30-Day Whole Foods Thrifty Challenge


 28 day challenge whole foods, 30 day whole foods challenge

December 16: Feeding a Family Near the Poverty Level … at Whole Foods

Whole Foods is often referred to as “Whole Paycheck.”  So can a regular family eat for a month spending at near the poverty level while just shopping at Whole Foods?  I’m about to find out.

December 28: Preparing for the 30-Day “Thrifty Challenge”

A family of three decides to live for 30 days on the USDA monthly budget of $491.10.  Could you do it?  What if you only shopped at Whole Foods?  We are about to find out if this challenge is possible.

January 2: The Thrifty Whole Foods Challenge Begins!

Follow along as a family of three spends 30 days living on the USDA “Thrifty Budget” of $491.10 while shopping only at Whole Foods.  It’s quite an experience.

January 4: Whole Foods 30-Day Thrifty Challenge: Week 1 Food Breakdown

Here’s an example of the weekly breakdown, a complete list of what we ate on week one of our 30-Day Whole Foods Thrifty Challenge.

January 4: Trials & Tribulations: Week 1 of the 30-Day Challenge

We’re three days in to the challenge and we’re learning a lot and we’re struggling in some areas and we’re doing okay in others. Here’s the skinny.

January 6: Our First Whole Foods 30-Day Thrifty Challenge Winner

We select the first winner of a $125 Whole Foods gift card.  Sign up for our email list to be entered to win.

January 6: Meatballs on a Budget

Here’s a low-cost and delicious option for dinner.

January 9: Week 2 of the 30-Day Whole Foods Thrifty Challenge

Priorities change to proteins and vegetables as we head into week two.  But chocolate chip cookies, how do they figure in to the equation?

January 11: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

A great cookbook and tale of living frugally, one recipe at a time.  Oh, and chickens, there’s chickens!  And bees and goats.  This book is hilarious, smart, and useful!

January 13: Everyday Bread

A great everyday bread recipe from Jennifer Reese and the Tipsy Baker.

January 13: Our 2nd Whole Foods Challenge Winner

Congratulations to our week two winner!

January 16: Living Frugally: Halfway Through the Whole Foods Challenge

How $4.00 in groceries can bring a grown woman to tears. The continuing tale of living near the poverty level for 30 days while shopping only at Whole Foods.

January 16: No More Buddha Belly

How Greg’s body has changed in two weeks is the best example of “you are what you eat.” (posted on the Lisa Johnson Fitness blog)

January 18: Trial and Error: What I’ve Learned So Far About Frugal Living

Frugal living is challenging, but it’s possible to learn the basics and adjust in about three weeks.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

January 19: 30-Day Thrifty Challenge: The Food We Bought

Here is the complete breakdown of all the food we bought at Whole Foods over the course of the 30-Day Challenge, including how much we purchased and the money we spent on it.

January 20: Our 3rd Whole Foods Challenge Winner

Announcing the third of our four weekly prize winners.

January 23: Week 3 of the 30-Day Whole Foods Thrifty Challenge

After a few adjustments, we’ve got a system down to exploit sales and cook from scratch so that the Thrifty Budget level feels almost luxurious.  Almost …

January 27: Our 4th and Final Whole Foods Challenge Winner

Congratulations to the last of our four weekly winners of a $125 Whole Foods gift card.

January 30: 30-Day Wrap-Up: Whole Foods Thrifty Challenge

We’ve finished our 30-day challenge to live at the USDA Thrifty budget level (near poverty).  Did we win our bet with Whole Foods?

Editors Note:  We have noticed some of you searching for the “28 Day Challenge Whole Foods” and finding up. By all means feel free to go four weeks and not the extra two days. We sure as heck wanted to finish in 28 days when we got there!


  1. says

    I thought your challenge was very informative! I did notice a lack of dairy in meals (why did you buy mac and cheese if you were trying to go homemade?)and ethnic foods. Cheese sauces are easy and homemeade ones tend to be healthier. I reccomend checking out Clean Eating Magazine for recipes and budget friendly meal plans. Congrats on your success and good luck on your endeavors!

  2. Lisa says

    Brandi thanks for the suggestion on the mac and cheese. We were light on dairy (my husband and I) primarily because it was on the pricey side and it slid off the grocery list in favor of fruits and veggies. I also hate cheese, it’s a thing (weird I know, no I don’t eat pizza) so the idea of cooking mac and cheese turns my stomach! LOL … BUT I completely agree with you that it would be healthier and tastier. We do buy Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese which we figure is slightly better than regular. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting and I will go check out Clean Eating Magazine, I’ve been looking at it forever in the checkout aisle. :-) L–

  3. says

    Thank you for your posts! Our family challenge is to eat 75% locally and/or sustainably produced food for one year on $100 a week. We are shopping a lot at our local farmers markets, but sales on local or organic foods at area grocers helps, too. Even our daughter now asks, “where does your [beef, chicken, tomatoes] come from?” when we are shopping. Congratulations on your challenge–great to see the experiences of other families!!

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