How Much Should It Cost To Feed Family of Two?

Hello everyone:

I have a question. We are now down to the two of us.

How much should it cost for food and basic toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc) for a family of two.


I am talking about in-home prepared foods; meat perhaps 2 to 3 nights per week; rest would be cheese, beans, macaroni/dishes).

I live in the NorthEastern region of U.S. and have large supermarkets like, Shoprite nearby.

I am trying to establish a reasonable a budget.


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I have a family of 3 people, 3 large dogs, 4 cats and a pig (not counting the chickens or turkey or turtle) and it costs about $75 a week for people food and pet food and everything else we need. We have some kind of meat every nite. I shop at Pic-n-Sav grocery and Wal-Mart. I do not buy meat at Wal-Mart, it has too many preservatives in it.

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I noted with interest your question because the title asks how much should it cost to feed a family of two and yet your text asks about food and sundries.

First rule of thumb is NEVER to combine these two costs. If you do, you will shop a grocery store for the non-food items and it will cost you more than what you would pay at a dollar store or discount house.

Other variables that would affect the answer you are seeking:

-- do you have a garden?

-- any dietary restrictions (low sodium, diabetis, etc.)

-- do you include snacks and soda pop or beer as part of your food budget?

-- do you eat lunch at home or brown bag to the work site?

-- are you loyal to name brands or do you use generics or store brands?

-- do you have and use a price book?

-- do you use the grocery circular and then make meal plans built around the sales ads?

All that being said, we are a household of two with moderate dietary restrictions. I will not allow myself to spend more than $150 maximum on groceries, which includes our lunches. I allot $15 a month for personal care products and cleaning supplies.

When our income gets tight, I simply cut the expenditures which includes grocery shopping because I have a large back-up of frozen foods. When money in general is tight, I find I spend a lot more time preparing foods and doing whatever it takes to make it taste and look great.

Lunch today would be a good example: we had delicious cream of broccoli soup, crackers, thinly sliced beef roast (deli style) on assorted crackers, and cake. Three-quarters of this meal was planned leftovers, meaning I had the broccoli frozen from the garden last summer as well as the onion, I substituted celery leaves for the chopped celery, added my own homemade chicken stock; reconstituted dry milk, margarine, flour, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. The beef was a leftover that I very thinly sliced it such as a deli would. Cake was last night's dessert.

The cost of this substantial lunch for the two of us was minimal, at best. I was very pleased that I was able to use up that many ingredients that I already had.

To my mind, it's not what you spend but how you spend it and further, how you use it up that counts.

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I live in Tennessee, and I spend about $150 per month to feed myself and my husband, BUT I try to shop wisely-- using coupons, buying the "loss leaders" featured in weekly ads, using a price book to know what a good price is, stocking up when there is truly a sale, etc. We eat meat nearly every day, but I ONLY buy meat when it is on sale for 1.99/lb or less, I just make sure to stock up. I also do some shopping at a salvage grocery store. I hope that helps!

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I have a family of 3 people, 3 large dogs, 4 cats and a pig (not counting the chickens or turkey or turtle) and it costs about $75 a week for people food and pet food and everything else we need. We have some kind of meat every nite. I shop at Pic-n-Sav grocery and Wal-Mart. I do not buy meat at Wal-Mart, it has too many preservatives in it.

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I think Two people could live, comfortably, for £30 per week. (food wise)

(Thats about $55,)

I think, by shopping at bargain stores, making sandwiches for packed lunches, buying cheap meat - freezing leftovvers and not having luxurys you'd be ok......

Baked beans on toast, mac and cheese & fish sticks taste great and cost next to nothing, but think about the quality of your life.....

Julie in London

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i have a family of 9 and it costs 1,000$ to feed all of us for a month.

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I have a family of 3, myself, husband, and teenage son. I spend about $60-$70 a week on food and up to $20 a week at Dollar General for our cleaning supplies and toiletries. However it is hard to please everyone in the food department. There are days when my son refuses to eat what we have on hand and will just chooses to go without. This upsets me but I figure if he's hungry enough he will eat what we have.

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You may have to spend a little time on this one. If you cook using a weekly or monthly menu you can very easily see what you realistically eat. If you do not do this (I do not) you may have to try it for a month or so to get an idea of what you actually eat and how much. Keep track of the number of times you eat out or have delivery also, so you can figure that dollar amount into your budget.

Now a couple of things that may seem obvious but I will include them anyway. If you clip coupons and watch the sales and shop the perimeter of the store (the produce, dairy and meat sections) and stay out of the areas that have all the over processed packaged foods you will see a big difference in your grocery bill. There are certainly some good products like canned fruits and vegetables the can be had from the "interior" of the store shelves, but you have to be willing to monitor yourself. I have always had to live on a budget so I know this works.

Depending on the cost of living in your area and how good the sales and coupons are, I would think you could both eat on ten dollars a day or less.

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In This Article
Woman Consulting Her Shopping List in the Supermarket
Creating a Food Budget
Budget & Finance BudgetMarch 25, 2005
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