How much do you spend on food per day?

adellabedella_usaNovember 9, 2011

I guess what got me curious about this is that I've been seeing articles on living on $1, $2, $5 or whatever amount per day of food. I've never challenged myself to see how thrifty I could get and still serve well rounded or healthy meals. I know I can regularly cook a healthy supper for around $10 for my family. Based on a $10 per meal plan for five people, I could probably feed us for around $6 per person per day because my other two meals don't cost as much and well thought out snacks could be relatively inexpensive. I could probably go lower, but I've traded some of my time for convenience to do other things. I'm not sure I would want to try for $1-2 range unless I had no other choice.

How much do you spend on food per day?

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OMG... it varies very wildly. $5 to maybe $100, depending on the location and occasion.

I DO know that my total food budget - home cooked + eating out - is 10% of our budget.
And I am under that for the year.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 1:14PM
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I have a self-imposed $125.00 food budget per month for 2 adults (which purchases food only) so in the perfect world of math that equals $1,500 per year, divide that by 365 days = $4.11 per day for two people. To date I've spent $1,368.80. We do eat out occasionally, but that comes out of our "walking around money", not the food budget.

I try to keep the cost of meat to $2 per pound or less, and I spend no more than $10 per week for meat (at any price). We have one day per week that is meatless and that may extend to 2 days next year with food costs rising. We have a large cut of meat on Monday (which provides meat for sandwiches for lunches, leftovers, base for soup, casseroles, stir-fry, etc.), and the other days are a combination of small amounts of meat and low-costing meat alternatives. I mix homemade gluten (aka seitan or wheat meat) with ground meat as a high-protein meat extender.

I'm sure I could spend much less and still have a healthy, well-balanced diet because I use whole foods, nutrient-dense foods, and cook from scratch, including milling my own flour and baking all our baked goods.

For 18-months (mid-2008-2009) I had a $200/month budget and I started serious stockpiling which included 6-12-months of pantry foods and a year's worth of long-term emergency foods. In 2010 I reduced the food budget to $150/month, maintained the food in storage and I increased the "Seven Survival Foods" (grains, legumes, seeds for sprouting, salt, sweeteners, oil and powdered milk) to 3-years worth.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 8:12AM
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Do I have to include DH's junk food? Bags of chips and cookies, and ice cream which he is the only one to eat; he buys, stores, eats, and is totally responsible for them. Okay, that's probably only about $5 a week, but.

For years I spent well under $100 per month; now we are both retired: so meals are mostly only for two, but I do use a few convenience foods. Looking at the checkbook tells me the grocery bills for the past year averaged way less than $60 per month. Note that is edible only, paper goods and other non-food are purchased separately. There's no magic used, and I don't mill grains ~ I know, that's a loss of nutrition but I do freeze the flour until it's used. We do have a vegetable garden but it's no longer the primary provider of our food and it has gradually shrunk in both size and variety ~ once you hit 70, it seems like a good idea to let the young folks do the planting & picking, lol. I buy vegs & fruit from the local farmer's market, and can or freeze whatever is in season and available at a reasonable cost. Items purchased from the grocery store are almost always on sale... milk, butter and flour are bought at a warehouse club. (Milk is 3.29 per gallon compared to best grocery price of $3.89)

I grew up rural, where if you wanted to eat peaches or green beans in January you canned them the preceding summer. That isn't stockpiling, but a different way of running your pantry: grow it yourself or buy what is available at the normal harvest-time. In other words, one thinks of what will be needed between harvest this year and the harvest next year, and prepares accordingly. I do can/freeze almost everything made with tomatoes (from spaghetti sauce to catsup to juice), make all our jam/jelly, and make most meals from scratch, including bread. It takes very little effort to pre-prepare and can/freeze heat-n-eat meals, which means I don't spend money on TV dinners or other commercially prepared foods.

I rotate meals containing beef, pork, or seafood, and alternate each meat-meal with a non-meat meal. Meat-meals rarely have meat as the main ingredient; there will be at least two vegs and a fruit each in servings larger than the meat portion. Quite often meat is used more as an accent or flavoring, such as in chili-mac or a stirfry. I do try to vary recipes so that no meal is repeated more often than once a month.

I think it sums up this way: I cook/bake from scratch (no box mixes); most food is grown locally; most foods are purchased either on sale or at a very good price and sufficient is prepared to use for the following year; meats are eaten in small quantities and non-meat meals account for half of the dinners; there are always pre-prepared meals frozen or canned; and there is a lot of variety in recipes so boredom is prevented.

Oh, and while I was working, I made a point of rarely spending more than 30 minutes fixing dinner.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 5:11PM
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