Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Food Expenses

I have been totaling all of our food expenses for November and I am still a little discouraged by the numbers. I counted the 1st of the month through the 21st of the month as 3 weeks. And, I subtotaled each week, then averaged the expense per week. I am a little sorry to say that we are still spending an average of $134 per week on food (for a family of 7, not counting unborn Baby).

Honestly, maybe this is not so bad...

Here is the USDA's guidelines  for Oct. 2011, for the cost of foods for individuals. (You can see the whole chart, for other months here) I tallied my family, using their "thrifty plan" amounts and came up with an estimate of $219.8/week.
Even my highest weeks were not that high. So, maybe we are not doing so bad...
All I know is that is seems like too much for our family!

Considerations:
-I did have to make some purchases that will not be made every month - like 50 pounds of oats (week 1) and 50 pounds of flour (week3). But, I just keep thinking, "what else can I do?!" Meat is usually the most expensive food per pound. But, I buy very little of that. And, fruit is sort of costly per pound, but I buy whatever is on sale. And, we cut back our fresh fruit intake significantly!
- I had to buy pecans this week... ouch! (Nuts cost far more than meat, per pound.)
-We are buying water right now, because our well water is non-potable. But, we are only paying .38/gallon, for a refill at Wal-Mart. (And, we hope that our Culligan water system will be fixed soon...)
-If we give up the raw milk delivery we would only be saving about 50 cents per gallon. And, I would likely not give the kids near as much milk - because store bought milk constipates the children and makes Paul's so-called "lactose intolerance" act up. But, without milk, they would need to eat more food... So, this is not a good option.
-We also have family/friends over for dinner at least twice a month, usually more. But, this is something that we do not plan to cut out! In fact, we wish we could host more meals! (Sometimes our shared meals are potluck style, with other families helping carry the load.)

The good news is, we still spend less that the "average" American family.

And, all of this food money was spent on actual food at the grocery store. We are not eating out at all.

So, we are doing much better than we were! I am writing this post, largely, for my own "memory." I want to be able to look back and see how we are doing. But, if it helps encourage/challenge you to review your own family's expenses, I will be happy to have helped!

3 comments:

Papa, Mama and Buniq said...

Bethany, You might enjoy reading this.
http://kellythekitchenkop.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Budget.pdf
The charts are really cool!

Back when the majority of food purchased and consumed was non commercial, it was the norm to spend 40% of ones income on food.

MamaHen said...

That's what you have to focus on-you are doing so much better than you were.

Sometimes with the housecleaning I can get so discouraged and then I have to think, it is better than it was a year ago. Some of that is that the kids are older and do more, and some of it is just more discipline in my life.

It sounds like you are doing a great job on the groceries to me!

Bethany in mid-MO said...

"Mama,"
Thanks for the link. It was an enjoyable and encouraging read! I am not so far off the mark as was thinking. And, there were some really good practical ideas. I hope everyone makes time to read that article... especially the meal plan on page 6 and the "budget busters" a few pages later.
Thanks!

Mama Hen,
Thanks for the encouragement! And, I am sure your house cleaning is going really well too! 8-)

Bethany