How much does it cost to feed YOUR family compared to these 2014 government guidelines? The guidelines are given for four levels of spending… thrifty, low-cost, moderate, and liberal. The costs for each level represent a nutritious diet where all meals and snacks are prepared at home.

It seems like we spend more for groceries every time we shop. We are buying more and more organic products and trying to find foods that are non-GMO… both very hard to find in our local stores and substantially more expensive. I cook and bake everything from scratch and try to buy as natural and as local as possible, with emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. I shop for groceries to keep my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator stocked, rather than shopping for a week of meals at a time, so I can wait for sales on the items I regularly buy. My biggest savings come from comparison shopping and buying in quantity.

GOVERNMENT ESTIMATES OF COST PER WEEK

For one child,
age:
Food costs for one week
Prices from December 2013
(the most recent government figures available)
Thrifty plan Low-cost plan Moderate cost plan Liberal plan
1 year $21.40 $28.70 $32.50 $39.60
2-3 years $23.40 $29.80 $36.10 $43.90
4-5 years $24.50 $30.90 $38.30 $46.70
6-8 years $31.20 $43.10 $52.30 $61.70
9-11 years $35.40 $46.80 $60.60 $70.50
For one male,
age:
Food costs for one week
Prices from December 2013
(the most recent government figures available)
Thrifty plan Low-cost plan Moderate cost plan Liberal plan
12-13 years $38.00 $53.70 $67.40 $79.00
14-18 years $39.00 $54.60 $69.50 $79.40
19-50 years $42.20 $54.30 $68.30 $83.70
51-70 years $38.40 $51.30 $63.90 $76.90
71+ years $38.80 $50.90 $63.10 $77.80
For one female,
age:
Food costs for one week
Prices from December 2013
(the most recent government figures available)
Thrifty plan Low-cost plan Moderate cost plan Liberal plan
12-13 years $38.10 $46.40 $55.80 $68.30
14-18 years $37.30 $46.50 $56.30 $69.20
19-50 years $37.50 $47.20 $58.30 $74.50
51-70 years $37.00 $46.10 $57.40 $68.80
71+ years $36.10 $45.70 $56.70 $68.20

GOVERNMENT ESTIMATES OF COST PER MONTH

For one child,
age:
Food costs for one month
Prices from December 2013
(the most recent government figures available)
Thrifty plan Low-cost plan Moderate cost plan Liberal plan
1 year $96.60 $124.30 $140.90 $171.80
2-3 years $101.60 $129.20 $156.30 $190.10
4-5 years $106.20 $134.00 $165.90 $202.20
6-8 years $135.30 $186.60 $226.70 $267.30
9-11 years $153.50 $202.80 $262.40 $305.40
For one male,
age:
Food costs for one month
Prices from December 2013
(the most recent government figures available)
Thrifty plan Low-cost plan Moderate cost plan Liberal plan
12-13 years $164.80 $232.70 $292.00 $342.10
14-18 years $169.20 $236.40 $300.90 $344.00
19-50 years $182.70 $235.50 $295.80 $362.90
51-70 years $166.30 $222.30 $276.80 $333.20
71+ years $168.10 $220.50 $273.30 $337.20
For one female,
age:
Food costs for one month
Prices from December 2013
(the most recent government figures available)
Thrifty plan Low-cost plan Moderate cost plan Liberal plan
12-13 years $164.90 $201.00 $241.80 $295.80
14-18 years $161.80 $201.50 $243.90 $299.90
19-50 years $162.50 $204.40 $252.80 $322.60
51-70 years $160.30 $199.60 $248.60 $298.30
71+ years $156.60 $198.10 $245.60 $295.60

All of the food costs are adjusted for a four-person family. If you have a smaller or larger family, you can still calculate the overall household food costs for YOUR family by making the following adjustments:

  • For one person, take the appropriate age cost figure amount and add 20 percent.
  • For a two-person family, take the total of the two appropriate age cost figures and add 10 percent.
  • For a three-person family, take the total of the three appropriate age cost figures and add 5 percent.
  • For a four-person family, no adjustment is needed… just add the four appropriate age cost figures.
  • For a five or six-person family, take the total of the five or six appropriate age cost figures and subtract 5 percent.
  • For a seven or more person family, take the total of the seven or more appropriate age cost figures and subtract 10 percent.

Bon Appétit!