Do any of you include school lunches in the food budget? I heard they're very reasonably priced in US. Over here (BC Canada) it's $5 for each school lunch, no choice or substitutions, so we never ordered any (due to food allergies). I can't imagine spending $220 a month for my two kids' school lunch, but obviously some people must do that to keep that program running. I guess if some people usually spend $1000+ on groceries, not packing lunch everyday for the kids is worth it.
Your Food Budget... - Page 2
Like Ruthiegirl above, we don't really shop weekly like others do. I garden and during the summer, get a portion of our vegetables for, well, essentially, free. I also can and dehydrate any overage. We are unapologetic omnivores and get our meat by the side or animal. So, I might spend $700 once a year for beef or $200/year for pork, but then I won't buy much more the rest of the year (unless I want a particular cut that we've run out of). I buy in bulk from Costco and online. We also buy a lot of ethnic food online that can't be found in supermarkets (particularly Turkish, German, and gourmet products). I cook 95% from scratch, 20 meals a week for 4 of us, and can't use coupons, as we don't buy processed food except for a few items (organic whole-grain crackers or condiments, for example). Dd and dh pack a lunch every single day, so this includes lunches for everyone. So we have a very non-traditional food budget and we place a HUGE amount of importance on quality of product. I work very part-time and spend basically all of my pay on food, so at least $500/month in addition to the other purchases. By far, we spend more on fruit than any other food item, meat included. All in all, I'd say we average about $800 per month on food at home. Eating out is another budget item. We eat out once a week, and during the summer, when dd is off from school, we also have a girls'-lunch-out once a week.
My 2 that stay for lunch aren't particularly interested in the meal choices at their school, which is fine with me because it's $5-$6 per day each. Compared to what I've heard of US school lunches, the school meals here seem very healthy and balanced, with protein, grain, vegetable, fruit, and milk incorporated into every lunch. Fries, nuggets, etc aren't part of the rotating menus.
Wow. I just realized we spend just slightly less than $2 per meal per day for 6 people, only one of which doesn't have an adult appetite (and I have 2 preteens who eat a ton). This includes snacks. We spend about $650 per month. We do raise our own meats, but those are mostly free to us (and eat scraps), except for our rabbits, but they pay us back by sales in the winter, and we do supplement w/foraging and gardening, when we can (no spring/summer garden here this year, but I will have a Fall garden!!!). I dehydrate and can and sweeten most things w/the honey we harvest.