Cost of Feeding A FamilyNow that I almost, finally have a working kitchen  I’ve started cooking at home again, mainly things that don’t require a kitchen backsplash or actual countertops. I’ve been making due with boards placed on top of my lower cabinets and cutting boards, but it sure is nice not having to eat takeaways or garbage foods, like granola bars and crackers for lunch. We’ve been eating a lot of whole wheat pasta with peas and parmesan, some nice ground pepper and a side salad, but I can’t wait until I can actually cook, you know, things like roast chicken or even something simple like scrambled eggs. What I am not looking forward to is actually grocery shopping, because I detest going to the store more than just about anything, and I end up spending way too much money and then have nothing to create actual meals from. I’m a terrible grocery shopper, even though I know how to grocery shop. I know how to check ads for sales. I know how to use coupons. I know how to make lists but I rarely do these things.

The Daily Mail has an amazing pictorial all about what average families from across the world spend on groceries per week, and the photographs illustrate how families in other countries do so much more with their grocery money, even when they spend so much less on food. Compared to the American and British families, the amount of produce and non-prepacked items is pretty admirable, and like so many other families, I need to stop buying so much processed junk like Goldfish crackers and those amazingly yummy terra chips. The cost of groceries have gone up, and according to USA Today:

The cost of feeding a family of four a healthy diet can run $146 to $289 a week, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That’s based on preparing all the meals and snacks at home for a couple with two school-aged children. It doesn’t include one-dollar deals at fast-food restaurants or splurges at pricey restaurants.

The USDA uses national food intake data and grocery price information to calculate different costs for a healthy diet at home. The latest numbers for a four-member family: a thrifty food plan, $146 a week; a low-cost food plan, $191 a week; a moderate-cost plan, $239; a liberal plan, $289 a week. Some food waste is built into these costs.

I think I do average about $289-300 a week, mainly because I have a Diet Coke habit (I know, I know how awful that garbage is) and I include wine in our budget. Plus, organic milk and meat is more expensive, and I’m not very good at buying what’s on sale.

I am going to get better at all these things, I swear, but in the meantime how are you keeping your grocery bills down? Is everyone doing that cute thing where you spend $30 a month and you get a box of produce from your local farmers? Are you guys doing magical things with your crock pots I don’t know about? I’ve vowed with my new kitchen I’m going to get smarter about shopping for food and cooking meals, I just need some inspiration. I have a million cookbooks I need to start using and I need to start doing prep work for the upcoming week on Sundays so I can have a plan for dinners when I’m tired from working all day. Plus, my kids need to get better at telling me what they want to help me make. I need to get better at all of this because this whole not having a better plan thingy isn’t working out so well.

And I sure as hell can’t afford to hire a personal chef.

(Photo: Art Allianz/shutterstock)