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Our Grocery Diary

Yesterday was November 1st! It's time to start our grocery diary. For one month, my family of six will record the food we buy, the food we eat, and how much it costs.

I did some research, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a chart that gives estimates on how much people spend on groceries. They have different amounts based on age (for all family members) and gender (for adults). They also have different categories or "plans": Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate and Liberal. I added up the amounts for the people in my family. These are the estimated monthly amounts from the food plans that represent a nutritious diet at four different cost levels for my size family.

  • Thrifty: $694.83
  • Low-Cost: $901.74
  • Moderate: $979.35
  • Liberal: $1343.20

    They have GOT TO BE JOKING!!! There is no way my family spends even $695 a month on food ... I think.

    I am going to try to keep our food budget under $400 for the month and still eat a reasonably healthy diet. I will have comment forms on every page, so please leave comments!

    So, here's how I'm going to lay it out on the website -

    Visit the Menu page to see what we are eating at every meal. Our children eat breakfast at school every day, and the older two eat lunch at school most days. If they eat a meal at school, I'll just say that. I won't list what they ate. If they take a lunch to school, however, I will list what they brought.

    Visit the Grocery page to see what I'm buying and how much it costs. For the most part, it will be lumped together. For example, if I go to the store and buy apples and cheese and my total is $7.71, I'll just tell you I spent $7.71 on apples and cheese. I won't break it down and tell you that cheese was $3.99 and apples were $3.72. I will also let you know what products were paid for by WIC, since I know not everyone has WIC. A lot of our dinners are planned around some WIC foods, such as brown rice or cheese.

    Visit the Recipes page for recipes that I've used. (When I've posted a recipe for a dish I've made, I'll post a link on the Menu page as well.) This page will soon be a fabulous resource for inexpensive meals perfect for any shoestring budget.

    Comments:

    05/11/12 - "I have been feeding my 6 children myself for the past 2 1/2 yrs on a monthly food budget of $200/month. I use coupons, mostly buy the off-brand/generic, mostly buy items that are on sale, buy a lot of the marked down (dented cans/smashed boxes items about to expire) items which are ultra cheap. we eat very healthy, but exercise portion control. we also combine breakfast & lunch together in one meal, "brunch", which eliminates a meal a day. so it is possible, for those of you on a limited food budget. drinks were taking up a lot of our food budget, so i had to improvise. i watered down fruit juices with tap water by 50%, milk only used for cereals, the rest of the time we all drank tap water. we only eat chicken or meat once per week. we eat turkey, fish, or tuna 6 days per week. we eat lots of pasta, bread, fruits, & veggies. i buy the 88 cents/loaf bread & stock the freezer with 30 loaves each month! we are all healthy weights we only get sick about once every 12 months." ~Beth

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