100 Days on a Budget

Our first “100 Days of Real Food” pledge brought lots of unexpected experiences and also lessons learned. What was originally created to draw attention to how dependent people have become on highly processed food actually ended up being a life-changing event for us. I didn’t expect our pledge to have such a big impact on me personally, but in the end I am glad it did. And that’s actually the reason why I am still here blogging about real food…long after the original 100 days!

Now while most agreed that real, unprocessed, organic, local, whole foods sounded great, quite a lot of readers also implied that it couldn’t be done without breaking the bank. So we of course had to prove all those skeptics wrong, which is why in October 2011 we began our “100 Days of Real Food on a Budget” pledge. We let the blog readers vote to determine our weekly budget of $125 for our family of four. (Note that on FULL food stamp benefits we would have received $167/week.) This real food on a budget pledge proved to be even more difficult than the first pledge at times, but we successfully completed the challenge in January 2011…whew!

Index of posts I wrote during our 2010 – 11 budget pledge:

Related Post:

Also, check out:

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!


  1. Jenny |

    I absolutely love this site! It has inspired me in so many ways. My husband and I are now living on a food budget of $40 a week and it I can’t make it, we don’t eat it. It has really opened my eyes to seeing just what is added to the foods we eat. I am planning on taking the 100 day challenge after the holidays this year.

  2. Sandra Mort |

    I’d love to see what your numbers are like these days. $125 per week works out to $4.46 per person per day. My family of six would be $187.50.

    At this moment, I’m getting 925/month food stamps for 6 people and we run out before the end of each month. Part of it, I’m sure, is living in the suburbs of NYC. Part of it is being four years later. And one part is definitely that their school doesn’t offer lunch, so I’m paying for all of their food, as opposed to getting free lunches, which I’m eligible for. (Though I don’t really regret it because ICK!!)

    I joined a buying club that saves SOME money, but not a lot. The cheaper stores are too far away from me to make practical on a regular basis, especially since food stamps won’t cover the extra gas to get there. I don’t use a lot of processed or convenience foods. I can’t afford humane naturally raised animal products and my kids are vegetarian for the time being. I just can’t think of many more places to cut corners.

  3. heidi horvat |

    Any ideas on how a disabled single old sickly woman can do this real food plan on her measly $16 in foodstamps…YES Sixteen dollars!!! Add my other big $24 left over after bills rent and the few medicines I still buy so …I am working with say A huge $30 a month to feed myself. I often share with my 2 dogs too what’s for dinner as dogfood is expensive as well so I add leftover to it to extend it for the month. I do grow what I can in container garden in summer. A few tomatoes and pepper trees. Not many plants though as I live in a campground .

    • Judi |

      Heidi…wish I had the answer for you. Trying to work that out for me and my dad. Keeping you in my prayers.

    • TShelley |

      There is a blog called ” The prudent homemaker”. She feeds her family on $.40/per person/per day. She really breaks everything down and even gives recipes. It would be a great resource. I’ve learned a lot from her blog.

    • Eliza |

      You mention you are sickly, old and disabled. I am wondering how much you are able to (physically) cook? If you are able to cook your meals from scratch and have some food storage possibilities (such as a refrigerator and freezer) then your options expand. check out Thrifty Lesley’s website. She is British and publishes extremely frugal and low-waste menus that work out to about $2 per day for one person. Even if you can’t quite pull all that off, you may get some helpful ideas from her.

  4. Mew |

    (Note that on FULL food stamp benefits we would have received $167/week.)

    This information is misleading. At $30,000 a year,a family of four receives approx $450 a MONTH. $167 a week would be if a family of four made approx $21,000 a year. How do I know? Because I use to be there. The only time we received approx $167 a week is when my husband was working 55hrs a week for $7.25.

    I bought your book but I found this part very condescending. Instead of saying “FULL benefits” correct the article to say “No Income” so people are not mislead due to miseducation.

  5. jennifer |

    I recieve 112 dollars a month based on my son’s gross income of 800 a month. Luckily i had a 1/4 of a grass fed beef in the freezer. Off my cousins farm. We are working on pigs and have chickens and turkeys. Garden coming this summer. Wild berries and edi le mushrooms to be had from the forest. I have filled for disability but not yet approved. Aldi’s has organic options. Oh and adli’s owns trader joes

  6. Anonimomi |

    12,600/year; SNAP budget of $157/mo. for family of 3 (yo.40ungest is 14). After bills, $100/mo. in pocket for necessities only. That makes less than $35/week. Congrats on your budget, but I haven’t quite worked out how to figure out my own and we are generally out of luck by week 2.

    • Anonimomi |


  7. Pamela |

    Hello. I love this idea. I am however gluten free and wonder if I could make this work for me/us?! Any help or direction you could give me??


    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi Pamela. Lisa has not adapted her wheat recipes to be gluten free but you can always make the adjustments you need to make. I am gluten free, too, as well as dairy free so I do a lot of adjusting. I find that Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Gluten Free blend to be my favorite when I have to use a flour. However, I really do not bake much. There are many great GF grains. I have also found a pasta that I like far better than any rice or quinoa pasta. It is Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta. It has a great texture and taste. This post will also give you some good ideas: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/06/28/food-allergies/.

  8. Leigh Ann Anderson |

    Soon after I found your sight, I was diagnosed with auto-immune Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. After much testing, I also discovered that I am sensitive to gluten and lactose intolerant:( I just wanted to say that while I cannot enjoy many of your recipes, I do find your sight interesting, informative and practical. I will enjoy the recipes that I can eat! Thanks for all the work.

1 15 16 17

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *