Thursday, March 22, 2012

How much is too much? On Food Budgets

Not too long ago, I mentioned seeing this blog about another family's food budget. She states she spends about $750 a month feeding 2 adults and a child. I gagged on my coffee when I first read that.

"$750 a month!!! Goodness, do they have any money left to spend on anything else?"

Any reader of mine knows that I'm working on keeping our food budget down. I tried for $200 a month, but that is just too-too little. I think between $250 and $300 is what I normally spend (some months are higher, for sure, and some lower).  So far, in March, I'm at $197... so this is a low month. (I don't have it in me to go back and add up Jan and Feb.)

What's the difference? First off, though I LOVE the taste of grass-fed beef, I'm not willing to spend the $7/lb it costs here to get. We could purchase 1/2 or 1/4 of a cow, and we are looking at it, but that will up my budget some, I'm sure. I think we figured it would be between $4 and $5 or $6 a pound then. Compared to spending no more than $3/lb now -- that makes for expensive beef. Pork, etc are all in the same boat here.

I don't buy raw milk. Our pediatrician asked me point blank to not do raw milk -- he's treated numerous cases of listeria around here. Plus, it would nearly double what I pay for milk now. I do buy real butter. I don't like doing "fake stuff", and margarine just feels fake to me. I know too much about how its made. I do buy it in bulk and freeze it. I pull out a pound block as I need it.

I'm also not convinced of the health benefits or nutrition of pasture-fed animals, versus stall-fed. I read too much of Throwback to Trapper Creek, who speaks more about the appropriate ways to pasture feed and when to pasture feed and stall feed, and what I've read of the "studies" done just doesn't convince me. My philosopher Hubby has trained me too well. Of course, that's also why I don't trust HEB's comments about their ground beef being 100% beef implying that meaning it doesn't contain pink slime.

I don't buy organic veggies -- again, I'm not convinced. Plus, I lived in China.... I remember having to boil or dip in iodine or otherwise sterilize veggies (peeling was an option for some) to avoid getting any parasites. I wash my veggies well, but I'd rather get some residue of some pesticide (and some of the most potent are "all natural" by the way) than some residue of poop, human or otherwise. Call me wonky.

I'll see if I can go through and figure out what we spend on fresh veggies and fruit, dairy, meat and dry goods. That would be an interesting study, I'm sure.

After the pink slime stuff, I'm looking at buying beef and grinding it myself. I'm considering the cost of the grinder and the cost of the beef.  I'll let you know what I find. I do suspect that I'll be spending the same or more going this route. But perhaps avoiding pink slime is worth it....

Keep in mind, also, that my food budget is just food -- no paper products (that goes to household), no cleaning (again, household), office supplies (office stuff), or clothing and such.

Thoughts, opinions, questions or random comments? I'd love to hear them!

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