Paleo Family on a Budget: One Month Down

Last month was our first official month trying to stick to a $600 food budget. As it turns out, it wasn’t the best month to start with! We ended up traveling (kind of last minute) 3 straight weekends, which meant more eating on the run and/or buying different food that works better for road trips. So, the good news is: We came in under budget for grocery shopping! The bad news is that we spent more money on dining out than we had budgeted (we budget less than $40/month for dining out- no joke). Did we break even on our dining out and grocery budgets? Not really :(. As it turns out, we ended up spending an extra $100 on food in the month of December due to travel.

That said, when I did buy groceries, I was able to stick to my rules no problem. This is an evolving budget, and there are a few things I am thinking about as we go that could change some numbers for us. For example, my husband and I strongly prefer grassfed beef to poultry. I have some great chicken nugget recipes for my kids, which is nice since they don’t like red meat very much yet.

I can always get a good deal on chicken or pork, for $1.99 a pound or less, but grassfed beef is at least three times that price. I plan to do the math on the difference between buying cheaper conventional cuts of poultry or pork and then having to add in healthy fat by way of coconut oil or grassfed butter, but I haven’t yet. I guess I haven’t because there is a huge element that I’m not sure how to quantify: I’m calling it the feel-good element! See, grassfed beef isn’t just delicious. It feels good buying grassfed beef because I know it is better for the environment and my body. I hate to admit this, but there have been nights we have considered going out to dinner instead of eating it at home simply because (although I’ve done the best I can dressing it up for deliciousness) chicken just isn’t as tasty as grassfed beef, IMHO. And, going out to dinner, my friends, doesn’t do anything good for our budget!

Anyway, that is my struggle at the moment…I will keep doing the math and considering changes. For anyone who is curious, we are right on track for January, and have spent just shy of $300 so far!

Are you eating real food on a budget? Paleo? Primal? Gluten-Free? If you have any tips, please share!

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4 Comments to “Paleo Family on a Budget: One Month Down”

  1. We have a $100 per week grocery budget. HOWEVER (it’s a big however) we are not strict with it. I plan to buy a 1/4 of a cow in the spring with our tax $. When we get extra money we put it into the “pantry” envelope so I can stock up on things (ie. I buy bacon once a money from a local butcher, pork sausages once a month, etc.). Nobody eats lunch at home Mon-Fri (except me). I don’t buy coconut oil with our food money.

    All that to say, it’s hard to compare budgets.

    I am giving away a free eBook on Friday that you might want to check out.

    Here is the thing I have found eating primal/paleo the more I learn, the more I want to spend! This is a complete 180 for me coming from a grains based $60 per week (strict $60) frugal gal!

    I had to laugh at your chicken comment…I swear that is all I used to make. Now I can barely stand it…blech! I don’t eat grass fed beef, but have a wonderful supplier for grain fed. I can’t wait to raise the budget even more.

    I have no idea how I found your blog, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

    • “The more I learn about Paleo/Primal nutrition the more I want to spend”

      Absolutely!! It is so frustrating that the truly good stuff is more expensive. I, too, spent far less on groceries as a grain-based meal (Vegan) eater, but spent FAR more on health care!

      Glad you found my blog and looking forward to checking out your site as well!

  2. Okay, one more comment from your post about high stress and your budget. Sometimes I read the primal/paleo forums and/or sites and the “purists” totally drive me bonkers.

    Sure, I could go get a job and buy all of the food that they say that I need to buy to be 100%, but that would add a ton of stress to my life.

    I’m reading the PerfectHealthDiet as well. I’m starting to think that some starches might be not only okay for you, but might be beneficial. I haven’t totally decided yet, but am not ruling it out.

    We still have beans because I’m not convinced that they are awful for everyone (dried beans that have been soaked and cooked). We all love them ~ I just don’t consider them a protein anymore. I think high stress is way worse than eating some junk food occasionally.

    Off my soapbox!

    • A-men! :) I think we need to consider all factors of good health, and working more just isn’t the answer. I would rather keep staying home with my kids and cut corners wherever I can, knowing I am doing my family a whole lotta good feeding them the way I do, even if it is often conventionally raised meat and produce.

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