Home > Planning the Food Budget

Planning the Food Budget

July 23rd, 2006 at 05:41 pm

Browsing around on some personal finance blogs this morning, I came across this entry

Text is and Link is , which in turn led me to this site with comparison information from the government about recommended food budgets--see
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The liberal plan suggests that a "moderate" food budget for a person of my age & sex (female, 20-50) would be 46/week, and a "liberal" food budget would be 60/week, with a 20% increase for being single, bringing the total to 55 to 72 a week. Since I'm having trouble bringing the food budget down anyways, I'll use the more moderate figure as my goal. With 4.3 weeks in the month, and $72/week, that leads to a budget of $310 per month for food. I'm setting that up as a goal for August, and I've also revised my budget files to keep track separately of food and household supplies (paper goods, toiletries, etc). I also need to separate out pet food (treats for the dog and food for the cats) that I buy at the grocery. *Including* the toiletries and pet food, my monthly average grocery bill this year has been $422; assuming $8/week ($32/month) for pets and $12/week for household items ($48/month), that's a "real" grocery bill of 362. So my first challenge is to get it down to $310, and then I'll see if it's reasonable to move down to the more "moderate" budget level, which would be $237/month.

It's interesting to note the "single surcharge" of 20%; I'm actually a little surprised that the loss due to no "efficiencies of scale" is that high. I know that, as a single, one definitely ends up paying a lot more for some things--my boyfriend and I often do talk about the inefficiency of havig two houses, two sets of utility bills, etc--but I would have though the inefficiences would be a little lower in the food category, since, after all, one doesn't eat any more as a single than as a married person.

2 Responses to “Planning the Food Budget”

  1. ima saver Says:

    Then why do we all gain weight when we get married?? Just kidding!!!

  2. Mandy Says:

    I am having single status thrust upon me after 19 years with a man that I, unfortunately still love. TMI, right!? Anyway, I feel that I spend way more on food, toiletries, etc. with him, because I would buy food to cook full meals four or five times a week. That really adds up. I don't purchase as much to make meals now, so it seems like I will spend less at the grocery store. I haven't been doing this long, so I'm not sure. Hence, the google search on food budgets. I do purchase food to take to work, and he usually eats out. So, that "eating out" portion of our monthly food bill won't be there anymore. It's hard to figure out a budget when I've done it one way for so long. So, I appreciate your numbers above. So far, I've spent less at the grocery store, but I have been eating mostly meal/snack bars, soup, and frozen entrees.

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