Thirty Five Dollars A Week: Week 0

August is approaching in a few days and I’d like to get started on this so I went to the store tonight.  What I didn’t remember at the time was that this weekend I have a wedding and a guest in town, and starting the day after the wedding I am dog-sitting for a few days so I won’t be able to make meals for myself.  I’ll still be eating healthy and rather inexpensively during the dog sitting by going to the store to buy a salad or something.  So, this week will be my test week and will become part of my pre-existing list for the first week I actually do this.

1 can La Preferida refried beans             $1.19
Hillshire Farms lower sodium honey ham       $3.49
1 lb ground sirloin                          $5.35
3x Granny Smith apples                       $2.71
1x broccoli head                             $0.89
2lb peeled baby carrots                      $2.25
Salad bar (lettuce salad with chicken)       $3.90
Sargento pepperjack slices                   $3.19
Half-dozen large eggs                        $0.99
Total:                                      $24.69


These ingredients will be used to use up some of my pre-existing items and leftovers and will carry over to actual weeks of this experiment.

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Thirty-Five Dollars A Week: Preface

I read a blog post by someone named Eric Johnson about how he plans to spend only $35 per week at the grocery store and still manage to eat healthy meals that also taste good.  The blog can be found here and you can (and should) follow his progress.  I thought it was a good idea and I’d like to start this as well.  So, I’m going to follow the same model and hopefully Eric Johnson doesn’t mind me participating in his experiment.

Details of this challenge

This challenge is to spend #35 or less per week at the grocery store to make meals for dinner (and lunches when I need to) all while eating healthy.  I could easily eat canned beans or buy a 48-pack of ramen noodles for less than $10, but this is to eat healthy meals for $35 or less per week.


Below are the rules of this challenge:

  1. I have no dietary restrictions.  I have no known food allergies.  I have a pretty standard daily diet (caloric intake, fat, etc.)
  2. In order to accomplish this I will need to buy less meat or lower quality meats
  3. I ride my bike over 6 miles every day the weather is nice and walk other days
  4. I’m single and am the only person in my home – entertaining is rare
  5. Eating out for lunch at work or dinner during a weekend day are not included – this only includes grocery purchases used to make meals at home
  6. I can accept free food and meals
  7. Coupons and other discounts will be subtracted from food costs

Current Inventory

I have a large selection of shelf-stable food items in my pantry as well as items in the freezer.  Below is my current inventory:

Corned beef hash
Canned chicken
Tomato paste
Canned pumpkin
Peanut butter
Miscellaneous condensed soups
Garlic cloves
Ears of corn
Sandwich bread
Hamburger buns
Miscellaneous cereals
Granola bars
Red potatoes
Brown rice
Assorted dried pasta

Frozen pasta
Miscellaneous frozen vegetables
Frozen fresh fish caught on Lake Michigan

Pizza crust
Orange juice
String cheese

Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and other condiments
Miscellaneous spices
Olive oil
Baking items: flour, sugar, soda, powder, etc.

The ultimate goal is to spend $35 or less each week at one or more grocery stores local to my neighborhood in Chicago.  I’ll update weekly with my store purchases (relating to food) and recipes if they are tasty.

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