I am DYING over here friends… Dying.
Just received one of the feistiest emails ever on food budgeting and can’t stop laughing at this guy. He’s on a mission and needs our help to get to the bottom of it! ;)
How do people eat on only $1.00 a meal?? What’s a fat man (his words) to do??
Review this at your leisure and then chime in below if you will… I’ll admit I’m pretty curious how people finagle such low food budgets as well – especially in a healthy way. What’s the secret, friends??
Mr J. Money. I have been a long time reader, or at least I feel as though, since I’ve navigated a great many of your current and past articles over the previous 10 months. My name is Braden and I am a father of 2.
One thing that I’ve been continually intrigued by, but have yet to locate a logical answer to, even throughout the internet’s vast wisdom, is how in GOD’s NAME people seem to spend so thriftily on food consumption when my own family seems, well, cannot at all!!
I have been vigorously categorizing and monitoring my family’s spending habits for the better part of a decade and have the historical records to prove it. I can mark periods of excess consumption by month and correlate that to certain life events (travel, remodel, moving, fat retention, etc). I am an accountant by trade and every bit as meticulous in details as accountants are prone to be. I’ve left no receipt unread in 10+ years and yet…………….. I cannot FATHOM how people are able to execute a monthly food spend per familial unit of less than $1000.
Impossible, insufferable, intolerable!!!
I will not shy away from the facts. I …………. am overweight. I eat. Probably, by most accounts, A LOT. I love food. I love good for you food; I love not good for you food. I love expensive food; I love cheap food. There isn’t much in the way of food that this guy doesn’t love. Oh, you invented a new garlic, cajun, spicy sauce……… AND put it on a White Castle slider, move over son, let daddy have a taste.
I eat a lot of food.
But, while I might account for 45-50% of my 4 person family’s food budget, in comparison with a normal human man at 30-35%?, my family would still eat on average $900-1000/ month.
That roughly equates to:
$12,000 per year spend / 4,380 meals per year = $2.74 / meal.
Now, when I come on your website, and a great many others, people are claiming to spend not even $1/meal. My two young kids waste $1/meal without trying!! The dog mistakenly gobbles up $0.25 / meal without even being reprimanded. This Mormon fellow you had featured the other day claims that he can achieve an average rate of $0.95/meal. [((700*12))/(8*3*365) = $0.958 / meal]??!!!??
I call SHENANIGANS and MALARKEY all at once!!!!
Here is what I want to know, should you be willing to listen and assist me in uncovering the truth: Are these people for REAL?!?!? Can someone actually achieve this level of thrift, or are they in fact denying the truth and categorizing food in other buckets? Are they not counting eating out? Are they not counting staple foods? Are they stealing food; on WIC; eating at Mom & Dad’s; food banks?!!!?
I am being literal, I cannot understand how to reduce my level of food spend to $346.75/ month ($0.95 avg / meal for my family of 4). That’s our monthly spend at COSTCO!!! Yes, we’ve got room for improvement, but these other people must be living on 40 acre farms in the tropics, growing their own produce and bartering rum for beans or something, right? Tell me I’m not crazy!!!
If you look at this rationally, the cheapest food I know, Macaroni and cheese…… not even the organic macaroni and cheese…. standard, horrible, bland, awful for you (probably, according to some dainty nutritionist) Kraft, not shells, mac and cheese. Costs $0.33 / serving (ubiquitous Walmart pricing of $0.98 per box / number of servings (3) on the label), without the addition of milk and butter. Throw those palatable ingredients into the mix and you’re looking at $0.49 / serving (again Walmart pricing; 1/4 stick of butter $0.25/3 and $0.25/3 for 1 cup of milk) for the absolute most ridiculously small portion of sustaining, edible, nearly-food, food on the market.
THAT IS FOR MACARONI AND CHEESE, my friend!!! I don’t know many American families, blessed with children, who DO NOT at some point serve up a dish or two of Macaroni and Cheese (and this is the bottom of the rung brand in sophistication, taste and price). To top that off, for shits and giggles, let’s say that your 14 year old kid is not satiated by 1/3 of a box of macaroni and cheese. You’ve only got another $0.50 in that meal in order to nurture and grow that bottomless pit. What if, GOD FORBID, that 14 year old eats TWO SERVINGS!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHH The humanity!!!! This is no joke. The internet is ablaze with stories of rapturous eating by teenagers. It could happen to you!!!!
So, I say we try and discover meals that are both wholesome and filling and fit within the $1/ meal restriction. I think it’s impossible. You think I’m nuts…….. or is this Mormon fellow starving his kin?
Thanks for reading, I’d be more than willing to assist in showing you my documented spend over the years!!!
This “Mormon fellow” Braden is referring to here is Mr. Dan Miller – a blogger friend of mine who wrote a fascinating post for us the other week on his $5,000/mo budget for his family of 8 (2 parents, SIX kids). Of which $600-$700 goes to feeding his entire clan each month (Braden worked this out to be $0.958/meal). A great read if you haven’t checked it out already…
And out of curiosity, I of course had to get my hands on this Braden guy’s documentation that has been meticulously collected over the years ;) You can download it here for your viewing pleasure:
What do you guys think? Is it possible to live off $1.00/meal?? Do you struggle with food expenses too, or have you found that happy medium?
Please do share in the comments below… And bonus points for dropping *your* own food expenses too! The last time we did this we had almost 200 people share and has become one of our most popular posts on the site: How much do you spend a week on groceries?
Big thanks to Braden for keeping it real and letting us pass this around… Let’s hook a brother up!
**UPDATE** Dan’s rebuttal is now live! –> How We Eat on Less Than $1.00/meal
PS: A little birdy tells me our Mormon friend will be back here shortly for a rebuttal ;)