Click on the graphic above to view it full size.
I know a lot of homeschoolers work very hard to keep a tight reign on their budgets, so I though this might be an interesting topic to examine. My husband and I are currently coordinators for a Financial Peace University class, so we've been reexamining our budget a lot over the last few weeks. We've especially been wondering how our food budget compares with other families—and whether we are spending more or less than 'average'.
To that end, I created a survey today and 150 families responded. With the information I gathered, I calculated what the average amount per person each family spent on food. I also took into account that some families need to purchase specialty foods, like dairy free, gluten free, organic, etc. Those differences are indicated in the infographic below.
Since our own family doesn't go out to eat much at all, I also tried to figure out an easy way to compare the budgets of families who regularly eat out with our own, taking into account that eating out is obviously much more expensive than eating at home. To do that, I just took 1/3 the amount spent on eating out and applied that to the basic grocery budget and in so doing I got an adjusted expenditure per person that would be more realistic to compare to my own family.
I also realize that feeding a 3 year old isn't as expensive as feeding a 10-, 15-, or 35-year-old, so I counted any child under 5 as only 6/10 the cost of a person 5 or over. As a note, this wasn't just a stab in the dark; I looked at the USDA figures for average family food expenditures and they suggest that children under five cost about 40% less to feed than those older than 5. This isn't exact, obviously, but again, I'm hoping to make it easier to compare expenses from family to family.
While there was a very, very wide range of monthly food expenditures per person among all the respondents to the survey ($30 for some families and up to $300 for others) I did discover through this survey that our family spends somewhat less than the average on our groceries. We aren't going to fret as much now that we're overspending on our food.
I also want to say that if you look at the graphic and think, "Oh my, we spend so much more than that!" don't fret! Remember that the numbers are only averages, and there was a very wide range of costs per person in the survey. So if you spend more or less, that's perfectly fine! This is just a fun exploration of family averages.