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!


Instant Oatmeal

Making "Instant" Oatmeal

My kids love those instant oatmeal packets… you know the kind… just tear open the bag and add water.  Typically though, it takes at least two of those packets to equal a decent bowl of oatmeal, and the average box has six packets in it.  Add into that equation the cost for six packets of what equates to roughly 1.5 cups of oats with some sugar, and my pocket book alarm bells are going off!  So I’ve decided to make my own.  Yea, I know how convenient it is to buy them pre-made, but this was really easy and took very little time!  Here’s how I did it!

2 canisters of Quaker Oats (18 oz boxes and really I only had 1.5 since I’d already used part of one, also I got these both for free after coupons so chaching!)

Add ins of choice: I used 1 bag of dried cranberries (cheap I think I paid a buck for these)  You could also use cinnamon, dried apples, dried fruits, raisins, you get the idea.

Brown sugar

Coffee creamer (totally optional, but I like my oatmeal a little creamier.. you could also use powdered milk)


ziplock bags (1 box, don’t worry you will be reusing these over and over)

  1. Pulse 1 cup of oatmeal in your blender or food processor until it’s oat flour
  2. Use one of your oatmeal canisters as a staging area by putting a bag in and folding over the top like in my picture above
  3. In each bag you will want 1/2 cup of oatmeal 1-2 TB of oat flour, 1-2 TB of brown sugar, 1 TB of creamer, a pinch of salt, and your add ins of choice, in this case I used about a tablespoon and a half of dried cranberries and a shot of cinnamon.
  4. zip bag closed to seal and poof!

I was able to make a dozen of these in about 15 minutes, and I had one for my lunch and it was awesome!  Plain oatmeal can often be got for free with coupons, and most of the other ingredients are basic pantry staples.  Reuse your bags to extend your savings!

Not my butt!

My 2 yr old is sick.. running a fever.. general cruditis.. The laser thermometer wasn’t giving me a good reading so I had to resort to the regular one.. and he’s not old enough to hold it in his mouth.. so you know where it had to go…


Result was 104 degrees..
He was pretty cranky all day, heck I would be too!  Everything was ouch, and hold me!  Later this evening at dinner time I noticed he was looking flushed and feverish again.  So I looked at him and asked if he was feeling ok.  I told him I was going to get the thermometer to take his temperature again when the two yr old quote of the day happened.
Me:  I need to take your temp David.David:  No!  Not IN MY BUTT!  It Raven’s TURN!  Raven take off your pants!
We all busted out laughing, and Raven looked mildly concerned that I might actually take his temp in his butt.  I figured I would just go ahead and dose him for the fever.  Kids say the craziest things, but I really hope this one doesn’t go to Pre-K!

I’m a madwoman.

We all know it’s true, and simply denying it won’t make it go away.  I’ve decided to do NanoWriMo.  I don’t know when I’ll find the time, or some days where I’ll find the energy, but hey.. worst that can happen is at the end I will have a short novel or I won’t!


I’m not going to post prices for all of this.. but I managed to get some great deals.  I spent $109.00 and I’m due back 10.00 in rebates!  So $99.00 total OOP.

Plus.. I finally replaced the shredder!

7 Spiral bound notebooks

10 2 pocket folders

4 boxes of Anna stationary

2 packs of Envelopes

2 6 ct highlighters

2 4 pack pens

8 packs of filler paper

5 composition notebooks

2 500 sheet printer paper

2 8 ct pencils

4 12 ct pencils

2 12 ct color pencils

2 2 pack child’s scissors

2 4 pack glue sticks

1 mini stapler with staples

Target trip 7-11

Ok so this was going to be a cereal trip, but I ended up with some other things as well.  I think I did good!

I picked up

1 Merona Woman’s Plus Tshirt

1 Merona Woman’s Tshirt

1 Merona Men’s Tshirt

10 Sobe Lifewaters

9 boxes (assorted) of Kellogg’s Special K cereal

1 Diet Mt. Dew and 1 Candy Bar ( Hey I was dying of thirst and low sugar lol)

Total OOP cost: $24.46!

Here’s how I did it:

3 Kellogg’s Free Cereal Coupons

4 Free Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Cereal WYB any Kellogg’s Cereal coupons

5 BOGO Sobe coupons

1 $2 off Merona® Women’s Plus apparel

1 $2 off Merona® Women’s apparel

1 $3 off Merona® men’s top

And… Kellogg’s Special K was Buy 4 Get 1 free!

Food Lion Trip 7-10-10

2 2 Liters of Dr Pepper $0.99 – 0.35 coupon = 1.28

6.5 lbs Split Chicken breasts $5.63 -2.00 (2 x $1.00 coupons) = 3.63

2 10 count Capri Suns $4.14 – 4.00 (2x 2.00 coupons) = 0.14

2.72 lbs Cherries $5.41-0.50 = 4.91

1.59 lb Broccoli crowns $3.64 – 0.50 = 3.14

2 Jars of Food Lion pasta sauce $3.00 – 2.00 (2x $1.00 coupons) = $1.00

2 10 oz Frozen Spinach $1.98 – $2.00 = Free

Total Cost after coupons with Tax = $12.68