It may still seem expensive if you are budgeting (like us students) but according to the 2009 USDA cost of food analysis, the "thrifty plan" for budgeting for a family of two in our age group is $360.00. Meaning we fall into the thrifty plan. They state that the food plan they refer to is available on their website. What I find strange is in their food plan though is the misbalance between the products. There's a high level of dairy and grain products to be purchased, and a lower level of fruits/vegetables.
I find this to be opposite here, we eat a ton of vegetables and fruits, less meats and of course our daily baguette.
The way that I keep my budget so low is by these simple steps:
- Plan the meals a week in advance, figure out the recipes I'll use, the products I'll need.
- Purchase the food in one go, sticking to the list of things that we need. I purchase lean pork instead of veal, in season vegetables instead of out of season, frozen if it ends up being cheaper. It's like a "day of shopping" and I keep track of all my receipts, ensuring I am below my maximum.
- Prepare the necessities in cooking, which means I chop and cut and wash all my fresh produce after I buy it, place it in different containers (kinda like prep in a restaurant) and stick to my recipes.
- I don't buy junk food.
Plus, the way we eat has made us lose kilos, not gain.. so.. consider it.