USDA Report on cost of food--grocery budgeting

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by AllesonWonderland, May 26, 2010.

  1. AllesonWonderland

    AllesonWonderland DIS Veteran

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    I was entering bills into Microsoft Money and I always cringe when I see what I spent on groceries the month prior. It made me want to research what the 'average' grocery budget was for a family of 4. I came across this and wanted to share:

    http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2010/CostofFoodMar10.pdf

    So, what are my fellow budget boarders thoughts on these figures?
     
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  3. 4forWDW

    4forWDW Mouseketeer

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    We are a family of 4 - myself, dh, dd (12) ds (9) and I try to keep our groceries around $125.00/week. But they probably average around $150/week.
     
  4. dvcgirl

    dvcgirl DIS Veteran

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    Looks pretty accurate to me. We're just two adults, with a liberal budget and we spend about that...$600 on food, and I'd say another $200 for toiletries and dog food. I budget just that....$800 a month.
     
  5. worm761

    worm761 <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/sw.

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    We are a family of four sometimes five. We have two adults, DS 14, DD 5.5 months, and one week a month my dad. He is a truck driver so he is only home occasionally. We homeschool DS. All three meals are eaten at home or taken to work. We spend right around $400 a month on groceries including the baby food. I make as much from scratch as possible to save. I also started a garden this year to try to save some money on veggies.
     
  6. thebeesknees

    thebeesknees DIS Veteran

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    Wow - I feel better about my grocery budget. There are 5 of us, and according to my math, the thrifty plan (with our ages) would run $649.83 a month. I know I come in well under that, since my budget for everything for monthly expenses excluding mortgatge and utilities (all food, clothing, gas, household items, entertainment) is $750. However, in the long run, it doesn't really matter what the government says about whether or not that is thrifty. What matters is that I am living within the budget that DH and I have agreed upon. So for someone else, that might be a drastically different figure.
     
  7. Leshaface

    Leshaface DIS Veteran

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    A very interesting document! Thanks for sharing! :thumbsup2
     
  8. *BTMRR*

    *BTMRR* DIS Veteran

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    That's interesting to look at. We're about in the middle of those ranges. I've only recently begun to try to really cut the grocery budget, so I think we can do much better. Family of 6 including three hungry growing boys.
     
  9. FoundMyPrince

    FoundMyPrince DIS Veteran

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    Wait 'til I show this to my DH! According to this document, our family, on the "thrifty" plan would spend about $684.40. We actually spent $250 on food and toiletries last month for our family of 5.:thumbsup2
     
  10. Leshaface

    Leshaface DIS Veteran

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    Do you even eat???? :lmao: Goodness you must coupon or something!
     
  11. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

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    Well, I should be spending about $290/month for me - not telling my age - and my 10 year old daughter, under the "thrifty" plan.

    I typically spend only $160-180. (Food only, I buy toiletries elsewhere.)

    And I don't coupon! And we eat tons of fresh fruit and veggies.

    I just watch where I shop, buy store brands alot, make sure to buy meat on sale (and rarely buy expensive cuts), and buy fruit/veggies in season.

    I've also worked very, very hard to eliminate waste - I only buy what I know we'll use. And I freeze anything that we won't use immediately if it's freezable - even if it's half a jar of spahetti sauce! I think that has accounted for the biggest lowering in our food budget, honestly. Until I really started concentrating on not wasting, I'd throw tons of stuff out after it went bad before we ate it!
     
  12. JamesMom

    JamesMom DIS Veteran

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    Well I feel pretty good.
    Our family of 4 in North Texas (DS7 and DS4) spend roughly $150 a week at the grocery store/Walmart and that includes toiletries, paper products & cleaning supplies - no pets besides fish that cost us about $10 a month.
    We also eat out about $150 a week, too with DH & school lunches, date night dinner & family pizza night.
    So we still fit with the liberal plan including eating out ~$1100 - $1200 a month.
     
  13. crisi

    crisi DIS Veteran

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    They look pretty good if you remove discounts such as couponing and just rely on "shelf prices." Couponers can often do better.

    Budget drops too low and you aren't getting enough milk, green vegetables, whole grains, etc. And that's what the USDA is trying to measure - not "how low can you go" - but whats the grocery budget for families eating to the USDA standards. Also, its national averages. I was on another board and Californians were aghast at what we will spend for a red pepper in Minnesota.
     
  14. SCHBR'smom

    SCHBR'smom <font color=brown>My mind is as clear and focused

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    We are a family of 7 (8 in Dec) and I'd say we're pretty close to the thrifty plan for food and toiletries. I've been working on cutting back and I still have work to do. Big families can be pretty expensive.
     
  15. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

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    Yeah, but our prices for things like eggs, beef and chicken will bowl you over!! :rotfl2:
     
  16. sk!mom

    sk!mom DIS Veteran

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    It makes me feel better. The Budget Board grocery threads always leave me scratching my head wondering how people are eating so cheaply.

    We average an amount just under the liberal averages for our family size and ages. I'm fine with that as I definitely shop liberally. Everything needed to run a household from cleaning and paper products to personal hygiene are lumped into grocery as I buy everything at the grocery store. My totals also include a fair amount of alcohol as our grocery store has a large wine section. We are at a stage where we want to eat healthy and whatever we like. That includes a lot of fresh produce.
     
  17. FoundMyPrince

    FoundMyPrince DIS Veteran

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    Yes, we eat :) I use coupons, watch sales, stock up on staple items, etc. We're not eating cavier and steak every night, but we do pretty good.
     
  18. QVCshopper

    QVCshopper DIS Veteran

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    I've done the no-buy for the past two months. Each month, I have spent $300 on groceries and $100 on eating out for our family of four. I kept wonderful track of everything each day and added it up at the end of the month. Not bad for four of us... we don't each out very much, but we eat fairly healthy.
     
  19. SunnieRN

    SunnieRN DIS Veteran

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    We are about in the middle of the range, which actually makes me pretty happy!!:goodvibes LOTS of fresh fruit and fresg or frozen vegies.
     
  20. mhsjax

    mhsjax DIS Veteran

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    I know, wait until those boys hit the teen years. OMG. I can't keep food in the house, I tell everyone that comes over. "Hold on to your food, if you let it sit to long, the oldest will swoop down on it like a hawk. His nickname, the human garbage deposal.
     
  21. Jennifer in MI

    Jennifer in MI DIS Veteran

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    Those charts always make me feel really good!!! We're a family of 6 - with two teenaged boys. We spend $150/week on food/wine. I buy mostly organic. I have a meat place where we get wonderful Amish raised grass-fed meats at VERY low prices. I belong to a food coop where I get all my grains/beans/nuts. I make our breads (tortillas, bread, pita, buns, etc). We do eat a lot of vegetarian meals, which helps with the cost.

    We keep our snacks simple - yogurt (plain - sweetened with jelly or honey), apples, peanut butter, nuts, hummus/pita, vegetables, popcorn, etc. No expensive prepared snacks here.

    I could do it much cheaper, but I'm not willing to sacrifice quality!
     

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