The cost of food

I’ve started keeping track of the price of my groceries.  In particular, I’m interested in cost per serving.  I’ve set up an Excel spreadsheet, with these column headings: Food, Quantity, Price, Date of Purchase, Serving Size, Servings per Container, and Price per Serving.  Off to the right, I’ve calculated a couple of meal costs.

The most expensive item by far, per serving, is organic lettuce at $2.50/serving.  The next most expensive are grape tomatoes, at $1.55/serving.  That makes a salad $4.05/serving, not counting the cost of salad dressing or any other ingredients I might use.  A large salad is only $4.25 in our cafeteria at work.  If my lettuce experiment doesn’t work, I might as well get salads in the cafeteria when I want one.

On the other hand, the cost of my breakfast on Saturday was only $1.99 – for toast with butter and jam, two scrambled eggs, milk, orange juice, and yogurt.  You’d never do that well in a restaurant.

After produce, the most expensive items for the most part are dairy products.  Yogurt is $0.50 to $0.55 depending on the sale.  Milk is $0.22/serving and parmesan cheese is $0.23/serving.  Orange juice is $0.38/serving.  Eggs, on the other hand, are only 12 cents each.  Quite the bargain!  The cheapest food per serving, so far, is popcorn, at $0.07/serving.

This is interesting so far.  I wouldn’t have been able to guess any of these.

Chicken legs and quarters were on sale this week, at $0.59/pound.  They had them packaged in largish amounts, about 5 pounds per package.  I got 4.75 pounds for $2.82, which works out to $0.56/one cup serving.  I baked them all over the weekend, ate one serving, froze two, and kept two out for lunches this week.  Today I’m taking chicken and salad for lunch, so even with an expensive salad, my lunch will come in at about $5.00.  That’s pretty good – if I added a serving of chicken to a large salad in the cafeteria at work, it would be much more than $5.00 total.  If I took other vegetables instead of a salad, the total cost would be a lot cheaper.

It’s definitely worth it to eat at home for breakfast and take your lunch to work.  It saves significant money, and over time that really adds up.

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