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How much you should REALLY spend on groceries each month *update*

Posted by on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:10 PM
  • 54 Replies

I thought this chart was really cool because the USDA broke down different food budget plans and how much each family should actually spend on food, according to family size and budget. 

I was actually surprised that even the CHEAPEST plan for like a family of 3 was around $250 a month.  It's really eye opening on how little is actually spent on food vs what should be spent on food.  Check it out.

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

So for a family of 4, monthly groceries should be anywhere from $500 a month to $1200 per month.  Here's a link to the costs per family size for June 2011

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2011/CostofFoodJun2011.pdf

W\hat is your family size and do you spend the amount suggested by the USDA?


*Update*  So i'm trying to get more information from the USDA Food Plan Cost website about where they get the numbers.  I think it's based on the average for the united states. 

The put allot of information in varying forms and a bunch of different links, so you kinda have to dig around.  But here's a little bit of info that i found if anyone is interested. 

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodPlansCostofFood.htm

The Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost, and Liberal Food Plans each represent a nutritious diet at a different cost. The Thrifty Food Plan is the basis for food stamp allotments. (All files are PDFs unless otherwise noted.)

Cost of Food ― 1994 to Present

Other Current Publications

Related Websites

 

For information on putting the Thrifty Food Plan into practice, please see the Recipe Finder database, which contains recipes for use by nutrition educators working with the SNAP (Food Stamp) eligible population.

Archived Publications

Recipes and Tips for Healthy, Thrifty Meals
The meal plans and recipes were developed and evaluated by The Pennsylvania State University under contract with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Four-person families with limited incomes prepared and evaluated the menus and recipes for taste and quality. Note: This publications is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 1995 and the Food Guide Pyramid and is provided here for historical purposes.




by on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:10 PM
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Replies (1-10):
minneapolismama
by on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:15 PM

We spend about $600 a month for a family of 4- 15 mo old, 4.5 yr old, dh and me. I know I could go cheaper too, I used to only spend around $75/week with baby ds, dh and i, though grocery costs are up considerably since then. That is with at least 50% organic, shopping at WF, TJ and a few other places. The onyl people I know who spend close to the liberal amount are a few very wealthy family friends, my friend does their shopping for them, and they buy everything at the priciest, small gourmet stores with lots of prepared foods. 

Aqua_Jen
by on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:21 PM

 We dont even spend the "thrifty" amount. With a family of 3-4, depending on if dh is home or not, we ALWAYS spend less than $300/month. We focus on fresh fruits and veggies and rarely do I not make a meal completely from scratch. Oh, and I dont coupon.

minneapolismama
by on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM

just curious, is that food only? or food + other stuff, like toilet paper, tooth paste, etc because if so, we probably spend more.. 

Alyson121
by Alyson on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:25 PM


Quoting minneapolismama:

We spend about $600 a month for a family of 4- 15 mo old, 4.5 yr old, dh and me. I know I could go cheaper too, I used to only spend around $75/week with baby ds, dh and i, though grocery costs are up considerably since then. That is with at least 50% organic, shopping at WF, TJ and a few other places. The onyl people I know who spend close to the liberal amount are a few very wealthy family friends, my friend does their shopping for them, and they buy everything at the priciest, small gourmet stores with lots of prepared foods. 

We buy local and natural/organic food from our neighborhood grocery and spend anywhere from $1500 to $2000 a month on food.  We are a family of 7 and are by no means wealthy.  Food is just our priority.  There are other families like us, who don't spend money on cable tv, video games, expensive data phones, etc . . . it's pretty much food and shelter.  Just yesterday we spent $500 at New Leaf market in our area and will more than likely spend a few hundred more here and there during the week to buy fresh milk, produce, etc.

We don't buy prepared food or even what i would consider fancy gourmet, it's just that REAL food costs REAL money as it's doesn't get gov't subsides (but that's a whole other post *chuckle*)




e-doolittle
by Kelly on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Very interesting chart!  DS has severe food allergies so our food is expensive!!!

Alyson121
by Alyson on Aug. 7, 2011 at 4:27 PM


Quoting minneapolismama:

just curious, is that food only? or food + other stuff, like toilet paper, tooth paste, etc because if so, we probably spend more.. 

It's food only.  And the thing i noticed is that if you look at each month, the cost changes slightly from month to month.  They're basing this on real food that's not processed. I think they have an article about it on their site, but i'd have to try and search for it.




darbyakeep45
by Darby on Aug. 7, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Well...it says our family should spend about $700-750/month on food...I spend about $500 or less:)  

darbyakeep45
by Darby on Aug. 7, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Wow!  Do you shop at bulk stores like Sam's Club or something?

Quoting Aqua_Jen:

 We dont even spend the "thrifty" amount. With a family of 3-4, depending on if dh is home or not, we ALWAYS spend less than $300/month. We focus on fresh fruits and veggies and rarely do I not make a meal completely from scratch. Oh, and I dont coupon.


heybooboo
by on Aug. 7, 2011 at 7:14 PM

That is not a very accurate estimate.

What we spend here in GA is significantly less than what I would spend on the same exact food if we were still living in TX.  I just came back from TX about 2 weeks ago, there was a cost difference of about 40%.  And what was even more disconcerning was the quality of produce as well.

We average $700 a month for a family of 6.  We do not eat processed foods, and at leat 70% of our diets is fresh produce.  It is DH, Me, an 11 yo DD a 10yo DS, a 5 yo DS and also a 4 yo DS.

We also eat out only twice a month. 

reneawesley
by on Aug. 7, 2011 at 7:15 PM
We spend $100-150 a week.
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