Robb Wolf’s Paleo Budget Shopping Guide – A Review!!

As a trainer, one of the most frustrating obstacles I encounter with clients is the “eating paleo is too expensive” dilemma.  This one problem can be the biggest obstacle in the path of a paleo neophyte, and not because they truly can’t afford to eat this way, but because their priorities are usually not conducive to making a major change in the way they live in their bodies.

Robb Wolf’s Paleo Budget Shopping Guide is much more than the name implies.  This book makes you look at your life, yourself, and your choices and re-examine your priorities.  Robb’s sentiment is a “no joke, no excuses one” that I appreciate to the fullest based on years of experience working with people who want to be healthy but continue to find comfort in being stuck behind a list of excuses.

As Robb expresses in this book, and I agree; there are plenty of people out there who are legitimately flat broke; but all of us paleo professionals face a never ending stream of people who can’t seem to bring themselves to buy quality food that would dramatically effect the way they look, feel, and perform, yet they have car payments, active social lives, and a horde of expensive electronic devices that keep them plugged in to social media 24/7 lest they fall out of the loop and not know when a distant acquaintance bought a new pair of pants on sale. I think sometimes we need to ask ourselves what we really want out of this life.  Do we want to love ourselves or do we want to love our stuff?  Do we want to love every minute of living in our bodies or do we want to constantly seek distraction?

All of us, especially those who need some priority help, could use a little direction when it comes to the practical application of menu planning, shopping, and cooking so that we can more quickly form the new habits that will lead us to success AND allow us to still enjoy our lives away from the dinner table.

Enter Robb Wolf and his new e-book, The Paleo Diet Budget Shopping Guide, and suddenly we have the answers that will make us all happy, even if you truly are in the flat broke group.  Robb has all the bases covered in his typical fashion that says, “you don’t have to do this stuff, but don’t pretend your excuses are valid.”  The ability to include links to websites and videos is one of the benefits of e-books and this one is loaded with them.

In Chapter One, Robb covers all the common roadblocks from “paleo is too expensive” to “I can’t afford grass-fed or organic” to “I don’t know how to cook”.  I think most of us will have to admit that we have at least been a little intimidated my some of the points he makes here, even if we never let them be deal breakers for us.

Chapter Two is for those of us who struggle in the kitchen.  If you are going to make this paleo thing work, you need to at least know some cooking basics and this chapter is awesome!  It is comprised mainly of instructional videos by some serious pros, and it wraps up with “10 easy recipes to know by heart” that truly are indispensable in my humble opinion.

Chapter Three is all about meal planning and it is nothing short of brilliant.  No stone is left unturned.  After a few helpful caveats Robb delves in to food lists, theme nights, and an especially excellent section on eating seasonally complete with links to find out which fruits and vegetables are seasonal where you live.  Then it’s time to actually create a menu and go shopping beginning with the handy Meal Panning 101 flow chart, link to sites specifically designed for meal planning, a starter menu, food lists for shopping and meal suggestions by ingredient, and printable sheets for making the whole menu planning process easy.  Like I said, no stone unturned!

Chapter Four includes money saving tips that will help you pinch every penny while still eating the best possible paleo foods.  Admittedly, my wife is better at finding deals than I am, but I can not think of a single money saving option that is not listed in this chapter and the majority would have never come to me in a million years.  (Maybe this chapter is aimed at us boneheaded men?)

Chapter Five, Budget Shopping Priorities, begins by educating us on the definitions of  the sometimes dubious “green lingo” tags like Grass Finished, Organic, and Cage Free, and follows this up with reasons why you do/don’t have to buy foods with these labels.

Chapter Six contains some excellent advice from some great paleo food bloggers, as well as tips and tricks for the kitchen and being prepared.

Chapter Seven wraps the book up with resources and an extensive list of sites to visit for paleo recipes.

Overall, I just can’t think of a single person who doesn’t need this e-book and I’m not kidding.  I respect Robb Wolf and am ever grateful for his influence on me, but I would never have written this review if I did not feel that this e-book was a much needed contribution to the paleo world and all you beginners who are struggling to get off to a good start.  It is priced at $19.99 and I honestly believe it will pay for itself on your first trip to the grocery store.  So why are you still reading this?  Scroll up and click on one of the links above.  You have more important things to read now.  :)

Also be sure to visit Robb’s site here.

Go forth and be awesome.



  1. Decaf Debi says

    Thank you for this review, specifically the descriptions chapter by chapter.

    I have your books, (Paleo Pals was an instant hit with my kids!) as well as many other paleo cooking and lifestyle books. I still struggle with finding deals, though, and with thinking paleo can be done on a budget. After 25 years of cheap, vegetarian eating, meat prices just seem astronomical. After all, I can buy a bag of rice for 99 cents and eat from it for a week. You can’t compete with that kind of pricing. I never bought processed boxed foods, so my grocery shopping mostly changed from getting inexpensive rice, potatoes and pasta to pricey meat. The health benefits from the switch can’t be overstated, of course, so I don’t complain about the cost. But I definitely wince when I see the numbers add up at the grocery store. I need Robb’s book and will continue to come back here to read the budget paleo posts as well!

  2. Amanda says

    How ironic that you mock/belittle the “need” for electronic devices in a BLOG post selling your ELECTRONIC book.

  3. IHE says

    Thanks for the great review. But no mention of the format this document comes in. To me, a critical issue is how I will be able to read the e-book.

    Can you read this on a Kindle, or Kindle App? It seems that for e-books that aren’t purchased through Amazon Kindle store or iTunes iBooks store the only way to read the book would be on a computer screen (and I don’t like spending a lot of time behind a computer).

    I hope it’s not just a PDF document. If so, strongly suggest that Rob make it available in Kindle format as soon as possible. People read e-books on tablets, e-readers, and smart phones – and a PDF document doesn’t allow for this, nor for searching, highlighting, note taking, etc.

    I will buy this the second it becomes available for Kindle.

  4. kerry says

    Very well-written review for what sounds like a helpful (but overpriced) book. Too bad your contempt for and superiority over the very same people who NEED this kind of book becomes an over-
    riding theme in the post. Because what people who have failed to successfully institute a paleo lifestyle really need is to be judged as superficial and shallow human beings. Hmmm.

    • says

      “…what people who have failed to successfully institute a paleo lifestyle really need is to” take responsibility for the decisions they make. What they don’t need is another blogger telling them how everything will be fine if they just keep cuddling with their excuses.

  5. Jen W. says

    I wanted to respond to this because I too have heard the “we can’t afford to do paleo” complaints.
    My husband and I also thought it was going to be more expensive.
    You know what? Our grocery bill each week has decreased! We are not buying cans and cans of this and that to make sauces and sides. We’re not buying boxes and boxes of sides and junk. We eliminated junk food.
    Our vegetables/fruit and meat fill the fridge and freezer and our once over-filled pantry is empty!
    It is an adjustment to get the right amount of food and learn (12 bananas for 4 people is not enough a week!) but it doesn’t need to be limiting or make people hungry because they can’t afford it.

  6. Holly says

    I don’t have an e-reader or smartphone nor do I have any plans of going out and buying one anytime soon BUT I WOULD LOVE to find out how I could get my hands on the info b/c we eat Paleo and looking for ways to do it economically as we have a special needs child on a specific diet and medicaition (hopefully no meds soon!!!!!) and money is tight but not about to go back to SAD eating!!!

      • Holly says

        Perfect! Thank you for that info! I think $19.95 is a small price for your health and if it can help you shave your budget or even just give you ideas on how to save time and be more efficient, it is well worth the money!

  7. says

    Truthfully, I have found it does cost more, but its worth it. Ask yourself, which scenario would you prefer:
    1) Would you rather have excellent health and a physique you’ve always dreamed of by paying a bit more money at the supermarket every week, or
    2) Would you rather have poor health and an overweight/obese physique where you have to spend lots more money on co-payments for: prescription meds , endless doctors and specialists visits, treatments, physical therapy, surgeries, etc.

  8. Runs with Squirrels says

    What to spend money on comes down to choices. For some people there’s no problem spending $5 for a box of cereal when you can get an entire bag of oatmeal for half that. Pkg of cigarettes, case of soda, chips, crackers, cookies, etc., all empty nutritionally but worth it for some people. Going paleo (a year now) for me ended up being cheaper or a wash because I traded off expensive-per-serving prepared foods for real food … and what’s more, not spending the money on snacks: not hungry between meals anymore. When I added up all the money I used to spend on what was basically a second lunch mid afternoon pre paleo, there was at least a grass fed roast every week.

  9. Shannon says

    As a super budget conscious shopper I have definitely felt the crunch of Paleo. I used to feed us (family of 4) on about $60-70 a week + $20 for our Organic produce box. Then we had another 100/month for eating out. I was couponing and getting things like Kashi cereal and granola bars, frozen Lean Cuisines, etc for practically free. When I started my journey I did it for weight purposes and was feeding myself this way, but within about 2 weeks time I realized that I needed to do this for my whole family. I had various ailments that while not debilitating, were annoying and they went away. I started to notice how my kids behavior was tied the food they ate. I packed up all the processed junk and decided that even if it meant giving up all of our disposable income, it was worth it. Last month I spent more than double our normal budget, but a lot of that was pantry staples and now it is getting more reasonable. We ordered 1/2 a grassfed cow from a local farmer for a killer price and I scoured Craigslist for a lady who sells pastured eggs for less than I can get them at the heath food store. All of these things will help. In the mean time I am enjoying my family in their happier, healthier state and now that it is warming up will we go for a hike instead of forking over the $30 to see a movie. Cost doesn’t HAVE to be a deal breaker, it just takes a little work to find affordable sources!

    • says

      Your approach sounds very reasonable. Congratulations on your journey. Isn’t having a freezer full of grass fed beef just the bee’s knees?

  10. Madeleine says

    Wow, how completely dismissive and condescending. You could have started this entry with, “Hey, the economy sucks, and everyone is looking for ways to be frugal!” Instead, you started it with, “If you can’t afford your grocery bills, then you have lousy priorities!” Want to add in a comment about Welfare Queens driving Cadillacs, while you’re at it? My need for lower grocery bills has nothing to do with the rest of my lifestyle, and it doesn’t mean I have lousy priorities. It means I’m poorer than you. The most expensive thing I spend my “disposable” income on? Running shoes and half marathons. My computer is 3 years old, my TV was a gift (and we don’t actually have TV — just movies), and my car is a hand-me-down. So when I decided to eat Paleo, and instead of buying oats, potatoes, quinoa, and milk (which were actually a relatively small portion of my diet), I started buying meat, more meat, fish, eggs, and almond milk, the extra $30 I started spending each week really hurt! Of course… I shouldn’t have to explain any of this to you just so you can smugly tell me it’s “okay” that I want to spend less on my dead cow parts.

  11. says

    Thank you for this review. I’ve been on the fence on buying this guide but felt it was priced about triple what an eBook of that length should be priced. I’ve listened to Robb’s podcast and read some of his book. I’m not sure there is going to be anything in here for me as it sounds like he is advocating mainly grocery store shopping, which in my opinion, is the least optimal way to purchase food. I reserve the right to be wrong on this point as I obviously have not read the book.

    Getting pastured meat is actually LESS EXPENSIVE than CAFO meat if you are purchasing in bulk from local farmers and you have the side benefit of building a relationship with a real farmer and supporting local agriculture. Investing in a CSA gives you plenty of organic vegetables to consume for a very reasonable price and generally there is enough abundance to preserve some for the winter.

    Your biggest investment in getting local meat is getting a chest freezer and a 1kw generator (for a power outage to protect your investment) You can get a really big freezer for about $400 and a 1kw generator for about $200. Rotate 10 or so gallons of fuel with stabilizer (you were going to buy it anyway, just keep some on-hand)

    These are, more or less, one time fees. Please check out my blog for a podcast and article about buying and using grass fed beef.

    I listen to a lot of podcasts and my #1 pet peeve is people saying they can’t afford to eat good food. I really want people to know that if you approach the lifestyle from a modern preparedness perspective (grow your own, buy in bulk from farms, preserve when food is in abundance) it is actually cheaper than buying as you go from the grocer. Our grandparents knew this too be true and it has been forgotten.

    Here is the rub, your going to have to invest your time in exchange for this money saving lifestyle. I currently am not 100% there myself and probably never will be, however I try to constantly make steps to increase my liberty and independence from the system. If this is your attitude you will find your own path.

    You don’t need an egg decoder when you are buying high quality eggs from local backyard producers, easily found by searching your local craigslist or pulling them from your own chicken tractor which is also providing fertility and pest management to your orchard (one example)

    If you are truly destitute many local farms will give you as much food as you can handle in exchange for a few days of labor, helping with the harvest.

    I saw mint at the grocery store for about $3 for a few sprigs. Mint is such an invasive weed you can barely contain it after you have got it planted. Free mint for life vs spending $3 each time you need mint, plus the time back and forth to the grocer… please understand this is madness!! What are you going to do about it?

    People spray their lawns with toxic chemicals designed to kill wild lettuce such as lambs quarters, the herb plantain, chicory, and all the other wonderful and healthful ingredients ruining some strip mine vision of their how their lawn should look. A few hours of searching on the internet will let you know all about free food available in your area and you will get the health benefit of a walk in nature as a free bonus.

    I’ve got no problem with someone who spends a lot of money on their food, buying as they go, etc.. but people are being led to believe this is the only option when it comes to buying organic foods and in my opinion people should take steps to support their communities and also take more control of their own food security.

    Seek out your local farmers and starting bulking up on meats, get a dehydrator and process 10 pounds of zucchini when it is in season. Set up a basic kitchen garden and expand it as the years go on. Establish some perennial fruits such as grapes, berries, and an apple tree, and, for god’s sake, stop spending money on maintaining a perfect lawn! Stop the madness!

    So, while I appreciate whole foods and what they do, people really need to re-map their mindset back to a more traditional normal. A great read on the mindset of the modern consumer vs a traditional mindset is “folks this ain’t normal” by Joel Salatin. Joel lays out the problems with our consumerist lifestyle as contrasted to a traditional normal of years gone by.

    I could go on and on… but I don’t want to be preachy, but it’s hard not to be a little preachy when talking about these subjects. Really I just want people to be aware of an alternative to grocery store, buy as you go, mentality.

    Let me ask everybody an important question: Is $3.80 per pound too expensive for a grass fed fillet mignon?

  12. Amy Alpert says

    Does anyone feel that this book is valuable for people living outside the states? The links and resources are based in the US and would not be applicable to European paleo dieters.

Leave a Reply

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