Not breaking the bank with a growing family can be hard, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. But, I’m here to tell you it can be done.

Below are my budgeting tips that I use for my family. We spend about $600 a month doing it this way.
1. Only bring cash with you when shopping. I bring $150 with me the first week and use that to only buy all my meat for the month. Freeze all meat and fish. I buy most fish and some meat from Whole Foods. Sometimes you’ll see a “price reduced for quick sale” on meats that have an expiration date coming up. Buy those and freeze them.  If I don’t spend that much on meats, I’ll set that cash aside.
2. Know what’s in season and take advantage of it! If bell peppers are in season grab a bunch and slice them up and freeze it for when you want them later. Lots of fruits and veggies can be frozen!
3. Take advantage of your farmers markets and local farmers. Farmers markets are usually cheaper. If you go towards the end of the day they sometimes give their stuff away!


Above is a picture of my favorite orchard stand where I live. We go so often that he actually gives us even better deals than what’s priced.
4. Know when stores have sales. Become “friends” with your local Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sprout’s, whatever, on Facebook or Instagram, that way you can stay in touch when things go on sale for them! When a great sale comes up don’t be afraid to grab a bunch. (ex. Whole Foods was having a killer sale on organic grass-fed ground beef…I bought enough to last a couple of months, then I portion it out at home and freeze it) You may spend a little extra cash dollars at the time, but then you know that you won’t be using your “meat money” next month and you can either save it or use it on something else.
5. BULK BULK BULK. The bulk section at Whole Foods is seriously my BFF. Grab nuts, spices, whatever for CHEAP! You aren’t paying for packaging, so you cut your cost down a lot! Anytime I can avoid packaging, I will!

6. Check out online stores. One of my favorite places to shop is Barefoot Provisions.  They have great snack options, all paleo and some Whole30 approved. Great, delicious, and healthy deals!

8. We don’t buy everything organic because it can get really expensive. Look at the dirty dozen list for fruits and veggies that you should buy organic. Of course I always try to buy meat that is the best, but when I’m looking at organic chicken that is $6.99 a lb or non organic for $1.99 a lb I probably will buy the non organic kind. If the price difference is HUGE I have to go the non organic route, but if it’s only a dollar or so I don’t sweat it!



Have kids? Make grocery shopping fun for them too.  I always have one using the calculator, one with the list, and the others are the food grabbers!


  1. the Garment Farmer says:

    I’m so impressed! And I can’t wait to read more. I’m embarrassed to say I allot $600 for just me and Chris. Argh, I have so much to learn still in the grocery shopping and kitchen departments of life.

  2. lauracashion84 says:

    So you spend 150 on meat and then spend like 75 on the fruits and veggies? Is that about right? I was wondering because you said the 150 was all for meat? I love this blog by the way and your Instagram.

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      Hi laura! Thanks for liking my blog and instagram! I dedicate the first week and $150 to just buy meats and fish. If I go under than great, I’ll set that money aside for the “oh crap I forgot to buy this” days. $100 a month goes towards a farm box (just veggies) that we get weekly. I probably spend another $100 on fruits for the month too. (That puts us at $350 so far) the other $250 would be used toward bread for my kids lunches, snacks like apple chips, and other veggies that we don’t get in our farm box.
      If we aren’t doing “whole30” I’ll use some of that $250 for bulk items like beans and quinoa at whole foods and then just store it in glass containers. My meat is usually salmon and tilapia (bought at w.foods) frozen and cut already. The other week they were on sale for $11.99 for like 10 pieces of salmon. I buy bulk chicken at costco or whole chicken too is pretty cheap. I used to buy my fish there, but lately the flavor has been gross to me. I suggest becoming facebook friends with your local whole foods. Most of the stores are on facebook. Ours keeps us updated with promos and deals with everything. I hope this helps 🙂

  3. Megan says:

    Wow! I’m impressed and hope I can cut my grocery bill. We are a family of 5 and I think I spend about $175/week and I’m not always getting organic meats. We r all going for the whole30 this month so I’ll be bookmarking your blog! Thanks!!

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      It may take a few months to get into the groove of things, but you got this. Bringing only cash is a huge part of not going over budget. 175/week isn’t too bad though, so I’m sure you will be able to cut back a bit.

  4. chesnye says:

    So happy to find your blog and series!! We have 5 children too, and we spend over double what you do on food per week! We live in a small town and have no whole food markets within a 45 mile radius. I’m always looking for ideas/tips from other large families!

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      Hi!!! So glad you found me too! Question… old are your kids? My kids are still pretty young, which is why I think I’m able to still keep our grocery budget down. Let me know if you have any specific questions. you can email me at

  5. adrianne says:

    Newbie to your site and I need to jump in on this topic. We have 5 girls ages 2 to 9, and our grocery bill is $1200 month budgeted at 300 per week. We swear they eat more than a high school football team. And that’s not with organic meats and some organic veggies. Am I missing something? I can’t get our food bill down. We eat strict paleo with minimal fruit. Could you expound on this topic? And one more thing… how in the world do you have time to blog? You must have crazy ninja mama skills I need to tap into…

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      Hi Adrianne! My kids are just about the same age as yours…and I’m pretty strict about regulating what everyone eats, otherwise we would go way over budget! I really take advantage of Whole Foods one day sales, especially if its on meats/fish. I bulk up and freeze. That has really helped us save. I only bring the amount of cash I need for the week. Usually about $100-$150 no more! A lot of times my first week will be the most expensive (maybe I bring $250) cause I have to buy meat and produce. So I try to buy all my meat for the month and then just the produce I will need for that 1st week. Does that make sense? Also, our local mexican grocer has great produce for cheap! I can buy a bag of avocados for like $2 bucks. When my kids have a snack I limit them to, for example, 2 mini peppers and 1 apple. If I just let them grab whatever, they would eat the whole bag of peppers in 1 sitting. I buy loose spinach and mixed greens at whole foods. I try to avoid packaging if I can because that’s what brings the price up on a lot of things.Next time you shop, try only bringing $250 with you. Have exactly what you need on a list and I always have one of my kids using a calculator. We weigh everything! Also, I just ignore my kids when I blog hahaha. (totally kidding) I do most stuff after I drop my 2 oldest at school, then I send the other kids outside while I do blog things. If you have any more questions or want me to go EVEN more in depth feel free to email me at:

Leave a Reply