How to be Paleo on a $50 a week food budget?

by (91) Updated July 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM Created November 16, 2012 at 2:45 AM

Everyone keeps talking about "grass-fed beef" and other luxuries of the middle-class & super-wealthy, but I simply cannot afford it. And when I say I can't afford it, I don't mean "it would interfere with my wine of the month subscription", I mean I REALLY CAN'T AFFORD IT... as in pay the electric bill or blow $129.00 on FOUR 5lb organic free-range chickens type of situation. I live in the city, not the country, with no car...so I do not have access to "farmer's markets" or any other elitist mingling hot spots. If I sound cynical, it's because people are always giving me rotten advice, telling me to "prioritize", ask a friend to give me a lift to the farmer's market (I don't have friends or close family) or just flat-out refusing to acknowledge my situation.

I have a cheap, cr@p job. I get $60 worth of food stamps per month. $50 per week is my budget. Throw me some ideas, but please don't tell me to "reassess my finances", or I will explode into rageville. I promise.

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47 Replies

1643 · November 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Some people take "Paleo" way too far. No electricity? No internet? Give me a break. Buy big, fatty, tough cuts of meat: pork shoulder, beef chuck, shanks, whatever. And buy a crockpot. It will change your life. Buy frozen vegetables/fruit. Forget about nuts; they're overrated. If you must search for it and order online: BUY LARD. OR DUCK FAT. That is the second thing that will change your life. You're welcome. If you're not allergic...EAT EGGS!

1920 · November 16, 2012 at 3:16 AM

I say good on you for taking the time to invest in your health regardless of socio-economic circumstances and not using this as an excuse in itself.

My tips for buying meat is to shop when supermarkets are discounting their food for the day that's due to expire. I just freeze the meat if it's due to expire before I can eat it. You could try asking a staff member when the best time of week would be for this and try and work it around your work schedule somehow. Stick to lean cuts if grain-fed and you can simply add fats to your meals otherwise.

keep eyes peeled for the weekly specials too. You can always save a few dollars by buying in bulk today to save for tomorrow.

632 · November 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I'm a college student, who cannot eat eggs and avoids dairy. I'm completely gluten intolerant *celiac disease.

My daily meals consist of things like:

Frozen spinach with 2 tablespoons of EVOO or EVCO and garlic powder. Sometimes I'll add a little grass fed ground beef (Buy 1 lb/week and call it good = 6-8 dollars of daily groceries) or just use a small amount of conventional meat.

Flax seeds are your friend. Filling!!! Add a few berries when you can afford it.

I rarely buy fresh vegetables (College life for you!) and I usually eat frozen vegetables ($1.99 = 5 days of broccoli frozen). If I get a little extra money (overtime!), then I stock up on a package of meat from BJ's (3 lbs grassfed ground = 15 dollars and I "use meat as a spice" these days. If you're an egg eater, this will be even easier.

I made my own sauerkraut for <6 dollars and that lasted me lunch for 6 days. Super cheap meal!

A lot of broths and spices to make your meals interesting.

If you can tolerate them, sweet potatoes are your friends. Bananas are also your friend.

It is doable, I swear!

40652 · November 16, 2012 at 2:58 AM

Don't let perfection get in the way of progress. Organic is great, but eating conventional fresh veggies is still superior to a loaf a bread.

Less buzzwords like organic, grass-fed, local, etc...

Excessive meat consumption isn't cost-effective. Half a pound max per day is plenty.

Starches (potatoes, rice, tubers, etc...) are good sources of calories (assuming you do starches).

11011 · November 17, 2012 at 5:16 PM

I think, whether or not others agree, that red meat, even if it isn't grass fed is miles above any type of grain. Get some onions potatoes and carrots, the cheapest red meat you can find, maybe some hard aged cheese for the calcium/phosphorus/k2 and some pate/liver. Everybody can afford organ meats, they're the cheapest thing in the store.

384 · November 16, 2012 at 2:54 AM

Eggs, cheap cuts of meat that you can put in the crockpot to become tender, More eggs, whole fryer chickens- not pieces of meat that come de-bonned or de-skinned.

Also, I think frozen veg is cheaper than fresh but have never compared prices. Bananas are cheap.

618 · November 17, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Budgets are always tough. These strategies help me keep it under $75 a week.

Grass-fed liver is very cheap. Sardines are very cheap if not very tasty, I like them with salsa. Eggs may be worth paying more for, you get what you pay for. Everything said about crock pots and large cuts is so very important. Buy cheap cuts and cook your week's meat on the weekend, you'll discover such tasty stuff with a crockpot or just a big covered dish in your oven.

Not very paleo, but I've found home-made raw milk kefir is excellent for the budget. You get amazing nutrition for the price of milk and a half hour of work each day. My local raw milk is $5 a gallon, that lasts all week. On foodstamps you can probably find a no-hormone or antibiotic local pricey milk somewhere that will be worth the extra buck or two per gallon for this. Kefir starter is cheap or free online.

Don't accept your limitations, be inventive. I have a 2nd floor back porch for a 'backyard' and grow more green beans and herbs than I can eat every year, on the 2" X 6" railing in recycling containers. Saves quite a few bucks a week in season. I buy a couple bags of fertilizer each year to refresh the soil in my containers, and use seed from my own plants. Stay healthy and respect the health-wisdom you discover. If you're broke and paid hourly, getting sick every couple months by eating crap is MISERY.

2970 · November 16, 2012 at 3:47 AM

So, with that money you are just feeding yourself, right? I'd say hamburger -- check the local price for grass-fed if you can, where I am it is $8.99 a pound, but for me, that's 4 burgers & depending on how much meat you're eating, that might be several days worth of meat. Ground lamb here is a little more, $9.99 a pound, but is nearly always grass-fed. But conventional hamburger isn't the end of the world. Then pork shoulder is a great, reasonably priced way to get multiple meals out of one hunk of meat, as is chuck roast or stew meat. A few sweet potatoes, white rice, eggs, bacon, fresh lettuce & carrots, veggies, whatever fruits you can find cheaply. Organic chicken really is expensive, but I can get a medium sized chicken for $18, and that's at least 3-4 meals for me, then using the bones to make broth takes your money even farther.

If it were me and I couldn't afford pastured meats, I'd buy lower-fat conventional meats and splurge on decent butter -- I think the Organic Valley cultured pastured butter is $4.99 a package, which granted is terribly expensive, but that would give you some of the nutrients (K2, etc) that you'd be missing out on from the meats. Kerrygold butter is another option.

And if you can stand it, look into liverwurst -- it's not expensive, and is very nutrient dense. I buy rolls & cut them into quarters, then freeze them and eat 1 a week.

There's a nice thread here for an even stricter budget than yours:


2030 · November 16, 2012 at 6:05 AM

I would suggest getting some lard, it's pretty cheap especially if you render it yourself. Just as a side note is your last name business by any chance:) ?

2903 · November 16, 2012 at 6:59 PM

A few things.

Frozen veggies are great. Stock up when they're on sale!

Meat, you can skip the grass fed, just try and get good quality meat. Stock up on sales and utlize a freezer if you can!

Potatoes are great. I know some people consider white rice a safe starch, and you could definitely utilize it as a filler if you like that idea.

If you get a good supply in your freezer, you can focus on just buying a few fresh fruits and veggies on a weekly basis and have a great meal!

Also, a cost saver for me has been saving every little scrap of fat I can to cook with. Bacon grease is fantastic. I fry up a lb or 2 a week and save the fat for cooking our meals during the week.

You can totally do it, you just need to not freak out if everything is grass fed, organic, etc. ITA with an above poster that non-organic meat and veggies are far healthier than a loaf of Wonder Bread. Which no one will be able to get soon anyway, now that Hostess is going out of business!

314 · November 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

What kind of grocery stores are easy for you to get to? I have an Aldi's near me. You can get lots of good deals there on meat and produce.

Some prices at my Aldi's: Whole frozen chicken $0.65/lb Eggs $1.09/dozen Bacon $2.99/lb

10878 · November 16, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Lots and Lots of potatoes, veggies and fruit from the clean 15, and a small amount of liver or some cheap shellfish like green lip mussels a day should fit the bill. I think if you're on a very limited budget, paying more attention to micro nutrients rather than macros is paramount.

363 · November 16, 2012 at 6:29 AM

All this bombardment to this guy is gonna leave him confused outta his mind ! Keep it simple dude . Wit a budget dont kill urself over grassfed , organic etc... shop the perimeters of markets , try and ger fruits , veggies and tubers @farmer martkets if pipossible and meats at your local market . However keep the meats lean when their not grassfed . As LEANas possible .add fats to your meals with avocados , coconut oil and nuts and seeds and youll be fine . Check out my YouTube channel for a ton of Palei info the channel is realitychuck821000

3365 · March 24, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Get your coconut oil through Vitacost.com .

A trick I've picked up is to watch the grass-fed meats for expiration dates. The day before it expires it's down 25%. The day of its 50%. Portion & freeze it...

Also, get the cheapest meats. Drumsticks & ground beef, canned tuna, fresh cherrystones, beef liver.

Every now and then pick up some ground lamb.

If you're not still trying to eat processed foods and you're minding reasonable portions it will help a lot. Not saying this is you, but I've seen plenty of people who can't afford quality meat, but they're still bringing home boxes of cereal and cartons of ice cream. You can't have it both ways... not on a budget at least.

Also, free-range eggs are waaay cheaper from a farm than from a store.

130 · December 28, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Nunya, I know your pain on being on a budget. http://robbwolf.com/2011/09/21/paleo-is-expensive/ This is one thing that made me say HEY, you know what what I CAN afford may not be OPTIMAL or perfect but screw it. You do your best with the resources you have. It still works regardless Nunya. So Just do your best with what you have. Either way it's better than NOT doing anything. Good luck to you!

40 · December 28, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Couponing is my friend for things like nuts, frozen veggies/fruit and olive oil or other staples, sometimes even coconut milk and a few other 'extras'.

It can be time consuming to search sales, cut coupons and go to different stores, but you can also save money by using coupons on other toiletries (think toothbrushes, toothpaste and laundry detergent/dish soap) and use the money saved towards more expensive items like fresh produce and better meats.

598 · November 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Is there a Whole Foods near you? The price of conventional meat at Whole Foods is usually comparable to conventional meat at other grocery stores, but the plus is that all Whole Foods meat is antibiotic and hormone free. Sure, the animals aren't eating what they're supposed to, but at least you're not getting any toxins.

7989 · November 16, 2012 at 8:19 PM

We've had our financial difficulties recently with a very limited food budget to feed our family of four.

I like things that can S-t-r-e-t-c-h. For example, a whole chicken, roasted is dinner and lunch for the four of us (mostly dark meat), the white meat is mixed with other stuff for another main meal(non-paleo DH and kids like homemade chicken pot pie, or in a tomato sauce with veggies that I eat on zoodles, and the rest of the family eats on pasta), and a BIG pot of bone broth from the carcass. That's several meals for our family of four from an inexpensive chicken, hopefully bought on sale. You can do the same this time of year with an inexpensive turkey and eat it for many, many meals (which is one reason I despise turkey because my mother did exactly this). I ferment my own vegies--a head of cabbage or beets when they are cheap go a long way. In the bounty of summer I dry veggies, fruit, and spices purchased ridiculously cheap in their seasons which I can use all the rest of the year. I try not to waste, so if I have leftover veggies, fruits, herbs, etc, I toss them in the dehydrator rather than throwing them away. They can always be added to soups and other dishes.

Last night I sauteed chicken livers--frozen ones are very inexpensive and these are great for you. I stock up when there's a sale. WF sells grass fed beef soup bones for cheap (usually $3 for a big bag) and the beef broth can appear in many meals.

I also never buy what I can make from scratch for cheaper. I make our yogurt (costs only as much as the milk) and kefir (get free grains from Freecycle). These homemade products can stand in for sour cream, cream cheese, etc. if you do dairy. We don't buy many packaged foods--ingredients are almost always cheaper and taste better when we make from scratch. Since my family isn't paleo, I bake some of the bread they eat. It costs me 50 to 80 cents to make a loaf of bread that costs $4 to $5 in the store.

Bulk bins are your friend, because you only need to buy exactly the amount you need, and you're not paying for packaging. So you can buy small amounts of paleo friendly ingredients to "garnish" dishes without breaking the bank. I buy a handful of macademias at a time this way--more would be way past my budget. An added bonus, assuming you buy at a store with good turnover, is that such bulk items are usually nice and fresh.

I'm not saying this doesn't take time and effort, but it's doable. I work full-time, so after dinner is my time for kitchen "projects" to feed the family. I like knowing that I can still feed my family healthful food in difficult times.

3033 · November 16, 2012 at 3:32 PM

There are a couple of good previous posts on here. My contribution is here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/156054/40-week-what-do-you-buy-redux/156111#156111 it may be cheaper or more expensive depending on where you live.

For me, meat is the basis of my diet, so I prioritize it. I also "work" at a food coop, and often get free vegetables at the end of the week. Also, the farmers markets around here (NYC) offer "health bucks" where for each $5 spent with food stamps, you get an extra $2 for produce purchases. Check if your area does something similar.

85 · November 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM

I live in a rural, less progressive area and many of the things that are common in Paleo are simply NOT available in our area. For example, we have a lot of beef farms, but almost all finish their beef with grain, which, (only) in my opinion, defeats the purpose of Paleo. It is simply not cost effective for us to order things online, and I find I get a bit discouraged at times, trying to do the right thing for my family. I heard this piece of advice a while ago, and I repeat it to myself almost daily..."Do the best you can with what you can".....We literally trade services with our neighbor, who raises beef and he doesn't grain finish because (he says) he's too lazy...really, he's just busy. I have a woman who raises chickens properly, her eggs are the tstiest we've tried and the yolks are far brighter. I buddied up to her a bit, and promised a monthly "bulk" order, and she gave me a discount. If for whatever crazy reason we have extra eggs when our next order is ready, I freeze them (you can use them for anything from a frozen state, I never knew that!). Also, I know which supermarket in our area puts out the most "reduced for quick sale" produce. (Check the smaller grocery, sadly, in the lower economical bracket neighborhoods in your area). I hit that store whenever the farmer's market is closed. I'm not saying YOU can do all of these things, but it works pretty well for us, and I hope some of it can give you ideas at least.

1009 · November 16, 2012 at 3:59 AM

you could turn your backyard into a garden. there are a lot of disease resistant varieties of fruits and vegetables. that would provide you with a little protein and whatever carbs your body needs

5744 · November 16, 2012 at 3:18 AM

I take offense to the "middle class and super wealthy" comment.

I'm a young professional who works much harder, and quite frankly, given my skills and knowledge, is underpaid. I'm below what people would define "middle class."

Bottom line, cost is measured in far more than simply the cost of buying the food from the source. Narrow thinking such as this is why a lot of things are as messed up as they are...

380 · July 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Get the best quality protein you can afford. Include some organ meats, which are cheaper. If you can't afford grass-fed or organic, don't worry about it. Buy vegetables and fruits that are in season. Look for the "clean 15."

If you are staying away from fast food, chips, and junk food, you are doing so much better than the SAD diet that you will experience benefits even without being able afford the more expensive meats too.

0 · July 17, 2013 at 3:44 AM

One of the least expensive things that I make is pulled pork. Buy the cheapest cut of pork you can find, and use a can of soda (I use soda sweetened with cane sugar). Put it on low in the slow cooker, drain when you get home, pull it apart and add some BBQ sauce. I live by myself and this usually lasts me 5-6 meals.

You can do the same with fryer chickens - pop it in the slow cooker, eat the parts you like, and you can use the same idea - mix with some BBQ sauce and have pulled chicken. A whole chicken lasted me a week!

Pork - can usually find around $5 Chicken - around $9 BBQ Sauce - $5 (I buy one sweetened with cane sugar) Soda - $1

I usually buy whatever fruit and vegetables are on special or sale and always try to stick fresh - sometimes, it totally makes sense to go frozen though.

Good luck!

1353 · March 27, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Sardines. They are really cheap and you can usually find a no salt option.

230 · March 27, 2013 at 12:11 PM

"middle class and super wealthy"? dude, I'm still going to school and living on my own, I wish I had 50 $ per week just for food! It's doable. Buy frozen veggies, tons of eggs and the cheapest meat you can get. Look for specials. Share a whole pig with a friend and it will last you ages.

315 · March 27, 2013 at 1:11 AM

Check out online if there are any churches etc handing out food on certain days of the week. Some require proof of income and some don't. Trade with others after, "hey you hate cabbage I'll trade you here's my bread..." Food Not Bombs is a resource to check out. No, not paleo but may have fresh vegetables and fruit to share. The book Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreit (sp?) is an excellent look truly difficult it is to survive on the very little money people who are poor have. If you haven't been there, it's hard to fully comprehend. I've been there.

373 · March 24, 2013 at 6:35 PM

If your current income doesn't allow for you to purchase food of your choosing, you still have few options. Fortunately, the best option is still available to you: grow your own food.

I'll assume you don't have any farm land available to you, so you should seek out a community garden in your area. If there are no community gardens in your area, then you'll have to get creative.

Perhaps approach someone who does have land and propose to her that she let you start a garden or, even better, aquaponics system in exchange for fresh, organic plants and fish for the both of you.

Another option would be guerrilla gardening. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_gardening

Get involved with your local Food not Bombs chapter: http://foodnotbombs.net/contacts.html They could be very helpful to you, as they have been to many others.

If you aren't able to muster the energy to grow your own, volunteer at a local food co-op.

If you don't want to volunteer at a co-op, then put your boots on and get ready to do some dumpster diving around back of the aforementioned food co-op.

Join a commune. http://www.thefarm.org/

I could go on an on and on. There's no reason for you to go hungry. It's more a matter of how hungry are you, and what are you willing to do to satisfy it?

What are your short-term and long-term LIFE plans? What are you doing to get to where you want to be? Are you taking the necessary steps to improve your skills and knowledge every day?

If you can answer those questions, then your current problems won't be problems for very long.

Best of luck!

68 · March 24, 2013 at 5:21 PM

I have been on a Paleo diet for only a month but I manage to keep my food costs below $50 per week. I get meats from Winn Dixie and buy only what is marked down because it is about to "expire" or I buy meats that are Buy One Get One Free. Last week I got 2 4-pound pork roast for $9.00 and 4 pounds of split chicken breast for $5.75.

Although I get a lot of vegetables from a farmer's market, I also get whatever fruits and vegetables are on sale at Winn Dixie or Save a Lot.

You may have a Save a Lot or Aldis in your area that sells groceries at a discount. If you have a Winn Dixie you can get great tasting meat (not grass fed) very cheap when it's on sale. They have boneless chicken breast, pork roast, pork chops, steaks on sale or Buy One Get One Free every week.

There are other stores that have similar sales such as Publix, Albertsons, etc.

1244 · March 11, 2013 at 4:30 AM

I don't eat grass-fed beef so that drastically cuts costs as it's probably the most expensive meat. Instead, I eat all sorts of fish. Mostly fresh wild-caught mackerel which I can get for €3 per 4 fillets (about 300g). Look out for good deals.

Grass-fed beef is nutritious but it is not necessary every day.

Look for vegetables and fruit at reduced prices. There is often nothing wrong with them. Just yesterday I got two big bags of spinach for €1.25 and a head of cauliflower for 34c. The other day I got a perfectly fresh bag of organic carrots for 90c. The expiration date on fruit/veg is somewhat arbitrary, but supermarkets are obliged to reduce the price once it passes.

0 · March 11, 2013 at 12:45 AM

My family of 4 budgets $100 a week with no assistance, you may find some ideas in my meal & receipt posts www.pushupsandcarrots.wordpress.com

842 · January 01, 2013 at 5:27 AM

I look at micronutrients. Get the most nutrient dense food for the best price. Maybe I eat a little less than I used to but I feel I am better fed. Tonight I am cooking up three lbs of beef shank bone to make broth. There is a ton of meat on the bones that will cook until it all flakes with a fork. I have marrow bones in there, too. We will drink the broth as soup with either fresh or frozen kale, a little sweet potato, some of the meat, There will be enough to freeze two quarts for later in the week and still have meat and broth tomorrow plus the marrow of the bones. I do what was suggested with a chicken in above posts--roast it with herbs and garlic and then have that for at least four meals and then take all the bones and skins and meat left over and make a soup broth. Again, we eat some and freeze some for later in the week with the meat in the broth that I have picked off the bones. The shanks are very inexpensive, the chicken I buy and freeze on sale. Lots of meals for little money. At our farmer's market, I understand you cannot get to one, we get pasture hamburger for $5 a lb. Bins are great for herbs and spices--sometimes 50 cents for herbs lasts for many, many meals. Sweet potatoes, eggs, bacon (save the fat for cooking), coconut oil,pasture butter, and all the greens I can find. I vary our menus depending on what is on sale and seasonal for veggies and meats and sometimes fish. Fresh fish is very expensive. Sardines are nutritious and inexpensive. I think the soup making is what really helps my budget. The beef shanks have been a blessing to being paleo. We eat frozen peas, (a bowl in the morning with eggs and bacon on the side seasoned with pasture butter and garlic), frozen spinach, kale, cauliflower, and other veggies, too. I buy them on sale. Hope some of this helps. Oh, also, you can make your own beef jerky if you find meat, fish, turkey, etc on sale. It makes a great meal with a salad or as a snack by yourself. It is very inexpensive if you make it yourself. Here is one recipe: I have made it without the fish sauce and it is tasty. http://neo-homesteading.blogspot.com/2012/02/cowgirl-beef-oven-dried-peppered-beef.html

5809 · December 29, 2012 at 2:40 AM

This was my advice for a $40 per week budget: I'd focus on:

a big bunch, container of organic mixed greens- $4

3 onions, red, white, yellow- $3

family pack of ground beef (4-5 lbs)-$7

whole fryer chicken- $7

a dozen free-range eggs- $4

use the rest of the money for the condiments of your choice : salsa, tomato sauce, hot sauce, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, or spices.

For more Paleo Diet hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/156054/40-week-what-do-you-buy-redux#ixzz2GP9P9pN3 Follow us: @PaleoHacks on Twitter | PaleoHacks on Facebook

145 · December 29, 2012 at 2:30 AM

The biggest bang for the paleo buck (in the UK):

Beef liver is very cheap for the benefits. Soak in milk, then fry in butter etc and process in to pate.

Bone broth: $3 worth from the butcher gives you two months' supply. Just heat in a crockpot/slow cooker, and re-use the bones three or four times. Keep the fat for roasting veg.

Frozen salmon fillets (skin-on) are cheap in my view. Look into issues of wild & toxins.

Chowder. Supermarkets do frozen pre-cooked bags of shellfish - mussels/squid rings/prawns. Make up a creamy sweet-potato base, reheat, then add the shellfish.

edit: kefir from a Polish supermarket is also cheap + coconut flesh from an Asian shop.

1039 · December 29, 2012 at 1:21 AM

I'm pretty poor too, though I'm living with my folks at the moment so I do get some of my food taken care of, but here's what I do:

  • First up, don't worry about being 100% paleo. It is hard work, and expensive. Just do what you can. Even if you are 70-80% paleo, and avoid grains, you'll be healthier than 95% of the people in your country.

  • Bone broth. This is dirt cheap, you may not be able to source grass fed bones, but I think eating grain fed bone broth far outweighs going without! Making a 10L batch should set you back on more than $10 including all ingredients. This will last a freakin long time.

  • Canned tuna or sardines. Cheap, efficient. 1 tin of sardines = 1 small meal, the energy seems to keep me going for a few hours.

  • Eggs. Free-range/Enriched Om3 are practically mainstream these days. And cheap.

  • Organ meats. Even the grass fed stuff shouldn't set you back a lot. Buy a massive bag of lamb kidneys or chicken hearts, buy some veggies (stick to veggies that don't have to be organic - often buying organic is superfluous) and cook a decent batch of something.

  • Buy a kombucha fungus. This literally keeps on giving, as long as you look after it you will have a potential lifetime supply of kombucha for an initial investment of about $8.

224 · December 28, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Find your local ethnic food market - I live close to Chinatown. No its not organic and the butcher is most certainly not getting grass fed beef in, but it is cheap. In some cases half the price of our local grocery store.

I only buy what I am going to use in the next day or two as the produce doesn't keep for long, no matter how blemish free it looked when I bought it. I can stuff my fridge and counters with tomatoes, onions, potatoes, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, lettuce, herbs, bok choy - the list goes on - for like $30. In fact $30-$40 is about what I spend per week for all of my foundation veg and that feeds 2 of us, 3 meals a day.

Medium avatar
188 · December 28, 2012 at 7:50 PM

You could always grow delicious sunflower sprouts and consume more grass fed orgánica eggs Plus lentils are tasty and awesome too

204 · December 28, 2012 at 5:06 PM

I live on 50$ a week for groceries. In the summer I usually by everything for like 25$ because I shop at farmers markets. Due to my weekly shopping there I got to know a lot of the local farmers. I buy all my milk, eggs, and meat organic, free range, grass fed, and raw for a fraction of what it would cost me if I bought the stuff in stores. Food is about community. I know my roommate get a lot of stuff through work barter. Get to know your community. Talk to local farmers. Tell them your story. I know most farmers need the extra help around the farm and would probably be willing to do work barter with you.
In the winter the cost of my groceries does increase, however, like I said I rarely spend over 50$ a week unless I buy 'special' items.

It's better to eat organic but not necessary. If you live in an area where you don't have local farms etc. Just make good choices with what you have.

438 · December 28, 2012 at 3:17 PM

What stores do you have available for you to shop at? Walmart? Target? What particular grocery store? Or do you only have small corner market types?

2711 · December 28, 2012 at 2:43 PM

The expensive part of the diet is the protein. Check out the Perfect Health Diet, you'll find out that you dont need, or want, massive amounts of meat everyday. You only need about 50-75 grams of protein a day unless your really working out and then it goes up a little bit. Many people overeat protein.

I was just thinking about this yesterday as I was paying for lunch at a mexican food place (yeah I know not paleo but I tried to eat only the good stuff). The bill for 3 people was $40 with tip. I can buy enough fatty grass-fed meat, including liver, and kidneys, online for a week or more for $40.

When I'm really eating per plan my food bill is lower than when I eat junk.

0 · December 28, 2012 at 2:33 PM

If your only feeding only yourself you can buy grass fed beef on that budget. We are a family of 3 and spend about 100 to 150$ a week on grass fed beef from US Wellness and we are by no means middle class. Their grass fed meat is so much cheaper than the grass fed meat you find at a grocery chain. Some grass fed ground beef at our chains want nearly 10$ A POUND!! Yea not affordable.

You can easily buy a chuck roast for about 25$ and some ground beef from us wellness and be about 50$. I can't stand seeing people say grass fed is not affordable when it is but you have to look for it and either buy at farmers markets or online. In fact definitely look into farmers markets eatwild.com will help you find meat.

I personally would rather spend the bulk of my money on meat and whatever is left spend on veggies/fruit. The absolute BEST place to buy veggies and fruit are at farmers markets and guess what most take EBT. I can't wait til winter is over so I can start going to markets again because the food is leaps and bounds better than anything at the grocery chains.

Paleo isn't for the "rich" anyone can do it. Sure maybe you can't spend money on the extras like special chocolate chips, expensive honey or expensive oil but really all you need is the meat and fat from the animal. You can do it. Don't get too discouraged it will work out.

237 · December 28, 2012 at 2:33 PM

I feed a family of 5 for 150 a week. We shop cosco. We eat as organicly as possible. About 80/20. We do how ever eat only whole foods. And make every thing from scratch

0 · December 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Hi, I am on a budget, although not as small as yours but about the same per person for the amount of people in my family.

I buy fresh and frozen veggies at Aldis. I have not purchased meat there because my husband does not like it. I buy meat at a warehouse store called BJs, similar to Costco.

Having limited transport is a problem. You would either have to make more frequent grocery runs via bus, bike or use a car service like taxicab or rental service. Our city has a car share where after joining, you can rent a car for a couple hours. If taking a bus, you can get a small wheeled cart that should hold enough groceries for your week. However, I don't live in the city so do have a car. I don't know what city you live in but our city does have a farmers market a few times a week in the city but the scheduling does decrease when winter comes. Not all farmers markets are inexpensive (ours has some stalls with really good prices but I don't make it there every week d/t work) -some can be more expensive than the stores.

I have a friend who has greatly reduced circumstances and she has identified food pantries which carry some fresh produce and some whole grains. She is a vegetarian.

We try to get grass fed from a farmer when it is available and when we have the funds. If not, we just supplement the oils (CLA and the fish oils) which we get from the warehouse store or Vitacost. This winter, try and order or pick up some seeds and start some seeds for a small garden either in your window or if you have access, a community garden plot. Growing fresh greens continually can help supplement and they tend to be more expensive at the grocery. Even the chia seeds. We are more fluid in our diet than is recommended via most paleo experts and eat fermented dairy, quinoa, rice and beans which are not technically paleo but help us keep a varied diet within our budget.

189 · November 20, 2012 at 4:53 PM

If you haven't already done so, try chopped liver. Find a good delicatessen and sample some good chopped liver. This is usually something people either love or hate with a passion, so you'll have to see where you stand.

If you like it, making your own is very easy and cheap. You can usually find 1 lb containers of chicken livers at the supermarket for $2 or less. The recipe I use is pretty basic.

  • 1 lb chicken livers with membranes removed
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3-4 hard boiled eggs
  • Plenty of butter or schmaltz (chicken fat)
  • paprika to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

    1. Pan fry the chicken livers until juices run clear, then put them in a big bowl to cool.
    2. Throw the whole boiled eggs into the same bowl.
    3. Chop up one of the onions and throw it into the bowl raw while the livers are still hot.
    4. Saute the other onion until clear and then add to the bowl.
    5. Using a pastry cutter or a couple of knives, chop up everything in the bowl and mix it all together. (Some people puree the mixture and make a pate, but I like a coarser texture.) It will look like canned dog food when you are done.
    6. Add paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. Paprika adds some sweetness. I add a few tablespoons of it, but you may want less or more.
    7. Refrigerate until cool. Letting it sit overnight lets the flavors run together, but I rarely can restrain myself for that long. You can eat it on cut vegetables or whatever else suits you. Some people use pork rinds which sounds pretty good.

202 · November 20, 2012 at 8:24 AM

I live in SoCal and we have many Mexican owned supermarkets out here. The majority of their meat and fish is < $5 per pound. Chicken breast for $1.59? Tilapia for $3.50 per pound? yes please! I have to feed 6 people and the amount spend on food adds up fast. They also tend to have a small but cheap selection of veggies and fruits. Good luck!

100 · November 16, 2012 at 4:17 AM

I would echo the idea to look for local farmers. True, you aren't going to buy a 1/4 cow with your budget, but if you go in with a few people, you might find a situation that works. I've found local grass fed beef for as little as $2/lb and I don't live in a cheap area. I've even managed to find a farmer that is allowing me to make payments on our side of beef. Another farm I know of will trade labor for food, doesn't hurt to ask. Eggs can be similarly cheap if you do enough digging. I've found my best resources on craigslist. There's not a single farmer's market you can get to in the city? I ask because our local ones take food stamps. I also know people who (illegally) sell their food stamps so they can purchase food where they want. Not that I'm suggesting that . . . Have you tried dumpster diving? You are probably quite aware of this, but being lower on the economic food chain means you have to be much more resourceful. It sucks, it's not necessarily fair, but it's reality.

That said, your post came with a lot of assumptions about what people will respond with and I thought about telling you to reassess your finances just to poke the bear. We eat only pastured meat/eggs and organic produce and we're far from rich or middle class even. I likely have more financial resources than you, sure, but don't assume those things only belong to the wealthy.

77338 · November 16, 2012 at 3:08 AM

Buy local, price-shop, go directly to the farm. Make everything yourself. Coconut oil can be really cheap if self-produced.

Buy lean malnourished meat and supplement with cheap self-produced coconut oil.

It's now true that alot of organic veggies are not that much more expensive than those sprayed with carcinogens and heavy metals. Even so, anything with a shell (like a pumpkin) that you do not eat anyways, you do NOT need to buy organic.

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