So many people want to know how to eat beneficial whole foods without breaking the wallet. Yes, it is possible to do it on a budget, but definitely not easy. There are also some sacrifices to make as well.
We don’t go out to eat, we don’t have TV, we don’t use our AC in summer and keep our heat at 60 in the winter, we don’t have a gym membership, we take advantage of free community opportunities or entertainment, we use family cloth, dry laundry on the clothesline, grow as much food as we can in a townhouse lot, make as many of our personal use products (toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo) as possible, use homemade laundry detergent and enjoy life together! I know that list can sound for a miserable existence, but we really are happy and very content!
We have a very limited income, but we both enjoy our jobs and the amount that we work and we love spending time with our kids in our small townhome. If we tried to find other jobs or if I went to work as nurse full time we would definitely have more income, but we agreed that it wouldn’t make our family life any better. We are so glad to be where God has us. We are so thankful that we have so much on so little. God has been so good to us. Over the years things have gotten better little by little and it is definitely because of God’s work for us!
So here is our monthly food budget:
Monthly food allowance: $468
Farm co-op: Meat and milk ($120/month)
- Raw Milk: We currently are part of a farm co-op where we can purchase raw milk, raw dairy, grass fed meats, free range eggs and a few other products like celtic sea salt, coffee, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, oils, and other fantastic foods. We typically go through a little more than 1 gallon of milk in a week. I also order cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese on occasions and for something special.
- Mixed Meats: I also order most of our meat from the co-op as well. They sell most cuts of pork, poultry, beef and occasionally lamb or goat. I usually just order what we need for that week of meals, but sometimes if I can get a bit in advance to have on hand I do that as well. I’ve also thought of purchasing a ¼ cow, but we don’t have a 2nd freezer and I would have no space to store it. Once we move this will be a better option for us. Also Brian likes to hunt and we were hoping this fall that he will get a deer or two. We do love venison and it’s truly free and organic (as long as they aren’t eating the farmer’s GMO corn!)!
Eggs ($36 – $48/month)
- Pasture-raised Eggs: Each week we purchase three dozen eggs. During the school year one of my mom’s students raise chickens and sell eggs and we purchase through her ($3/dzn). During the summer when she no longer has class with my Mom we order through the farm co-op that provides our dairy ($4/dzn). So the price fluctuates depending on where we order from.
Grocery stores ($200/month)
- Traider Joes: It depends on the meals for the week or what we are short on as to where I do the bulk of the shopping. Here I usually shop for certain staples. I usually purchase raw nuts (for soaking and drying), uncured hot dogs, dried fruit (on occasion or what I haven’t done myself), gluten free snacks ([amazon_link id=”B005E7AY50″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]plantain chips[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B000JIN1H2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]pirates booty[/amazon_link], etc), olives, cheese if we run out from the farm (they also sell raw cheese), yogurt, almond/coconut or rice milk for Aisling, almond butter, nitrate/nitrite free hormone free bacon and a few other odds and ends.
- H-Mart: I almost always get our fresh produce and seafood at H-Mart. Also since hubby is Asian I can get his preferences here as well ([amazon_link id=”B001AYEUH4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]tamari[/amazon_link], coconut milk, [amazon_link id=”B004CLCEDE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]shirataki noodles[/amazon_link], etc). Their produce is far from organic and I’m sure the fish is farmed. This portion of our groceries hasn’t been changed to 100% organic yet. We haven’t been able to afford to change everything yet. Little by little we are going to get there! We started with the dairy and meat because we felt the benefits from having these products were of first importance to us. That was our reasoning, but not everyone plans or thinks the same!
- I only visit here once every 2 or 3 months and save the money I’ve set aside for our trip. There aren’t very many items I get here, but I’m contemplating changing the budgeting a little to allow for more bulk purchases here. Currently I usually get raisins, organic dried dates, organic fresh carrots, organic salad greens, wild salmon, wild canned salmon, wild tilapia, fair trade coffee, organic chia seeds, organic quinoa,
- I typically purchase in bulk from here and have found it to be much cheaper than what I can find in stores. I always price it out and this has been by far the best prices for most of these items. My usual purchases include [amazon_link id=”B002O1IEII” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]coconut flour[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B0006ZN538″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]almond flour[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B000FFLHSY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]goji berries[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B001CTO0YA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]stretch island fruit leathers[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B001E5DZIO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]organic sucanat[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B001ELL4E0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]steel cut oats[/amazon_link], and [amazon_link id=”B003VYIZT0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]coconut milk[/amazon_link].
- Supplements: I usually purchase these from our holistic family Dr. Brian takes quite a few medications for his health issues. The kids take [amazon_link id=”B003B3P4PO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Carlson’s cod liver oil[/amazon_link] and a [amazon_link id=”B000EE9Y22″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Rainbow Lite multivitamin[/amazon_link] which I either get at Healthway or Amazon. I take the [amazon_link id=”B00115BJ30″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Rainbow Lite prenatal multivitamin[/amazon_link], probiotic, fish oil, and when I’m pregnant I add in calcium/magnesium and vit C.
Wholesale Buying Clubs
- I don’t have a set amount allotted to this portion of the budget. In the past I just tried to save from the budget above and save enough to purchase from the buyers clubs. However, I’m often not having enough, so I’m going to have to rethink that and try to figure out another way! The Holistic Mom’s Network is part of a couple buying clubs that provide great options at great prices. We get wholesale prices at Frontiers and Wilderness Family Naturals. Both are fantastic companies. I have found that on occasion Amazon can be cheaper that these, so I constantly have to price check. From Frontiers I purchase most of my herbs and spices. And from Wilderness Family Naturals I’ve recently been purchasing coconut oil by the gallon, and bulk cacao powder, and sometimes nuts and coconut flakes.
That’s about what we do. I’d love to hear any new ideas or better deals you’ve found. I’m always looking for a better price! West Coast bloggers are always talking about Azure Standard as a great place for purchasing high quality organic bulk everything! I hope they keep moving eastward! Anyone know of a good substitute for the East Coast healthy eaters?