Feeding the Family: Breaking Down our 2009 Food BudgetBy
I just had a break through moment. Don’t ask me why I didn’t think through our food budget more specifically before. Really…I think this is so cool. Keep reading.
I’ve mentioned that we don’t skimp on our food budget. I’ve told you how important we think it is to “invest in our bodies” and eat whole, healthy foods.
And I’ve told you that we’ve been spending about $500 a month for our family of six. Looking at our new 2009 budget…we are seriously not sure how we can keep it under $500 per month…and not really sure where we can pull another $50-$100 a month (go without shoes, perhaps? turn off the furnace in the winter, maybe?).
Anyway…when I look at that figure in our budget…and maybe when you look at this figure in my budget…$500 to $600 each month on food…that may seem like A LOT OF MONEY.
So, one night at dinner last week…I decided to break it down a little. In between bites of soup…I had the boys do some division (because doing division during dinner is wonderful for your digestion). :)
We went with the $550 figure. Here’s what we came up with and what I found remarkable. I really don’t know why I didn’t break this down sooner:
$550 divided by 6 people in our family = $92 per person for food each month
$92 per person each month divided by an average 30 day month = about $3.00 per day per person
$3.00 per day per person = $1.00 per meal per person
That’s it??? Our family eats a healthy, wholesome meal for $1.00 per person on average? How is that even possible? (btw, I’m sure breakfast is less and dinner is more…and Malachi is less and Matt is more…it’s just an average.)
Here are some ways we figured out that we are able to do this:
- We have a big garden so I can and freeze a lot of food. We also
moochaccept all kinds of extra produce others are trying to give away in the fall that I can and freeze.
- We get a free deer each year from a hunting friend.
- The raw milk and free range eggs we get from friends are insanely inexpensively priced. $4 a gallon for organic raw milk from a grass fed cow…that’s amazing. (The cost will soon be going up to $5 a gallon…which is STILL amazing!) And, $1.50 for a dozen free range organic eggs? Amazing. We’re very spoiled.
- I make almost every thing we eat from scratch. Organic processed foods with more wholesome ingredients are so, so expensive…and not always that much better for you. Making our food from scratch is healthier and much less expensive.
- We almost never eat cereal.
- I go easy on the cheese. Cheese can be expensive…especially the raw, organic cheese we prefer. I sprinkle it lightly on pizza and casseroles…and you can’t even tell. I also know how to make my own mozzarella, so that saves money. (Oh my goodness…I’ve been promising forever to tell you how to do that, huh? I really, really will. Really.)
Here is a bit of our food budget break down for you for 2009:
Last year we bought a half of a cow…and I don’t know how it’s happened, because we haven’t been skimping, but we still have a bunch of steak and roast left. (I think it’s something like Elijah and the widow and how God made the widow’s little bit of oil and flour never run out! 1 Kings 17:7-24) Because of the extra steak and roast…I don’t think we’ll need to buy an entire half cow this year. At this point, I think we’ll just be ordering ground beef and stew meat from a farm about an hour away. They raise their cows on grass and organic hay. It is SUCH good meat! We also get our free range chickens from this same farm (North Star Neighbors…for any of you who live in Nebraska want to take advantage of this service).
Our meat cost per month for beef and whole chicken should be about $70.00
Milk, 24 gallons/month: $96
Eggs, 12 dozen/month: $18
Cost for milk, eggs and meat $184
That leaves $366 a month for everything else I need either from my food co-ops, my graneries, my online sources, the farmer’s market, and occasionally the grocery store or Wal-mart.
And for that…all six of us eat VERY WELL for about $1 per meal. God does provide, doesn’t he?! :)
I’m SO thankful that I took the time to break down our food budget further to examine how much it costs to feed our family good, wholesome meals. If you care to share…how much is your monthly food budget? Break it down and see how much it costs for each person to eat a meal! The number may surprise you! How do you feel about the quality of the food you are eating on your budget?
Now…I’ll start taking you shopping with me! I plan to take you to some farms, to my Azure Standard co-op pick up, to some online stores, to the grocery store. Aren’t field trips fun?! (You may want to pack a lunch.) :)
More Frugal Friday posts here.