USDA Thrifty Food Plan: Version 2013

Image By: ladyheart at
Image By: ladyheart at

I have been meaning to do an updated USDA Thrifty Food Plan post for a couple years now, but never got around to it. This morning I decided it was time. The thrifty had only gone up $2.00 since 2009, when I originally wrote USDA Thrifty Food Plan.

For myself, the numbers read like this back then:

           Thrifty Plan   Low-Cost Plan  Moderate-Cost Plan  Liberal Plan 

Me             35.50                44.70                          54.90                            70.40

Again for myself, the numbers read like this as of the last update on the site (November 2013):

            Thrifty Plan   Low-Cost Plan  Moderate-Cost Plan  Liberal Plan

Me            37.50                47.20                            58.30                            74.50

Where am I on here? Well, on weeks when I have little money I come in at between $20.00 and $30.00. There is nothing much healthy purchased when I need to stretch my food dollars.

On the other hand, during weeks when I cut out processed foods and choose a few organic products, I spend around $60.00.

However if I were to purchase all organic, grass-fed, etc., for ultimate nutrition, I would have to spend well over $74.50.

I simply cannot afford to do this. Ever.

Actually, at least a couple months during the winter I only have around $20.00 a week to spend on food. This is when hours are cut at work during the off-season. I simply do not make enough to eat healthy at those times.

I do the best I can.

  • I try to purchase what non perishable foods I do uses on sale with coupons, buying extra while I can get them at lower prices.
  • I buy a few things at the dollar store when I go, using coupons if I have them.
  • I try to save buy visiting farmer’s markets toward the end of their day, because sometimes you can get things at bargain prices.
  • I do not use coupons if I can get a store or other brand cheaper.
  • I am not brand loyal.
  • I will order online if I can really get something cheaper, and have no problem buying in bulk when I can get these deals.
  • I do not eat many processed foods. Most of the items I buy that are storable are applesauce (no sugar/other sweetener), coconut milk, almond milk, dried fruit, herbs and spices. Most of the other things I purchase are fresh produce and meats.
  • Sometimes, if there is a good sale and I have coupons, I will buy canned meats.
  • I buy from the discount carts when I know I can use something.

How about you? What do you do to save money on food?



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