How Much Does It Cost?

I guess this is the “million dollar” question, isn’t it?  How much does this type of grocery shopping cost? (Keep in mind, we’re a family of 3 who enjoys our food.  We tend to eat large meals, but we’re all under/average in weight.)  I’ll quote Kate:  

I learned so much from this post Michele! I’ve wanted to feed my family exactly the way you are describing for so long. I seem to only be able to do it in fits and starts, especially with our budgetary restrictions. You make it sound so doable though. I have definitely gleaned tons of information from your blog. I am curious about your grocery budget though. I wonder how much I could do on $300/month? 

Keep writing these wonderful, encouraging posts. I look so forward to each of your posts and long for the day when we are eating like ALL THE TIME!

I’m reposting the majority of my response to Kate here, as I’ve received the same question from others (outside of the blog), as well:

Our grocery budget is $200 per month. :) (That’s just the bare basics… if we add “fun” things, i.e. chocolate chips, it could be a bit more.) I had to do my shopping for both May & June this time, since our co-op is taking a month off, so my total was more than usual this time. (Although some bulk things will last for multiple months, anyway.)  

The biggest thing for me was overhauling my idea of “packaged” foods. Originally I only considered things like fruit snacks, mac & cheese, etc. as “packaged foods.” I hadn’t ever considered making things like pasta, cereals, crackers, etc- especially since I would find “good deals” on organics. 

But, in the long run, it’s cheaper to buy a big bag of organic flour and make my own. I do have to plan ahead, but I can make some “convenience” foods to stock up ahead of time (like you do with freezer cooking). :) 

Also, by not buying the “convenient” pasta, it’s not sitting in my kitchen. I’m “forced” to either make homemade egg/spinach noodles, or a much more nutrient-dense option: soaked grains (rice, barley, millet, etc.) Yum! :) 

By soaking grains overnight, we can make a quick porridge/muesli for breakfast. It’s much cheaper and more filling than a bowl of cold cereal. It’s also fairly quick to cook, after all that soaking! :) We also soak grains/flour for pancakes/waffles or muffins, and cook them up on mornings when we have more time. Extras can be frozen (like you already do). 

Buying mainly seasonal produce really helps too. One difficult thing to eliminate at first was the canned foods- especially tomato sauce! :) It’s such a major part of the American diet. But it’s do-able. (I do enjoy canning some fruits & vegetables, too, so those are nice to fall back on.) The Mennonite publishing “Simply In Season” is really inspiring for learning to use & appreciate foods as a seasonal blessing from God. (There is a kids’ version of the book as well.) 

For example, in the winter, if lettuce isn’t in season, you can make salads with just homegrown sprouts instead. Some greens (such as kale), actually can grow through the winter, too. There are a lot of lovely winter produce items that tend to get ignored. 

Calvin doesn’t use a microwave at work. (He eats on the road, as an EMT.) His lunches were the main reason I was buying packaged snack foods. We’ve finally figured out how to pack good things! I’ll probably do a separate post on that later. 

I’m still learning, though. Thanks for following me along my journey! :) 
Happy Mother’s Day to you too. 
Michele :)

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