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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Swish on September 09, 2019, 05:01:12 PM

Title: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on September 09, 2019, 05:01:12 PM
I apologize if there is a good thread on this already started but my searching has proved frustrating so far. I have found several great tips on meal planning but I am wondering if there is a good resource someone is using or post I have missed that has a nutritious monthly meal plan on a budget. We have been experimenting with the food budget but find a lot of the best meal plans online are made up of mostly unicorn meat. It seems as soon as you tap nutritious or balanced into the search engine the plans explode in cost. We have averaged a food budget of approx $350/mo (2 adults 3 children) for a few years but last year it has crept upwards of $500/mo for six people (three adults three children with the extra adult I would expect approx $420). This summer we strayed from planning and already had a few months in $650-750 range pulling our ytd avg. up to $578/mo which feels way too high. I know as the kids get bigger they eat more and more so I expected it to go up and would like to try and adjust the budget accordingly. 

So the questions for those of you who meal plan is:

What works for you to provide a low cost meal plan that provides a balanced/nutritious diet?

What is the avg cost per person?

What is a normal % increase per year to apply to food budget as a family ages?


Again if anyone has a great link to an alternative post or resource I do not mind doing my own reading as I do not want to reinvent the wheel.

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: KBCB on September 09, 2019, 05:06:52 PM
Following thread. My spending on food is outrageous!
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Dogastrophe on September 09, 2019, 06:02:39 PM
You are going to get a wide range of answers.  The folks in the US have access to less expensive food than we have in Canada.  Groceries in Halifax are more expensive than in Quebec and Ontario, etc.

We average ~$125/week, 2 adults - this includes all paper towel, TP, dish detergent, etc.  Lot of produce, fruits, eggs, chicken, fish and if on sale, red meat.  We bake muffins and biscuits weekly and I've started making bread (not to save money ... I just really like fresh baked bread).  My wife scours the recipe books, I review and sort into good weekend or weeknight meals depending on time to prepare.  We try to cook enough to have left overs for lunch the next day.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: ender on September 09, 2019, 06:53:02 PM
How old are your children?

My wife and I eat homecooked meals of fresh vegetables/fruit and some meat and are below $400/month consistently.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: APowers on September 09, 2019, 08:51:15 PM
I'm guessing here is a good place to plug my thread (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/have-a-sub-$200month-grocery-budget/msg1795356/#msg1795356)? :P

There's also @acorn 's Ultimate Mustachian Food Guide (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/) which is a really great index for a lot of food-related threads.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Freedomin5 on September 10, 2019, 03:57:12 AM
I've found that www.budgetbytes.com (http://www.budgetbytes.com) consistently offers relatively healthy meals with cost breakdown.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: ctuser1 on September 10, 2019, 05:13:06 AM
Did you mean to ask just about groceries? Or total food budget?

It varies wildly. If you do what folks here call ‘spendypants’, ‘mindless’ spending then >$1000 food budget is very common. Heck even >>$2000 food budget is common if you get a taste of frequently eating out at James beard award winning restaurants.

On the other hand, APowers (who just posted upthread) is a legend around here for posting extremely detailed breakdown how he keeps his food budget <$200/month.

I am a little too embarrassed to post our actual numbers from the old mindless-grocery-spending and frequent-eating-our days.

Last month we spent $300 on groceries, and $65 on eating out (for an occasion, we no longer eat out just because).

Had we kept out food spending to this level (@<400/month), and invested the difference in an sp500 fund since when I started working, then I’d have an extra $650k seating in my brokerage account.

So, you have a choice! I personally find the frugal ways give me more happiness than spendypants ways. My wife is not yet 100% convinced, but she is playing along with me nevertheless. You need to decide what’s the right spending pattern/level for you.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: fell-like-rain on September 10, 2019, 06:01:47 AM
I spend about $100/month for one adult, which includes some minor luxuries (nice ice cream, occasional prepared food from the deli section, etc). If I put some thought into trimming the fat and couponing, etc, I think that would be more like $80.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Stashing Swiss-style on September 10, 2019, 06:52:50 AM
You guys are so lucky!  Food costs in Switzerland are very different.  For my family of 5 (and we don't eat out much and, anyway, that's not included in my average monthly spend) i would consider a good month to be around CHF1800 (90% groceries but also incl cleaning products and basic toiletries).  And I shop at Aldi for the majority of my food.  And that does not include school lunches - CHF8.50 for the school canteen lunch.....

BUT - I used to spend SIGNIFICANTLY more before discovering MMM - CHF600-700 a week was my "norm" for a long time.  Switzerland is just a very HCOL country (but we also earn a lot).
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Rosy on September 10, 2019, 07:02:53 AM
In the gauntlet - challenge thread section @APowers kept a food diary for one year 2018/2019 - goal $200mo

For the two of us in Florida, we waver around $300/350+mo incl sundries like TP, ldry detergent, shampoo, lotion...
I am retired and enjoy cooking, he takes his lunches. We do buy mostly organic and do not scrimp on food.
We have several Aldi's nearby and on the way home from Mr. R's workplace, we use coupons, keep about 1-3 mo worth of food (partially to be prepared for a hurricane and because some of our preferred food and sundry items only go on sale in three-month cycles)

We live in grocery store mecca - Asian, European, Arab food stores. I have a military ID so we make a couple of trips a year to the Base to save about 30% on meat etc, tax-free too. We have fresh markets everywhere incl. a flea market where individuals sell organic produce from their gardens.

If I needed to, we could get by on $200mo but we like our fresh seafood and other indulgences like expensive coffee.

We spent very little on spices since I grow everything from bay leaf to basil and herbs for tea in my all-organic garden. In the fall and in the spring we grow peppers, swiss chard, celery, tomatoes - not enough to make a huge impact but it's nice to be able to make a fresh salad whenever. We have a huge avocado tree and a lime tree, we'll be adding two more fruit trees.

Personally I think that over the past ten years grocery store prices have gone up significantly, at least in our area, in some cases 30%.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Philociraptor on September 10, 2019, 07:10:20 AM
We are probably pretty unmustachian when it comes to groceries, averaging $473/mo for the past 2 years according to Mint. Even so, I can provide our answers to the above questions.

What works for you to provide a low cost meal plan that provides a balanced/nutritious diet?
 - Think in pounds and shop the sales. I need about a pound of cooked meat per day, wife about 12 ounces. We each eat about a pound of vegetables per day. We buy rice and potatoes as needed for carbs. When we go to the store we only buy meat and vegetables that are on sale, and if the sale is really good we'll buy a couple weeks' worth if it can be frozen.

What is the avg cost per person?
 - $237 per adult per month in our house. We are both athletes competing in weightlifting, so we carefully weigh and track our food for every meal. "Groceries" for us includes everything purchased at grocery/warehouse stores (including PT, TP, cleaning supplies, dish pods, the occasional 6-pack, etc.) plus supplements like whey protein and fish oil.

What is a normal % increase per year to apply to food budget as a family ages?
 - Our costs are relatively flat, and have actually been slowly decreasing over the past few years as we optimize.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: FI45RE on September 10, 2019, 07:38:34 AM
In the U.S. here...Our food budget for 2 adults and now two teenagers (was three until oldest went to university last month) is $550 per month, and will continue to drop as kids age out of the house. One thing that really helped us out was ensuring that we weren't wasting food. Incorporate leftovers into subsequent meals if you can. I'd say once we tackled the food waste problem, we were able to lower our weekly budget by at least 25%. We also make a menu and grocery list every Saturday morning with breakfast (family time), and tend to cook M, W, F and have leftovers on T, Th.

This is compared to pre-MMM, where we would easily spend $1000 per month in groceries, so we've cut that roughly in half.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: habaneroNorway on September 10, 2019, 07:55:55 AM
What works for you to provide a low cost meal plan that provides a balanced/nutritious diet?
- cook your own food
- don't waste anything
- learn how to make soups (where leftover veggies go just before they die)
- get a large freezer
- don't eat more than you need
- buy stuff in bulk when it's cheap. Freeze or batch-cook if necessary
- eat less fancy meat / other pricey proteins
- eat according to the seasons
- learn how to use a wide range of spices. They are close to free and can turn almost anything into something tasteful
- learn how to use non-standard cuts of meat
- have ready-made meals in the freezer for when you need something in a hurry

I don't budget, but spend way less than the national average on groceries and we eat very well every day. 

Meal planning and keeping costs down is - in my opinion - not primarily a question of shopping skills or where you shop.

It's about cooking skills.

Having a decent reportoire of varied and tasty stuff to cook, plan meals ahead so you know what to buy, know how to store foodstuffs so they don't go bad.

Know how to use everything you buy (if you roast a whole chicken you don't throw the carcass in the junk. You put it in the freezer, when you have a few you make a big pot of chicken stock. This stock then makes your sauces and soups and riottos and whatever a lot yummier).

You don't buy artisan bread. If you like fancypants bread, you teach yourself how to bake it yourself (it's easy).

You know how much your family eats so you cook the right amount of food. If there are leftovers, its lunch for the next day for yourself of the kid's lunchbox. 


Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: StarBright on September 10, 2019, 08:16:20 AM
We average about $650 a month for two adults, two kids, and two pets.

All of our toiletries, pet food, and food are rolled up into that number, as is some charity. We maintain a little free pantry with some other families so $10-20 of our weekly grocery budget is actually given away.

We menu plan like crazy. Our menu is written on the google calendar every week and I have this info going back several years. If I'm ever out of ideas I just go back to the same week a year or two ago and copy that menu.

If our spending is higher I also have a "cheap week" meal plan that I use. That menu is more carb heavy than I'd like, so I don't repeat it often. But it is a good reminder that we can eat quite cheaply if we really need to.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: mistymoney on September 10, 2019, 08:22:04 AM
My little odyssey was successfully trimming $200 or so off the monthly food budget, and gaining about 5 pounds :P

Trying to balance that out now, but I am putting myself into the "fail" category here.



Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: habaneroNorway on September 10, 2019, 08:35:27 AM
If our spending is higher I also have a "cheap week" meal plan that I use. That menu is more carb heavy than I'd like, so I don't repeat it often. But it is a good reminder that we can eat quite cheaply if we really need to.

You can get your proteins on the cheap as well. Beans, lentils and quinoa, for example. Cooking vegetarian can be dirt cheap and quite yummy as well.

Im a sucker for meat myself, but frankly most people in the western world eat way too much (red) meat for their own good. The actual recommendation is in the range of 350-500g (12-18 oz) per adult per week.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: ontheway2 on September 10, 2019, 08:52:57 AM
Because adults cost more than little kids in regards to food, I reference the USDA food charts. It is not a meal plan to really help you get costs under control, but I try to keep our spending around the thrifty level or slightly above for our family size.  It looks like you are well below the thrifty plan, but it could give you a basis for increase comparisons.
Make sure you read the notes on the bottom to add or subtract a certain percentage based on overall family size

https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/media/file/CostofFoodJul2019.pdf
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: minimustache1985 on September 10, 2019, 09:11:07 AM
I do our grocery shopping, we are on the higher end around here at around $500 a month for a family of three.  Granted that includes sundries (and that category includes diapers for DS), but it also includes plenty of luxury items like high quality ice cream that are certainly not necessities or could be substituted for lower cost items (ie we prefer red peppers but green are cheaper, avocado isn’t a necessary taco/fajita topping but delicious, etc).

I will second budgetbytes, several of her recipes are in my rotation including the oven baked fajitas that my spendy self adds avocado too ;)
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Zikoris on September 10, 2019, 10:14:11 AM
We've historically spent about $230/month here in Vancouver, though this year we're trending a little higher (~$250) because for some reason we developed a taste for a lot of expensive stuff this year, and also have been slacking as far as getting to the right stores for different items. Our groceries includes household stuff and some personal care (toothpaste), but not cat stuff since I order his food and litter online.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: JSMustachian on September 10, 2019, 02:31:24 PM
My family averages $250 a month for 2 adults and a 1 year old child.

Some tips or guidelines we go by:

-Do not buy fruits or vegetables unless they are on sale under $1 a pound.
-Find out when the meat department at the grocery store puts their meat on sale once it gets closer to the expiration date. For us its Saturday mornings. We go early in the morning and buy a months supply at 25% off and put it in the freezer.
-Avoid pre-packaged or processed foods because they are more expensive in general

Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: honeybbq on September 10, 2019, 04:21:52 PM
My family of 3 in a HCOLA... we average at least $600/month; probably more and could be up to $800/month.

I cook every night, we pack leftovers for lunch.
Probably only eat out 1-2 times a month.
We don't eat a lot of meat.
I try to only shop at one grocery store (ie I don't chase sales).
We do enjoy beer and wine every night at dinner and that's included.
We also garden and grow herbs that we enjoy in the summer months.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: jamesbond007 on September 10, 2019, 05:03:11 PM
Me, DW and DD. $300-$350/month. Our restaurant budget is $50/month. My lunch budget for eating at work during the work days is $65/month. Outside of these, we eat all of our meals at home. We have a zero waste policy and no food goes waste ever. DW does grocery shopping and she brought it down to a science. BTW, things like paper towels, dish soap etc are included in the budget. The only thing I must say we "splurge" on are indian savory snacks that they sell at indian grocery stores. we stock them. If I were to cut down those will be the first to go and that would save another $20 or so per month.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: APowers on September 10, 2019, 06:18:24 PM
What works for you to provide a low cost meal plan that provides a balanced/nutritious diet?
- cook your own food
- don't waste anything
- learn how to make soups (where leftover veggies go just before they die)
- get a large freezer
- don't eat more than you need
- buy stuff in bulk when it's cheap. Freeze or batch-cook if necessary
- eat less fancy meat / other pricey proteins
- eat according to the seasons
- learn how to use a wide range of spices. They are close to free and can turn almost anything into something tasteful
- learn how to use non-standard cuts of meat
- have ready-made meals in the freezer for when you need something in a hurry

I don't budget, but spend way less than the national average on groceries and we eat very well every day. 

Meal planning and keeping costs down is - in my opinion - not primarily a question of shopping skills or where you shop.

It's about cooking skills.

Having a decent reportoire of varied and tasty stuff to cook, plan meals ahead so you know what to buy, know how to store foodstuffs so they don't go bad.

Know how to use everything you buy (if you roast a whole chicken you don't throw the carcass in the junk. You put it in the freezer, when you have a few you make a big pot of chicken stock. This stock then makes your sauces and soups and riottos and whatever a lot yummier).

You don't buy artisan bread. If you like fancypants bread, you teach yourself how to bake it yourself (it's easy).

You know how much your family eats so you cook the right amount of food. If there are leftovers, its lunch for the next day for yourself of the kid's lunchbox.

This. All of this.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: norajean on September 10, 2019, 06:25:56 PM
$250 per month per adult is about average.  That's what we spend, a bit more if I include the pets - they gotta eat too, ya know.  It's high but we don't splurge much at the grocery, avoid the inside aisles, etc.  Not willing to go to Aldi's or Costco.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: calimom on September 10, 2019, 08:41:53 PM
Separating pet food, household supplies and the occasional bottle of wine, I *feel* my grocery spend for myself and and 2 teenagers should be below $500 per month. Sigh. It never is. This past month alone, MIL visited for over 3 weeks. Out-of-household eldest dropped by after a camping trip with 2 friends. 17 year old is back at swimming practice and often brings one or two of his food-disappearing-machine pals with him. Several nights my friend and his son dropped by around dinnertime and ended up staying. Food that is meant to last a week ends up for 3 meals. It's a sickness of mine that I feel I need to feed everyone who darkens my doorway a delicious and healthy dinner. August grocery spending was just shy of $800. That doesn't even include the several fresh fruit and vegetable hauls MIL made at the farmers' market.  I know I need to get back to some serious batch cooking but have not yet done so.

Help me, MMM.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on September 10, 2019, 09:01:12 PM
We average about $200/mo for groceries for two adults. It's a little higher than some other people on the forum because we eat meat fairly regularly (though we do limit the meat to poultry/pork for health reasons.) We also eat a lot of really high quality homemade desserts like homemade ice cream, brownies with dutch-process cocoa, chocolate chip cookies, apple cinnamon bread, etc. I have learned a lot about gourmet cooking, so we tend to eat a little fancy most of the time. However, I reduce costs with gardening; That helps, particularly when it comes to herbs for cooking.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Dogastrophe on September 11, 2019, 04:49:02 AM
It's a sickness of mine that I feel I need to feed everyone who darkens my doorway a delicious and healthy dinner.

My Mom had same sickness.  You wouldn't mind sharing your address, would you?  :)
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on September 11, 2019, 06:30:54 AM
Your problem is looking for "healthy" recipes, because yes, that kind of search is going to generally produce something expensive because what's sold as "healthy" is nonsense.

As someone already posted above, Budget Bytes is an amazing resource. Also, cut down on your meat and that's a huge savings.

Rice and beans are virtually free and can be made in thousands of different ways. Vegetables like carrots and cabbage are inexpensive, and canned tomatoes or frozen spinach are not only cheaper but easier.
Eggs are infinitely less expensive than meat and just as filling, and extremely versatile for cooking.

It's also pretty easy to make almost any meal nutritious. If it doesn't have enough protein or vegetables, then add protein or vegetables.

One of my favourite comfort dishes is Mac and Cheese. The cheese sauce is made with milk, flour and Parmesan so a lot of flavour but not a lot of cheese needed. And there's a pound of frozen spinach mixed in. DH adds an egg for more protein.

Basically, every meal is going to have something that makes up the bulk. If the bulk of the meal is meat or expensive produce, then the meal is going to be expensive. If the bulk of the meal is legumes, potatoes, rice, pasta, eggs, or cheap vegetables, then the recipe will be cheap.

Lastly, spices are really the cornerstone of delicious and inexpensive meals. Don't bother with the stupid packets or jars from the grocery store, which are basically expensive flavorless dust. Buy bulk supply spices, replace them annually, and learn how to use them to make any meal into a gourmet experience.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on September 11, 2019, 09:56:40 AM
I'm guessing here is a good place to plug my thread (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/have-a-sub-$200month-grocery-budget/msg1795356/#msg1795356)? :P

There's also @acorn 's Ultimate Mustachian Food Guide (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/) which is a really great index for a lot of food-related threads.

Thanks for the links. That is quite the undertaking.

To answer some other questions/comments kids are 3,5,7. In red below:

What works for you to provide a low cost meal plan that provides a balanced/nutritious diet?
- cook your own food We do this
- don't waste anything Try to do this
- learn how to make soups (where leftover veggies go just before they die) Soup is a staple for us lots of lentils and beans :)
- get a large freezer YUP!
- don't eat more than you need Good advice, I believe we are on track here
- buy stuff in bulk when it's cheap. Freeze or batch-cook if necessary This needs work. The only real bulk buying we do is a cow from a local farmer approx once a year.
- eat less fancy meat / other pricey proteins Tough one to kick but good point to make our meat go further.
- eat according to the seasons other than fruit I don't pay attention to this at all
- learn how to use a wide range of spices. They are close to free and can turn almost anything into something tasteful Indian dishes have really helped us on this front.
- learn how to use non-standard cuts of meat Great point. Our last cow we sold a lot of the steaks to friends and it paid for 1/3 of the cost for 1/10 of the meat
- have ready-made meals in the freezer for when you need something in a hurry This practice died about a year ago. Need to incorporate

I don't budget, but spend way less than the national average on groceries and we eat very well every day. 

Meal planning and keeping costs down is - in my opinion - not primarily a question of shopping skills or where you shop.

It's about cooking skills.

Having a decent reportoire of varied and tasty stuff to cook, plan meals ahead so you know what to buy, know how to store foodstuffs so they don't go bad.

Know how to use everything you buy (if you roast a whole chicken you don't throw the carcass in the junk. You put it in the freezer, when you have a few you make a big pot of chicken stock. This stock then makes your sauces and soups and riottos and whatever a lot yummier).

You don't buy artisan bread. If you like fancypants bread, you teach yourself how to bake it yourself (it's easy).

You know how much your family eats so you cook the right amount of food. If there are leftovers, its lunch for the next day for yourself of the kid's lunchbox.

This. All of this.

Thanks for the resources and tips. From the posts I am seeing it does not appear our current costs are absurd for the size of our family. Will keep working to get it lower per person. It is amazing how quickly the costs spiral out of control once you stop following the plan.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on September 11, 2019, 10:02:56 AM
Separating pet food, household supplies and the occasional bottle of wine, I *feel* my grocery spend for myself and and 2 teenagers should be below $500 per month. Sigh. It never is. This past month alone, MIL visited for over 3 weeks.

I feel your pain on this one. Whenever the inlaws stop in they do help buy groceries but the bill runs through the roof. Typically they come down for 1-2 weeks. They do help out but it never comes close to covering the actual costs. We often scrimp a fair bit on food the weeks before because we know the added cost is coming.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on September 11, 2019, 10:05:48 AM
Lastly, spices are really the cornerstone of delicious and inexpensive meals. Don't bother with the stupid packets or jars from the grocery store, which are basically expensive flavorless dust. Buy bulk supply spices, replace them annually, and learn how to use them to make any meal into a gourmet experience.

Where do you usually buy spices bulk?

We don't have a Cosco so typically it is at one of the loblaws chains. Might be worth making the trip to the town down the road tho. 
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on September 11, 2019, 10:13:07 AM
Lastly, spices are really the cornerstone of delicious and inexpensive meals. Don't bother with the stupid packets or jars from the grocery store, which are basically expensive flavorless dust. Buy bulk supply spices, replace them annually, and learn how to use them to make any meal into a gourmet experience.

Where do you usually buy spices bulk?

We don't have a Cosco so typically it is at one of the loblaws chains. Might be worth making the trip to the town down the road tho.

Ack! Neither.

By "bulk spices" I mean places where you can go and buy however much spice you want from a bulk bin. Hopefully you have something like this near you. Here I get my spices from Bulk Barn and from ethnic grocers.

The cost is a fraction and the flavour is infinitely more robust.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on September 11, 2019, 10:17:26 AM
Lastly, spices are really the cornerstone of delicious and inexpensive meals. Don't bother with the stupid packets or jars from the grocery store, which are basically expensive flavorless dust. Buy bulk supply spices, replace them annually, and learn how to use them to make any meal into a gourmet experience.

Where do you usually buy spices bulk?

We don't have a Cosco so typically it is at one of the loblaws chains. Might be worth making the trip to the town down the road tho.

Ack! Neither.

By "bulk spices" I mean places where you can go and buy however much spice you want from a bulk bin. Hopefully you have something like this near you. Here I get my spices from Bulk Barn and from ethnic grocers.

The cost is a fraction and the flavour is infinitely more robust.

We have a bulk barn! I have never stepped foot in there. I will check it out.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on September 11, 2019, 10:25:24 AM
Lastly, spices are really the cornerstone of delicious and inexpensive meals. Don't bother with the stupid packets or jars from the grocery store, which are basically expensive flavorless dust. Buy bulk supply spices, replace them annually, and learn how to use them to make any meal into a gourmet experience.

Where do you usually buy spices bulk?

We don't have a Cosco so typically it is at one of the loblaws chains. Might be worth making the trip to the town down the road tho.

Ack! Neither.

By "bulk spices" I mean places where you can go and buy however much spice you want from a bulk bin. Hopefully you have something like this near you. Here I get my spices from Bulk Barn and from ethnic grocers.

The cost is a fraction and the flavour is infinitely more robust.

We have a bulk barn! I have never stepped foot in there. I will check it out.

Oh, then yeah, it's going to change your life if you like cooking. I too never had any interest in Bulk Barn because people only ever talked about it for candy and baking.

Then I got into reducing plastic waste and found it was the best source for package-free spices, plus an enormous selection of pasta, rice, beans, lentils, quinoa, millet, nuts, etc, etc.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: SM2 on September 11, 2019, 10:41:54 AM
In my previous life, groceries would be $1200-$1500/month. There would be other stuff in there but it was high. Not as much thought to price matching,etc.

I'm now a single mom of 2 kids. They eat the same amount I do. I have them 50% of the time.

My grocery spend this year (January-August) averaged: $335/month. I have budgeted $350/month.

I now shop sales, do more pasta dishes, price match. Stock up my freezer.

Dining out used to be at least once a week. I am now at: $65/month. UGH...that is still high because we don't really go 'out' much. But seeing that is an additional 20% to my groceries seems CRAZY to me! I had budgeted $50/month but totally figured I would probably be at half that.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: calimom on September 11, 2019, 05:59:39 PM
It's a sickness of mine that I feel I need to feed everyone who darkens my doorway a delicious and healthy dinner.

My Mom had same sickness.  You wouldn't mind sharing your address, would you?  :)

Yes I would mind! :) I already have too many mouths to feed.

And @Malkynn great tips. I do my primary shops at Grocery Outlet and Winco (folks in the western US will know this store) has bulk items including spices. This morning I powered down and made a couscous/feta/cucumber/tomato salad and also a spiced lentil dish. Both can be sides for gifted salmon that can go on the grill. I like the mac and cheese with spinach recipe, will work on that over the weekend along with making a vat of spaghetti sauce that can be frozen in various portion sizes. Autumn is rumored to be arriving so will make more vegetarian chili and different soups and stews that can be stretched to accommodate more people as needed. I'll be seriously working on knocking my food spend down while still keeping my open door policy.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on September 11, 2019, 06:17:01 PM
^yep, I feed literally any human that walks near my doorway, so I understand that habit well. It's a lot easier when your cost per serving is under $1 though.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: calimom on September 11, 2019, 06:28:47 PM
^^ Completely agree. I know of budgetbytes.com and a deeper dive for ideas will be in the near future.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: APowers on September 11, 2019, 06:42:26 PM
Winco is amazing, and I am envious that you have one close to you.

Two of my staple batch-cooking foods are spaghetti sauce (I portion and freeze, so it's an easy dinner on pasta nights) and chili (again, portioned and frozen which makes dinner as easy as throwing together a side dish).

Also, RE buying in bulk-- this doesn't necessarily mean "shopping at Costco", or "buying a whole cow", or even "scooping stuff from a bulk bin". It just means that when a staple food is at a low price, you buy a lot of it (general rule is "enough to last you until the next time it goes on sale"). So when tuna is in the Safeway ad for 49¢/can, I buy 24 cans or more, because that's about what will last me for the six-eight months until it goes on sale again; when ground beef is on sale for $1.99/lb, I buy 10lbs and portion it into the freezer. Then, when I need ground beef, I can use what's on hand, instead of being forced to buy it when it's $3/lb or more. Etc, etc.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: singpolyma on September 11, 2019, 08:40:08 PM
 I expect it will vary a lot by region.  For us in Southern Ontario (Canada) we spend 200 CAD / month (~150 USD / month) for 2 adults, 1 toddler on groceries.  We barely eat out (max 50 CAD / month for all entertainment including eating out) and the grocery amount includes soap, toilet paper, shampoo, etc.  We don't use paper towels or paper napkins or parchment paper or anything like that, which helps a bit.

Some months are a bit higher, when a staple goes on sale especially, we've actually been under this every month all summer and are on track to be way under for this month to help balance out some spendier / bulk purchases in the spring.

I think our spending is a bit high, could be lower, but our current level is fairly sustainable so we don't sweat it much.  Biggest change in recent years was when our cheap bread store closed, so we got a $13 bread machine at thrift store and make 100% of our own bread now rather than pay the highway robbery at the grocery stores.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Knapptyme on September 11, 2019, 09:13:34 PM
2 adults, 2 young kids, 1 infant, 2 50+ lb. dogs

All inclusive of pet food, eating out, toiletries, and groceries, our budget regularly comes in around $550/month. We don't really buy or eat meat, but we enjoy other luxuries. If it was strictly a human food, cook-at-home budget, I think we're below $400/month.

We're not setting a standard by any means, but we spend less on food than we do the mortgage ($650/month P&I only). Yay! I say unless you have no mortgage or you are in some ridiculous HCOL area, using the mortgage as a high water mark for groceries is a justifiable rule of thumb to avoid eating yourself out of house and home.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: MyAlterEgoIsTaller on September 12, 2019, 02:54:47 PM
1 person, 1 80-pound dog, 1 cat

Average monthly groceries expenditures, including pet food and household products:  $170.55.  I've been tracking this for 3 years.

I'm mostly vegetarian except for occasional fish and seafood.  And pepperoni on pizza.  I eat a lot of beans, lentils, split peas, and rice.
Because there's only one human we don't have to satisfy a lot of different picky food preferences, and personality-wise we're all creatures of habit who don't mind pretty much the same things week after week, so we can buy what we like in bulk and not need many new, exotic ingredients that we might end up not liking or using up.
I have a 7-month long winter CSA at a farm 5 miles from home.  It costs $42 per month and supplies most of my beans, onions, potatoes, carrots, eggs, and assorted other stuff for those months.  The other assorted stuff is always a mystery, so it keeps some variety in my eating.
Grocery stores are all far away from me, so I only shop at them once or twice per month.
I made a master list of every food item that I regularly buy, and every single other type of product in my house that needs replenishment ever. I update the list before and after every shopping trip, so I know what I need and never end up with unintentional duplicates.
I plan out my shopping trips, and look for coupons online after I make my list.  I never look for coupons first or change the list to fit available coupons - I always make the shopping list and then see if there are any coupons that happen to fit the list.
I always check out the Land of Misfit Groceries (aka sale rack) at the back of the grocery store - but I only buy any of that stuff if it's real food that I would ordinarily buy or that can substitute for something I ordinarily buy.  No buying junk food just because it's 75% off.
I check the whole receipt before I leave the parking lot.  At least 50% of the time there's some expensive mistake that I get customer service to fix.  This week the cashier rang in beets as avocados.
I don't believe the printed expiration dates for most things.  If it smells and looks ok then it's still food.  I think risks are lessened because of it being mostly vegetarian food.   
I live in a tiny house.  I've noticed that many people keep multiples of things like cleaning products in several places in their house, and multiple bathrooms' worth of shampoo and toilet paper.  I don't have 2 bathrooms and I keep all my cleaning junk in one container and carry it around so I don't need multiples of anything.
I bake breakfast bars on the weekend and eat them all week.
I work in a profession where people want to sell us things and educate us about products, so I can count on someone bringing lunch for my whole office at least a couple times per week. Sometimes free lunch isn't worth listening to them, but sometimes it is.
I cook the rest of my lunches on the weekend, and bring them to work.
There are a lot of things I just don't need so I never buy:  soda (bad for me), paper towels (bad for the world), greeting cards (can be created myself, out of things I have that would otherwise go in the recycling)... Anything that breaks one or more of those rules doesn't get on the list.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: SmileAllDay on September 12, 2019, 03:10:01 PM
Following
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: max924 on September 13, 2019, 06:43:54 AM
We are in Ontario, Canada. 2 adults, 2 kids age 3 and 5. We spend on avg about $125/week. Includes toiletries/dishsoap etc. Our costs are slowly going up since we are trying to reduce plastic usage and I find that that can incur extra cost. Also a fan of bulk barn here for that reason, although certain things can be pricey there.

Something to note about Bulk Barn, not all their stuff comes in 'bulk', they just empty a million small packages of stuff into the bin. I was a little appalled when I was getting coffee beans, the bin was empty so the lady went to the back with me to get more and it was a giant pallet of grocery store size bags of beans... So I found I was paying a premium for nothing in that case (back to grocery store beans for me). This does not apply to most of their products of course but may be worth asking.

Our local discount grocer is No Frills which we love.

We also try to limit meat intake and only purchase meat on clearance (30-50% off). We do all home cooked meals and do stuff like bake bread/buns, make yogourt, other fun things that save some money and the planet!
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Mrsweisass on September 13, 2019, 09:46:49 AM
Separating pet food, household supplies and the occasional bottle of wine, I *feel* my grocery spend for myself and and 2 teenagers should be below $500 per month. Sigh. It never is. This past month alone, MIL visited for over 3 weeks. Out-of-household eldest dropped by after a camping trip with 2 friends. 17 year old is back at swimming practice and often brings one or two of his food-disappearing-machine pals with him. Several nights my friend and his son dropped by around dinnertime and ended up staying. Food that is meant to last a week ends up for 3 meals. It's a sickness of mine that I feel I need to feed everyone who darkens my doorway a delicious and healthy dinner. August grocery spending was just shy of $800. That doesn't even include the several fresh fruit and vegetable hauls MIL made at the farmers' market.  I know I need to get back to some serious batch cooking but have not yet done so.

Help me, MMM.

This is me. Two adults, four kids, and everything is always getting mowed down faster than I expect.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: wenchsenior on September 13, 2019, 10:05:49 AM
Just chiming in as one of the spendiest people on groceries that seems to populate this board b/c I note that the super-frugal people tend to respond to these threads, but there is a subsample of us that can't fathom getting our grocery bills that low LOL. (ETA: I should clarify, I can easily see how hypothetically we could get our bills that low, but not eating the way we like to/need to).

We are two adults, generally eating 2 meals per day. We spend 500-700$ per month on groceries, NOT including substantial $ on pet care products.  It used to be that we spent even MORE on groceries, but I did take steps a few years ago to closely track prices at different stores, track meat sales, etc, and reduce spending somewhat. Also, we used to spend about 150$/month on booze, but I quit drinking a while ago and my husband cut way down, so now that's down to 20-30$/month.

We did cut about 100-150$ out of our average spending by cutting a few 'gourmet' items (Lindt chocolate for dessert every night, buying chicken breasts on sale, and cutting down slightly on salmon).  We could cut it a bit more with a few further changes (particularly making a big run to Target where we hate the experience of shopping, rather than buying regularly at the grocery store half a block from us).  But for the most part, several years of tracking showed me that if we want to eat the meals we like, this is generally speaking just how much it is going to cost (esp since I also have some complex food issues that require somewhat higher spending).

Depressingly, my doctor has just instructed that I should attempt to gain and hold 5-10 lbs of weight (which has been tough for me the past b/c of food restrictions, etc.), and I'm wondering if I'm now going to have to also start forking over the big $ for those meal-shake things...sigh.

Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: v8rx7guy on September 13, 2019, 10:14:23 AM
$600/mo for our family of 4.  Kids are 2 & 4.  This includes TP, Paper Towels, Laundry & dish detergent, all soap.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: SquashingDebt on September 13, 2019, 11:55:27 AM
I'm a single person who eats a lot of local/seasonal/organic food, little meat (but it's from a local farmer when I do), and gets a lot of free vegetables from work in the summer.  One thing that definitely raises my grocery bill is my smoothies I have every morning for breakfast - the frozen fruit and organic protein powder alone cost about $2 per breakfast.  But, my finances are in better shape than my health, so I don't try very hard to keep costs down, especially if it would make it harder to eat healthily.

These are monthly averages from the last 3.5 years:

Grocery store (food only) - $195
CSA & other local food - $79
Restaurants - $135
Alcohol & other fancy drinks - $23
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: moneymamas on September 13, 2019, 12:07:42 PM
I’ve actually done a lot of research on this and what we spend on food per month varies, but what we consume is pretty stable at around $1-2 per day per person (2 adults right now).  Now, we are two women on the shorter side so a huge guy who runs marathons every weekend might be spending more. We buy items on sale when they are at their lowest price (this does vary depending on where you live so a price book can be helpful where you right down sale prices of items you usually consume until you figure out the rock bottom rate).  Meals can be planned around these ingredients. I got the idea from Living on a Dime - they’re on YouTube and have livingonadime.com for more info. So when something is at rock bottom price I buy up as much of it as we can consume before it goes bad. It sounds complicated but once you get the hang of it is super easy once you know your prices.  Just look up the flyers for stores around you and buy as much as you can consume before spoiling of the items that are at low rates according to your price book.  Last month we found whole wheat pasta for $0.35 for a 1 lb box so we bought all we could since pasta really never goes bad.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on September 13, 2019, 01:07:14 PM
We are by no means on the low side for this, but chiming in for comparison. Our grocery budget is $625/month. We typically eat 1-2 meals out/month, in addition to this. We make most meals from scratch, but aren't afraid of convenience food for crazy nights. Convenience food is more expensive than homemade, but a lot less than takeout or restaurant food. When I travel for work, we stock up on convenience food, as my husband picks up my chores as well as his own, leaving minimal time for food prep.

We eat a tremendous amount of fresh produce. We buy our produce at Costco & a local produce stand (run year round). We rarely waste produce.

General tips:
-Try to have zero waste
-Kids pack lunches vs buying (significantly cheaper)
-Snacks are things we make or fruit/veggies. We try to limit prepackaged snacks to 1-2/month.
-We menu plan. This is particularly huge for us, as we have three different eating preferences (one for allergies, one for weight loss, and then two kids playing a ton of sports). The menu plan allows me to see what can be easily combined
-We stock up & keep an eye out for sales. I've gotten better about this in the last year. Although I don't shop at the grocery store near my house often, I do go there occasionally to see if their meat is discounted. I stock up whenever I find this, as I can get ground beef or ground turkey for $.99/lb.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: lutorm on September 15, 2019, 01:50:47 AM
2 adults and a 1.5yo, we're somewhere around $300/week. I need to investigate this because it seems insane. We don't really attempt to be cheap but we also never buy prepared food, always cook, always use leftovers for lunch, don't buy a bunch of expensive organic stuff, only have a few beers on weekends, etc. I seriously don't understand how anyone could survive on $200/month, but maybe that's because I've gone blind to how cheap food is on the mainland compared to Hawaii?
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Kyle Schuant on September 15, 2019, 03:56:02 AM
We spend $120-$140pw or $500 a month for two adults and a boy 8 and girl 3. It varies mainly by the cost of the ingredients, many things vary quite a lot, like zucchini is anything from $2 to $6 a kg.

Breakfast is eggs or tuna for my wife, oats for me, and weetbix for the kids. Everyone has 2+ pieces of fruit a day, and most of us have yoghurt each day.

I do dinner menus, using the Australian Dietary Guidelines to guide me. Currently it's,

Monday - beef chilli
Tuesday - pumpkin soup
Wednesday - chicken curry
Thursday - vegie/lentil soup
Friday - roast, rotating through chicken, lamb, beef and lasagna
Saturday - typically leftovers from one of the other nights, otherwise bolognese, or tuna pasta
Sunday - I work all day and my wife's home then, so it's her choice and tends to be either pizza or stirfried rice

On some of the soup days my wife and sometimes I will have fish, too or instead. I make extra dinner and that's lunch for my wife at her office, or for my son at school. My daughter has either some dinner leftovers, or more commonly bread and butter, some fruit and milk for lunch.

We drink wine, but usually it's just a glass each on Friday night.

Once or twice a week we'll have dinner guests, especially on Fridays.

I buy things in bulk - like rice - so that's part of the variation, eg buying a big tin of olive oil every 2-3 months. The weekly shopping looks something like this,


Vegetables, 8kg
Fruit, 7kg
Beef mince 1kg, [/size]chicken for roasting 2kg, white fish or salmon 1kgPasta/rice/bread, 5kgMilk 6lt, yoghurt 3kg, cheese 1kgfrom the supermarket we get the grains, but also things like tinned tomatoes, kidney beans and lentils, and these boost up the vegetable and (for the legumes) "meat" serves, too. For both health and frugality, if 80% of your spending is at the greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers, you're probably alright. For frugality, use the dry goods shop too, and buy in bulk. And of course, for frugality and to save all those stupid arguments about what to have for dinner, you have a menu. "But I don't want chilli tonight.""Great! What are you making instead?""... I guess I'll have chilli."Arguments about what to eat are stupid, depressing and annoying, and lead to ordering pizza and other unhealthy unfrugal choices.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on September 16, 2019, 10:44:12 AM
And of course, for frugality and to save all those stupid arguments about what to have for dinner, you have a menu. "But I don't want chilli tonight.""Great! What are you making instead?""... I guess I'll have chilli."Arguments about what to eat are stupid, depressing and annoying, and lead to ordering pizza and other unhealthy unfrugal choices.

This is an interesting point. I remember as a child my parents regularly had this argument and we either ate out 2-3+ times a week or ordered in pretty regularly. I actually remember being excited about the argument breaking out cause it meant take out. I had no comprehension of the cost at the time. Now for us it is a eat what is served or go hungry and we rarely eat out. I think with my parents they both worked at high stress jobs and by the time they got off work neither had energy to tackle meals. I doubt they ever considered this cost when comparing against other lower stress/pay careers.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: oldladystache on September 16, 2019, 12:50:06 PM
About a year ago I decided I have enough to afford whatever I want. I still hate waste so I'm still looking for bargains.

My past 3 months groceries average $190 and my restaurant and fast food averaged $120. So a total of $310 a month.  Over $10 a day.

That's all just for me. Not including dogfood or other supplies.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Cassie on September 16, 2019, 01:50:38 PM
2 adults and we spend 400/month. We don't include eating out in this budget. All our paper products and cleaning supplies are included but not pet food. We do shop at Winco which really helps. 
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: icemodeled on September 21, 2019, 07:26:07 PM
We spend $200-250 a month on groceries, 2 adults. We have a little one on the way, so this will change in time I’m sure. We eat home cooked meals - fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt. Mostly chicken and fish for proteins. Shop at Aldis(majority) and Walmart for anything Aldis doesn’t have. We rarely ever buy frozen food(except frozen fruit or veggies). Use to always buy frozen dinners and meals, this was when we first married but started caring about health and budget more as time went on. We also don’t buy much prepackaged foods either. We try our best to plan meals around sales or buy in bulk when a great sale is going(we have a deep freezer). We have stayed at this budget now for years.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: mspym on September 21, 2019, 08:42:34 PM
Two adults, two part-time teen boys and we average $200-250AUD a week. I think once the boys leave home, we'll be ~$100-125 a week. We eat really well and it's 95% made from scratch and there is always enough for guests/leftovers for work lunches, which is important to me. I love being able to pull together a healthy delicious snack platter out of what we have in the house for visitors.  I normally plan out 4-5 dinners a week because the rest will come from leftovers.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: givemesunshine on September 22, 2019, 04:18:10 AM
I'm tracking all my food at the moment in an effort to lose some weight. Interesting to see fellow Aussie costs - I'm a single adult eating 5 Veg and 2 Fruit per day with protein focussed meals (lower carbs but by no means not 'no carb').

I'm spending ~$100-120 per week (including shampoo, toilet roll etc.). I could reduce costs if I bulked my meals out with cheap carbs (rice, pasta etc.) which I plan to do once I am at a stable weight and not in calorie deficit.

In case anyone is interested, I am using the CSIRO Total Wellbeing diet, have found it super easy and have lost 20kg in 17 weeks. A few more to go but happy so far!
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: The Fake Cheap on September 22, 2019, 09:23:42 AM
We spend about $700 for 2 adults and 1 child (6) here in the Maritimes where groceries are a bit more expensive.  This also includes most toiletries and cleaning products.

I admit this is not on the cheap side, however my wife does most of the grocery shopping, and she doesn't really pay much attention to what she is paying for things, or what I we already have on hand in our stock up shelf.  However that being said, we don't really buy a lot of fancy foods, yes, there are some one offs now and then, so we could maybe reduce this by about $100/mth or so.


Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: catccc on September 22, 2019, 10:30:46 PM
2 adults and 2 kids, one of which eats like an adult, IMO.  We spend $425/month on groceries.  That includes TP and such, but it doesn't include dining out, which at $200+/mo is high for most mustachians.  We eat mostly vegetarian and I don't mind paying more for locally grown produce.  (Today I paid $3.50/lb for plums, for instance.  They are worth it to me...)

Checking out budget bytes, it looks like a great resource!
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on December 13, 2019, 10:57:39 PM
What do you all budget for December with big Christmas meal and extra relatives around?
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 13, 2019, 11:06:24 PM
There are a whole lot of things that people buy ready made that are very easy to make. Perhaps you could start there?

Hummus - simple, cheap and freezes well, can also be made in a range of flavours
Yoghurt - simple, cheap, easy, one batch will last a week and you can use a bit of it to make the next
No Knead Bread - as above and freezes
Cakes, cookies, scones etc - as above and freezes

Other stuff - sour cream, cottage cheese, pesto (make in season and freeze), muesli (designer muesli is sooooo expensive and sooooo easy to make), spice mixes, cake mixes, porridge (why do people buy the sachets when they can use a damn scoop???), pasta bakes from scratch etc, sauces like mayo, tomato etc etc

Now all of those things are a lot easier to make if you have everything required, and not just ingredients. Why not make a list of things your family eat regularly and see what can be easily replaced with something homemade? You don't have to do everything all at once.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on December 14, 2019, 06:08:17 AM
What do you all budget for December with big Christmas meal and extra relatives around?

We don't host anyone, we live in a small apartment.
I do bring a lot of dishes to dinners though, but since each dish costs only $6-15 for 8+ servings, it costs me maybe an extra $25-50 for the entire season depending on how many events I go to.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Cassie on December 14, 2019, 10:20:58 AM
I just make sure it fits within my normal grocery budget. We always have food in the pantry and freezer so cut back on stocking up.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: habaneroNorway on December 14, 2019, 10:33:54 AM
We are not hosting for christmas dinner this year, but we are having family over for lunch the next day. We will be 6 adults + 4 young kids so its basically lunch for 6 people plus some pocket change. I will serve yummy bread I have baked myself, some smoked salmon, scrambled eggs with truffle oil, leftover pork belly from the day before, some home-made patê, a mustard sauce I make myself, some home-cured pork and we'll throw in some other stuff we have in the fridge or the freezer. It will barely be noticable in the month's grocery spending.

For new year's eve we are escaping into the forest. Hired a small cabin for about 100 bucks for the night and not having to go to some party where everyone pretends having a good time is a massive bonus. I don't mind socializing but I can't stand new year's eve for some reason. If the cabin thing is a success it might become a yearly routine. The regular cabin we use in the mountains is occupied + I'm working until around lunch time on dec 31st so can't travel too far away. Now it's a 30 minute drive and an hour-ish hiking with kids, more like 30 minutes hiking if I did it alone.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: pegleglolita on December 14, 2019, 12:37:01 PM
I've found that www.budgetbytes.com (http://www.budgetbytes.com) consistently offers relatively healthy meals with cost breakdown.
  Wow, thanks for posting this!  I just went there and it is awesome!
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: APowers on December 14, 2019, 12:51:03 PM
What do you all budget for December with big Christmas meal and extra relatives around?

We don't host anyone, we live in a small apartment.
I do bring a lot of dishes to dinners though, but since each dish costs only $6-15 for 8+ servings, it costs me maybe an extra $25-50 for the entire season depending on how many events I go to.

I keep pretty religious track of my food expenditures, and even with making a special dinner and/or hosting family/friends, I don't usually run over-budget. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Grocery store sales are usually pretty fantastic in the holiday run-up, and there are almost always efficiencies of scale in cooking large amounts of food.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: OtherJen on December 14, 2019, 12:58:12 PM
We aren’t hosting a party this month, but I do a lot of baking for holiday parties. I expect to spend maybe $40 extra on butter, eggs, almond paste, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, flour, and sugar. Oh, and $10 for a small bottle of dark rum for the fruitcake (the remainder can go in eggnog). So maybe $50 extra.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on December 17, 2019, 08:21:24 AM
What do you all budget for December with big Christmas meal and extra relatives around?

We don't host anyone, we live in a small apartment.
I do bring a lot of dishes to dinners though, but since each dish costs only $6-15 for 8+ servings, it costs me maybe an extra $25-50 for the entire season depending on how many events I go to.

We are visiting relatives this year and usually every family kicks in $100-150 and then part of my soul dies. I know there are 20 people but it seems absurd that the whole group spends that much for 3 days of food (no booze). I prefer hosting TBH as then we get the money and have more control over the spending :).
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Arbitrage on December 17, 2019, 09:58:39 AM
Total food budget is $625/month for a family of four.  Restaurant budget is $50/month, but probably could be trimmed as we're not averaging that much.  However, this doesn't include DW's not infrequent lunches out at work, which comes out of her discretionary money (average $75-100/month currently).

The grocery budget does include money spent on school lunches (usually once/week) and special foods/drinks we have to buy to keep my son's weight up ($100/month).

Before I resolved to tackle our food costs about a year ago (largely by taking over the grocery shopping and cooking duties, and putting a full stop on weeknight takeout), we were spending about $950/month on groceries, $250/month on restaurants, plus $200/month on DW's lunches out - she was inspired somewhat to cut back on those.

$750/month all in, down from 1400/month.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Runrooster on December 27, 2019, 06:32:05 PM
I know this thread is a little old, and I don't have a lot to offer, but I think we spend $400/month/3 adults.  I only do the produce shopping, and this is estimates of the rest but could be off.  We have a cheap produce store near us, though it seems to have gone up in price lately.  I went shopping today and had a bit of sticker shock and bought less than I should.  I have frozen fruit to use up first anyway.  And actually the $400 estimate predates my getting about 8 lunches at work plus leftovers (usually salad), but that probably only drops cost $30/month.

Often when these discussions come up, I see figures touted about how dropping food budget would result in hundreds of thousands over 10 years (or something).  I just can't see doing that, maybe because our budget is already low.  APowers and the $200/month budget is great, but he does seem to get great produce deals but also tends to eat the trinity of bananas, apples, oranges.  I think it's "worth it" to get strawberries, cherries, mangoes, guavas... on sale of course.

I guess my point is that there is no "normal" spending.  I probably eat $170/month, while my senior citizen, mostly-vegetarian parents eat $100/month each.  We do not eat out, except eating at friends' houses where we usually take a dish to share but no other cost.  Just eating at home cuts cost so much that it's not a big deal to include the occasional luxuries like coconut water, boost protein drinks, nuts, cheese, chocolate, individual yogurts (instead of the tub).  I mostly eat chicken, but every month or so will get salmon, crab, trout.  Actually the fish smell bothers my Mom or I might eat it more often.  I often see sales on fish, so I wouldn't tell someone to "eat like I do" to lower their food costs.  Eat fish every day if you can afford it, it's good for you.

ETA: I told my Dad about the APowers gauntlet, and he had two responses:
1. He said food is such a small proportion of our spending, that APowers must be on a very low income to worry about it that degree.  I did read the entire 20-page thread and I wouldn't characterize it as that - I think he has better access to cheap produce, while we are in a HCOL area.
2.  He said that APowers probably eats more meat, which can be cheaper (think bone-in chicken, pork) than vegetables.  Vegetables need a higher quantity to make a filling meal.  I would agree that APowers eats less veg - splitting a cucumber 4 ways as the dinner veg where for us it's part of a side salad with tomato  - where we eat veg with lunch and dinner.

In any case, cutting our food budget in half would save $2400/yr, or $30,000/ten years, not hundreds of thousands. Not Worth It. I can't even imagine what ctuser1 used to spend on food that would have saved $650K over some number of years.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: APowers on December 29, 2019, 07:16:06 PM
I know this thread is a little old, and I don't have a lot to offer, but I think we spend $400/month/3 adults.  I only do the produce shopping, and this is estimates of the rest but could be off.  We have a cheap produce store near us, though it seems to have gone up in price lately.  I went shopping today and had a bit of sticker shock and bought less than I should.  I have frozen fruit to use up first anyway.  And actually the $400 estimate predates my getting about 8 lunches at work plus leftovers (usually salad), but that probably only drops cost $30/month.

Often when these discussions come up, I see figures touted about how dropping food budget would result in hundreds of thousands over 10 years (or something).  I just can't see doing that, maybe because our budget is already low.  APowers and the $200/month budget is great, but he does seem to get great produce deals but also tends to eat the trinity of bananas, apples, oranges.  I think it's "worth it" to get strawberries, cherries, mangoes, guavas... on sale of course.

I guess my point is that there is no "normal" spending.  I probably eat $170/month, while my senior citizen, mostly-vegetarian parents eat $100/month each.  We do not eat out, except eating at friends' houses where we usually take a dish to share but no other cost.  Just eating at home cuts cost so much that it's not a big deal to include the occasional luxuries like coconut water, boost protein drinks, nuts, cheese, chocolate, individual yogurts (instead of the tub).  I mostly eat chicken, but every month or so will get salmon, crab, trout.  Actually the fish smell bothers my Mom or I might eat it more often.  I often see sales on fish, so I wouldn't tell someone to "eat like I do" to lower their food costs.  Eat fish every day if you can afford it, it's good for you.

ETA: I told my Dad about the APowers gauntlet, and he had two responses:
1. He said food is such a small proportion of our spending, that APowers must be on a very low income to worry about it that degree.  I did read the entire 20-page thread and I wouldn't characterize it as that - I think he has better access to cheap produce, while we are in a HCOL area.
2.  He said that APowers probably eats more meat, which can be cheaper (think bone-in chicken, pork) than vegetables.  Vegetables need a higher quantity to make a filling meal.  I would agree that APowers eats less veg - splitting a cucumber 4 ways as the dinner veg where for us it's part of a side salad with tomato  - where we eat veg with lunch and dinner.

In any case, cutting our food budget in half would save $2400/yr, or $30,000/ten years, not hundreds of thousands. Not Worth It. I can't even imagine what ctuser1 used to spend on food that would have saved $650K over some number of years.

Very interesting to hear your Dad's response to my thread, thanks for posting!

1. *I* wouldn't say I'm on a very low income, but ~$30k/year is very low for a majority of people, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I don't really come at it from a "must save money because scarcity" perspective, though; I see it more as an efficient use of the resources I have, so that I can dedicate a greater portion of them toward achieving the goals I have for myself.

2. I don't know how much meat you eat, but I don't feel like we eat a lot. As for veg-- we likely eat more starchy vegetables (beans/onions/rice/flour/lentils/oatmeal) and less green vegetables (salad/tomatoes/cucumbers/peppers/etc.).
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: frugal_c on December 30, 2019, 06:56:23 AM
Op, you are doing great on grocery spend.  You should give us advice if anything.

In all seriousness, I am not a big fan of crunching this category. Yes, buy bulk, buy sales, use Costco but I am not willing to significantly change what I eat.  The main thing is to avoid eating out.

We actually increased our grocery spend when we got serious about saving.  I started out with a really tight grocery spend but found myself eating out 3+ times a week as I didn't enjoy eating what I was cooking. So by bumping up the grocery spend I was able to drop eating out to once a week.

I also feel that comparing budgets is inspiring but not really meaningful for many, not for us at least, as food prices vary so much.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Runrooster on December 30, 2019, 04:02:50 PM
APowers,

I didn't mean to imply that you ate a lot of meat, just that 3 oz (uncooked) meat can be as filling as 8 oz(uncooked weight) "green" veg.  We do eat a lot of rice/flour/beans/lentils/potatos, but also buy every week: squash, cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, carrot.  We add in more pricy veg depending on the season - often I can get cheap peppers and avocado (.50 each), asparagus okra (usually $2/lb). Basically everything runs in the $1/lb category (I've never weighed a cauliflower though).  Since meat also runs $1/lb, but fills for less, it's cheaper.

FWIW, my Dad grew up in a country where food was 50% of the budget, so either 5% for us now or 8% for you is small potatoes.  I estimated our produce costs at $120/month, so that would only leave $80/month for other supplies.  We buy a lot of snacks (I don't eat them), expensive milk for Mom, sundry luxuries - it would be very difficult to get down to $200/month.  So I do think you must be in a LCOL area.  Here, minimum wage is $13 (due to go up to $15), so 30K would not go far.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on December 30, 2019, 04:51:17 PM
APowers,

I didn't mean to imply that you ate a lot of meat, just that 3 oz (uncooked) meat can be as filling as 8 oz(uncooked weight) "green" veg.  We do eat a lot of rice/flour/beans/lentils/potatos, but also buy every week: squash, cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, carrot.  We add in more pricy veg depending on the season - often I can get cheap peppers and avocado (.50 each), asparagus okra (usually $2/lb). Basically everything runs in the $1/lb category (I've never weighed a cauliflower though).  Since meat also runs $1/lb, but fills for less, it's cheaper.

FWIW, my Dad grew up in a country where food was 50% of the budget, so either 5% for us now or 8% for you is small potatoes.  I estimated our produce costs at $120/month, so that would only leave $80/month for other supplies.  We buy a lot of snacks (I don't eat them), expensive milk for Mom, sundry luxuries - it would be very difficult to get down to $200/month.  So I do think you must be in a LCOL area.  Here, minimum wage is $13 (due to go up to $15), so 30K would not go far.

I live somewhere where groceries are quite expensive and DH and I still have our grocery spending down near the $200 range.

Yes, avocados are expensive, but carrots and cabbage aren't, so it's not fair to say that buying produce will drive up the cost of food, it depends on what produce you are using.

It's fine if you want to shop the way you shop, but in no way does that prove that it can't be done.

I never even set out to have an incredibly low grocery spend, it was just so incredibly easy once I switched to eating a lot of legumes.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Runrooster on December 30, 2019, 05:40:41 PM
Thanks for the opposing view, Malkynn.  I'd read 20 pages of your year in food spending and meals, too. 

As far as your specific suggestions, legumes bother my Mom (but the two of us eat them daily) and she has some phobia about worms in cabbage, I forget the exact story.  I don't think cabbage is that cheap here as squash anyway, and that's only one veg.  Carrots are a starch, though I was just munching on some baby carrots for a snack, and we do add grated carrots to "green" veg/ lentils for color.

Realistically, whether our food budget could be lower, it doesn't matter enough to make it so.  To the contrary, I often read the "reduce spending on food" threads for inspiration on what people *won't* cut, what am I missing out on?  We certainly have our luxury goods, a lot of them for Mom who is having a lot of mouth, throat, and digestion issues.  If it were up to me, there would be no Cheetos or other junk food - I bring home enough from work.  Coconut water, fancy milk, boost drinks ($1/each) might add $100/month right there.

Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on December 30, 2019, 05:48:36 PM
Thanks for the opposing view, Malkynn.  I'd read 20 pages of your year in food spending and meals, too. 

As far as your specific suggestions, legumes bother my Mom (but the two of us eat them daily) and she has some phobia about worms in cabbage, I forget the exact story.  I don't think cabbage is that cheap here as squash anyway, and that's only one veg.  Carrots are a starch, though I was just munching on some baby carrots for a snack, and we do add grated carrots to "green" veg/ lentils for color.

Realistically, whether our food budget could be lower, it doesn't matter enough to make it so.  To the contrary, I often read the "reduce spending on food" threads for inspiration on what people *won't* cut, what am I missing out on?  We certainly have our luxury goods, a lot of them for Mom who is having a lot of mouth, throat, and digestion issues.  If it were up to me, there would be no Cheetos or other junk food - I bring home enough from work.  Coconut water, fancy milk, boost drinks ($1/each) might add $100/month right there.

You are entitled to shop however you want to shop.
I am the last person to judge anyone on what they think is best for their personal needs.

However, I have zero patience for people trying to claim that extremely low grocery spending is somehow impossible or must consist of shit eating that can't support health. That's simply nonsense.

I weighed in because you indicated that AP must live in a LCOL area in order to be able to spend so little, but I live in a fairly HCOL area and manage to spend similarly.

You can absolutely cut grocery costs if that's your priority. If it isn't, that's your business.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Runrooster on December 30, 2019, 06:30:11 PM
I don't think $100/person/month is the same as $50/person/month (APowers is 4 people on $200/month).
I did read APowers posts on his spending and eating habits to base my reaction that I cannot get the same food prices here.  I live in a higher COL.  It's not a guess or a wild assumption based on one number.
I didn't say it's impossible or unhealthy to eat cheaply in a HCOL; I myself did so many times as a starving student.  But I did eat a less luxurious lifestyle than I choose to go back to. If you eat so cheaply without a sense of deprivation, fabulous.  If that involves 3 dinners a week on cabbage and carrots, well let's just say to each their own.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on December 30, 2019, 06:41:02 PM
I don't think $100/person/month is the same as $50/person/month (APowers is 4 people on $200/month).
I did read APowers posts on his spending and eating habits to base my reaction that I cannot get the same food prices here.  I live in a higher COL.  It's not a guess or a wild assumption based on one number.
I didn't say it's impossible or unhealthy to eat cheaply in a HCOL; I myself did so many times as a starving student.  But I did eat a less luxurious lifestyle than I choose to go back to. If you eat so cheaply without a sense of deprivation, fabulous.  If that involves 3 dinners a week on cabbage and carrots, well let's just say to each their own.

Lol, fair enough. I forget just how low AP's spending is sometimes. $50/person would take me some serious effort.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Nangirl17 on December 31, 2019, 03:51:32 PM
I feel like we're an outlier here - we spend $1000-1100 CAD/month on groceries.

TL;DR: I think we're being fairly frugal, but my husband eats A LOT

We cook at home almost all the time, and I dislike buying premade food (I love cooking from scratch, and don't enjoy going to restaurants). We look for loss leaders (unless I haven't had time to meal plan, in which case I default to one of 5 weekly menu plans), and load up our pantry when things go on sale. When we married, my DH had 73 boxes of Shreddies in the basement - they were only $2 a box, and at that time he ate about a box a day! Alas, they haven't been that cheap again in 12 years!

One of the reasons that we spend so much is that my husband is a bottomless pit. He can easily down 5 homemade hamburgers (not teeny fast food burgers) plus sides like a pile of vegetables and salads. A dozen muffins will be gone in 10 min. He can eat an unlimited amount of pasta. Whenever we go to a restaurant (like for an extended-family birthday), unless it's an "all you can eat" establishment, he will 'pre-eat' a meal before we go. He keeps a bucket of oatmeal at his desk to make a bowl when he gets peckish at work, but at home, he usually eats cold cereal between meals (Shreddies/Miniwheats) and can eat 1/2 a box daily, easy. Thankfully, he'll pressure cook black beans or chick peas and make his own bean dip and hummus (which he typically eats 2-3 cups at a time!). The man is a machine.

I fear for when my 7yo son gets to be a teenager.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: firestarter2018 on December 31, 2019, 05:38:56 PM
I love these threads, both on r/personalfinance and here, because I find it interesting to see all the variation in spending depending on diet, location, etc.  I'll chime in with mine: Our monthly grocery-only spending (not including toiletries, household items, or alcohol) is about $650 or $150/week, for 2 adults and 2 children. We live on the West Coast and don't have any Aldi's here (I wish), but do have a large regional chain called Winco that has an excellent, cheap and diverse bulk bin selection. I know that if we had more time we could definitely cut this down by buying in bulk more frequently for things like rice and flour (I bake a lot), and shopping at ethnic stores, but it's not in the cards for our busy household at the moment.  When I FIRE I plan to make optimizing our grocery spending one of my "hobbies" (along with canning/preserving/baking all our own bread). Our farmer's markets are excellent quality but are generally more expensive than the same products at the grocery store, so no savings there.

This is also an area where spending money in ways that reflect your values comes into play. We buy organic milk for the preschooler, organic/free range meat for us (not exclusively but we try to do it as much as possible, and in fact bought into a meat CSA for the past year), and really good small batch coffee (because hey, life is short and good coffee makes our days a little brighter).  I wouldn't buy $.99/lb chicken breasts because I've read up on how those chickens are treated and don't wish to partake in that particular supply chain, but I would never judge someone else on a tight budget for doing so.

I will say that $650 is about the amount of a Thrifty family-of-4 plan from USDA, and it's also the amount of food stamps a poor family of 4 receives (<$25Kish income). I think their rubric is $5/per person/per day.  So we're actually doing pretty well from that perspective -- not spending too much compared to the average American household, but could definitely do better compared to the average Mustachian household.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on January 27, 2020, 03:49:07 PM
Op, you are doing great on grocery spend.  You should give us advice if anything.

In all seriousness, I am not a big fan of crunching this category. Yes, buy bulk, buy sales, use Costco but I am not willing to significantly change what I eat.  The main thing is to avoid eating out.

We actually increased our grocery spend when we got serious about saving.  I started out with a really tight grocery spend but found myself eating out 3+ times a week as I didn't enjoy eating what I was cooking. So by bumping up the grocery spend I was able to drop eating out to once a week.

I also feel that comparing budgets is inspiring but not really meaningful for many, not for us at least, as food prices vary so much.

Thanks, this always felt like a category that is a struggle for us. We try certain things to trim it down. Groceries is our second largest spending category on the budget right now so it feels like there is the most room here for improvement. I find it helpful listening to what other people are trying to compare to what has been working/not working for us. Savings here have added up over time. I would love to scrape out an extra $150-200/mo but had felt we had run out of ideas. Basically this started because we were trying to find an extra $1000/mo in our budget. We increased some income and the rest came out of the cost side. It is interesting to see the cost variation across regions but makes an apples to apples comparison of budgets more difficult. One of the biggest challenges was shifting our diet to better accommodate our budget goals.

Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on January 27, 2020, 03:51:13 PM
How much % each year to most of you expect cost of food to increase by?
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: APowers on January 27, 2020, 06:28:01 PM
How much % each year to most of you expect cost of food to increase by?

In general, I don't. I figure that most of the time, I'll find a similarly nutritious substitute and switch to that rather than pay a higher price for a current staple.

In more specific, I've noticed cheese, potatoes, and oatmeal costs rise noticeably over the last year or two. However, beef prices have fallen a tiny bit, and avocados are geographically cheaper here (CO) than previously in WA.  Cheese, we simply didn't use enough of it to be a material difference, it is an accessory/flavour and not a staple (though I certainly wouldn't mind more cheese in my life, lol!); potatoes, we switched to rice or wheat or beans; oatmeal, I have had to absorb the cost, but again, as a portion of our total food cost, oatmeal (at $.79/lb vs $.50/lb previously) constitutes such a small portion of actual cost that it hasn't been a noticeable overall difference. Beef isn't a huge cost difference, but maybe cancels out the oatmeal? Avocados simply end up being added in to the overall fruit spend (so a couple fewer apples or oranges, replaced by a couple more avocados), so no real net difference.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: ReadyOrNot on January 28, 2020, 04:12:26 AM
Great thread.  We spend $1,200 per month mostly eating out, and it's not going to continue when we FIRE.  I will make it a hobby to optimize groceries / eating once we FIRE.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on January 28, 2020, 05:03:44 AM
Great thread.  We spend $1,200 per month mostly eating out, and it's not going to continue when we FIRE.  I will make it a hobby to optimize groceries / eating once we FIRE.

Why are you waiting until you FIRE?

You don't even need to put much effort in to save a fortune and probably eat much much healthier.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Aunt Petunia on January 28, 2020, 05:26:08 AM
I tracked all receipts for 2019, here is my breakdown. This is for 2 adults and 2 kids, all omnivores. DH weighs 350lbs and powerlifts. I am an average- sized woman.

Year/month
Food:4296/358 (includes protein powder)
Alcohol: 1164/97 (we are working on reducing this)
Household:794/66 (TP, shampoo, cleaning products, etc)
Baby:448/37 (2 y/o in diapers and 4 y/o still wears a pull up at night)
Pets: 125/10 (this one might not be accurate)
Energy drinks 360/30 (mainly in the first half of the year, husband cut back a lot, I don't drink them)
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on January 28, 2020, 07:31:49 AM

In general, I don't. I figure that most of the time, I'll find a similarly nutritious substitute and switch to that rather than pay a higher price for a current staple.

In more specific, I've noticed cheese, potatoes, and oatmeal costs rise noticeably over the last year or two. However, beef prices have fallen a tiny bit, and avocados are geographically cheaper here (CO) than previously in WA.  Cheese, we simply didn't use enough of it to be a material difference, it is an accessory/flavour and not a staple (though I certainly wouldn't mind more cheese in my life, lol!);

We adapted like this at first. We cut out basically all cereal in place of oatmeal. At first the kids hated it in the beginning but now after a couple years without it every now and then my mom will buy a box of fruit loops or something like that because she feels bad for my depraved kids and they usually do not finish it before she buys them another because they choose to have porridge almost everyday and love it.

On the price changes that is interesting those items are costing you more in your area. We have seen the opposite. Cheese used to cost $14 / kg and now is $9 but regularly on sale for $7.50 so we stock up and freeze it. Potatoes are up a fair bit but sweet potatoes have been cheaper this year which is weird so we have learned a few dishes with those. Oatmeal is about $1.50 per kg which I believe is ~$ .55-60/lb with the exchange rate/unit conversion.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: nburns on January 28, 2020, 01:36:27 PM
My girlfriend and I spent $380/month for groceries on average for 2019. Trying to lower that to around $300/month.  We always shop for sales and tend to buy in bulk.  Eliminating waste is key.  We live in a MCOL area.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: ReadyOrNot on January 28, 2020, 01:55:23 PM
Great thread.  We spend $1,200 per month mostly eating out, and it's not going to continue when we FIRE.  I will make it a hobby to optimize groceries / eating once we FIRE.

Why are you waiting until you FIRE?

You don't even need to put much effort in to save a fortune and probably eat much much healthier.
I'm too busy keeping the mouse wheel going to earn a paycheck to focus on this.  See my case study where I go into more detail on my situation.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Malkynn on January 29, 2020, 06:35:02 AM
Great thread.  We spend $1,200 per month mostly eating out, and it's not going to continue when we FIRE.  I will make it a hobby to optimize groceries / eating once we FIRE.

Why are you waiting until you FIRE?

You don't even need to put much effort in to save a fortune and probably eat much much healthier.
I'm too busy keeping the mouse wheel going to earn a paycheck to focus on this.  See my case study where I go into more detail on my situation.

K. You do you.

I personally found when I was over working myself into a fine paste, I didn't have enough time or energy to go out to eat.

Well all choose our trade offs.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: ctuser1 on January 29, 2020, 07:51:05 AM
I can't even imagine what ctuser1 used to spend on food that would have saved $650K over some number of years.

We used to spend > $1500/mo on eating out + > $1000 groceries!

Compare that to $400/mo I reported above, i.e. $2100/month in savings.
If you put $2100/mo in a brokerage and earn 8%/month - you cross $650k in less than 15 years.

Note:
Since my first post on this thread, I have a few more months of data points. It seems our optimal food spending is around $600/month. $400 does not seem to be sustainable long term because we spend a lot on restaurant meals when we are out on travel maybe 3X/year. $2k for 3 trips + 5k for the rest is the target wifey and I seem to have settled on right now. This is working for about 6 months now, so I'm hoping it sticks.

Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Nangirl17 on February 06, 2020, 03:59:16 PM
K. You do you.

I personally found when I was over working myself into a fine paste, I didn't have enough time or energy to go out to eat.

Well all choose our trade offs.

I too find it energy consuming to go out to eat!

It is WAY easier to pull out fish and chips from the freezer and throw some frozen veg in the microwave than to:
1) decide where to go
2) pack up (esp in winter, which may involve shoveling)
3) drive somewhere
4) park
5) perhaps wait at the entrance
6) talk to stranger to be seated
7) talk to stranger to hear specials/order drinks
8) decide what to eat
9) talk to stranger to order
10) wait. ...........
11) start eating
12) talk to stranger re: "how is your food?" (extra stress points if there is a concern)
13) finish eating
14) talk to stranger re: dessert/bill
15) pay too much money for something I probably could have cooked at home (exception AYCE sushi)
16) drive home
17) collapse from 2 hour process that could have taken 45 min at home for less $, and WAY less social energy.


You may have gathered from this post that I'm somewhat introverted, and socialising takes a certain amount of effort for me.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Aunt Petunia on February 06, 2020, 08:17:29 PM
K. You do you.

I personally found when I was over working myself into a fine paste, I didn't have enough time or energy to go out to eat.

Well all choose our trade offs.

I too find it energy consuming to go out to eat!

It is WAY easier to pull out fish and chips from the freezer and throw some frozen veg in the microwave than to:
1) decide where to go
2) pack up (esp in winter, which may involve shoveling)
3) drive somewhere
4) park
5) perhaps wait at the entrance
6) talk to stranger to be seated
7) talk to stranger to hear specials/order drinks
8) decide what to eat
9) talk to stranger to order
10) wait. ...........
11) start eating
12) talk to stranger re: "how is your food?" (extra stress points if there is a concern)
13) finish eating
14) talk to stranger re: dessert/bill
15) pay too much money for something I probably could have cooked at home (exception AYCE sushi)
16) drive home
17) collapse from 2 hour process that could have taken 45 min at home for less $, and WAY less social energy.


You may have gathered from this post that I'm somewhat introverted, and socialising takes a certain amount of effort for me.
Me too. And my husband takes forever to decide. And I have small children. Much easier to cook at home. I have always been even more intimidated by coffee shops and cafeterias than sit down restaurants.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: soccerluvof4 on February 07, 2020, 02:35:56 AM
2 Adults, 2 HS Boys at Home . Just raised our Budget this year from 700$ a month to 800$ a month but have so far beat the new budget. Our Budget includes everything from Food to Toilet paper. I suspect more times than not will beat the budget as we did when it was 700$ but having moved into a new home Dec. 6th I wanted to inflate the numbers a little bit in each category till I figured how much are expenses were going to go up Moving as we did to a bit HCOL area within our same area..
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Luz on February 11, 2020, 08:16:24 PM
With 2 adults it hovered around $150/week including household products (LCOL area). Now there's a toddler and I'm pregnant (and ravenous from chasing the toddler all day) and we spend $170 not including household products ($65/month).

I'd love for it to be cheaper, but I see it as investment in our health. I buy organic/grass-fed/wild-caught as possible. It feels quite luxurious having been raised in a Hamburger Helper home.
Title: Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
Post by: Swish on March 09, 2020, 11:47:32 AM
You may have gathered from this post that I'm somewhat introverted, and socialising takes a certain amount of effort for me.

Not to mention the day and a half to replenish spent energy :) my DW is very introverted and finds the whole ordeal exhausting which is amusing to me as an extrovert I find going out refreshing. I look forward to it and she dreads it. I have definitely tapped into that energy to try and diffuse my own impulsiveness.