It’s been four weeks now so it can’t be a fluke! A little inspiration and some mindfulness has saved us $250/month on our food budget. Recently I read about a woman who successfully lived on a $1/day food budget. She lost some weight and didn’t achieve optimal nutrition but, all things considered she did it successfully!  I have since learned that there are others taking on similar challenges.

I don’t want, and thankfully do not have to, live on $1/day food allowance. But the enormous gulf between this budget and ours further cemented what I already suspected: our grocery budget was out of whack. So I decided we should aim for $5/day for each of us or, to make the math easy, $75 total weekly grocery budget. We have a separate, small, eating out budget for the month. My wife was skeptical due to our commitment to healthy eating but thankfully game to try it. Shared money goals=happy partnership!

Now I know that there are millions of families in the world that eat on less than our revised budget for two but I wanted to set an initial goal we could meet to gain confidence to make further cuts. We are both very active and extremely health conscious so we choose organic still for the most important items (dirty dozen) but have switched to inorganic oats and pasta and other items where it is not so critical.

Each week we plan a menu of fresh, inexpensive foods that are highly nutritious and almost,but not quite, vegetarian. We start with $75 and begin our shopping for the week at the farmer’s market. Then we move to the local supermarket for non-organic fare and finally to Whole Foods for those things we can’t get at the chain supermarkets. Whole Foods often has better prices on their store brand of products (i.e. soymilk) than can be found at the local Publix. We bring a calculator and tally as we go.

After three weeks we are eating more healthfully and not sacrificing enjoyment! This is very empowering. It is all relative of course. I read about another couple that lives in NY on $30/week food budget, all vegetarian. They probably would not be impressed with our efforts but might be pleased they were part of our inspiration. But we all start where we are and I just love how it feels to make a positive impact on our financial goals, waste less, give more to worthy causes and reduce our ecological impact. Plus this is addictive and now I’m part of my own delicious cycle of inspiration.

For more inspiration, read Holly’s post yesterday on the cost to feed a family of four. That plus Serena’s latest post in her Stretch Your Food Dollar series makes me think food is the budget item in the crosshairs for many of us.

Photo credit: stock.xchng