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Whole Foods Receipt

Here’s my receipt from Whole Foods.  I’m blowing it up so you can really look at what I bought (and what I spent).  If you add in the cost of the Silvana meat I still have in the freezer, I spent about $190 a week on groceries for my family of four.

Last March I fed my family on $144.80 a week as part of the MyPlate on My Budget experiment.  Could I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and feed my family the Choose MyPlate advised daily nutrients? The answer was yes, but it took a big toll on everyone.

An interesting thing I have discovered is that most people are extremely reluctant to share what they spend on groceries each month.  The exception is people who are spending a ridiculously low about, like $300 a month for a family of six.

Food is really expensive and I’m wondering if many people, (like me), feel guilty when they get to the cash register.

Don’t feel guilty!

If the MyPlate on My Budget experiment taught me anything, it’s that quality food costs more because it’s inherently worth more.  Washington apples vs. New Zealand apples; Oregon shrimp vs. farmed shrimp from Thailand; freshness comes with a price AND a reward.

Filling your kids up with healthy snacks they actually like, means they might have better behavior.  That’s worth it, right?

I think that stores like Whole Foods and PCC get a bum rap for being too expensive.

But if you are really careful, you can do just fine.

For $183.80 I bought a week’s worth of groceries, including two gallons of organic milk, lots of fresh veg for making green smoothies, GF yummies for mom, and the makings for a homemade pizza my son needs to make for a Cub Scouts requirement.  I also bought a bunch of crackers, because we are all out.  (That has been a major source of grumbling this past month.)

$190 a Week on (Mostly) Organic Groceries for a Family of Four

That’s not bad!

I could easily have spent higher than that if I wasn’t careful.  But $190 was enough that I could buy food for a week without stressing out. Probably $200 a week would be a really comfortable level.

Rose McAvoy has some more thoughts about saving money on groceries that you might want to check out.  In the meantime, I’m pouring myself another cup of coffee (with cream) and enjoying some GF pineapple cookies.

And I don’t feel guilty at all.

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  1. Cynthia says:

    How does the Federal Gov. define grocery costs?
    For decades a grocery bill included anything attached to the kitchen. Stores were set up so that you had to go through the grocery check out before you could go to the variety area for other things. The grocery area in the store included things like dish soap, foil, etc. You had to go to the variety area to get TP, toothpaste, etc. Your grocery bill was very clearly distinct from your other purchases. Grocery clerks were paid a higher wage than variety clerks. No surprise, in the 80’s stores remodeled so that you went through one check out for all items. The result? All clerks could be called variety clerks and therefore be paid lower. Any economists out there feel free to correct me if I’ve got it all wrong. As a consumer that’s what I understood was happening in our stores in the mad dash to reconfigure stores in the 80s.
    The reason I ask is that I kept track of our food costs for years and years until I went back to teaching full time. At that point I was so exhausted I didn’t care what I spent on groceries! I haven’t kept track for some time now. With your series of articles and a look at improving our nutrition, I am rethinking what we spend and curious about our current costs. I know that my figures always were defined at the old term for groceries.
    When I look back at my records and compare it to the Thrifty budget figures for those years, it looks like I was doing quite well. Looking at your grocery receipt I bought many similar things as our kids grew up. Big difference – it wasn’t organic.
    When people compare costs now is it only what goes in your mouth?! How does the government define it?

    • jenbrdsly says:

      This got lost in my SPAM box too. Sorry! My comment filters are getting all messed up.

      That’s really interesting about the grocery clerk / variety clerk history. I had no idea.

      I’m not 100% positive but I would guess that conventional 1980s milk might be different from conventional 2013 milk. Haven’t bovine drugs made some big leaps in the past 30 years? Also in the 1980s we didn’t have the same choices between aluminum foil (cheap) and recycled aluminum foil (expensive!). Those types of choices always bog me down too.

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