I googled that, and came across the change.org challenge to "try it, I dare ya!" to shine the light on such dire circumstances. They claim the per-person weekly average is $21. Another site, writing about the same thing, refers to a $5.68/person daily limit, which is nearly $40/week. Michigan apparently has a higher amount - $5.87/person/day, but other factors come into play, such as assets and income, etc.
I was really finding this interesting. I ended up at SavingAdvice.com where they had a list of national standards for living expenses. They also had a link to a food stamp calculator...
I filled out the calculator and was informed I was "eligible" for $204/mo in food stamps. They obviously wouldn't grant me that once they found out we had cell phones, and a netflix subscription (or they shouldn't, anyway).
But line 9 referred to a "Thrifty Food Plan for household size," and had $698 entered.
So I googled "Thrifty Food Plan" and found this publication, from the USDA, that alotted my family $645 for this previous January (the most recent publication month). That was from the "Thrifty" column, and it also gives columns for 'low-cost,' 'moderate,' and 'liberal'. Well, I knew I wasn't a moderate or a liberal. :) (By the way, my 'liberal' cost was $1221.40!)
I found these numbers surprisingly high. Either that or I'm just not informed when it comes to true grocery budgets. I'm fairly familiar with what *we* spend in a month for 'food,' but within that category is often anything I'm buying from Costco or Azure - and that might be work pants for Hubby, an otoscope for family use, or any other non-food necessity offered by those places.
That all said, we *do* fall within these parameters, even, I think, adding an extra $100 or two to account for our occasional bulk beef purchase, chickens and their food, garden starts, things like that.
But do we eat "thriftily?" What a fascinating concept. In some ways, yes. We rarely eat out. We don't buy smaller (and usually more expensive) packages of food. We don't pay for the "pre-preparing" of many items.
But really? I'd say we eat well. Organic wheat, beans and breads and other grains nutritionally-enhanced (mostly, these days) by way of preparation, a variety of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables (organic when reasonable), grass-fed beef, homegrown chicken, turkey and eggs, raw milk, fancy probiotics from yogurt, kefir, kombucha... Even sprouted grains and beans when I'm in the (rare) mood. Lately we've even been enjoying some treats... peach fruit leather, chocolate graham crackers - homemade, of course. :)
So, while I'd still like to pare down the budget in several areas, I can at least quit feeling like we're terribly out-of-control in the grocery column. I'm glad to find that, considering how often I tell myself "no!" while shopping.
What do you think? Where do you fall within all this? Do you eat out much? Do you stick to dry beans and rice?