DH and I are spending a little more on groceries than we have in the past but I'm not sure if the cause is that prices have gone up or we're buying more expensive food and trying to eat healthier or perhaps a little of all. Regardless, we manage to eat well for quite a bit less than the USDA Thrifty Plan and a lot less than Trent over at The Simple Dollar. (Of course, we only feed two!) But his recent article on what's an appropriate food budget for a family of four got a lot of comments and seems to have kicked up some dust! Personally, I think $770 a month for two adults and two children is outrageous (I fed two adults and four children four years ago for less than $250 most months) but what do I know? Anyway, we aren't the only Americans paying more for food, apparently.
According to the USDA Food Plans, for the month of September 2008 the "Thrifty Plan" cost for a month of food for a man my husband's age was $160.60 and for a woman my age it was $155.60. That totals a little over $316 for a month. In April, the cost was right at $300 and that $16 increase took place over only five months.
One of the things I'm doing to help keep the grocery spending under control is trying new recipes. Yep, trying new recipes! I don't try the ones with weird, hard to find or expensive ingredients but I search for those using tried and true, inexpensive, on hand staples from our pantry. So far it's working out very well. We've had a few new to us dishes lately that were tasty and thrifty.
There are a lot of great sites with inexpensive recipes but a few of my favorites are: Cheap Cooking, Cheap Eats, Eating Well, and The USDA's Recipe Finder. The recipe finder has a nice collection of nutritious and inexpensive recipes. The Broccoli Potato Soup is very good and with Autumn upon us it's definitely a featured item on some of our upcoming menus. I use fewer potatoes and add cauliflower so it's lower in carbs and a little more nutritious.
Are you spending more for food now than you were earlier this year or are you spending about the same? And what measures do you take to help keep your food budget under control?
Enquiring minds want to know!