the national monthly average for food is WHAT?…
$885 in 2011!
No really, are you serious? Granted, I took the US Department of Labor’s estimate of a typical family of 4 eating “moderately” at home in 2011 but even so, the “low cost” (read, more processed foods and smaller portions) is $664. Basically this means if your family eats rather nutritiously, with whole grains, natural lean proteins and lots of fruits and veggies as the staples of your diet, it is estimated that you would spend nearly $900 this year!*Ok, so our food budget (for groceries only, not eating out, and not including household items like cleaning products or diapers, etc) is…
$385 $400*** for 2012. And that’s for a month, so about $93 per week ($400 divided by about 30 days in a month x 7 days in a week). Now that I know what the average is, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. How are you doing?
A Quick Caveat:
We’re a family of 4 but my kids are 3 and 1 and we often have leftovers. So if your “family of 4” includes 2 teenage boys, your budget will likely be higher. Each family may be a little different.
Establishing a Budget:
I settled on a monthly budget of
$385 $400*** over the last year as the kids have started eating a little more and I’ve evolved in my cooking and gastronomic** philosophy. Every family will be different depending on your needs, dietary restrictions, etc. The point is choose a food budget and stick to it, but make sure your family isn’t starving at the end of the month and decides to turn on you…I would feel awful.
Let’s be honest. These days we could all benefit from stretching our dollar while still living well. So let me show you how one Frugal Foodie Family does it…
*This study was from 2009 with an estimated 4% increase yearly which is how I arrived at 2011 estimates.
**This may very well be the first (and possibly last) time I use the word gastronomic on this blog. Just trying it on for size.
***Updated: I updated my budget to $400 for 2012 in keeping with the standard 4% increase in food costs. That would also make the moderate national monthly average $920 (up from $885 in 2011).