What Do You Think of This $50 Shopping List?

Photo credit: Steffin Zahn, CC BY 2.0.

Today in “wait, how much do I pay for a week’s worth of food?” we go to Time’s Money section:

There’s a reason Whole Foods has earned the nickname Whole Paycheck: It can definitely get pricey (hello, $8 gelato pints). With a little strategic planning, however, it is possible to get seven days’ worth of groceries on a $50 budget. Below you’ll find my wallet-friendly shopping list, along with meal ideas to get you through the week feeling nourished and satisfied. (The list even includes several organic items and, yes, almond butter and avocados!)

Cynthia Sass’s grocery list looks pretty reasonable, despite the $6.99 she’s paying for what appears to be 12 ounces of almond butter. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables, beans, rice, dairy, even some chicken!

But it made me wonder whether I was spending more than $50 per week on my own groceries.

When I bought my groceries at Hy-Vee Aisles Online last week, I spent $160.90 total, $97.89 of which was food. (The rest went to bulk toiletries and cleaning supplies.)

That food breaks down into 15 individual meals and two weeks’ worth of snacks, so… yeah, I’m already spending about $50 per week and that’s before I add in the Huel I’m drinking for breakfast and lunch. With the Huel, my food costs come to about $75/week.

Then I started wondering if the meals Sass lists contain enough food to get the average person through the day. (It’s worth noting that her meal plan includes zero snacks; she suggests licking some almond butter off a spoon if you get hungry.)

Here’s what a day on Sass’s plan might look like:

Breakfast: “mix a quarter cup of cottage cheese with a few tablespoons of almond butter, a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and chopped fresh fruit”

Lunch: “sauté [3.2 oz] frozen Mediterranean veggies with EVOO and herbs, add [1/2 can] tuna, and [1/2 can] cannellini beans”

Dinner: “prepare [1/4 lb] broiled chicken, served with [1/12 lb] quinoa and EVOO and [1/2 lb] herb sautéed broccoli.”

That’s a 400 calorie breakfast, a 600 calorie lunch, and a 650 calorie dinner. 1,650 calories is going to be fine for some people, though it’s a little on the low end for other people (especially if they’re tall or active).

I don’t know. I can’t really find fault with this plan, but now I feel bad that I’m not spending $50 on my weekly groceries.

What about you?

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