What does a family of 5 eat while saving money and eating healthy? Here is exactly what we bought and what we ate (while camping!) on the second week of #RealFoodCheap.
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Real Food Cheap: Days 8-14
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 care for your body and your 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.
This week we went camping and had guests over for dinner, so our grocery haul looked a little different.
Here is what we bought this week:
Butter – $2.55/lb
Whole milk – $2.29/gal
Sweetened condensed milk – $1.09/14-oz can
Sour cream – $.89/lb
Aged white cheddar block – $2.49/8-oz.
Shredded cheddar cheese – $2.49/lb
Goat cheese – $1.99/8-oz pkg
Unsweetened almond milk – $1.89/half gal
Eggs – $.88/doz
Whole chicken – $.95/lb
Frozen broccoli – $1.19/12-oz
Frozen mixed veggies – $.99/12-oz
Celery – $1.29/bunch
Whole carrots – $.49/lb
Romaine hearts – $1.99/3 hearts
Organic spring mix salad – $2.99/lb
Quick oats – $ /42-oz container
Date & nut bars – $3.99/5 bars
Granola bars – $1.39/12 bars
Extra dark (85%) chocolate (for camping) – $1.99/4.4-oz bar
Graham crackers (for camping) – $1.25/box
Tortilla chips(for camping) – $.89/13-oz bag
Total spent at Aldi: ~$70
Found a couple clearance items at Kroger!
Kind breakfast bars – $1.49/8 bars
Crackers – $.69/8.5-oz box
Organic angel hair pasta – $.69/lb
Black beans – $.29/15.25-oz can
Total spent at Kroger: $6
Spring water (for camping) – $.87/gal
Total spent at Walmart: $6
Total spent this week: $82
What We Ate
While we often make menu plans, I rarely follow them exactly. Here is what we actually ate this week.
Throughout the week, the kids are allowed to eat snacks as long as it is a fruit, veggie, or nuts. This week they mostly ate apples and peanut butter, sometimes celery or carrots.
We had green smoothies a few times between meals, and we frequently eat a fourth small meal.
What we ate:
Oatmeal, eggs, apples, and peanut butter
Green smoothie for a mid-morning snack
Leftover butternut squash (mashed), sauteed greens with a tiny bit of crumbled goat cheese and turkey bacon, and a fried egg
Leftover homemade hamburger helper (I didn’t follow a recipe, but I like this one)
Spaghetti with quick homemade pumpkin marinara sauce (crushed tomatoes, leftover mashed butternut squash, and a few tablespoons of this Greek Seasoning.)
Spring mix salad with apples, goat cheese, toasted almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette (the BEST fall salad ever)
Homemade scones (my son made them – they are his signature dish!)
Same breakfast as Sunday
Blender oat (gluten-free) pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (tried a random Pinterest recipe and didn’t love it)
They had seconds (maybe thirds?) and another apple later in the afternoon
Salad from last night with diced chicken
Kids ate more muffins and apples in the car because we were out
Chris and I ate big salads with chicken when we got home
Muffin and apple for a mid-morning snack
Snacky lunch: cheese, muffins, veggies, fruit
Kids ate leftover spaghetti and salad
Chris and I ate black-eyed pea soup from Soul Food Love. (affiliate link)
Extra dark (85%) chocolate for dessert
Mom’s Best cereal I bought on clearance a while back. I stash these in the top of the pantry for mornings when I don’t cook.
I ate pumpkin muffins
Black-eyed pea soup
Kids ate more soup
Chris and I ordered pizza after they went to bed for an in-home date
We went camping with friends this weekend! It rained nearly the whole time, so all of my creative meal ideas got dumped for survival mode.
Popsicles made from green smoothies
I had a smoothie
(Left for camping at lunch time)
Our camping friends made dinner! Chili and hot dogs.
Homemade bread with butter
Beef hot dogs cooked over the fire (no bun)
Lettuce (just plain – survival mode, y’all)
Chicken salad with lettuce and an apple
I was in charge of dinner for all of our friends.
We made burrito bowls!
Cumin Beans in the Instant Pot
Brown rice (also the Instant Pot – I transferred the beans to a pot on the camp stove)
Shredded chicken (basically followed the Slow Cooker instructions for this recipe, with a few different spices)
This was easy camp food because I could just plug in the appliances and let them do the work. The only problem I had was finding a dry spot to plug them in. A few friends had awnings at their campsites and let me borrow their electricity.
I do not recommend trying that on your rainy camping trip.
We made dinner’s leftovers into taco soup and shared them with the whole camp.
The beans, chicken, rice, and salsa went into a big pot. We ladled out bowls and topped them with guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheese.
More camping friends made dinner! We had loaded potato soup and salad.
Week 2 Thoughts
We had no problem sticking to our $90 grocery budget, even while baking a Sour Cream Pound Cake for my son’s upcoming birthday and buying food for camping.
Our meals were fairly simple and repetitive, but that is partly thanks to the rain for sabotaging our camping trip. However, no one complained, because we all love homemade bread and cheese.
What is mainly saving us money is that I am not buying organic meat, dairy, and a lot of non-GMO products. I still use our other basic frugal shopping principles, focus on plant-based meals, cook beans, and do very specific food prep.
This is not how I think we should eat long term. However, if we are in crisis or survival mode and need to save a lot of money while eating healthy, it works great!
Week 3 Prep
This week is fairly normal. We are busy, but no more than usual. Hopefully, that will help keep our budget low!
What You Can Do Now!
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