There’s a Jack in the Box commercial running right now where Jack’s wife comes back from the grocery store with a $200 bill. She suggests that she’s going to save money by cooking more. Concerned with the bill, Jack explains that they can eat at Jack in the Box for far cheaper since there’s a bonus meal that only costs $3.99. There’s also a scene in Food Inc. where a struggling family discusses the fact that they can get a meal to feed their children for $3, but then shows them at the grocery store where a piece of product costs almost as much. I really think this is just an issue of lack of experience in the grocery store. I can cook healthy, nutrient-dense meals that average out to about that and even less. Sure there are some things that cost more, but there are definitely things that cost less as well. We cook most things in bulk so that we can eat it for multiple days. Sometimes I cook even more and freeze for later to save on time.
Some friends of ours recently decided to try Paleo, but they were on a strict budget. When they were having a difficult time grocery shopping, I went to the store with them to see what I could do. We were able to buy plenty of groceries to make several meals for the week. The bill was well under $100 and was going to feed three people for a week. It’s definitely possible to eat healthy without spending exorbitant amounts of money. You just have to watch prices and be smart. It’s a fun challenge for me to see what I can do with the bill at the store. It’s also notable that before eating like this, I was a mad coupon cutter. We bought lots of pre-packaged snack foods, dinners, and frozen meals. I was “that lady” with a full cart and stack of coupons. We spend about the same amount on food now than we did back then. However, now I don’t have to spend the time cutting coupons and I’m not limited to choosing only what we have coupons for.