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I'm sure that everyone that has hung around frugal messageboards or done an internet search for frugal meals has run up on the USDA thrifty meal plan and their numbers for feeding a person/family. But for those that are new, I thought I'd let you see what the government says we need to spend on food. This is the latest data, August 2007. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2007/CostofFoodAug07.pdf

And then the Recipes and Tips for Healthy, Thrifty Meals
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/MiscPubs/FoodPlansRecipeBook.pdf

One of these days I'm going to price those menus out. :laugh:
 

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Seems very generous to me too. Adding up my family's ages for the thrifty plan would have us at $787.60, I run around $500 a month and have yet to feel like we are going without in the food department.
 

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For a family of 4 with two teenage boys it says for the Thrifty plan I should spend $607.70
I average between $400-$450 so I am not doing too bad and that includes all HBA items and food and litter for 4 cats. Plus all cleaning things too
 

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It puts us at $750 a month. I've been spending around 600, but that's including diapers & H&B, & cleaning, etc. Then another $50 for school lunches.

I haven't been *really* frugal lately. I *do* know costs have gone up lots, though, around here. I've been spending some of my grocery money at the natural foods store, so that plays in some of my higher budget.
 

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It came out to $380 for myself, DH and our 18 month old...we're spending around $200. I'm trying to figure out how it could cost $80 to feed a 1 year old...he just eats a small portion of whatever we're eating.
 

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Yeah, these guys are always out of whack. I don't know where they get their figures. If I was American they say I'd need to spend $540/mth. to put us in the thrifty plan. Without figuring out exchange rates (which are pretty even right now, though Cdn. groceries don't seem to be going any lower in price!) I've just upped my grocery bill to $400/mth. And we're eating health food...not the general cheap stuff. $540/mth. would be gourmet fare here!

Jean
 

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For the thrifty plan it says that Dh and I should have 296.10/mo (adding individual). We spend $200 - $250/mo... So, we're fairly close...that's with a lot of scratch cooking and not a lot of fresh stuff so we get frozen (it costs a lot to get things up here).

AAAAHHHH!!! The liberal plan says we'd spend $580/mo for just the two of us (adding individual)!!! That's crazy!!! :crackup:
 

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Did anyone read the booklet that the original poster also linked to?

I did It has tips and recipes for eating on the thrifty plan (and a sample two week menu)

Daughter wants me to make the hot rice cereal.
 

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Huh.

If you take DH and I individually, it puts us about $200 over what we spend, and we spend a lot.

If you do the age and family of 2, it puts us about $80 under what we spend!

What we're forgetting here is this is the AVERAGE that the people in the U.S. spend. This includes the folks who buy frozen pizza every night, AND us.

Judi
 

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Okay, I will say it. Maybe I am just being negative.

If this is what the government figures should be spent on food, then this is what they can use to justify dumping tax dollars into. The aim high, give out plenty of money, break the system, and then come back to ask for more money to 'feed the hungry'. I have been hungry in my life and it is amazing what a bag of beans and a bag of rice can do. Just MHO.
 

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Thank you...

I will print that tonight;) Take care and God bless.
 

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I'm another person who finds the numbers very high, BUT I live in a place where the cost of living is very low and we have less expensive groceries than most areas of the U.S. Our composit cost of living is 87.4% (one of the lowest in Kansas), while the national average is 100. Examples of cost of groceries in other cities - ours is 88%:

Reno, NV - 109.6
Plano, TX - 100.4
Fresno, CA -116.3
Hastings, NE - 102.4

The average for cities in the use for groceries is - 109.3.

So far this year I've spent $803.10 out of $1,000 ($50/week - 2 adults) from the grocery budget. I also focus on purchasing whole foods, while highly-processed foods tend to drive the food dollars up. Just consider how much money I save by not buying breakfast cereals, and making them from whole grains which only cost pennies compared to highly-processed, highly-advertised, commercial cereals.

I also use a (powdered) whey-based milk substitute that is much less per gallon than store-bought powdered or liquid milk.

I'm also a stickler for serving sizes, so you won't see someone drinking a 16-ounce ice tea tumbler filled with orange juice - a serving is 3/4-cup.

I've used the "Tips for Healthy, Thrifty Meals" link in the original post as a class. I've also taught a class at the local Food Bank using recipes that can be made with USDA commodity foods. And even those recipes need altered occasionally because some use a lot of ingredients not everyone has or commonly uses. I find if you get much past 5-6 ingredients, people won't make the recipe.

Easy Recipes Using Common Commodity Foods
http://co.humboldt.ca.us/HHS/PHB/ProjectLean/LEAN binder2.pdf

PplAmanda - you'd be surprised by how many people come to the Food Bank and don't have any idea about how to use dried beans or rice, and if they find them in their bags of food they'll give them back. Many others who need food don't always have much more than a hot plate or a microwave for cooking. Most lack pots and pans, so food preparation has to be VERY simple and not use a lot of high-costing energy (gas or electricity). At the Food Bank I've provided them with a grain mill so they can mill pinto beans into pinto bean flour so people can make "Instant" Refried Beans (which take 7-8 minutes to cook using water and bean flour). This is an easy method that doesn't take a lengthy cooking session on a hot stove. I also teach how to cook beans/rice/oatmeal, etc. in a Thermos as another energy-saving method.
 
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