Author Topic: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article  (Read 2348 times)

bluebelle

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how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« on: October 13, 2019, 10:03:15 AM »
I'm just going to drop this here.....

https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/shopping/how-much-you-should-be-spending-on-groceries/?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MS-FIT-13-10-2019

I suspect they're trying to use this as an upper limit to build a budget on a lower income- ie the max you should spend on groceries.   

I guess they assume high income earners don't read these articles, I think we have a high grocery spend for two people, it includes alot of sundries (shampoo, detergent, toilet paper etc), and it's still  <3% of our gross income.   And we eat well now, I'd have to add lobster and fillet mignon to EVERY meal to get close to 10%.

And it doesn't include meals out.

ysette9

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2019, 02:34:41 PM »
Maybe groceries are really really really expensive in Canada as compared to California. ;-)

The_Big_H

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2019, 02:35:36 PM »
We budget $1000  money to "food"

That may seem like a lot for 3 people (Im not full mustachian) but consider:

Contrary to the article I'm not a fan of complicated budgets and prefer to put charges into very few categories, so whatever can be bought at a food store or drug store or any restaurant or ABC store goes into this budget. 

I get the plan ahead thing, but it can be hard with picky eaters & weight loss and I find that stocking more food = more waster.  We have the extreme fortune of being walking distance to a good grocery store, and I prefer the simplicity of not having a TON of food in the fridge/pantry.  Essentially we live next to a VERY large fridge/pantry, we figure let THEM hold the stuff for us.  Fresher stuff, MUCH less watse, and for someone like me trying to lose weight, less temptation.  Ive always felt like the more food you have the more you seem to want to eat to "clear it out" / "not let it go bad".  When you don't use a car to obtain groceries, impulse purchases are restricted because you got to carry that back.  Needless to say we are not at all fans of the big bulk feed stores.  Planning ahead = 3-4 days tops.   I do NOT need 2 family size bags of chips lying around.

So, yes, we do "lose" money on not buying in bulk (I'll buy ONE fun size chip bag a week or two, so the worst I can do is eat that whole bad instead of the whole FAMILY bag) or stocking up during BOGO sales.  Ive had to teach myself that the money saving is going to be in health.

They are mostly correct on eating less meat to save money.  If you are buying pink-slime quality processed meats its pretty inexpensive, but if you are like me a believer in "it's either grass fed organic hipster $15/lb happy cow, OR none at all", yes eating less meat saves you money


In my local area I don't find much more than 10-15% name brand vs generic, probably because most the walkable grocer is a bit on the expensive end (publix).  This is highly subjective, not all generics are equal.  Generic canned veggies are essentially the same to me, but the quality of the aluminum foil is night and day.  Distilled white vinegar, the generic is 5% concentration, name brand 6%, so you got to figure that into the price difference. 

Im thankful publix prints "price per unit/oz" so it makes the price comparison very easy.  Often you'll notice that of the 3 size options, the medium is almost the same price/oz as the large, so again to avoid a heavily stocked house I 'take the hit' on the medium, or even the small if its something I'm not likely to use all of or isn't a regular staple, bout the only thing I buy "large" is the whole gallon of milk because, well... kid and wife drink a ton and I don't care for it, so it can sit there and not tempt me!  Unlike a soda, in which only ONE single serve glass soda to be shared by me and wifey is bought as a "special treat" (that it should be thought of as, NOT as a staple)* that way its high price per oz is a self induced luxury tax.

*anyone else think its a bit absurd that most grocery stores, or ours at least, has a WHOLE AISLE for chips and soda ONLY!

bluebelle

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2019, 04:13:39 PM »
Maybe groceries are really really really expensive in Canada as compared to California. ;-)
they're not in Ontario....that's why I thought the article 'out there'.   Our avocados are alot more expensive.  Funny thing is, I find peppers and apples more expensive in CA (especially with the exchange rate)

Aunt Petunia

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2019, 04:58:14 PM »
Tying something like food to a percent of income makes no sense. It's not like poor people actually need to eat less than rich people. And the article ignores family size, ages, activity levels, etc. which also makes no sense. I suppose if you are buying reasonable food and still spending 20% of your income you would probably qualify for some kind of government assistance.

Our family food spend averages $326 per month for 2 adults and 2 young children in upper Midwest small city. This will most likely go up as they get older.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 05:02:51 PM by Aunt Petunia »

Nangirl17

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2019, 05:59:11 PM »
Maybe groceries are really really really expensive in Canada as compared to California. ;-)

Groceries ARE much more expensive in Canada than anywhere I've lived or been in the States.

We meal plan, buy food on sale/loss leaders and eat pretty basic food (although, a lot of it - my husband can eat close to a box of shreddies per day on top of his regular meals - thankfully he will eat oatmeal or homemade hummus/bean dip to fill him up too), and we spend 7-8% of our income on food.

Zikoris

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2019, 09:41:34 PM »
Looks like last year we spent about 3% on groceries - on an 80K income. So about $2,400 for 2018. That's about normal. I'm sometimes curious how low our spending would bottom our if we actually put in serious effort, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe one day.

Linea_Norway

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2019, 03:55:38 AM »
Tying something like food to a percent of income makes no sense. It's not like poor people actually need to eat less than rich people. And the article ignores family size, ages, activity levels, etc. which also makes no sense. I suppose if you are buying reasonable food and still spending 20% of your income you would probably qualify for some kind of government assistance.

Exactly, it should not be income dependent. If you have a certain minimum amount of income, so that you can buy decent food, there is no reason to spend more on food if you have higher income. But maybe they just mean the maximum you can spend on food: a person with a small income should not buy the most expensive ingredients, while a high earner can do that occasionally. But there is no need to buy high price ingredients.

The other thing that I don't understand in the article, is that the amount doesn't include eating out. I think you can just define one pot, called food. And it is up to the spending to decide whether to spend it on groceries or on restaurants. In the end, it is still food. How to bring down your food spending: buy groceries instead of eating out.

The things to do at the end of the article make sense:
- make a list
- buy cheap brands
- plan meals to avoid waste
- go meatless
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 03:59:39 AM by Linea_Norway »

Linea_Norway

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2019, 03:58:00 AM »
In my expense statistics, my food spending equals the amount I spend on our home.
The numbers are not presise, because DH does not track his expenses. But I buy most of the food and pay most of the bills.

ysette9

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2019, 07:07:42 AM »
In my expense statistics, my food spending equals the amount I spend on our home.
The numbers are not presise, because DH does not track his expenses. But I buy most of the food and pay most of the bills.
Wow. We spend close to 10x more on housing than in food. Interesting reflection on the different areas we live.

Linea_Norway

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2019, 07:12:18 AM »
In my expense statistics, my food spending equals the amount I spend on our home.
The numbers are not presise, because DH does not track his expenses. But I buy most of the food and pay most of the bills.
Wow. We spend close to 10x more on housing than in food. Interesting reflection on the different areas we live.

Our home is paid off, so no mortgage cost. We only pay for utility bills, insurance, internet and so. We don't have property taxes in our community. I think the two private roads were paid for by DH this year and not included in my statistics.


Malkynn

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2019, 07:21:35 AM »
Jesus Christ, we don't even spend 10% gross of one of our incomes on our mortgage.

Even at their example salary of 70K, 20% of gross is actually 27% of net income after tax.
That seems excessive to me as a "reasonable guideline" for budgeting.

It only gets proportionally worse as incomes go up. The marginal tax rate on 70K is already 30%. Tagging grocery spending to income makes little sense as it is, but 20% of gross on 6 figure incomes with nearly 50% tax brackets just starts being beyond absurd just for food.

The article starts with saying that the average Canadian family spends just over $500/mo on groceries, so why the fuck is an article that's supposed to be about spending less on groceries recommending that a 70K household spend up to twice as much???

If $500 is the average, shouldn't the article be aiming to have people spend under that, not double or even quadruple if the household income is 140K???

As for us, we're in Ontario and spend about the same as @Zikoris, so it's obviously not regionally dependent as we're on opposite ends of the country.

Kazyan

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2019, 09:22:52 AM »
IIRC groceries are somewhat more expensive in Canada. It seems about right, at least at a median income, but "that figure doesn’t include eating out" is a funny line. For the proportionality to income, I suppose you could argue that it's prudent to buy higher-quality food when you have the means to do so, for nutrition and all, but that's not going to be a strong effect, is it? Seems weird.

Here in the US, I'm spending about 9-10% of income on groceries, or about 13% when including eating out.

Malkynn

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2019, 12:35:53 PM »
IIRC groceries are somewhat more expensive in Canada. It seems about right, at least at a median income, but "that figure doesn’t include eating out" is a funny line. For the proportionality to income, I suppose you could argue that it's prudent to buy higher-quality food when you have the means to do so, for nutrition and all, but that's not going to be a strong effect, is it? Seems weird.

Here in the US, I'm spending about 9-10% of income on groceries, or about 13% when including eating out.

We buy very high quality, very nutritious food and it isn't expensive.

Eating well can certainly be expensive, our groceries used to be $800-1000/mo, but we eat actually eat better now that we spend closer to $200.

mm1970

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Re: how much should you spend on groceries - Moneysense article
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2019, 12:57:36 PM »
Tying food budget to income makes sense...to a point.  For lower to middle incomes, it may help to set a max budget so that you at least are able to save something.

At upper incomes, 10% can quickly become sorta ridiculous.  Except, not.  In other thread here, I've noted friends who spend $24,000 a year on food by buying all local, all organic, including grassfed beef ($10-30/lb), free range chickens ($18 each), free range eggs ($8/doz), not to mention lamb, etc. etc. etc.

I've had periods of time where I've been ON IT.  But right now working full time, not doing most of the cooking (I work late), and having a teenaged boy?  Sheesh.