But seriously, paleo on a budget…

In this post, I go on and on about my shopping trip tonight (which was budget-conscious due to my current self-imposed austerity measures).

Oh, budgets.

If I could go back in time to 1999, knowing what I know now…. I’d be paleo, of course!

But more to the point of this post, I would not have opted to go to a private law school, without financial assistance, and taken out a mortgage worth of student loans to pay for it.  A law school education is a fine and decent thing. It’s proven useful.  But it’s not worth financing $140,000, or whatever it is I spent for three years of tuition, ramen noodles, and beer.   Cut to the future, and 10+ years out of lawschool (oh gosh, it’s 11 now), and I am still not filthy rich, like I was sure I’d be by now. Ha.

Now, I know I can’t complain TOO much.  I know very well there are many people in a much tighter spot than me.  I have a house that has my name on the deed, and a car that runs without being held together with string and bubble gum.  My bills get paid on time.  I have my health (knock on wood).

But I still feel the need to budget.  In fact, I just figuratively cut up all my credit cards. If I can’t pay cash for it, I can’t buy it. This means no more multi-hour meandering trips through Nordstrom Rack. Alas!

It also means that I am paying attention to the prices of food I am buying.

Tonight, I went shopping for groceries at Whole Foods.  Say what?! Yes, if you’re like me, you can spend a lot of money in any grocery store, and WFM is one of the most tempting.  But I think I did pretty well, and got groceries for days of meals.  Note: EVERYTHING I bought was a fruit, a vegetable, or a meat/egg item.

What I bought:

  • $2.49 – Organic Carrots 2 lb. bag
  • $3.99 – Organic grape tomatoes (two packs, each at this price)
  • $1.69 – Parsley, one bunch
  • $4.34 – Organic broccoli, a couple of heads
  • $2.99 – Green kale
  • $2.99 – Black kale
  • $2.49 – Frozen brussels sprouts (two bags, each at this price)
  • $5.99 – southern raised pork bacon
  • $4.99 – Ground turkey (two packages, each at this price)
  • $2.99 – Hearts of palm, one can
  • $4.45 – Bell & Evans chicken thighs (two packages, each at this price)
  • $5.49 – Cage free eggs (18 count) (ON SALE!)
  • $2.99 – White mushrooms

What I’m going to do with it:

  1. Right now, even though it’s 11PM, I am cooking food for the purposes of being leftovers for lunch/dinners, thus saving the $7 to $10 lunch I’d buy downtown.  The chicken thighs are roasting with about half of the organic carrots. I chopped some fresh garlic (pantry item, always stocked), olive oil (pantry item), salt, pepper, and other “shake-on” seasonings. I tried coriander, oregano, and a few others.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll dish up a couple of chicken thighs, carrots, and then bring along some fresh parsley, which adds a great fresh green taste and keeps the dish from being drab. And maybe a couple of leaves of kale & a few grape tomatoes for a little side-salad.  Mmmm…. already looking forward to lunch.
  2. The ground turkey I am going to brown up with some chipotle adobo. This is a pantry item in my house, but to buy a small can is around $1.50 or so…. And it packs a punch in terms of flavor.   The turkey then becomes filling for burritos for my husband, and a protein for my lunches/dinners.  I’ll serve it with brussels sprouts steamed and tossed in a little butter, and/or the broccoli steamed or roasted with garlic.
  3. Eggs are for breakfasts. I fry up 4 per day, on low heat so they don’t get rubbery. Two for me, two for husband.  I eat mine with a kale. Maybe a few dried almonds or fruit.
  4. The bacon, and the mushrooms, are a wee indulgence. The bacon will get fried up for recipes, or kale-leaf wraps. Or just because I want a slice of bacon.   The mushrooms are for an omelette/fritatta.  Actually, a bacon/mushroom/kale egg creation is sounding pretty good right about now.  Same thing with the hearts of palm. It makes a salad sort of special/different. When I am not feeling jazzed about salad, I’ll break out the hearts of palm and/or bacon, and it’s a whole new story.

What I didn’t buy/what I passed up (and why):

  1. No strawberries. Why? Because I can wait. See, I am on the mailing list for my local WFM, and I happen to know that organic strawberries will be on sale on Friday for $1.99.  TIME TO STOCK UP. I’ll be chopping the tops off of berries and freezing them.
  2. No fancy cuts of meat (this time).  The chicken thighs and ground turkey are both economical, high protein, and perfectly good, especially dressed up.  I know from experience that there WILL come a time when I am ITCHING to go waste time and money at Nordstrom cRack, and I’m feeling deprived, but instead I’ll go to the store for a couple of nice steaks and grill them up as a delicious consolation prize.  Is it wrong to replace retail therapy with food therapy? Perhaps. Don’t care.
  3. No prepared foods, no fancy water.  How did I avoid the delicious prepared foods? I ate dinner before I went grocery shopping. Easy. Tonight I had no temptation.  And since I was not getting to-go food, there was no excuse to get fancy to-go sparkling water.
  4. No pasture-raised eggs (this time). Usually I buy a particular brand of eggs that costs about $7.49/dozen. I think they’re delicious, and worth the extra money.   But today, the 18-pack of cage-free omega 3-eggs was on sale for only $5.49, so I couldn’t resist.

OK, this was fun (for me) but now I need to go put away my chicken/carrots for lunch tomorrow.  In the event that you’re still reading after that long dissection of my shopping excursion, you might be a nerd like me. Or you’re just bored. But if you happen to post about what you bought and what you did with it, let me know. I love reading about what other paleo people are up to.  🙂

Good night!



  1. This is a great post. I love to know exactly how other people manage their Paleo budget.

    And BTW — I’m with you on subbing good food for Nordstom Rack. Tough but probably the best call over all. 🙂

  2. Thanks! I can never tell if I’m writing Too Much Information. 🙂

    And yeah, I have enough clothes, I really do. I can always use more steaks.

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