04 November 2013

Ruminations on food (and paying for it)

So... was reading this piece over at Peter's, and it got me thinking: what CAN we get by with for food costs?
So... as I sit here at the local coffee shop, I'm writing up a quick shopping list. Now usually, Spoon and I do grocery shopping like urban Japanese: we don't have a lot of storage space. So I'm making a list to feed a family of 3 for 30 days, bought out of Sprawlmart, with explanations of each. Here we go:

Ramen packets: $2.18/12 (let's say 4 of these. Ramen is quick and sleazy, and usually filling. Also good to base a more elaborate meal on)  $8.72

Canned soup: $1.50 (A can of Chunky soup with oyster crackers tossed in is another good "quick & sleazy, but filling" meal. Let's say 30 cans) $45

Oyster Crackers: $.98 (good both for soups, and as a snack. We'll say 4 bags) $3.92

Mac & Cheese: $.68 (Ah yes, another staple of cheap eats. One box, mixed with cheddar franks, can easily provide a meal for all three people in my theoretical family. Let's say 10 boxes) $6.80

Rice: $6.53 (Largest bag of white rice they had. Should be good for the entire month, and provides a good base for all kinds of meals) $6.53

Bread: $1.38 (Assuming one child in this scenario. Provides both sammiches and toast. 5 loaves for the month?) $6.90

Milk: $3.38 (I go through a LOT of milk. let's go nuts: 6 gallons for the month) $20.28

Peanut butter: $3.98 (Figuring 2 jars a month) $7.96

Jelly: $1.72 (Smaller jars: we'll say 3 a month) $5.16

Lunch meat: $4.98 (Mom & dad need lunches too. figure 6 of these a month for that) $29.88

Cheddar franks: $2.98 (These have become one of the staples for Spoon & I. Can be added to lots of different things for a meal, as well as just nuked & nommed. 5 packs for the month)  $14.90

Frozen chicken breast: $11.48/5lbs (Another staple for us. Can be used for a variety of different meals. 1 pack should last the month with everything else) $11.48

Cereal: $5.98 (Bagged cereal at Sprawlmart. BIG bag. We can say 4 of these) $23.92

Frozen veggies: $1.98 (Also able to be combined with a bunch of different things, for variety at mealtime. 10 bags, different combos) $19.80

Eggs: $1.68 (both for breakfast and other meals. We'll overshoot here, and say 5 dozen) $8.40

Hmmm... pretty sure I've overfed the Theoreticals here: there should be some leftovers. Or maybe there's 2 kids, instead of just one. Whichever, it seems that Mr & Mrs Theoretical SHOULD be able to get by for a grand total of $219.65 for the month (not including some small incidentals like spices)
Notice something though: no snack foods, no soda, no alcohol. And no fast food: the family eats together at home every night.
Anyone else wanna give it a try?


Peter said...

I'd buy more dry foods (beans, rice, pasta, etc.) and less tins of soup - one can make it easily enough. Same with mac & cheese - much cheaper to make one's own rather than use Kraft. Otherwise, that should do it.

(BTW, the link you put up to my blog isn't working.)

Strings said...

Fixed the link (was using my tablet, so)

And honestly, was building that list based on how Spoon & I shop. I'm sure that it could be done cheaper. But the point stands: a family of 4, receiving over $800 in food stamps, is getting WAY too much money.

Ray said...

I would have to say that having worked in the finance industry, $800 a month in groceries is over the national average for a family of four. Period. That being said, I hate to make blanket statements such as "$800 is way more than a family of four needs." We don't know the particulars, such as food allergies, location, etc. A person living in Los Angeles with a gluten allergy is going to spend significantly more on their groceries than a person in Podunk Town USA who can eat anything. All I'm saying is, don't judge a food stamp recipient until you've walked a mile in their shoes. You might not know their full story.

rstepp said...

My family includes wife +5 step children (home 5days/week) + my2 kids(2days/week) total of 9mouths. We spend approximately $950/month on groceries. Potatoes & eggs are cheap. We use 8gal of milk (2.93 at samsclub)