What does a family of 5 eat while saving money and eating healthy? Here is exactly what we bought and what we ate on our 3rd week of #RealFoodCheap.


real food cheap graphic


This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation if you make a purchase using the links. You can view my full disclosure policy here.


Our family of 5 big eaters eats real food on a $90/week grocery budget, or about $360/month.

Saving money and eating healthy is challenging! Our goal is to inspire, encourage, and equip you by showing you how we do it.

Whether you are just trying to make ends meet, paying off debt, or saving for a big dream, you can find ways to care for your body and finances in the tight seasons. Get our Food Rules and why we are doing this here.

We share weekly updates here, but I also post to Instagram and Facebook throughout the week with the hashtag #RealFoodCheap.



View this post on Instagram


Real pot o’gold at the end of the rainbow 🌈 #realfoodcheap #krogerdeals #eatyourveggies

A post shared by Steph Jenkins • Save 💵 • Eat 🍎 (@cheapskatecook) on

(Above photo – That’s not my grocery cart. It’s the markdown produce jackpot we found at Kroger! But we bought a bunch of it.)


Real Food Cheap: Week 3

This was a weird week. We had a lot of social events that led to eating out. Like a lot. We normally eat out once or twice a month. Last week I ate out at least 5 times. Thankfully, it was always just one or two of us. Feeding kids at a restaurant gets expensive fast.

Since we have a separate eating out budget, those meals didn’t cut into our $90 for the week.

Sometimes I think I don’t eat that healthy. Macaroni and cheese is still one of my favorite foods, and I will never complain about eating pizza multiple times a week.

But my body did not appreciate all that restaurant food.

Generally, if I know I’m eating out later, I try to make really good food choices the rest of the day. This way, I avoid a foodie crisis deciding between spring mix salad and a burger with sweet potato fries. I had a salad earlier, so I will enjoy the burger, thank you.

Even though I did that, by Saturday my stomach hurt so badly. I rested it Saturday evening and just drank some kombucha.


kroger haul


Grocery Haul

We ended last week $8 under budget, so this week we had $98 for groceries. Here is what we bought:


Whole Chickens (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) – $5.20 total

Ground turkey with taco seasoning (labeled humanely raised) (markdown) – $2.49/lb

Chana dal (dry peeled chick peas) (clearance) – $.99/each

15-oz canned black beans (scratch and dent) – $.49/each

12-oz canned tomato paste (scratch and dent) – $.49/each

15-oz organic crushed tomatoes (scratch and dent) – $.49/each

Avocados, bell peppers, summer squash, and plums (markdown) – $.99/bag

Total spent at Kroger $24


kroger clearance produce



The best deals I got here:

Honeycrisp apples – $.99/lb

Organic spring mix – $2.99/lb

Total spent at Aldi $55

Total spent this week: $79

($19 left for next week)


aldi haul


Real-Life Menu

Since real life doesn’t usually look like the cute menu plans we try to make at the beginning of the week, here is what we actually ate on our 3rd week of Real Food Cheap.



We had green smoothies, apples, or frozen fruit a few times between meals, and we frequently eat a fourth small meal (usually some kind of leftovers from dinner or lunch).

What we ate:


This was our last day camping, so breakfast and lunch stayed simple while we packed and left the campground.


Homemade bread



Hardboiled eggs



Same as breakfast



Kids ate:

Free hot dogs and chips at a community event

I ate:

Leftover chicken salad when we got home



Forgot to record what we ate this day, but I did not go grocery shopping until Tuesday after the camping trip. We had oatmeal, veggies, apples, cheese, and chicken.

I ate dinner out with a friend.







Avocado toast, plums, carrots, celery



Taco salad with brown rice




Smoothies, avocado toast



Veggie & noodle soup (chicken noodle soup with a really rich broth and no chicken)



Turkey enchiladas (based on a meatless recipe from 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget)

Steamed broccoli



Black Bean Brownies (this is the best black bean recipe on the internet. Look no further.)





Kids ate:

Green Smoothies

I ate:

Leftover enchiladas and broccoli



Leftover enchiladas topped with sour cream, avocado, and Mexican carrot slaw




Kids ate:

I made a whole chicken in the Instant Pot and they ate it with steamed mixed veggies. Popcorn for dessert.

I ate:

Chris and I went out with some friends from out of town. I ate a burger and salad.




Kids ate:

Apples, oatmeal, and leftover popcorn

I ate:

Leftover enchiladas and brownies



Kids ate:

Plain homemade yogurt with honey, veggies (celery, carrots), apples


I ate:

Taco salad (with the extra enchilada filling)


Mid-afternoon meal:

Scrambled eggs




 Kids ate:

Leftovers from Thursday with brown rice

I ate:

Chris and I went on a date, and I had chicken quesadillas



Today I volunteered at an event. I ate breakfast there, and Chris was on kid duty all day.


At this point, my stomach was hurting from all the eating out. I ate bananas and steak and eggs from inside the breakfast burrito that the event provided.



We had a late lunch after I got home, and Chris brought me a salad he picked up while running errands with the kids.



Chicken and veggies for the kids. Kombucha and a few crackers for me.


Week 3 Thoughts

Besides eating out way too much this week and paying for it later (no pun intended), this week went well. We seem to have no problem staying under budget, which makes me wonder if we should lower it a little bit.

Then again, we have to be ready to buy more meat the next time it goes on sale, and my son’s birthday is next week. We’ll see if it’s as easy to stay under budget then.


Save Money, Eat Healthy!

Want to learn how to eat healthy while saving money? We share daily tips and ideas on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. But if you REALLY want to learn…

Join the Cheapskate Cooks list to get weekly tips and recipes, a free real food menu plan every month, and an invitation to our exclusive Facebook group! Check it out here.


Real Food Cheap week 3 Pin