Our family’s current monthly budget for food is $250 – this is for two adults, a 3.5 yr old and an eight-month-old. Some months we spend less and some months we spend more, but it usually averages to about $250 a month. I recently discovered that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually calculates the average cost of food at home, on a monthly basis, and they calculate it at four different rates –
- Thrifty plan
- Low-cost plan
- Moderate-cost plan
- Liberal plan
I calculated what our budget SHOULD be according to the USDA and it was $509 (for January 2011) and this was for the Thrifty Plan! We are spending HALF of the most frugal plan! I guess they need to add another plan – the couponer and smart/strategic shopper plan! Did you look up your family? How does it compare to what you actually spend?
I was thinking about doing a series of posts visually showing (with photos) what $250 could buy you when you combine coupons, sales and rebates. I would take photos of our groceries for an entire month, so you could see what I bought. I think we would all be surprised at how much food (and healthy food!) you can get for $250 when you calculate in coupons and sales. What do you think, would this be interesting for you? Would you be interested in photographing your groceries and sharing what you get for your monthly budget?
Update – I wanted to add that I think a big reason our monthly budget is so low is because we have a good stockpile, so when we can’t find good deals we just don’t shop. Also, we don’t buy a lot of red meat and lately we’ve been getting our chicken from Zaycon Foods and it lasts us a while. I wouldn’t expect a family of four to immediately drop their budget to $250 – I would do it gradually over time, as you build your stockpile of free or close to free items.
How much does your family budget for groceries each month? Before you started couponing (or shopping strategically) what was your monthly budget? THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER here – budgets are personal decisions and there are lots of factors that go into budgets – dietary needs, location, etc.
(Thanks to Molly who sent me the USDA info!)