If I want to retire early I’ll have to save vigorously and cut unnecessary costs. I posted recently about tracking purchases using a handy app, two of my envelope categories are eating out and groceries. I feel I’m already fairly frugal when it comes to household food however I’m not assuming without verifying so I did a little research to see how my costs compare with the average American.
USDA Suggested Grocery costs for the Average American
The USDA provides the USDA Food Plans report for 2015 where you can find proposed weekly and monthly food plan tables both for individuals and families. As family situations can be unique calculate out what the USDA is currently recommending for your household. Below was my comparison:
- Family of 2 = about $387.20/mo. or $89.40 a week on the Thrifty-cost plan
- Family of 2 = about $495.60/mo. or $114.40 a week on the Low-cost plan
- Family of 2 = about $618.40/mo. or $142.70 a week on the Moderate-cost plan
- Family of 2 = about $772.70 /mo. or $178.30 a week on the Liberal-cost plan
Wow! I’m quite shocked we don’t even come close to spending that kind of money on food. In setting up my GoodBudget budget envelope I chose to start with $140 a month for our at home food costs. We have never exceeded it in fact we have a couple of times due to a surplus moved money from the food envelope to other envelopes.
Our Weekly Menu and Grocery Purchases
Baby Carrots 1lb
|Purex bleach (laundry)||2.06|
|Chili Pepper Crushed (bulk bin)||.25|
|French Bread (Bakery)||1.48|
|1 Can refried beans||.88|
|2 Cans Chili||1.96|
|Cheddar cheese block||2.78|
|Brie cheese block||4.38|
|Flour Unbleached (bulk bin)||.97|
- Cranberry, Brie and Prosciutto Crostini
- Breakfast Burrito’s
- Green Shake (veggie/fruits)
~Main Meal choices (lunch & dinner):
- Homemade pizza (thanks bread machine)
- French bread sandwiches
- Chili and crackers
~Snack or side choices:
- Fruit salad
- Carrots with ranch
- Tortilla chips
Eat-Out Weekly costs
I track our eat-out purchases as part of our “Fun” money envelope, looking back at our entries we did not eat out last week otherwise I would note those costs here.
So in total for last week our eat-in costs came to $26.16, and our eat-out was $0.
Do you track how much you spend either monthly or weekly on food? How does it compare the USDA recommendations for your family?