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Author Topic: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget  (Read 72998 times)

Offline AmandaL

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #120 on: August 18, 2010, 06:39:42 AM »
Also I wanted to share what a typical day in food looks for us:

breakfast: oatmeal pancakes made with a little goats milk and fresh fruit (or one egg and a handful of tomatoes, spinach, etc)

Snacks: fresh fruit, 1/2 sandwiches for the kids, salads for the adults

lunch: chopped salads for the adults, maybe a couple of ounces of meat.  I just packed the kids lunch for camp: 1/2 sandwich each (one had one slice of turkey and the other had  nutbutter and honey) and some fresh produce, homemade pretzel, and water in their thermos. 

Dinner: last night we had baked beans, a kale salad, and savory cornmeal/sweet potato cakes.   

Dessert: fruit and a couple of tablespoons of kefir cheese.


We drink tap water which we purify at home. I make a 6-8oz cup of coffee per day, and occasional wine---it's usually cheap! 

 

Wife, mother, food lover, advocate
www.mydailydiner.com
Healthy Eating Specialist
Whole Foods Market, Arlington, VA

Offline rpeterson3915

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #121 on: September 16, 2010, 01:03:08 PM »
Amanda,

I am so proud of the fact that you can spend what you do and feed your family in a healthy manner. It's so difficult to do so, I even work for Whole Food's with a 27% discount and still have trouble with a budget. I have a family of 4 and spend about $180/200 a week on food. We have a CSA that we pick up a box once a week, that's $50, grass fed meats and veg's. We cut back on meat due to cost and will only eat organic grass fed. The rest I spend at Whole Foods with a discount. I cook and prepare all the meals, no prepared foods at all. Please tell me now you do it, I did read on your posts some details but am still amazed. My son is 11 and very tall and slim and eats his weight in food everyday. Fruits and veg's and whole grains, nothing processed at all. It is not cheap to maintain this lifestyle. Please give some tips...
Thank you,
Rebecca

Offline enis38623

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #122 on: September 18, 2010, 05:05:16 PM »
Would it be a little less expensive to go directly to some of the Farms to get most of my fruits and vegetables instead of going to a Farmers Markets or Whole Food Stores?  Because it sounds like living a healthier lifestyle can be really expensive and for someone like myself who has a family of 5 and can't afford to spend $200 a week on food, I wonder if this would be a better alternative.

Offline lbanashek844

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #123 on: September 21, 2010, 09:53:10 AM »
Wow. I'm impressed on how little you spend and motivated to take a good look at what we spend weekly, monthly, yearly as a family of 4 plus 2 dogs. I know that it varies on how busy we are and how much time I devote to planning and preparing ahead of time. When we are busy we still eat healthy but spend more money on prepared foods.  I do notice that when I take the time to plan and prepare that I feel less stressful and more connected to what I'm eating. I'm sure my family feels the same way. Dogs too!!!

Offline EstherPa

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #124 on: October 13, 2010, 10:51:06 AM »
My family of 5 (2 adults and 3 children) spend between $200-$240 per week most weeks on all of our grocery needs (including the cleaning supplies).  We buy all whole foods or minimally processed (like spelt flour) and make things at home.  Where we live in Vermont, we do not have Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.  We do have local organic grocery stores and farmer's markets, as well as CSA's, which we have done in years past--not this year.  We buy as much as we can locally and feel good about our health, earth and supporting people in our own community, who love and nurture the land to bring quality food locally.   The financial piece is important to consider, of course, however, it is not everything.  We do spend a lot on groceries AND we are blessed by the healthy nutrition and vibrant foods our money offers us.  As well as our money blessing our local farmers and local employees.  Also, we make choices--we choose to buy at local quality 2nd hand stores for clothing, buy quality items when we do buy extras because quality matters in all things, and do a lot of hiking, gardening, having family meals with friends, and enjoying each other in rich ways that do not involve lots of financial cost.  Everyone makes choices.  Everything we do has a cost and a reward.  It is simply choosing where to put our attention and focusing on the richness we choose. 

Offline Claudia Seman

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #125 on: October 18, 2010, 04:11:13 PM »
Hi Amanda,

I am truly surprised on how you do it. I have 5 boys (but basically down to 3 (the little ones) and I would really love to make LOTS and LOTS of money to buy the right food in quality, quantity and also what I would really crave or want to eat. I am sort of like you in a sense. I shop (not so much now) @ Whole Foods (just love it only that to be honest is quite expensive some times), but what can we do...they have more than every thing! I also shop @ Trader Joe's and Sprouts. I used to buy every thing organic but to be honest (I am going through a divorce!), I can't afford it any more and I hate it because I truly know the importance. So now I am down to buying most of my fruits and veggies @ Superior Grocers  :-\. Is really inexpensive but not organic. What I buy organic is the unsweetened soy milk from Trader Joe's. Oh, I forgot to say that I also shop @ Costco:frozen berries, frozen organic string beans, spinach, corn, chicken, mozzarella cheese, organic eggs, double fiber bread, Colombian coffee (of course - I am from Colombia - ha!), wild (different kinds of fish), the peanut butter, toilette paper, paper towels, tomatoes, limes, that's pretty much it. I do not know but my food disappears so easily. And to be honest with you, I do not feel like getting even half of what I would like to eat. I would love to shop @ Whole Foods and be able to eat all kinds of different veggies, all kinds of fruits and nuts. They are my best friends because I read all labels and ingredients and there's not much there to get out there in terms of what is ready to go.

Offline sarahf320

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #126 on: November 10, 2010, 07:23:45 AM »
Wow! I don't have a family yet but even for one person I know how groceries add up. In training to be a personal chef, this thread is extremely helpful in knowing how to find a system that works. It looks time consuming, but once you have the system, it seems very simple. Right now I haven't been sale shopping as much, my focus being changing the way I shop/eat, but I'm so glad to see that a tight budget and holistic eating can be one in the same. I also really like that Amanda has one day she does all her shopping. I often lose track of how much I'm spedning due to all the "mini" shopping trips. Thank you ladies for all your wonderful and thorough comments!

Offline virginiac010

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #127 on: November 19, 2010, 12:12:50 AM »
Amanda, Thank you for this long but beneficial discussion on eating for health for a large family while keeping cost down.  I shop weekly as well for my husband and I and we spend about the same amount as you but there is only two of us. This motivated me to be more cautious of how I spend and to only get groceries that are a necessity instead of what looks good.

Offline ShiraH

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #128 on: December 20, 2010, 10:51:49 AM »
This topic has spurred quite a discussion!

Just wanted to let you know about a documentary film I co-produced about this exact topic.  It covers food access for low-income families, and the notion that even if you have the knowledge and the access, it still takes an extraordinary amount of time and energy to eat healthy on a budget. 

The name of the film is "Food Stamped".  Check out the trailer to the film at www.foodstamped.com.  It premiered in October at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

We are currently doing community/institutional screenings.  If you would like to purchase the film for a community screening, please email foodstampedmovie@gmail.com


Offline jenniferp859

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #129 on: March 10, 2011, 11:10:08 AM »
This is amazing, I really look up to this post. I have tried so hard to buy whole, organic foods and be on a budget also. Thankyou for this post. I am going to try this. I am assuming that obviously you have staples at home such as spices, flavorings different kinds of raw sugars, different kinds of salts..ect. ect. Anyways, thanks again for this post even though it was 2 years ago. I will benefit from this. Thankyou!
~Jennifer










Hi Kelly, thanks for asking.  First, for clarification, its a family of 6, INCLUDING the dogs--4 humans and 2 canines (although, dont tell them).  

It has taken me many years to get my grocery spending down.  I have maintained the $120 to $200 weekly budget for a little over two years.  My goal is to always get it down as low as possible while still eating well.   I live in Sacramento, so it might just be that groceries are less expensive here.  I donít know...it would be fun to compare costs.   I don't buy in bulk and this does not include paper towels, TP, laundry detergent etc.  Just food.   I put everything but the farmers market on my Amex card so I am able to keep track and itemize all of our spending.  That has been a great tool, it really helps to see where our money goes.  :)

I grow a very small garden in the spring/summer/fall but not in the winter and because of its limited size is not a real asset in terms of saving $$.    

Here's how I shop:

On Friday's, I hit Whole Foods and buy a weeks worth of meat.  I buy whatever is on sale. I spend $20 to $30/weekly on meat.

I also buy my dairy at Whole Foods.  I buy Clover products.  I buy 1 gallon of milk, butter, whatever organic yogurt is on sale--there's always at least one brand at $.69.  I spend $20-$25 on dairy.  

I also raid the bins for nuts, seeds, rice and beans. I only buy what is on sale.  $20

That night I sit and plan our meals for the week using the items that I bought at Whole Foods. This makes all the difference.

Saturday, I wake up and hit the Farmers Market.  I take $40 cash with me.  I walk around once taking note of price and quality.  I also take time to talk to the farmers.  I find that many of our local farmers use organic practices (or beyond) but aren't certified.  (note in the summer I take $60).  I walk out of there fully loaded.

After the farmers market I hit Trader Joes and pick up bread (organic 8 grain $2.29) and eggs (free range $2.99).   I buy one or two boxes of crackers and 1 box of cereal. I buy 2 cartons of OJ ($1.99/each).  I buy some of my cheese here too.  I also buy any peanut butter, preserves, olive oil, vinegar, tea, etc (as needed, usually once a month or once ever couple of months).  Sometimes I buy my meat here too--if there is a good deal on something.  I spend $30 -$50 tops.  (if I buy wine my budget goes up)    
  
After that, I swing by the regular grocery store and pick up a block of Tillamook Cheddar ($7.99) for my kids, and whole chickens for my dogs.  I wait until whole chickens go on sale for $.59 to $.69/lb (usually about 2x a month) I buy four and they usually total about $3 a bird.  These are Foster Farms and not organic--sorry pups!

  
Items I donít count for in this budget are: Fish.  I am luck to have a father that goes fishing in Alaska and out the SF bay many, many times a year.  I get the bounty of the fish.

Dry Dog food.  I feed my dogs, chicken, rice, veggies and dry kibble. (the chicken, rice and veggies are accounted for in the above budget).  But the dry kibble is not.  In my budgeting it falls under "pet expenses".   The dogs also get and dog friendly leftovers.  

Coffee.  Although this probably should fall into my budget, it falls in my "entertainment" category as that is how I view it....pure joy.  I have it shipped to us right from the roasters and limit myself to 8oz per day.   I sip it in the morning usually before 5 am, while I read the paper in my quiet home.  It is my most favorite part of the day! (thats sad considering everyone else is asleep!  HA!)    

I spend $3 in gas to get to all my stores!  

We donít waste anything.  I make most everything from scratch.  We snack on foods that we would normally eat for meals just in smaller quantities.   We don't typically eat out at restaurants.  My husband takes leftover dinners for his lunches.  

If I spend more than my budget allows in one week, I make up for it the following week.  My monthly budget is between $480 and $800 (which is 120 to 200/week)  

I write about meal planning on my blog, www.dailydiner.blogspot.com.  

Hope this helps.   Amanda

« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 11:15:10 AM by jenniferp859 »

Offline MiraD

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #130 on: March 11, 2011, 03:29:42 PM »
In case anyone is interested here is the latest version of the USDA Food Plan pricing sheet. 

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2011/CostofFoodJan2011.pdf


Offline bridgettet302

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #131 on: May 09, 2011, 10:33:13 PM »
Good point and great discussions throughout this long thread! Eating for Health within a strict budget is the first question that pops up in any food related discussion. I believe that it will take serious fundamental changes in our agricultural system and mind set.

Would you rather put your money into delicious and healthy foods or the inevitable high healthcare costs of eating a poor diet?!

Surely a topic that will never be exhausted! Thanks!

Offline eileenc855

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #132 on: October 22, 2011, 03:29:45 PM »
Very interesting and good thread. Congrats to Amanda for such amazing planning skills. I was curious though if everything you buy is organic/ grass fed such as the meat and dairy?

Offline andriap969

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #133 on: November 15, 2011, 09:00:05 PM »
A great way I have found to eat less expensively is simply to eat simpler. The less ingredients in a recipe the better and if your using real whole foods and seasoning in a smart way you are more likely to get the proper nutrients that you need.

There are some great simple (and some more complex) recipes on one of my favorite blogs called "Vegan on a Budget"

Check it out...
http://veganonabudget.wordpress.com/
Andria Phillips

Offline carolinem619

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #134 on: March 18, 2012, 07:15:08 AM »
Do you have any suggestions on where to get affordable organic meat (in bulk?) for our dog. We home cook for her but she has ongoing digestive issues since we adopted her a year ago.
Any butchers in Marin or Sonoma would be helpful to know about. Thanks!

 


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