A Week In Food

When it comes to food, I am unwilling to compromise. I want to eat things that are good for me, meaning I don’t want to eat things just because they are cheap.

I’ve had people tell me they spend $150 for two people per week at the grocery store. Sean and I spent $400ish last month on groceries and felt like we both overdid it. But how do we eat on so little money? Do I spend hours cooking everything from scratch every night? Back on Vinalhaven I did have that time, but am less inclined to now. Here’s a week in food at our house (and a fairly typical one). You’ll notice every meal includes vegetables and protein, doesn’t have a lot of fat, and sounds pretty good, at least in my opinion:

Monday: Pizza
Dough: $1.50 (from a Portland company, a small splurge)
Salsa as tomato sauce: ¼ to ½ jar- $1.50
Feta and olives: ¼ pound from bulk containers at olive station- $2
Sausage: ½ package: $3
Sweet potato oven fries: $2 (for a bit of oil, salt, and two potatoes)
Meal Total: $10

Tuesday: Tofu Stirfry

1 block extra firm tofu: $4 (Nicole tip:cutting it small allows you to sneak it into the dish for those who think they are anti-tofu)
Oil for frying: $.50
Frozen stir fry veggies: $3
Oriental noodles: ½ package $0.50
Teriyaki sauce (several ounces): $1
Ginger (spice): $0.25
Garlic (a few cloves): $0.50
Meal Total: $9.75

Wednesday: Fish and salad
2 filets tilapia: $5
Seasonings: $0.50
1/2 pound Edamame salad from Hannaford Deli: $2.50
1 can corn: $0.50
1 can black beans: $0.50
1 c. ploye mix: $0.50
Meal Total: $9.50

Thursday: Instant Indian
1 package Indian Food Spices: $2
1 package mixed frozen veggies: $1.50
½ package frozen broccoli: $0.75
1 big pat of butter: $0.25
1 c. Jasmine rice: $0.50
½ jar coconut milk: $1
1 c. flour, some salt, and olive oil: $1 (for flatbread)
2 small chicken breasts: $3
Meal Total: $11

Friday: Tomato, Mozz. Salad and Sausage
2 tomatoes: $3
1 package mozzarella: $5
Balsamic vinaigrette, 4 tbsp: $0.50
Olive oil (a bit): $0.50
Sausage: ½ package: $3
Meal total: $12

Saturday: Crepes
2 c. flour: $2
1/4 c. sugar: $0.50
1/4 c. milk: $0.50
Eggs: $3
Salt and butter: $1
Peanut butter, jam, syrup, etc. to put on crepes: $2
Meal total: $9

Sunday: Leftovers!

For Two Lunches and Two Breakfasts, 5 times a week and snacks:
2 loaves of bread (we make sure to get the kind with no corn syrup): $4
Peanut butter (natural-1/2 jar): $1.50
Nutella (1/2 jar): $1.50
Honey (1/2 jar): $2
Rice crackers: $2 for a lot of them
Yogurts (6 Stonyfield Farms): $4
Mixed nuts: $5
3/4 lb natural turkey breast deli meat: $5
1/2 lb cheese: $3
Box of clementines/bag of apples/insert 5-8 pieces of fruit here: $6
Cereal: $3
Milk: $2
Bag of tortilla cips: $2
Total: $41

So for about $100, I’ve got almost all meals (weekend mornings usually involve a breakfast out) for two people covered. You’ll also notice that there are remainders of items that carry into the next week, meaning that over the course of a month, we actually spend less than this in the average week.

For those who have asked, that’s how I do it. So what’s your favorite cheap and good meal secret? 

Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

2 Responses to “A Week In Food

  • Robby Desjardins
    11 years ago

    seeing as how I haven’t actually “cooked” anything in a while, I don’t really have any good secrets but you know what gets me on my grocery bill, the fricken cost of extras. This would include stuff like soap, t.p., cleaning supplies, catfood, litter, razor blades for shaving ( a complete rip-off). I find that my food bill raises dramatically when I buy them along with my regular grocery items. Right now Between Derek and I, we pay about the same for groceries as you and Shawn do. Also I think I get lazy at times and figure, “Hey, I won’t make lunch today I’ll just buy it instead”…which adds up very quickly!

  • laura
    11 years ago

    i agree with Rob (good ol’ Rob). Most of my food-expenses come from being uber-lazy & grabbing a sandwich from the deli instead of making something myself or packing up leftovers before work. As far as food secrets, i have no fascinating meal ideas to share. Our most popular “clean out the fridge” dinners usually become stir-frys or soups. They’re our stand bys to use up all the veggies or meat or tofu that would otherwise just go bad…

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