I only did this two months ago, but felt like updating my information and seeing how I compare to the "thrifty" plan of the USDA.
First off, let me say that I realize that food costs vary by region and that this is considered an average. I live about 45 minutes west of Washington, D.C. so my costs are not sky high, but not exactly cheap either.
For August 2012, the USDA feels that I would be spending $767.22 if I followed the thrifty plan. I am no where close to that figure! I try to keep my budget at $450 a month and that includes paper, cleaning, and animal products. We also do not live on beans and ramen. Although beans are not bad for you, but people associate them with being "poor."
Now to start working on menu's and other strategies.