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After reading a recent Reddit post about what a good weekly grocery budget for two adults would be, I thought it would be interesting to research this a bit more.
LIFE magazine did a little article in 1941 discussing the rising cost of food (prices had gone up as much as 14% on some food items over a two year period). It’s amazing to look back at the following photo now and see how relatively cheap everything is compared to today’s food costs.
Every situation is different
Obviously, it’s tough to make a blanket statement about what one ought to be paying for food. Some folks live in areas where prices are slightly cheaper. Others, chose organic over conventional foods. And then everyone exercises different levels of thrift in their lives (some, none at all).
In our household of three – which is really only two, as my step-son eats most of his meals on his own / outside the home – we place a premium on getting higher quality, healthier foods, realizing we are going to spend more per month because of this. Our grocery bill can run as high as $1,000/month which also includes some supplements my wife purchases that drive up our bill.
I know we can spend less each month, but eating right feels like an investment in our future selves in the hope that we can avoid some health costs down the road, Lord willing.
What the government says
While it is tough to pinpoint what the average grocery bill is for different age groups and living situations, the USDA puts out a monthly report on what it could cost different folks at various levels based on their situation.
I found it fascinating to look at. Here’s their latest report (April 2017) on food for individuals on a weekly / monthly basis based on different expenditure levels.
Of note is how the USDA cites food costs will go down as you age. So, an 12-year old will be eating for more vs. a 70-year old. It also depends on whether you’re male or female (women eat for less in comparison to their counterparts).
And then when you look at what they cite for estimated costs of food for a family:
Again, food costs seem to go down the older we get.
Needless to say, we are VERY liberal with our food expenditure based on their chart.
I take some of what the USDA puts together with mixed thoughts. In their recipes for thrifty (healthy?) meals (yes, they offer a recipe book / meal plan for free), they mention consuming different foods which I’m not a big fan of – among them: white bread and margarine. They also include a fair amount of dairy items.
What about you?
What is your monthly food budget for you / your family? Feel free to offer your thoughts and share your opinion on costs.