What’s it all about?
This blog is an attempt to document spending $30 a week on groceries for two people living in Brooklyn, NY (yes, $15 each). That budget goes for all of the groceries we buy to make our meals for the week. Restaurants, alcohol don’t get counted toward the budget, but then we usually only indulge in those one or twice on the weekends.
Dinner parties can get tricky, etc. etc., but the point is really for us to make our best effort to transition to spending less money and more time and attention on our food (while reducing waste). If we end up spend $32 for a week’s food every once in a while, so be it.
All the meals featured here are 100% vegetarian, but will often feature eggs and dairy. We like our cookbooks, but often make some crazy concoctions with whatever we have on hand.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that our ability to find healthy groceries on the cheap is made much easier by our membership at the Park Slope Food Coop.
If you want to reach both of us, send us an email here: thirtyaweek at gmail dot com.
You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
To find Tina elsewhere on the internet, try here:
Man in Gray
And here for Phil:
Hey, Just found you guys and love what you’re doing. Thanks for adding me to your list of blogs too! I appreciate the support and I’ll be happy to return the favor. Good luck – do you have a time frame for this project?
Time frame is until…whenever! Considering the way the economy is going, liable for a long time.
I just found your website and am very interested in what you are doing, however I am a bit confused on one thing, do you post what you cook for the week? I was looking at your the receipts you posted and trying to figure out what meals I would prepare and was a bit stumped, especially for breakfast as it looked like you bought mainly veggies, it would be really interesting to see what meals you make.
I should post all of what we eat on the site. For breakfast, it’s been a lot of granola and a lot of oatmeal and apples (due to some intense apple picking). However, like you said, it would be interesting to see the meals we make. I am trying to be better about posting recipes and such, but it’s been a crazy work week. Keep checking back!
such a great idea! are you going to be featured in the next linewaiters gazette?
you should be!
Hi Anne! Thanks for checking out the site (my cards work, wahoo!). I should do something with the Coop…maybe a workshop or the gazette. Hope your grocery shopping is going well – lasting you a month?
Very cool blog! I look forward to trying some of your recipes.
Hey Tina, I’d love to chat with you about an interview for our show. Where is the best place to reach you?
Tina and Phil,
Lovely Blog! I am a newish blogger myself (since September) also blogging about cooking within a limited food budget– though your budget makes my six dollars a day look positively lavish. I’m just now trying to compile a list of relevant links… would you mind if I linked to your blog? I look forward to following your posts. Keep up the good work!
I am new to blogging and planning a party for 8 (for under $100) next week and your blog is absolutely inspiring! I will certainly be reading it in the future.
I am curious if you omit alcohol from your $30 or if you just don’t drink?
We exclude alcohol and restaurant meals from this budget, but try to minimize costs on both those fronts too. We generally eat out no more than one meal a week and opt for drinks with friends at somebody’s home rather than going to bars.
Great blog!! Love your budgeting and ingenuity. I do the same on my blog. I cook with what is in my pantry/fridge/freezer for the bulk of the meal and then supplement with purchased items. It’s mostly vegan also.
Happy I discovered you!
Happened to see that Kate had become a “fan” of this site on facebook. This is great. Nice food photos 🙂
Excellent and timely blog. I’m transitioning to mostly vegitarian (inspired by Mark Bittman’s “Food Matters”) and I love that you’re making interesting things without spending a lot of money. Looking forward to visiting (and cooking!).
I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and just wanted to share that it is very inspiring!!! Your practical and well thought out approach to this challenge will no doubt benefit those who find it in the future. It has certainly inspired me to take a closer look at my food budget and determine how my husband and I can make healthier choices without spending a small fortune at the checkout.
Thank you for all of your efforts and keep up the great work!
[…] I discovered a blogger in Brooklyn, NY, who set forth on a challenge to feed 2 people for $30 a week. The purpose of the blog, $30 Bucks a […]
Just found your blog. I’ll be following along. Good luck!!!
I was very happy to find this blog . . .I too live in Brooklyn and shop at the co-op, but tend to spend way too much there! Thanks for posting your receipts—it’s helpful!
I was spending A LOT of money at the Coop, especially once they started the debit card system. Keeping it to $30/week has really improved my shopping habits.
yayyyyy i love this concept!! i am all about the budgeting. i’m going to blogroll you — is that ok?
Glad you found us! We would love to be part of your blogroll.
My family and I were trying to decide what to do for Lent when we discovered your website through a post on Professional Vegan. Awesome!
We live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn – just south of you – and we’ll be sticking to a $45 budget (for a vegan family of 3) from now till Easter. Thanks for the inspiration!
That is so awesome! Best of luck and I hope you post your experiences on your blog.
This is very cool. And fascinating. I could read lists of what people made, ate, or bought at the grocery store all day long!
I post everything I make and consume from day to day (as well as recipes and stuff like this), but don’t track carefully what we spend on groceries. I probably should.
You’ve inspired me–I’m going to start keeping track and then see if I can’t get it a bit lower (I have a feeling it’s at least 3 times that now…eeek).
This is an insanely great blog – I’m in the same boat as you, trying to get by withfeeding myself and my daughter on a dirt poor budget after being laid off work last Summer.
I’ve started growing vegetables and herbs on my balcony to hopefully supplement our food needs and I blog about the journey to semi-selfsufficiency.
Keep doing what you’re doing!
Really cool idea!
I’d love to hear more about how you weigh eating inexpensively and eating good, nutritious food.
Is that $30 for the two of you, or $30 each – $60 a week?
$15 apiece – $30 a week for both of us.
Thanks! Ouch, that would be a snug fit on rice and beans in West nowhere, let alone New York 🙂
Hello from Austin, TX. My DH sent me the link to your blog, and I find it very interesting. I am not vegetarian, but your photos of your dishes make it all look so scrumptious! It’s nice to know and read what other people are doing to save money. I am sure this blog keeps you finding neat ideas and recipes to post. Looking forward to discovering some good vegetarian dished through your blog.
What a great idea and lovely blog! Is there some way to subscribe?
hey thanks for sharing I’m listening to you on Good Food with Evan Kleinman
I found your site today, April 18, 2009, and have sent it to many friends. It encourages and challenges me to get my grocery bill way down. It would be so helpful if you could tell us what you are making with the items you buy. Could you please list what you are eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks? Thanks again for the site.
I came across your blog for Queercents – what a great site. I’ve actually been cooking and feeding my partner and myself on $60 a week – you’re definitely an inspiration!
Any chance you will set up an email distribution/RSS list so we don’t miss anything? Thanks in advance….
Hmm, let me see if Phil can take care of that.
I’m not really an regular RSS feed user, but I do know that our RSS feed URL is the following:
If you have an aggregator, you should be able to subscribe from there, right? Let me know if that doesn’t work and I’ll look into it further.
Brilliant and timely! I especially love the soup stock tip of saving veggie scraps in your freezer & making homemade fresh vegetable soup.
I have been freezing my food scraps in BK for years in order to keep rats & roaches away until garbage day, and sooo thrilled I get to turn them into something good & healthy.
Keep the tips coming…
Hi- Found your blog via the Kitchn and I love your concept! Excited that all your recipes are vegetarian too!
I just came across your AMAZING blog today and I’m totally in love with it! Food is really expensive here (Korea) so I’m always looking for tasty, cheap recipes (and the fact that they’re healthy is a huge bonus!)
Keep it up!
love this! My husband and I are vegetarian and always have a tough time finding cheap recipes that taste great. Thanks a bunch!
Just wanted to say I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. I stumbled upon it a couple months ago. Great to see that people can eat really well for very little money. Food you create looks delicious! I live on Canada’s East coast where I split my time between cooking and being outdoors. I enjoyed your post on camp cooking.
Keep up the great blog!
Awesome blog idea! I like reading about more efficient ways of creating delicious meals. Keep it up!
I found you a while back, and have been following you since then via the magic of Google Reader. Our household finances took a nosedive recently, and I’ve started a little left coast 30-buck project myself. Or I’m trying, at least–not quite there yet. Thanks for the blog, which is a terrific inspiration and source of ideas, as well as a reminder that I’m not nuts to think we can cut the grocery bill, and still eat like human beings.
Hey, This is a cool blog..I like your recipes and tried some of them…excellent stuff. Just stumbled and submitted your site to http://Viralogy.com. Hope you get some great traffic from it. Your blog is here http://www.viralogy.com/blogs/my/6253
out of curiosity, does your coop require a paid membership? if so, do you count that cost towards your food totals?
Honestly, we’ve been members for about 6 years now, so I don’t remember! A quick look at the PSFC’s Membership jogs the memory a bit: we paid a one time fee of $25 (6 years ag0) and an investment of $100. If we quit the Coop, we get our investment back. And we don’t count that in our current food budget since it happened so long ago!
You can read the fascinating manual here if you like: PSFC Manual
Wow, you’re lucky, our coop here costs much much more than that–they’re relatively new and still have start-up costs to work off. We couldn’t afford a membership although we’d like one (it’s also only accessible by car, which we don’t have). Thanks for the info though, fascinating manual indeed;)
Just stumbled upon the site!
Like what you have going on here!!
Okay, wow. I thought $50 a week was impressive…you two are total rock stars.
Hey! VERY inspiring blog! Just moved to park slope, poor grad student with boyfriend in tow. We will aim to hit 30 a week too, maybe we’ll run into you guys at the co-op and you can give us pointers 🙂
I’ve been reading your blog for a while but wanted to finally comment. I really enjoy it! It always inspires me to experiment with what I have in the kitchen on hand, and your photography makes me hungry. I can’t manage $30 a week yet but you inspire me to keep trying – thanks!
Wow… you guys rock incredibly hard. My wife and I got married two years ago (both volunteers and work part time). I went from 45K a year to 90+K a year and we still can’t save. We tried very hard this month to cut back on our food expenses… still wound up at $603.25. We live on the central coast of CA, expensive area as it is, but if you guys can handle this in Brooklyn (lived there 2 years, I know how pricing is) I don’t think I have much of an excuse anymore. Keep going guys, and really appreciate the recipes! Always open to new veggie ideas!
Hello! I love your blog.
I was wondering if you also make your own lunches — do you work from home and eat at home, or do you make food at home and eat it at the office? Just curious.
Keep up the great work,
We usually bring our dinner leftovers in for lunch. If we don’t have enough dinner leftover, we’ll usually cobble together a sandwich or salad for lunch. Occasionally, we forget and have to pay the price of getting lunch round work, but since it’s so pricey, we attempt to bring our own lunches always!
This is a nice blog but quite frankly, I’m utterly confused… have finances forced you into this situation and if so, are there not other expenses where you could cut back? I find so often that people are happy to shell out for brand name running shoes, an iPhone or cable TV… yet they obsess to scrimp on life’s most basic necessity, not to mention its most basic pleasure. I am European and I guess we have a different attitude from Americans: my food budget is one of the last places where I would scale back, and this is coming from someone who already lives without a TV or a cellphone.
Well J.C., if you read the blog thoroughly, you would see that we answer your question a bit. Basically, this is just a challenge. Finances have NOT forced us into this situation – as we’ve said in our about page, we still go out to eat (we love food and live in a city with some of the greatest places to eat in the world) and I feel like the food we make on our budget reflects our love and respect of food. We discovered (over a year ago!) that we were spending a lot of money on food that was just getting wasted. Vegetables would wilt in the bin, fruit would get spoiled, we wouldn’t eat leftovers, etc. $30/week was an attempt to curb our grocery budget while still maintaining quality.
We don’t pay for cable/tv and aren’t extravagant in many ways. We like our wine and bourbon and pay accordingly for those (not included in our budget). If you have more questions, feel free to email us.
In other words, it is a fairly continuous theme on this blog that spending less money on food does not have to mean eating lower quality food, let alone depriving oneself of life’s basic pleasures. If anything, I’d say we have developed a fuller appreciation of our relationship with cooking and food since embarking on this project.
Wow. What an enjoyable lovely blog 🙂 Just writing to say thanks I guess! As a vegetarian I get very excited when I can look at all the food and not feel guilty for admiring a meat dish. I have a quick question, from looking at your site I see that we spend roughly the same amount on vegetables, but I am always caught out by staples that always need topping up – flour, sugar, nuts etc. How do you manage to keep those costs within your budget? Thanks!
Hi Lauren! Thanks for the excellent comment. In terms of staples, we are lucky that our Coop has bulk bins. I usually just get what we need for the week in terms of flour and rice and things of that nature. Of course, if it pays off sometimes to buy flour in 5lb bags when they go on sale at the supermarket too. I try to keep a look out for specific sales on those things.
Hope that helps!
Very impressed. Would love to see breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for $15 per person per week.
Your recipes are good and simple.
I’d like to add my thanks for this blog. I’ve been feeling like my food/cooking options were either to eat healthy or buy cheaply – I didn’t feel like they could possibly be done together. You two have shown this is possible to the extreme! I’m sure I’ll never get as low as $15/wk for myself, but I have something to aim for! Keep it up!
I am SO impressed by your blog and ideas. My new favourite place on the ineternet!
How many times a week do you guys go out to eat? I ask because my husband and I spend $100 on groceries per week, but we do not eat out at all (with the exception of a very occasional donut). Thanks!
Hmmm, it depends. Some weeks we’ll go out once or twice, other weeks not at all.
I am a fellow Park Slope cooper, Very cool project!
I will forward this to my broke artist friends–who want to eat healthy but don’t have much $ flowing in right now.
Happy Cooking and Eating,
Hi. I really like your blog and am so glad I found it. We are a vegan and vegetarian family of four. I try to feed us on $50-80 a week. It is nice to see your blog and how you save. I look forward to reading more posts.
Thanks! Keep on reading – we’ll be back in the swing of things soon.
I happened upon your blog today and was thrilled to see what you guys are doing. Thanks for sharing and I will be a new “loyal” follower. =) Unfortunately food here in New Zealand is not as cheap, but the ideas and concepts can still be carried over! =) I love that you share healthy recipes because I am always looking for new “frugal” meals. Great site.
[…] less penny-pinching, the bloggers of 30 Bucks a Week are documenting the adventures of a Brooklyn couple’s efforts to feed themselves on that […]
BunnyCuchinablogspot.com is surely making me work for a winter bowl of Avgolemono Soup (from Toronto Canada) The recipe was put on the Epicurious site, and she mentioned that she put it on her bunnycucina.blogspot.com/2009/01/birdy-num-num-avgolemono.html
Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have permission to read it~ Please pity this 79 year old Elder who grew up for 22 years on Ave.U and Nostrand Av-(my only relation to this section of the site) LOL….anybody know how to get my soup????
Wish we could share a bowl….:-)
Though not vegetarian, I do try to make meatless meals once or twice each week. I’ve been inspired by several of your recipes, so I do hope you will include more as you are able.
Hi I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog! I have been following it for a couple of months.
I absolutely LOVE what you’re doing! A friend mentioned your blog over project runway and drinks last night and I’m def gonna follow you two.
Can’t wait to read more!
A friend sent me this link after I posted on facebook aout a recent shopping trip to CVS wher they ended up paying me to shop there after I used my coupons.
I am so planning on trying something similar for myself. Fortunately in the Cleveland area, I have access to great food options (West Side Market and Nature’s Bin being two of them).
I am not vegetarian, but I think I can still fit within the $15 a week framework by cutting my meat down to just a couple meals a week.
Wish me luck!
I’m thrilled to have found your blog. We are writing about similar subjects. I’ll definately share some of your recipes on mine and make sure to mention you with links, etc.
All the best from Paris,
I’m looking forward to following your blog. With a family of 5, a budget of $30 isn’t realistic for us, but I’m looking for inspiration for more vegetarian recipies – especially as we move into full farmer’s market season! Thanks for sharing with us all.
Of course! I love the name of your blog and we’re happy to share!
Love your blog, I wish you could actually buy food that cheap in New Zealand! Very inspiring, thank you
Hey there, nice blog! I’m a student and I only just manage to eat for under $20Aus a week. I’m not a vegetarian but my budget often forces me to be… I’ll have a read and borrow some of your magic.
Great concept. I have enjoyed the articles I have read and look forward to seeing more of your ideas. I can’t imagine getting along on 30 bucks a week for groceries.
[…] this site they post about spending thirty bucks a week for two adults. interesting concept. but I’m […]
Would like to exchange links! Let me know if you’ve done it.
Love your site and finding fellow budget-friendly NY-ers. I’ve been sticking with $40/week, but your blog inspires me to get that budget lower!
I keep myself honest (budgetwise) and cooking healthy (mostly) over at:
Hi, I love your idea of $30 a week. My husband and I love to eat healthy meals but seem to spend about £60 (or $95 a week ) for the two of us here in London (also very expensive like New York). I’d love to be able to follow all your recipes and bring our food bill down. It would be terrific if you could post your entire list of meals for the week and corresponding ingredients if you don’t have time to write out recipes/instructions or take photos (which I understand). Then I think I could cobble together the meals from that! At the moment, to me, it feels like the reader is left a bit in the dark of what all your meals are and how you manage to make all your lunches and dinners from your grocery receipt. love the site, thanks Josephine
Since we’ve been getting some new queries about this, maybe we’ll write up our stuff for the next week or so. If you search back through the posts, you will see some plans and “what we ate this week” posts, which are categorized for easy searching.
I lived in London for a while and KNOW how expensive everything is!
I love what you are doing and my wife and I are attempting something similar, so that we can pay off our car faster, and retire sooner.
We’re aiming for $100 per week, but would love to get to your level soon.
You have inspired me to try this, I am cheating a little bit doing $30 bucks a week for one person. I have been going for about 5 weeks now, some weeks I make it some weeks I do not.. but I am still trying…
That is great! Let us know how you’re keeping up from time to time!
Hi! I have been looking at other websites for budget grocery lists, but they do not include enough produce and include a number of things I will not eat. I need to decrease my spending and this seems like a great way except I don’t think I can find produce as cheap as you have.
I also wanted to know if you started with some staples already in your pantry? Do you have any other starting tips?
Hi there! Just found your blog and fell in love with the first dozen recipes I saw. I’m pescetarian and love to cook, and am very cheap! I was wondering, do you plan out your meals before you go grocery shopping? With your budget in mind, it seems like it would almost be necessary. Was that hard to transition to?
Seeing the prices on your receipts makes me almost tempted to move to a big city! Northeast Tennessee is lacking on the co-op front. 🙂
I made your scones today and they are delish! Thank you 🙂
This whole blog makes me so happy. The idea of feeding two for $30/week is amazing. You have inspired me! I actually went through every page of your blog looking for all your delicious recipes. Found some I want to try! Thanks so much for sharing this part of your lives! 🙂
Hello to the both of you!
I just found your website while looking for cooking blogs to connect with and get inspired by. I find your utilization of a weekly budget to be wonderful, as well as displaying your purchases to readers. My husband and I just launched a website/blog in November which is focused on personal finance; I am the primary writer for our recipes section which is just getting started. Recipes aren’t specifically vegetarian as yours, but I am still interested in what I will find here! 🙂 We also decided we would provide specific prices for ingredients and then do the math for actual price per meal/serving. It’s a lot of work, but interesting information to offer to our readers. Anyway, I just thought I’d say hello, let you know a little bit about me (us), and am looking forward to following your blog!
I absolutely love your ideas.I can’t imagine spending less than $100 a week at the store,but your blog gives me hope.
[…] via What’s it all about? | 30 Bucks a Week. […]
Hoping Learn something
I just found your blog and I think it is fantastic what you are doing. We have recently started (less than a month ago) our own blog about cooking on the cheap and we were wondering if you would like to exchange links on the blogroll?
You can check ours out at http://brokeandstarving.com – Looking forward to reading more of your entries and hearing back.
Impressed. You have us 2 beat hands down and we live in El Salvador!!! Kudos to you.
Hi, I love your blog, what a challenge! I have a health and fitness blog and I am trying to find good links for healthy and cheap recipes for my subscribers. Would you be interested in exhanging links? You can review my blog at http://www.get-fit-naturally.org.
Hi, I just found your blog looking up a recipe for brown rice. It’s a great idea, I too try to eat staples from the pantry and try to spend less than 5$ a day buying fresh food to add to the meal. I try to eat mostly vegetarian, more for health reasons than animal rights reasons, but I found that I love salmon way too much and the wild salmon tends to be at least $10 for two pieces. I would cut it out but I think the health benefits outway my frugality. Also my boyfriend is constantly on the scale and complaining that he’s getting too thin (he’s lost about 30lbs since we met whereas I’ve stayed the same) so he likes to cook steak once a week, which tends to be at least $10 for two peices as well. Anyway I have much respect for you and anyone really who takes the time to make a food blog!
Cool blog! I’m still baffled by how you make that food last a whole week (seems enough for 1 or 2 meals). And do you ever drink anything aside from water and occasional alcohol? (tea, juice?)
Really enjoyed reading about what you are doing!
I tried this for a week, and it’s pretty amazing how creative you have to be in terms of what you eat and when.
You know that thing where you see a comment on a blog, and you follow the comment’s owner to their blog, and then you notice their blogroll and are curious? Well, that’s how I found you guys, and I’m happy I did. I’m Molly, and I write a blog called “Cheap Beets: A Mostly Vegetarian Guide to Eating Well in the Recession.” I’m up in Boston but was in NYC for a good chunk before that. So happy to see I’m not the only one spreading the Good News. Cheers!
What a great idea behind your blog! Its so important to cut back our expenses from time to time, not just due to the fact that we spend so much muny on unnecessery food items (*chm chm* ->me<-) but we also learn to appreciate food way more when we have to actually think about our spendings and what to do with what we have. I am starting an organic, 40€ per week challenge on my blog for the whole month of august and will come back here to get some inspiring recipes 😉
Great blog…can’t wait to read more! When you have a momment, come visit my new blog at http://www.redwinefinefood.com By the way, I’m a Brooklyn ex-patriot……I studied at Pratt for 4 years.
Dear Tina and Phil – Today we’re launching an angel funded non-profit nutrition educational organization called Slim is Simple. SIS will provide compelling multimedia resources—free of charge—that the educational and health communities can leverage to share the simple, fun, and proven nutrition and exercise science necessary to stem the obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemics. We’re working to get this “curriculum” into schools, churches, and etc.
Wanted to give you a first look at our first full-length animated educational piece at http://youtu.be/U36XJaETbh8 with the hopes that we can collaborate on giving this non-profit educational effort the legs it needs to make a difference in the mainstream.
Thanks again for all that you already do to help so many to live so much better.
The Calorie Myth (HarperCollins, 2014)
Senior Fitness Producer, Microsoft
Nike+Kinect Fitness – http://youtu.be/IYbNMlN1Npw
Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something
unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but
I had to ask!
[…] the whole $30/wk thing has been done before, you can check out one of them here and here. The first link was a one week challenge, the other is a blog about people who actually live on a […]
[…] feels embarrassingly like not too much of a challenge. I mean there are people out there spending $30 a week for two! I admire this and admit there’s no way I could ever compete. But the more I thought […]