Our Food Budget and Grocery List

 

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One of our many fancy nut, cheese, and fruit salads

I have recently become a fan of the Frugalwoods blog since I had stumbled across it one day while perusing the internet. We had already been working on becoming more frugal so that we could save as much as we can for our move to Arizona. I’ve looked back with remorse at all the money wasted over the years on material items that rarely brought me joy for more than a few days. I had totally bought into the consumerist machine that is fed to us from birth in this country. Nowadays, organic food brings me more joy than designer bags. I suppose being a mom could do that to you!

Everything we purchase is organic whenever possible. We try to keep our food budget at $400 or less every month, buying bulk as much as we can. Here I will share our strategies for living healthy on a budget, it can indeed be done! We only eat out at a restaurant for special occasions, maybe 3 times in a year. I rely on Chipotle or Panera if we are out on a day trip and need a fast food lunch in a pinch, because they are relatively inexpensive and I trust the food quality.

I believe everyone should have access to as much organic whole food as possible. Food is thy medicine; I made a conscious choice to not compromise my family’s health by purchasing cheap food. As a cancer surviving badass as well, I attribute my great health to my diet and lifestyle. The only medication I take is natural porcine thyroid supplement because the radiation to my neck atrophied my poor little thyroid gland over time. It took about 10 years (15 to 25yrs old) for that side effect to manifest itself, but that is another story.

 

A favorite weeknight dinner, veggie stir fry

These are our staples that we purchase on a regular basis:

Costco

  • Organic eggs
  • Jasmine rice
  • Coconut water
  • Organic chicken
  • Wild Alaskan Salmon (frozen)
  • Cheese (cheddar, parmesan)
  • Kerrygold butter
  • Organic bananas
  • Nature’s Path organic oatmeal
  • Organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • San Pellegrino water
  • Organic coffee beans
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Organic extra virgin olive oil
  • Organic fruit snacks
  • Organic bread (currently Dave’s Killer Bread)
  • Organic frozen fruit (for smoothies)
  • Chips (non GMO)
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers (organic, gluten free)

Whole Foods

  • 365 organic beans (black, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.)
  • 365 organic lentils (dry)
  • Frozen pizza
  • Wild Alaskan Salmon (when on sale)
  • 365 organic whole wheat pastas
  • Organic salad greens
  • Organic fruit (apples, pears, grapes, berries, lemon, lime, avocado)
  • Almond or Coconut Milk
  • Organic vegetables (carrots, peppers, greens, squash, potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, cucumbers, onions, garlic)
  • Fancy cheeses (when on sale)
  • Organic dark chocolate (when on sale)
  • Organic yogurt (whichever brand is on sale)
  • Organic teas (Yogi, Choice, Rishi)
  • Occasional beer and wine
  • Organic cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts

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Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon with veggies

Our typical menus are simple right now as we are trying to save as much money as possible. We have been fancy in the past as I wanted the baby to be exposed to as many foods as possible during those important formative times of introducing foods. He has no food allergies at all and has rarely been ill, even being in school! I could attribute that partially to the magic of extended breastfeeding I suppose. Meat is not eaten in our home daily. Fish such as sardines and salmon I incorporate 2 to 3x a week for the healthy fats. The Mr. really enjoys chicken and bacon so we have that on occasion but only organic pastured meats.

 

A dragonfruit smoothie bowl

Breakfasts

I tend to eat simply for breakfasts during the workweek, usually yogurt and a hard-boiled egg or piece of fruit. Sometimes I will eat oatmeal instead of yogurt, and some days I have toast or muesli bread with peanut butter. Occasionally I’ll add a piece of cheese to my breakfast. I also get free coffee from work too, bonus perk!

The little guy eats cereal and a banana sometimes if he has to get to school. We usually try to do eggs and spinach cooked with coconut oil or butter if we can for him. Some days I will give him bread with peanut butter and fruit with a hard-boiled egg. On weekends I will make him pancakes from organic buckwheat flour and add fruit or organic dark chocolate chips to them for a treat. He also enjoys toast with butter and honey. I get our honey from a local friend who keeps bees.

The Mr. usually drinks bulletproof coffee during the week and does intermittent fasting. On weekends he will cook things like eggs with lentils and spinach, and sometimes bacon. Or I come up with something to make that I want to try, like this dragon fruit smoothie bowl!

 

One of our fancy weekend breakfasts

Lunches

I always pack lunch for work. I tend to bring yesterday’s dinner leftovers most days. Once a week I have a can of sardines and a salad or gluten free crackers. Sometimes I will make a tuna sandwich or beans and rice.

For the little one we try to vary his lunches more, he loves PB&J and mac n cheese like most children of course. Sometimes I will give him cut up vegetables with ranch dressing or hummus to dip them in and cheese or a hard-boiled egg. He also loves pasta with red sauce. Rice and beans are a big favorite of his as well. I just keep tossing veggies at him really. His favorites are broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, pepper, green beans, and spinach.

We make soups on the weekends and freeze the extra

Dinners

Dinners on the weekdays are usually quicker than weekend dinners. Once a week we junk out and eat pizza. Tuesdays I typically do Taco Tuesday with black beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce. I usually have a salad or a pasta on other days. The Mr. has been working more nights now so sometimes he will set something up for us so when I get home I can finish it or just serve it. 😁 Recently he made crockpot sesame chicken with broccoli over rice. It was delicious!

I hope this peek at how we eat has helped give you an idea how to eat the best foods on a budget. My diet inspiration comes from a combination of somewhere between The Blue Zones and Bulletproof. I don’t feel like we sacrifice at all with how we eat. I would love to be able to grow all of our own food, but that will have to wait until we have our dream house in Arizona, as it gets really cold here for many months and tends to kill the garden.

 Let me know what you think, do you eat organic? How do you afford it?

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A Frozen Inspired Gratitude Jar

Frozen Gratitude JarWhen I first heard about gratitude jars, I wanted to make one so that I could use it to help my son learn about being grateful for what he has and also create a good lifelong habit for him. I immediately started perusing Pinterest for ideas. I wanted it to be gorgeous as well as functional so that it would spark joy when I looked at it; I knew if it was displayed we would be more likely to use it. The first thing I did was pick out the glitter paint for the jar. I found some pretty glitter at Michael’s and some Mod Podge. If you would like to make your very own gratitude jar, I have outlined here how we created ours, step by step.

Supply list:

  1. Mason Jar
  2. Glitter
  3. Mod Podge
  4. Craft sticks for mixing (optional)
  5. Coin slot lid (optional)
  6. Ribbon
  7. Stickers

Now you are ready to start making your jar!

Frozen Gratitude JarStep 1: Mix the glitter and Mod Podge together and pour into your mason jar. It will all be on the bottom. Next, start to slowly swirl the jar until it is evenly coated on the inside and the jar is now upside down. Allow the excess to drip out. Prop the jar over whatever you would like and let it dry upside down. I just left mine overnight to make sure it was set.

Frozen Gratitude JarStep 2: Decorate. Now comes the fun part! I chose sparkly blue stickers and ribbons for our jar. I kept with the Frozen theme by using snowflakes and glitter. You can decorate it with anything you’d like. Have fun with it, come up with your own theme! I used scrapbook stickers, rhinestones, and ribbons. The jar lid was replaced with a coin bank jar lid to make it easy to slip our notes into the jar.

Step 3: Coat the jar with Mod Podge after it is decorated to seal it. Let it dry and then add the ribbons. That’s it! Now your jar is ready to add lovely notes of gratitude or wonderful things that happened today. At the end of each year we empty ours and read them together as a family. It has become something to look forward to each New Year. Enjoy!