Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Examination of Food and it's Cost

National monthly average for a low cost food expense according to the FDA for a family of 4 would be around $660 for 2011. The liberal plan is quite a bit more and even the thrifty plan at around $520 a month has always seemed like another planet to me and hard to conceive. I have always thought I did fairly well, the last couple of years as food prices soared, I average $300 a month for a family of  5 which includes personal products like toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste along with pet food. Actual food itself would be around $250 a month. Pretty good considering what the National average spends right? Perhaps, Perhaps not!

I have been  doing a lot of web surfing the past couple of weeks, debating how I might cut that expense down even further. As you will notice in my Budget plan post I gave myself a generous $155 a month food allowance for my family. Can it be done on that with today's food prices? Can I reduce it even further and still feed my family healthy?

While I have never watched the show on TLC about extreme couponing, it did start me thinking. I use to think couponing was a waste of time and I could do better by simply buying generic foods and only getting what was on sale. Now I am not so sure as I read more and more about extreme couponing, I do see with time and effort it may surpass what I  do with food prices. You can find tips for extreme couponing at http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/extreme-couponing-tips   and http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/616273/save_money_with_13_extreme_coupon_shopping.html?cat=46

Also I have been reading some on the Dollar a Day projects which REALLY got me thinking how to reduce food spending. http://www.dollaradaybook.com/  and http://365dollaryear.blogspot.com/  also http://hungryforamonth.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html   are just a few sites to give you food for thought!


So my plan? I would like to start rather than a dollar a day which would be $5 a day for my family if you gave each one a dollar a day, $2.50 a day to cover the whole family.  Rounded off after multiplying that by 31 days I am giving myself $80 a month for general shopping.  This will leave me $75 if I go off of my $155 a month allowance to experiment with extreme couponing or simply focusing on a few items to build up my pantry. One of my goals for 2012 is to have a years worth of food stocked up.

I will do another post on exactly how I plan to do this with the breakdown of meals and general shopping lists!