Thanks to the winds, the mini-greenhouse got blown over, spilling dozens of plants. I was able to salvage most of them, but I did lose about 2 dozen tomatoes. Not to worry ~ I have hundreds more growing. But, what a mess! It happened during the rain that dumped 5 inches on us.
Question: What would a reasonable budget for food be, for a family of 7?
My Answer: $400 a month.
Let me explain. We are in the process of eliminating debt using Dave Ramsey's proven method. We have a long ways to go, but we're dedicated to the mission. We decided to see a financial counselor to get a check up, so to speak. She went over our budget and suggested we cut the food budget in half. Um, WHAT?! 7 people should eat 100% of their meals on $200 a month? I have a pantry, but it's not THAT well stocked right now.
We didn't guesstimate correctly last fall when we were canning. It was the first year we decided to actually can enough to last us until this year's harvest. We under estimated on everything. So, I'm shopping more than I thought I would.
Also included in that budget are seeds & plants that will produce (raspberries & blueberries to name a few.)
I'm a very careful shopper and have a price book plus I'm now couponing in hopes that I can save money every place I can. (I used to just buy the store brand or at Aldi's but I'm discovering that I can often get better deals on the name brands by using coupons during a sale.) Also included are the products I use to make my own laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner and cleaners.
What isn't included in that budget is the cost of feed for the chickens, cats, dogs, and other pets. She insinuated that we might want to get rid of all the pets in order to apply that money to the debt. Again, I see her angle, but the pets (and chickens) add to our quality of life and we won't be getting rid of them. Plus, my chickens feed me. :D
I don't know why this is still rubbing me the wrong way (we met with her in Feb.) but it is. I guess I'd just really like to know how a family of 7 can eat 84 meals on $200 a month. I do buy 25 pounds of rice at the Chinese market and I am growing beans, so heck, we could do the beans-n-rice meals that Dave always spouts about, but I'm sure that we'd be sick of them by day 3.
We eat a ton of veggies. In the summer, we eat stir fry nearly every night. If it's not stir fry, it's grilled veggies. We love them. In the winter/early spring, we don't eat as many because it's not in the budget (have you SEEN the prices at the stores lately?)
The other thing we do to help offset the budget is barter. I have swapped eggs for Elderberry plants & baked goods. One of our sons helps a neighbor in his garden in exchange for veggies. Bartering is a great way to get more food without paying for it.
What do you think? Is my $400 a month too much?