Many readers have expressed interest in my quest to reduce our weekly grocery spending to only $60 a week. This is a rather ambitious goal, especially because grocery prices in my area have risen sharply in the last month. For example, my girls’ favorite toaster waffles, Eggo chocolate chip, are up from $1.79 to $2.14 – a 20% increase.
Because I consider home management to be my chosen work, I focus on the areas of our finances that I have the most control over, and groceries are a perfect example. I also take a rather scientific approach, because I believe that research, planning, and organization are essential when working to achieve any goal. I’ve mentioned in the past that I use the USDA cost of food at home charts to determine what a reasonable grocery budget is for a family like mine, at four different cost levels – Liberal, Moderate Cost, Low Cost, and Thrifty. I always calculate cost according to the Thrifty plan (the basis for food stamp allotments), and then I challenge myself to beat it.
In November, 2010, the most current data available, the average U.S. family like mine, following the Thrifty plan, spent the following on food eaten at home each week (this chart assumes no restaurant meals):
Male, age 51-70 – $35.20
Female, age 19-50 – $34.40
Child, age 1 – $19.80
Child, age 4-5 – $22.50
Child, age 6-8 – $28.60
Total – $140.50
I arrived at my $60 per week challenge by dividing this number in half, which is $70. I then decided to challenge myself even more, and knocked off another $10.
Before we embark on this challenge, I recommend that you do a little research first, to ensure that $60 per week is a reasonable budget for you and your family. Remember, you want to take small steps, and pursue attainable goals, because taking on more than you can handle will only result in frustration and unhappiness. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the next step – careful inventory of your existing food stock.
Copyright 2010, Want What You Have