USDA Cost of Food List - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 09-29-2010, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So just today, I was berating myself for spending too much on groceries. Then it occurred to me to see how I measured up with other Americans. Although I spent more than I normally do, my total still fell in between the "thrifty" and the "low-cost plans."

Given that grocery prices are still pretty inflated, and that cost of living varies vastly in different regions, it probably isn't the best way to set food spending goals. You also have to keep in mind that this is only about what you spend on FOOD and not the non-food items that you pick up at the grocery store.

That said, have you seen which category you fall into? The most recent data is for August:

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publication...fFoodAug10.pdf

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#2 of 48 Old 09-29-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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If I add up the individual numbers we are very close to the "low cost" plan.

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#3 of 48 Old 09-29-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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We are slightly under the thrifty plan. I do have to keep track of sales, shop around, and make most things from scratch to stay at that level.
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#4 of 48 Old 09-29-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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Gawd, we're way up there. We eat pretty frugally (am I allowed to use the word frugal to refer to eating habits? ), but groceries out here in the bush are... um... on the silly side of ridiculously insane.

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#5 of 48 Old 09-29-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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Wow, I am just a bit above the low-cost plan. I buy mostly organic foods, too. I must be doing something right. Although I have been noticing that my 11 year old is starting to eat alot more lately. So, maybe I shouldn't be too complacent, huh?

You know, I really do cook nearly everything myself and never eat out except for a very rare pizza. But now that I am working and in grad school all of that cooking is getting very hard. Processed food is starting to sneak in.
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#6 of 48 Old 09-29-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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We are right around the very max of the scale.

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#7 of 48 Old 09-29-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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We pretty much fit perfectly in the thrifty plan. That surprises me. I feel like we have a lot of splurges & could feed us on a lot less if I had to.

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#8 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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We're right up at the top of the scale (which, honestly, doesn't really surprise me).

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#9 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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It looks like we are just over thrifty. But I don't take very good advantage of the amazing diversity of foods that are available where I live. Plus we eat way too many carbs (ie. bread and pasta) and don't buy meat. So I don't know if being thrifty is really a good thing, or just a result of culinary boringness. I guess we do make all our food from scratch (Is boilng pasta considered from scratch ?) so that is something.
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#10 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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We are a family of 5, eating on just a bit less than the thrifty plan for a family of four, which surprises me. Our budget doesn't feel particularly restrictive and we eat well, including a lot of organic and many specialty-type items. City-data gives our town a COL rating at just below national average.
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#11 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 02:47 AM
 
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Thrifty and sadly that is more than FS grants per month. (I fully realize that FS is not intented to cover the full amount of groceries per month) I am very grateful for any assistance we recieve I am only comparing the fact that 100% FS assistance is below the 'thrifty' amount in our state.

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#12 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 08:58 AM
 
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Below the thrift plan by close to 200.00, which suprises me since my area is considered high COL.

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#13 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 09:03 AM
 
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WOW! Thanks for posting this. I too always feel guilty for spending so much on groceries, and we have a high COL. But we are between the thrifty and low cost, that made my day!

Vicki- Homeschooling Mama to 4 girls
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#14 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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Wow! What are they counting on that? We're a family of 5 and our groceries are well below the thrify plan for fam of 4, and very much below thrifty if you add them all separately. No we're not organic, as much as we'd like to be, it's just no in the budget. But hey, I figure we'd have a good lot more groceries if I spent even as much as the added up thrifty plan for us. For us, the added up thrifty is 157.30 a week, the added up liberal is 311.3 woo! I'd love to have 300/week for a budget!

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#15 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 10:50 AM
 
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We're below the thrifty plan. But our col here is really low.
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#16 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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We're at 65% of the thrifty plan, too. According to city-data, we're slightly less than average cost of living.
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#17 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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Wow. We're dead smack in the middle of the low-cost plan, and we eat almost all organic, free range, etc.

I guess I should pat myself on the back for that one!

ETA: I take that back. We're the low end of the low-cost plan. I didn't look at the part about the age of the kids.
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#18 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
Thrifty and sadly that is more than FS grants per month. (I fully realize that FS is not intented to cover the full amount of groceries per month) I am very grateful for any assistance we recieve I am only comparing the fact that 100% FS assistance is below the 'thrifty' amount in our state.
Yep, my family of one adult and 3 little girls spend $403.00 per month on food. For our ages that comes out to $7 below thrifty plan. That is every meal except 2 dinners per week for my kids and snacks and a bunch of organics. I get what you are saying though. If I were working, there's no way we'd be able to eat this way on this much.

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#19 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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I went into our budget software to figure it out. If it's just for groceries, we're about $150 below the thrift plan. If I add all eating out, wine and groceries, we're at the low cost level.

DH eats out for lunch 5 days a week.

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#20 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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Really interesting, we are between thrifty and low cost. That doesn't really suprise me though. We buy the majority of our groceries in one trip to the city every month. Because of food allergies we pay a bit more for some snacky convenience foods though.
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#21 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 11:51 AM
 
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What are they basing this on? Even at our worst we're right at the liberal plan which I think was really excessive.

Now we're just below the thrifty level? No way. I know we could cut quite a bit and I don't even coupon shop.

I'm just not sure where they are coming up with these numbers. Is it just food? No cleaning products or pet food? It just doesn't seem to add up for me or groceries by me are really cheap.
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#22 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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Thank you soooo much for finding and posting this!!

It is tough to put things into perspective sometimes when it comes to food cost. Our family is in the thrifty category, and we eat a lot of organic and wild foods that can seem very pricey sometimes! It's really nice to see that we are indeed as frugal as we think we are!!
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#23 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This bears repeating: It's just for the cost of food--not laundry detergent, shampoo, toilet paper, or anything else you might pick up at the grocery store.

It is based on national averages, so you're looking at how you compare to other Americans. It's not a recommendation....just a comparison.

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#24 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post
This bears repeating: It's just for the cost of food--not laundry detergent, shampoo, toilet paper, or anything else you might pick up at the grocery store.

It is based on national averages, so you're looking at how you compare to other Americans. It's not a recommendation....just a comparison.
This is what I was thinking. But that's how we factor groceries anyway, so my number is the same.
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#25 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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We are thrifty to low cost.


Since we are a family of 4, I took the two costs since I have a 4 yr old and 8 yr old and did an average.

$542 is thrifty and $697 is low cost. We are $573 avg this year for grocery. I was aiming for get it at $550 or less. Not happening.

Edited to add: this is just for food. We subtract anything that is not food and grocery related. We buy toiltried etc plus I make my own detergent and that is budgeted in a different catagory. Alcohol purchases such as beer wine etc plus eating out is a budget in its own. The main reason, we HAVE to eat but do not need to eat out (date night budget) and do not HAVe to have beer etc.

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#26 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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We are well below the thrifty plan as well. We mostly eat home-cooked food. I didn't realize that we were doing so well. We could spend more, but I don't like to. I could add some organics and pasture fed meat and still stay thrifty (I'm at least $200 a month below thrifty).

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#27 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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Whoa. We live in a low COL area and I make much of our food from scratch, we order pizza out once a month. Also, we eat a lot of beans. lol

I am below thrifty by about $300 dollars. ! And I have really been wanting to cut back more because I thought I spent somewhat excessively.

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#28 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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We are well below the thrifty plan as well. We mostly eat home-cooked food. I didn't realize that we were doing so well. We could spend more, but I don't like to. I could add some organics and pasture fed meat and still stay thrifty (I'm at least $200 a month below thrifty).
For us, we have always been thrifty to low cost but I dont think we could go any higher unless it eats into our fun money such as eating out, wine etc. We also live in a high COL area though.


I am pleased to see so many people eating well on the low cost to thrifty.

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#29 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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What we spend a month for a family of 6: $475.
What the thrifty plan is for a family of 6: $768

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#30 of 48 Old 09-30-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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we are a family of 6, and we spend $740 a month on just food, at the grocery store. factor in an extra $15 a week (on average) at the farmers market, that's an even $800 a month. we barely ever eat out as a family, now and then i'll grab a cheeseburger or something off a fast food dollar menu while i'm running errands. the thrifty estimate for 6 people (i added up separately) is $816.60 for a month.

so i guess we're doing better than i thought.

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