The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
I haven’t read this book, so this is totally hearsay, but I read on another list I’m on that in this book – – the author states that the average American spends 5% of his or her income on food.
I have been mulling that over in my mind for the past few weeks… wondering how that makes any kind of sense.
Let’s take the amount of money we bring in each month. $5411.00. I decided to start with 20% and was right on the money. 20% of our monthly income is $1084.00. Exactly what we spent on food in the month of October. That breaks down to $270.00 per person.
Let’s consider that we only spent 5% on food for the month. That’s $270.00 per month. That breaks down to $67.50 per person per month.
This has long been a frustrating topic for me. How in the world do people get by with spending such tiny amounts on food? I once read a book where the author stated that she spent $10 per week on food for her family of four, and would never, ever spend more than $10 per week. The book was I wonder if she succeeded at that goal? I don’t know if this is the same author, but here is a book that claims the same thing: Feed a Family of Four for As Low As $10 Per Week: And Enjoy a Nibble of Independence (Paperback, 1991) Author: Jenny Phipps, Marlynn Phipps
I wonder if their children go to public school, eating breakfast and lunch there, and then they don’t consider that to be money spent on “groceries”. Or do they eat out almost every night of the week, not categorizing that fast food as “groceries”?
Or do they simply eat such tiny amounts or so poorly that they are in poor health for the lack of “real” food?
I don’t know that stating that the average American spends 5% of the income on food can even be a rational way to figure it out, because it’s all dependent on how much you make. What if you make minimum wage? What if you only bring in $1000 per month? Can you manage to feed your family on $100 per month? How? What do people eat who eat that cheaply? Cereal for every meal? With powdered skim milk? Half a peanut butter sandwich?
To spend $1000.00 on food each month, at the rate of 5% of one’s income, you would have to make a whopping $20,000.00 per month. Not hardly likely for most Americans.
We home cook most of our meals, and Mr. A and I take leftovers for lunch each day. Sometimes I eat lunch at work (free). We typically eat three meals each day, per person.
Here are some links I found to eating cheap on a tight budget:
Hillbilly Housewife’s Low Cost Emergency Menu $45/week
Feed Your Family For Under $10 Day
How To Feed Yourself for $15 a Week
Maybe for December I’ll try to keep a detailed listing of all the food we buy for the month and figure out exactly what we’re spending our money on.
Be sure to participate in my poll where I ask how much money do YOU spend on food each month?