Could our family live on $952/month for groceries?

This topic has come up before, and frankly it irritates me a bit.  In the past we’ve had readers and companies “challenge” us to live on a Food Stamp budget for just one month.  Ha!  I wish we could, according to SNAP Chart (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) our family of 6 would get $952 a month for FOOD!  Can you believe that?!   Our most recent budget was $75/week and that’s an increase from the original $60.  Our kids are getting bigger, eating more, and going to school which means school lunches need to be packed.  When I share these numbers with those that challenge us, they move right along.

So what got my juices going again on this topic?  This Whole Foods blog post from a “frugal foodie” who did a guest post for them.   She bet Whole Foods that she could keep her monthly budget under the USDA “Thrifty Budget” which she says is 30% higher than the Food Stamp allotment would be.  (I don’t see the numbers she suggests anywhere though) Either way, she set her budget at $491.10 for 30 days for a family of 3.   She won the bet and I am happy to say she donated the proceeds to a local food bank.  Here is a portion of the blog…

Throughout the 30 days I kept thinking of families who were living at or below the poverty level trying to feed everyone. It was such a struggle for us even though we had done our homework and only had to do it for one month. I can’t imagine what the grind feels like after months or years of living like this.

It’s articles like this that really get to me, you see there is a working class out there that is living on MUCH less for groceries each week than any other group of people here in the US.   I absolutely think the SNAP program has a time and place and is a wonderful resource for struggling families, but to be frank the numbers appear incredibly wasteful to me.  I’ve had friends in the past that were receiving Food Stamps and they were eating very well, often times with a surplus to spend on extras each month.  Even the USDA “Thrifty Budget” would be a huge increase for us, and we’re not eating beans and rice; or junk food for that matter.

Whew.  Thanks for letting me vent.  I just wish more people understood what frugal and thrifty actually meant, if they did our country would be in a much different place today.   Those of you who visit here regularly are working very hard to provide for your families and to cut your budgets back for one reason or another and I applaud you.   You’re doing a great service to your family and generations to come.

It is not my intention to offend anyone, these are just my opinions and the result a few free minutes this evening.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.


Comments

  1. Susanna Burke says:

    I think it would be helpful if SNAP benefits also came with some education about how to get the most for your money. The WIC program, for example, only provides certain foods- but also comes with nutritional education, which I think is a great idea. Then again, if the government started teaching couponing, it might totally change the game for the rest of us!

    I am quite sure that the formula for determining food costs is based on retail prices. I agree with you that it sounds HIGH and I wish I had that much in my monthly budget!! I also know that not everyone who qualifies for assistance gets the full amount (in fact I’d bet not many get 100%). However, before I found you and learned more about frugal living and how much can truly be saved with coupons, I was one of those who regularly spent $1000 or more each month on food and household supplies for my family of (then) 6, because I had the income to do that, and I didn’t really know any better way. (Like I didn’t stop to think that not everything is a deal at Costco, for example!!) Now we are a family of 7 and I usually can get by on about $400/month for everything including diapers- because due to major changes in our income, I now have to. And I spend a LOT of time couponing, searching for deals, etc., to stretch those dollars- so while it doesn’t actually contribute income, it is like my “job” in that it saves us literally hundreds each month.

  2. PLEASE, PLEASE read through the comments and read the stories of those that are currently on assistance. There is absolutely a need for it and I’m so thankful it’s available. This post was in NO way meant to tear anyone down that uses these services.

    • Your original post was good-it was just going through the facts of what some may get etc… It’s the people throwing stones in a glass house that feel superior and righteous that are disgusting and need a big, fat slice of humble pie!!!!
      NOT EVERYONE ON SNAP ONLY BUYS JUNK. WE DON’T NEED CORY AND THE REST OF US TO TELL US EXACTLY WHAT TO BUY. MOST OF US ON SNAP DON’T GET THE MAX!!!! I NEVER PRAY ILL WILL ON PEOPLE, BUT SOME OF YOU THAT THINK YOU ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN OTHERS, I DO PRAY YOU HIT ROCK BOTTOM AND EXPERIENCE LIFE ON THE DOWNSIDE. When I make it back up, I sure as heck will not act and talk like some of you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You really should.

      I know I am not the only one that thinks “mooching off the government and hard working people” is fun or ideal. It sucks. It plainly sucks. However, for this time in my life, my daughters health is far more important. During this season, I am grateful for what I can get. I don’t ask or expect handouts. The other day, I got a great gift. A useful gift. My gut said to decline to not feed into the thought of “mooching”, then my heart said “thank you, use it to benefit and then pay it forward.” I don’t have much, but I am giving of my time and what resources I have. I don’t sell things, I generally give them to someone else in need. The majority “mooching of the government” would rather work, earn an honest income and have far more money than what we get.

      Stephanie

      • Stephanie, your post said most of what I wanted. I do want to add that also not everyone has many options when they do go shopping. I have trouble following a lot of the deals posted because I only have 3 grocery stores in my town (and the next town with a grocery is about 40 minutes away), but there are some places with less than that!

  3. Oh, Kelly, I am certainly not thinking that you are tearing anyone down! I’m just shocked at the differences in what people get! During this time there IS a need!

    Fortunately, we were able to get off them and those funds can go towards someone else now! ;)

  4. I have a family of 6 and my husband lost his job for 2 years he looked and found nothing. With a lot of tears I applied for food stamps after unemployment ran out. We got 900 a month for 4 months till he found a minimum wage job. We where floored we could eat better than when he had a Good job?? Makes no sense to me. Oh and by the way at the end of 4 months I had 2400$ still left on the card.

    • It is a blessing that SNAP is available for those that need it during hard times. I admire your candor and your willingness to only buy what you needed on the tax payers’ dime. My family is happy to help families like yours in times of need.

      • Erin, i am sure Kirstens family has and pays taxes too for programs like SNAP so it is her “tax payer dime” too that is helping her family in a time of need.

  5. Kristie Speakman says:

    One point that I haven’t seen made…not everyone knows how to cook, can cook ,or even has the equipment to cook. If you give someone, who has no clue what to do with them, a bag of dried beans they are only going to sit on a shelf. Nobody gets fed. A bag of flour is great but what if you don’t own a cook book or a loaf pan? What then? Sometimes frozen pizza is the best a family can do. What if mom is too sick to cook and dad isn’t in the picture? I have a degree in culinary arts and sometimes we eat frozen pizza because I’m too sick to cook. I know that is not always the case, and there is abuse in the system but you never know what goes on in a household, maybe they are doing the best they can.

    • Not to mention that for many inner city or rural families that recieve SNAP benefits, access to grocery stores is also an issue. It is hard to bargain shop if you don’t have access to a vehicle, or if the closest grocery store is 3 miles away.

  6. Stephanie S. says:

    Wow, apparently I need to be paying attention to this site much more! My family of 4 can’t seem to live off less than $1000 a month! We don’t eat processed foods or anything out of a can really, we buy organic most of the time and I really am not finding coupons for that kind of stuff. I think a majority of our food budget goes to good produce and fish, but I don’t think I could sacrifice that to save money. I am fortunate enough that my husband has a decent job, but I would love to save money somewhere in order to pay off all of our credit debt!

  7. I spend around 650-700 a month for a family of 5. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. We buy canned beans and frozen steamer veggies. I buy organic milk for my kids and splurge on Gerber snacks for my youngest. I do buy on sale but I’m not very good about coupons. I can only imagine what I could buy with 952 dollars! I had no idea, that’s crazy.

  8. This is my dream budget. We average $500.00 a month for seven of us.

  9. Wow, that kind of budget is what prompted our family of 6 to start couponing and being aware of sales. With the help of you and several other sites, we now have a budget of 400 a month, including household products! Would love to help those spending that kind of money to spend more wisely!

  10. Thanks for such a great post & hopefully opening people’s eyes to what is going on in our wonderful country. We can’t continue to go in this direction where more people are taking than actually paying into the system via taxes. I really have no sympathy for people who claim they can’t afford healthy food. I think they just make a choice to buy the prepackaged junk than search out discount grocery stores or clip coupons. My family eats a very healthy diet on $125/week. We know our budget is limited so we choose not to purchase soda, chips, candy, etc and instead focus on buying healthy foods that are on sale. Not only does this teach my kids how to manage money it also shows them the importance of eating properly.

  11. Lets not be so quick to judge. Many people are blessed with steady jobs in this economy, nice homes and 2+ children so they do not know about the struggling family next door……the family where the breadwinner lost his job, his home, etc.

    • While we may not understand abject poverty, we have lived below the poverty line. Those in true need must have assistance. My concern is fraud and waste. Having worked in a low-socioeconomic school system for several years I was appalled to learn that many of my students on government services had much higher standards of living than our family. They had nice clothes, free lunch and breakfast, newer cars than ours, several TVs and cable, nice cell phones, and ate out frequently. My husband works very hard and we get nothing from the government. We live in a 70 year old home that is 894 square feet. Our cars have 170K or more on them. We don’t have cable, cell phone plans, and certainly no iphones. We seldom eat out, maybe see a movie every 2 months or so, and coupon like crazy to make ends meet. I hope you can understand why some of us get frustrated that we are paying for some people to have much higher standards of living than we even allow ourselves.

      • Hi Erin!

        I have decent clothes, not sure if you would consider them nice but at least decent. I purchased them at thrift stores or stores that sell clothes for really cheap. I use coupons when I shop elsewhere. I take special care of my clothes so they can last longer. They’re nice but I hardly spend money on them and I hardly buy them at all.

        Not sure the year of your car but I have a 2004. It’s newer than my last but it has a ton of miles on (it was way more than 170k when I purchased it, yet my 1996 car had less when I got it a few years ago!) it and the reason I was able to get it is not because of “fraud and waste” but because a family member helped out with the cost AND my family is friends with the owner of the car dealership. My last car was breaking down and the public transportation is here horrible (as in the hours on the bus are long and its hours of service are very short) so I was about to be stranded.

        Cell phone: With a contract a nice cell phone can be cheap (and cheaper than landline). With so many people upgrading all the time it’s not hard to get a used one in good shape for a decent price. I’m part of a family contract so that’s how I was able to upgrade my last one that was falling apart after using for 4+ years.

        TVs: People are upgrading so much its easy to get one for fairly cheap or even as a gift. Yes, sometimes people that are struggling can get a decent gift every now and then. One TV I have was given to me by family when they upgraded theirs, the other was a gift that was on sale.

        Eating out: How exactly do you know how often people are eating out? Do they tell you everyday they ate [x] amount last night? I go to school full time so sometimes I do go out to eat at the end of the day when I’m tired. It happens.

        Point is, as the comment stated that you replied to, you don’t know exactly what’s going on outside of your own family. And while you say your husband works hard, know that many other people have worked hard before or after assistance! I worked really hard at my last job (which also allowed me to buy nice things before things got rough, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at what people are “wasting” money on, it’s possible they had nice things before). I worked really hard at my job, before I ever used assistance, and I also had several coworkers that worked hard AND were on assistance.

        And I hope you can see why OTHER people are frustrated. There’s a lot of assumptions thrown around about people that have used assistance and the self righteousness is crazy.

      • Do i think some people can abuse it ? Yes.It is wrong. I just think this post leaves the impression that people who receive food stamps live a “higher standard of living????”. There are truly needy people out there who need help…like the long term unemployed or the single mom with four kids to raise, etc. Many of us do not know what it is like to hit rock bottom.

      • Anonymous says:

        we have a family of 8 and we get food stamps, but only $900 a month! we make everything by scratch, we buy big bulks of flour and ect to get through the month!

  12. Stephanie Wilson-Fava via Facebook says:

    Are you serious? This blows my mind….that is such a ridiculously high amount.

  13. Tanna Block via Facebook says:

    We are spending about $900 for our family of four. I try to buy as much organic products as I can, aside from meat. Meat seems to always be my downfall in our budget! I’d LOVE to buy organic meat, but its way too spendy for us. I really need to get this amount down!! I do coupon and have a great stockpile of snacks for the kids. My problem seems to be preparing good, healthy meals that aren’t going to break the bank! Any advice? :)

  14. i work part time and my husband is on social security and we have two kids, i only get 200 dollars a month depending on if i made more one month than the other, but let me tell you i still coupon but 200 doesnt feed us for the whole month but it helps. also off subject i would like to thank whatever couponer left stacks of coupons stapled together for crest mouthwash at the antioch walmart.when i was on maturnity leave from work i was able to get 650 in food stamps for a family of 3 and i was shocked

  15. Stephanie Cassella Barrett via Facebook says:

    Between food and TOILETRIES we spend about $600 a month for 4 of us plus diapers,etc

  16. In all seriousness, I would like to see exactly what people who say they spend $75 or $50 a week to feed a family of four or five buy with that money. And I’d like to know where they shop, if they split stuff with others, have a garden, and what their meal plans are.

    I’m not being smart alecky or mean. I just cannot figure out how you can feed people with that amount (21 meals X 4 people is 84 servings in total, of one or more items. That’s about 89cents per person per meal. Let’s say there is more than one item per meal, including a beverage like milk, etc. If you have a protein, a starch and a veggie, that’s about $.30 per item per person)

    Unless you’ve got your own garden and/or have put up food from it, I honestly don’t see how anyone is providing nutritous (as in NOT all carbs all day) and healthy meals. This budget can’t possibly hold much in the way of fresh veggies or fruits, even in season. (And yes, we know that frozen is often better and it’s what we use in the winter when prices rise on basic items.)

    I live in a major city–food is not cheap and we don’t have access to stores with great sales. I buy in bulk online because I don’t have access to a big-box store and its cheap items. I shop like a hawk and on sale and I cook–which I have learned is NOT always cheaper than carefully shopping at a place like Trader Joe’s, believe it or not. I lived in another city a few years ago and used to shop at Shaw’s. I could not believe how cheap that place was compared to the two supermarkets we have in my neighborhood.

    I have a friend who is a fabulous and creative and cost-conscious cook. She shops “cheap.” as we call it–and uses all sorts of things most of us would NEVER consider eating. Even she can’t get by on that kind of money.

    So I’d like to see an acutal shopping list and list of what people are feeding their families on this amount. And the meal plan. and where they shop and how often. If there is something to learn I want to learn it.

    FYI: I don’t know where that $952 a month is coming from. It’s not what people on food stamps get here in NYC. Not even close.

    The ages of the children are also key here as teenagers tend to eat a lot more and they also tend to have friends come over for meals and/or snacks.

      • Susanna Burke says:

        Jeanette, Julia does a great job of spelling it all out for us! It took me about a year of following her to really get the hang of it, so in my experience with couponing, persistence pays off. I think the key is #1, having a good stockpile (buy a lot when you can get items the cheapest, so you are not forced to buy something you’ve run out of when prices are high) and #2, being willing to put the time and effort into shopping the best sales and going to multiple stores. I would guess on average I spend at least 3-6 hours per week planning my shopping & matching coupons. I am one who can get by on about $400/month for my family of 7, because most of the time I HAVE to (our income is extremely unpredictable). Sometimes I have $600 or more, which is nice, and those are the times when I try to stockpile more so that I can stretch more in the leaner months.

        In my case I like to bake, and I think that helps stretch our food dollars. I can buy a 25 pound bag of flour at Costco for less than $6, so I get one of those every 2-3 months and I bake a lot. I very rarely buy packaged cookies- and when I do it’s usually a great deal at Grocery Outlet or something. I also bake things like oatmeal scones for breakfast- very frugal, healthy, and filling. I’ve never really priced it out exactly, but a batch that’ll feed my whole family probably costs me around a dollar to make? I also buy lots of whole wheat bread when I find it for $1-$1.5o/loaf and freeze it. And if I was REALLY feeling ambitious, I could get a 1 lb brick of yeast for about $6 and make my own bread for pennies, too! I stretch meats by cooking things like stir fry or casserole-type dishes, shepherd’s pie, etc., so that I don’t have to use as much meat and my family still gets a healthy, balanced meal.

  17. Theresa Fox says:

    - I suppose I can understand your annoyance – after all, my pregnant daughter is currently a ! $62.00 – a -month ! drain on the Horizon program’s budget…

  18. I use coupons but budget between $750 and $800 per month on groceries. What am I doing wrong? I do not see how you can feed a family of 4 for under $150 to $200 a week. I live in Norcal and groceries are very expensive

  19. I use coupons but budget between $750 and $800 per month on groceries. What am I doing wrong? I do not see how you can feed a family of 4 for under $150 to $200 a week. I live in Norcal and groceries are very expensive. I do have 2 teens so I know that takes more. I also make lunches everyday. Your meal plans are great but do not show cost

    • Lisa, just as a quick example of how Julia’s website has tremendously helped our family, Raisin Bran (20 oz) or Raisin Bran Crunch cereal (18.2 oz) normally sells for about $4.50 a box here in Walnut Creek, CA. Raleys has a sale this week if you buy 4 or more, they are $1.99 each. Julia pointed out earlier this week a coupon on Coupons.com for $5 off 5 boxes of Kelloggs cereal. Each computer can print two of these coupons. (Sorry, I don’t think that one is available anymore but there are others.) There is also a mail in rebate of $10 off 10 boxes from Kelloggs direct. Raleys runs a Friday Freebie each week when you buy $20 worth of groceries – before coupons. This week it was a free 8oz cream cheese. So, I got 10 boxes of cereal and cream cheese for $10 which I will get back in the mail in about 4-6 weeks.

      Last summer there was a deal at Safeway for pasta at $.09 per 16oz box. I bought over 50, gave 20 to the food pantry at church, and still have a cupboard full. The pasta sauce is similar. Even whole wheat pasta goes on sale for nearly free ocasionally.

      I haven’t paid for toothpaste in two years and have enough to last me another two.

      There are some great deals out there, that’s what Julia’s site helps us with.

      • Cary, I live in Walnut Creek guess I am just missing the deals :( will need to pay more attention to this site. Where do you get all your coupons from? How much time do you spend printing etc? I do not get many coupons in the weekly contra costa times

        • About half of the coupons I use are the ones you can print online. So if you’re not seeing them in the paper, I would look on the stores web site as well as the other online sites. They are out there.

          • The Frugal Find and other couponing websites usually alert me to the coupons available to print and the stores were the best deals are. I don’t get a paper so unless a friend gives me theirs, I miss out on all of the paper coupons. We do all right and I only have so much time to spend at this. I check the weekly ads for my main stores. Raleys/Knob Hill, Safeway, and sometimes Lucky are my grocery stores. Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreens are where I get my (usually free) toiletries. As a homeschooling mom, we print a lot, including coupons, but I haven’t paid money for paper either in about two years. Once I know what the weekly deals are, I stop in at the stores when we are driving by anyway – no sense spending all of my savings on gas. The kids get into it as well and learn a lot about math, science, and economics while we shop.

  20. I only spend maybe 350 or less a month on groceries. That’s for a family of four.

  21. Larni Atkins via Facebook says:

    If only our government had your mindset on spending!

  22. Marissa Whitney via Facebook says:

    That’s more than the mortgage payment. If we had that high of a grocery budget for our family of seven, we’d think we’d died and went to heaven.

  23. Rebecca Patten Carlson via Facebook says:

    My family of 6 is between 6 and 700 a month. How do you spend so little?

  24. I think a lot of things factor it – cost of living, location, income (make more spend more is a common issue) and then time. If you’re couponing regularly this is no reason your budget couldn’t match others in the $300-$500 range. We’re a family of 6, no teenagers yet but we spend $300/month on groceries. Sometimes more sometimes less – depends on if a great stockpile deal comes up. Of course 5th Friday months mean extra wiggle room in the budget too.

  25. Totally she with you. Our budget is $500 for a family of 4. That’s including organic milk, breakfast and packed lunch everyday. I wish the government would crack down on abusers too. I am tired of people blatently cheat the system and eat better than I do on MY money.

  26. Marissa Whitney via Facebook says:

    For those in Canada, it is a lot more difficult. Cost of food/living is generally higher, and couponing is more challenging.

    • kathryn Dockrey says:

      I live in Canada, and yes it can be more challenging when it comes to coupons.We also have higher prices for milk and eggs, and I’m sure lots of other products as well.
      That still doesn’t make it impossible.You need to be willing to take the time and energy it takes to save money. With meat, I generally don’t look at how much it costs per lb, more more at how many meals I can get from the package. The first place I head for, when going to the grocery store, is the discount meat, produce and bread/bakery section. Then it is stockpiling the sales. Sometimes adjusting how you cook for a family will help. When the 3 boys kids were teenagers, there was no such thing as leftovers, no matter how much we made. In the evening, their snack was usually a cheap box of “mac & cheese”, canned paste w/sauce,or a ramen noodle. They were limited to one a day each. Same with treats such as ice cream novelties or popsicles.
      I don’t have a concern with buying organic food , basically because I don’t buy into the “hype”. I couldn’t care less about brand names, as long as it tasted good.
      Look for unconventional places to buy food. Convenience stores will often try to sell “reduced to clear” foods, that are very close to “use by date”. Yard sales will often have excess produce from their gardens at very reasonable prices.
      Substituting or omitting expensive ingredients changes flavors very little in most recipes. Search ways to make your own “scratch” mixes, such as cake mixes, biscuit mixes, pancake mixes etc.
      Stop worrying what your friends, families, co-workers feed their family. Some people think that expensive =healthy. They might actually learn from you !! If you do find some like minded people, share ideas and “specials” you find.
      Don’t get overwhelmed. Start with one thing, and add to it the next week.Maybe not try to reduce your budget for the first 6 months, and start the stockpiling.
      Good luck. The internet has unending wealth of knowledge to tap into.

  27. Kassie Cerami via Facebook says:

    I don’t really join COUPONING sites and blogs to hear political speak. Let’s just stay on topic please.

  28. Kassie Cerami via Facebook says:

    I don’t really join COUPONING sites and blogs to hear political speak. Let’s just stay on topic please.

  29. Neomi Thomas via Facebook says:

    Really that much for groceries?! I live in Cali and still don’t pay that much for groceries a month. Maybe 300 at the most, without coupons. Its pregnant me, my husband, our two boys. That’s even with buying stuff i’m craving, mainly fruit. But I can’t understand why your grocery bill is so high unless you’re buying meat packs that are already cut into inch sized bites for stew, or processed foods which cost more than fresh. But if I had 900 for groceries it’d be nice. But I still couldn’t spend that much on groceries even if I tried.

  30. Kassie you don’t have to read the blogs that you don’t like just pass on by it. I happen to like the openness with the concerns and topics discussed .

  31. Kris Jensen Oliveira via Facebook says:

    Since I work at a food pantry I see a lot if folks at the end of the month who have ran out of food stamps. Most of them probably don’t know how to use coupons or where to find them. In CA SSI recipients cannot get food stamps and seniors rely on us. Maybe we can think of ways to reach and educate this group?

  32. I have a household of 10 or 11 and spend $650 monthly on groceries, this includes all paper goods and animal feed. Make a menu that is flexible depending on sales, buy in bulk when appropriate (Costco and Sam’s are not always the best price), buy in season and preserve as much as you can for the off-season. I love couponing, and use to do it ALOT, but I live in a small rural area with very limited stores, and the stores caught on and stopped with the good deals. Darn.

  33. Farmers’ market and coupons are your best friends. Cooking from scratch, being creative, and only splurging once in a while. I’ve always lived on a school-girl’s budget, but we eat very well (~$500 for family 4)-prime ribs and such.

  34. haha… I can pay my rent, utils., car insurance and buy my groceries for $952/mo… and probably still buy gasoline too : ) (not kidding)

    • Seriously? Where do you live? $952/month is about the cost of a tiny one bedroom apartment where I live.

      • We all make choices about how we live. Obviously Carole has chosen to live in an area with a cost of living that is lower than Deborah’s. People are wonderfully adaptive. Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I remember the pioneers who struggled across the Nevada desert to make it to California. Or the Irish who escaped famine in Europe to come to an unkown continent. (I have always been inspired and somewhat exhausted by Little House on the Prairie.) They might not have made it if they had accepted a meagre ration and been told they needed to only earn so much or they wouldn’t get anything. If you try and work towards a goal, you will be able to acheive it but not by whining about how others are so much better off. That is my concern with giving people money without encouragement and support to move on towards their goals. Obviously there are times where people need material things, food, warmth, and shelter which we are obligated to provide but I don’t think that giving excess money is always the best way to spur one another on to good works.

  35. yes, gas too…. : )

  36. Danae Hoobler via Facebook says:

    Carole – You obviously cannot be living where it is approaching $5 a gallon! The gas is gonna kill me and I don’t drive a big car :(

  37. Julia, you obviously hit a chord with this one! Great thought provoking discussion.

  38. Kerry Orvis Hill via Facebook says:

    We have a family of six. I budget for $125 a week in groceries. We eat healthy—I make everything from scratch and very little “processed” foods make it to our table. I coupon for what I can, and price match what we can. I have 2 growing pre-teens, a toddler and a baby. This $125 a week includes all cleaning supplies, hygiene and tp. We do cloth everything else—-diapers, wipes, napkins, cleaning rags……

  39. Kerry Orvis Hill via Facebook says:

    I should mention that that $125 a week is not what we eat in a week. If I find a good sale I stock up—-sugar was $2 for a 4 lb bag this past week—-I buy enough until the next sale. We have a stockpile for the lean weeks when the money just isn’t there. We also use the $125/week toward eating out once in a while.

  40. Stephanie Helle via Facebook says:

    Uh, that’s half my total income for the month

  41. We feed our family of four for $300 per month, and we eat very well. The SNAP guidelines say we would get $668 per month, and I can’t even begin to think how I would spend that much money.

  42. Most people on food stamps don’t have time, after their 40+ hours of minimum wage work per week, to sit down and create a $75/week budget. Maybe the government should pay families for the time they spend couponing instead of for food??

  43. Btw, here’s the link to the numbers she was using (these are for Jan 2012): http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2012/CostofFoodJan2012.pdf

    • Thanks for the link. It was most interesting to find out where they get the numbers. Apparently we are also supposed to spend $944 a year on clothing per child. Wow, we only spend about $1600 a year total for our family of six.

  44. Cent Pincher via Facebook says:

    Oh, this is so funny!!! I budget $350 for a month! (there is only two of us though) I have never even thought of spending $952 a month for groceries!! LOL!!!

  45. No Name says:

    Try eating on $250.00 a month for Groceries. You do not buy any goodies, and you do not get much meat (if any)! There is only 2 of us and we live on a tight budget.

  46. Two of us. Spend $200-400 usually per month. We buy most of our stuff at Trader Joe’s. We eat 95 percent unprocessed food with as much organic as possible, and as a couple we are roughly 90 percent vegetarian. apparently our “thrifty” category from the USDA is $380 about right. When we spend $400 it’s usually a “stock up” month for stuff like canned tomatoes, coconut oil for cooking, etc. We include TP, dog food, and stuff like toothpaste in the food budget usually. Also vitamins and shampoo, hand soap, etc. I make a lot from scratch and freeze it, like pizza crust, dried beans, sauce, and veggie burgers. I menu plan and rarely go out to eat. I marvel that families of 6 can spend what we do in a month. How?! Here I am thinking I’m being as frugal as possible … we shop at four places and farmer’s markets like many of you and very little at WFM where it seems five items are always $80 minimum (sigh). we’re not settled yet so a garden is out of the question … for now.

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