Hi! I am Shelly with Dinner for a Dollar. I show others how I feed my family a simple, allergy-friendly whole food diet with lots of fruits and veggies for $1 per person per meal. A veggie forward, allergy-free whole food diet for $1 a meal??? I know it seems impossible, but I have been doing it for years. I am here to share with you that a whole food diet doesn’t have to take your whole day or your whole paycheck.

$1 meals weren’t always my reality. Years ago, my son was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that attacks his esophagus – a condition exacerbated by food allergies. At that time, we weren’t living on a budget and were living a financially irresponsible life. I didn’t understand that an allergy-free whole food diet was possible on a tight budget. I believed the myth that to eat well, you had to spend a lot. And anyone spending little on food was clearly eating junk. When he was diagnosed, our food budget blew up! I didn’t know it then, since we weren’t living on a budget, but we were spending $2000 a month on food!! $1200/mo on groceries and $800/mo on eating out. We ate out so often because my food system was so complicated (I was spending 2-3 hours a day in the kitchen) that I would get overwhelmed and give in to restaurants. Our budget and our time revolved around food.

About 5 years ago, we decided to take our finances seriously and live on a budget. I knew I was going to have to get our grocery spending under control and I was freaked out. Whole, fresh food was a strong value for me. I didn’t want to compromise on that. Food that was free from our allergens was a requirement. There was no negotiating.

So, I sat down with my big girl panties and evaluated my food habits. When you think about it, the food you put on your table is a result of a lot of different habits and decisions. So, I looked at those. Every one of them. Little by little, I made systematic, step-by step changed that took our food bill from $2000/mo to where it is now at $1020/mo. ($720/mo for groceries – that’s $1 per person per meal plus $1 per person per day for snacks AND $300/mo on eating out). I shaved almost $12,000 a year off our food bill – simply by having a plan and making intentional changes.

The added benefit, I was also spending less time and energy on food than I ever have as an adult. Talk about a triple bonus!!!!!

If a whole food, veggie forward diet is important to you and you are spending more than you want to OR if you have food allergies in your home and your food bill is oppressive to you….let me tell you – it is possible to bring that down! It doesn’t have to be that way. I can help you!!!!

Today, I am here to share with you 3 things:

Let’s start with hope.

Hope – Your whole food grocery bill doesn’t have to crush you. It is possible to eat a whole food diet on a frugal budget!!!!

Change starts with your habits.

Change starts with evaluating your food habits. If you’re spending more than you want, sit down and think about all your habits. How do you plan? How do you shop? How do you prep? What do you prep? Are there any of these things that you could improve upon? If so, implement them little-by-little, over time. Changing habits – in any area of life – should be done slowly. It’s the same with our food habits. It’s way more effective to change 1 habit at a time and sustain that until it is stable and permanent than it is to try to change several things at once and then not be able to maintain it. If you don’t know how to change your food habits – or what changes could lower your bill – spend time researching it. Check out my page – I have several free FB lives on there with great tips. Check out my site – I have several blogs with helpful hints. (if appropriate, you can link my site here www.dinnerforadollar.co)

A strong food plan is important.

The most important step for me being able to feed my family this type of diet for $1 per person per meal is by having a strong food plan. If I don’t make a plan – that honestly takes my real life into account – then I will end up blowing my budget with take-out or blowing my food values with convenience foods or drive thrus. The same is true for you. You need a strong, well thought out food plan. If you take time, 1 time a week, to plan out what your family is going to eat – and all the food related things you are going to need that week – you will save yourself so much time and energy and money. You’re saving time and energy because you are only thinking about food 1 time a week and shopping for food 1 time a week. You’re saving money because you are reducing your grocery trips and not having to rely on convenience foods to carry you through. It’s super annoying, but we all have to eat every…single….day. I wish I could find a work-around for this, but I can’t. So, because we have to eat every day – we need to have a plan for every day. Without it, your budget will suffer!

I hope my story has given you hope that a whole food diet is accessible to you for the price of an item on the Dollar Menu! That with a little effort on the front end, you too can be eating a whole food diet for less time, money, and energy than you ever thought possible.

Because this is a short space, I can’t talk about my complete system here. If you are interested in learning about my whole system, you can check me out here (www.dinnerforadollar.co). You can sign up there to receive a free chapter from my book, called Dinner for a Dollar – where I cover my complete 11 step system. You also will receive weekly emails with frugal, whole food hacks.

Shelly is the founder and author of Dinner for a Dollar where she explains how she feeds her family a simple, allergy-friendly, whole food diet with loads of fruits and veggies for $1 per person per meal. Dinner for a Dollar isn’t just a book, it’s a whole system, complete with detailed action points to follow along so you can start saving time, and money. To find out more, or to purchase her book, visit DinnerforaDollar.co and be sure to follow her on Facebook.

Use these tips to put dinner on the table for just a dollar a person! Your meals will also be whole food and allergy friendly!