You’ve probably heard before that planning meals ahead can save money. But how much? In an eight week trial during beta testing for recipe application SuChef, the total savings came out to $737 in a month for a Washington D.C. area family of seven. Testers were asked to select any recipes they wanted to cook and create a grocery list using the SuChef app over four weeks. Jenn Darby, SuChef app developer and D.C.-area resident decreased her family’s grocery spending over 58% to $528, down from a high of $1265 the previous month.
“I was beyond surprised at the end (of testing)” she says. “We expected some decrease but not by so much so quickly, not by over 50%.”
Darby’s $1,265 monthly grocery bill may seem high, but her grocery spending is mostly average according to the the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA’s 2012 average food costs for her family puts her 4-week spending between the low-cost plan of $927 and a moderate-cost diet of $1357. The two other levels in the USDA plans are thrifty (lowest) and liberal (highest), which total out to $862 and $1,656 over a 4-week period, respectively.
While SuChef is out of beta testing now, Darby says they plan to continue measuring the cost savings of using the app for differently sized families in several major metro areas over the long term. SuChef is available in the App Store today for $.99 for the first 10,000 downloads.