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USDA Food Plan Estimates $ - Where do you fall/what do you think?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2011/CostofFoodMar2011.pdf

 

I'd love to hear discussion on this link. Are you in the thrify category? The liberal? Way below? In between? What do you think?

post #2 of 43
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Edited by kristandthekids - 1/16/13 at 6:41pm
post #3 of 43

Everyone always says this chart is a huge overestimate, but I fall in the low-cost plan (not the thrifty plan). And that feels ok to me because I certainly worry about the cost of food and hardly going out and buying caviar (or even avocados - that's a treat for me). Most people say that they spend about half of the thrifty plan and don't even feel the pinch.

 

DH and I did a PB&J diet for about a year when we were saving up for a downpayment for our house (pre-DD). We spent $35 a week for the two of us (there was some cereal and rice and beans involved too). I think that if I ate that way again I'd be shortening my life by a lot. I just can't eat that way anymore.

 

Now slurping up the last of my breakfast bone broth soup (lots of good marrow in this one).

post #4 of 43

We fall somewhere between low-cost and thrifty.  Not that I trust anything from the government but that makes me feel pretty good.  Sheepish.gif

post #5 of 43

We're at about 2/3of the thrifty plan.  I find it hard to meet that budget, but it is what it is. 

post #6 of 43

We are several hundred dollars below the thirfty.  We spend about $400/month for a family of 5.  We don't eat a ton of meat, I cook almost everything from scratch, we don't do organic, we don't eat out, and I shop at just one store (Winco) twice a month (less trips to the store = less money spent.)  For us, it HAS to be this way, or else mama would not be able to stay at home!!!  It may not be an ideal way to eat, but we are a very weight healthy family and we don't live in an ideal world, we make the best out of what we have!  This is a great resource for cook on the cheap: http://www.amazon.com/Family-Feasts-75-Week-Penny-wise/dp/B004WB19P8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305335652&sr=8-1 and I was even able to check it out, and make a bunch of copies from it at my library so I didn't hardly spend on that either.

post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvenchrst View Post

We are several hundred dollars below the thirfty.  We spend about $400/month for a family of 5.  We don't eat a ton of meat, I cook almost everything from scratch, we don't do organic, we don't eat out, and I shop at just one store (Winco) twice a month (less trips to the store = less money spent.)  For us, it HAS to be this way, or else mama would not be able to stay at home!!!



We're in the same boat. We spend $200-$250/month for a family of three. I totally agree that reducing meat consumption (fish and beans!), cooking from scratch, and shopping only twice a month saves TONS. Shopping twice a month has really helped us stay on budget. It's amazing.

 

Also, most of my food is not organic, but I do buy organic berries (I always buy the frozen, store-brand organic ones - way cheaper than fresh) and organic salad (spinach, romaine etc). I try to buy organic on the things where I feel like the pesticides are touching the actual food (not the peel) and harder to 'rinse' off. I also buy organic bananas because they're not much more than the others and they have SOOO much more flavor.

 

Glad to hear we're not the only below-thrifty household.

post #8 of 43

We're in the thrifty plan for our family of 4 (soon-to-be five), and that includes things like cleaning supplies and toiletries.  We don't buy organic unless there is a sale.

post #9 of 43

WHOA!!! It's just us two for now, and I spent about 200-300 a month and my S.O. eats like a HORSE! And that number includes toilet paper, paper towels, detergents of all kinds, etc etc..I shop at discount places and use coupons. Geez, how does anyone afford those prices?

post #10 of 43

If you're asking me.... I dunno, it's really, really hard. We're sinking because of it.

post #11 of 43

We spend a LOT on food.  I try to get all organic- especially for produce- and Im eating a ton of it these days being pregnant and all....

post #12 of 43
There is no place on the chart for us. We spend around $200 a month total, and that is for 2 adults and one baby. And that number will drop even more over the next 3 years.
Reason being, we have chickens, goats and are working towards growing all our own veges. We also hunt and fish. And for milk and cream needs beyond what our goats provide, we coordinate a raw milk co-op for a local farmer, and get enough kickback to pay for it.
post #13 of 43

we fall below the thrifty level even when i count the groceries i get from WIC. i'm not religious about cooking from scratch, but the pre-made food is rare. i do shop on base which means its at a discount, and we only do organic when we can afford to splurge. we eat lots of meat (though mostly poultry), and snacks. i think a huge part of eating cheaply is planning ahead. i make a list of the meals and snacks i'll make for two weeks, write the shopping list accordingly, and then stick to it. we spend about 100 every two weeks, 140 counting WIC, for two adults and a solids eating baby.

post #14 of 43

For our family of 3--2 adults (51-70) and one 13 yo--I spend between $100 and $125 a week.  It all depends on how much I need to buy to restock the pantry.  I have spent as little as $35 and as high as $150.  But that includes everything--paper products, soaps, light bulbs, school supplies (we home school).  I also shop up to 5 stores a week--farmer's market, Costco, mainstream grocery store, alternative/health food grocery store, and 99 cent store.  Farmer's market and alternative grocery store for fresh, local produce.  Alternative grocery store for bulk items.  Costco and mainstream grocery store for meat and non-food items.  99 cent store for canned goods and non-food items.

post #15 of 43

We're between thrifty and low cost, and that's almost entirely organic. We're a family of 3, vegan, and spend about $120 a week on groceries. That's almost no processed foods, lots of beans and grains and fruit and veggies. We buy most of our veggies from the farmer's market, we only eat produce that isn't local in March and April when I get to the point where I think I will cry if I eat another orange or kiwi. Then we splurge a little on a couple of mangos, a pineapple and a bunch of bananas.

 

We have 9 fruit trees (only 2 are fully mature and producing so far) and a small veggie garden that help a bit with food costs. It's nice to be able to go pick a dozen oranges, slice them and have a potluck contribution. The garden doesn't get enough sun for winter production, but we have generous amounts of peas coming in right now, and greens that will be ready soon.

post #16 of 43

That chart seems crazy to me. It says our family of 7 should be spending over 700-800 per month and we spend just about 500. I can't imagine spending that much. We do not eat any organics. We eat meat roughly 5-6 times per week.

post #17 of 43

Our grocery bill has gone up about $50 from 4 years ago.  4 years ago, Joy and family moved in with us and the food budget went from $60-$100 a month for 2 adults and one 10 yo to $600 a month for 4 adults, 3 children (10, 3, and 1).  And then we added my mil when I started taking her dinner every night.  When Joy moved out (and grandma died), I couldn't get the food budget back down to $60.  With a teenage son and the financial situation as it is now, $400 a month is as realistic as it gets.

 

One of the things that the chart doesn't take into account is regional cost of food.  I can get local, organic produce year round at a reasonable price.  But I also have about 10 farmer's markets within 10 miles of my home.  And that's not counting the farm stands.  I can go to a farmer's market every day of the week if I wanted to.  Meat I buy in bulk and store in Joy's chest freezer.  I can get eggs in the summer from my sister when her hens over produce.  She keeps her chickens in a large open chicken coop where they can eat bugs and fresh grass.  they can't be totally free range because of the coyotes.

post #18 of 43

Does this include eating out as well as groceries? I fall in at thrify end of things but if you count in eating out we're on the moderate to higher end, depending on how many times DH has to make trips to wawa for ice tea and snacks during the workday or if we end up eating out (we live in a high COL so it seems like eating out always ends up being a lot)

post #19 of 43

we are right between thrifty and low-cost and we eat pretty well :) I will have to show this to my husband lol he is always bugging me about over spending- we spend about 140 total a week- about 1/3 on produce, 1/3 on staples and grocery items, and the rest on random stuff during the week, like something I forgot for a baking project or something.

post #20 of 43

These are amazing budgets you all have, you should be proud of yourselves.  I've heard many wives claim that $800 to $1000 is the norm for a 3 to 4 person house.  My DH and I spend from thrifty to low.  If I make up most meals of potatoes, rice, beans, pasta and round it off with fruit and veggies in season and buy only things on sale, we do great!  We live on the coast so Farmers market is only May to Oct. and we don't have any discount stores like Food Max, etc.  It makes it more challenging.  However, we don't eat out much, we don't buy meat or dairy but very rarely.  I make some things from scratch and that is a great money saver as you always have things left over to make next time (an example would be bread and pizza dough and having plenty of flour and such on stock).  Buying in bulk and organic in season and making my own almond milk saves pennies.  I also make my own house hold cleaners out of vinegar and dish soap and such.  We don't use paper towels or disposable rags, mops and so on.  I use cloth towels, mop bottom I can wash each time, cleaning rags out of old towels and socks.  I stock up at the store when ever something is on sale, say pasta is 10 or $10, I stock up.  I use the crock pot a lot, pack all our lunches, eat all other meals at home.  I'm also starting a compost and garden for the spring and planting what ever berries will grow here in the fog.  Chickens are also a dream of mine. 

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