Guest Post, The Paleo Mama: Affording Paleo

Wednesdays used to be our Guest Blogger Series day; but, there’s just so many new and wonderful Paleo and real-food bloggers out there that we’ve expanded our series. We hope you enjoy the new view points and unique content; if so, we encourage you to show these guest bloggers your support by visiting their blog and social media links at the end of this post!

Today The Paleo Mama visits to give you her tricks to making paleo affordable for her family. This is a topic that is very much needed in our community, but very few are able to speak to it. We feel very lucky to find someone who can!

“Paleo eating just simply costs too much for me!” I really can’t tell you how many times I have heard that statement, seen that comment on my blog, or watched someone throw in the Paleo towel because they felt like Paleo was expensive. I wanna just yell at them, “Diabetes is expensive…Constantly buying larger clothes is expensive…Your children’s dental work is expensive.” However, instead I choose to write this simple article on how Paleo can be very budget-friendly. Eating Paleo has its degrees of affordability. You get to choose where your budget fits.

Six months ago we lost A LOT of money on the sale of our house. I had to do some major food budget renovation, however, during it all, we stayed true to Paleo. Our Paleo affordability went from, “Well-Off Paleo,” to “Barely Surviving Paleo,” but I made it work for us. Whatever your budget may be, Paleo CAN work for you.

Here’s some ideas and tips on how to make Paleo work for your budget:

“Barely Surviving Paleo”

The thing with “Barely Surviving Paleo” is that is much more time-consuming because you need to shop around for the best deal. This may mean shopping at 3 different places during the week. But once you find the best deals, stock up if you can afford it!

1. Buy local produce over organic produce. GASP, did I just say that? Yes, buying local from a local Farmer’s Market is your best bet. Wouldn’t you rather buy something that was harvested a few miles away instead of something organic that was harvested 2,000 miles away?

2. Buy whole chickens. Shop around for the cheapest price. I found whole, pastured, free-range chickens at my local Farmer’s Market (2) for only $15! This is as cheap as commercial, feed-lot chickens! So, I go early to the market and grab a few for the week. At the end of this post I will show you how to make 4-6 meals out of ONE chicken!!!

3. Shop at Indian Stores, Asian Markets, and other “Ethnic” Markets. I found a case of 24 cans of Aroy-D coconut milk for $30! This is a steal, and we go through it pretty quickly because I use this milk to make a coconut milk tonic for my toddler.

4. Check out Craigslist for local people who sell their farm-fresh eggs. I always seem to find eggs for cheap on Craigslist. Many of the people are hobby farmers who have more eggs than their family will eat and sell off the surplus.

“Comfortable Paleo”

You can afford to splurge on certain foods when they go on sale. That juicy, grass-fed rib eye that the farmer was showing you this week? Why not? You buy it. But you don’t always buy the top quality. You allow splurges like this every once in a while, but most the time you stick to whatever you can find at the grocery store on sale. You don’t need to hunt or shop around much. You stand in line at the grocery store proud of your full Paleo cart. Sometimes the husband gets on to you about your spending, but you tell him that health is worth more than food and that is what you are buying. Listen up, you can still save money!

5. Grab a Costco or Sam’s membership and buy some things in bulk: nuts, organic frozen veggies, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. Check out my list here of 50 things I found at my Costco.

6. Stop buying expensive laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, and make your own! Saving money in different areas like this frees up your expenses so you have more freedom in buying your groceries.

7. Buy your meat from a local meat market. I have discovered that meat markets cut the meat fresh for you so there is little risk of the meat being sprayed with preservatives or having that “pink slime” on it. Also, many meat markets have monthly family packs with a variety of different meats to get you through the month.

“Well-Off Paleo”

So, you’re doing good with this whole Paleo thing. You buy all the best quality organic produce and foods that you can. You can afford to grab whatever kind of food you want from whatever store you want, regardless of the price. There is still some that you can learn or do.

8. Buy a whole, grass-fed cow or half a cow from a local farmer! This is such a good investment. You have to have a large, deep freezer before you do this, but you get such a good deal and all different cuts of meats. Most the time you can specify what kind of cuts you would like. You also get all the marrow bones to make beef stock with and the organs to start experimenting with making organ meat. Check out “Eat Wild” for local sources.

9. It would do you some good to grow your own food or pick your own food. Sometimes we get so caught up in shopping our grocery list that we don’t stop to appreciate the time it took to grow, nurture, and harvest our food. “Pick Your Own” is a great website to find local farms you can go to and pick your own produce for a great deal!

10. Sign up for Amazon. Amazon is a life-saver to me. Not only does it save me a ton of money every year, but it gives me access to certain products that are unavailable in my area.

That was 10 different ways you can start to save money and make Paleo work for your budget. Like I said in #2, I have another great method for stretching just ONE whole chicken into 4 meals!

One Chicken Four, Five, or Six Meals

Step One: Take your whole chicken, remove giblets and store in fridge, wash the chicken, pat it dry and then place it face down in a crock pot. Add 2-4 cups (depending on size of chicken) of water to the pot. Cook on low for 5-8 hours. When the leg pulls off easily, you will know it is done.

Place chicken face down. This helps the breast to become more tender!

Place chicken face down. This helps the breast to become more tender!

Step Two: Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool on a plate. Leave all the juices in the crock pot. When the chicken is cool, remove all the meat from the chicken and put all the bones and skin back into the crock pot. Now you have enough meat to split the chicken up into 2 meals. Make a simple skillet dish with lots of veggies (recipe follows for a Creamy Chicken Skillet dish), a chicken salad, chicken wraps, whatever!


Step Three: Now throw an onion chopped into fourths, a chicken foot (if you can find one), saved giblets, a few garlic cloves, a stick of celery, and a carrot into the crock pot. Add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, which helps pull the minerals from the bones. Then add enough water to the pot to fill it up. Cook on low for 24-48 hours. In the last hour, add some sage, salt, and pepper.

Look at how nutritious and dark that stock is! Can't find that in a box!

Look at how nutritious and dark that stock is! Can’t find that in a box!

Step Four: Let the stock cool, then remove all the chicken and veggies and strain the stock into a bowl. You should have about 1.5 gallons of extremely, nutritious bone stock, which is another 2 whole soup meals of your choosing.

All from ONE chicken!

All from ONE chicken!

Step Five: Reuse the bones and MAKE MORE STOCK! Yes, you can reuse the bones until they disintegrate. With chickens, it takes about 3 times reusing them before they crumble away. Just to note, each time you reuse the bones, your stock will have less flavor than the previous.

There ya go! From one chicken you got 2 meals to use with meat and 2-4 meals to use the stock with!

*Creamy Chicken Skillet* (Bonus Recipe)


1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB of butter/coconut oil
1/2 chicken meat from the crock pot chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
15 ounce can of diced tomatoes or 4-5 diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves or 3 TB dried basil
15 ounce can of full fat coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a deep skillet or pot, soften the onions and garlic in the butter/oil.
  2. Add the chicken and let warm up. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, basil, and coconut milk.
  3. Let it all warm up and then season to taste with salt and pepper! Serve it over spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles (pictured), or cauliflower rice!


The Paleo Mama is just another mama who is striving to do the best for her family when it comes to their care and nutrition. She has been Paleo for over a year, and has, successfuly, lost 60lbs. She enjoys creating recipes and making food look fun for her kids. She is a licensed massage therapist with a love for natural living and a passion for helping others make the changes they need for themselves and their families. You can follow The Paleo Mama at http://www.thepaleomama.com or email her at thepaleomama@gmail.com.

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  • I think that if people had any idea how delicious homemade chicken stock is they’d take the time to make it! Throw in a bunch of fresh veggies, some herbs and spices, and a few tablespoons of Kerrygold (my personal favorite addition) and you have an amazing low-cost meal. Great post!

    • The Paleo Mama

      Totally agree! It’s so simple! Thank you!

  • Jamie

    I wish we had a local meat market and farmer’s market! I agree, though – Amazon is a life saver when you live in an area with very limited availability. Also, thanks for reminding everyone that you can make stock in your crock pot – I work full time, and am so thankful to be able to make stock overnight in the crock pot.

    • absolutely agreed! we don’t use it as often as we should because Matt’s home, but we’re going to try to do that more ourselves. The Paleo Slow Cooker is a great new cookbook just out with tons of awesome ideas!

    • The Paleo Mama

      You’re welcome! It also feels safer leaving it in the crockpot than on the stove. Sometimes I let it go the full 48 hours because I’m lazy or just forget about it!

  • Michelle

    Thanks for the tip on finding eggs on Craigslist! I did a search immediately after reading this, and I found a woman two miles from my house who sells eggs from her backyard chickens for $3 a dozen! I came home with two dozen beautiful eggs, and I’m thrilled to have a new, extremely affordable source for real food!

    • that’s awesome! love hearing stories of people taking these tips and putting them to good use like that!

    • The Paleo Mama

      Yay!!! That’s how much I pay for mine! I found my egg lady off Craigslist and she gets about 8 eggs a day…too many for her and her husband.

  • Leslie Keros

    I like your suggestion to make your own laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. Where do I find good recipes for those?

  • Hmm I was going to have roast chicken toniight but maybe I will do this instead. Except I don’t have a crockpot so will have to do it the old fashioned way..with a stove.

  • Becca

    Wow! This was so informative. Never thought of checking out Craigslist for fresh eggs & I appreciate you listing the Costco items. Brilliant ideas on how to save $ on a Paleo lifestyle.

  • Roxxy

    My husband and I recently started Paleo. It’s been wonderful for us. I’ve lost 40 lbs and he’s lost 20 and we’re exercising regularly now. We’re actually training for a 5k, which I never would have though that I could do before. But I was starting to get really worried about how we were going to afford this in the long haul. We’re relatively young, both going into grad school, have student loans to pay back, what have you. And after just 1 month of paleo, I had spent about twice what we used to spend on food in 2 months. It was crazy. So this post has really helped me. We live in a really small town with no farmer’s market or anything. And our grocery options are walmart or aldi, so we don’t get all the grass fed beef that we’re supposed to. That will definitely be changing when we move. But for now, I’ve been going to Aldi and grabbing one of their whole chickens. They are 89 cents a pound, so it’s a great way to stretch our money. The other night I used some of this delicious chicken stock to make chicken ‘noodle’ soup and it was really tasty. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this. It really helped me.

  • Here’s One more use, after the bones have been cooked to mush, I crumble them and mix into my dog food.

  • Michelle

    Thank you so much for this post. I too have found that budget shouldn’t stop you from going paleo. We have a family of 6 and struggle to make regular bill payments. I have found if you just start with small steps it can be done. The less money I spend on processed food the more veggies and fruit I can get. Our local dollar store gets lots of organic veggies and fruit, plus stuff from our local farmers. Only downside is it has to be used asap which means learning how to prepare and freeze. It can be done.

  • Gruene Queen

    it might be wise to note than many folks who set themselves up at a local farmers maket go to Walmart and buy produce to resell to you. Ever wonder how come that guy has fresh peaches when yours aren’t ready to pick yet? Might be a clue. And how is it that if you live in zone 1-7 that this guy is selling oranges or avocados? Might be wise to look at the boxes he pulls his produce from. Many of these people have to pay a set amount for their booth space, so buy in bulk at big box stores to resell to you, calling it organic when they have no idea if it is or isn’t. It takes a lot of work and acreage to produce several flats of vegetables every week. Many plants are determinate and set one batch of fruit and then they are done, to be pulled up and replaced with a different crop. It requires a lot of time and resources to do this, and there is a lot of down time before that product is ready to be picked. Just be aware that not everything you buy at a Farmers Market is organic or even grown by that person.

  • Sngillespie

    ok…I am NOT a cook. What can you do with the chicken broth? Any links to good recipes?

  • Sammilamb

    Thank you so much for this post. I am one who started a Paleo lifestyle but was frustrated because budgeting was so hard and I had no idea what I was doing do we slipped a little. This has pumped me back up and to realize that really it’s the simple things that make it affordable. It does not have to be so hard, sometimes we make it hard. This really was wonderful so thanks again and God Bless!

  • Jenna Alexander

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, for this post! I am unfortunately one of those who can’t even afford all that specialized medical care and clothing you talk about as good reasons to “afford” paleo, so I really needed a post like this. Paleo is my only way back to health that I can even attempt to afford right now. It is the only way I can control my “being healthy” budget because in our area, while medical prices always seemed to be fixed (No one feels the need to work with you except for letting you set up a payment plan), I am getting very good at finding food deals.

    I just LOVE the chicken idea you have here. Chicken is literally the only meat I can eat (odd for paleo, I know, but also being grain and dairy free means paleo is the closest thing to my individual needs to find recipes from) and I have never really liked chicken because it always seems so dry with a cottony texture in my mouth. I have looked and looked for a good crockpot chicken recipe, but they typically use things I can’t have. Yours is so simple and so thoughtful it will be perfect for me!

  • Jay Bee

    My husband and I have been doing whole chickens for the last 10 years or so. Not once have we gotten 2 meals out of a single chicken. 1 meal and 1 person’s lunch, maybe, but not two whole meals. Now, with DS, we get one meal out of a whole chicken.

    But, yes, we do get a week’s worth of stock (and we use stock daily) from our bird, though. And we also make beef/venison broth (depends upon which bones the butcher is giving away). We love our broth. And it certainly does make meals. But. . . yeah.

    Never do manage to get more than one meal out of a chicken.

  • Jamie

    Question: Do you seperate the fat from the stock after cooking? I cooked mine overnight in the crockpot for about 12 hours and it seems really fatty and not pleasant as is. I want to make chicken stew with almond flour dumplings but am afraid to go through all that cooking and it still be fatty. Does cooking it longer make the difference?

    • Yes, this is usually what you would do. Chill it to get the solid fat layer, then just scoop it off.