How Much Should You Budget To Spend On Food

What Is Your Food Budget?

How much do you budget for food?  Can you be cooking to impress with your budget?

I remember going grocery shopping with my family when I was young, and I was shocked when we spent over $50. That was in the 1960s, and $1 then is about $8 today. The $50 was two grocery carts, today $50 from the grocery store might fit in 2 recyclable bags.

I do not buy expensive food, and I do not eat out very often. I saw an article one day about how to save money on food. That started me to look at what I was spending. The first thing I found was I could not see clearly what I spend on food.

Being single, what I eat is entirely up to me. While looking around, I came across the USDA Food Plan guidelines. For individuals, here’s what those guidelines say I should budget each week on food (actual number depends on age and sex):

  • Thrifty: $37 – $43
  • Low-Cost: $47 – $56
  • Moderate-Cost: $59 – $70
  • Liberal: $70 – $86


If you break this down, the thrifty is up to $6 a day, low cost up to $8 a day, moderate up to $10, and liberal up to$12. I do not want to be one that disagrees with the government, but I really do not see these guidelines as being correct. I guess I am not the only one, Our new president has directed the USDA to review the guidelines.

Cooking to Impress Does Not Have To Be Expensive

I did find some nice references on the USDA site My Plate The site has outstanding information on nutrition and suggestions on budgets.

One of the blogs I read, had a woman who claimed she could feed a family of four on a dollar a meal per person. Her outline of meals was a little light for my taste and very little meat. Another blogger stated he and his girlfriend only spent $40 a week on groceries. He only ate two meals a day, had a garden, and raised his own chickens for eggs and meat.

Not to be disillusioned, I started pricing out my meals. For instance, I found that I often had days when I did spend less than $6 a day, with outstanding dinners at about $2. To be fair, if I cooked something and had leftovers, the costing included the entire items used. That way, if I left something in the refrigerator too long and was not able to eat it, the cost was still captured.

Cooking to Impress on a budget
A nice balanced dinner ready for the oven, add toppings for the baked potato, and you are all set, under $2

Cooking to Impress on a Budget.

There is no reason that when you are learning to cook, you can not learn about budgeting your cost. While still learning to cook to impress. As an example, I am going to make a post category for meals that would be inexpensive.

You will be able to find them from the category page and the most recent ones from this page.