Author Topic: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home  (Read 26516 times)

CmFtns

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USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« on: July 07, 2015, 01:51:00 PM »
I randomly ran across this chart from the USDA. To me the thrifty column is just maybe barely on the edge of mustacianism. I cant believe how much their food estimates are for home cooking because I spend probably around 60% of the "thrifty" column and I could definitely do better if I needed to.

What do you all think of this chart?

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodMay2015.pdf

KCM5

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 01:57:40 PM »
Their thrifty plan is almost exactly what we spend on food (two adults and one two year old). But that's with alcohol and eating out included. And yes, we could definitely do better.

That said, I think it's probably not that bad of a chart, but I could be wrong. I'm not really sure what sort of diet they're assuming here - mostly cooking veggie meals from scratch? A fair amount of packaged food? Meat and two veg for every meal?

justajane

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 02:01:55 PM »
Considering what our boys eat now (aged 7, 5, 1), the average for when they will be 17, 15 and 11 didn't seem far off the mark honestly. Right now we spend around $600 a month for a family of five, but I know that number will go up as they eat more. I've already told them they should expect a lot of meals with lots of potatoes and pasta.

CmFtns

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 02:10:47 PM »
yea I guess It's not too bad maybe i'm just extremely thrifty in my food plan. I don't usually buy many meats besides chicken breast and no organic stuff.

I just couldn't imagine spending the moderate plan of $619 a month for me and my GF when we spend slightly over $200 now.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 02:12:37 PM by comfyfutons »

Alenzia

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 02:23:46 PM »
We're right between the "thrifty" and "low-cost" for a couple, including alcohol. Lots of meat/animal protein, organic, not much processed food. I'd like to get it down, but given the husbands health issues when he doesn't get enough animal protein, it doesn't seem likely.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 02:24:40 PM »
It says $14/day for us, and over the last 12 months we've spent about $12/day. Not too far off, but we're not working that hard at it either.

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 02:30:06 PM »
Around the Low-Cost side. Though I don't buy very many packaged foods. Lots of fats in my diet, though I am starting to reintroduce tubers into my diet, we'll see how that affects the grocery budget.

FIPurpose

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 02:32:29 PM »
Though now that I think about it more:

I eat meat at almost every meal. That should put me much higher than Low-Cost. Perhaps USDA is assuming a high amount of meat consumption in their thrift plan?

beltim

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 02:39:02 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1

Chris22

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2015, 02:39:20 PM »
I go to the grocery weekly and spend between $120 and $150, with very little effort spent on trying to drive it down (no coupons, buy brand names, etc.)  for a family of 2 adults and a 3y/o.  It's mostly just fruit/veggies and meat/cheese/eggs, etc.  We do eat out a fair bit (every Friday we do pizza, plus 1-2 lunches/week, and MAYBE 1 other time a week) so that offsets it some. 

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 02:46:19 PM »
That chart always blows my mind when I see it. Their thrifty plan for one week is what we spend for the entire month.

Bob W

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2015, 02:52:05 PM »
The amazing thing was the difference between the thrifty family and the spendy family ---  $650 vs.  1,292 per month!   .   My guess is the 1,292 folks are a tad overweight?    Shit that is like $8,000 per year difference.   I like to think we are far, far below the thrifty level with an imaginary target of $3 per day per person or around $300 for our family of 3.25.    We don't eat out often either.    Hell no wonder people are up to their eyeballs in debt with these kind of numbers.

Imagine spending $1,300 per month at the grocery and then another $800 eating out.   Dumbasses!

4alpacas

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2015, 02:56:18 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1
Thanks.  I'm a little confused why the low cost food plan for men and women ages 19-50 includes so much yogurt.  Does everyone eat more yogurt than me?!

I think the difference in our spending can be broken down by avoiding expensive beverages (fruit juice and soft drinks) and yogurt.  I thought I was spendy because I buy a large container of Fage every few weeks, but it looks like everyone is eating a lot more yogurt than us. 

2Birds1Stone

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2015, 02:58:38 PM »
We are well below the thrifty plan for two. Average ~250/month

midweststache

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2015, 03:00:02 PM »
We're just under the thrifty plan for two people, while still buying what we want--but for us that does NOT include dining out (our weak spot).

We're really working on getting that aspect of our spending under control--part of that is being OK spending a little more on nice groceries (fine cheeses, wine that is more than $3 at TJs, etc.) to "treat" ourselves at home (rather than treating ourselves by dining out).

I was astounded by these numbers, until I realized that my mother regularly spent $150 a week at Wal-Mart to feed a family of three: my parents and my sister (lots of pre-packaged food, name brand, etc.). I would just smile when I accompanied her grocery shopping during visits home...

forummm

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2015, 03:18:22 PM »
We're about 40% less than thrifty plan.

Quote
The Thrifty Food Plan serves as a national standard for a nutritious diet at a minimal cost and is used as the basis for maximum food stamp allotments.

Good to know that people on food stamps can eat really well--like we do.

RWD

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2015, 03:37:09 PM »
We are also spending less than the Thrifty column (around 70%).

beltim

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2015, 04:00:29 PM »
The amazing thing was the difference between the thrifty family and the spendy family ---  $650 vs.  1,292 per month!   .   My guess is the 1,292 folks are a tad overweight?    Shit that is like $8,000 per year difference.   I like to think we are far, far below the thrifty level with an imaginary target of $3 per day per person or around $300 for our family of 3.25.    We don't eat out often either.    Hell no wonder people are up to their eyeballs in debt with these kind of numbers.

Imagine spending $1,300 per month at the grocery and then another $800 eating out.   Dumbasses!

I don't think you understand the numbers.  These numbers are not descriptive - that is, they don't indicate what people are actually spending.  They illustrate how much it costs to pay for food using national averages with four different sample diets.  All are nutritious and represent the proper number of calories for a person of median height and weight, and moderate activity level.

beltim

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2015, 04:04:20 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1
Thanks.  I'm a little confused why the low cost food plan for men and women ages 19-50 includes so much yogurt.  Does everyone eat more yogurt than me?!

I think the difference in our spending can be broken down by avoiding expensive beverages (fruit juice and soft drinks) and yogurt.  I thought I was spendy because I buy a large container of Fage every few weeks, but it looks like everyone is eating a lot more yogurt than us.

See my response to Bob - these aren't averages nor are they descriptive.  They actually don't include a significant amount of soft drinks - fruit juice and soft drinks combined are less than 2% of the amounts shown.

4alpacas

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2015, 04:25:43 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1
Thanks.  I'm a little confused why the low cost food plan for men and women ages 19-50 includes so much yogurt.  Does everyone eat more yogurt than me?!

I think the difference in our spending can be broken down by avoiding expensive beverages (fruit juice and soft drinks) and yogurt.  I thought I was spendy because I buy a large container of Fage every few weeks, but it looks like everyone is eating a lot more yogurt than us.

See my response to Bob - these aren't averages nor are they descriptive.  They actually don't include a significant amount of soft drinks - fruit juice and soft drinks combined are less than 2% of the amounts shown.
According to Table A-4a on page A4-2, for Men 19-50 the soft drinks are 4.23% of the total cost and fruit juices are 2.62% of the total cost. Since we spend 0% of our budget on those items, I think it is worth it to note the difference. 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 04:27:43 PM by 4alpacas »

beltim

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2015, 04:49:14 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1
Thanks.  I'm a little confused why the low cost food plan for men and women ages 19-50 includes so much yogurt.  Does everyone eat more yogurt than me?!

I think the difference in our spending can be broken down by avoiding expensive beverages (fruit juice and soft drinks) and yogurt.  I thought I was spendy because I buy a large container of Fage every few weeks, but it looks like everyone is eating a lot more yogurt than us.

See my response to Bob - these aren't averages nor are they descriptive.  They actually don't include a significant amount of soft drinks - fruit juice and soft drinks combined are less than 2% of the amounts shown.
According to Table A-4a on page A4-2, for Men 19-50 the soft drinks are 4.23% of the total cost and fruit juices are 2.62% of the total cost. Since we spend 0% of our budget on those items, I think it is worth it to note the difference.

Your quoted numbers are right - I was looking at the moderate plan for my numbers.  My larger point though, is that these are example baskets, not actual spending patterns.

Interestingly, the soda amount is just 3 12 ounce cans per week, which is way below average consumption levels.

mm1970

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2015, 05:09:17 PM »
It would be easy to spend more money - just depends on where you shop.  If you live in an expensive area, or shop local/ farmer's markets/ organic, or just...shop...without looking at prices and sales, it's easy to spend the big bucks  (I have friends who spend $2k a month on food eating almost completely organic).

That said - last year I was focused entirely on weight loss, not so much on price (though I had some ingrained good habits), and we came in at $10,500 for the year, which is slightly above the "low cost" plan for our family size.

This year I'm focused on price (and my weight loss is TOTALLY stalled, but that may be a coincidence), and we are due to come in below the thrifty plan. But people, for me and my location, this is a CRAP-TON of work.

We are probably going to come in at 75% of the thrifty plan, unless you count my protein powder, then it's about 90%.  Yeah, I know.

4alpacas

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2015, 05:11:35 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1
Thanks.  I'm a little confused why the low cost food plan for men and women ages 19-50 includes so much yogurt.  Does everyone eat more yogurt than me?!

I think the difference in our spending can be broken down by avoiding expensive beverages (fruit juice and soft drinks) and yogurt.  I thought I was spendy because I buy a large container of Fage every few weeks, but it looks like everyone is eating a lot more yogurt than us.

See my response to Bob - these aren't averages nor are they descriptive.  They actually don't include a significant amount of soft drinks - fruit juice and soft drinks combined are less than 2% of the amounts shown.
According to Table A-4a on page A4-2, for Men 19-50 the soft drinks are 4.23% of the total cost and fruit juices are 2.62% of the total cost. Since we spend 0% of our budget on those items, I think it is worth it to note the difference.

Your quoted numbers are right - I was looking at the moderate plan for my numbers.  My larger point though, is that these are example baskets, not actual spending patterns.
I was using the numbers to figure out how our spending compared to the lowest plan.  Our spending aligns very well except yogurt and beverages. I'm not making any larger comments about actual spending patterns or soda consumption.

beltim

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2015, 05:16:02 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1
Thanks.  I'm a little confused why the low cost food plan for men and women ages 19-50 includes so much yogurt.  Does everyone eat more yogurt than me?!

I think the difference in our spending can be broken down by avoiding expensive beverages (fruit juice and soft drinks) and yogurt.  I thought I was spendy because I buy a large container of Fage every few weeks, but it looks like everyone is eating a lot more yogurt than us.

See my response to Bob - these aren't averages nor are they descriptive.  They actually don't include a significant amount of soft drinks - fruit juice and soft drinks combined are less than 2% of the amounts shown.
According to Table A-4a on page A4-2, for Men 19-50 the soft drinks are 4.23% of the total cost and fruit juices are 2.62% of the total cost. Since we spend 0% of our budget on those items, I think it is worth it to note the difference.

Your quoted numbers are right - I was looking at the moderate plan for my numbers.  My larger point though, is that these are example baskets, not actual spending patterns.
I was using the numbers to figure out how our spending compared to the lowest plan.  Our spending aligns very well except yogurt and beverages. I'm not making any larger comments about actual spending patterns or soda consumption.

Okay.  I was responding to the other part of your post, where you compared your spending to other people.

4alpacas

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2015, 05:20:36 PM »
You can see what goes into the basket at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/FoodPlans2007AdminReport.pdf

particularly starting at page ES-1
Thanks.  I'm a little confused why the low cost food plan for men and women ages 19-50 includes so much yogurt.  Does everyone eat more yogurt than me?!

I think the difference in our spending can be broken down by avoiding expensive beverages (fruit juice and soft drinks) and yogurt.  I thought I was spendy because I buy a large container of Fage every few weeks, but it looks like everyone is eating a lot more yogurt than us.

See my response to Bob - these aren't averages nor are they descriptive.  They actually don't include a significant amount of soft drinks - fruit juice and soft drinks combined are less than 2% of the amounts shown.
According to Table A-4a on page A4-2, for Men 19-50 the soft drinks are 4.23% of the total cost and fruit juices are 2.62% of the total cost. Since we spend 0% of our budget on those items, I think it is worth it to note the difference.

Your quoted numbers are right - I was looking at the moderate plan for my numbers.  My larger point though, is that these are example baskets, not actual spending patterns.
I was using the numbers to figure out how our spending compared to the lowest plan.  Our spending aligns very well except yogurt and beverages. I'm not making any larger comments about actual spending patterns or soda consumption.

Okay.  I was responding to the other part of your post, where you compared your spending to other people.
The yogurt part was a joke. I actually don't break out yogurt separately from milk when I do our category breakdowns, but the thought of  ~9 pounds of yogurt/person/week (Table ES-1a) made me laugh.*

*I realize that category includes other things.

beltim

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2015, 05:27:00 PM »
The yogurt part was a joke. I actually don't break out yogurt separately from milk when I do our category breakdowns, but the thought of  ~9 pounds of yogurt/person/week (Table ES-1a) made me laugh.*

*I realize that category includes other things.

Oh, I missed that it was a joke.  Never mind then.

Actually, speaking of jokes, look two lines down: "cheese soup"
what the..

4alpacas

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2015, 07:43:41 PM »
The yogurt part was a joke. I actually don't break out yogurt separately from milk when I do our category breakdowns, but the thought of  ~9 pounds of yogurt/person/week (Table ES-1a) made me laugh.*

*I realize that category includes other things.

Oh, I missed that it was a joke.  Never mind then.

Actually, speaking of jokes, look two lines down: "cheese soup"
what the..
Haha!  Cheese soup and yogurt are food groups worthy of being separated out.

kimmarg

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2015, 08:59:41 PM »
I use the thrifty budget for our food budget. I think it depends a lot where you live. I moved cross country and now spend about 25% more than my old location. I find the thrifty is about right for us, not too hard to stay under while getting everything we need. I could certainly cut it with more effort but I find the thrifty plan is a good midpoint for us.

RWD

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2015, 10:29:19 PM »
I use the thrifty budget for our food budget. I think it depends a lot where you live. I moved cross country and now spend about 25% more than my old location. I find the thrifty is about right for us, not too hard to stay under while getting everything we need. I could certainly cut it with more effort but I find the thrifty plan is a good midpoint for us.

We are also moving across the country soon. Unfortunately our new city does not have a Costco, so I'm expecting our grocery budget to increase.

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2015, 10:32:50 PM »
We're right between the "thrifty" and "low-cost" for a couple, including alcohol. Lots of meat/animal protein, organic, not much processed food. I'd like to get it down, but given the husbands health issues when he doesn't get enough animal protein, it doesn't seem likely.

Ditto this.  We eat ridiculously well and stay to the low end of that chart.  I can't imagine what we'd buy to get up to the Liberal Plan side.  Lots of prepared foods, I imagine, and/or buying everything at Whole Foods.

Mrs.LC

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2015, 11:00:32 PM »
We are way below the thrifty plan for two adults. Tons of fresh vegetables come from our garden and that has a big impact on dollars spent. We buy when the price is right and utilize the freezer. Just this week we purchased 32 pints of yummy blueberries for $0.99 a pint. Can't beat that price! Most of them will be mixed with raspberries from the garden and turned into smoothies. We cook from scratch, eat leftovers and waste very little food.

FrugalToque

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2015, 07:15:39 AM »
Well, I feel good that I'm $80 below the Thrifty Plan, for a family with two kids, age 7 and 9.  We're living in Ottawa, which is relatively expensive for Canada, so I guess we're doing well.

Toque.

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2015, 08:44:11 AM »
Wow. We're right on the Thrifty plan numbers, with two adults and a kid.

And, um... that includes steak, scallops, craft cocktails, fresh salads at least daily, the expensive (and tasty) feta cheese, organic local meats, etc. Like, we're not deprived on that budget, not at all. (Also, we're in Quebec. Prices are much higher. It's not actually legal to sell a gallon of milk for under 6$, for example... which definitely affects the food budget).

Disclaimer: we work to keep our food budget down. We shop sales, we save up and buy whole animals from the farmer or butcher in the fall and have an efficient chest freezer to store it in, we buy all our pantry goods in HUGE bulk, we make some meals ridiculously cheap (curry! chili! etc) to compensate for the more expensive meals, etc. We also have the privilege of having money set aside so that we CAN stock up on sales and buy meat directly from the farmer in the fall, which not everyone has.

We're just finishing building out house, but as of next year, there will be chickens, sheep, rabbits, and a big garden, which should also affect some of those costs.

Seriously, though. What would we have to do to spend on the liberal side of that plan?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2015, 08:51:45 AM »
Wow, I thought Pennsylvania was outrageous for requiring milk to be sold at a minimum of $3.60/gallon, or something like that. (Seriously, where did they get that idea, Venezuela? Ridiculous.) $6 would hopefully cause people to burn down the state capitol.

midweststache

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2015, 08:59:55 AM »
Wow, I thought Pennsylvania was outrageous for requiring milk to be sold at a minimum of $3.60/gallon, or something like that. (Seriously, where did they get that idea, Venezuela? Ridiculous.) $6 would hopefully cause people to burn down the state capitol.

Is there a large dairy lobby in PA--something that promotes local dairy farmers or the like? I can get a gallon at Aldi for $1.50 or less...

forummm

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2015, 09:06:04 AM »
I thought it was interesting that "orange vegetables" is a separate category. I could only think of carrots, pumpkin, and maybe yams and squash might qualify for that.

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2015, 09:09:53 AM »
Yeah, like most of you, we're right at the thrifty level for our entire food budget (incl. alcohol and eating out, groceries run about 70% of total). Shopping sales, not eating much meat, and cutting out soda a few years back definitely help, but it's not like we are eating gruel every day...

Money Mouse

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2015, 09:11:03 AM »
We're right at the "Moderate" level for our family size (two adults and a toddler) but that's for a few reasons:

- DH has a highly physical job and legitimately needs more calories than the average desk jockey
- I buy mainly organic foods, including pasture raised meats from a local farm
- I can't get DH to kick his processed foods habit (note: anything I buy just for DH to eat I buy conventional, since he doesn't care about organic I don't see any reason to pay extra for it).

Still, reading the chart makes me feel a little better about averaging $150 a week, given how good we eat. I bet if I could get DH to drop a lot of the processed crap he insists that I buy I could get it down to "Low Cost" levels, "Thrifty" is probably too much of a stretch though, unless we went back to conventional meats from the grocery store (shudder).

EllieStan

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2015, 09:15:48 AM »
Also in Québec.

Our groceries budget for 2 adults is $500/month, so we'd fit into the low-cost category. However, this amount also includes misc. household items, litter boxes for the cats. We also budget eating out based on what we've spent on groceries (or we adjust the remaining groceries budget if we spent more on restaurant or on a fancy at-home meal). Our groceries actually cost closer to $90-$100/week, which puts us right in the middle between thrifty and low-cost.

I still think it's a lot or money, though. I'm always impressed when people say they spend $50 a week on groceries for 2 adults. We eat meat almost everyday so that might be why I can't really lower my groceries spending that much, even if I shop on sales.

We both pack our lunches for work, so that helps a lot !
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 09:19:18 AM by EllieStan »

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2015, 09:16:53 AM »
We're below the "thrifty" level when you don't count household grocery purchases that aren't food.  *pats self on back*

neil

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2015, 10:36:12 AM »
I know in college my grocery bill was closer to ~$75/month though with a $20/month pizza bill, and I was much gaudier with purchases.  This is one thing I wonder about the usefulness of our inflation indicators.

Obviously the bigger problem is our own personal lifestyle inflation.  When things like espresso drinks and fruit smoothies become part of the standard food budget, it basically blows anything resembling the "fancypants" $350 budget out the window.

AH013

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #41 on: July 08, 2015, 11:15:58 AM »
I didn't think it was too out of line.  $43.20 for a thrift guy.  Then I noticed that was a weekly figure and not a monthly figure.

Anyone else find it strange that families are more expensive than the sum of their parts?  A single guy & single girl should be $81.40 combined, but when they are a 2 person family it's $89.60.  I would have through the advantages of buying in bulk and less spoilage would have actually lowered the cost the larger the family.

Jakejake

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2015, 01:50:06 PM »
Anyone else find it strange that families are more expensive than the sum of their parts?
When my husband's out of town, we both eat cheaper. He gets an allowance (per diem) for food when he's traveling for work, but he pockets most of it and gets a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and some jelly for most of his meals. And I, left alone in the house, tend to eat super easy repetitive meals, or skip some if I'm not hungry. My usual routine when we're both home though is bike home, wolf down a giant snack, then feel obligated to serve (and eat) a balanced dinner. On my own, I'll come home, do a large homemade smoothie, and then I'm done eating.

neophyte

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2015, 02:37:30 PM »
Bummer.  I'm between thrifty and low cost most of the time and I hit moderate some months. I'm struggling to bring down costs more without dramatically changing the way I eat. I seldom eat meat, and almost never eat packaged foods, don't eat organic, and I've cut back on cheese. I guess my downfall is I also don't eat much rice or potatoes or grains. I do eat a lot of dairy, but if I cut back on that I'd want to increase my meat consumption.

Rural

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2015, 07:26:55 PM »
We're well below the thrifty plan without trying hard and without separating out alcohol, household supplies, and food for three cats and two Great Danes.

Helvegen

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2015, 10:03:53 AM »
Thrifty plan is pretty accurate for my family in a high MCOL area, but I buy a lot of vices like soda and alcohol and will spend more money for a comparable item with a lower calorie count/better macronutrient profile.

Eric

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2015, 12:30:05 PM »
I didn't think it was too out of line.  $43.20 for a thrift guy.  Then I noticed that was a weekly figure and not a monthly figure.

Anyone else find it strange that families are more expensive than the sum of their parts?  A single guy & single girl should be $81.40 combined, but when they are a 2 person family it's $89.60.  I would have through the advantages of buying in bulk and less spoilage would have actually lowered the cost the larger the family.

That's the first thing that stuck out to me too.  I would also think economies of scale should move it the opposite way.

Some of y'all are super thrifty on the food!  I'm pretty amazed.  I feel like we do pretty well, but I'm just over the thrifty level.  Whatever.  I'm good with it.  We eat pretty darn well.

Also, since this is the Anti-MMM section, let me just add, HOLY SHIT!  That's a "moderate" spending plan?!?  No wonder all of these jerks are broke!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 12:34:09 PM by Eric »

Scandium

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2015, 12:37:45 PM »
I don't understand what you people eat when you spend less in a month than we do in a week (~$120). We buy no soda, little meat, but tons of veggies and fruits (not organic) that is the largest drag on our budget. But I don't really want to eat less healthy food to save money.

zephyr911

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2015, 12:40:24 PM »
I'm pretty careful about shopping for the best price on the foods I buy, but to be honest, I don't care to track total costs. We might be spending up to $200/mo on mostly fresh food for the two of us - lots of chicken, small quantities of other meats, and occasionally some fillers (rice, pasta, potatoes). I snag a lot of deli markdowns (like whole baked chickens) to stash in the freezer, and work them into various fusion dishes. Like MMM, we are huge on eating a nice fresh salad with every meal - usually $1-2 per dinner (total) depending on what kits or whole components were available. And Kroger $3 wine is the best for the price that I've ever had. xD

Bumbling Bee

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Re: USDA Average Cost of Food at Home
« Reply #49 on: July 09, 2015, 01:21:41 PM »
I didn't think it was too out of line.  $43.20 for a thrift guy.  Then I noticed that was a weekly figure and not a monthly figure.

Anyone else find it strange that families are more expensive than the sum of their parts?  A single guy & single girl should be $81.40 combined, but when they are a 2 person family it's $89.60.  I would have through the advantages of buying in bulk and less spoilage would have actually lowered the cost the larger the family.

That's the first thing that stuck out to me too.  I would also think economies of scale should move it the opposite way.

Some of y'all are super thrifty on the food!  I'm pretty amazed.  I feel like we do pretty well, but I'm just over the thrifty level.  Whatever.  I'm good with it.  We eat pretty darn well.

Also, since this is the Anti-MMM section, let me just add, HOLY SHIT!  That's a "moderate" spending plan?!?  No wonder all of these jerks are broke!

The economies of scale are there - it's because when they calculate the cost for individuals, they are assuming that he/she is part of a 4-person household. In the footnote, it says to add 20% to the individual figure value in the table if you're looking at a one-person household, 10% and 5% for two- and three-person households, and then subtract for households larger than 4 people. So, for the couple, add together to get $81.40 and multiply by 1.10 to get $89.54 (I'm assuming they round up to the nearest dime). Reading footnotes - my job and my avocation!

Also, man, are groceries expensive in Manhattan. I bought no processed food or meat last week, and I still barely made it in the "moderate" category.