How This New Yorker Eats for Under $50 a Week

Hi everyone, I am back! I’m Ellexa, Sara’s oldest daughter and guest blogger on Simply Sara Anthony. I’m coming to you from my new home for the summer, the big and beautiful New York City. In case you’re curious,

1. It’s been an absolute DREAM to live here; the bright lights never get old.

2. Some parts aren’t as glamorous as the movies depict them.

3. It’s confirmed, the cost of living is not ideal for a college student. 

I, however, consider myself quite a thrifty 21-year-old. I have some tips and tricks for how I eat in the big apple for less than $50 a week. No, I don’t live off PB&J and ramen noodles. Everything I cook and eat in my home is gluten-free, plant based, and gooooooood.  

Ellexa New York Healthy Eating


My groceries come from two places:Trader Joes and the local produce stands.

On average, I spend about $25 at Trader Joe’s purchasing weekly essentials. When I check out I get $10 in cash back to get my fruits and veggies for the week at the produce stands near my apartment. That $35 food investment easily keeps me fed for the entire week for all three meals. Some trips are more expensive than others if I need to refill essentials like oats, pure maple syrup, spices,  and other items they don’t need to be purchased weekly.. The rest of the $50 is set aside for me to shamelessly indulge in the array of restaurants and bakeries tucked between street corners. 

Let’s Get Specific: 

Trader Joe’s Grocery List: 

  • Rice 
  • Beans (black, garbanzo) 
  • Rice cakes 
  • Hummus 
  • Leafy greens (arugula, spinach, spring mix, etc.) 
  • LARA bars (5) 
  • Extra fruits and veggies the produce stand might night not carry or are cheaper at TJ’s(carrots, cucumbers, brussel sprouts, bananas, etc.) 

** Last week I had to get extra things like peanut butter, coffee, and nuts and my total was $25.

Produce Stand List:

  • Apples (4) 
  • Peppers (3) 
  • Blueberries  
  • Zucchini (3)
  • Onions (2) 
  • Oranges (2)

I am always blown away by the amount of food I get at the produce stands for only $10. There are three locations within a block of my apartment. If one doesn’t have what I need,  I can go to another.

I will admit I was a little nervous the first time I purchased from a produce stand. Honestly, I’ve found the fruits and veggies are fresh, plastic free {meaning less waste}, and have yet to make me sick.

New York Eating on a Budget

Meals I Prepare with my Groceries:


Rice cakes topped w/ peanut butter and fresh fruit.

Chia seed oatmeal with fresh fruit 


Various combinations of cut up veggies, fruit, hummus, nuts, and salads.


Rice, beans, and sautéed veggies on a bed of greens. I change up the plants I use to keep it interesting.

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  • ChristyI love this so much! This is so simple. So clean. So thoughtful all around. Thank you too for the specifics!! Curious-  no goat cheese or vinaigrette or anything with the dinners? ReplyCancel

  • JohnI’m so very impressed with my small town Princess surviving in the Big Apple, not to mention driving her bosses’ (Enterprise) late model cars their during rush hour.
    Just a note on veggies, don’t forget the sliced cucumbers. I think they R your meat substitutes.ReplyCancel

  • JohnI remember “Europe On $5 a day” in 1964, but New York City on $50/wk, wow! You can’t even add eggs to your diet or the subway.ReplyCancel

  • SuzanneMy daughter has lived in Brooklyn for many years and those produce stores are THE BEST! ReplyCancel