Many of us spend much more on the family groceries than we think we do. In fact, according to various studies I’ve seen, the average American family of four spends between somewhere $600.00 to $800.00 per month for their food bill.
The question naturally arises, “Why do we spend so much on our food?” Do we actually eat so much, or is it the way we are buying our food that is causing the problem?
Actually, although obesity is a major problem within the United States, that really isn’t why our food bills are so high. The bigger problem is in the way we are buying our food. A large part of the typical family’s food budget is spent in buying prepared foods, snack foods, and portion packaged food products. All three of these are killers on the food budget.
Let’s look at prepared foods. If you buy frozen chicken leg quarters, it costs about 39 cents a pound. However, if you buy seasoned leg quarters, you pay 99 cents a pound. So, you just paid 50 to 60 cents a pound for someone else to sprinkle three cents worth of seasoning on your chicken. How about hamburgers? If you buy 73% lean ground beef, it costs less than $2.00 per pound. However, if it is premade into hamburger patties, the price goes up to about $3.50 per pound. One more example I want to give you, potato chips. You can buy a snack size bag of potato chips for your kid’s lunch for 99 cents, or you can buy a pound bag of potato chips for $2.50, which gives you enough potato chips for at least six lunch bags.
Any time you buy prepared or individually packaged food items, you are paying somebody else to do things that you can do quite easily yourself. If you stop paying them, you can pay yourself somewhere between $100 and $300 per month; that’s quite a savings. A family of four, who doesn’t buy prepared foods and portion sized packages can eat for $400 to $450 per month, and eat well too.