The Cost of Food


Anyone who knows me, knows that for the past two years especially I’ve been pinching that penny like it owed me .. well .. money!  I coupon, I stockpile, I bargain hunt, and all in all we eat very well.  The other day I bought 50 lbs of potatoes.  Yes, I know that it seems like an awful lot of potatoes, but we are a family of six people, and trust me 50 lbs of potatoes can go quickly.  I didn’t buy them because I just needed potatoes at that point, but because I could get them for $1.70 a lb, and they store very well.  I can dehydrate them, freeze them, and even if I do nothing at all it’s winter and they would keep until mid spring in a cool dark place like my garage.

So, what’s my point?  In some of my random online bargain hunting the other day I came across the USDA food plan.  This is the plan that the USDA uses to determine the maximum amount of food stamps that a family could receive.  According to the USDA the average family with my configuration spends $782.60 a month on groceries.  Note that is NOT things like toilet paper, and hygiene items, but groceries ALONE.  So, in curiosity I began to look at what we average a month in groceries.  I can’t break it down to JUST groceries, but the comparison is still pretty amazing.  My family of six averages $385 a month for groceries.

I think that we are doing very well!  To look at the data for your family take a look at the USDA website here :

The latest data available is for November.  It’s also interesting to look at the cost of food now vs. ten years ago!  According to the data we are spending per month what a family of four was allowed per month sixteen years ago!


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