Have you ever seen Money Saving Mom’s article about feeding yourself on $30 a week? It showed up in my Pinterest feed a while back, and I was super inspired when I saw it.
It’s so simple, no coupon clipping or deal crunching. Just a good old fashioned shopping list and menu plan.
Even though that particular plan wouldn’t work for us because of Gabriel’s food allergies (specifically, he’s allergic to gluten), I knew there had to be a few substitutions we could use to still come up with a bare bones, $30 or less gluten-free recipe meal plan.
After some more thought, (about the fact that I function so much better on a relatively high protein diet) I got to wondering how much protein I could pack into such a tight grocery budget.
With that in mind, I drug Gabriel and the kids through the store, where I basically wrote down how much everything cost, then we went home and crunched a bunch of numbers.
I’m so excited to report that you can have a healthy diet for a mere $20.00 per week!
Here are the differences between my list, and Money Saving Mom’s:
- Mine feeds two people based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet – which is why this actual list totals $40.
- It’s gluten-free
- It Provides a daily average of 117 grams of protein per person.
- Is all real food. I suppose some folks might consider packaged corn tortillas to be manufactured food, but they’re basically made with masa and water. By the way, if you have time and inclination, you could buy a bag of masa and make your own tortillas instead. They’ll be cheaper, and taste way, way better.
- Can easily be made dairy-free by swapping out the butter for another cooking oil, and the cheese for your preference of substitute.
So here we go.
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A Healthy Diet For $20 A Week
The shopping list:
**these prices are all real, current prices from grocery stores in the greater Nashville area**
- Eggs, 2 1/2 dozen. $2.69
- Potatoes, 10 lbs. $2.89
- Carrots, 2lbs. $0.99
- Cabbage, 2 heads. $1.98
- Onions, 3lbs. $0.69
- Corn tortillas, 2pkgs (60). $2.56
- Pinto beans, 2lbs. $1.78
- Salsa, 1 jar. $1.69
- Shredded cheese, 1lb. $2.88
- Rice, 2lbs. $1.50
- Chicken leg quarters, 8lbs. $7.60
- Apples, 3lbs. $3.00
- Bananas, $2.00
- Butter, 1lb. $2.39
- Frozen veggies, 3 bags, $2.97 (See why I buy frozen veggies)
- Oatmeal, 1 carton, $2.39
- eggs, oatmeal (with butter and fruit) or hash browns/fried potatoes
- Bean and cheese burritos with salsa.(make refried beans in the crockpot at the beginning of the week to cut out prep time).
- Beans and rice.
- Stir-Fry (cabbage, onion, and carrots), with chicken and rice
- Chicken-veggie soup (carrots, onions, potatoes, rice).
- Chicken with steamed veggies.
- Chicken tacos.
- Potato and broccoli soup (using broth from chicken you’ve cooked previously), devilled eggs.
- chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy (make sure to use the broth from your chicken in the gravy!)
- Baked (or slow cooked) chicken and rice, veggies.
Also see: The $20 meal plan for more recipe ideas.
There are endless variations you can make on these. Get creative! Add different spices, makes casseroles, etc. it doesn’t have to be the same meal every night.
The idea with this menu is to keep your grocery expenditure down as low as possible, so that you can save as much of your grocery budget back as you can to take advantage of sales and such to create a stockpile so that eventually you’re eating a much wider variety of things, but still not spending a lot.
I’ll be honest though, I like this menu a lot the way it is! Although I do think I’d like some beef eventually.
What do you think?
Does the $20 grocery budget still work? A lot of you have left some very heated comments here, and I do realize that every area differs in the prices you will find, but I whole-heartedly believe that even the biggest skeptic will be surprised by how cheaply they can get groceries if they broaden their shopping habits a little.
Proof? Here’s a snapshot of our shopping receipt from yesterday. Obviously, we no longer live in Nashville, as you can see looking at the receipt, and we bought butter for less than $2 per pound! (I folded the receipt so you couldn’t see how much chocolate I bought. Just kidding! I folded it because it was too long to take a picture of otherwise.)
Is that a normal price? Well, that depends. It’s NOT a normal price for any other store I’ve been to in a 100 mile radius of that Aldi. But it’s normal for THAT ALDI.
So every time we go (it’s 60 miles away, so not often!), we stock up, and as a result, the butter we use every day costs us less than $2/lb.So YES this shopping plan does work – but not if you shop at Kroger or Whole Foods.
Update #2 February 2019
Do I still maintain that the $20 grocery budget works?
Yes – with some modifications. I find it very difficult to stay within that budget when buying small quantities. Instead, I buy Chicken leg quarters in 10# bags for $0.49-$0.59/lb (Most stores in our area carry these bulk-ish bags including Aldi, HEB, and Walmart). This is actually cheaper per pound than the 2015 price I quoted above.
On the other hand, unless there’s a really great sale (the last one was the week before Christmas), it’s nearly impossible to find butter for under $2/lb anymore.
It seems like the price of a lot of the other basics has stayed relatively the same – potatoes, vegetables, dry beans, tortillas.
The biggest trick to saving money on your grocery budget is being willing to find and try new things. Adapt!
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I wish you had linked some recipes we could follow in your meal plan. I’m a bit of a kitchen dummy, and I’m having trouble figuring out exactly what to do with all these ingredients you recommended. Is there somewhere you go into greater detail on some of these things? Like, do you cook all the chicken at once and then divvy up as needed, or do you cook them as you go? What about the soup recipes? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
I think honestly salt and pepper is all the seasoning. But for the soup use 2 or 3 leg qrts with carrots an onion and half cup of rice boil 45 minutes add broccoli 5 minutes ready to eat
Anna McLain says
Roast the quarters, take the meat off the bones, put all the bones and skin in pot. Cover with water and boil gently for several hours. Let it sit in the fridge until it cools and turns like jelly. The jelly is good. It means there’s a lot of good healthy things leaching from the bones. Heat it again until you can strain out the bones and skin.
This is your soup broth. Use the loose meat in all the other recipes. Use the broth for soup or gravy or even to boil potatoes in.
Also, even if you boil the whole quarters to make your soup, you can save the bones and make broth again. Add in a couple of sacrificial veggies and a bay leaf and make bone broth. Strain and use for gravy, etc.
I can’t buy produce, dairy or eggs here in Canada for anywhere near the prices you quote.
I wish Canadian food cost was like this! It’s almost impossible to pay rent and survive in Calgary!
Try vancouver! It’s even worse!! How I wish we had those food prices!
Elizabeth Wingfield says
Do you have the grocery chain Aldi in Canada? That is the cheapest/best place to shop other than a local farmer’s market.
Just Plain Marie says
No, we don’t have stores like that in Canada. Canadian prices are much, much higher than American prices. I buy butter for $4.99 *on sale*, for example. Our prices are twice to three times what she is quoting here – and I’m a very careful, frugal shopper. And farmer’s markets aren’t a place to save money here. The prices are usually the same as, or higher than, the grocery store.
I save money by buying in bulk in season, so for example, I’ll get vegetables by the bushel (which gives me something almost approaching US prices).
A meat shop in the city (two hours away from me) has been having one vegetable and one meat on super discount each weekend. Like pork roasts for $0.97/pound. I make the two hour drive, as do many people, and there are line ups to get into the store!!!
I have no idea in what city where a farmer’s market IS cheaper than a regular grocery store. I live in IL in the US, and ugggh, they charge an arm and a leg. You can drop $40 on very little at ours, and I can go somewhere like Valli Produce (which is regional here), Aldi, or Woodmans (might be regional?) and spend half that and get ALL my fruits/veggies for 2 entire weeks. Maybe it’s just my town?
How much more expensive is the food there? I know when I visited 2 years clothes were $5 more.
Eggs here, for a nice fresh organic dozen is about $5-6 per. and a 2lb bag of rice is about $6. Carton of oatmeal? Well, not sure what a carton size is, but a 1k bag will run you over double. Her list is affordable but will cost you somewhere around $60 where I live. Hahahah. cheese will run you $7. Tortillas, cheaper to make, but buy? Well, expect to pay $4+ to $5.
Anna McLain says
Look for your rice in an Asian market. It may be cheaper. I know it is here. Barring that, I usually get a printable coupon for my rice and then buy the smallest package. I can usually print 2 $1 off coupons and buy a bag priced at $1.49 for 49c.
I can find bulk dried and ground ginger (in a jar) at the Asian market, or fresh ginger, for a fraction of the cost of a supermarket. If you find one with good prices look around and ask questions. They may have many things cheaper.
I was hoping someone would comment on the prices…I am in the US and can’t either! Each item listed is almost 1/2 of what I pay. I almost double checked to see what year this was posted
I agree, a large bag of frozen vegetables is closer to 6.00. I just bought a dozen eggs today for 1.99. Would love to find cheaper groceries (need a garden).
Her prices are almost right on target for Ohio. I can get some items even cheaper at Kroger when they are on sale. So, I am sure it depends on where you are located. Frozen vegetables can be bought here for $1.00 a bag on sale.
Not in central OH. Eggs were 2.69/dozen at Meijer and Kroger. Potatoes 10# 3.99 onions 3# 1.19, 1# block or shredded cheddar 4.99, etc, etc.
Have you looked at price matching at Walmart. Most grocery shops have specials every week. Scan the flyers which you can get online and price match at Walmart. I normally use Kroger, Aldi and HEB here in Texas. I use to use many others but I don’t live close enough anymore. Also look at what is in season. So apples are cheaper in the fall, pears peaches in the summer same with grapes and strawberries. Vegetable are seasonal so if you want fresh cheap vegtables you need to buy them in season.
same in MI. Just gotta practice prepaaring and cook enough times to have an understading of what could be an equally tasty substitute fr certain things that happen to be on sale,
Florida checking in, prices are not this nice here either.
I should clarify that our budget is only $200 for the two of us so it isn’t much different. I just buy different things, and usually in bulk to keep the price down. I do try to stick to whole foods, and try to get decent quality things, but do not have to worry about gluten-free which may affect overall choices/prices. I wish some of the things on your list were available here at that price, though!
whole foods is the absolute most cost inefficient place to shop. Their quality isn’t necessarily better either.
I agree that I have a hard time finding those prices in Florida, even shopping at Aldi’s. Having Celiac disease I cannot have gluten and just found out I can’t have corn, white potatoes, rice, or other cross reactive foods, which makes shopping difficult. Even though aldi’s has lots of GF foods, many have soy or canola oils. I have gotten eggs on sale at Aldi for 1.69 for a dozen and milk is cheaper, but I can’t have dairy. Their olive oil and coconut oil are good prices.
In Florida also. I had to check the date of this story because everything is right close to twice as expensive as what this article calls for where I live. Aldi is the cheapest but only for certain items. With a combination of Aldi’s, Dollar General, and Publix BOGO I can piece together a fairly frugal food supply, but still only wish for the prices mentioned here.
Yes, I love Publix BOGO deals.
Karla Plascencia says
Double and even triple the budget she listed is still a really good deal.
Same here. I’m not far from Tennessee and the prices at my grocery store are nowhere near the prices listed here. 3 lbs of onions for $.69? Even if they were on a bogo AND I had a coupon, I still couldn’t get three pounds of onions for $.69. That’s just one example…none of the prices listed here are anywhere near what groceries really cost.
That’s because you’re in CANADA. She clearly stated she was in Tennesse. There’s obviously going to be difference in prices.
Canada?? I live in the United States, in Indianapolis, IN. In the heart of farm country. I can’t buy food for these prices. One dozen eggs here is $3.69, that makes 2 and half dozen eggs $9.23…and the eggs are from right outside of town.
Eggs are up due to bird flu and they had to kill millions of chickens – but it has varied by location and month.
I live in Indianapolis too and eggs are $2.79 a dozen. Where are you buying eggs if they’re almost $4 a dozen?
I can’t get cheese for that, even in WIsc. And I like buying eggs from a neighbor, so more there too. Potatoes are $2 in 50# bags from a local farmer, I buy a 10# bag of onions, and dice and slice about half of it, and use the rest fresh. But even at Aldi’s the prices quoted are not available in these parts.
Potatoes are more expensive in Idaho than neighboring states and it’s not because of the change in the cost of living….must be the way farmers do it 🙁
Massachusetts, and these prices are unrealistically low unless you don’t care at all about the quality of your food. (barring potatoes and onions, which haven’t been that cheap in literally decades)
The .89c/lb chicken is going to be freezer burned and full of hormones, antibiotics, and possibly arsenic. The $3/lb cheese is going to be an artificially flavored “cheese product” unless it’s on sale due to nearing expiration date. If I can’t afford real cheese that is made out of cheese, I don’t buy it. You can get rice from dollar tree for a dollar a pound but it’s going to be a very low quality import from China with possible traces of heavy metals. I’m pretty sure Dollar Tree also has salsa and tortillas for a buck a package, but I’m afraid to eat food from a dollar store. It’s not even the right color.
So $20/week is possible if you don’t care about eating literal garbage, and if this lady is actually that desperate and not just being stingy to prove a point, someone should have told her not to have kids she can’t afford.
Um, how about you try to act like civil human being or don’t comment? This woman was being nice and sharing the shopping/budgeting experiences that have worked for her.
“Someone should have told her not to have kids she can’t afford” ??? Are you serious? That is so far over the line of decency. So, by your logic, no one should have kids ever, because there are so many variables that can lead to one not being able to “afford” them that very few people would be 100% well and truly clear to have children. There are TONS of reasons why someone who started out very financially stable when they decided to have their children could suddenly find themselves in financial hardship later on. People can get sick and have very expensive medical bills; they can become disabled through accident or sickness and no longer be able to work; they can lose their job (many times for no fault on their part); or their children can have expensive medical issues or dietary needs that were impossible to predict (a gluten-free diet is very expensive, fyi.) So perhaps you should take a moment in future to think before you make such insensitive comments.
As for the prices, I live in PA and I can say that the prices she listed are pretty on-par with my area, and it does not mean that she is poisoning her children. Just because you live in a state with an unreasonable cost of living (as MA is known for) does not mean that everyone else does. You can get chicken at very reasonable prices where I am from that is clearly labelled “hormone-free.” And of course you should be wary of Dollar Tree food items, which is probably why none of the items she listed were bought there.
You don’t have to be an organic (or worse, Whole Foods) snob to find healthy food for a tight budget if you exert caution and use a little common sense. Upsell a little to the next brand if the cheapest one is questionable (the packaging says it comes from China, for example.) If you are so concerned about the quality of your food, make your own. It is healthier and usually more cost-efficient. Tortillas cost pennies when made from scratch, as does cheese. Fresh salsa made while the necessary produce is in season costs little more than buying it jarred. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
There is no reason to be mean to people, especially on the basis that they are having money troubles. It can happen to anyone. It can even happen to you, and I very much doubt that you’d appreciate comments like yours when you are the one trying to make ends meet.
I agree with you. It is disheartening to click on something and see the comments devolve to backbiting and entitlement level comments.
It is not necessary to be nasty to respond to what you perceive as nasty. Many points made were true-most chickens are grown in horrid conditions on antibiotics for life to survive the filth (actually ALL animals in the US). After slaughter the meat is injected with a”solution ” of God knows what to tenderize and moisten. Unless you can afford a free range chicken and/or eggs–at prices that make a single serving ridiculously high priced–you settle for the other and pray.
The way I see it, we are all in this together. As a United people, let’s take our anger to the government that allows the corruption of our food supply with drugs and worse! (PLEASE Google how Roundup is used just prior to harvest on our wheat–notice the correlation to celiac disease AND Autism!!!). If our food crops were drugs, the FDA would ban almost all of them.
So please, let’s keep our hostility away from each other and band together to move our government to make it law that food, and the chemicals used in and on it, can pass FDA testing.
Thank you. Sensitivity is a valued trait.
She never said that she couldn’t afford her kids. Stop assuming and creating drama. Maybe she likes the challenge. I did something very similar a couple of weeks ago and fed 2 adults and 1 6 yr old for $75 for 2 weeks on nothing but clean unprocessed foods. We have plenty of money but I like to budget and appreciate a good challenge. She was trying to help others who might need it. If you have nothing nice to say, move on and keep your negative comments to yourself. By the way, I live in Texas and the prices were all very close to what we spend here. Maybe you should think before you unload your snotty attitude on others.
To bad your parents were able to feed u and keep u alive to make criticisms to nice people trying to make the world a little more bearable
AND at the same time trying to impress sumbody with all of your food expertise Ms. Professor No Brain-
U must be pretty young still to embarrass yourself like that with your ignorance
Linda in Mass says
I live in Massachusetts and I can get quality food for these prices and this is 2017 instead of a few years ago when she wrote this article. It’s all in where you shop. I shop at Aldi’s, Market Basket and local fruit markets. I can still shop for $80 or less for my family of four.
You are so right.
Sally Webster says
So, do you mean that this is for 1 week, 2 people, so $20 for each person for the week? Just trying to clarify that.
I agree that these prices are well below what is available in my area. Also, this doesn’t seem very specific as far as exactly how much you use when etc. You mention fruit for breakfast and snacks, but this small amount of bananas (I could *maybe* get 8 bananas for $2, if I found a great price…which isn’t even one per day for each of the 2 people), and a 3 lb bag of apples usually has around 10-11, again not even enough for one per day.
Your menu doesn’t seem to account for things being used up, etc. We definitely couldn’t stretch 8 lbs of chicken leg quarters for that many meals (6 dinners + 5 lunches using leftovers)
Yes, it’s calculated at $20 for one person, $40 for two.
It’s not very specific, because it’s not meant to be rigid meal plan. That’s why it’s calculations are based on calories. Most couples average 2,000 calories per day with larger person (the man) eating slightly more, and the smaller (female) slightly fewer.
As far as not being able to eat an apple every day, it was assumed that on the days you had a banana as a snack, you wouldn’t have an apple. You could, of course, buy more apples, instead of having bananas at all.
As far as stretching the chicken to last all week; that’s where the beans come in. I’m not promising that this amounts to a king’s diet here, only that it is enough, it is cheap (although, it appears not as cheap in some areas), and it is healthy. It even provides adequate protein – something many “frugal” diets are severely lacking. 🙂
Sally Webster says
Just to clarify, I wasn’t necessarily complaining about not having the chicken every day, I was just saying that your menu suggests eating chicken for 6 dinners and then refers to leftovers for 5 of the lunches, and I don’t think your shopping list allows for that.
The same thing with the fruit. Just commenting on the fact that there is barely enough fruit available for one piece per day for each person, regardless of which each person chooses, but you have referenced it in 2 different places. The amount of food in your shopping list just doesn’t seem to add up to being that 2,000 calories per day for each person, and certainly doesn’t support your suggested menu.
Elizabeth Blandon says
I did the math based off of calorieking.com for each item and it accounts to be just shy of 39k calories, divided by 7 days and 2 people is an average or not only more than 2k a day for each person, but actually closer to 2700/day for each person. I’d like to see your math because it adds up just fine. I believe the problem is that a lot of folks are use to eating way m ore than 2000 calories in a day. I live in Arizona and the prices listed are comparable to what I can find, and if I go to a latino market, I can beat these prices even at that.
I’m not sure why you’d want to point out a flaw with someone’s post when it is in fact a valid post, based off of what she or he can make for 2 people. I believe the purpose of the article was to ignite determination and creativity in those who were on the fence about affordability and skill in creating a menu for whole food, that is gluten free to boot!
Kudos to you Elise, it’s a good post proving you don’t have to be rich or a snob to afford whole food. Jalapenos cost pennies each, we have our own lemon tree out back, utilize free market on the move where you can get 10 lbs of produce a week (usually tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, zucchini, cucumbers, sometimes melon, apple, etc). I think you could do this easy folks.
I agree with Sally…how exactly did you do your calculations? Based on using everything on the shopping list (including a whole pound of butter?) or the suggested meals? Because I agree that it doesn’t seem to add up. However, it doesn’t matter so much with the specifics, I agree that it can be done! I feed a family of 4 on around $250 per month, which is less than $20 per person per week.
Wow!! I don’t know where you find jalepenos for pennies because its 1.19 for one at my store!
Nice explanation. It’s to help us think for ourselves and make a better effort with our own food budget. I love it and it’s inspired me.
Jackie M. says
I saw this post on Pinterest the other day and thought this was no way possible. I was proven wrong. I live in the Los Angeles area and eggs are running around $4 a dozen or more. Here are the prices I paid on my shopping trip done on 11-20-15:
Chicken ( chicken breast steak, thighs and drumsticks) $10.37 ( I like different cuts of chicken. Not a big leg quarters fan)
2 dozen eggs $ $2.99 x 2 = $5.98 ( found a great sale)
10 lbs bag of potatoes $1.29
Carrots (2.23 lbs. @ 3lbs /0.99 ) $0.74
Cabbage ( 1 xlarge head @ 3 lbs./ 0.99 ) $ 1.02
Onions (1.95 lbs @ 4 lbs. / 0.99) $0.48
Jar of salsa $ 1.98
Shredded Cheese $2.47
Apples ( 2.71 lbs @ 0.69/ lbs) $1.87
Butter $0.50 ( great sale)
Frozen veggies 3 bags ( 12 ounces @ $0.79) 2.37
Oatmeal 42 ounces $ 3.28
Total spent $ 34.73
I already had the rice and beans in my pantry. I usually find them 2 lbs /$1 or 3 lbs / $1
I will definitely be using this system. Great way to see what you can get. Good meals and great savings.
Thank you for sharing.
I did my shopping at Food 4 less, Walmart and a latino supermarket.
That’s great! Thanks for sharing!
I think this is an amazing way to shop! Even tho things are priced differently all over, you can substitute what is comparable in your own area and find inexpensive. the whole idea steers shoppers clear of highly processed foods and keeps us aware of better quality foods. I garden so I can supplement with that and living in a rural area there are many farm markets to buy from in season what I do not grow myself. This article gets people thinking of how and what they spend their food dollars on. It is a guideline that is meant to show us what we can strive for. We don’t all need to do the same here, but we can see what we can do in our own areas. I am in southern Ontario Canada and am fortunate to be able to find some good bargains regularly. one grocery store has discounted areas for produce, meat, grocery items and baked goods. I hit those first to find what I need. for me grocery shopping is a challenge….to never pay full price!
Title should be A Healthy Diet For $20.00 A Week in Nashville Area!
This is not possible if you live in NY! Even if you use coupons combined with sale…
I live in the Denver area, so groceries are slightly more expensive here. Still, this is a backbone for a very inexpensive meal plan for a couple and it is similar to what my husband and I do at our house. We love Mexican food, so we definitely do lots of beans, tortillas, and rice when we need to stretch our budget. I also like making a big chicken or roast at the beginning of the week and use it in meals later on. The best thing we have done is take advantage of the outdoor space we have in the summer and we grow a huge garden. We can, dehydrate, and freeze lots of vegetables for the winter. I know not everyone has the space for a garden, but it has certainly saved us a lot of money over the years.
Nope. No way. Calculating for organic food, this comes out to $108.50. Organic, non-GMO, locally sourced food may cost more, but we rarely go to the doctor and are rarely ill. I cook everything from scratch, have a huge garden and can. I wish I could eat for this much, but I question the quality of the food purchased.
Of course. This plan was developed to save a tremendous amount of money on groceries in order to save money with which to stock up on awesome sales when they come around, so you could eventually eat the way you want to for less.
As far as quality of ingredients goes, I suppose that depends on your definition of quality doesn’t it? Even non-organic whole foods are relatively high quality. We can’t all afford to buy all organic, all the time. I’m happy with buying what I can afford, and like you, staying healthy, and Dr. visit free. 🙂
BUY ORGANIC. It is the single most effective way to protect yourself and your family from food contaminants and improve your overall health. This is not about colds and other passing viruses, this is about a long healthy life. It is an investment in your future. Would you drive your family in an unsafe car to save money? Or dress your children in flammable clothes to save a dollar?
lol. chill yo. There are a lot of reasons to go organic. If its the pesticide residue that has you worried, you shouldn’t be. The level of chemical residue on produce is not going to impact your health in any significant way because there’s just not enough of it to do harm. I think its good to buy organic anyway because organic farming is more sustainable and environmentally friendly. But the overall nutrition in an organic apple vs. a conventionally grown apple is the same. If you can afford to buy organic, great! If you can’t, its not really going to affect your personal health. Anyone that says otherwise is just pandering to fear-mongering and pseudo-science.
source: I’m an Anthropology and Bio-Chem major 😉
Please google how we use roundup just prior to harvest (started with wheat–now on a lot more). It increases the yield thereby making the farmers more money. But then google correlation between use of roundup and Autism, and Celiac disease. Pretty scary stuff!!! We all must get our government to pass laws requiring ALL FOODSTUFFS to be able to pass FDA drug testing–right now, most wouldn’t! Would any one of us give our child a piece of toast with Roundup slathered on it? Well, that is what we are doing! We MUST change this!!! It is projected that by 2025 (YES, JUST NINE YEARS FROM NOW), HALF of all babies will be born with Autism–it must stop, NOW!!!!!!
I have to lean this way too… I have a budget of $400/ month for 2 adults and a child. It’s tricky. Especially in northern Wyoming… groceries are expensive because they have to be trucked so far! I pay $2.75 – $3.75 for a dozen eggs. Granted they’re whatever the highest quality is that I can get in that range. I couldn’t sleep at night buying the cheap ones. :/ And I will only buy organic whole milk for my son.
I guess if you really need to only spend $20/person for a weeks worth of groceries, this is a good approach… but I wouldn’t live on it normally. My husband would die of boredom for one. Haha. And this budget doesn’t include any milk, yogurt, cream for coffee… it’s what I would call a budget-emergency plan. And for what it is, that’s perfectly fine! Even as just a jumping off point… but not a week-after-week thing.
Eye roll. There is always one food shamer in the bunch.
Totally true Lydia, lol. I could see this post working for our family. I calculated our budget out and we spend $26 a week compared to hers (2 people for 1 week). That includes some toiletries bought at the grocery store as well. We live in a low cost of living area in WI.
Elaine Mingus (@SuperRadWriter) says
My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE bananas with cinnamon! Apples with lemon juice is also a great snack.
These are great tips!
Oooh, bananas with cinnamon. Definitely going to have to try that with my kids. They love both flavors, but we’ve never tried them together. Thanks for the idea!
I like the meal/grocery shopping plan, and I can see how I could use this for my family. I’m looking for ways to include more meatless meals, particularly as our costs are very expensive …in Canada it will cost me 2-3 times as much for the items on the shopping list. looking forward to more frugal posts!
I thought you did a great job! I enjoyed your creativity! Maybe not something every one needs to do. ..but very thought provoking!
AnnaLaura Brown says
This is a helpful list to start with. I’m still spending a lot more than this per week and trying to get my costs down. I don’t know if I can go all the way down to $20 but I can try.
Dakota Rebel says
Thank you for posting this. Obviously prices vary depending on where you live, but it’s a great starting point for sure. For things like bananas there is no sense in paying extra for organic anyway, since any pesticides or anything that may be used will be thrown away with the skin anyway. I’m sure if I checked circulars and stocked up when dry goods were on sale, we could totally hit the $20.00 per week mark easy in Metro Detroit. What a great idea. Thank you so much for sharing this.
butter has gluten in it, are you aware of that? My son is autistic and doesn’t eat gluten either, and he definitely can’t have butter. I don’t know if you know this, since you boast to be gluten free.
Sarah O. says
…Are you being facetious? Butter is just cream and salt. Maybe those crazy oil-laden substitutes aren’t certified gluten-free, but plain old butter clearly does not contain gluten. Perhaps you are the one who needs to do more research.
Butter contains casein (a milk protein), but no gluten. Some people believe there to be a link between gluten and/or casein with autism, but it’s inconclusive. However, as a parent of a child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), I understand how both important and frustrating it can be to try to find anything to help out our kids. http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/the_13_biggest_nutrition_and_food_myths_busted?page=14 and http://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/strategies-and-approaches/biomedical-interventions/gluten-free-casein-free-diet.aspx
Great plan! The only slight suggestion I might make is purchasing blocks of cheese and shredding it as needed instead of buying shredded cheese – much more cost effective.
Actually I compared the prices of block cheese vs. shredded cheese and ounce for ounce they were essentially the same.
Penny Bradford says
Here in NC those food prices were abt the same. And here pre shredded cheese is the same price. Also our frozen veggies are 99 cents a pound bag. I would take it as a guideline for maybe a week a month to help cut the monthly cost. I make mostly from scratch and have cut my groceries almost in half. Also a couple of the stores I go to fairly early in the day so I can buy reduced meat and almost never buy something that is not on sale. I also put in a garden and plan to can some veggies hopefully.
Great idea, although where you live is a LOT cheaper than Germany. I went through and looked at the prices and would come out around 50-55 $. 🙁
Avril MacNaughton says
This is great inspiration for those that may need to reduce or keep their food expenditure low for a while, or to do one week a month to free up a little money to get some bulk supplies which work out cheaper per lb but need an upfront investment of cash. I know prices are much higher in remote areas, our next move, for hubby’s work, may very well put us in that situation and I am not looking forward to it, but taking every scrap of knowledge I can from these online communities to help me do the best I can.
You are so sweet to put all this effort into a delicious, inexpensive meal plan for your family. You rock! I live in SoCal and pay $4.99 for 18 eggs, $1.99 for 1 lb of apples, $2 EACH for avocados, $4 for a gallon of milk, $5 for 1 lb of shredded cheese, etc… 🙁 thanks anyways!
I’d like to say great job for planning a food plan/budget around healthy food! I know that we all have different food prices in different areas, but that isn’t the point to me. I applaud you for eating real food and showing others how to do so. We have had food issues in our family as well and I know it can get very expensive trying to eat without gluten, dairy, etc. I think this is the first food budget plan I’ve seen where real, whole food is eaten. The other plans out there, that I’ve seen, are a health disaster waiting to happen or just aren’t compatible to a gluten free diet. Thanks, and I enjoy all your marvelous ideas for beans! 🙂
Thanks so much for taking the time to inspire those of us who have to start trying to find ways to cut their food budget, but still want to eat healthy! I’ve always known to cut back on calories in order to lose weight, but I hadn’t honestly looked at cutting down on calories as a way of cutting back on the budget. Thanks so much!
This is a great reference! Also, when you have your own garden, you can add in some fresh fruits and veggies and shave down your grocery costs even more. 🙂
Thanks for writing this~
I live in Washington state, the prices are at least double here, and that s not even organic, those cheap prices, great job on the plan, just wish my 4 kids were not so picky either we pay like 900 a month on food
Whoooaaaaa there!!! 117 grams of protein? That’s WAY too much for one person to have each day, especially a child! The average adult man needs only 56 grams daily, 46 for the average adult woman. You need about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. The most that your body can use is 0.9 grams per lb, per day. Eating too much protein can mean gaining weight and neglecting other important dietary nutrients!
@Leanna …Well times that by my weight and I should be eating 200 grams of protein per day!!
It can also lead to certain health problems (like kidney) if there is a predisposition.
our prices in Southern California are at least twice the ones noted, or more. Eggs alone can run upward of $5.00 a dozen, chicken quarters on sale are at least 1.99 per pound. I will admit that the prices have really sky rocketed in the last year and this post is over year old.
The best way to do this is go to your favorite store which offers best prices. Aldi is great if in your area. Purchase the items on the list double quantites if you are feeding more people. I am sure most of you will find the total may be much cheaper than what you currently spend at grocery store. and that is a good thing. there are many many resources to assist you with this topic. there are heaps of recipes and meals plans which address reducing food budget. Be resourseful and consider what is best for yourr family. the above blog/article is mainly a reference point and a very good one indeed.!!!
Thank you Debra! You have no idea how much I appreciate your kind comment. 🙂
I completely agree it’s very kind of you to share your knowledge with everyone. I think you obviously know what your talking about because you actually do this. For all you nit pickers out there being negative she is just sharing if you don’t like it why bother to read or comment. Find a blog where you can be positive and contribute your own nuggets of wisdom not find fault with someone else’s.
Maybe I really should write a blog.
I think our family has been doing something like this for many years.
We are at about 21.00/day for 6 people with leftover. Plus, we have no Aldi.
#1. the amount we spend on food includes snacks
#2. we eat fresh & frozen fruits & veggies.
I live in rural California and we have 1 non-chain grocery store within a 20 minute drive and 2 more within an hours drive, also not chains, aka everything is outrageously priced. Eggs are hovering around $5/doz and a bag of onions is around $3. I know my situation does not allow for cheap food, but I think this could work for many areas of the country and would even be a cheap-for-my-area option. I have eaten very similar meals to this when budget was a issue because it was the cheapest, CA prices and all. While it may not be $20 for everyone, I think it’s a great one size fits most option for budget eating.
I think that this is great! As a college student on a serious budget, it’s nice to know that $20 a week can buy more than just the bare minimum. Thank you! 🙂
Love the article!! Great comments that are helpful reminders to add variety. I plan to use $20 Dollar as a great challenge to teach to our children. Every few weeks have one child go with you to the store and let them make all the choices on the list. Once home have a menu listed for the week on the refrigerator. Later the children can help with the menu planning. Teach them how to prep the meal by getting all ingredients ready first. Also teach knife skills gradually to learn how to slice different vegetables. As they get older they will have the skills to cook the whole meal. It’s a great skill that will help them when they live on their own. And teaches the concept of budget.
Seeing a lot of criticism, so I just wanted to say something encouraging. 🙂 I feed my family of four on less than $600/month near Seattle (not excellent, I know, but it’s there for comparison) and this seems like a very do-able plan for when my husband is away. When he’s home, of course he likes extra’s, but for myself and the kids I don’t see why it wouldn’t be close. Thanks for the inspiration.
we are closer to $500-600 per month for 2 people in a relatively small city in Northern Ontario. 8 lbs of chicken would cost $32…maybe $24 on a good sale. Kind of wishing I lived where you do! these tips would definitely bring down our total though so thanks for the post!
I can’t believe the amount of complaints on here! Before I become a naysayer, I will definitely try this. I think the prices here in Houston are comparable and I could do this for my family. Thank you for sharing!
Hi! 🙂 I like this concept, however I would love to see this created for gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian lifestyle. That would be amazing for me and my husband. Great entry though!
Mellissa (@SheSmilesWithn) says
These are really great tips! I would love to challenge myself and do this next time I head to the store. I’ll come back and let you know how it goes.
Male RN says
FYI, I just did a price check. The grocery bill above was $60 at Walmart. Still, for a guy who was spending over $400 a month on grocery’s, ~$250 will be welcome.
[email protected] says
There is no way that a growing child, not to mention a full sized adult can be satisfied with this meager amount of food. There are no beverages listed. There are no indulgences if any kind. Who eats chicken and rice 4-5 times per week??? Seriously! And these prices aren’t remotely realistic, even shopping at a discount store in the Midwest, like Aldi.
So, the caloric intake is calculated at 2,000 per person per day, so that should be satisfying. Personally, I’m currently taking in 1,500, so that would leave an extra 500 per day for my husband, and the kids eat about the same as I do.
There aren’t any beverages listed because, well, water’s free. And it’s good for you. Who knew, right?
The prices are not only realistic, but entirely accurate both here in central Texas, and in columbia TN, the last two Aldi stores I priced these items at.
Keep in mind, this is a rock bottom list. Who eats chicken and rice 5x per week? Someone who wants to get ahead of the budget so they can take advantage of stock-up prices next month and start eating consistently better for consistency less money. It’s financial strategy.
I did a couple of weeks on low-cost, but perhaps boring and repetitive meals. That allowed me to stock up on some grest sales and now i do a monthly menu that rarely has a repeated meal for dinner and just about everything from scratch! Spending between 5-600 a month for 4 adults and one child in N. Florida.
It’s a great list! I wish the prices here were that low. Prices here are double or triple what you posted. I think it would work out to around $90 here.
Wow the prices in Nashville are amazing! I live in Nevada & everything is at least double what quoted. Our frozen veggies cost around $2.50 per package! My food budget is out of control at around $130 per week (to feed 2 people). We don’t buy processed food & stick to mostly a low carb diet – so that’s our cost for meat, fresh veggies/fruit, purified water, and the occasional bag of pasta or rice. Looks like we are getting ripped off on our food costs here!
Toni Sellaro says
Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed reading it. I don’t think though I can make it with just $20. That 2.5 dozens of eggs would cost me $17.50 here in Sydney! Very inspiring though. I think I should come up with my own list. Thanks a lot!
Yes, definitely! I think everyone has to tailor their list to their own area. 🙂
I’ve heard that egg prices are going to rise steeply because of a chicken disease outbreak (that may only affect the U.S, I don’t know), so I imagine we’re not for behind you in having to find another cheap source of protein. Although, I haven’t checked egg prices in months because we’re actually getting them from a local farmyard flock, which is such a blessing!
Rebecca Rumke says
Hey i’m curious. We have a family of 5. What size of family do you shop for? 😀 And this is GREAT!
Hi Rebecca, we have two kids (so far), so I’m shopping for four. 🙂
Helen Miller says
I live in central Calif. and the prices quoted is very close to what I pay at the Grocery Outlet bargain market, 2% milk $2.49 gallon, Butter $2.99# , Eggs Grade A large $2.59 dozen, this was purchased 7/06/15
I really want to shop where you do. Eggs for 18 today – $3.59. cheapest available. Butter on sale $2.50. Potatoes $3.19 for #10. Fairly close on some stuff – others not so much. Aldi’s is an hour drive one way so defeats the purpose there.
Lesley Lee says
Thank you for inspiring us. Yes, prices may be more/less where we live but this gives some ideas on how to plan for the weeks when money is tight. 🙂 I appreciate this post and you. Sorry if people have to be negative. Some other good ideas are:
Cheese quesadilla’s for lunch (no meat) with salsa, or scrambled eggs and salsa/breakfast burritos, Fried rice with frozen veggies and eggs (no need for meat but you could add some of that chicken if you still have some). A potato/egg/cheese skillet for breakfast is wonderful and can really fill you up. Best of luck to everyone trying to cut their food budget down.
This is a great list! My family is GF as well, so is nice to see menu ideas for that. A lot of times I see ideas like this and they’re full of bread, pasta, etc. I’ve recently had to reduce my grocery budget dramatically because my husband’s (commission-based) job isn’t going so well right now, so this is inspiring me that I can make it work!!
Question. . .for your stir-fries and other chicken dishes, do you take the meat off the bones before cooking it? I’ve been buying a lot of bone-in chicken to save money, so I haven’t been doing many stir-fries, soups, etc. I mostly just do roast chicken because I don’t know what else to do. Any tips? 🙂
Oops, I just saw your link to your second post with more detail. I got the info I need. 🙂
I do a lot meat cooking in the slow cooker. Often times for stir-fry, I will debone cooked chicken and add it to the rice before serving. Personally, I feel like it’s faster and easier (and less wasteful for me) to debone the chicken after it’s cooked. That way I also have a lot more chicken broth to cook things in. 🙂
Just an FYI, but once the meat is off the bones, you can also use the fat, gristle, and bones leftover to make bone broth, which is very healthy, full of protein, and other nutrients that the body can benefit from. It can also be frozen for future use as soup base, or drank as a snack throughout the day. Great for days when you have tummy troubles too!
Cheers on the lovely post, btw. Our prices are significantly higher up here in Alberta Canada, but I am the type of person who looks through all the flyers before shopping, and will hit as many store as I need to in order to get the best deals. I can get close to this price by buying the meats and veggies that are on sale each week, and building a meal plan around that.
Thanks for sharing! I remember my mom doing her shopping and meal planning that way when I was little. We must have hit every store in town every week. 🙂
You can get free apps for your smart phone that tells you where to buy food items on sale! You choose the stores you like and it does the work.
[email protected] says
Thanks for the article! I agree with you that this budget is great as a financial exercise. There are weeks where I try to have an Eat from the Pantry Week or spend as little as possible. That way we can put aside more money in savings, etc. Knowing that there is a healthy option that does not cost too much is always good, so I appreciate your thoughtful post. (I’m linking to it on my site’s Facebook page 🙂
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!
I love this post and find it really encouraging! I recently wrote a post about how to buy one week of food for one person for $10 now that I am reading this post I realize that these items could also be frozen or put in the pantry as stockpile items for lean months! I would love to hear what you guys think! I posted the link here- http://shopaholicsavers.com/?p=5297
Saundra M says
My only problem with this is my hubby hates chicken. I could eat like this and be happy- any ideas of what to supplement the chicken with that is still healthy and cheap?
I’m really not sure. Turkey is fairly inexpensive (we actually switched to it when we found out my husband is allergic to chicken), but so close to chicken that it may not work. Pork is probably he next cheapest, but not regularly as cheap as chicken. Still, when you find it on sale and stock up, it can be very economical!
This is really inspiring! I really appreciate this post.
I am surprised (and not so surprised) how many people feel the need to comment negatively! This is a very interesting post. I would like to challenge myself to do something similar when my husband takes a break from doing a keto diet (and I can have dairy again). Good for you for getting a weeks worth of wholesome food for cheap!
This is totally doable, at least where we live (NE Kansas). Eggs are a bit more expensive now, as there’s a national egg shortage, but we were used to paying $1.29/dozen for awhile. Milk right now is $2 – $2.50/gallon.
We have to pay food tax (9%) in KS, and even with that, I am able to buy groceries for my family of 6 and get out of the store for under $80. It’s mostly spent on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. If we had $20/person per week to budget, we would be living like kings!
Food in your area is so cheap! I definitely love this as a guideline so thank you for the tips! But that amount of food is anywhere between $40-$50 dollars in my area. I need to search for cheaper grocery stores.
The concepts work even if the prices differ. Go to the store, check out what is cheapest from the items you can eat whatever your dietary restrictions, and work a menu around it. Planning what you cook is the best budget buster.
Another thing alluded to in the comments was to find alternative sources. An ethnic grocer, a home garden, a farmer’s market. Perhaps you know a farmer who sells directly. Perhaps there is a pick your own place near you. Those possibilities vary depending on your locale. We have a salvage grocer near us and yes they sometimes carry organic. So stock up. See if a restaurant supply place sells to the public if you buy in bulk. See if there is a food coop in your area.
This is clearly for Americans! No way is fm food even close to that cheap here 🙁
Good in most of America isn’t that cheap either. I live in New York and prices at least double this.
First I have a question:
Would I need to double this grocery list for 4 people?
and Second Do you have anymore menu plans and recipes that are budget friendly? I would love to see more gluten free menu plans with shopping lists. I am just getting started with the gluten free diet and could use all the help I can get.
Hi Crystal! Yes, you would want to double it for 4. The only other Menu plans I have right now are The $20 meal plan, and How To Eat Beans Without Getting Bored. I hope that helps you, and welcome to the world of gluten-free! 🙂
Thank you, we are hoping that it will help my hives go away and that maybe it will help with my children’s ADHD.
My son also has ADHD, and we have had him on a gluten free diet since December of last year. We have now also removed cow dairy from his diet (still allowing goat cheese), any food dyes, and preservatives. We already follow a Paleo lifestyle, so making the food changes were fairly easy. We have had some success with adding 1 tsp of liquid Omega 3, twice daily, to his diet as well. Good luck on your journey!
prices are almost exactly what I pay (except for eggs, since the recent hike in prices). thanks for the idea!! i might try this in september 🙂
oh – another note on the prices. I don’t know about the Frugal Farm Wife, but those prices are what i pay when things are on sale or when i shop at Aldi , which is my favorite place to shop. Honestly, those basic foods are on sale somewhere every week around here. I just shop at Aldi & then hit up Walmart for what’s left to price-match for all the stores’ sales. That way, I’m always paying the lowest price. without having to go 10 different places.
As of August 2015, everything on the list would cost $60.13. My grocery budget for one is over $200/mo. I am a diabetic and I don’t eat meat, so sugar free items cost more as well as meat substitutes/vegan food. I paid $4 for just 5 vegan hot dogs. Milk wasn’t on the list, but it’s $2.99/gal right now. A doz eggs are $4.15. It’s crazy! I would be very bored on this diet. By the time I buy my fruits, veggies and vegan foods, I am still stretching to make it through the month. I use gluten as a meat sub, a 22 oz. bag of wheat gluten is $8.19 and will make about a months’ worth. A 1 lb. bag of sugar sub is $5.29. Everything is overpriced. I can’t afford cereal anymore. Not to mention everything is in smaller packaging, so we are still getting less for our money. It’s not easy when you have to follow certain diets. Items with things taken out (ie, sugar, wheat, meat…) always cost more, which makes no sense.
Donna Y says
That is way to much chicken product for me. And eggs and chicken are going thru the roof because of the recent chicken flu, where they had to kill millions of birds.
Thank you so much for doing this gluten free!! My husband also has Celiac Disease and his food is so expensive, and we always eat the same stuff for dinners. This gives me new ideas that I am excited to make.
Glad to help! 🙂 Celiac disease it tough.
Giselle Llanes says
Walking through Publix (Miami florida) I realized that I need to move….Everything here is twice the cost. -____-
God forbid I go to a whole foods. ;( Every trip to the grocer is around $100+ dollars for us for about a weeks worth of foods. Yup, moving.
Where do you shop because eggs at Kroger in Murfreesboro are $2.50 a dozen for organic. My mouth dropped as I ran through your grocery list!! We spend $200 a week to feed 4. One of those is a toddler!!!
Mostly Aldi, except for when I find a fabulous sale elsewhere. Also, there’s a GFS in Murfreesboro, and occasionally, I’ve found that their cheese is a GREAT deal!
Not only could I never buy food this cheap in DC, these meals might suffice for me, but would not be enough for my calorie needy DH.
I’m not sure what everyone is talking about here… I think this is a GREAT list and a great starting point. This list, I believe was meant as an example of how you can buy an entire week of groceries for $20. This is not a guarantee that you will be able to find these exact foods in your location for the exact same prices… let’s use some logic here; that type of list would be near impossible! And those of you saying that you can’t find these items for that price when you’re looking for strictly organic… well no you can’t, because organic food is much more expensive (shocking, I know). Lastly, for those of you saying that this would not be enough food for a person for an entire week, I’m sorry but you are out of your mind! 8lbs of chicken- that is approximately 4,800 calories for the whole pack and if you ate that chicken every single day, all 7 days of the week that is nearly 700 calories PER DAY from the chicken alone! If you ate all of the eggs that week you would be eating 300 calories from just the eggs alone. 1000 calories strictly from protein!!!! Add all of the rice, beans, veggies and extras on top of that; this list is more then enough food! Now I am a relatively petite (healthy) women but I wasn’t able to eat even 2/3 of this food this week (I had to freeze a LOT)– and yes, that does mean I actually followed this grocery list. So to all of those people who have a lot to say about amount of food and price of food I would like to say, this was more then enough food and although I did not follow this list to the T, I was right around the $20 mark! Thank you frugal farm wife, this is a great article!
Thanks so much Kate! I’m glad you were able to use this list! 🙂
Wow…there are a lot of whiners commenting. As someone who can’t always buy organic but still tries to feed my family healthy foods, I appreciate this post a lot! We Americans are so spoiled!
Amanda H. says
Our family of 3 lived off of a menu similar to this for 8 months. We usually had about $85/mo and supplemented with a garden. It wasn’t fun but now we are in a much better financial position. Most of the prices mentioned are in line with western Missouri. I just bought eggs for 1.69/doz and milk for $2 gallon. Thank you for sharing what works for your family!
Peggy Lewis says
Unfortunately, here on the central coast of California, prices are much higher. For example, eggs are $5.00 a dozen.
Susan From Dallas says
I love this post! I see it as a challenging game to see how to make my dollars stretch as far as possible and make nutritious meals for my family. I came up with even more dishes from her ingredients like cole slaw, King Ranch chicken etc. Yes, it IS possible and Aldi is a great place to shop!!!
Keep up the good work! You are an Encourager!!!
I think groceries/produce are different prices throughout the country, so it’s not a matter of argument. For example, I bought a brick of Colby Jack cheese for $1.49/lb, but my cabbage was $5/lb! My bananas are cheaper, dried pinto beans are cheaper, etc. I usually spend $100 a week on groceries for a family of five(minus Costco), and last week used the menu plan, and saved $40!! money for babysitting and date night!
Dorlis Grote says
I am lucky, I live in the country, USA. I either buy or raise my own vegetables and get my chicken, eggs and raw milk from neighbor farmers, cattle are grass fed, no antibiotics, gmo feed. Chickens, eggs are range feed .
I love this idea. I just bought a 10lb bag of leg quarters at HEB in Texas for $2.90.
Tatum Parks says
If those are actual food prices in Nashville then I need to move my butt to Nashville. There still could be no way that this plan includes organic foods or meat from grass fed animals which makes such an enormous impact on one’s overall health and vitality. In Portland, OR right now organic free range eggs run as much as $7.50 a dozen, though typically more like $4.50-5.00. Cheese is $5-7/lb, the carrots more like $3, and organic chicken is around $5-7/lb also. So her 8lbs of chicken would double the budget right off the bat… LOL! $4 for 1lb butter, and the veggies would be more like $3/bag not $3 for 3 bags. As a trainer/nutritionist who strongly believes in eating as much organic free range as possible, I typically tell clients about $50-70/week is realistic depending on goals and caloric requirements. As a bodybuilder I am personally eating 24-30 oz meat, 4 whole eggs, 3oz pork shoulder meat, 1-2oz cheese and 12oz each of steamed broccoli and asparagus, either an apple or 1 cup berries, and 1-3 cups mashed sweet potatoes each day and my food bill averages $66/ week and that’s at least 80% organic free range.
Not sure where she lives or how dated this article might be, but I pay double in Seattle. I like her point though. Eat clean and simple, you’ll save more money than if eating packaged, over processed foods.
Thank you very much Elise. This is a great guideline to eating more frugally since my husband retired. We don’t have kids living at home anymore and are in our 60’s but this gives me a lot of help in my quest to try and put healthier meals on the table. Very much appreciate the helpful post.
Thanks so much! This is exactly what I needed to read today! I’m thinking of making this project a friendly competition among my friends who also need this information. Maybe we can together come up with even more great menu options! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Ginger! And that’s a great idea! Everything’s more fun when you’re doing it with friends. 🙂
These prices are all real, current prices from grocery stores in the Digby/Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada areas where I have to shop**
• Eggs, 2 1/2 dozen $5.49
• Potatoes, 10 lbs $8.99
• Carrots, 2lbs $2.00
• Cabbage, 2 heads $5.98
• Onions, 3lbs $2.00
• Corn tortillas, 2pkgs (60). $6.00
• Pinto beans, 2lbs $5.49
• Salsa, 1 jar. $4.99
• Shredded cheese, 1lb $7.98
• Rice, 2lbs $2.99
• Chicken leg quarters, 8lbs $26.32
• Apples, 3lbs $9.00 (Honeycrisp)
• Bananas $3.98
• Butter, 1lb $5.99
• Frozen veggies, 3 bags $13.98
• Oatmeal, 1 carton $3.29
Unfortunately I don’t think I could have a Healthy Diet For $20 A Week
i agree with u , me i live in Canada and the price of the food is lot, lot more than what she pay for her food , at that price i will be at the groceries store every day lol.
I agree that these prices seem very low. Kroger/Smith’s has great prices, and you can often pair their digital coupons with various Ibotta rebates (there’s almost always rebates available for half of the items listed like cheese, milk, lettuce, bananas, carrots, etc). With digital coupons loaded to your card (or coupons from a website like coupons.com) and instant rebates from Ibotta (https://ibotta.com), you could probably get this list at around $60-$65 (she lists it as $40 for 2 people). At $30 per person, that’s still pretty low. It would definitely bring my grocery bill down!!!
It sounds like a good challenge, but who wants to eat chicken rehashed everyday? (A good way to get the gout). Also, no milk in the budget? I am not convinced this is a balanced diet, we need red meat also. I can feed my family much better than this.
driving directions says
With this goal in mind, Gabriel and the kids and I dragged our way around the shop as I made mental notes of how much everything cost.
Jamie Freeman says
Hi! I am attempting to try this out, but I am having trouble locating the recipes for everything. Also, how do you cook the chicken? Do you do it all at once?
HI Jamie, This article give some ideas for meal plans, and how to make it work. Have fun with it!
I guess I need to move your way because grocery prices in California, even at Costco or Winco don’t compare to the prices in this article! Unless I follow the normal college kid path and eat ramen, mac and cheese, and rice a roni every day. But it’s a great and thorough article either way and hopefully helpful for people in your area 🙂
Maybe this is a groceries list from the 90’s because in 2016 this is not the price for those item , in my area , i live in Canada and i will show u what the price for the same list is .
•Eggs, 2 1/2 dozen. $5.89
•Potatoes, 10 lbs. $6.99
•Carrots, 2lbs. $2.50
•Cabbage, 2 heads. $5.00
•Onions, 3lbs. $3.49
•Corn tortillas, 2pkgs (60). $5.80
•Pinto beans, 2lbs. $3.99
•Salsa, 1 jar. $3.89
•Shredded cheese, 1lb. $6.99
•Rice, 2lbs. $5.50
•Chicken leg quarters, 8lbs. $25.00 ( and this is when in sales)
•Apples, 3lbs. $12.00
•Bananas, $3.00 ( about 6 bananas)
•Butter, 1lb. $5.99
•Frozen veggies, 3 bags, $12.00 and this is the low price brand
•Oatmeal, 1 carton, $5.49
Total: $113.52 and this is without taxes , here we have to pay for taxes on groceries amount of 13%…. so it depend on the area we live , it is hard to eat healthy on low budjet …
OMG! I can’t believe that you have to pay that much! I can actually find some of the items listed cheaper. A dozen and a half eggs cost $2.03 at Costco.
Organic eggs are a better choice and in my area from $6 – $8 per dozen. Canada sadly has always had such higher prices, maybe shopping online or joining a produce club would be more cost effective?
Anna McLain says
Thank you. Very helpful.
Anna McLain says
Just wanted to say that I can find similar prices to these in Omaha. Not necessarily every week, but if I stock up when things go on sale. I freeze butter, milk, onion or veggies I diced. Sometimes I do feed my family of 5 for this little. We average about $600 a month though since I overbuy a lot and that money includes dogfood and most non-food items. Right now we’re doing a pantry challenge to use up what’s in the house, so my budget is less than $20 a week per person. It’s a perishables and emergencies only budget for this month and however many weeks it takes til the freezers are empty. Otherwise, meals are too-bad-you-get-what’s-in-the-house. LOL. Not always the healthiest options, I know, but we do this once a year. Today is spaghetti using garden tomatoes I froze, with homemade garlic bread.
Don’t know what part of the country is based around but groceries listed are not nearly that inexpensive where I live…
I love this article and def think it’s doable. I live in a suburb of chicago and I can swing this easily…. maybe not all from Aldi but our Dollartree has a huge assortment of frozen fruits and vegtables. I buy almost all my fruit there for green smoothies. I can get a huge tub of organic spinach or spring mix for $5 @Jewel or Meijer. Not to mention bananas and apples are always on sale. This is doable if you are a little creative and willing to visit at least two stores.
You can’t find these items this cheap in my area. I spend 7 bucks just on two dozen eggs.
Egg prices have sky rocketed due to the millions of chickens that contracted or were exposed to the avian flu last year in the Midwest. It affected egg production and tripled the prices. It will take a while for those prices to drop again while all those farmers affected go through inspections, sanitation and start their flocks over again.
Irregardless of what the prices are, I found this to be an inspiring menu planner. The menu items are a good value, nutritious and customizable! Kudos!
Thanks Janet! 🙂
Your prices are cheaper than ours here in California. We are doing no processed foods and are trying to eat only grass fed and open range meat and dairy, organic produce or frozen veggies. This is expensive here but it is worth it. We shop a lot at Trader Joe’s. We also have found a lot of organic at Sam’s Club. The other way I shop is online at Grub Market. I just watch prices and have not been disappointed. I appreciate this page. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I put this in my favorites.
Thanks for the tips. I just looked into Grub Market – pretty cool! 🙂
I think your great…I live in socal and like you I buy 8lbs of meat for $0.99lb or less a week. Our budget is $200 a month… I’m excited to learn how to do it for $80-$100 =)
Try making your own butter!! Its a 2 for 1 its how I do it. Buy Heavy Whipping Cream and I get butter and butter milk. its a win/win plus my kids love helping make it!!
Wow, I’m impressed! I hope to come up with something similar for our family, but we are not only gluten free but also grain free, paleo /low carb so there are several things on your list that we do not eat. But you have inspired me to come up with a similar plan. 🙂
I would be interested to know the total nutritional value of this meal plan, it seems that there would be some deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and really no super foods or greens here. I think this is great for anyone on a budget and even who wants to stick to a strict caloric intake and only drink water but it wouldn’t be feasible long term, but as a two week out of a month with some variations I would try this! Thanks for posting. 🙂
Most Americans eat primarily processed foods, so this list looks like a major step up to me.
I am confused. It says $20 a week but the grocery bill added up to almost $40? What am I missing? Is that the grocery bill for a 2 week period?
Two weeks, or for two people. 🙂
Just seeing this in Spring 2016 from Missouri USA. Our grocery prices are very similar to what is listed here. Currently, eggs are kind of at a premium, but I have four little hens so my eggs are pretty cheap. I buy feed at $14 that lasts about a month. If you can get chickens, definitely consider doing so. As far as other food costs, it doesn’t seem fair to compare so much to where you live as to learn from this article a way that you can cater the ideas to your own personal situation. For instance, this list includes only chicken as the meat source. What meats are cheaper for you to buy? What grains can you come by cheaply? My husband and I are on a starch free diet so we would be eating mostly meats and veggies. We are putting in a garden this year. Try to use the ideas presented rather than directly comparing the price of groceries where you are compared to the groceries where the author is. I’m sure if she hadn’t done her research, she could spend hundreds of dollars a week on food. Ultimately, we all have to use our energy more on helping ourselves than making comparisons and just being frustrated that the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence.
How amazing to see the price difference for food between the US and Canada.
There is no way to ever get those prices here, try double or triple these prices.
But, everything’s more expensive here, so following this plan will save a lot.
You’ve done a great job.
Love it and it is very doable. The entire grocery budget at our house is $60/week for 3people. And we have lots of variety and all real foods.
Emma G. says
Many of these comments are frustrating. Would this shopping list come out to $20 where I live? No. But it would be much cheaper than my current shopping list, and it is still based on whole foods. That’s the point.
I’m sure that in addition to food costs, home prices are lower where the author lives, too – and fuel, and insurance premiums and utilities. But you know what? I bet the salaries are lower, too.
Whether this meal plan is $40 where you live, or $400, it’s still likely cheaper than what you could pay for a week’s worth of gluten-free whole foods using different, more varied or more expensive ingredients, without having to rely on processed junk.
Michael Wick says
Really awesome diet.
I think I missed something in the article. The headline and graphic says $20 a week, but the shopping list came to $39.
It should come out to $20 per person. 🙂
Wendy Luiz says
I live in San Diego and this grocery list would easily cost me about $80 if not more. Just a dozen “cheap” eggs not even organic is $4.00 and don’t get me started on chicken. “Cheap” Chicken is about $2.50lbs, we buy about 4 for any where between $8-10.
my whole foods is almost 1/2 the price of my grocery stores here (excluding meant), although as of this year all have closed down but 1. our prices would be at least 3 times this amount.
Fresh Markets/Produce stands really help cut costs too because there is less overhead
I hate to point this out but in the article she states “in the greater Nashville area” however the current up date photo as of January 2016 states Waco,TX printed at the top of the receipt. Um, hold up was you on Vacay in Tennessee or vacay in Texas, not my business, I know just confused on where you shopping! But prices are just about right here in SC all but onions3lb @ .69¢
We moved to Texas about a year after this article was originally written.
Elise, thank you for sharing these ideas. I am retired and shop for my husband and me. I am always looking for ways to get the most for each of our dollars, and I see a lot of good suggestions here. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Thanks Claudia! I hope you find lots of helpful information! 🙂
Danielle Shull says
Love the time and energy you out into this, and thank you so much for sharing it with all of us!
Thank you Danielle! I hope you can use it!:)
I am one of those unfortunate people who cannot eat oats, even certified clean oats as they make me sick. What could I substitute please?
Any help on recipes? I am waiting to make some of this but if there aren’t recipes then how is one supposed to make the food…..?
Hi Corey, Check out this article: The $20 Meal Plan
Wow what a great base to go off of. I love how you broke this down i have seen eating for cheap like this but never actually seem it broken down. I cant wait to take this home and edit a smidge. This is perfect for me and my husband!!!
I’m so glad you find it useful! Thanks for taking the time to comment, it made my day. 🙂
Hi from Wagga Wagga Australia! Just went out and bought everything on ur shopping list and I thought u would be interested to know that it came in at $99!! This is more a statement about how expensive food in Australia is rather then a critism of you! P.s only spending $99 on food for a week is really cheap, I usually downs $230 +. Anyway, I’m excited to give it a go! Cheers for ur post 🙂
Pps these are Australian Aldi prices!!!
Oh wow! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you were able to save money! I guess it’s all relative, huh.
Katie W says
For the record. I went shopping today 8/24/16 at Aldi in the Chicago Northwest suburbs and bought the items on the list (except oatmeal and butter as I had those on hand). I spent 33.25 on these items and actually for 10lbs of chicken due to how it was packaged.
Thank you so much for this list!!
Wow, that’s a great price! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
penny prothero says
Sorry, this is laughable. Eggs for 2.69 for 2 dozen???? Not here. Try 4$ a dozen. Onions 3 lbs for 69cents???? How bout 89 cents a lb. Apples 3 lb for 3$?? 3$ A LB here, and this is known as apple country! I’m sorry, but this is just unrealistic.
I live in western New York, and these prices are exactly what I would find in our nearby Aldi store. I could also find these items at wal mart super center for slightly more.
This is a great tip. Unfortunately I don’t like the quality of the food at Aldi and wholefoods is ridiculously over-priced in the city and the quality seems to be going down (although the price is going up. I’ve recently joined a farm share where I can purchase fresh, grass fed meat and organic vegetables (among other wonderful things) from a farm. It is a bit pricey but over the long term it’s much cheaper in terms of your health, and if you learn to can your food the cost/savings ratio is tremendous.
I’ve also learned that in America we often eat much more than we should and so I’m learning to curb my appetite and eat only when I am hungry and eat no more than what my body needs. I’m also learning how to can food and so the overall cost savings is so much less than, let’s say a can of soup – particularly when you consider that when you buy canned goods at the grocery store, production costs are low while distribution costs are extremely high and that’s what you are paying for.
Buying organic, dried spices and dried beans (lentils, split pea, navy beans,kidney beans, etc.) in bulk is also a great way to stretch your dollars. You can make tons of soup. chili, stews for just a few dollars per quart – all using fresh ingredients that you grow (I don’t have land but grow herbs in my apartment) or buy in bulk. You can make your own salad dressing, mustards, ketchups, etc., and they taste much better and don’t contain all of the nasty and harmful chemicals that you find in “food” on grocery stores shelves. It will also help you to become self-sufficient.
Again, great post. I remember the days when I was dirt poor and the creativity that is born out of lack can be incredible.
This makes me realize how expensive it is to live in Hawaii. I just bout 1/2 a dozen eggs for $3.19 on sale
Your list and menu looks a lot like mine, and may I also add Aldi is a god send!! Their prices are ridiculously low. We would be paying almost twice what we do now if there wasn’t an Aldi near us! My list includes frozen ground turkey, box pasta, pasta sauce and several kinds of fresh fruit.
Yes, Aldi is a HUGE blessing!
This looks like a pretty good diet, unfortunatly it isnt what i am looking for. Since i am in a dorm room all i have is a coffee pot and microwave for cooking. Thank you for the ideas anyway
Ashley Breanna says
I love Aldi & I know this plan works!!!
Great post! I understand that some people are getting all upset over this post because where they live the cost of living is higher or they don’t have an Aldi nearby or they don’t like Aldi or whatever. I just wanted to say that your prices (2014 prices) are pretty spot-on for what I pay when things are on sale here in Wisconsin. That being said, I shop at Aldi, Save-A-Lot, Wal-Mart (not as often), local farms (not farmer’s markets where the farmers have to pay a registration fee to set up), etc. I have never had a problem with Aldi products. I would also like to mention that Aldi does have a satisfaction guarantee, so if something is awful you can return the unused portion for a refund.
I just wanted to say that I appreciate the post. (I felt you might like another positive comment!)
I agree with one other comment, in that recipes would be nice for somethings. The burrito – what do you use for tortillas that are gluten free?
Thanks Beth! You can find a few recipes for the ingredient list here. I use to exclusively make homemade corn tortillas (when I wrote this), but these days, I mostly buy them at Aldi or as you mentioned, Walmart or Save-A-Lot.
The idea of simplifying grocery shopping is a great idea, but the prices are completely inaccurate.
Did you happen to notice the snapshot of the receipt near the end of the post?
Patty from the NW says
Love your posts…thank you so much. 😉
What a great article! I consider grocery shopping a challenge and always keep an eye out for great bargains. Only items we will use however do we stock up on. This article is dated 2014 and it is now early 2017 and I can find all of those items for around that price and some cheaper (Indiana). I always stock up on butter when it goes on sale during the holiday baking period for just under $2.00 a pound. Our local store always marks down baking items after Christmas such as chocolate baking chips and I pop them in the freezer to use throughout the year. Honestly I don’t pay more than 2.00 a pound for meat either. I shop at Kroger and Fresh Thyme and always stock up when it’s on sale, beef, pork or chicken. There is a benefit to having a deep freezer. I also find the recipes you listed as wholesome and not full of preservatives and junk food.
Thanks Donna! I totally agree with you – buying a deep freezer is one of the best investments we ever made!
We have a deep freezer and I love it! We buy cheese and meats in bulk when they go on sale and freeze them. A deep freeze also makes batch cooking and freezer cooking much easier. I did a post recently about freezing a batch of black bean brown rice burgers. I have about 20 in the freezer. So much cheaper than the frozen beef burger patties that had been our go-to quick meal in the past.
barbara walsh says
Well, this menu is all good – but does seem to weigh heavy on rice and beans – which is a way to cut costs….and I am a lover of bean burritos for breakfast….but if you plug it into a tracker of nutrients you are missing some here…
I would love to see an update now of what you spend to eat like this….since it is currently on my Pinterest feed .Last update I see was 1/16. I find it very interesting. It would not work for us but I do find articles like this interesting. Must admit my favorite part is reading all the comments!
Jade Scaggs says
Hello there! I’m on a super tight budget, so this is helpful. I am also gluten intolerant, but I can’t have eggs either. Is there something I could use instead of eggs, especially with breakfast? this has been my biggest problem.
I enjoy reading posts like this one. Keeping my grocery bill low is something I enjoy doing. Almost like a game. Good sale prices this week for cabbage, potatoes, and carrots meant we had larger portions of those and smaller portions of everything else.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with me.
I live 5 hours north of vancouver in canada. We drive 2.5 hours to costco for the bulk of our products. I spend about $300 every few months to stock up. Then I spend about $20 in town a week to buy fresh veggies for two people to eat all week long. This is in the dead of winter and I do not have my huge garden or greenhouse built yet. I will then be nearly self sufficient within a couple years! I should add that we eat plant based except for eggs on saturday mornings (from our own chickens) and wild game meat I trade for massage therapy with friends for. I also make everything from scratch and eat a lot of legumes, pulses, nuts, organic tofu etc. I make my own nut milk for less than .50 cents a liter. We are very healthy and got by on very little income when times were tough. It can be done, but you have to be diligent, find the cheap stores, compare and shop sales.
Anastasia Marchese says
i like how simple it is! i hate when meal planning takes over life. i will still make chocolate chip cookies but will gibe this a yry because hey, why not make my life easier? I will be buying Kerrygold butter though do that will bring my bugdet up 5$ right there. but boy It is good….
Even though the prices are different than where I live (bay area California), I plan to use the meal plan just to get back to basics. I have had a hard time menu planning this summer and staying on budget. Please continue with these simple meal plans.
Thanks Heather! I’m so glad you’re able to use it. 🙂
Mary_Elizabeth Grove says
Could you please come up with a Vegan version?
I put in your grocery list using Kroger click list and was able to get everything listed for right at $49.00. That is not bad at all!!! I think I am going to use this menu for our family…even with buying enough for 7 it brings me well under budget. Do you have other menus?
Hi DeAnna, Glad you’re able to use this! I have a few Whole30 menu plans here.
There is no way I could get that menu for under $65 for 2 people, and that would be at best sale prices. If we wanted it to be free of gmo and pesticides and herbicides, add another $30 to that. Nutritional value of this menu is weak as well. It would keep you from starvation, but it’s hardly enough to be considered healthy.
So get your own blog and post a menu instead of being nasty. Didn’t your mother teach you if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? Nobody cares what you think. Don’t use the ideas if you don’t want to use them.
So… I’m going to use this list as an inspiration but there are some meal suggestions in here I just won’t do without other stuff. For example: for tacos I use taco seasonings, sour cream (Or plain greek yoghurt) cilantro, tomatoes.
But on that note, plain nonfat Greek yoghurt is a staple in my diet. Especially in summer, I make breakfast smoothies each morning.
1 cup unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk
1 ripe banana
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee granules.
That sounds like a delicious smoothie – and I’m not even a coffee person! 🙂
Great advice! My fiance and I are living off of $2000 a month currently to save some serious cash. We do groceries for $60 a week, can’t believe you can do $40 amazing!! Aldi’s is the best!! These prices are realistic, we are in Florida now, was doing this in CT too. Aldi’s makes Walmart look expensive. Where you buy is the #1 in getting the best prices. Thank you for sharing!
Heather Geffken says
My 2 year old is a milk, toast & butter guzzler. I go to the store for milk 2Xper week for milk.
I’m going to be that super annoying person for just a second and then you can feel free to delete this comment. I really was drawn to your site and the idea of spending only $20. I even signed up for the emailed version. After I added my name and email, it linked me straight to the 95% off budget book. Which is very generous. Here is where I get super annoying/the teacher in me comes out. You wrote something along the lines of this being “the one CHANGE” for this deal. I think “chance” is the word you meant there and since it’s such a great deal I just wanted to bring that to your attention. I’m hoping this is an act of kindness and not infuriating. I’m sure I have my fair share of spelling errors in this post too so I’m not implying I’m a perfect speller. Just a overly observant reader. :0) Take care.
Thanks for catching that!
I love these plans! Thank you ! Great tips and meal ideas!
Tonya Parham says
I’m absolutely gobsmacked (reading this two years after it was posted) at the number of people complaining they can’t find prices like that where they live– especially people in Canada. DUH. You live in a place with a short growing season. I also live in TN and can get fresh, homegrown produce 8 or 9 months of the year! I’m closer to where food is grown, as well so it’s less expensive to ship.
However, living where I live, I make less money. I’m sure I couldn’t buy this list of food in Vancouver for $20 but I imagine I’d also make more money.
The point isn’t that it’s something she’s done for you– the point is, DON’T MINDLESSLY BUY CRAP FOOD! Spend some time getting familiar with prices and how to cook. The problem isn’t the list, it’s that folks want to be spoon fed (pun intended) an answer instead of thinking about information and using critical thinking skills to reason out a solution.
For example– I can’t find onions for that.. maybe I could find them for .99 for three pounds…well, I think depending on what I want to make, I would buy them and maybe buy cheaper salsa since I can find it for $1.16. Or, if I got some green onions instead, I could just regrow roots in a window and have enough to last a while.
Use some sense folks.
And, frankly, it just kills me when people say, “But I can’t get organic for that!” No, DUH. You can’t. Perhaps the point is, however, that it’s not a bunch of processed crap food and is still better for you than some frankenfood labeled “Organic.”
Thank you for this post. I’m sorry you have to actually read such nasty comments from individuals who can’t see past the nose on their face. I do see the value in this post even on the days I can’t find the prices you list; it’s like my Dad used to say, “everyone complains about food prices, but they buy sushi, pre-made items, high priced steaks, store bought cookies, etc.”. When he was a kid, his parents bought a bag of potatoes, a bag of rice, a big pack of chicken, a bag of flour, bag of sugar, etc. WE COOKED OUR FOOD. The foods you listed are the lower priced items in the grocery store that may require some preparation, but I get it. So thanks again for the post and the IDEAS it gives me, not that I have to STICK TO IT EXACTLY. PEOPLE need to get a grip and take a chill pill, that might cost them a dollar or two but worth it, LOL. As for your “right” to have children, I’d say a parent that not only budgets their money but feeds their family well is the BEST parent. I’d really like to smack that person in the head for saying what they did to you.
Thanks for this Sharon. 🙂
I see that you got your groceries and organized/planned and fed two people on 40$ for a week and I appreciate your ideas and technique that I can use to help make my budget stretch further. I just wanted to say that after reading the comments.
Thank you Sandy!
really ? lol Iive in Hawaii and I just payed $2.50 for half a head of a small cabagge.
Pot of beans
1 You could have pinto bean soup & corn bread.
3 Bean & cheese burritos.
4 beans and eggs
5 bean and egg burritos
6. Beans & rice
7. Nachos with beans & cheese
All these meals for under 10 bucks buying at Wal-Mart
1. Beans $1.97
2. Rice $1.97
3. Sharp cheddar cheese $ 2.22
4. Corn bread .44
5 Corn tortillas .99
6. Flour tortillas .99
7 spices & onions
This is a good list! ! it’s totally possible to eat healthy on a budget!
This is a lifesaver! I’m celiac as well as highly allergic to wheat, eggs, sesame, peanuts, soy, and dairy just makes my joints hurt. Entire food groups..I know. I didn’t find out I was allergic to all of these things until age 26 and now I’m 28..weird. 3 kidney stones and other problems later I feel great :). I got our grocery budget down to $400 for 3 people. We live in a very expensive part of Arizona. We have very expensive stores in our surrounding area like whole foods. Even though we are frugal. Our higher paying jobs allow us flexibility. There’s just no reason to spend so much on food! I know this can be done in more expensive areas of the country. It just requires some rearranging of recipes. Nooo you don’t need that expensive brie to make that recipe work or a seasoning you’ll use once. I’m working really hard on perfecting my homemade versions of gluten free bread and other substitutes. These are great recipes I can use! I like to use chickpeas instead of eggs or hemp tofu if it’s on sale. We also enjoy meatless meals throughout the week to save money. We are on baby step 5 and saving for our 7 year olds college. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Judith Chestnut says
I enjoyed the article. While I may not be under the $20 budget, the plan still keeps my budget lower than before. Every budget is not black or white , you need to have those grey areas to account for personal taste or life style. Keep up the good work!
08/11/2018 – Prices in Kent WA at WinCo were US$44.31 (without tax) for these same items. Nothing was organic and a few things were on sale, but on a normal non-sales day it would probably be closer to US$50.00. Does it “work” as a $20/person/day thing here? It probably could with a few more coupons or sales. But it works generally. and that’s what matters at the end of the day!
Eggs per dozen are $1.38, so the total was $3.45
Potatoes, 10#: $1.98
Carrots, 2#: $0.98
Cabbage – smallest I could find was 4#: $2.72
Onions, 3#: $1.38
Corn Tortillas, 60 cnt: $2.96
Pinto Beans, 2#: $1.54
Shredded cheese (1 lb): $3.00
Rice, 2#: $1.59
Chicken leg quarters: 8# @ $0.88/lb = $7.04
Apples, 3#: $4.99
Bananas, 3 lb @ $0.52/lb: $1.56
Butter, 1#: $3.25
Frozen vegetables, 3×1# bags: $3.99
Wow. I wish prices were like that in Southern California!!
Kristina Holcomb says
Well, I can attest to the fact that it’s possible today to eat this cheaply. I spend $40 a week for a family of 4. Not only does that buy our groceries but also other necessities. I take 2 $20 bills out of the atm and head to the stores. I don’t even have an Aldi 🙁 I shop at Walmart, Save a Lot, which is kinda similar to Aldi, maybe… they have good sales on produce and meat. I buy our milk, cheese and butter from Braums, which is a local dairy store. They only have stores within a 300 mile radius of their farm in Oklahoma. I use the summer months when I have lots of produce growing to stock up on extra pantry staples and meats with the money I don’t have to pay for fruits and veggies. Anyone could do this if they really wanted to. You absolutely can eat well and healthily on a tiny budget and I have proof of it!
This is a really great list ( and my son is also gluten free and we live in Northern California -one of the most expensive places) my advice to sceptics is check sale add and compare stores. Go to grocery outlets if possible.
That is a great list. I want it. I have to cook ahead, because I work a lot and I could make this work. Thanks.
I have spent15-20 a week for a single since retirement and use the same formula of $5 for protein, 5 for dairy(yogurt, cheese) $5 for vegs,fresh or frozen, and $5 for oatmeal and bread. It works by watching special buys and sales.
Does it really matter? says
Time to update this list to reflect real prices in 2020! Please stop circulating this $20 per week bullshit.
Eggs, 2 1/2 dozen. $8
Potatoes, 10 lbs. $9
Carrots, 2lbs. $4
Cabbage, 2 heads. $8
Onions, 3lbs. $3
Corn tortillas, 2pkgs (16). $8
Pinto beans, 2lbs. $5
Salsa, 1 jar. $4
Shredded cheese, 1lb. $10
Rice, 2lbs. $9
Chicken leg quarters, 8lbs. $40
Apples, 3lbs. $5
Butter, 1lb. $5
Frozen veggies, 3 bags, $10(See why I buy frozen veggies)
Oatmeal, 1 carton, $5
I have no idea where you’re buying groceries, but I highly suggest finding somewhere cheaper. For instance, eggs at the two Aldis nearest me run $.69-89/dozen. $.90 per dozen at our nearest Walmart, and it looks like $5.68 for a carton of THREE dozen at HEB.
Grocery prices ARE going to be relative to where you live, but $5/lb for butter and chicken is wild.
I live in Chicago. 4.00 is about the cheapest to be seen for a pound of butter. Also, the Aldi’s where I live do not have good produce and I would never buy meat there. Eggs are 1.49 a dozen at our Aldi and milk has gone up to 2.49 a gallon at out Aldi as well. . I only go there for milk, eggs, flour, salt, sugar and coffee. The produce is very low quality. Their gluten free items are ok, but the prices are not much lower than the other stores.
Wow… I am astonished at how rude people can be. ????????♀️ Well I for one like your list and appreciate your hard work putting this together. Eating whole foods and not buying processed crap will save you tons of money no matter where you live. ❤
Agreed that your prices will vary some from location to location, but compare your costs accurately shopping at an Aldi, Save a Lot or even Walmart. Prices will be MUCH cheaper than the highway robbery prices “Does it Really Matter” is quoting. If you are in the US then you have many affordable options.
Unfortunately, costs for our friends in Europe and down under are a great deal higher than here in the states. But as I have many online friends in those locations who share their deals, please know you can lower your costs, it will just take a little work and shopping smart.
Have a blessed day!
This sounds about right to me. I refuse to buy the nasty produce and fatty rotten meat at Aldi. I also live in a big city. Your list is pretty accurate for my area. Also I have to feed a family of 4. My husband works in fitness and he consumes 2-3 potatoes each night along with around a pound and a half of meat, plus 3-4 fruits. 3-4 veggies. Protein shakes. 2 glasses of milk etc… also, neither my children nor I eat poultry. At bare bones our grocery budget is 150 a week. It includes fresh fruits frozen veggies eggs meats grains dairy. Salad makings etc… We go through 2 gallons of milk per week. Buying organic that is nearly 10 dollars plus orange juice. I love it when people who live in rural areas try to tell people to live off 20 dollars a week that would get me 2 gallons of milk a loaf of gluten free bread and a bag of apples.
I live in Chicago. 8lbs of Chicken quarters is about 17 dollars. Potatoes are 4 dollars for 5lbs. Produce is super expensive even frozen veggies are almost 2 dollars a bag. My husband is also gluten free. 2.5 dozen eggs would be around 6 dollars more if you want organic. I think this is a good list of healthy foods to buy but should include the caveat that you don’t live in a big city.
I signed up from another page for the month program but had no clue it was gluten free. I have no need or desire to eat gluten free. Do I have other options? Nowhere on the page I signed up from did it indicate the plan was gluten free. Im very disappointed.
It does at the beginning. “Have you ever seen Money Saving Mom’s article about feeding yourself on $30 a week? It showed up in my Pinterest feed a while back, and I was super inspired when I saw it. Even though that particular plan wouldn’t work for us because of Gabriel’s food allergies (specifically, he’s allergic to gluten), I knew there had to be a few substitutions we could use to still come up with a bare bones, $30 or less gluten-free recipe meal plan.“ I don’t understand why you are upset if it is gluten free because there’s nothing that is particularly a gluten free substitute on the list…
Do you have $20 per week meal plans that have meat other than chicken as the meat source?
I don’t have one printed, but I would look at ground turkey if you can use other poultry. That’s the second cheapest meat I’ve found. Usually I can find it for $1.25-$1.69/lb in the freezers at Walmart or HEB.
This is great. I’m alway looking for ways to eat cheap but healthy! Thanks!
Stacy Chiri says
Great ideas! I think the trick to limiting grocery costs is finding a routine that works. I once bought groceries for a family of four on $200/month. For the month I would buy a large bag of potatoes, rice, carrots, celery, apples and bananas. Then I would hit the meat section and buy a family pack of pork chops, large pack of ground beef, bacon, and tri-tip steak. Under canned goods, I would buy green beans and corn. For snacks, I bought popcorn kernels and we popped it on the stove (the kids loved it). Because we really were on a low income budget, I received wic coupons and with those I got eggs, milk, cheese, beans, cereal and peanut butter. I found a bread thrift store and was able to pick up bread for .25 a loaf. I would buy $2 worth and freeze what we couldn’t use right away. Milk freezes too so if you find it on sale, freeze a gallon for later. We weren’t dining on filet mignon and lobster, but we weren’t going hungry either.
Heather Kingsford says
It’s a littler trickier when one has a diabetic to feed. No tortillas, no apples, no bananas. Way more protein, lots of cheese, etc. We buy a lot in bulk, and use our two large freezers as much as we can.
These prices are amazingly low. Everything in my area is at least double if not triple or quadruple these prices!!! Consider yourself lucky. $5.65 for a dozen eggs. (Cheapest grocery store variety). Chicken goes on sale sometimes for 4.39 a lbs. but usually more like $7.50/lbs. and even carrots are $3 a lbs. but I’m in small town Alaska. So count yourself lucky.
Anyone else come here in 2022 and just laugh … Until you started crying?
Thanks! Can you do a $20 a week for groceries?
Yes! I shop for 2 weeks at a time and spend $40-$50. $50 if I need more olive oil and spices. I typically eat eggs and keifer for breakfast. For lunch, fruit and chia seeds pudding with nuts or a veggie with fish, chicken, or beef. I change up my veggies. Typically I buy a mix of frozen and fresh. Dinner, usually leftovers bc I don’t feel like cooking after work. I eat a ton of watermelon in the summer and deville eggs for snacks.
I want to know how much her grocery bill a week is now with inflation!
And this definitely won’t be possible with 2023 prices sadly.
Rose Thiessen says
I just tested it out with the cheapest local grocery store online grocery cart. Buying everything on your list with the lowest cost item available to me is just over $100. I cannot eat everything on your list, but it’s interesting to see the difference. Wish I had done this in 2014 and before the pandemic to see the difference in cost. I am a struggling college student struggling to feed myself every day and not just in a healthy manner. I received an email from my former university saying that “Food prices across [the country] have jumped 10.3 percent from just one year ago, and inflation on food items is now at a 40-year high.”
Heidi Young says
I live in Nashville… which stores did you shop at for these prices?
I found these prices to be pretty consistent at every Aldi I’ve been to in the area.