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What is a reasonable food budget for family of 6?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I am trying to get my arms around what this number should be. I feel like our food budget is a lot - yet I shop at Costco and Trader Joes almost exclusively? We buy almost no processed foods? I dunno - please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks -
post #2 of 33
What do you spend each month?

I have a family of 4 but I provide childcare to 3 children five days a week...so I definitely spend more because of that. I'm trying to stick to $600 per month. So far so good. This doesn't include toiletries/diapers/etc.
post #3 of 33
I'm in HI and we just did a tally and we are running about 1,000 to 1,500 a month.We are a family of 6 plus random neighborhood kids and I shop at Costco and the commissary.
post #4 of 33
We spend about $550 a month plus we get WIC. That includes everything food, toiletries, etc.
post #5 of 33
we are a family of 5 , but I have 2 teenagers, so im really feeding a family of 7 LOL. I spend on average about $200 a week, I go to the grocery at least twice a week.
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
We are more like $1500/month+. I shop at Costco. I shop at Trader Joes. We buy very little processed foods. We make almost all our meals here at home.

???

Would you guys mind giving me a better understanding of what's on your list and the types of meals you make?
post #7 of 33
we are around 600 a month for our 4 including some expensive gf stuff, baby doesn't eat much so I'm not counting her. We do roast one night which gets us leftovers for second night, pasta one night, soup one night, chicken breasts one night etc. Breakfast is oatmeal or eggs, lunch is bagels and soup, hummus and crackers etc. Are you eating a lot of organic? That might bring you up a lot higher. I shop by the flyer, if its on a good sale I buy extra and put it in the freezer.
post #8 of 33
family of 6 here and I spend about $400 per month on food
post #9 of 33
My budget this month is $550 for groceries (food only, doesn't include toiletries) and $150 for eating out. So a total of $700 on food. This is tight for us, but doable. Like you, we have a family of 6. My oldest DS is in the middle of another growth spurt, so he's eating about twice as much food as I do.

I pack lunches, it's usually the same thing: sandwich, piece of fruit, cut up veggie, cashews and raisins, piece of cheese. DH or I sometimes have leftovers for lunch instead.

Breakfast is fruit, cereal with milk, muffins, pancakes, sometimes crackers and cheese.

I don't have my dinner menu sitting in front of me right now, but these are the main dishes I can think of that we'll be having this month. I serve a veggie and/or salad with dinner, occasionally bread/rice/potatoes. Some of these dishes will be served more than once:
Steak and potatoes
Lemon herb pork chops
lasagna
spaghetti
enchiladas
chicken and black bean burritos
tacos
BBQ sandwiches
Burgers
Meatloaf
rosemary chicken
chicken tenders
doro wat and injera (ethiopian chicken stew)
shiro and injera (ethiopian dish)
pizza
french bread pizza
brunch for dinner (pancakes with fruit, eggs)
sub sandwiches
post #10 of 33
I spend $400 a month and also make most of our food. We also home school so this is 5-6 people for 3 meals a day. I grind my own wheat and buy almost exclusively ingredients and vegetables (except when our garden is growing). Here is a small sampling of what we tend to eat.

Breakfast:
Eggs(hopefully homegrown within 12 mo.) & Bacon/sausage(homegrown/fed)
WW Pancakes w/ maple syrup
WW (pick your berry) Muffins

Lunch:
Various wraps or sandwiches (on homemade bread)

Dinner: Served with salad or vegetables
Corn bread and beans
Chicken over brown rice
Bread and Gravy


Now my disclaimer. When I am pg I spend more on my foods as I am very very sick the whole time and very very picky so during that time our budget goes up about $100 a month.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
My oldest DS is in the middle of another growth spurt, so he's eating about twice as much food as I do.


OT but I think it is so funny when my kids are having a growth spurt and the dinner that is usually plenty has to be supplemented because they are eating more than me or dh.
post #12 of 33
We'd have a better idea with what I thought was a reasonable amount if I knew the ages/appetities of your family members? Any restictions or allergies?

What are you eating now?
post #13 of 33
we budget about $1,000 per month for our family of 6.

I don't know if that's reasonable but it's what we spend.
post #14 of 33
There are so many variables here. Do you/can you garden? On a big scale/tiny scale?

Can buy from farmers, produce stands, CSAs, co-ops, Upick? Sometimes these places will let you work in exchange for a discount or free seconds. Yes, you will get more produce than you can eat before it goes bad, but whether you are working or just buying, to be cost effective you need to freeze/can.

Do you have any means of free (or nearly free) food- nuts, berries, apples, swaps, bartering, hunting, etc?

Do you have any food animals, or the room for any?

Personally, I don't think you can achieve a low food bill exclusively shopping at grocery stores. You have to go to restaurants, or bulk suppliers- not like Costco or Sam's, but more like Aramark or Sysco- or, best yet, straight to the grower.

We have no food animals, but we do everything else I mentioned or we cooperate with someone who does them.

I love Costco. I have never been to Trader Joe's. I don't AT ALL mean this as a criticism of either of these stores or of your shopping methods. I just think that stores *have* to mark up to stay in business, and typically, big warehouse type stores don't even have any loss leaders.
post #15 of 33
We are a family of 4 and I think we spend about $600 a month on just food including eat out. I'd like to cut this down to $400 a month if possible. I'm thinking of switching to an all cash food budget and see how that goes.

I shop at costco for lunch box items and we try to eat a lot of rice with meals.
post #16 of 33
Really depends on so much.

We are 5 people, 3 kids and two adults (one pg). We spend $400/mo. That's for no organics, a small amount of processed food (but some), meat/fish/poultry about 4-5 times per week.

We generally eat cereal, oatmeal, eggs, etc for breakfast. LEftovers, soups, or sandwiches for lunch (pb&j, etc). Dinners are simple.

Roast chicken with veggies (carrots, potatoes, onions)
Fish, sauteed or broiled, with rice, polenta, or pasta.
Pasta with any kind of sauce (marinara, alfredo, oil and garlic, etc)


We buy the cheapest cuts of meat (chicken thighs, etc), and usually onyl ground beef. I use no coupons. I shop at a variety of stores- I get most meat at an Asian market, most staples at TJs, and most produce at a discount produce place.
post #17 of 33
Family of 6 here (soon to be 7) but two of those are teens who eat twice as much as dh and I. We spend about $150 a week, give or take depending on the week. That's a good average for us though and what I budget for.

I have really shaved quite a bit off our grocery budget and part of that was from the many good ideas I received on this forum.
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatherineNaomi View Post
We spend about $550 a month plus we get WIC. That includes everything food, toiletries, etc.
WOW I feel shamed I have a family of 4 get WIC and spend $500
post #19 of 33
We're a family of 5, soon to be 6, and I'm trying to get our grocery budget down from over $150/week to under $100/week. It's taking me a while to get stocked up on the basics, but once I get a decent pantry stock I think I'll be able to spend less than $400/month on food for all of us. Eating mostly vegetarian and meal planning/cooking from scratch is helping a lot.
post #20 of 33
I also wanted to add, since no one else here has posted it:

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

This is the USDA site with governement estimates of the cost of food. They have a thrifty, low cost, moderate, and liberal plan. This isn't an average of how much people actually spend, but rather a measure of how much the governement thinks it would cost to feed a family, based on current nutrition guidelines and also taking into account the types of food that people actually buy. Most posters here at MDC think that the prices are overly high. My personal theory is that the government assumes that people eat more processed/prepackaged food than people at MDC eat.

While it's not a good measure for everyone, it's a good jumping off point at least.
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