How Urban Homesteaders Figure Out Their Food Costs

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who’s a Foundry in the Forest reader, and she commented on my family’s food budget, which is a modest (though not totally low) $922 a month, including groceries and dining.

While talking about it, the fact dawned on me that we sneakily get food through other spending categories, namely “gardening” and “chickens.” I did a blog post on the actual cost of a dozen eggs from backyard chickens.

We also have a modest garden, which Venessa puts a lot of work into. Like the chickens, it doesn’t save us any money vs buying comparable products at a farmer’s market, but it’s a fun pastime that keeps us in touch with nature, and gives us some very fresh and tasty veggies every season.

So in the interest of full disclosure, here is our true monthly food spending (averaged over the past year), for a family of 5:

Groceries:* $656
Entertaining:** $33
Restaurants: $233
Chickens: $31
Garden: $6
Total: $958

Our non-restaurant food spending has decreased over the past few years, even taking inflation into account. Not sure how we did that.

* This still puts us well below the “thrifty” spending plan as outlined by the USDA.

** I keep keep a separate category for entertaining, since it’s fun to have friends over to eat, or to buy a friend a drink at a bar. I like to see how much I’m spending on social stuff like that as opposed to just buying food for myself.

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3 thoughts on “How Urban Homesteaders Figure Out Their Food Costs”

  1. There are free veggies to be had in the ‘hood. Alleycat is flush right now with harvestable veggies – Monday nights at MLK & Cherry, Tuesdays at Beacon and Wednesdays at 22nd & Union. Of course you’d have to figure the labor cost in, but with so much bounty to be had, it might actually end up being a wash.

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