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how much to give child per week for food

flowergirl65flowergirl65 29 replies10 threads Junior Member
I have no idea what is reasonable for a child to spend per week. Can anyone help me out and tell me how much you are planning to give your child. None of my kids are planning to be on a meal plan. Last year my youngest was a freshman and I'm pretty sure we paid $6000 for the mandatory meal plan. I know this year they have to pay for toilet paper, cleaning stuff, paper towels, dishwasher tablets etc as well so I was thinking of giving them both a starter amount to buy all of the stuff mentioned above plus stuff such as spices and condiments. After that a weekly amount. They both get $220 per month right now for doing nothing really. They say it seems reasonably in line of what many other kids have. They have become really stingy and I swear they make a schampoo bottle last from August to Thanksgiving when they can get home a reload for free. They have both been working during the summers and have som money themselves. The have both started Roth IRAs as soon as they could. Good kids with good grades.
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Replies to: how much to give child per week for food

  • blossomblossom 10561 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Urban or rural campus? Full service grocery store in walking distance, or just a convenience store? Do they know how to cook or will they live on ramen and take out pizza? They eat a full breakfast or just grab a granola bar and make a cup of coffee?

    Need more details to be helpful.
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  • flowergirl65flowergirl65 29 replies10 threads Junior Member
    One can walk to a grocery store and the other will get rides with her roommates. I don't think they will really cook full meals. Probably buy pasta, sauces and frozen stuff, pizza or frozen chinese food, cereal, fresh berries, bread, cheese and similar stuff. Lots of milk and Nesquick I think. I cannot see either one of them buy fresh salmon and make a dish with potatoes and a sauce that goes with it. Even though they love they love it when it is served at home.
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  • SuperfrogFanSuperfrogFan 76 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @flowergirl65 It really does depend. I agree the biggest cost will probably be startup, getting essential and supplies. Thinking about my eating habits as a student, I'll do some math. I'll assume eating out twice a week at ~$15 per time. For breakfast, eggs or cereal would probably amount to less than $10 per week. Sandwiches or microwaveable meals or snacks for lunch would be ~$15 per week. The biggest variable is probably supper. Would it typically be the same as lunch or will it include a protein like chicken and fresh vegetables? Thinking about meat and produce prices I would say $20 per week for dinner is reasonable.

    In all of these I have been overestimating just to be safe. It sums to $65 per week, but it fluctuates. I think $220 per month is more than adequate. And much cheaper than a $6000 meal plan! :wink:
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25282 replies20 threads Senior Member
    They will spend whatever you give them. You can start out at a lower number (I'd do $100/wk) and use their own money (gasp) if they run low. They could ask for more but I bet they don't. I used to spend about $100/wk for me and two kids and our cabinets and fridge were full of food.
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  • blossomblossom 10561 replies9 threads Senior Member
    In my experience, breakfast is the budget killer. Brewing a cup of coffee (if they drink) or making a smoothie at home, plus a bowl of cereal, toast or whatnot really costs a trivial amount out of the weekly budget. But buying those same items on the run can cost $5-6 per day, and it's a habit that is very hard to break. Once a kid gets used to the fancy latte or the smoothie with the wheatgrass garnish, it is tough to go back to making your own breakfast.

    If you're concerned about budgeting- I'd start there. Nobody wants to prevent their kid from making a healthy salad at dinner (romaine costs more than cheetos) but you don't want them to spending half their food budget for the convenience of "grab and go", especially since it often has other repercussions (too much sodium in most prepared foods, for example.)
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  • doschicosdoschicos 26935 replies270 threads Senior Member
    Here's what I did but I'm sure there are a range of answers and some will consider me too indulgent and others too cheap.

    My kids (youngest graduated from college last year) got $300 per month to budget how they wished. They also got $200 per month additional whether on the college's food plan or not, an allowance I guess. With that money, they covered all their expenses except for academically related books and trips home for the holidays which we paid for separately. Groceries, toiletries, haircuts, paper goods, etc. all came out of that amount. Both usually worked 8-10 hours a week but that was for extras like concerts or savings. One never spent as much as I gave them and racked up savings. One, my more spendy child, used it all.

    At $300 per month for food, it certainly saved me $ over their colleges food plans so win/win from my perspective. Although they certainly could have gotten by on less, I wanted them to be able to buy fresh fruit and veggies, for example and an occasional meal out at a reasonably priced place.
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  • whidbeyite2002whidbeyite2002 340 replies1 threads Member
    My daughter is changing colleges this fall, moving from spendy NYC to less but still spendy Seattle. She will be in an apartment with friends near campus and in charge of her own meals. I plan to give her $400 per month for food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc. My daughter can cook and will likely subsist on Cheerios, milk, and tea for breakfast. I want to leave room for the inevitable take-out. Based on past history, my guess is she will accrue some savings. When the money is in her own checking account, she is less likely to spend it. 😉
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  • SybyllaSybylla 5117 replies61 threads Senior Member
    edited August 5
    I give my kids $200 a month. Localish kid would be supplemented by raiding my cupboards now and then, OOS kid get a costco cash card every now and then to get about an extra $50 a month. All my kids were disgusted with campus food and will cook real food. All live in lower COL areas. I am not interested in subsidizing a fast food diet or take out. The whole point of off campus is to live like an adult and budget and cook. All of them would have to use their own money to eat out. They all have jobs.
    edited August 5
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  • ClassicMom98ClassicMom98 708 replies1 threads Member
    edited August 5
    Older S downloaded the Walmart app with my credentials so it comes off my AmEx. I like it (Amex) because I get a notification every time it’s used. He spent about $75/week most weeks. He eats a lot (6-3 athletic kid) and especially protein based meals.

    Younger S has a card tied to my usaa visa. He is supposed to use that for any purchase that I would reimburse for otherwise. He still usually asks before using it. He’s been instructed to use that for groceries. This will be his first time off campus living on his own

    I also give/gave them $50/month for fun money.
    edited August 5
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 42702 replies2301 threads Super Moderator
    I reimbursed my daughter for grocery store trips. She was always very careful with money and tended to apologize that she'd spent too much! I thought she did fine. Then I would occasionally put an extra $50 in her account so she could go out to eat.
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  • flowergirl65flowergirl65 29 replies10 threads Junior Member
    thanks for all your helpful replies, might do around 75 per week, and more the first week as a start up,
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  • dmvmomx2dmvmomx2 61 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Our kids get about $200-350 per month each for food and expenses. They will be seniors this fall, so they don't need the "starter kit" stuff like spices, etc.

    One thing we did that helped them eat better and eat at home more is buy them each an air fryer. We also got one kid a blender (he likes smoothies) and the other a Keurig. They do help to keep food costs down.
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