I’m trying very hard to write a post about how much our Grocery Budget is for 2011 for our family of six. Many of you are curious about how much money it takes to eat the way we do (especially with four growing boys) and I’d really love to be able to share.
My problem with giving you a “We spend $X on our groceries each month” statement is that I don’t feel like any number I come up with will be accurate. I’d say we probably spend an average of about $500/month for our family’s food needs. But some months I spend $400 on meat alone…other months I don’t buy any meat at all…sometimes my Azure Standard co-op order is really huge…other months I barely buy anything.
I rarely shop at a grocery store, so I hardly ever have a store receipt to guide me on our food budget keeping. We get milk and cream from one farmer, eggs from our friend, chicken and beef from a farm, venison from hunters, lamb from a teenager raising lambs, raw honey from a local bee keeper, maple syrup once a year at the farmer’s market, bulk wheat once a year from a big bulk order a friend organizes. We get sweet corn in a huge batch once during the summer and put it up in the freezer.
And so, our grocery spending each month depends on what we need and when we need it. (We are blessed to have extra freezers and storage space to support our bulk purchases.) If I were to buy what I need each month, then look at the budget and say, “Ooh goody…we have an extra $105 in our grocery budget that I haven’t spent yet…now I have money to splurge on extras like pizza and juice!” then I wouldn’t have enough the following month when we’re out of ground beef.
I don’t spend money just because I happen to have surplus in our monthly budget. I spend the money I need to spend at the time I need to spend it and that’s it. Sometimes I go over budget, sometimes I’m way under…it all averages out.
Does that make any sense at all?
In addition, we tend to feed a lot of company each month. We LOVE having people over for meals and do this regularly. The money for this sometimes comes out of our “Giving” budget instead of out of our regular “Food” budget, but it’s all food so it’s hard to keep track of separately.
So…this is why I’m having a hard time sharing what our grocery budget looks like. I apologize for being complicated. I actually feel like the way we do things is simple, because we just spend the money for the food we need when we need it. It’s fun and it’s delicious and I love knowing where our food is coming from. But it doesn’t look very pretty on paper…or rather on screen.
As best as I could I broke down our food budget for each month with a rough guess of how much I spend on average for our groceries:
- Raw Whole Milk and Cream: 3 gallons of milk at $4.00/gallon + 1 pint of cream at $3.00/pint each week =$15/week; $60/month
- Free Range Eggs: 4 dozen a week at $2.50/dozen= $10.00/week; $40.00/month
- Chicken, Beef, Lamb and Venison: $150/month
- Azure Standard order: $150/month
- Grocery Store/Walmart/Farmer’s Market (summertime): $75/month
- Bulk Wheat $210/year = $17.50/month
- Amazon Groceries: Free with Swagbucks (more about this tomorrow)
- Garden Produce: Lots of hard work and sweat
We grow and preserve all of our tomato products, green beans and many other vegetables from our garden each year. We almost always have a chance to pick (for free) all the strawberries and raspberries and peaches and apples and pears and cherries we can get our hands on. We work very hard in the fall to can and freeze enough of these items to last us the entire year. This food is “free” but labor intensive. That’s okay, we get a big kick out of having dirty fingernails.
So, now that I’ve given you all of this information…I’d love for you to tell a little bit about what your food budget looks like if you care to share. Do you spend a certain amount on groceries each month, or do you just buy what you need as you need it? Do you feel like you should cut your grocery bill…or do you feel like you are buying high quality food at a good price?
Be sure to hop on over and read this too: No Grocery Budget Comparing Allowed
Tomorrow, I plan to address several questions I’ve received about eating Real Food on a very limited income. How can you eat a healthy diet when you barely have enough money for groceries?