Author Topic: Normal monthly spending on Groceries  (Read 9403 times)

lutorm

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #50 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?

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #51 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.

Swish

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #52 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.

oldladystache

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #53 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.

Cassie

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #54 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. 

icemodeled

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #55 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.

mspym

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #56 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.

givemesunshine

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #57 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!

The Fake Cheap

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #58 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.



catccc

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #59 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!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 10:33:41 PM by catccc »

Swish

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #60 on: December 13, 2019, 10:57:39 PM »
What do you all budget for December with big Christmas meal and extra relatives around?

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #61 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.

Malkynn

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #62 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.

Cassie

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #63 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.

habaneroNorway

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #64 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.

pegleglolita

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2019, 12:37:01 PM »
I've found that www.budgetbytes.com consistently offers relatively healthy meals with cost breakdown.
  Wow, thanks for posting this!  I just went there and it is awesome!

APowers

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #66 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.

OtherJen

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #67 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.

Swish

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #68 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 :).

Arbitrage

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #69 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.

Runrooster

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #70 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.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 12:55:44 PM by Runrooster »

APowers

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #71 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.).

frugal_c

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #72 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.

Runrooster

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #73 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.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 04:09:43 PM by Runrooster »

Malkynn

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #74 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.

Runrooster

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #75 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.


Malkynn

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #76 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.

Runrooster

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #77 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.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 06:35:15 PM by Runrooster »

Malkynn

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #78 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.

Nangirl17

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #79 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.

firestarter2018

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #80 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.

Swish

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #81 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.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 03:51:41 PM by Swish »

Swish

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #82 on: January 27, 2020, 03:51:13 PM »
How much % each year to most of you expect cost of food to increase by?

APowers

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #83 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.

ReadyOrNot

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #84 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.

Malkynn

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #85 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.

Aunt Petunia

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #86 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)

Swish

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #87 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.

nburns

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #88 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.

ReadyOrNot

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #89 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.

Malkynn

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #90 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.

ctuser1

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #91 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.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 07:57:02 AM by ctuser1 »

Nangirl17

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #92 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.

Aunt Petunia

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #93 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.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #94 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..

Luz

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #95 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.

Swish

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Re: Normal monthly spending on Groceries
« Reply #96 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.