Author Topic: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.  (Read 9711 times)

SwedishMoustache

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I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« on: March 05, 2017, 11:33:08 AM »
Hey everyone.

Swede here.

What exactly does "swede" mean, when it comes to things like groceries? Well, the following.

* Meat is a shitload more expensive than in the U S of A.
* Meat QUALITY is a lot higher than over there (unless you go for the really high-quality stuff. But i'm talking the bottom of the shelf here - even that quality is pretty damn good compared to yours).
* Really good vegetables and fruit quality due to EU regulations. What you call "organic", is pretty much "standard" in scandinavia.
* No HFCS! I've tried HFCS products, and words cannot express how happy i am we do not have this (yet).
* Milk here actually tastes good - and is cheap.
* Alot of Diary products - and cheap ,good ones.


So. My grocery bill for February was a whopping 81.43$. Now granted, i'm a single man. And i weigh every item of groceries that i buy. I haven't eaten candy in probably...3 months. I haven't had soda in 6 months or so, and snack food for me is a 2 lbs bag of salted peanuts (which lasts me a month or so). I also never eat out (though my company owner treats us now and then)

What do i do, that i can recommend to others?

Here are some recommendations.

  • Bake your own bread - Bread is just water, yeast, salt and flour. Stores charging 2-3$ for a loaf that costs maybe 10 cents to make yourself is insane! It takes me maybe 10 minutes to prepare dough for 2 loaves.
  • Slow cooker vegetable stews - these are amazing. And healthy. And tasty. And you can actually have them for days, and they are going to taste even better!
  • Cut crap like Soda, Candy, crackers, chips and other stuff. it's bad for you, you feel as though you've slogged down on a McDonalds meal once you're done, and it's just garbage!
  • Drink water. Lots of it :).
  • Lunch? Homemade bread with some butter and/or cheese, and a shake consisting of 2 apples, 1 banana, li'l bit of OJ, some ginger, pepper and some greens. Yum.
  • Get to know potatoes, beets, celery, carrots, leeks, parsnips, avocado and different types of onions and some shallots. These are amazing things that'll change your life if you don't use them frequently already!
  • Chicken is amazing, healthy and tender meat. Use it.

For march, i'm aiming for below 60$ - and i believe it to be achievable due to some in-store bonus coupons i've recently recieved which WILL knock a minimum of 20$ off this month!

As a note of self-criticism, i probably COULD let go a little bit here and splurge on different sorts of meat more than i do today. However, the facial expressions of people when i tell them that i live on under 100$ of groceries a month is pretty darn priceless.

Peace out!

belgiandude

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2017, 11:43:18 AM »
We used to be around 100 euro per month for two persons while living in Belgium. Lots of veggies, meat once in a while, etc.
Now that we live in the states, the same life-style/quality cost easily around $150 / month (veggies are extremely expensive here; we buy mostly in Aldi).

SwedishMoustache

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2017, 11:58:10 AM »
We used to be around 100 euro per month for two persons while living in Belgium. Lots of veggies, meat once in a while, etc.
Now that we live in the states, the same life-style/quality cost easily around $150 / month (veggies are extremely expensive here; we buy mostly in Aldi).

Amazing as well! Yeah, i'm convinced if adding a bit more vegetables to the diet, one could stretch it to 2 people under 100$ - though i think i'd be hard-pressed making that work (i eat a lot). But damn good job nonetheless!


yeah, i learned that from the ex. She was amazed at a few things

* How awesome milk and water tasted here
* How cheap and good our veggies were
* how expensive the meat was
* How good coke tasted :p

To give an example for non-euro-people or people who haven't lived in EU before.

During certain weeks, 4 lbs of potatoes can cost as little as 90 cents. (usually around 1.40$). Carrots, 2 lbs for 80-90 cents. And so forth. vegetables are extremely cheap - and good here :).
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 12:00:10 PM by SwedishMoustache »

Polaria

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 02:44:54 PM »
We used to be around 100 euro per month for two persons while living in Belgium. Lots of veggies, meat once in a while, etc.

Wow that's a very low grocery budget! Please could you explain in more details your shopping strategies while you were in Belgium?

I came back in Belgium last August after spending 4 years in the UK and I find groceries and especially toiletries to be quite expensive in Belgium compared to the UK.

An example for toiletries:  Nivea brand roll-on deo is regularly sold at £1 in the UK, while its usual price is around £3 (after conversion of € into £) in Belgium. Needless to say I stocked on them before coming back in Belgium...

Shiernian

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 03:10:23 PM »
Hey everyone.

Swede here.

What exactly does "swede" mean, when it comes to things like groceries? Well, the following.

* Meat is a shitload more expensive than in the U S of A.
* Meat QUALITY is a lot higher than over there (unless you go for the really high-quality stuff. But i'm talking the bottom of the shelf here - even that quality is pretty damn good compared to yours).
* Really good vegetables and fruit quality due to EU regulations. What you call "organic", is pretty much "standard" in scandinavia.
* No HFCS! I've tried HFCS products, and words cannot express how happy i am we do not have this (yet).
* Milk here actually tastes good - and is cheap.
* Alot of Diary products - and cheap ,good ones.


So. My grocery bill for February was a whopping 81.43$. Now granted, i'm a single man. And i weigh every item of groceries that i buy. I haven't eaten candy in probably...3 months. I haven't had soda in 6 months or so, and snack food for me is a 2 lbs bag of salted peanuts (which lasts me a month or so). I also never eat out (though my company owner treats us now and then)

What do i do, that i can recommend to others?

Here are some recommendations.

  • Bake your own bread - Bread is just water, yeast, salt and flour. Stores charging 2-3$ for a loaf that costs maybe 10 cents to make yourself is insane! It takes me maybe 10 minutes to prepare dough for 2 loaves.
  • Slow cooker vegetable stews - these are amazing. And healthy. And tasty. And you can actually have them for days, and they are going to taste even better!
  • Cut crap like Soda, Candy, crackers, chips and other stuff. it's bad for you, you feel as though you've slogged down on a McDonalds meal once you're done, and it's just garbage!
  • Drink water. Lots of it :).
  • Lunch? Homemade bread with some butter and/or cheese, and a shake consisting of 2 apples, 1 banana, li'l bit of OJ, some ginger, pepper and some greens. Yum.
  • Get to know potatoes, beets, celery, carrots, leeks, parsnips, avocado and different types of onions and some shallots. These are amazing things that'll change your life if you don't use them frequently already!
  • Chicken is amazing, healthy and tender meat. Use it.

For march, i'm aiming for below 60$ - and i believe it to be achievable due to some in-store bonus coupons i've recently recieved which WILL knock a minimum of 20$ off this month!

As a note of self-criticism, i probably COULD let go a little bit here and splurge on different sorts of meat more than i do today. However, the facial expressions of people when i tell them that i live on under 100$ of groceries a month is pretty darn priceless.

Peace out!

You're awesome!!

runewell

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 04:50:58 PM »
Bake your own bread - Bread is just water, yeast, salt and flour. Stores charging 2-3$ for a loaf that costs maybe 10 cents to make yourself is insane! It takes me maybe 10 minutes to prepare dough for 2 loaves.

http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2010/08/wednesday-baking-does-homemade-bread-save-money/

This person thinks the raw materials are closer to 50 cents, and that was over six years ago.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 04:53:38 PM by runewell »
Please leave Dicey out of this! Have you not been paying any attention? Trolls are not welcome here!

bobechs

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 05:26:43 PM »
Hey everyone.

Swede here.

What exactly does "swede" mean, when it comes to things like groceries? Well, the following.

* Meat is a shitload more expensive than in the U S of A.
* Meat QUALITY is a lot higher than over there (unless you go for the really high-quality stuff. But i'm talking the bottom of the shelf here - even that quality is pretty damn good compared to yours).
* Really good vegetables and fruit quality due to EU regulations. What you call "organic", is pretty much "standard" in scandinavia.
* No HFCS! I've tried HFCS products, and words cannot express how happy i am we do not have this (yet).
* Milk here actually tastes good - and is cheap.
* Alot of Diary products - and cheap ,good ones.


So. My grocery bill for February was a whopping 81.43$. Now granted, i'm a single man. And i weigh every item of groceries that i buy. I haven't eaten candy in probably...3 months. I haven't had soda in 6 months or so, and snack food for me is a 2 lbs bag of salted peanuts (which lasts me a month or so). I also never eat out (though my company owner treats us now and then)

What do i do, that i can recommend to others?

Here are some recommendations.

  • Bake your own bread - Bread is just water, yeast, salt and flour. Stores charging 2-3$ for a loaf that costs maybe 10 cents to make yourself is insane! It takes me maybe 10 minutes to prepare dough for 2 loaves.
  • Slow cooker vegetable stews - these are amazing. And healthy. And tasty. And you can actually have them for days, and they are going to taste even better!
  • Cut crap like Soda, Candy, crackers, chips and other stuff. it's bad for you, you feel as though you've slogged down on a McDonalds meal once you're done, and it's just garbage!
  • Drink water. Lots of it :).
  • Lunch? Homemade bread with some butter and/or cheese, and a shake consisting of 2 apples, 1 banana, li'l bit of OJ, some ginger, pepper and some greens. Yum.
  • Get to know potatoes, beets, celery, carrots, leeks, parsnips, avocado and different types of onions and some shallots. These are amazing things that'll change your life if you don't use them frequently already!
  • Chicken is amazing, healthy and tender meat. Use it.

For march, i'm aiming for below 60$ - and i believe it to be achievable due to some in-store bonus coupons i've recently recieved which WILL knock a minimum of 20$ off this month!

As a note of self-criticism, i probably COULD let go a little bit here and splurge on different sorts of meat more than i do today. However, the facial expressions of people when i tell them that i live on under 100$ of groceries a month is pretty darn priceless.

Peace out!

You're awesome!!

And smug!!  Very, very smug!!

Let's look at some numbers regarding this claim.  $100/ mo splits to $3.33/day for the (minority of)  short months in the year. 

For a person of 166 lbs and normal activity level, a weight-maintaining diet encompasses ~2000 cal./day from all caloric sources.  On a budget limited to $3.33 to purchase`that caloric goal, what is available in the market?

Acknowleging that no two people face exactly the same prices when they go to buy food, lots of people have taken it to share what common foods cost themselves on a per-calorie basis.  See, e.g.: https://www.quora.com/What-food-has-the-lowest-cost-per-calorie 

One of the Quora posters extrapolated raw food prices to a daily diet of 3000 cal.  or a "cutting" [i.e. reducing?] diet of 2000 cal. as follows:

"So, I put the lot into lpsolve to optimize the price with 3000kcal and 160g of protein, here's the solution:

    2.45535180 dollars: rice 8.46154 servings pinto beans 19.2308 servings

For a cutting diet with 2000kcal and 160g of protein, the optimal solution is even simpler:

    2.26813186 dollars pinto beans 22.8571 servings

EDIT: Building on the 3000kcal/160g protein example:

If you want a bit more variety, limiting the amount of servings of any one particular food to max 4 servings gives the following for 3.00 dollars:

    Rice 4 servings Angel Hair Pasta 4 servings Breadcrumbs 4 servings Pinto Beans 4 servings chicken 0.725883 servings Canola oil 48.5103 ml

EDIT2: and to get your recommended 5 servings of fruit or veg a day, you need 4.51 dollars:
(emphasis added)
    rice 3.68834 servings pasta 4 servings breadcrumbs 4 servings pinto beans 4 servings bananas 4 servings chicken 0.690878 servings green grapes 1 serving
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/1m3s3t/i_calculated_the_calorie"

Conclusion:  a Mexican prison-like diet of beans, rice and vegetable oil can come in under three and a half dollars a day.  Any fruits and vegetables at all are going to drive you well above that for a still seriously monotonous diet of the cheapest staples you can get your hands on.

That's about what I see when I go to the store, too.

I'm calling shenanigans on this $100/mo. 'luxury' diet.

$60?? fuggedaboutit...  unless you are thinking macaroni& lard every day.


havregryn

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2017, 05:40:26 PM »
I think it is possible to go insanely low on groceries in Sweden if you specifically base your diet on whatever it is your local supermarket is using as their loss leader in a given week. Like, every week they will be selling something for 5-10 SEK (a dollar is 8 SEK I think now?)  that would normally cost 2-3 times that. On top of that they will usually sell stuff that is about to expire for 50% off regular price. I suspect something like this is behind this figure.
Also, fresh bread is ridiculously expensive in Sweden so baking it definitely pays off even if you use the fanciest ingredients, let alone if you just mix dry yeast with flour and bake that.

I'd be more interested in hearing how such numbers can be attained in Belgium, given that my main source of groceries nowadays is a Belgian chain (Delhaize) :D.
On average groceries seem to be a lot cheaper here than in Sweden but they don't have any such spectacular special offers so we end up spending more. After all the trimming I could imagine we are down to 500ish € a month feeding three adults and a 3 year old. It also includes diapers for two kids and laundry detergent so I don't think it's particularly bad.  It also includes alcohol which would be a separate budget item in Sweden as you can't buy it at a regular store.

PMG

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 08:25:23 PM »
I'm in the states so prices are much different but I have averaged around $100 a month for the past several years.

I've never been in prison in Mexico so I can't speak to that diet directly.

I do eat a fair amount of beans, I eat mostly vegetarian. I eat fresh fruit and vegetables. I don't drink soda. I buy little to no processed food. I eat a lot of nuts and grains and a small amount of dairy.

Editing to add:  I am a medium sized person with a moderate to active lifestyle.  Not currently tracking daily calories.

I have just in the past six months found storebrand coupons, increasing my buying power by 10-20 a month.

I don't consider it a luxury diet, but there isn't much I would change. 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 08:36:12 PM by PMG »

Polaria

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 12:11:11 AM »
I'd be more interested in hearing how such numbers can be attained in Belgium, given that my main source of groceries nowadays is a Belgian chain (Delhaize) :D.
On average groceries seem to be a lot cheaper here than in Sweden but they don't have any such spectacular special offers so we end up spending more. After all the trimming I could imagine we are down to 500ish € a month feeding three adults and a 3 year old. It also includes diapers for two kids and laundry detergent so I don't think it's particularly bad.  It also includes alcohol which would be a separate budget item in Sweden as you can't buy it at a regular store.

You can try Lidl and Aldi; there is also Colruyt, they're between a discounter and a regular supermarket. Colruyt is the only chain in Belgium to have a price promise (to my knowledge)  i.e. their prices should be the lowest in the area.

FWIW there are two Colruyt in Luxemburg but I don't know how they compare with their Belgian counterparts.

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 01:16:34 AM »
Hey everyone.

Swede here.

What exactly does "swede" mean, when it comes to things like groceries? Well, the following.

* Meat is a shitload more expensive than in the U S of A.
* Meat QUALITY is a lot higher than over there (unless you go for the really high-quality stuff. But i'm talking the bottom of the shelf here - even that quality is pretty damn good compared to yours).
* Really good vegetables and fruit quality due to EU regulations. What you call "organic", is pretty much "standard" in scandinavia.
* No HFCS! I've tried HFCS products, and words cannot express how happy i am we do not have this (yet).
* Milk here actually tastes good - and is cheap.
* Alot of Diary products - and cheap ,good ones.


So. My grocery bill for February was a whopping 81.43$. Now granted, i'm a single man. And i weigh every item of groceries that i buy. I haven't eaten candy in probably...3 months. I haven't had soda in 6 months or so, and snack food for me is a 2 lbs bag of salted peanuts (which lasts me a month or so). I also never eat out (though my company owner treats us now and then)

What do i do, that i can recommend to others?

Here are some recommendations.

  • Bake your own bread - Bread is just water, yeast, salt and flour. Stores charging 2-3$ for a loaf that costs maybe 10 cents to make yourself is insane! It takes me maybe 10 minutes to prepare dough for 2 loaves.
  • Slow cooker vegetable stews - these are amazing. And healthy. And tasty. And you can actually have them for days, and they are going to taste even better!
  • Cut crap like Soda, Candy, crackers, chips and other stuff. it's bad for you, you feel as though you've slogged down on a McDonalds meal once you're done, and it's just garbage!
  • Drink water. Lots of it :).
  • Lunch? Homemade bread with some butter and/or cheese, and a shake consisting of 2 apples, 1 banana, li'l bit of OJ, some ginger, pepper and some greens. Yum.
  • Get to know potatoes, beets, celery, carrots, leeks, parsnips, avocado and different types of onions and some shallots. These are amazing things that'll change your life if you don't use them frequently already!
  • Chicken is amazing, healthy and tender meat. Use it.

For march, i'm aiming for below 60$ - and i believe it to be achievable due to some in-store bonus coupons i've recently recieved which WILL knock a minimum of 20$ off this month!

As a note of self-criticism, i probably COULD let go a little bit here and splurge on different sorts of meat more than i do today. However, the facial expressions of people when i tell them that i live on under 100$ of groceries a month is pretty darn priceless.

Peace out!

Well done.

Here a Dutch person living in Norway. We shop in Sweden whenever we drive through it. Meat is much cheaper there. Sausages used to be much better quality in the sense of having a higher meat content. Luckily Norway is finally following after, also offering sausages containing 80-95% meat, instead of the earlier 30%.

In Norway we have an organization working for consumer's rights and they often complain that Swedish grocery shops have so much more choice than the Norwegian shops. Like more types of cheese and meat. When we are in Sweden we often shop for the stuff that we can't buy here in Norway, like e.g. lakrispulver, cantarell fond etc.

About the bread baking. It is really cheap to buy a second hand, good quality bread baking machine. But we have the impression that whole wheat flour is not really cheap. Can you really make a high fiber bread for well under 20 NOK/SEK? And can you use the normal bags of flour from the supermarked? I have been looking into buying big sacks from a miller. But this is then organic wheat and not quite cheap.

This weekend I made my own yoghurt. Yes, milk is a bit cheaper than yoghurt, but it doesn't seem to pay off big time, also because I am not a big yoghurt eater.

Chicken is not really healthy, it contains lots of bacteria. But if well heated, it is safe to eat. And it is meat with a low environmental impact, compared to beef. Here i Norway they now sell chicken thighs without the bones. This is cheaper than chicken breast and it has more taste. So I buy this often.

SwedishMoustache

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2017, 01:27:51 AM »
I think it is possible to go insanely low on groceries in Sweden if you specifically base your diet on whatever it is your local supermarket is using as their loss leader in a given week. Like, every week they will be selling something for 5-10 SEK (a dollar is 8 SEK I think now?)  that would normally cost 2-3 times that. On top of that they will usually sell stuff that is about to expire for 50% off regular price. I suspect something like this is behind this figure.
Also, fresh bread is ridiculously expensive in Sweden so baking it definitely pays off even if you use the fanciest ingredients, let alone if you just mix dry yeast with flour and bake that.

This.

While i realize that vegetables and fruits may be expensive over there, especially if you want the good stuff - this is not really the case here. Just yesterday i bought another 4.5 lbs bag of potatoes for under 2$. 4.5 lbs of potatoes can last a person for a week, if mixed with proper vegetables and other things. I don't even recall the last time i bought rice, because i bought 2x10lbs bags when they were on sale at extremely low prices. As havregryn says, each week usually each grocery store will have certain items off. Another example is apples. I buy a bag of apples with 10-12 apples in it for 70 cents. That'll last me a week's worth of shakes.

Honestly, my biggest problems are the more "exotic" fruits. bananas, for instance. They rarely drop below 2$/2 lbs. And i like bananas. That's where i have to splurge a bit. Another fairly high cost is good OJ, because i want actual orange juice and not concentrate. That'll run me maybe 2$ a week, though i use very little for each shake.

I buy my musli and granola in bulk packs of 1 lbs each - the cheapest kind, but i taste no difference between that and the 6$/450gram musli. Runs me maybe 4-7$ for a month or so. I buy eggs in packs of 20/24 when there's a sale (usually at one store or another) for 1.60-1.80$ for the pack.

My ex was the one who told me that it essentially was not possible to live this cheaply (and she was from Seattle) buying only your "basic" foodstuffs. It's entirely possible here though. What costs money is tv-dinners (3-5$ each), snacks and soda (2-6$ each, though you can get it cheaper) and your GOOD cuts of meat (which can run you over 25$/kilo. which i don't buy).

Oh, and the reason i said that it's possible to go below 60 for next month is that my local store just sent me 4 coupons for 5$ off (if you buy over 10$ worth of groceries). Adding that up easily could come to that, if i consider the spending carefully.


Linda_Norway:

High fiber bread? No. I mix the flours quite a bit. I try not to make too much "white"bread, it's usually 50/50. Gotta be careful with flour because as you say, usually it's not that cheap. I buy in bulk when there's a sale.

Chicken is rich in protein, controls the Homocysteine levels in your body, rich in phosphorus, Selenium, Vitamin B6, niacin, various vitamin A derivatives that promote eye health and has a lot of riboflavin (which is good for tissue growth). All in all, it's a very healthy type of meat. Granted, you have to prepare it properly and there is some bacteria in it, but to say it's unhealthy...nah. Plus it tastes great :).

My diet is based around potatoes, rice, pasta and bulgur. I mix this with a lot of carrots, celery, parsnips, leek, onion, beets and salads. For meat, i put in chicken and once a month or twice a month i buy a package of sliced, smoked ham. I prepare large quantities of slow-cooked meats or "pans" of fried potatoes. Lots of eggs with it.  I eat plenty of fruit (though i'm not sure i reach the daily recommended intake - then again, i don't personally know anyone who does). I drink tons of water. My liquids are water, my shake and coffee as well as the occasional cup of tea. Being german (but living in sweden), i also drink quite a bit of beer.

I consider myself pretty healthy. I'm 6"4 (around 195 cm) and weigh about 185 lbs. I've always been on the lean side, even in school when i had a much fat-heavier/protein-heavy diet. I work out daily or every second day (cardio and weight-lifting) and i'm pretty sensitive to not "getting" what i need food-wise. So far, and having had this type of diet for almost 7 months now, i haven't noticed any negative effects whatsoever :).
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 01:39:54 AM by SwedishMoustache »

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2017, 01:48:57 AM »
Drinking water at home is a good habit. I also drink water most of the time. Or tea. My DH prefers to have lemonade with the water and we spend about a bottle every 2-3 weeks on that. But I don't want to dictate him to drink water instead.
We do beer brewing at home. I can so much recommend it, because it is at least equally good quality as what you buy in the shops. And we can brew a beer for 3 NOK per half liter in cost price of materials. Of course we have to work a full day for making a brew and that is not included in the price, because we use an otherwise ineffective Sunday for it.

SwedishMoustache

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2017, 02:26:33 AM »
Drinking water at home is a good habit. I also drink water most of the time. Or tea. My DH prefers to have lemonade with the water and we spend about a bottle every 2-3 weeks on that. But I don't want to dictate him to drink water instead.
We do beer brewing at home. I can so much recommend it, because it is at least equally good quality as what you buy in the shops. And we can brew a beer for 3 NOK per half liter in cost price of materials. Of course we have to work a full day for making a brew and that is not included in the price, because we use an otherwise ineffective Sunday for it.


Damn! That's cool stuff. I need to look into that when i get closer to FIRE and can cut down on work! :).

My plan is actually to cut grocery costs even lower by planting and harvesting a lot of what i need and eat. I've previously had chickens for most of my life, and eggs are an extremely good source of a lot of things - protein among them. Keeping chickens is pretty damn easy too.

Also, agreed on  the lemonade thing. I rent out half of my fairly large (4br) apartment. It's a decent chunk of side income at 650$ a month. He told me that he doesn't like the single-ply toilet paper i buy and if i could buy some 2 or 3-ply paper instead. Not wanting to ruffle feathers, and my ex ALSO having pointed this out to me, i decided to eat that extra 2-3$ per month cost. It's possible to get a little too nuts, and i thiiiink i'm teetering close to that brink :P.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 02:37:19 AM by SwedishMoustache »

Metric Mouse

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2017, 04:42:41 AM »
Drinking water at home is a good habit. I also drink water most of the time. Or tea. My DH prefers to have lemonade with the water and we spend about a bottle every 2-3 weeks on that. But I don't want to dictate him to drink water instead.
We do beer brewing at home. I can so much recommend it, because it is at least equally good quality as what you buy in the shops. And we can brew a beer for 3 NOK per half liter in cost price of materials. Of course we have to work a full day for making a brew and that is not included in the price, because we use an otherwise ineffective Sunday for it.


Damn! That's cool stuff. I need to look into that when i get closer to FIRE and can cut down on work! :).

My plan is actually to cut grocery costs even lower by planting and harvesting a lot of what i need and eat. I've previously had chickens for most of my life, and eggs are an extremely good source of a lot of things - protein among them. Keeping chickens is pretty damn easy too.

Also, agreed on  the lemonade thing. I rent out half of my fairly large (4br) apartment. It's a decent chunk of side income at 650$ a month. He told me that he doesn't like the single-ply toilet paper i buy and if i could buy some 2 or 3-ply paper instead. Not wanting to ruffle feathers, and my ex ALSO having pointed this out to me, i decided to eat that extra 2-3$ per month cost. It's possible to get a little too nuts, and i thiiiink i'm teetering close to that brink :P.
Wouldn't it be better to have the roommate buy their own toilet paper? This would save you 50% on your toilet paper costs, instead of increasing them. Just a thought.
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SwedishMoustache

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2017, 05:05:26 AM »
Drinking water at home is a good habit. I also drink water most of the time. Or tea. My DH prefers to have lemonade with the water and we spend about a bottle every 2-3 weeks on that. But I don't want to dictate him to drink water instead.
We do beer brewing at home. I can so much recommend it, because it is at least equally good quality as what you buy in the shops. And we can brew a beer for 3 NOK per half liter in cost price of materials. Of course we have to work a full day for making a brew and that is not included in the price, because we use an otherwise ineffective Sunday for it.


Damn! That's cool stuff. I need to look into that when i get closer to FIRE and can cut down on work! :).

My plan is actually to cut grocery costs even lower by planting and harvesting a lot of what i need and eat. I've previously had chickens for most of my life, and eggs are an extremely good source of a lot of things - protein among them. Keeping chickens is pretty damn easy too.

Also, agreed on  the lemonade thing. I rent out half of my fairly large (4br) apartment. It's a decent chunk of side income at 650$ a month. He told me that he doesn't like the single-ply toilet paper i buy and if i could buy some 2 or 3-ply paper instead. Not wanting to ruffle feathers, and my ex ALSO having pointed this out to me, i decided to eat that extra 2-3$ per month cost. It's possible to get a little too nuts, and i thiiiink i'm teetering close to that brink :P.
Wouldn't it be better to have the roommate buy their own toilet paper? This would save you 50% on your toilet paper costs, instead of increasing them. Just a thought.

Oh, for sure. But 650$ for what amounts to a room is quite a bit of money in Sweden, even considering it's in one of our largest cities. One of the incitements i offer to prospective tenants is that laundry powder, detergent, soap, toilet paper, internet, netflix and everything is included in the rent. They're free to buy it of course, but when i'm "put on the spot" like that, i usually just do it. In the end, the rent i take is perhaps 150$ more than others do - and the apartment is larger, yes - which means a slight cost for toilet paper is acceptable in my book.

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2017, 05:27:08 AM »
Indeed, some more money on toilet paper is probably worth having a good relationship with your roommate.

Toilet paper diversion:
As a child I grew up with solid grey (recycled) paper that felt like sandpaper. My father preferred this paper. When I went living on myself, I found out that there was soft grey paper for sale and it was also cheapest. So I've been using that for years, enjoying good conscience for using recycled paper. But in recent years the soft grey paper has become of awful quality. After having stuck my finger through it at many inconvenient moments and after finding dissolved chunks of paper on myself several times, hours after using it, I have switched to more solid (white) paper. I think the have started to make the recycled paper from even more recycled paper and the quality is just too bad.

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2017, 06:51:05 AM »
Haha, now that you guys mention toilet paper, I have to say I love it how in Luxembourg the cheapest stuff is still ten times better than the cheap stuff in Sweden and we buy a huge pack of nice soft white toilet paper at Delhaize for something like 2€.
Luxembourg seemed like a paradise to us when we first arrived here based on toilet paper and alcohol. I am pretty sure husband's utter reluctance at the idea of moving back is at least 50% due to booze prices. Not that we're alcoholics, but it really feels nice to be able to treat yourself to a nice glass of wine after dinner without breaking the bank and needing to go to a specialized store.

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2017, 09:31:13 AM »
SwedishMoustache...why are the vegetables so inexpensive in Sweden?  Being a northern climate I would have thought it would be difficult to grow it domestically and is costly to import it from warmer climes.  That is certainly the case here in Canada. 

I mean we have huge apple orchards here and I've NEVER been able to get a bag of 10-12 apples for 70 cents.

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2017, 01:47:33 PM »
SwedishMoustache...why are the vegetables so inexpensive in Sweden?  Being a northern climate I would have thought it would be difficult to grow it domestically and is costly to import it from warmer climes.  That is certainly the case here in Canada. 

I mean we have huge apple orchards here and I've NEVER been able to get a bag of 10-12 apples for 70 cents.

I honestly could not tell you why. What you say obviously makes sense, but the fact remains that vegetables and fruits like apples, oranges (though not bananas for some reason, though i was able to find a deal today on 1.10$/2lb bananas - yay!), potatoes, celery, carrots, beets, parsnips, and other "basics" are extremely expensive if you shop the specials. Now, don't get me wrong. You can get granny smith for 2$/kilo. Some sorts of apples even go up to 2.5$, but most stay in the range of 1.3-1.5, and the ones i buy on specials go down to 70-90 cents or so.

Local competition among shops, perhaps? We do have a number of danish and german grocery chains that are competing with swedish ones. This has forced price wars, which benefits consumers. I remember a lot of things being more expensive when i was younger, and the introduction of these stores have certainly made things cheaper. Still, you could always get things like a litre of whole milk for 65-85 cents.

I've had americans wonder this when visiting too, and at the same time googgle at what we pay for say, a nice piece of beef tenderloin. My ex told me that for what we pay for a shitty piece of gristly-ass meat here, she could've gotten the best steak in Kentucky. Kinda depressing. I do love meat, but meat is insanely expensive here (except basic pork cuts and chicken).

havregryn

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2017, 02:51:15 PM »
Just now I went to look at promo leaflets for the stores I usually shopped at, this week they have bananas for 10 sek a kilo at Hemköp.
I'm pretty sure these low prices are simply a pricing strategy, for some reason it seems to be popular in Sweden to have these kind of offers to get you into the store where you then end up paying a fortune for a bunch of other stuff. On average groceries are definitely expensive in Sweden and it takes a lot of attention and planning to keep expenses down, but if you're into it, you can really cut them low thanks to these kinds of offers. But if you have any sort of special dietary requirements, ouch. My mother in law is into gluten free lactose free stuff and they spend 1000-1500$ easily on groceries for two of them.

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2017, 03:17:54 PM »
We used to be around 100 euro per month for two persons while living in Belgium. Lots of veggies, meat once in a while, etc.

Wow that's a very low grocery budget! Please could you explain in more details your shopping strategies while you were in Belgium?

I came back in Belgium last August after spending 4 years in the UK and I find groceries and especially toiletries to be quite expensive in Belgium compared to the UK.

An example for toiletries:  Nivea brand roll-on deo is regularly sold at £1 in the UK, while its usual price is around £3 (after conversion of € into £) in Belgium. Needless to say I stocked on them before coming back in Belgium...

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  • Do not eat much. We are both around 160cm...(5ft2''?)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 03:22:06 PM by belgiandude »

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2017, 01:19:36 AM »
I bought a pack of carrots (in Norway) of the brand First Price. This is the cheap supermarket-owned brand. It says on the pack that it contains carrots that are not perfect in shape, but that still taste well. Normally these carrots would have been discarded. I'm glad that there is now a brand selling these imperfect carrots for low price.

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2017, 01:51:44 AM »
Just now I went to look at promo leaflets for the stores I usually shopped at, this week they have bananas for 10 sek a kilo at Hemköp.
I'm pretty sure these low prices are simply a pricing strategy, for some reason it seems to be popular in Sweden to have these kind of offers to get you into the store where you then end up paying a fortune for a bunch of other stuff. On average groceries are definitely expensive in Sweden and it takes a lot of attention and planning to keep expenses down, but if you're into it, you can really cut them low thanks to these kinds of offers. But if you have any sort of special dietary requirements, ouch. My mother in law is into gluten free lactose free stuff and they spend 1000-1500$ easily on groceries for two of them.


Oh yeah. Any sort of gluten, lactose or anything else simply mangles your grocery budget. I have a neighbor who's 84 and has to eat Gluten-free. Not only do i find this tastes like utter garbage, he has to pay 4$ for a damn roll of cookies! Groceries in Sweden are not to be trifled with since we have, on average, i think some of the highest food prices in the world. However, shopping the specials and focusing on really basic food makes it possible to do some great deals. It saddens me that there are countries where it is cheaper to buy fabricated/processed meals for a cheaper price than you would pay for a bag of spuds. :(

Linda_norway: I know, that's so awesome, isn't it? I wish more stores would do this. Sell stuff that's short on expiry date (some do, not all). I'd be all over this, since i'm the kind of shopper who buys just what i need, not what i think i might need.

That's another really big thing. I never buy any food i don't KNOW that i need. The whole "oh, i might use that" - nope. Doesn't exist with me.


...Yep, i'm a pain in the ass to live with. So say all my ex-partners (well, two), and the people i currently socialize with :P
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 03:34:21 AM by SwedishMoustache »

Stachey

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2017, 04:43:26 PM »
SwedishMoustache...why are the vegetables so inexpensive in Sweden?  Being a northern climate I would have thought it would be difficult to grow it domestically and is costly to import it from warmer climes.  That is certainly the case here in Canada. 

I mean we have huge apple orchards here and I've NEVER been able to get a bag of 10-12 apples for 70 cents.

I honestly could not tell you why. What you say obviously makes sense, but the fact remains that vegetables and fruits like apples, oranges (though not bananas for some reason, though i was able to find a deal today on 1.10$/2lb bananas - yay!), potatoes, celery, carrots, beets, parsnips, and other "basics" are extremely expensive if you shop the specials. Now, don't get me wrong. You can get granny smith for 2$/kilo. Some sorts of apples even go up to 2.5$, but most stay in the range of 1.3-1.5, and the ones i buy on specials go down to 70-90 cents or so.

Local competition among shops, perhaps? We do have a number of danish and german grocery chains that are competing with swedish ones. This has forced price wars, which benefits consumers. I remember a lot of things being more expensive when i was younger, and the introduction of these stores have certainly made things cheaper. Still, you could always get things like a litre of whole milk for 65-85 cents.

I've had americans wonder this when visiting too, and at the same time googgle at what we pay for say, a nice piece of beef tenderloin. My ex told me that for what we pay for a shitty piece of gristly-ass meat here, she could've gotten the best steak in Kentucky. Kinda depressing. I do love meat, but meat is insanely expensive here (except basic pork cuts and chicken).

Hmmm Sweden is very interesting.  We have three or four competitive stores but here they seem to split up the pie as it were...one store is cheaper at x,y,z while another stores has deals on a,b,c so it requires the consumer to go to every store in order to get all the deals.  Of course they are counting on people being sick of this run around and expect them to just cave in and buy everything at one damn store.

I just got back from shopping at one of the less expensive stores (for produce) and have the receipt in my hot little hands.
In the freezing cold Canadian prairies:
apples are $3.70/kg
bananas are $1.70/kg

(And I'm with you SwedishMoustache...I don't buy any more food than I know that I need.)
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HenryDavid

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2017, 10:51:02 AM »
More North American grocery strategies:
-dried beans, lentils etc, in bulk from ethnic shops. Last for . . . ever, maybe. If stored well. Delicious.
-rice. In giant bags.
-oatmeal
-if you have any kind of garden or even pots, you can grow tons of kale, zucchini etc. for nearly $0. Delicious.
-coupon price-matching: avoid schlepping to that faraway place with a sale. Lots of stores will just price-match, so check into it.
-+1 to chicken: the fowl that keeps on giving. Day one/two: chicken. Day three: chicken sandwiches/tacos etc.. Day Four/five: soup.

And so on . . ..
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Prairie Stash

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2017, 01:21:51 PM »

I just got back from shopping at one of the less expensive stores (for produce) and have the receipt in my hot little hands.
In the freezing cold Canadian prairies:
apples are $3.70/kg
bananas are $1.70/kg

(And I'm with you SwedishMoustache...I don't buy any more food than I know that I need.)
Interesting, I'm in the prairies too, last week paid $5.86 for 5 pounds of B.C. Macintosh apples ($1.87/kg), at Superstore. I think the biggest price factor is what store you shop at.

Of course they also had other varieties that cost more (Red Delicious were under $1/lb, I dislike their flavour), make sure you're comparing Apples to Apples.

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2017, 12:19:33 AM »
<...>
Of course they also had other varieties that cost more (Red Delicious were under $1/lb, I dislike their flavour), make sure you're comparing Apples to Apples.

I also compare prices between different sorts of apples and sometimes end up with a less attractive type. Or even more between tomatoes and bread, which I buy more often. And sometimes I don't buy a vegetable or a meat that I had planned for, because it is too expensive that week.

Gerard

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2017, 06:14:53 AM »
Random thoughts, only occasionally obnoxious:

1. One of the reasons (some) produce and dairy is cheaper in (some) northern countries is farm subsidies. Just as in the US.

2. If you  call bullshit on someone's budget claims and the produce in your counter-example is bananas and green grapes, someone might call bullshit back. Even in expensive Canada, I can buy all kinds of nutrient-dense produce for between .10 and 1.00 (Canadian) a pound.

3. If I lived in/near a warm agricultural area with a large population who cook from scratch (somewhere like Brownsville, TX), I could eat extremely well for about $20 a week.

4. The cheaper your ingredients, the more some skill helps. Not Jamie Oliver knife skills level, but just understanding how salt and water and heat and proteins actually work.
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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2017, 06:38:08 AM »
Quote

3. If I lived in/near a warm agricultural area with a large population who cook from scratch (somewhere like Brownsville, TX), I could eat extremely well for about $20 a week.
This; my local food coop is great at helping to keep my food costs down.
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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2017, 08:40:40 AM »
Claiming the cost of a loaf of home made bread is 10 cents makes me want to shout "Prove it!"...as does claiming to drink a lot of beer. Unless alcohol is a separate budget line item, which might be a just a tad disingenuous.
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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2017, 08:49:49 PM »
Claiming the cost of a loaf of home made bread is 10 cents makes me want to shout "Prove it!".

Yeah, that seemed cheap to me. But if my math is right, 500g flour is 40 cents at my costco, 1g yeast is 3 cents, salt is less than a penny, and together with 400g of water they make 2 450g (one-pound) loaves. So that's 22 cents Canadian a loaf, which is currently 16.3 cents US. Not a dime, but not far off!
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SwedishMoustache

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2017, 08:31:35 AM »
Claiming the cost of a loaf of home made bread is 10 cents makes me want to shout "Prove it!".

Yeah, that seemed cheap to me. But if my math is right, 500g flour is 40 cents at my costco, 1g yeast is 3 cents, salt is less than a penny, and together with 400g of water they make 2 450g (one-pound) loaves. So that's 22 cents Canadian a loaf, which is currently 16.3 cents US. Not a dime, but not far off!

Add the fact that i pay less than that for flour, and yeah. Shifts a bit from month to month, but between 10-15 cents is usually about right.

Oh, we've now reached the 15th and i've reached about...27-ish $ in grocery costs, thanks to many of the aforementioned store coupons that give 5$ off for every 10$ bought. We'll see if i reach that goal, but it's a fun challenge!
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 08:33:30 AM by SwedishMoustache »

APowers

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2017, 05:06:15 PM »
Hey everyone.

Swede here.

What exactly does "swede" mean, when it comes to things like groceries? Well, the following.

* Meat is a shitload more expensive than in the U S of A.
* Meat QUALITY is a lot higher than over there (unless you go for the really high-quality stuff. But i'm talking the bottom of the shelf here - even that quality is pretty damn good compared to yours).
* Really good vegetables and fruit quality due to EU regulations. What you call "organic", is pretty much "standard" in scandinavia.
* No HFCS! I've tried HFCS products, and words cannot express how happy i am we do not have this (yet).
* Milk here actually tastes good - and is cheap.
* Alot of Diary products - and cheap ,good ones.


So. My grocery bill for February was a whopping 81.43$. Now granted, i'm a single man. And i weigh every item of groceries that i buy. I haven't eaten candy in probably...3 months. I haven't had soda in 6 months or so, and snack food for me is a 2 lbs bag of salted peanuts (which lasts me a month or so). I also never eat out (though my company owner treats us now and then)

What do i do, that i can recommend to others?

Here are some recommendations.

  • Bake your own bread - Bread is just water, yeast, salt and flour. Stores charging 2-3$ for a loaf that costs maybe 10 cents to make yourself is insane! It takes me maybe 10 minutes to prepare dough for 2 loaves.
  • Slow cooker vegetable stews - these are amazing. And healthy. And tasty. And you can actually have them for days, and they are going to taste even better!
  • Cut crap like Soda, Candy, crackers, chips and other stuff. it's bad for you, you feel as though you've slogged down on a McDonalds meal once you're done, and it's just garbage!
  • Drink water. Lots of it :).
  • Lunch? Homemade bread with some butter and/or cheese, and a shake consisting of 2 apples, 1 banana, li'l bit of OJ, some ginger, pepper and some greens. Yum.
  • Get to know potatoes, beets, celery, carrots, leeks, parsnips, avocado and different types of onions and some shallots. These are amazing things that'll change your life if you don't use them frequently already!
  • Chicken is amazing, healthy and tender meat. Use it.

For march, i'm aiming for below 60$ - and i believe it to be achievable due to some in-store bonus coupons i've recently recieved which WILL knock a minimum of 20$ off this month!

As a note of self-criticism, i probably COULD let go a little bit here and splurge on different sorts of meat more than i do today. However, the facial expressions of people when i tell them that i live on under 100$ of groceries a month is pretty darn priceless.

Peace out!

You're awesome!!

And smug!!  Very, very smug!!

Let's look at some numbers regarding this claim.  $100/ mo splits to $3.33/day for the (minority of)  short months in the year. 

For a person of 166 lbs and normal activity level, a weight-maintaining diet encompasses ~2000 cal./day from all caloric sources.  On a budget limited to $3.33 to purchase`that caloric goal, what is available in the market?

Acknowleging that no two people face exactly the same prices when they go to buy food, lots of people have taken it to share what common foods cost themselves on a per-calorie basis.  See, e.g.: https://www.quora.com/What-food-has-the-lowest-cost-per-calorie 

One of the Quora posters extrapolated raw food prices to a daily diet of 3000 cal.  or a "cutting" [i.e. reducing?] diet of 2000 cal. as follows:

"So, I put the lot into lpsolve to optimize the price with 3000kcal and 160g of protein, here's the solution:

    2.45535180 dollars: rice 8.46154 servings pinto beans 19.2308 servings

For a cutting diet with 2000kcal and 160g of protein, the optimal solution is even simpler:

    2.26813186 dollars pinto beans 22.8571 servings

EDIT: Building on the 3000kcal/160g protein example:

If you want a bit more variety, limiting the amount of servings of any one particular food to max 4 servings gives the following for 3.00 dollars:

    Rice 4 servings Angel Hair Pasta 4 servings Breadcrumbs 4 servings Pinto Beans 4 servings chicken 0.725883 servings Canola oil 48.5103 ml

EDIT2: and to get your recommended 5 servings of fruit or veg a day, you need 4.51 dollars:
(emphasis added)
    rice 3.68834 servings pasta 4 servings breadcrumbs 4 servings pinto beans 4 servings bananas 4 servings chicken 0.690878 servings green grapes 1 serving
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/1m3s3t/i_calculated_the_calorie"

Conclusion:  a Mexican prison-like diet of beans, rice and vegetable oil can come in under three and a half dollars a day.  Any fruits and vegetables at all are going to drive you well above that for a still seriously monotonous diet of the cheapest staples you can get your hands on.

That's about what I see when I go to the store, too.

I'm calling shenanigans on this $100/mo. 'luxury' diet.

$60?? fuggedaboutit...  unless you are thinking macaroni& lard every day.

You can call shenanigans if you want, but my experience tells me that you can eat a very healthy, varied diet for as cheaply as SwedishMoustache.

For instance: our family of 4 eats very well on less than $200/mo. (Posts about how our grocery budget works.) That works out to $50/per person per month. Conclusion: Quora doesn't know how to grocery shop.

Goldielocks

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2017, 11:28:48 PM »
Claiming the cost of a loaf of home made bread is 10 cents makes me want to shout "Prove it!".

Yeah, that seemed cheap to me. But if my math is right, 500g flour is 40 cents at my costco, 1g yeast is 3 cents, salt is less than a penny, and together with 400g of water they make 2 450g (one-pound) loaves. So that's 22 cents Canadian a loaf, which is currently 16.3 cents US. Not a dime, but not far off!

Flour here is regularly (on sale) at $7 for 10 kg.  $0.70 per kg, $.35 per loaf....   So our loaves are closer to 40 cents (ok, I use egg and milk and wheat germ and honey in my fancy loaves..  which brings it up to just over $1 per loaf of beautiful fancy pants bread.. comparable at $$3.97 per loaf for commercial breads)

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2017, 03:34:58 AM »
When calculating price of home made bread, don't forget to count electricity of oven or bread machine. In a year time, this will be a noticable amount.

Gerard

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2017, 07:15:40 AM »
When calculating price of home made bread, don't forget to count electricity of oven or bread machine. In a year time, this will be a noticable amount.

True, but my electricity is probably cheaper than yours, plus if I bake in cool weather the heat ends up in the house anyway. And it's always cool weather here! :-)

But this leads me to a question: How many of you "gang up" your baking etc. to take advantage of a hot oven?
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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2017, 07:36:00 AM »

But this leads me to a question: How many of you "gang up" your baking etc. to take advantage of a hot oven?

A lady that I know who bakes her own bread bakes 3 loafs at the time in the oven.

Goldielocks

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2017, 11:55:07 AM »
When calculating price of home made bread, don't forget to count electricity of oven or bread machine. In a year time, this will be a noticable amount.

True, but my electricity is probably cheaper than yours, plus if I bake in cool weather the heat ends up in the house anyway. And it's always cool weather here! :-)

But this leads me to a question: How many of you "gang up" your baking etc. to take advantage of a hot oven?

Well, if I am doing a roast, I try not to use other cooking methods for that meal...(roast veggies, make biscuits, heat up pie)  does that count?
If I bake bread, I may choose to use the hot oven to cook bacon, after, instead of the stovetop, that sort of thing.

The worst is pizza -- super hot oven for 15 minutes of pizza cooking, and that's all.

Metric Mouse

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2017, 06:35:37 AM »
Flour here is regularly (on sale) at $7 for 10 kg.  $0.70 per kg, $.35 per loaf....   So our loaves are closer to 40 cents (ok, I use egg and milk and wheat germ and honey in my fancy loaves..  which brings it up to just over $1 per loaf of beautiful fancy pants bread.. comparable at $$3.97 per loaf for commercial breads)
For the few bread carbs that my family consumes, we can get super yummy 'artesian' fancy loaves from our local place for about $1. No way we'd pay $4 for them.
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SweetLife

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2017, 08:12:36 AM »
Claiming the cost of a loaf of home made bread is 10 cents makes me want to shout "Prove it!".

Yeah, that seemed cheap to me. But if my math is right, 500g flour is 40 cents at my costco, 1g yeast is 3 cents, salt is less than a penny, and together with 400g of water they make 2 450g (one-pound) loaves. So that's 22 cents Canadian a loaf, which is currently 16.3 cents US. Not a dime, but not far off!

Add the fact that i pay less than that for flour, and yeah. Shifts a bit from month to month, but between 10-15 cents is usually about right.

Oh, we've now reached the 15th and i've reached about...27-ish $ in grocery costs, thanks to many of the aforementioned store coupons that give 5$ off for every 10$ bought. We'll see if i reach that goal, but it's a fun challenge!

SweedishMustache
Do your stores price match sales??? I've only just started doing this in Canada and I find it saves quite a bit and I only need to go to one store (you bring the sale papers from other stores and they will "match" that price) You can also use and app on your phone to do this but it is a pain for me as I don't like turning on my data lol!!! We are not nearly as frugal as you on our grocery ... 2 adults one picky 3 year old lol... Good for you though!
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MrSal

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2017, 09:45:26 PM »
Hey everyone.

Swede here.

What exactly does "swede" mean, when it comes to things like groceries? Well, the following.

* Meat is a shitload more expensive than in the U S of A.
* Meat QUALITY is a lot higher than over there (unless you go for the really high-quality stuff. But i'm talking the bottom of the shelf here - even that quality is pretty damn good compared to yours).
* Really good vegetables and fruit quality due to EU regulations. What you call "organic", is pretty much "standard" in scandinavia.
* No HFCS! I've tried HFCS products, and words cannot express how happy i am we do not have this (yet).
* Milk here actually tastes good - and is cheap.
* Alot of Diary products - and cheap ,good ones.


So. My grocery bill for February was a whopping 81.43$. Now granted, i'm a single man. And i weigh every item of groceries that i buy. I haven't eaten candy in probably...3 months. I haven't had soda in 6 months or so, and snack food for me is a 2 lbs bag of salted peanuts (which lasts me a month or so). I also never eat out (though my company owner treats us now and then)

What do i do, that i can recommend to others?

Here are some recommendations.

  • Bake your own bread - Bread is just water, yeast, salt and flour. Stores charging 2-3$ for a loaf that costs maybe 10 cents to make yourself is insane! It takes me maybe 10 minutes to prepare dough for 2 loaves.
  • Slow cooker vegetable stews - these are amazing. And healthy. And tasty. And you can actually have them for days, and they are going to taste even better!
  • Cut crap like Soda, Candy, crackers, chips and other stuff. it's bad for you, you feel as though you've slogged down on a McDonalds meal once you're done, and it's just garbage!
  • Drink water. Lots of it :).
  • Lunch? Homemade bread with some butter and/or cheese, and a shake consisting of 2 apples, 1 banana, li'l bit of OJ, some ginger, pepper and some greens. Yum.
  • Get to know potatoes, beets, celery, carrots, leeks, parsnips, avocado and different types of onions and some shallots. These are amazing things that'll change your life if you don't use them frequently already!
  • Chicken is amazing, healthy and tender meat. Use it.

For march, i'm aiming for below 60$ - and i believe it to be achievable due to some in-store bonus coupons i've recently recieved which WILL knock a minimum of 20$ off this month!

As a note of self-criticism, i probably COULD let go a little bit here and splurge on different sorts of meat more than i do today. However, the facial expressions of people when i tell them that i live on under 100$ of groceries a month is pretty darn priceless.

Peace out!

You're awesome!!

And smug!!  Very, very smug!!

Let's look at some numbers regarding this claim.  $100/ mo splits to $3.33/day for the (minority of)  short months in the year. 

For a person of 166 lbs and normal activity level, a weight-maintaining diet encompasses ~2000 cal./day from all caloric sources.  On a budget limited to $3.33 to purchase`that caloric goal, what is available in the market?

Acknowleging that no two people face exactly the same prices when they go to buy food, lots of people have taken it to share what common foods cost themselves on a per-calorie basis.  See, e.g.: https://www.quora.com/What-food-has-the-lowest-cost-per-calorie 

One of the Quora posters extrapolated raw food prices to a daily diet of 3000 cal.  or a "cutting" [i.e. reducing?] diet of 2000 cal. as follows:

"So, I put the lot into lpsolve to optimize the price with 3000kcal and 160g of protein, here's the solution:

    2.45535180 dollars: rice 8.46154 servings pinto beans 19.2308 servings

For a cutting diet with 2000kcal and 160g of protein, the optimal solution is even simpler:

    2.26813186 dollars pinto beans 22.8571 servings

EDIT: Building on the 3000kcal/160g protein example:

If you want a bit more variety, limiting the amount of servings of any one particular food to max 4 servings gives the following for 3.00 dollars:

    Rice 4 servings Angel Hair Pasta 4 servings Breadcrumbs 4 servings Pinto Beans 4 servings chicken 0.725883 servings Canola oil 48.5103 ml

EDIT2: and to get your recommended 5 servings of fruit or veg a day, you need 4.51 dollars:
(emphasis added)
    rice 3.68834 servings pasta 4 servings breadcrumbs 4 servings pinto beans 4 servings bananas 4 servings chicken 0.690878 servings green grapes 1 serving
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/1m3s3t/i_calculated_the_calorie"

Conclusion:  a Mexican prison-like diet of beans, rice and vegetable oil can come in under three and a half dollars a day.  Any fruits and vegetables at all are going to drive you well above that for a still seriously monotonous diet of the cheapest staples you can get your hands on.

That's about what I see when I go to the store, too.

I'm calling shenanigans on this $100/mo. 'luxury' diet.

$60?? fuggedaboutit...  unless you are thinking macaroni& lard every day.

Not true... my wife and I consistently have 100-150 per person and that includes staples, her processed food crap she likes to buy for herself - which are expensive - (mostly sausage breakfast patties and such) and wine.

I dont ever buy anything that comes in a package... usually go for loss leaders.

But in case you are wondering here are  prices for some of the things we do buy ...

Chicken is usually $1.99/lb for skinless chicken breasts ... 1 lb of chicken yields about 3 servings easy maybe even 4 ...

Couple it with rice/pasta and some greens... Rice is cheap ... i have bought 20lb bags for around $6 ...

Potatoes are cheap ... 10lb bag cost usually 2-3 dollars... add some greens which arent that expensive depending what you buy...

Pork is also cheap ... we even buy fish a lot shuffling between salmon/cod and others depending what the loss leader is.

It's all about how you prepare it. I can use the same items and do  a myriad of different flavors ... here i recognize my mediterranean origins help here... Always cook with a base of olive oil, onions and garlic and you can do a lot from there.

For groceries alone we are around 100$ easy... and if i tried really hard i could go lower probably... and no..it wouldnt be eating just pinto beans or ramen.

I dont budget for the food, however, this expense is the average we spend by calculating all the spending we have done at grocery stores for the past 2 years (used mint to look it up)

For breakfast usually oatmeal or a slice of bread along with milk ... oatmeal is cheap ... a 2 lb bag costs around 0,80$ and last for a while... bread is cheap too depending on what you buy. I usually go for the clearance section to get bread from the previous day... Since i always toast the bread it is indifferent to me if its fresh or 1 day old. its always at 75% off ... I get big Kaiser buns or portuguese buns for around 10 cents a piece.

Examples of what I eat:





This one probably didnt even cost more than $1 or slightly over... rice was negligible... and then it was pork which was cheap at $2/lb ... the serving size is around 1/3 lb if that. Add a little spices and some sauce which is just olive oil and a bit of mustard and white wine... and you get a good meal.







Far from a bland/poor Mexican prison diet!


Its all about not eating what you crave that moment... i am flexible to buy what is on season. During winter I stay away from oranges at my main grocery store which charges $5 for 2 oranges!!! or 2$ per lemon!!!

During summer, Aldi charges for a 5lb bag of oranges 2 dollars! I dont go to Aldis as often as id like... since my main grocery store is 200 yards away while Aldi is 3-4 miles...
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 10:05:19 PM by MrSal »

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2017, 01:37:29 AM »
As a veggie who loves spicy food, a Mexican prison diet sounds great - I probably eat a lot of meals that fit that criteria naturally, because I like them - it's just a bonus they are low cost.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2017, 01:59:33 AM »
Its all about not eating what you crave that moment... i am flexible to buy what is on season. During winter I stay away from oranges at my main grocery store which charges $5 for 2 oranges!!! or 2$ per lemon!!!

During summer, Aldi charges for a 5lb bag of oranges 2 dollars! I dont go to Aldis as often as id like... since my main grocery store is 200 yards away while Aldi is 3-4 miles...

I thought citrus mainly grew in winter? At least here oranges and mandarins and the like are Australian grown and cheap in winter, and expensive in the summer (as they're imported from the USA).

I wouldn't be completely surprised given how cheap some staple fruits and vegetables are.

What I notice though is that it's not just what one buys, it's where. Many times I've bought tomatoes at $2/kg at a fruit and vegetable shop when they're $6/kg (admittedly for perfect tomatoes) at the major supermarket down the road.

MrSal

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2017, 09:18:51 AM »
Its all about not eating what you crave that moment... i am flexible to buy what is on season. During winter I stay away from oranges at my main grocery store which charges $5 for 2 oranges!!! or 2$ per lemon!!!

During summer, Aldi charges for a 5lb bag of oranges 2 dollars! I dont go to Aldis as often as id like... since my main grocery store is 200 yards away while Aldi is 3-4 miles...

I thought citrus mainly grew in winter? At least here oranges and mandarins and the like are Australian grown and cheap in winter, and expensive in the summer (as they're imported from the USA).

I wouldn't be completely surprised given how cheap some staple fruits and vegetables are.

What I notice though is that it's not just what one buys, it's where. Many times I've bought tomatoes at $2/kg at a fruit and vegetable shop when they're $6/kg (admittedly for perfect tomatoes) at the major supermarket down the road.

Here in NE USA it seems fruits are more expensive in winter... as far as i know, oranges, strawberries and such their season is around summer... they need warm weather. During winter probably oranges come from Florida or California instead of local.

As for where, definitely! I know I could save more by buying at Aldi... however the convenience of my grocery store which is only 100-200 yds beats it all the time or most of the time. That grocery store is a local/regional chain and is not the cheapest. I would compare it to Giant

MVal

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2017, 09:33:40 AM »
I'm going to be super smug and say I haven't really made a trip to the grocery store since the new year. I had a huge backlog of pantry goods I was trying to use up before I moved, and now that I'm in my new house, I'm still using up old food. I also supplement with various fresh produce items I find in local grocery dumpster, and I'm single, so I really don't need much. That's not to say I haven't gone to restaurants here and there for the few times I didn't have a pre-made lunch from home at work or when friends want to go out, but including all this, I'd say I've spent less than $100 over the last three months on food.
Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.

Proverbs 13:11
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.

https://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wGp3WGH/savings.png

MrSal

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2017, 10:46:54 AM »
I'm going to be super smug and say I haven't really made a trip to the grocery store since the new year. I had a huge backlog of pantry goods I was trying to use up before I moved, and now that I'm in my new house, I'm still using up old food. I also supplement with various fresh produce items I find in local grocery dumpster, and I'm single, so I really don't need much. That's not to say I haven't gone to restaurants here and there for the few times I didn't have a pre-made lunch from home at work or when friends want to go out, but including all this, I'd say I've spent less than $100 over the last three months on food.

Id love to try this out... however I fear being found out at local grocery store. Its 24/7 so probably there are people always there... Just the other day I was buying some filet mignons organic and note the expire date had been the previous day.

I pointed out to one of the staff to see if they could make a bigger discount even and they said they couldnt sell it to me. about 7-10 lbs of filet mignon that I suspect went to the trash
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 10:48:30 AM by MrSal »

MVal

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #47 on: March 28, 2017, 11:08:36 AM »
I'm going to be super smug and say I haven't really made a trip to the grocery store since the new year. I had a huge backlog of pantry goods I was trying to use up before I moved, and now that I'm in my new house, I'm still using up old food. I also supplement with various fresh produce items I find in local grocery dumpster, and I'm single, so I really don't need much. That's not to say I haven't gone to restaurants here and there for the few times I didn't have a pre-made lunch from home at work or when friends want to go out, but including all this, I'd say I've spent less than $100 over the last three months on food.

Id love to try this out... however I fear being found out at local grocery store. Its 24/7 so probably there are people always there... Just the other day I was buying some filet mignons organic and note the expire date had been the previous day.

I pointed out to one of the staff to see if they could make a bigger discount even and they said they couldnt sell it to me. about 7-10 lbs of filet mignon that I suspect went to the trash

Ugh, the sacrilege! Dang, that sucks it is 24/7...I always go to one under cover of darkness long after they've closed, so I guess I'm lucky. Are there any other stores nearby that aren't 24/7? You also have to check if they have a regular dumpster or a compactor. If they compact everything, or the dumpster isn't climbable, you're SOL. Food waste just upsets me!
Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.

Proverbs 13:11
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.

https://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wGp3WGH/savings.png

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #48 on: March 28, 2017, 11:19:09 AM »
I bought hotdog bread, 8 pieces for 1,60 Norwegian crowns. This is rediculously cheap. I don't need it right now, but put it in the freezer.

Linda_Norway

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Re: I live on sub-100$ in groceries each month.
« Reply #49 on: March 28, 2017, 11:24:39 AM »

Id love to try this out... however I fear being found out at local grocery store. Its 24/7 so probably there are people always there... Just the other day I was buying some filet mignons organic and note the expire date had been the previous day.

I pointed out to one of the staff to see if they could make a bigger discount even and they said they couldnt sell it to me. about 7-10 lbs of filet mignon that I suspect went to the trash

I experienced this once when I found a large pile of my favorite chocolate browny cake. They were all past the best before date. I was not allowed to take them out. They were just thrown away. Yes, I should have searched the bin afterwards, but somehow I expect that one of the employees took it.