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How Much Should I Spend on Groceries in 2022?

How Much Should I Spend on Groceries in 2022?

How much should I spend on groceries? Each time I buy food the total seems to grow. We didn’t eat out a lot before the pandemic, but our takeout excursions have nearly disappeared this year.

As we eat three meals at home our monthly grocery bills continue to swell. After loading my virtual shopping cart full of food, I can’t help but stare in disbelief at the total.

Unlike housing and transportation costs, our food bills are variable. We don’t prepare the same snacks and meals every day, so our out of pocket costs are rarely similar. The pandemic is impacting those variations more than ever before.

Can I blame rising food prices prices for my growing grocery bills? At one point, beef and veal prices spiked 20.2%, eggs 10.4%, and poultry 8.6%. One week I spent $150 for a week’s worth of basic groceries. The next week I paid $50 more for similar items. How much should my weekly grocery bill differ? 

As the shelves emptied we stopped paying attention to sales and circulars and bought what we could find. Each time we found bare spots in the grocery store our bills grew higher.

Things are normalizing, but as I stare at the grocery receipts I can’t help but wonder, “Am I spending too much on groceries?”

How Much Should I Spend on Groceries?

According to the USDA, Americans spent just under 5% of their disposable income on groceries in 2019 and another 5% dining out.

If you take the USDA’s data at face value, a household earning $8,000 after taxes would spend $400 on groceries. While an average family earning $3,000 a month spends just $150.

Income Money Spent
$3000 $150
$4000 $200
$5000 $250
$6000 $300
$7000 $350
$8000 $400

Of course, that percentage is misleading. Households with lower incomes will spend a significantly larger portion of their take-home pay on groceries. Very few families can survive on $150 per month.

The Economic Research Service (E.R.S.) of the U. S. Department of Agriculture estimates low-income households often spend more than five times that much.

According to the USDA, as incomes rise, households spend more money on food. In other words, a higher income results in higher food costs, but because of higher wages families are less impacted by the increase.

“In 2019, households in the lowest income quintile spent an average of $4,400 on food (representing 36.0 percent of income), while households in the highest income quintile spent an average of $13,987 on food (representing 8.0 percent of income).”

This 5% number is also misleading as it doesn’t cover a family’s entire food bill. Restaurant and take-out expenses are calculated separately. Dining out accounted for 5% of household expenses last year, so if you only prepare meals at home you can double those numbers.

How Much Should I Spend on Food?

How much should I spend on groceries?

So how much should I spend on groceries every month? Well, It just so happens that the U.S. Department of Agriculture answered this question for me. Every month the USDA provides a list of recommended food budgets based on household genders and ages.

The USDA’s food plans represent a healthy diet at four different cost levels:

  • Thrifty
  • Low-cost
  • Moderate-cost
  • Liberal

Here are the latest numbers for a monthly plan. As you can see, they are based on the age and gender of family members whom you feed.

Age & Gender Thrifty Low-Cost Moderate Liberal
1 year $99.10 $132.70 $150.60 $182.60
2-3 years $108.00 $139.20 $166.60 $203.10
4-5 years $113.80 $142.60 $178.30 $215.20
6-8 years $144.60 $202.00 $243.20 $286.00
9-11 years $163.40 $215.50 $281.80 $327.70
Male: 12-13 years $175.30 $249.70 $311.60 $366.50
Male: 14-18 years $180.60 $253.40 $320.70 $370.00
Male: 19-50 years $193.70 $250.90 $314.50 $384.90
Male: 51-70 years $176.60 $237.00 $296.50 $357.30
Male: 71+ years $177.60 $232.50 $289.80 $358.10
Female: 12-13 years $174.20 $214.20 $259.60 $317.50
Female: 14-18 years $171.70 $214.00 $256.10 $317.00
Female: 19-50 years $171.90 $217.50 $266.90 $341.20
Female: 51-70 years $170.60 $212.20 $264.20 $319.00
Female: 71+ years $166.50 $209.10 $260.80 $314.20

According to my calculation our family of four should budget for $826.50 per month on the thrifty plan and $1,246.80 on the liberal one.

This calculator isn’t perfectly up to date, but if you don’t want to run your own numbers it’ll give you a pretty similar range.

How Much Should You Spend on Groceries Per Month?

How much should you spend on groceries per month? Well, that depends on how many people are in your household. Buying groceries for one person is very different than buying food for a family of four. Thanks to the USDA we can figure out exactly how much the government thinks you should spend.

Average Cost of Food Per Month for One Person in 2022

Let’s start with the average grocery budget for one person. How much should a single person spend on groceries? According to the latest USDA report the average person spends between $172 – $358 per month.

The USDA breaks costs down by gender. According to their records, an adult male spends between $194 – $358 on groceries per month. An adult female spends between $172 – $342.

So realistically, a food budget for one person should fall within that range.

Average Food Cost Per Week for One Person in 2022

For a more fine-grained approach to food budgeting, check out the USDA food costs per week. A typical American spends between $39.70 and $88.80 per week for food.

Average Food Costs Vary

How much does the average person spend on food per week or month? Clearly, there is a wide range. In some cases you might spend $40 more per week or $150 more per month than a peer of the same age.

Why is there such a broad range? There are many factors involved in food costs. If you strive for an all organic menu you’ll pay a lot more than someone that doesn’t search for all-natural labels. Vegetarian diets usually cost less than diets with high meat and poultry consumption. Prices also vary greatly based on where you live.

The USDA doesn’t break down price per state, but move.org did break down average grocery costs across the nation. The monthly costs for New Hampshire, West Virginia, South Carolina, and New York City far exceed places like South Dakota and Montana.

While you can easily find national average costs paid by your peers, it honestly depends on what you like to eat.

Average Cost of Groceries Per Month for 2 in 2022

As expected, the average grocery bill for two people is just over double the cost for a single person. A family consisting of one male and one female between the ages of 19-50 years of age spends between $402.20 and $798.70. While a similar couple between the ages of 51-70 years spends slightly less. On average between $381.90 to $743.80.

Average Grocery Bill for a Family of 4 in 2022

The USDA also breaks down the average food bill for a family of four. In their example, a man and woman between the ages of 19-50 years old will spend between $587.40 and $1144.40 per month with two children between the ages of 2-3 and 4-5 years old.

If you have older kids expect to pay more. A family with two children between the ages of 6-8 and 9-11 will pay between $673.60 and $1339.80 per month for food.

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Unfortunately, this chart doesn’t consider dietary concerns, convenience foods, or preferences for organic products, which can all impact our food budgets.

I don’t think you can make an apples-to-apples comparison on food budgets, nor should you.

However, food is the third-largest household expense, so it’s an easy way for many middle and high-income earners to cut costs without feeling a hefty pinch.

Track How Much You Spend

Before we cut expenses we must figure out how much we spend on groceries in the first place. As I mentioned above, it’s easy to figure out how much our recurring bills cost each month.

Mortgages, rent, and transportation costs typically remain steady from month-to-month, but food prices are rarely the same, so it’s time to figure out how much we spend each time we checkout of the store.

To keep track of your food expenses, keep a running tab on your refrigerator and write down how much you spend every time you return home from the grocery store.

Write the date, name of the store, and total. Remember to exclude items like cat food, kitty litter, dishwashing detergent, etc., which shouldn’t be included in food costs.

Many of us buy products other than food at the grocery store. Don’t count that stuff in your calculation.

If you use a credit card to pay for your groceries, you can log in to your account once a month to review your expenses, but this will make it more challenging to exclude non-food items from your totals. Without the receipt, you won’t know what to exclude.

How much do you spend right now? Does that number seem high, low, or just about right? Divide your current take-home pay by that amount and see what percentage of your income you are spending on food.

Once you figure out how much you spend, you can determine if you have any excess that can be trimmed.

How to Save Money on Groceries

So how can we save on groceries. How can we trim that grocery bill if it’s too high?

1. Prepare Easy Recipes

In 2001, I fell in love with Rachel Ray’s television show 30 Minute Meals. Not only were her meals easy to make, but they didn’t contain a giant list of ingredients.

Some people love to create gourmet meals. That’s great, and all the power to them, but if you don’t feel like a super talented chef, stick to the basics.

Search for easy recipes. You don’t have to cook a gourmet meal every night. If you have young kids and need to get dinner on the table, search for the easiest recipes you can find.

There are lots of easy dinner recipes that don’t cost a lot to make. Quesadillas, grilled cheese, omelets, pancakes, egg sandwiches, frittatas, and tuna melts make that list. There is also nothing wrong with eating spaghetti with can pasta sauce.

2. Learn to cook.

After my husband and I got married, we took a cooking class at a fancy French cooking school. We learned how to sharpen knives and use them to break down a whole chicken. It’s an experience I haven’t tried since.

These days the Internet is full of step by step videos showing you exactly how to prepare meals. You can pause the video multiple times and replay it to teach yourself.

No matter what type of cuisine you love, you can find an online instructor to show you what to do. Best of all, you can find great content for free. Forget that fancy-fancy French school we went to. You can learn how to cook in your pajamas, right from the comfort of your own kitchen.

If you enjoy cooking you won’t mind cutting up vegetables and preparing your own sauces. This can be much cheaper than purchasing prepared convenience foods that do that work for you.

How much are you spending on restaurants and pick-up? When we think about our food budget, most of us think about the food we buy from the grocery store, but restaurants need to be factored into the account. One meal at a restaurant can cost as much as a week’s worth of groceries.

According to the USDA, the average American household spent 6% of after-tax income dining out last year. If you enjoy cooking you can learn to make the same meals at a fraction of the cost. Plus you can control the salt, sugar, and fat that goes into them.

3. Meal Plan

I used to figure out what I wanted to eat and then go to the store with a grocery list in hand. The problem with this approach is that you often pay full price for the ingredients you need.

You can get around this problem by learning to meal plan. Coordinate your meals with this week’s sales. Look through the sales circular, which is much easier to do online these days, and choose your meals based on weekly discounts.

If ground beef is on sale, consider making hamburgers, tacos, or spaghetti. If sausage is on sale, make a sausage potato hash, gumbo, or jambalaya for dinner. A monthly food plan helps you save money. It also makes the question, “what’s for dinner,” easier to answer.

4. Figure Out What You Like to Eat?

Figure out what meals you like to eat. Many of us like similar flavors. For example, my husband and I enjoy meals made with fruit. We love lemon chicken, dishes made with orange zest, and orange marmalade.

Most of us have ‘go-to’ flavors, particular tastes that we enjoy. We make different kinds of recipes, but we often search for meals with similar flavor profiles.

Why does this matter? It helps us use the same sets of ingredients, so we don’t have to buy new ones.

Some ingredients simply cost more than others. Spices are notoriously expensive. A tiny saffron bottle can cost $12.00, while fresh vanilla beans can cost $30 or more.

If you know what foods you enjoy, you won’t waste money buying ingredients you won’t like. Plus you’ll often have the ingredients available in your pantry.

5. Buy Goods That Fill You Up

Here’s another trick to saving money. Search for foods that fill you up.

Thanks to this pandemic, I’ve gained twenty extra pounds. My poor body hasn’t seen the inside of a gym since March. No matter how hard I try to squeeze in walks around the block or bike rides with my kids, it’s not paying off the way my beloved elliptical machine did.

To lose weight, I cut the garbage from my diet and started searching for foods that would help me feel full longer.

Protein like eggs, tuna, beans, and chicken help me do just that. Many of these foods are relatively inexpensive, but even if they cost more, you don’t need to eat as much of them to fill your rumbling belly.

6. Perform Online Price Comparisons

This pandemic has radically altered the way we purchase groceries. Use this to your advantage. Log on to various grocery websites to figure out how much ingredients cost at each store. It’s never been easier to compare prices.

Certain stores are simply cheaper than others. If you love the produce and meat department at Whole Foods buy there, but look for other ingredients at cheaper stores.

7. Sign Up For Loyalty Reward Programs

Most stores have a loyalty program. Sign up for them using your phone number to get extra discounts.

If you buy food at Whole Foods, consider signing up for the Chase Amazon Prime card, which offers 5% cashback on all purchases there. It also gives you access to lower prices online and in-store.

8. Ignore Multi-Product Pricing

Don’t be fooled by multi-product pricing. If a sale reads, “buy ten items for $10”. You don’t have to buy ten things to get that deal. You also don’t have to buy 3 for $5.00.

Buy one item, and you’ll pay just $1.67 for it. You don’t need to load the other two into your cart to get the deal.

9. Throw Brand Loyalty Out the Window

Throw brand loyalty own the window when you can. Some things taste better when you buy the brand name. For example, my kids won’t eat anything but name brand General Mills Cheerios.

But don’t pass by all store brands just because you aren’t familiar with them. Basics like butter, baking soda, baking powder, flour, and other staples won’t taste any different if you use the store brand. You can save a significant amount on seasonings and spices too.

We’ve tried various store brands and found that we like some better than the more expensive, brand name versions.

10. Swap Fresh Ingredients for Frozen Ones

Consider canned goods and frozen foods for some recipes. They have roughly the same nutritional value for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can store these in your house and don’t have to worry if you don’t get around to eating them.

Sure canned fruit isn’t as tasty as munching on a ripe, delicious apple, but you can substitute canned or frozen vegetables in soups and stews. Using a variety of fresh and frozen vegetables also does the trick. The fresh ingredients help pep up the frozen ones.

11. Keep Stock of Your Food Supply

My dad loves ketchup. He eats it on everything, so he and my mom always take note when the ketchup bottle is running low. If he knows he’s half-way to running out, he can put it on a shopping list and start searching for a sale price.

Please don’t wait until you are out of a product to purchase it at full price. If you see a sale, buy an extra bottle and put it on the shelf.

Don’t go crazy with this approach, though. You don’t need to buy ten bottles every time. If you use this technique, don’t stop until you take inventory of what you already have in the fridge and pantry. 

12. Learn to Love Leftovers

Learn to love leftovers, but here’s a trick don’t eat the same thing two times in a row.

Make a meal, eat it, then set aside the leftovers in the fridge for one day. Make something else the next night and then return to those leftovers a day later. This has been a go-to plan for my family and me. It’s tough to eat the same meal twice, but separating the days makes it much more palatable.

Use leftovers on those nights when you would be tempted to pick up food from a restaurant. Plan to cook on the night you don’t have activities, so you can heat leftovers on the night you do.

Place your leftovers eye level in the fridge rather than shoved in the back where you will forget about them.

13. Cook the Right Portions

On the flip side, don’t make extra if you won’t eat it. Learn how to portion your meals so that you eat everything in one sitting.

It seems silly but think about exactly how much protein you eat at dinner each night. Do you eat a whole chicken breast or just half of one? Do you need a 6 ounce burger or an 8 ounce one?

Figure out how much you typically eat and prepare just that amount. If you still feel hungry, make yourself a small side salad or vegetable or eat a cup of fruit after dinner to tide you over until you eat breakfast the next day.

14. Stop Wasting Food

Be aware of food waste. Pay attention to how much food you throw out each week.

Food waste is a massive problem in the United States. If an apple is bruised, cut out the bruised part and eat around it. Wash fruit when you bring it home so you’ll eat it.

Keep your fridge clean, so you know what’s inside of it.

15. Save on Spices

If you need spices that you don’t use very often head to supermarkets that allow you to buy it in tiny amounts. Whole Foods has a spice section where you can measure out exactly the amount you need and not a drop more.

If you don’t live near one, search for Asian or Indian markets. They often offer spices at a fraction of the price at a typical grocery store.

How Much Do You Spend on Food Each Month?

So, now I turn to you dear readers. How much money do you spend on food every month? How much do you spend on groceries? Do you create a monthly budget for food? Do you find your monthly food bill rising?

James

Monday 11th of April 2022

Thought people might be interested in all the kinds of food we get for so little money across the first 6 - 365 days challenges. Half way through challenge six now.

Z -6 ITEMS LIST

List of all the kinds of food items Bought through first 6 challenges

Packaging, Size, Nutritional Content, and Flavors of the kinds of food vary throughout the challenges

As of March 31, 2022

======================================================== Dairy 30 Items

Eggs Large Grade A Milk Butter American Cheese Oaxaca Cheese Swiss Cheese Provolone Borden Crisps Cubes Mozzarella Cheese Cheddar Cheese Cottage Cheese Cream Cheese Ricotta Cheese Blue Cheese Crumbled Parmesan Cheese Parmesan and Romano Cheese Cheese Spread Velveeta Cheese Dip Cups Sour Cream Heavy Cream Coffee Creamer Condensed Milk Silk Almond Milk Silk Oat Milk Ice Cream Ice Cream Bars Ice Cream Sandwiches Ice Cream Sundae Yogurt Yakult Probiotic Drink

======================================================== Meat All fresh except if frozen noted 69 Items

Ground Beef 80% Ground Beef 85% Hot Dogs Cocktail Franks Porterhouse Steak NY Strip Steak - Boneless Shell Steak T Bone Steak Prime Rib Roast First Cut Rib Roast Beef Eye Round Roast Beef Seemed Eye Roast Beef Round Rump Roast Beef Round Roast Beef Rib Roast Beef Cubes London Broil Chicken Drumsticks Chicken Thighs Chicken Breast - Boneless Split Chicken Breast with Ribs Chicken Cutlets Garlic and Herb Chicken Breast Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Breast Chicken Breasts - Frozen - Cooked Chicken Leg Quarters Chicken - Whole Oven Roaster Chicken - Whole Oven Stuffer Chicken - Whole Roasted Whole Chicken - Cooked Chicken Wings - Frozen Chicken Livers Chicken Breast In Water Fried Chicken - Cooked Chicken Sandwich Turkey - Whole - Fresh Turkey - Whole - Frozen Turkey Breast - Frozen Turkey Breast - Hotel Style with Wings Split Turkey Breast - Boneless Cooked Ground Turkey Oscar Mayer Turkey Pork Shoulder Roast Pork Loin - Boneless Whole Pork Loin - Boneless Pork Loin Center Cut - Boneless Pork Chops Center Cut with Bone Spiral Ham Ham Steak Hormel Honey Deli Ham Sliced Hardwood Smoked Ham Pork Spare Ribs Baby Back Ribs Pork Back Ribs St. Louis Pork Spare Ribs Pork Fat Back Salt Pork Italian Sausage Chicken Sausage Corned Beef Flat Cut Corned Beef Hash Bratwurst Smoked Sausage Kielbasa - Fresh Polish Kielbasa Bacon Breakfast Sausage Links - Fresh Breakfast Sausage Patties - Fresh Pepperoni

======================================================== Fish 24 Items

Tuna Fish Sardines Pink Salmon Smoked Salmon Fish Sticks - Frozen Fish Filets - Frozen Fish Filets - Battered - Frozen Potato Crusted Cod - Frozen Fish Portions - Crispy Battered - Frozen Coconut Shrimp - Frozen Jumbo Coconut Shrimp - Frozen Popcorn Shrimp - Frozen Jumbo Popcorn Shrimp - Frozen Shrimp - Cooked - Frozen Shrimp - Raw - Frozen Jumbo Breaded Shrimp - Frozen Butterfly Breaded Shrimp - Frozen Beer Battered Shrimp - Frozen Breaded Clam Strips - Frozen Imitation Crab Meat Crab Cakes - Frozen Mussels In White Sauce - Frozen Mussels In Garlic Sauce - Frozen Black Lumpfish Caviar

======================================================== Deli meats 7 Items

Salami Ham Olive Loaf Liverwurst Bologna Head Cheese Italian Subs

======================================================== Fruit 39 Items

Watermelon Pineapple Cantaloupe Mangos Pomegranate Blueberries Blackberries Strawberries Raspberries Red Grapes Green Grapes Cherries Bananas Apples Plums Peaches Nectarines Oranges Clementines Mandarin Oranges Lemons Pumpkin Pineapple Slices Fruit Cocktail Dole Mixed Fruit Cups Dole Fruit Bowls Dole Tropical Fruit Dole Tropical Fruit Cups Mandarin Oranges Fruit Cup Cherry Mixed Fruit Fruit Cup Cherry Fruit Medley Fruit Cup Mandarin Oranges Dole Fridge Fruit Peach Slices Dole Fridge Fruit Strawberries - Frozen Mixed Berries - Frozen Blackberries - Frozen Cherries - Frozen Prunes Pitted Prunes

======================================================== Vegetables 76 Items

Iceberg Lettuce Boston Lettuce Baby Butter Lettuce Romaine Lettuce Romaine Hearts Baby Romaine Baby Romaine Mix Spinach Romaine Salad Fresh Express Salad Dole Salad Spring Mix Salad Field Green Salad Iceberg Salad Italian Style Salad Garden Salad Italian Salad Mix Veggie Lovers Salad Green Crisp Salad Bacon Caesar Salad Kit Caesar Chopped Salad Kit Sesame Asian Salad Kit Sesame Asian Chopped Salad Kit Turkey and Bacon Cobb Salad Coleslaw - Fresh Cabbage Potatoes Red Potatoes Sweet Potatoes Petite Gold Potatoes Petite Red Potatoes Yams Sweet Potatoes Eggplant Corn on the Cob Celery Red Peppers Green Peppers Tomatoes Grape Tomatoes Tomatoes On Vine Plum Tomatoes Roma Tomatoes Diced Tomatoes Stewed Tomatoes Crushed Tomatoes Whole Mushrooms Sliced Mushrooms Baby Bella Mushrooms Whole Mushrooms In Water Sliced Mushrooms In Water Mushroom Stems and Pieces Asparagus Avacados Yellow Onions Red Onions Cucumbers Mini Cucumbers Kirby Cucumbers Seedless Cucumber Radishes Baby Carrots Scallions Green Onions Garlic Cloves Garlic Bulb Parsnips Dill Chives Parsley Tarragon Cream Corn Sweet Peas Green Beans Whole Kernel Corn Sugar Snap Peas

======================================================== Frozen Vegetables 20 Items

Candied Sweet Potatoes Sweet Potatoes Pearl Onions Chopped Onions Corn on the Cob Green + Red Pepper + Onion Strips Gold White Corn Carrots Asparagus Gold and White Corn Creamed Spinach Green Bean Casserole White Corn In Butter Sauce Corn Niblets In Butter Sauce Sugar Snap Peas Spring Vegetables Sweet Peas Green Peas White Corn Mixed Vegetables Stir Fry with Asparagus Asian Style Vegetables

======================================================== Rice 18 Items

Jumbalaya Mix Rice Dirty Mix Rice Teriyaki Rice Roasted Chicken Rice Chicken Fried Rice White Rice Asian Style Rice Minute Rice Bourbon Chicken Rice Long Grain Wild Rice Herb and Butter Rice Stir Fried Rice Teriyaki Peas Carrots Rice Creamy Chicken Rice Butter and Garlic Rice Taco Rice Yellow Rice Rice Pilaf - Frozen

======================================================== Bread 35 Items

White Bread Whole Wheat Bread Wheat Bread Honey Wheat Bread Rye Bread - Bakery Russian Rye Bread - Bakery Marble Rye Bread - Bakery Italian Bread - Bakery French Bread - Bakery Olive Loaf Bread - Bakery Pull Apart French Bread - Bakery Pull Apart Italian Bread - Bakery Baguette Pull Apart Bread - Bakery Kalamata Olive Bread - Bakery Garlic Bread - Bakery Raisin Cinnamon Bread Cranberry Swirl Bread Cinnamon Swirl Bread Irish Soda Bread - Bakery Ciabatta Bread - Bakery Kaiser Rolls - Bakery Split Top Party Rolls - Bakery Miami Onion Rolls - Bakery Snowflake Rolls - Bakery Dinner Rolls - Bakery Potato Dinner Rolls - Bakery Slider Rolls Croissants - Bakery Bagels Bagels - Bakery Bialy - Bakery Hamburger Rolls Hot Dog Rolls Pillsbury Grands English Muffins

======================================================== Frozen Bread Items 5 Items

Pancakes Waffles Texas Toast Ciabatta Rolls Garlic Bread

======================================================== Cereal 7 Items

Fruit Loops Apple Jacks Frosted Flakes Raisin Bran Special K Quick Oats Oats To Go Cereal

======================================================== Pasta 15 Items

Elbow Macaroni Penne Pasta Penne Rigate Spaghetti Egg Noodles Macaroni Dumplings Lasagna Noodles Chicken Garllic Ravioli - Fresh Italian Sausage Ravioli - Fresh Mushroom Ravioli - Fresh Four Cheese Ravioli - Fresh 5 Cheese Tortellini - Fresh Rana Meat Lasagna - Fresh Teriyaki Noodles In Sauce Red Peppers Pasta

======================================================== Sides 29 Items

Macaroni Salad Potato Salad Coleslaw Stuffing Pickle Chips Pickle Spears Olives Green Olives Manzanilla Olives Black Pitted Olives Green Spanish Olives Mashed Potatoes Au Gratin Potatoes Scalloped Potatoes Potato Casserole Cheddar and Bacon Potatoes Cheetos Jalapeno Mac + Cheese Baked Beans Beef Chili Chili Beans Rice and Beans Pickled Sliced Beets Pickled Beats and Onions Roasted Red Peppers Sweet Red Peppers Apple Sauce Jellied Cranberry Sauce Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce Pear and Provolone Salad

======================================================== Soup 14 Items

Cream of Mushroom Soup Cream of Chicken Soup Sweet Corn Roast Poblano Chicken Noodle Soup Roasted Chicken Soup with Rice Rao's Chicken and Gnocchi Soup Chicken Tortilla Soup Ramen Noodle Soup New England Chowder Lobster Bisque Beef Broth Chicken Broth Wonton Soup - Cooked Chicken Noodle Soup - Cooked

======================================================== Frozen Meals, Snacks, and Sides 103 Items

Signature 5 Cheese Pizza Signature Pepperoni Pizza Signature Sausage Pepperoni Pizza Tony's Cheese Pizza Tony's Supreme Pizza Tony's Pepperoni Pizza Virtuoso Pizza Digiorno Pizza Digiorno Pepperoni Pizza Red Baron Pepperoni Pizza Freshetta Pepperoni Pizza O That's Good Pizza Newman's Pepperoni Pizza Newman's Four Cheese Pizza Newman's Supreme Pizza Celeste Cheese Pizza Totino's Pizza French Bread Pizza Ellio's Pizza Bagel Bites Pizza Pizzettas Pizza Rolls Ravioli Tater Bits Tater Tots Tasti Taters Tater Puffs Crispy Crown Potatoes French Fries Classic Cut Fries Straight Cut Fries Crinkle Fries Dipping Potato Wedges Jalapeno Potatoes Onion Rings Potato Baby Cakes Potato Pancakes Potato Blintzes Potato and Onion Pierogies Stuffed Nachos Turkey Pot Pie Chicken Pot Pie Beef Pot Pie Taquitos Beef Bean Cheddar Burritos Crab and Cheese Bites White Castle Hamburgers White Castle Cheeseburgers Mini Chicken Sandwiches Franks In A Blanket Franks In Puff Pastry Pepperoni and Cheese Calzone Chicken Tenders Chicken Nuggets Chicken Strips Popcorn Chicken Chicken Patties Macaroni and Cheese Shrimp Macaroni Cheese Shrimp Scampi and Linguine Chicken Marsala and Redskin Potatoes Salisbury Steak Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs Italian Meatballs Spaghetti and Meatballs Steak Fajita Chicken Enchilada Verte Roasted Turkey Dinner Turkey with Stuffing Chicken Parm Dinner Country Fried Chicken Dinner Rigatoni and Vegetables Prime Rib Birds Eye Signature Skillet Beef Steak Mega Bowl Buffalo Chicken Mega Bowl Country Chicken Mega Bowl Mixed Fried Rice Sweet Sour Chicken General Tso's Chicken Kung Poa Chicken Dumplings Chicken Stir Fry Chicken Teriyaki Bowl Sweet Sour Chicken Veg Rice Chicken Pad Thai Rice Noodles Chicken and Pork Pot Stickers Teriyaki Chicken Vegetable Chicken Oriental Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese Stouffer's Stuffed Pepper Stouffer's Lasagna Stouffer's Chicken Parmesan Stouffer's Salisbury Steak Stouffer's Green Pepper Steak Stouffer's Swedish Meatballs Stouffer's Chicken Mushroom Marsala Stouffer's Spaghetti and Meatballs Stouffer's Fried Chicken Stouffer's Salisbury Steak Breakfast Sausage Links Breakfast Sausage Patties Soft Pretzels Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese

======================================================== Snacks 67 Items

Tortilla Chips Tostitos Potato Chips Pringles Doritos Pretzels Pretzel Sticks Pretzel Bits Pretzel Rods Chocolate Covered Pretzels Popcorn Microwave Popcorn Cheese Nips Crackers Cheeze It Crackers Cheez It Snap's Ritz Crackers Pita Crackers Flat Bread Crisps Town House Crackers Wheat Thin Crackers Triscuit Crackers Wasa Light Rye Crackers Goldfish Crackers Saltine Crackers Sea Salt and Olive Oil Crackers Manischewitz Matzos Pistachios Almonds Almond Fruit Nuts Shelled Walnuts Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts Chex Mix Mallomars Milano Cookies Pecan Sandies Cookies Chocolate Chip Cookies Chips Deluxe Keebler Cookies Chips Ahoy Cookies Pepperidge Farms Cookies Pistachio Almond Thin Cookies Chocolate Chip Thin Cookies Apricot Raspberry Cookies Cioccolati Biscotti Cookies Newton's Fig Cookies Oreo Cookies Stella Doro Swiss Fudge Cookies Cheese Pepperoni Platter Crackers, Pepperoni, Cheddar Sargento Balanced Blends Almond Joy Mounds M&M'S Fun Size M&M'S Snak Size Hershey's Snak Size Hershey's Chocolate Bars Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Lindt Assorted Chocolates Ferrero Rocher Chocolates Russell Stover Chocolates Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark Candy Probiotic Snak Bar Lindt Hazelnut Bar Lindt Excellence Chocolate Bar Loaded Sausage Bites Egg Cheese Egg Bites - Sausage Bacon Cheese Jolly Ranchers Tic Tacs

======================================================== Desserts 51 Items

Jello Strawberry Jello Orange Jello Cherry Jello Donuts Mini Donuts Donuts - Bakery Dunkin Donuts Clyde's Strawberry Donut Holes - Bakery Chocolate Pudding Louisiana Crunch Cake - Bakery Glazed Marble Pudding Cake - Bakery Glazed Lemon Pudding Cake - Bakery Louisiana Crunch Cake - Bakery Raspberry Coffee Cake - Bakery Golden Layer Cake - Frozen Coconut Layer Cake - Frozen Lemon Layer Cake - Frozen Fudge Iced Golden Cake - Frozen Fudge Stripe Layer Cake - Frozen Strawberry Cheese Cake - Frozen Cherry Pie - Bakery Peach Pie - Bakery Lemon Crumb Pie - Bakery Cherry Pie - Frozen Apple Pie - Frozen Blueberry Pie - Frozen Very Berry Pie - Frozen Coconut Custard Pie - Frozen Mini Cherry Pies Walnut Coffee Ring Walnut Coffee Ring - Bakery Peach Blueberry Rustic Fruit Tart - Bakery Strawberry Cake Roll - Baker Cherry Turnovers - Bakery Raspberry Danish Twist Cheese Danish Cheese Danish Twist Cherry Cheese Danish Cheese Coffee Ring Cheese Buns Crumb Cake Crumb Cake - Bakery Fruit Coffee Ring - Bakery Apple Puffs Guava Cheese Puffs Fruit Ice Pops - Frozen Mango Ice Pops - Frozen Delizza Mini Eclairs - Frozen Delizza Chocolate Cream Puffs - Frozen Tiramisu

======================================================== Extras 121 Items

Mayonnaise Ketchup Mustard Dijon Mustard Kosciusko Mustard Spicy Brown Mustard Whole Grain Mustard Old Style Mustard Horseradish Relish Sauerkraut Pancake Syrup Honey Apricot Preserves Peach Preserves Barbecue Sauce Bistro Au Jus Gravy Beef Flavor Gravy Turkey Gravy Roasted Turkey Gravy Mix Peanut Butter Soy Sauce Kung Pao Stir Fry Sauce Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade Chinese Style 5 Spice Plum Sauce Korean Gochujang Cooking Sauce Scampi Sauce Marsala Sauce Toasted Sesame Sauce Manwich Onion Soup Mix Bouillon Cubes Powdered Chicken Bouillon Meat Marinade Garlic Herb Wine Marinade Mango Marinade Goya Mojo Criollo Marinade Stir Fry Seasoning Mix Salad Dressing - French Salad Dressing - Ranch Salad Dressing - Honey French Salad Dressing - Blue Cheese Salad Dressing - Thousand Island Salad Dressing - Raspberry Walnut Salad Dressing - Raspberry Hazelnut Salad Dressing - Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing - Chunky Blue Cheese Salad Dressing - Asian Sesame Salad Dressing - Caesar Salad Dressing - Vinaigrette Salad Dressing - Asian Toasted Tomato Paste Tomato Sauce Pasta Sauce Marinara Sauce Portobello Mushroom Sauce Alfredo Sauce Taco Dinner Kit Taco Shells Taco Tortillas Taco Seasoning Bread Crumbs Panko Bread Crumbs Graham Cracker Crumbs Croutons Crispy Fried Onions Guacamole Mix Salsa Peach Mango Salsa French Onion Dip Ranch Dip Guacamole Dip Bacon Ranch Dip Sour Cream Onion Dip Squeezed Garlic Squeezed Ginger Vanilla Extract Wesson Oil Vegetable Oil Canola Oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil Canola Oil Cooking Spray Sherry Cooking Wine White Cooking Wine Red Cooking Wine Vinegar Apple Cider Vinegar Red Wine Vinegar Balsamic Vinegar Keebler Waffle Bowls Wonton Wraps Dough Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix Chocolate Chips Pie Crust Rolled Pie Crust Pecan Pie Crust Puff Pastry Sheets - Frozen Redi Whip Whip Topping Spray Cool Whip - Frozen Cherry Pie Filling Sugar Brown Sugar Flour Baking Soda Yeast Corn Meal Salt Sea Salt Black Pepper Peppercorn Cinnamon Oregano Garlic Powder Onion Powder Cayenne Pepper Sesame Seeds Bay Leaves Basil Dill Weed Spice Lemon Juice Lime Juice

======================================================== Soda 19 Items

Coke Cherry Coke Dr. Pepper Coke Zero Root Beer Sprite 7Up Cherry 7Up Sunkist Orange Crush Ginger Ale Black Cherry Soda Uprite Soda Ginger Ale Orange Aid Orange Vanilla Coke Strawberry Guava Diet Coke Cherry Vanilla Coke Coke Energy Drink Coke witth Coffee

======================================================== Juice 27 Items

Orange Juice V8 Juice Tomato Juice Cocktail Apple Cider Apple Juice Cranberry Juice Cranberry Apple Juice Cranberry Cherry Juice Cranberry Grape Juice Cranberry Blueberry Juice Cranberry Blackberry Juice Cranberry Raspberry Juice Cranberry Pomegranate Juice Apple Raspberry Juice Pomegranate Blueberry Juice Cranberry Juice Cocktail Cranberry Pomegranate Juice Cocktail Cranberry Raspberry Juice Cocktail Pineapple Juice Berry Juice Juicy Juice Fruitfills Dole Peach Mango Orange Hawaiian Punch Orange Ocean Hawaiian Punch Berry Limeaide Hawaiian Punch Bing Cherry Juice Energy Drink Powerade Ultra Mixed Berry Drink

======================================================== Water 10 Items

Spring Water Capri Sun Tropical Fruit Capri Sun Fruit Punch Capri Sun Orange Vitamin Water Sparkling Water Berry Sparkling Water Strawberry Watermelon Sparkling Water Tangerine Grapefruit S. Pellegrino Mineral Water Red Bull Peach

======================================================== Coffee, Tea, and Ice Tea 9 Items

Coffee Tea Bags Ice Tea Lipton Ice Tea Snapple Ice Tea Arizona Ice Tea Signature Select Ice Tea Peach Flavored Ice Tea Ice Tea Mix

======================================================== Flavors Of Ice Cream and Yogurt

Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Sundae Nut Football Ice Cream Chocolate Almond Chip Ice Cream Coconut Ice Cream Mango Ice Cream Rum Raisin Ice Cream Vanilla Pineapple Ice Cream Strawberry Ice Cream Birthday Cake Ice Cream Black Cherry Ice Cream Cow-A-Bunga Ice Cream Pistachio Ice Cream Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream Honey Pistachio Ice Cream Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Fudge Swirl Ice Cream Banana Split Ice Cream Brownie Moose Tracks Ice Cream Vanilla Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Peach Ice Cream Neapolitan Ice Cream

== Mixed Berry Yogurt Blueberry Yogurt Black Cherry Yogurt Strawberry Yogurt Cherry Yogurt Almond Coco Yogurt Coconut Milk Yogurt Peach Yogurt Raspberry Yogurt

========================================================

James

Tuesday 8th of March 2022

We do most everything you list to save money. What we do is keep an above medium to full inventory of food and drink in stock all the time. We never run low. We buy what is on sale, use coupons, digital coupons, store saving card, store rewards program, seniorr discount, and keep our eyes open for special promotions and free giveaways. My mom plans about a month in advance on the big meal of the day, based 90 percent on what we already have in stock. That big meal usually lasts 2 or 3 days. Sometimes she needs a item here or there but we look for the sale price for it. We get every kind of food and eat on less than $4.15 per person per day. And have been shopping and eating like that since I started documenting it in 2013, and probably since the 1960's. People often ask me what do we eat for so little money. We eat everything, including over 350 pounds of meat products a year. My list for a whole year on what we bought sorted by food type would blow people away. We mainly use ShopRite and Acme supermarkets.

James

Monday 7th of March 2022

I am 55 and my mom is 83 as of March 2022. I have been tracking and keeping data for all our food we buy since 2013, in 365 day intervals. We beat the USDA Thrifty plan even. We are now into day 141 of our 6th 365 day challenge I invented in 2013. October 18, 2021 to October 17, 2022 we should be within the past years ranges easy. That means less than $4.15 per person per day to eat and less than $1.99 per item. I have a tremendous amount of data and all the daily lists, and combined lists by category for each year. But here are the Results of the first 5 challenges. Results By Challenge Time frame for each challenge

1 - May 21, 2013 through May 20, 2014 2 - October 2, 2016 though October 1, 2017 3 - September 23, 2018 through September 22, 2019 4 - October 19, 2019 though October 17, 2020 5 - October 18, 2020 though October 17, 2021 6 - October 18, 2021 though October 17, 2022 Total Cost 1 - $2924.85 2 - $3014.25 3 - $2992.75 4 - $2982.84 5 - $2918.84 Total - $14,833.53

Cost Per Person Per Day 1 - $4.006643835616438 2 - $4.129109589041096 3 - $4.099657534246575 4 - $4.086082191780822 5 - $3.998410958904110

Number of Items 1 - 1383 2 - 1423 3 - 1510 4 - 1493 5 - 1660 Total - 7469

Cost Per Item 1 - $2.114859002169197 2 - $2.118236120871398 3 - $1.981953642384106 4 - $1.997883456128600 5 - $1.758337349397590

Val

Monday 7th of March 2022

Thanks for this! I've noticed our food costs just keep going up. You give some great tips. We are a family with dietary restrictions, and that makes it so much harder. My daughter has celiac disease, and we try to limit her wheat exposure. But MAN, gluten-free items are usually double or triple their wheaty counterparts! I try to minimize the sticker shock by using whole ingredients that anyone can eat, but then veggies get expensive in the winter too. Can't wait to get that garden going this year!

How Much Should a Frugal Family of Four Spend on Groceries? – DebtFreeSquad

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

[…] to the American Dairy Association, food waste is a massive problem in the U. S. American families waste 250 pounds of food per year. Keep your […]