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$172 per week, two weeks, family of 5, real food.

That is the current experience as part of the series Someone Else’s Shoes. We’re starting completely from scratch following the monetary guidelines put out by the USDA for the Cost of Food at Home Thrifty Food Plan. The USDA attaches a weekly dollar amount to each person dependent on age and sex. You can check out their graph to see where your family falls.

My desire for this experience is to offer an alternative to the Thrifty Food guidelines put out by the USDA. And if one is switching from a Standard American Diet (SAD) like promoted by the USDA to a real/whole/traditional foods diet (I’ll just call it real diet from here on) one is most likely starting with a blank slate and will need EVERYTHING. Week 1 that is what I did, bought everything. Salt, pepper, sweeteners, baking staples, everything. And I actually didn’t have the money to get everything I wanted. This week we seem to be in better shape. I made a menu plan for the week and shared my initial purchases here.  And I  money left!!

Carryover amount from last week was 21 cents for a total to spend this week of $172.21. I had $54.57 left. I planned on adding and addition gallon and a half of milk on Thursday which will took my money down to $44.07.

I picked up a few more food items during this time. The baking soda and baking powder that I had forgot before along with onions, butter and lettuce in one trip (picture at top). The next day lamb, mushrooms and bananas (no picture for this).


Money remaining is $24.04

Here’s what we’ve been eating.

Day 3

Breakfast:  Rice cereal with candied fruit and peanuts. This was an experiment type dish that was great. Well, to everyone except Christopher. He didn’t like it which is odd since he likes all of the components to it separately.

Rice Cereal with Candied Fruit and Peanuts

Lunch: Open faced salmon salad grills. Salmon salad on sourdough with cheese put under the broiler for  few minutes. Good!

Dinner:  Creamy chicken crepes with roasted root vegetables.  Yummy. For the chicken filling I used the Chicken Supreme recipe from Nourishing Traditions. I had to change it just a bit to work for ingredients we had. And I decided that mint would be good in it. It turned out delicious. For the crepes I made these sourdough crepes. The veggies were a mix of beets, carrots and onions seasoned only with salt and pepper and tossed with olive oil.

Snack- Banana Kefir Smoothies



Day 4

Breakfast: Fried eggs with kimchee and grapefruit

Lunch:  Leftovers from the past couple of nights and/or peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

Dinner: Night 1 of Stretchy Lentils.  I made a variation of Wardeh from GNOWFGLINS Majadareh. You can take a look at this post which details how I do the Stretchy Lentils and change Wardeh’s family recipe (sorry Wardeh). We love this dish and I imagine if I ever were to make it the way Wardeh does we would love it even more. 🙂 We served this with green salad, yogurt and soaked biscuits.

Snack: Super Simple GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts)


Day 5

Breakfast: Yogurt topped with raisins and peanuts, leftover biscuits, plus fried egg for anyone who wished.

Lemon Sourdough Cookies with Lemon Frosting

Lunch: Leftover Majadareh

Dinner: Creamy Lamb over homemade (soaked) pasta. Green salad with lemon vinaigrette.

Snack: Lemon sourdough cookies with lemon frosting—so good!



Only two days left of this experience. I’ll be back on Thursday to wrap this up.

See all posts in this series.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this $172 experience. What would you have done (or do) differently?  What is your favorite frugal real food tip?


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