I recently asked people on my Facebook page how much they spend on groceries and shared that I spend around $100 for my husband and myself. I was surprised to find that people were surprised by this and tell me that they spent way more than that for two people on non-organic food. I also know that it’s possible to spend even less than this, like if we didn’t have to buy wild seafood for Scott (but he doesn’t eat chicken or beef or turkey). This also includes the extras we get, like organic wine, dark chocolate and smoked oysters (which make the best snack).
To be honest, I actually used to spend a shit ton of money on groceries. I’d go in without an idea and grab whatever looked good. I didn’t check sales, and I normally went to Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck, anyone?) because it was the nearest grocery store that sold organic food. I did what was convenient and got whatever I wanted. This is not to say that I had the money to do this back in the day – I don’t know what I was thinking. Majority of my paycheck went to groceries, which was really unnecessary. I just was young, not good with my money, and most of all – I had no idea how to effectively grocery shop.
So I’ve decided it would be a good idea to share my methods. I now buy organic produce, wild seafood and grass-fed and raw dairy. Yeah, raw. I’m in a buying club in the DC area that hooks me up with amazing local, sustainable, organic and raw food. I budget for this.
I start out each week by making a meal plan. Scott doesn’t eat breakfast, he eats a protein shake after the gym each day. I’m rarely hungry in the morning and occasionally practice intermittent fasting. Still, I buy two dozen eggs each week. Our diets are very different – he is a pescatarian and I love my grass-fed beef. Back to the point, I fill this in every week. Meal by meal.
Feel free to copy and paste this and fill it out for yourself. Here’s mine for this week:
|Sunday||Protein shake, eggs for me||Brunch in Annapolis||Eggplant lasagna and a burger for me, leftover salad from brunch for Scott|
|Monday||Protein shake and scrambled eggs for me||Leftovers||Chicken/shrimp lettuce wraps, bok choy|
|Tuesday||Protein shake, eggs for me||Leftovers||Pesto chicken salad, eggplant leftovers, shrimp for Scott|
|Wednesday||Protein shake and two fried eggs plus bacon||Salad (chicken for me, shrimp for Scott)||Bang bang shrimp/chicken with white rice and leftover bok choy|
|Thursday||Protein shake, eggs for me||Leftovers||Chipotle|
|Friday||Protein shake bacon and scrambled eggs with veggies||Hard boiled eggs, salad, smoked oysters||Salmon salad over mixed greens|
|Saturday||Protein shake, eggs for me||Leftovers||Date night|
From the farmers’ market:
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 lb grass-fed beef
From Trader Joe’s:
- 1.5 lbs chicken
- mixed greens
- 2 lbs shrimp
- bok choy
- big can of wild salmon
- dark chocolate
- organic wine
- smoked oysters
From Whole Foods:
- iceberg lettuce
From my buying club:
- raw kefir
- raw mozzarella
- raw cheddar
Probably like you, I don’t need to buy every single item on my grocery list each week because I already have them. For instance, I didn’t include rice, protein powder or the spaghetti sauce because I already had them (hint: buy in bulk when these are on sale). I only buy what I need based on each day’s meals. I included the times when we eat out, which is about three times a week. We normally have Chipotle once a week (which is under $20 for the two of us). We have date night on either Friday or Saturday and we usually go out to brunch on Saturday or Sunday so I included those times in my meal plans so that I wouldn’t budget for a meal we wouldn’t even be eating.
As you can see, I don’t have a ton of items on my list. I do however get my food from a few different places. This is not necessary for everyone, but let me explain why I do this:
- Trader Joe’s is my main source of groceries. I can find organic food there for a really reasonable price.
- I go to Whole Foods for the organic things I can’t find at TJ’s, like ricotta and iceberg.
- There is a farmers market right outside of my house every Saturday, I get as much organic meat, cheese and produce there as possible. They’re completely affordable, local and sustainable. Because this winter was so brutal, even though it’s late summer, we’re just getting a lot of the produce I’m used to eating at this time of year.
- I’m part of a buying club int he DC area. I place an order each week from local farmers – they have raw and grass-fed dairy, meat, etc.
If we ate out each meal, let’s say it would cost around $5 (which isn’t even realistic, it would cost way more, but let’s go with $5). Three meals a day for seven days for two people at $5 bucks would be $210. Double what we spend on groceries. So when people say that groceries and organic food are too expensive – compared to what? So that’s how our bill is around $100 each week. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. The key to it is to just be prepared. Go in with a game plan. You’ll save money and you’ll be much healthier.