Where did our $75/week grocery budget come from, anyway? Honestly, it was what I had estimated we were spending on groceries before I actually went back over the statements from last year. It just sounded about right. In reality, we were spending over $500 most months. I was aghast at this figure, but it turns out it’s somewhere between a “moderate” and “liberal” food budget according to the USDA. Our $300/month budget, on the other hand, is much closer to the USDA’s “thrifty food plan”, a topic that’s been popular recently (the comments are especially interesting on that last link). Knowing that $300/month for two people is considered “thrifty” makes me feel a little better about managing to go over budget every month. Knowing that there are plenty of other people who are successfully eating well on $75/week, however, makes me wonder why we’re having trouble.
Although I know how much we’ve spent on groceries for the past six months, I don’t know how those dollars break down. Is it our produce habit that breaks us? Too much meat? I’m inspired by this NPR review of the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats; over the next month I am going to keep track of not only what we spend, but how we spend it. I think the pictures of a weeks worth of groceries are absolutely fascinating–I’m hoping my library will order the book because I really want to see what the rest of the families eat each week!