile On the one hand, I was shocked to see the increase in the monthly total, but on the other hand, I have excuses.

The Farmer’s Market trips often include meat and eggs, not just vegetables, but those prices also stocked my freezer with peppers and my shelves with tomatoes that we’re still eating.

Category Breakdown:

  • health food store: 9 trips, $293
  • bread store: making my own now
  • Farmer’s Market: 27 trips, $734.95 ($27/visit)
  • U-pick fruits: $164.10, missing one strawberry picking, +$47.25 in frozen cherries
  • raw milk and pastured eggs: $483
  • cheese and butter, additional eggs: $179.75
  • Country Life: $228.10
  • Quality meat: $594.93
  • Oils: $262

My excuses for the vast increase include:

Stocking up:

I had 2 gallons of coconut oil stocked up plus about 30 pounds of bulk grains available at the end of the year, and we bought 1/16 of a cow in December, much of which we still have remaining (except the ground beef, which I’ve had to buy at least 15 pounds more of since then).

Running a blog:

I’ve been paying more for quality ingredients or weird ingredients so that I can test things for this site. Some of that I can deduct as a business expense, but I still left it in the food budget to be realistic.

A growing family:

I’m sure we eat more, especially snacks like nuts and dried fruit, than in past years. The kids are just getting bigger, and that’s normal.

A changing economy:

One can’t deny that prices have increased, on everything from beans to milk to grains. Some of that can’t be helped.

Relaxing my frugality:

We made the conscious choice as a family to seek more organic foods (but certainly not all!) and buy what we needed rather than worry so much about finances. Job changes enabled us to do that, but not everyone can relax so much. I also kind of slacked on my receipt-entering for the entire year, to the tune of a full basket of receipts greeting me for tax time this spring! My computer time that used to split among many tasks is now taken up by social media…

I also ran out of energy to shop some deals and clip the few remaining coupons I could, so sometimes I’d just grin and bear it when I had to buy something for more than I usually would.

Going grain-free for two months in the fall:

What’s the cost of going grain-free? As you might imagine, more meat, eggs and cheese makes a significant difference. Check out these comparisons:

  • 9/15/10 –> 11/15/10 = $1,199.48 (includes apple picking and a Country Life order – still!)
  • Compare to 2/15/10 –> 4/15/10, spanning Lent = $937.51
  • Compare to 6/16/10 –> 8/15/10, with summer camping, fruit picking, $100 oil order = $984.94
  • Jan to March, $700
  • April to June, nothing special going on: $890
  • Nov/Dec including Christmas and Thanksgiving hospitality, $958

Looks to me like a grain-free lifestyle could potentially add $100/month to the food budget. Has anyone else found this to be true?

Many foodie experts say that the percentage of a family’s budget spent on food in America these days is about 7%, whereas 50 years ago it was more like 20-30% (that’s from memory, sorry no source). Food was more important then, and if you really care about your family’s health, perhaps making it more of a priority in your budget is the way to do that.

There, see, I’ve rationalized it all away and now have successfully prioritized food and health as I should! Voila!

Some other tips for controlling the grocery budget at my friend Donielle’s new site, Natural Living Moms. Check out the great community she has started there!

Be sure to check out today’s other Eat Well, Spend Less post, if you still believe I’m a frugal grocery shopper, for tips on how to make the most of your location with your food budget.

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63 Comments so far ↓

  • Rebekah

    Our “food and consumables” budget is $450 a month. Yes, just for the two of us! But that includes all vitamins and supplements, which is a pretty hefty chunk of change right now, because I’m dealing with some health issues and medicine isn’t cheap, not even natural medicine. And it includes anything like paper towels, dishwasher detergent, shampoo, etc.

    I’m not sure what that breaks down to percentage-wise, but we agreed at the beginning of our marriage that quality food was worth the money. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of good protein. It adds up. We also exercise hospitality pretty regularly and take meals to families in need.

    Not that I’m trying to justify it (I don’t feel guilty about how much we spend) but sometimes, when you hear about other people’s budgets, it is helpful to know where that money’s going. :)

  • sara

    great post! Two+ years ago I was a coupon ‘queen’, and we ate pure junk at home, along with many fast food trips each week-our grocery budget was $100 a week. Then we redid our budget in the fall of 2009, and the eating out stopped, and our grocery budget got slashed to $50 a week. Soon after that I started looking more into the food we ate and last summer I really started looking at our diets. Fast forward to today, and our budget is $100 a week, and we eat mostly organic, whole foods :) I also just started buying our meat, eggs, and cheese from Grassfield farm, and hope to shop mostly local this summer. I’d also like to look into buying part of pig, and maybe a part of beef later this year-if we do this then it will come out of our general budget, and not from grocery money.

    Katie Reply:

    Sara,
    I have to recommend Karin @wbdairy and Woodbridge Farms. Find her at the Fulton Farmer’s Market…prices are less than Grassfield’s and her eggs are the BEST I’ve ever had. ;) Katie

    Lori H. Reply:

    I second that. Karin lives right down the road from me and it’s fun to visit and see the happy animals :) We bought beef and pork from her and it’s fantastic. And the eggs??? Simply beautiful – shockingly orange yolk, amazing flavor. The yolks look like ping pong balls when you crack them in a pan!

    Katie Reply:

    Lori,
    Yep! The sausage this week = amazing. Hers are my absolute favorite eggs, to the point where I have other, really good, well-raised eggs, and they just don’t live up. ;) Katie

  • Donielle @ Natural Living Moms

    Going grain free or about 80% grain free as we are now, definitely increased our grocery budget about $100.00 per month. Although we also have growing children so it’s hard to compare – this time last year we had a 3 and 1 year old. Now with my daughter at 2, she’s definitely eating more! I’m hopeful for this growing season though, a larger garden means a reduced shopping trip to the farmer’s market. Which should allow us to save money to put towards larger bulk purchases on staple foods and meats. And hopefully we’ll see enough of a harvest to store for next winter.

    {and here I thought I was detailed when it came to our budget!}

  • Local Nourishment

    When we switched to a real food lifestyle, I’ll be perfectly honest, our food purchases went from 14% of our budget to 29%. We now spend almost as much on food as we do our mortgage.

    Our medical expenses are way down, even though we no longer have insurance. This makes up for a pretty large chunk of the increase. We also feel better and I’ve stopped having nightmares about heart attacks and diabetes coming to kill us in our sleep.

    It’s been a difficult transition for the family’s CFO (me) but I think we’re better off.

  • Amy @ Finer Things

    Thanks for getting real, Katie. It truly is helpful to see the details.

    Thanks also for the link! I had completely forgotten about that post… nearly two years later. :)

    Katie Reply:

    Amy,
    My memory is a steel trap…except for things that are actually important… ;) Katie

  • Andrea @ The Greenbacks Gal

    That’s just about what I spend/week for my family of four. I would argue its worth every single penny to feed them fresh, quality ingredients.

  • Alexis

    I’m surprised by how low your budget is! Good work! We moved to the East coast 3 years ago from MI and I can’t seem to get my budget down again! Everything costs more (ex. milk in normal grocery stores runs nearly $4/gal.). Our big costs are milk and cheese, I think. We aren’t big meat eaters so we rely a lot on dairy. The only things that I do organic are eggs, potatoes and carrots and peanut butter. They are cheap anyway so doubling the price is no big deal. For my family of two adults and 4 children (ages 6-1.5) I am struggling to keep our grocery budget (and tp, paper towels, vitamins, etc.) under $500/mnth. It’s usually closer to $600. My six year old actually eats like a real person now…it makes me nervous about keeping them all fed in the future! Bigger kids make a HUGE difference. I just shared my price comparison of Costco and Aldis on my blog (link at the bottom) . It seems in keeping with the topic :). Thanks for all the info! We might make more changes towards better food if we can really keep the budget around the same. For me that is the biggest issue – there isn’t wiggle room in our lifestyle. It’s already pretty simple (one income, one car, homeschooling, no eating out, a LOT made from scratch, no vacations, waiting years to do projects on the house to save up, etc). So switching more to real foods just doesn’t seem like a viable option. Such is the life of a theology professor’s wife though! I knew what I was signing up for and I’m very happy with it. We do a pretty decent garden in the summer and I do a lot of preserving so maybe we’re doing better then I though. Thanks again for your work here.
    http://catholiclovelife.blogspot.com/2011/04/costo-vs-aldis-in-which-i-am-nerdy-and.html

    Katie Reply:

    Alexis,
    You bet 4 kids cost more than 2! ;) Sounds like you’re very on top of what you’re doing, too. There are always a few simple changes that won’t increase the budget much, although I’m guessing you eat mostly whole foods anyway, so no need to stress about it. God bless you! :) Katie

  • Shannon

    we have also noticed in increase in our grocery output since going grain free, as well as an increase in our vitality;)!! thanks for affirming this for me. food is preventative and healing, so i think of it as money in the bank (so to speak) down the road!

  • Becky

    I spend about $400 a month on food for myself and my two boys (ages 13 and 7.) This includes vinegar and baking soda to clean with.
    I try to buy all organic produce, as well as organic beef (which we do not eat that often.) I make our bread from scratch as well as many other items.
    We do not buy any food with artificial dyes or high fructose corn syrup. I also do not use white flour (I buy and grind my own.)

  • Joke

    Kate I love seeing your food budget! I love tracking my budget but haven’t categorized my food spendings to such an extent. Since I still have virtually all my bills maybe I should do that! It would be interesting to see the evolution.
    I wanted to comment on the “how much of a family’s budget is spent on food” stat though. While it is true that the percentage of the budget currently spent on food is devastatingly low, comparing to 50 years ago might not be realistic. I think we most not forget that the US has increasingly become wealthier, thus incomes have gone up and more money is left for luxuries. I am sure that in the developing world food is the number one expense for many families, however I don’t think they can take health into consideration, only survival. Of course that’s not how it was in the US in the fifties or sixties, but I’m just saying numbers can be interpreted in many different ways :)

    Katie Reply:

    You are totally right, numbers can always be manipulated or viewed to suit one’s purposes! I guess if you want to eat real food, you have to cut down on the luxuries to make room for the food. :) Katie

    Joke Reply:

    Exactly, it’s a matter of priorities :)
    Buying proper food is an investment in happiness and health, which is more fun to pay for than medical bills!

  • Amy W

    The closer to real food eating our family has gotten, the higher our budget has skyrocketed! It has easily tripled. For our family of two adults and two small children, we spend 20% on food/sundries. We do, however, spend a fortune on raw milk ($9-11/gallon), even though we try to meter it out to 4 gallons a month. Thankfully, we have access to Azure Standard and also a large garden. Chickens are next! We’ve been blessed to have an expanding income to buffet the cost, and as our real food eating has increased, our doc bills have decreased!

    Katie Reply:

    Amy,
    My husband will feel better about our 25% increase, which made him raise his eyebrows quite a bit, when I tell him about your tripling! I hope you don’t mind being my scapegoat… ;) It is an awfully tricky balance, but I think I’d rather buy real food and forego new clothes, or something, to make room in the budget. Thanks for sharing! :) Katie

  • Julie

    Switching to grain free added a LOT to our monthly food costs!

  • Katie

    I’m vegetarian, so that helps a ton with our food budget (my husband does eat meat occasionally–but maybe once a month?) and entertain a few times a month.

    We spend about $40 a week on groceries for the two of us.

    But, it’s true that location makes a huge difference…we’re currently living in South Africa and I know it would be MUCH more difficult living in the States again–we just don’t have as many choices here. And prepared foods are seriously expensive here ($6+ for a cake mix…), so we’re forced to make things from scratch which saves money.

    We also eat mostly real food–partially because food doesn’t have the same preservatives. You can’t even buy corn syrup here–so even soda is made with real sugar (it’s much more expensive, about $1 a can even buying in bulk…).

    Produce is less here, but things like milk are much more (I just did the math and I think it’s about $7.50 for a gallon of regular milk…).

    Katie Reply:

    Katie,
    How interesting to note the differences in other countries! I love that you can hardly buy processed foods – I wonder if Dr. Price’s theories hold true, that people who live there suffer less from the diseases of civilization (heart disease, diabetes, etc). Thanks for the insight! :) Katie

  • Brittany

    I try to keep to 100 a week for my small family of two, although I often go over 5 or 10 bucks if something good is on sale. There have been a couple times we’ve been broke until payday though, and I’ve been able to easily stretch us another week or two, so going 2-3 weeks between shopping trips. I usually have enough on hand to do that, possibly even longer. I’m pretty sure I could bring it down cost wise, but with me just having gotten a job (at a local and organic grocery none the less) and almost doubling our household income its not an issue until we are ready to have kids. By that point I hope to have this whole real food/canning/gardening etc. stuff down to a science!

    Katie Reply:

    Brittany,
    I love that the buying in bulk and stocking up a bit makes it so that I don’t HAVE to go to the store if I don’t want to, as long as we go w/o salads! Sounds like you’re totally on the right track – :) Katie

  • bobcat

    Looks to me like you are doing a great job! Rock on. It is a lot of work, so you definitely deserve a congrats for all the hard work that goes into eating real, wholesome foods, and keeping it within a decent budget.

    I’m guessing you all don’t eat out or do ready-made foods (like something from Whole Foods that is made for consumption, “to go”) much at all? Probably like once a month or less?

    Katie Reply:

    bobcat,
    Eating out is definitely infrequent, and more often when the in-laws are taking us out than our own dollar! We do grab a Little Caesar’s pizza from time to time, but I really don’t ever buy a ready-made freezer meal. Good question! I do categorize eating out as “entertainment” so it’s not part of this budget. Hope that’s not cheating! ;) Katie

  • Sea

    I recall hearing that percentage of money spent on food a month too. They have made ‘food’ so cheap that allowed people to then spend money on cheap products basically. We too were in debt years ago and ate junk, but have slowly increased our food budget and rather buy quality food than more ‘stuff’! Thanks for the great read!

    Katie Reply:

    Sea,
    I know, a friend and I were talking today about all the junk kids bring to school, and she mentioned that they didn’t eat mac&cheese when she was a kid b/c it was too expensive. She guessed it was about 50c 20 yrs ago and still 50c (and less) now. That’s how things have changed, for sure – making homemade can sometimes be more expensive than the processed stuff! –Katie

  • Allie

    Hi! I’m new. :) This post is so timely it’s kinda scary. Haha. I just finished (today!) writing up a “food plan” including a monthly grocery list, menu plans, etc. using only Nourishing Traditions recipes. I priced out all the food… mostly organic produce & grains, raw cheese & nuts, all the supplies for homemade cultured dairy products, grass fed & pastured meat, eggs, & dairy. Side note: Raw milk is $18-$22 a gallon where I live so I don’t even want to hear any complaints about people paying $10 or less a gallon! ;) Anyway, so the total was over $750 a month. My current budget, with no wiggle room at all, is $250. Sigh. Now I’m off to cut out as much meat as possible, skip the raw cheese & nuts & re-prioritize the organic stuff & see if that helps at all. I feel a little optimistic about it. A little. Your post has helped me think more about gradual changes & gave me a great picture of someone else’s budget, so thank you!

    And about the percentages spent on food, that’s from “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. I just looked up that quote the other day. For my family’s income (my hubby is a youth pastor & I am @ home with my babies, running our household) 20-30% would be much more practical for a Real Food/Nourishing Traditions grocery budget. We are more in the 7% range right now & it’s tough! 

    Thanks again for sharing, you’ve given me a lot to think about! 

    Katie Reply:

    Allie,
    Sorry I’m scaring you! Just remember, we were eating 80-90% NT “real food” in 2009, with hardly a change in the food budget. If I had to cut another $50/mo. immediately, I could, no problem. Less nuts and cheese helps! Good luck! :) Katie

  • Stacy

    This is great to read and makes me feel not so bad about our food budget- $250/month for the 2 of us. Its actually probably a bit more since that doesn’t include our monthly shipment of olive oil from Amazon, bulk orders of coconut oil and other intermittent purchases. But that’s with a husband in culinary school who likes to experiment! It also includes quite a bit of (non-organic) meat and seafood. I’ve almost totally given up couponing even for toothpaste and such since we’re trying to change those over to natural too. Our produce co-op (Bountiful Baskets) helps quite a bit since we get a huge basket of produce for $15 each week. It also helped when we switched to using cloth rags instead of paper towel- we were going through 2 rolls of paper towel every week! Now we just wash the rags. I mostly clean with white vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s so that isn’t that expensive. We are attempting an herb garden yet again this year and should have eggs soon from a friend who is raising chickens, so that will help too.

  • charis

    yeah, i have found that as my family size grew, i had a hard time realizing that amount i spend on food would grow too. eating real food is expensive in some ways, but really in others i find it saves money not to buy pre-packaged food. i would much rather see my kids reaching for an apple for snack instead of consuming an entire box of crackers! i love how you are real with the numbers. it actually helps to have an idea of what others spend… we don’t have as many deals out here in ca as it sounds like you do in michigan, but when we do i try to snatch them up! thanks for sharing.

    my most recent post: consumed

  • Mandi

    This is so fascinating to me. I’m the mom to 5 boys. My second oldest has Peidatric Bipolar, ADHD, and Tourette’s Syndrome. We began drastically changing our eating about 1 1/2 years ago as I became frustrated with pharmacological solutions. I try to keep our food costs at around $800/month but they tend to run more towards $900-$1000. It is by far my largest expense….this amount also includes diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, etc. I pay more for food that we do for shelter. We are in Ohio and thankfully have access to an Amish herdshare where I get raw milk, cheese, organic beef, pastured eggs, etc. I try to make a lot of things myself but there are some things that I just buy already made because of time contraints. (Organic sprouted bread, mayo, butter, crackers, etc.) I love the idea of stocking up on things as they go on sale but this can be very hard when I’m already at my limit with my budget each month. We did purchase a side of organic pastured beef from our Amish family when we received our tax refund. It came out to about $2.50/lb which was SOOOOO worth it. They normally charge $5/lb if you order items individually so we just couldn’t pass up on that. This summer I really want to freeze and can more because I think that really would help reduce the costs. These posts have been helpful because they definitely give me ideas for different things to look for or try.

    Katie Reply:

    Mandi,
    You are doing great things for your boys; keep up the good work! I hope you found some good budget denting ideas here. I know making your own brad can be time-consuming, but that would be a huge place to save if you get the rhythm down to make it possible for you. Best of luck – :) Katie

  • Eat Well & Spend Less in the US & Canada — Life As Mom

    [...] foods. She even did a cost analysis of how their new habits compare in price to their old ones. The results are interesting, especially as her family is growing in size this [...]

  • Emily

    Hello! My family just went grain, legume, and pasteurized dairy free for 35 days, a totally new thing for us. We loved it and are going to keep it up on a modified scale. I was really worried about the grocery budget while doing this… I found that we pretty much spent $100-$150/month more while doing this experiment (4 eaters here) just like you found while going grain-free, too. So, it is nice to know that may be somewhat normal. As long as our budget allows, we are going to keep it up because we like the way we feel! Thanks for all you share!

  • Katharine

    wow, I do not know how you guys are doing it. We spend way over 800 a month for family of 4. Ok we buy all organic and right now a lot on farmers market and u pick. But still. We are not going out, I cook from scratch, I do not make my own bread very often but everything else is done at home. I am breaking my head over how to cut our spending and I have no idea :(.

    Sam Reply:

    Don’t worry…I feel the same. I do think a lot depends on the area you live in as well and what’s available to you. We live in one of the most expensive states for cost of living and to eat healthy with a family of 5(and one on the way) is not cheap. My kids snack on fruit and veggies, not processed food. I do make my own bread, but that hasn’t been saving us all that much as we don’t eat a ton of bread anyways. I’m searching for ways to cut back as well but it’s hard. Just wanted you to know you are not alone.
    Plus I’ve decided that for us it’s worth our health to eat healthy rather than be paying for doctor’s visits.

    Katie Reply:

    Katharine,
    I totally don’t buy everything organic, so that helps for sure! I also include any eating out in the “entertainment” portion of our budget.

    Meat and cheese is a good culprit for cutting down on the budget. I would recommend reading my other posts in the series (http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/tag/eat-well-spend-less/) to get lots of little ideas and help you prioritize which ones will really cut the budget without taking all of your time. It can happen! (unless some of those 4 people are teenagers; then you’re done for) ;)

    Keep up the good work! :) Katie

  • Megan

    This post was so helpful for me! Im in a similar situation as one commenter above. My husband is in seminary and working full time in retail so I can stay home with our 7 mo. So our budget is stuck at about $200 which is close to that 20% mark. So this post has helped me come to terms with not being able to buy what I would really rather have. I know what we should be eating but this helps me to stop stressing out about it and just do what I can. Maybe this isn’t exactly what you were going for but I appreciate it nonetheless!

    Katie Reply:

    Megan,
    So glad I could encourage you! Did you catch the “When to splurge, settle and skip” post? That might help you prioritize, as will the 5 foods to save money. God bless your budget and great efforts! :) Katie

  • Therese - Artistta

    I’m impressed with how little people spend. I am trying to figure out how to get our food cost down to $100 a week, but haven’t been successful yet. It will get better as we head into warmer weather and there is actually local fresh produce to purchase (I live in MN). On the high end (during the winter) we’ll spend 800-900 a month. I do include coconut oil, cod liver oil, etc and the occasional meal out (although we try to rarely do that) . That is for a family of 4. Dairy adds the most cost for us. I purchase 3 gallons of milk per week, which I make kefir and yogurt from. I will also probably start making cheese again here soon. A gallon of fresh milk isn’t too bad at $6 a gallon (but our farmer just started milking their cows so we haven’t had fresh milk for the last couple of months), however if I purchase organic (non homogenized) milk at the store it’s closer to $10 a gallon. Every time I head out to our co-op I feel that prices our rising and by a condiderable amount. I’ve had major sticker shock at of late.

    I just started ordering from Azure Standard for some things and when it’s warm I purchase everything from local farmers, which can help, but it’s still expensive. We go through 4 dozen eggs a week at $3.50-$5.00 a dozen depending on who I can get them from. (Both my husband and I are big protein eaters. If I don’t have a decent amount of protein at breakfast I start to feel sick and off. I can handle it for a couple of days, but after that not so good.) We also do everything organic and I will only purchase grass-fed meat if I can. I am working on incorporating more bean style dishes into our menu to help save money and to make meat last longer. Also, running a food blog costs money as I test things out and at this point I don’t make anything with the blog, so that adds to our bill. Grains are definitely cheaper. I used to eat a ton of grains until I realized why I wasn’t feel well all the time. I’d be ready to throw up by the afternoon because I’d skip breakfast, drink a Jamba juice for lunch and then pasta or grains of some sort for dinner (along with veggies of course). It took me several years to figure out I was having issues with hypoglycemia. My son can be the same way. We do eat grains now, but I try to limit them to they aren’t in every meal, nor are they the main part of the meal. I also do sourdough items as much as I can, which my son and I both tolerate better.

    Very interesting to see what everyone has to say. It motivates me even more to try and figure out how to cut costs. We are trying to pay off the rest of our debt so we can purchase land, hopefully this summer, and start growing our own food. Currently we are rending a town home and it’s too big of an investment to try to grow much on our deck when we know we are planning to move. We’ve lived here for about 18 months after selling our home, so not quite long enough (for me anyways since I had a brand new baby last summer) to figure out how to grow food cheaply at our current place.

    Great post!

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  • ellen

    I am late to the game on this one, but I’ve found that along with meal planning and writing out detailed grocery lists, going to the store with a calculator in hand helps so much! I just start with my total budget for the week (75), and then subtract as each item gets added to the cart. If there’s anything left over, I can buy that dark chocolate! If it goes over, something gets taken out.

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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