How Much Does It Cost to Feed YOUR Family? — Updated for 2015

how to budget for groceries

How much does it cost to feed YOUR family compared to these 2015 government guidelines. The guidelines are given for four levels of spending… thrifty, low-cost, moderate, and liberal. The costs for each level represent a nutritious diet where all meals and snacks are prepared at home.

Rhonda

Wow! According to these charts my family budget should be around $659.30 for the thrify plan. Out of necessity, we are definately hovering closer to $400/mo and sometimes less than that.

Wow- I work full time, have a part time job about 10 hours a week in the evening, I figured by those charts- I should be at 7685.50/yr and 640/monthly for the thrifty plan. I wrote down high ball park #s for what I spend thru the year… and I realize not everyone has access to the things I do- but here it is

900/yr-75/month at the Amish market

600/yr-50/month for beef we order from a farmer

150/yr- /12.50/month for canning supplies (includes any jars lids and seeds ect.)

300/yr-25/month for other meat like poultry, bacon,pork

150/yr-12.50/month for veggies since we can, foodsaver and only buy in season veggies.

200/yr-17/month snack food for son’s backpack and other little treats- I consider koolaid/tang a snack

*this is the most appalling one to me!

300/yr-25/month on SODA acckkk- this needs to stop

400/yr -34/month for incidentals- things I forget about milk,cheese,eggs that we get from a farmer, dish soap, deodorant and a buffer for when meat doesn’t get marked down that I can freeze or can for later!

that works out to 3000.00 a YEAR or 250.00 a MONTH….

I feel pretty danged good!

We cook from scratch and the boys are used to it- they love it- Hubby helps and encourages… do we go out to eat? Yep- once a month! everyone needs a treat!

Spendwisemom

I feed our family for $50 per week. We used to have 4 of us at home and now there is only three of us. I like having the extra cushion so I don’t plan on spending less than we do. I feed us healthy food and good meals for that much. Even though we don’t live on food stamps, I wanted to prove that someone who got food stamps could live well on them so I took the challenge to prove it could be done.

Urbandad

I’m actually currently doing an experiment with my 11 year old daughter. I am having her make the shopping list and going to have her come with me when we go shopping for things we need to price (like meats, etc.) Being in an urban area, there is limited access to farms for fresh meat, eggs, milk, etc. But I am giving her the initial budget to try to keep to of thrifty plan. My son, who has an eating disorder caused by him being a “super taster,” so he generally eats things plain (pasta, rice, chicken, pork), or just mildly flavored with some salt and pepper. Other than that, he doesn’t really eat anything else, but that’s a conversation for a different forum.

I’ll let you know how the experiment goes with trying to have my daughter be able to stick to budget.

Thank you for this. now maybe my husband will realize that $150 is NOT enough to spend for 2 adults and a teenager!

Jack

I probably spend about $200 in groceries per month. This does not include $ paid for breakfast/lunch at work and an accasional evening meal. I just need to be more frugal, cook more at home, take food in to work more, etc…It’s hard given how much time I spend at the office. Urgggg…

Laura

Going by the Thrifty Plan for my husband (36.80), myself (34.60), and our 8 children (20.20, 21.40, 22.40, 28.40, 28.40, 32.80, 36.10, 36.10) and minus the 10%: $267.48 per week

Chrissy

On the thrifty plan, I would spend $117.00 on our family of four. I currently spend between $50- $75 so I guess I’m doing ok although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it lately.

Linda

I’m in the netherlands, so I don’t know if I am actually entitled to post this comment. *lol* But we spend much less than even the thrifty plan..

We’re a family of 3, and according to the thrifty plan we should spent $95 a week. In reality, it’s less than $70.

perhaps this thrifty is only so to ‘normal’ people. say: the consumer generation ;)

Kelly

Well yes and no on it being high, it depends on how you cook and what you have avalible to cook. I had a penpal when I was in highschool who lived in innercity New York and the only place to by groceries with in a reasonible distance was one of two convenace stores, and her and her Mom where paying $3 for a half gallon of milk $1 for a can of instant soup and $1.50 for a loaf of white bread (and this was in the late-90s). So when calculating these figures (that they use to calulate food stamps and welfare) they had to take situations like that into account.

Just saying…

Linda

Hi Shirley. )

Thanks for your reply! As to answer your questions…. groceries are pretty much dirt-cheap here in the Netherlands. Which is strange, because we’re doing ‘pretty well’, according to European standards. We’re one of the wealthiest countries on earth, with the MINIMUM income for one person being about $1800. I hear the Dutchies always complaining when food prices go up, but really. we have nothing to complain about. I’ve recently been to Italy and Ireland, and noticed the prices were MUCH higher there, and the national income was lower than ours. Now, as for the examples you mentioned. let me give you the price of a few staples, so you can compare:

(I’m giving you the cheapest option, no name-brands, ok?)

flour – 1kg – $0,70

milk – 1 quart – $0,90

rice – 1 kg – $0,70

dried beans – 1 kg – $1,50

cheese – 1 kg – $7,00 (real cheese though, not that melted-with-milk-and-salt-added kinda gunk)

eggs – a dozen – $1,50

chicken – 1 kg – $5,00

beef – 1 kg (for stew) – $8,00

cheap coke – 1 1/2 quart – $0,50

coca cola – 1 1/2 quart – $2,00

bananas – 1 kg – $2,00

apples – 1 kg – $1,50

Well, that’s about it I guess…. I have no idea how these compare to prices in the US. one thing I know though. is that whenever you guys complain about the gas price, think of us. we’re paying over 10 bucks a gallon! (mostly taxes, of course) ;)

greetings from the netherlands!

Mrs. B

I make almost everything from scratch (including condiments). I shop a produce co-op for fresh fruits, and dry goods co-op for grains and beans, we grow a vegetable garden, and we raise rabbits and chickens and my husband and sons generally harvest two deer per year. But even with all that, I still have to purchase dairy products, cooking oils, spices, etc. I spend around $55.00 per week for a family of 5. If we didn’t do the above, according to the thrifty plan I’d spend $173.00 per week! Thanks for this providing this comparison, It’s helped remind me that all the work we do is worth it.

Nicki

Wow…I am spending too much.

Sylvia

These don’t reflect Washington DC metro area prices at all! Or maybe as someone said above, it’s all processed food. We don’t eat any processed food and we spend a lot more than this. I recently commented to the store manager that my grocery bill was really high and I didn’t even buy any meat and she told me it’s because fruits and vegetables are now selling better than meat so, they started to raise the prices on those items.

Lauren

Wow – we’re almost in the low-cost plan and that’s with shopping at Whole Paycheck, er, I mean Whole Foods. I e-mail my grocery list to our nearest WF and my husband picks up the groceries on his weekly trip to our largest nearby city.

We grow our own beef, some of our veges, our own eggs and our own milk and some cheese. As noted in other comments, we don’t eat much processed foods.

One thing this table leaves out is how much families spend on eating out. Because there are no healthy food restaurants nearby we eat at home. The city folks eat out more, I believe. We did when we lived in the city. Fast food prices are still low, but its been years since I’ve eaten FF.

Deanna

It’s the same here. I’m paying considerably more now than I did say a year ago for groceries but I’m happy to say I’m still paying less than the ‘liberal plan’.

Rachel

We can’t even afford to spend as much as the thrifty plan, we end up eating a lot of pasta and sandwiches and other cheap, not-so-healthy things. But I have definitely noticed that prices are continuing to rise here in central Maine.

Mel

It’s hard to say here, but I will mention that we try to avoid going to the supermarket as much as possible. During our short growing season in the summer, we get most of our veggies from the garden. We buy our beef, lamb, and pork directly from the local farmer as a whole animal, and then divide it among the family. Eggs also come from the local farmer. The only animal products we buy at the store are cheese, milk, and butter, but thanks to living in WI these items are all local anyway. We do this because I have moral issue with the way many commercial farms treat their animals, and I feel better about eating meat when I know that animal lived on a pasture and was treated with respect, then butchered locally and humanely. The entire life cycle of these animals, from birth to butchering to my doorstep, occur within about 100 square miles. I am thankful for this, as I know it’s not an option for everyone.

I haven’t bought chicken in years because my only source of actual free range chicken is 2 hours away, and costs more than my pasture raised, certified organic cow.

We do buy some processed food. I like having cereal in the morning, and we do eat a lot of white rice (as well as basmati rice).

And chocolate. Ohh we love our chocolate.

In the winter we buy an excessive amount of veggies at the supermarket – food I know has traveled a thousand miles. I can’t be apologetic about it, though, so I willingly shell out the increasingly exorbitant price.

I have also gotten much better about baking from scratch, but I must lament that Betty Crocker still makes a better yellow butter cake than I can from scratch :(.

Eileen

I figured this last year to get my hubby to understand more should be budgeted for food. Last year I could spend $75 each week and get all the food and toiletries we needed. If the kids needed stuff then we had to spend more. This year we are paying at least $100 a week. However, that puts us below the norm because I can everything and buy in bulk. I could still probably get away with that much but we have went organic on fruits and veggies when possible and dont buy anything except kiwi and pineapple from other countries..its all usa stuff. We dont eat prepackaged anything..its all cooked from scratch. I also eat deer and when my friends buy half a cow or hog, then I get the necks, hocks, shanks, and whatever they dont want to eat for free. We try to raise what we eat. I dont see how people survive because I cant afford to pay what they say I should and still be a stay at home mom.

Source: www.choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com

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