What's Your Food Budget?

The national economy is in the dumps. The local economy is no exception. In fact it has been hit pretty hard. So it didn't surprise me when I saw that the local news had a running segment coming up about feeding your family on a tight budget. Made sense to me.

What did surprise me was the amount.

"We'll teach you to feed a family of four on $100 per week."

My suspicions were confirmed when I checked the budget. Our monthly food budget is $400, roughly translating into 100 dollars per week. So they were going to teach me to be myself?

No. I know that many would consider this amount to be scant. I also know that our kids are quite young, though at times, our 5-year old can put away as much as we do. Still four mouths to feed.

I also know that we've gotten by on less - a lot less. I can recall, during my SAHD days, having to explain just how we could possibly be spending only $250 per month on groceries. I had to be wrong - it just couldn't be possible. Though the person in such disbelief was spending $700 + per month on a family of the same size, and our kids were the same age. I would have been in shock too.

So I put it to you, dear readers -
What is your monthly food budget? And how many are you feeding with it?

Some caveats that came out of the above debate:

  • Our food budget is just that - food, for us. Not some, "we buy it all at the same store, so it's the same money" fund.
  • We buy our dog food elsewhere, but it likely comes out of the same pot.
  • Eating out is not included in this number as it is a separate line item called "Eating out"
  • Even on our $400 / mo., we are buying organic milk and eggs, all natural beef, chicken, pork, and turkey, and many other organic products. No Kraft nothin'.
So let's hear it. Bust out your budget and pony up!


autumnesf said...

We do $125 a week.

The killer for us is that I'm not supposed to have wheat and diary. Try eating cheap when you can't use flour.

I'm so frustrated with sites that have economical recipes...they are full of wheat. So our cart is almost all fresh produce and meat.

So there is a new post for you -- teach me how to eat cheap without wheat. And you can only eat so many beans. And tofu is out more than 2x a month due to a thyroid condition. And I can't have eggs every day or they are afraid I will develop an allergy to them (and we are talking natural eggs, not the cheap ones because of what they eat).

Help me!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to get my food budget down to about $450 - there are four of us. My boys are both teenagers. One is an athelete and both eat continuously. I thought for awhile that I wasn't doing very well but with teenage boys food doesn't last long. I also have special allergy restrictions that increases our budget.

Tosha said...

We spend(or try to at least) $200 a month on groceries. This includes the occasional package of diapers(we use cloth during the day) and all hba products. We are feeding 4 also. We have a 5 year old girl who sometimes eats like a bird and other times eats like a grown man and we have a 11 month old boy who eats like a 5 year old. we do not have pets and we receive wic so we do not have to buy cheese, milk, eggs, or beans.

Gina said...

I'm spending an average of $500/month for two adults, a 5yo (who eats like yours), and two 2yos (who eat pretty well). I live in a high cost of living area (Northern VA), and that amount includes ALL our household items as well (paper products, health and beauty, cleaning products, DIAPERS, etc.

Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet said...

We spend $450-500 a month for 4 people (2 adults, a 7 year old and a 2 year old) and that does include all our paper goods and cleaning products.

We started really making a go of Costco about 6 months ago and our grocery budget has gone down about $50 a month. I used to have trouble keeping it under $500 and now it's no problem, usually have plenty left over.

Squawkfox said...

About $150 per week for two. Like @autumnesf I can't eat wheat, so it makes sandwiches and lunches a little tricky. One frugal method for the wheat challenged is to use a romaine lettuce leaf as "bread." Not only do I get my veggies, but I get my sandwiches. Another good alternative are nori (sushi) wraps. I use these all the time for lunch wraps. Very tasty.

Rebecca (Green Baby Guide) said...

Awhile ago I calculated that we spent $150/month on food for two adults and one child who hardly eats anything. This is easy to accomplish because we don't eat meat. I also buy all organic vegetables that get delivered to me every other week. That figure doesn't include paper products or cleaning supplies, but I know that I spend uder $5.00/month on those because we use cloth diapers, no paper towels, etc. I also was not counting going out to eat, which we do fairly often!

I read a similar article (maybe even the same article) in which a family was "challenged" to spend $100/week on food, and I thought it was disappointing. I wanted the families to come up with some innovative idea for spending less than usual, but instead most of them just complained and went back to their old ways after the month was over.

Mr. (not) the Jet Set said...

Wow! What great response. Thanks to all for sharing.

I was wishing I had some advice for the no-wheat folks, but it looks like Squawkfox took care of that one! I have a similar affliction - lactose intolerance. So far, we've just been buying lactose-free milk and keeping some dairy digestion pills on hand. But we've been talking about trying raw milk as it apparently doesn't have the same issues as pasteurized milk.

Stef said...

We spend about $50/week right now for 2 adults and a 1 year old (including dog food) But we have had WIC for the past year, so milk, eggs, beans, juice, and cereal were covered. I'm expecting it to go up to about $75 per week, but with more freezer space in the new house, we may be able to buy more meat in bulk when it's on sale and preserve more food from the garden during the summer, so we'll be able to save in the long run.

Annie said...

Wow, this was a timely article for me. I've decided to start budgeting and wasn't sure how much was reasonable to put into my budget (since I haven't been tracking expenses or been particularly diligent about cooking at home).

I am a single woman and I had put $400 a month! Looks like I can trim that a whole lot... ;-)

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