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.
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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.
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Real pot o’gold at the end of the rainbow 🌈 #realfoodcheap #krogerdeals #eatyourveggies
(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.
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
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)
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.
Same as breakfast
Free hot dogs and chips at a community event
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)
Black Bean Brownies (this is the best black bean recipe on the internet. Look no further.)
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“Green” & frugal trick! Instead of plastic wrap, you can cover pans and such with a clean towel and cutting board or large plate! Works great! It stopped me from buying plastic wrap for 10 years 👍 . . . . ••••• How do you avoid buying disposables in your kitchen? . . . #greenliving #frugalliving #savemoney
Leftover enchiladas and broccoli
Leftover enchiladas topped with sour cream, avocado, and Mexican carrot slaw
I made a whole chicken in the Instant Pot and they ate it with steamed mixed veggies. Popcorn for dessert.
Chris and I went out with some friends from out of town. I ate a burger and salad.
Apples, oatmeal, and leftover popcorn
Leftover enchiladas and brownies
Plain homemade yogurt with honey, veggies (celery, carrots), apples
Taco salad (with the extra enchilada filling)
Leftovers from Thursday with brown rice
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!
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I always see the marked down produce at my Kroger but don’t tend to buy it since it is a lot of super ripe avocados. What do you do with your super ripe avocados? Is there a way to freeze them to use them later? I am just starting on this journey and trying to figure out how best to navigate this with myself, my husband, our 2 month old daughter and my 3 year old son who seems to eat ALL DAY long!
Such a great question! I am actually working on a post about what we do with overripe avocados in response to multiple questions about the avocados. But the short answer is that yes, you CAN freeze them and use them in smoothies later! Lots of tutorials online about how to freeze them.
oh my word!!! i am so jealous about your chicken and beef steals!
Thanks! It’s all about being there at the right time. You never know what you’ll find.