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Weekly/Monthly Budgets for large groups

Caterers charge $10-$40 per meal, hardly practical for daily cooking. In 2001, top college food plans charge about $12 a day, while the daily budget for cafeteria style meals for enlisted military troops is $6.50 per day or about $195 per person per month. There is a supplemental increase of 15% for groups smaller than 100, and additional special increases of 25% for holidays or special circumstances such as inadequate cooking facilities, even 2% for condiments. On the low end, the maximum foodstamp budget per person is $96. The foodstamp amount is legislatively based on a Department of Agriculture plan called the thrifty plan, which the Department states should be used for no more than three months because it is not nutritionally adequate as a maintenance diet. Hmm, I wonder how the elderly, ill or handicapped food stamp recipients and hungry teens who need more money for a different diet are supposed to manage?

You can reduce your costs to a "Food Stamp" level, if you are willing to cut waste, cook in quantity and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. You may have heard that you have to spend time to save mony, but even working people can eat better, cheaper meals. Skillful planning improves the average spending about 20%, by reducing waste and using seasonal bargains. Changing menus to healthier choices helps, with less meat, less sugar and more vegetables. A vegetarian menu can reduce costs below an omnivorous menu, but long term planning should include necessary nutritional supplements and top quality nutritional planning.

Food budget covers food, not paper supplies, storage and sevice items, lightbulbs, batteries, etc, which often make up a fourth of domestic "grocery shopping".