USDA Food Cost chart: how do you compare?

March 19, 2012 by
Filed under: Coupons, Grocery 

Have you ever taken a look at the USDA Cost of Food at Home studies?  The organization puts them out every month based upon information compiled and I gotta tell you, I’m absolutely fascinated to find out how much families spend on groceries each month!

The food cost charts features four different levels (The Plan assumes that all purchased food is consumed at home.):

  • Thrifty
  • Low-Cost
  • Moderate
  • Liberal

The most recent data is for January 2012.  According to the USDA, the average monthly cost of food for a family of four (two young children)  is as follows:

  • Thrifty: $548.00
  • Low-Cost $697.50
  • Moderate $861.20
  • Liberal $1067.30

Now pick yourself up off the floor like I did.

Pretty please tell me that none of you spend that much on groceries each month.  Please tell me that because you shop the sales and use coupons, your totals are much less than that.  Puh-lease!

These numbers are based on real live families.  I don’t know about you, but I think we need to find those folks and teach them how to be a smarter shopper, don’t you?

If your family is larger than four (like mine), there is a formula to determine the average cost based upon the make-up of your family.  Our family total: $813.90.  Huh?

To be honest, I haven’t done a strict cost analysis of what we spend every month for groceries in quite some time, but I can sure as heck tell you that it’s a LOT lower than even the thrifty plan.

What do you think?  Or are you still in shock at those numbers?

Do you have a strict monthly food budget?

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3 Comments on USDA Food Cost chart: how do you compare?

  1. Angie on Mon, 19th Mar 2012 8:28 am
  2. You gotta be kidding! IF I include paper products, like paper plates and napkins/paper towel, into my grocery bill, my total is still less than the thrifty average AND I have 3 kids. My budget is stern, but not strict.

  3. Wendy on Mon, 19th Mar 2012 10:38 am
  4. We’re at $450.00 per month for a family of 7 (5 kids – 17yo, 14yo and 11yo boys & 8yo and 4yo girls). If we averaged out the thrifty plan we’d be at about $950.00. AND our food budget would be making us broke! :)

  5. Dana on Mon, 19th Mar 2012 8:44 pm
  6. hanging my head in shame.. I spend way into the liberal area….

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