Revealed: Our Grocery Budget

grocery budget

I mentioned yesterday that I’m going to start posting our twice-monthly grocery shopping list for all to see. I have two reasons for this. Primarily, I want to give readers a real-life reference that might help them establish their own grocery budget.

Since we shop chiefly in conventional grocery stores, I’m hoping that our budget will show that anyone can eat real, wholesome meals even if they don’t shop at a healthfood store or the farmers’ market. I enjoy healthfood stores and farmers’ markets, but for multiple reasons we’re currently not going that route.

I’m also doing this to keep myself accountable. So far we’ve always purchased groceries with our debit card, but this month we’re switching to Dave Ramsey’s cash system. All our money for groceries will go, in cash, into an envelope each month. If we spend all the money, that’s it for the month. If we don’t spend it all it will roll over to the next month and we can save up for a bigger purchase (like a hunk of meat, or extra produce that’s on sale).

The cash system will keep us from overspending, which means we have more money to go towards student loans (yep, we have those and we’re trying to ditch them with all haste).

Ok, so are you dying to know what our grocery budget is? We’ve budgeted two hundred dollars a month. Does that sound like chicken scratch to you? Or maybe it sounds like a lot. I think it’s a lot. I’d like to spend less than that, but we’re still adjusting to buying pasture-raised meat so we’re going to start with an ample amount and then see how we can trim the fat.

The following foodstuffs are divided into the categories I use on my shopping list as outlined here. This is what I bought last Friday, which will take us through the next two weeks. If you want to see how we’ll designate these ingredients, refer to the weekly menus I post each Sunday. Note that we may already have some items stocked, such as potatoes, rice, etc.

Grocery Budget Breakdown (first three categories are items purchased at Aldi and Meijer)

pineapple 1.59
4 lemons 1.29
6 roma tomatoes 1.19
4 pears 1.99
1 avocado .75
3 lbs bananas 1.47
1 lb organic salad greens 3.99

2 lbs tilapia 5.49
1 pint heavy cream 1.99
24 oz cheese 5.37
8 oz cream cheese .99
3 doz eggs 2.97

2 28oz cans tomatoes 2.00
1 lb penne pasta .99
2 cans tuna 1.38
2 cans sardines 2.00
30 oz mayo 1.99
kettle chips 1.79
tortillas .99
unbleached white flour 1.58
Annie’s mac & cheese 1.71
0.6 oz dried dill 3.59
1 qt peanut oil 3.99

Cow Herd Share 
2 gallons raw milk 13.50

Pastured Meat
1 lb pork sausage 4.95
3.17 lb ham roast 17.44

Health store purchase
250 capsules Carlson’s cod liver oil 27.49

Total spent: $114.47
So we’re a bit over spent for the first half of the month. It will come out in the wash, however, as the ham will  be portioned out over the whole month, and the cod liver oil will see us through the end of July.

In the coming weeks, I’d like to go into more detail about how we prioritize food purchases (for example, we buy pastured meat but not organic produce), our take on what “real food” means, and which “Nourishing Traditions” practices we follow and which we don’t. In the meantime, here are a few earlier posts on related subjects…

A Developing Approach to Healthy Eating
A Year of Real Food
What You’ll Find Here


  1. Hi Elsie! I enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing your budget! I am glad someone else shops like me, not all organic! I buy it when I can though! Now to get some pastured meat. We’ll have our own goat milk, hopefully next year! Blessings from Bama!

  2. I love your budget I too shop at the farmers market, grocery store and health food store I also shop from a local farmer at a back porch shop they have and my husband hunts so meat is in our freezer for most of the year. However our budget money wise is so much different we have 5 children and 3 of those boys plus homeschooling so I think my family eats so much more. But everything I make is from scratch so that helps our budget. Never buy premade or processed and I love that about your list!

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