How Much Does Feeding A Family Cost?!

I sign up for websites all the time that have recipes and kitchen tips and the like for a couple of reasons: I like new recipe ideas and I like to see how the other half lives. What do I mean? Well for instance, today in one of my daily email newsletters, there is an article called, “How A Family of 2 Eats for $100 A Week In Boston MA”. Although the title was enough to discourage me from reading it, the description hinting at the fact that these people cook most of their meals from scratch was enough to cement the deal. Maybe because of where and how I grew up, this title worthy, amazing feat just doesn’t impress me because I can feed a family of 4 for that same hundred dollars. This OF COURSE requires cooking from scratch… where have I been, do people just not do that anymore? Do they not eat bread or sandwiches? What kind of salaries are they working with? What are they buying, organic leaks and shit from Whole Foods? (Caveat: I went into Whole Foods for the first time last week, and it was truly impressive. I was looking for a spice that one of my new, bourgie recipes required that I just couldn’t find in the hood or Target. They had it along with all types of stuff I didn’t know existed and surely wouldn’t bother with. I left with my overpriced spice and that was it.)

Do people’s kids not eat food? I mean I know a kid who doesn’t but he and his mother surely eat less than a hundred dollars worth of food per week, so it may not even apply. Is it just me or do people not buy bags of rice and other relatively inexpensive starches and fresh veggies, a couple packs of meat and make it work? Are we the only family re-purposing leftovers into other dinners and lunches? Is this a problem and could people use an example of a $100 grocery list? I’m feeling some what removed from modern life all of a sudden and now I’m going to list a week’s worth of food and meals just because fuck it, it’s a thing I guess, other websites do it. Oh and do I really need to say that if you’re a vegetarian or vegan this obviously doesn’t apply to you? Nah, my readers aren’t idiots. Most of the dry goods on my list are from Target because they’re the cheapest. For my fresh veggies I usually do Stop and Shop (because of its proximity to my Target) or a neighborhood supermarket, depending on what’s on sale that week. I also buy cheese and lunch meat from my neighborhood store by the pound because it’s convenient.

3 lbs chopped beef: $8.99

Family Pack of chicken breasts (6 large skinless): $11.99

Two 1lb bags of brown rice: $1.98

6 large sweet potatoes: about $5

1lb box of Pasta (pick your fave): $1.42

Rotisserie chicken: $4.99

Taco Kit: $4.19

Two 32 oz Vegetable broth: $1.94 each

10 Count Mission Tortillas: $2.69

18 count large eggs: $2.79

24 count Eggo Waffles: $6.99

1lb jar of Salsa: $2.69

3lb bag of small red potatoes: $2.99

Can of corn: $.79

Head of broccoli: $1.79

String beans: $2.09 (I don’t know what size, I just buy whatever size it is my store has, usually good for at least 2 dinners, sometimes 3.)

8oz bag of shredded cheddar: $2.79

6 count bag of bagels: $2.99

64 oz Tropicana orange juice: $7.99

1/2 gallon of 2% milk: $3.79

loaf of sliced, packaged, honey whole wheat bread: $2.79

2 loaves of Italian bread (not sliced): $3.58

Jar of pasta sauce: $2.19

2 bags of tortilla chips: $6

Bunch of asparagus: $2.50

Bag of spinach: $2.49

$3 worth of sliced American cheese and $7 worth of sliced lunch meats like roast beef, honey turkey, etc.

Ok, I went over by a dollar, but does this seem like a lot of food for $100 or not very much to you? I can make 2 separate dinners with that rotisserie chicken, the first one would consist of pieces of chicken with mashed potatoes (the little red ones, no need to peel, take about 20 minutes to boil and a few more to mash with a little butter, milk, salt & pepper) and string beans. The second would be cutting every last piece of meat off the carcass and throwing it into a pot and making tortilla soup. (Let me know if you want that recipe, talk about quick and easy!)

The 3 pounds of chopped meat would easily make 3 dinners, for example: the tacos, over-stuffed nachos, and meat sauce for the pasta. The chicken breasts are also good for at least 3 meals. I have a grill pan I love and will stand and grill chicken breasts for an hour, then eat them with various sides, or cut up in sandwiches or salad. My grilled-chicken salad is legendary among my sons and their friends and would just require swapping a bag of salad for the asparagus in my list and some feta instead of a bag of mozzarella. None of the meals require anything to be fried, and all dinners come with a heaping serving of veggies that probably represent 2 servings in the daily servings of veggies. Not to mention a liberal sprinkling of veggies in omelets or spinach on sandwiches for lunch. I’m like everyone in that I buy things like rice and potatoes in quantities that will last me for over a week and when I cook them, I often make a larger number of servings than I need for one meal, so that they can be put in the fridge and used in other meals. Sometimes when we have leftover taco meat, and leftover rice, I will have a Chipotle burrito night, where I warm it all up, set it out in bowls along with bowls of cheese and beans and corn and everyone will build their own burrito. Honestly, my weekly food budget is probably closer to $150 at this point than $100, but with a little planning and forethought, $100-$125 a week is doable for more than just two people if you are going to cut up your own veggies, and make the food from scratch, but that doesn’t mean you have to stand in the kitchen cooking for an hour a night. And let’s face it, in a family of four even during a summer break, it’s rare that every person is eating all of their meals and snacks at home anyway. And before you ask about snacks and fruit, yes, I do buy them too (I’m certainly not buying a 24 count box of waffles every week!) How big is your family, what do you spend on food in a normal week?




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