Author Topic: grocery budget?  (Read 11832 times)

okkiedokki

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grocery budget?
« on: December 01, 2014, 11:06:58 AM »
I was re-reading an older article today "Killing your $1000 Grocery budget" because it popped up when I first came back to the site.  It made me realize something that I wanted to see how others budget.  When I was reading through the article I found myself thinking of soaps, shampoo, detergents, and other cleaners that we buy as well.  My grocery budget includes cost for all those household and personal cleaners. 

So I guess my question I have is, do you guys budget separately for those items or include it in your grocery budget? 

GumbyPickles

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2014, 11:20:05 AM »
I keep those separate mostly because I tend to buy them at different stores. 

Groceries at grocery stores and household goods at big-box stores, seems to be the best deals.

NinetyFour

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2014, 11:25:16 AM »
I keep them separate, mostly because I'm really interested in how I can get my food budget lower.

So far this year, just for me, I have spent an average of $195 per month.  Eesh.  I live in a smallish town, and we do not have a Costco or Aldi's.  We do have a Mall Wart, but I don't go there.

pzxc

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2014, 11:30:03 AM »
I budget them separately as "Household Supplies"

Zikoris

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2014, 11:33:45 AM »
Ours includes cleaning supplies, paper products (tp, paper towels, kleenex), and things like plastic wrap or foil.

We exclude personal care stuff - shampoo, soap, feminine hygiene, razors, etc go under "toiletries". We mostly have our own items and pay for them separately in this area, whereas for groceries we split the cost down the middle. It makes for easier math to separate them out when we buy them.

thecornercat

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2014, 12:20:41 PM »
I budget it together. This makes sense for me because I don't spend enough on household supplies for it to warrant its own category. I have recently become interested in DIY cleaning supplies, and so my expenses are getting even lower. I also buy in bulk, so it's a category that would come out empty some months if I kept it separate, and I'd just rather simplify.

okkiedokki

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2014, 12:25:14 PM »
Ok cool.  I think initially it was ok for us the budget them together because we were just getting started but now since we've really gotten going it might be better to separate them out to try and cut more costs.

jamal utah

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2014, 12:27:51 PM »
I include that stuff in my grocery budget simply because I'm often buying these things at the same place as groceries.

catccc

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2014, 12:40:41 PM »
We usually put that kind of stuff under groceries.  But we spend very little in those categories, so it doesn't make tracking separately worth the effort for us.

ruthiegirl

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2014, 12:47:36 PM »
I go one further and put all food, soap, tp, cat food and litter in one big category.  I buy all this stuff at one store -- Winco or Costco and it is simpler for me to think of it all as consumables. 

For a family of 6 with 2 cats, we spend $1000 a month on anything we eat, flush or use to clean up after ourselves. 

Cookie78

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2014, 01:01:04 PM »
I just added mine up over the last 6 years. Since I don't have the receipts, anything I bought at the grocery store I put in the grocery column. I buy most of my household stuff there.

Single person
$165/month.
However, all of my meat costs and a lot of the veggies costs are actually not in the groceries category. They are included in the hobbies (gardening, hunting) and travel (hunting trips) categories.


TerriM

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2014, 01:24:11 PM »
Groceries and household are together because they are on the same receipt.  Not worth the time to try to separate them.  If a particular item is costing a lot, it's better to focus on reducing that cost for each item.  For example:

1.  Ask the kids to reduce toilet paper by taking only one or two squares unless it's a poop

2.  We use cloth dishcloths instead of paper towels.  I buy one roll of paper towels a month and use it only for greasy cleanups that won't come out of cloth.

3.  Cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.

4.  Grow your own veggies.

5.  Make your own flavored yogurts.

6.  Choose cheaper shampoo.

etc.

I don't think knowing what the aggregate cost is of household supplies vs. groceries would necessarily help me to  reduce costs.  I think you have to look at the receipt and say "What am I spending a lot on?" and then how ask yourself how to reduce it.

themagicman

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2014, 04:26:02 PM »
We have a household items budget. When we buy groceries and household items at the same time we estimate how much out of the grocery bill was for household items

okkiedokki

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2014, 10:27:24 AM »
Thanks for the advice.  I was looking at my grocery/cleaning supply spending on mint over the last 12 months and we have been averaging $644 a month but looking at the costs since we've started cutting over spending our grocery spending has been trending downward.

I looked at some of the recent receipts we still have for something to jump out like TerriM mentioned and noticed that we spend a considerable amount on yogurt, so i'm going to start making yogurt each week.  The potential savings from what I can tell could be about $15 per week after adding the cost of fruit in for flavoring.  I think it might be this kind of stuff i focus on right now.

mak1277

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2014, 10:32:45 AM »
Is there a thread or threads anywhere here where people post their actual grocery lists and associated costs?  I'd be really interested to see exactly what people are buying that allow them to have these tiny monthly grocery bills.  I'm obviously not efficient at all in this area.

Zikoris

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2014, 10:52:05 AM »
Is there a thread or threads anywhere here where people post their actual grocery lists and associated costs?  I'd be really interested to see exactly what people are buying that allow them to have these tiny monthly grocery bills.  I'm obviously not efficient at all in this area.

I don't have a line-by-line list, but my boyfriend and kept records in March and did a blog post about it here:
http://incomingassets.com/2014/03/30/grocery-tracking-one-month-results/

We did total dollar amounts, percentage by category, rough breakdown by grocery store, and a list of the meals we made. We did include our receipts, but didn't track things like how many pounds of broccoli we bought.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 10:53:40 AM by Zikoris »

Datastache

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2014, 11:15:57 AM »
I don't budget, per se...I just endeavor to not buy anything unless I'm really sure it's worth it.

socaso

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2014, 12:18:15 PM »
We spend $500 per month for 3 people. Almost 3 meals a day (our son eats lunch at school but we pack a snack for him.) Our grocery budget covers cleaning supplies, bath soap, deodorant, paper towels, toilet paper, rubber gloves (we don't have a dishwasher) and other sundry items like aluminum foil. I buy generic everything. Also my tip for using fewer paper towels is to cut up old towels and use those for messes. We have so many we only use one per mess and then toss it in the wash and then we wash them with the other laundry once a week. They barely make an impact on the laundry.

mak1277

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2014, 12:18:35 PM »
Is there a thread or threads anywhere here where people post their actual grocery lists and associated costs?  I'd be really interested to see exactly what people are buying that allow them to have these tiny monthly grocery bills.  I'm obviously not efficient at all in this area.

I don't have a line-by-line list, but my boyfriend and kept records in March and did a blog post about it here:
http://incomingassets.com/2014/03/30/grocery-tracking-one-month-results/

We did total dollar amounts, percentage by category, rough breakdown by grocery store, and a list of the meals we made. We did include our receipts, but didn't track things like how many pounds of broccoli we bought.

Thanks...now I just need that exact same thing posted by a meat-eater :-)

Zikoris

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2014, 12:26:35 PM »
Is there a thread or threads anywhere here where people post their actual grocery lists and associated costs?  I'd be really interested to see exactly what people are buying that allow them to have these tiny monthly grocery bills.  I'm obviously not efficient at all in this area.

I don't have a line-by-line list, but my boyfriend and kept records in March and did a blog post about it here:
http://incomingassets.com/2014/03/30/grocery-tracking-one-month-results/

We did total dollar amounts, percentage by category, rough breakdown by grocery store, and a list of the meals we made. We did include our receipts, but didn't track things like how many pounds of broccoli we bought.

Thanks...now I just need that exact same thing posted by a meat-eater :-)

It should be pretty comparable, if not cheaper - soy milk, almond yogurt, and vegetarian meat subs are still more expensive than their animal counterparts, unfortunately.

2ndTimer

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2014, 12:55:03 PM »
We average $200/month for two adults and two cats.  Went a bit over last month because I found a great deal on cat litter.  Will bring it back down this month by eating out of the freezer and pantry quite a bit.

thecornercat

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2014, 01:07:37 PM »
For a little while I was tracking the exact unit cost of the grocery items we bought just so we would be more price-aware, but I only did that for like a month. It paid off tremendously, though, because now I know when something is too expensive / a better buy elsewhere.


My budget (household and groceries) is consistently $100/mo for one person. In October it came to $70/mo -- I think because we were out of town for 4 days. I am vegetarian, but we don't buy alternative products. Sometimes we'll get tofu, but if I want veggie patties, I make them at home (surprisingly easy and also you can freeze them).


Probably the big difference is that we don't really buy processed anything. No juice, no chips (only rice crackers -- which has 2 ingredients), no cookies, no hummus, etc. Processed foods cost SO MUCH. If we really want a snack, we just go the extra step to make it (and that way it controls overeating of junk food too). We still don't make our own yogurt...


mak1277

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2014, 01:18:20 PM »
Is there a thread or threads anywhere here where people post their actual grocery lists and associated costs?  I'd be really interested to see exactly what people are buying that allow them to have these tiny monthly grocery bills.  I'm obviously not efficient at all in this area.

I don't have a line-by-line list, but my boyfriend and kept records in March and did a blog post about it here:
http://incomingassets.com/2014/03/30/grocery-tracking-one-month-results/

We did total dollar amounts, percentage by category, rough breakdown by grocery store, and a list of the meals we made. We did include our receipts, but didn't track things like how many pounds of broccoli we bought.

Thanks...now I just need that exact same thing posted by a meat-eater :-)

It should be pretty comparable, if not cheaper - soy milk, almond yogurt, and vegetarian meat subs are still more expensive than their animal counterparts, unfortunately.

Interesting...I looked through your receipt photos on your blog as well, which was helpful.  Can I ask (you or anyone else), about how many calories do you eat in a day? 

prudence

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2014, 01:24:21 PM »
I include cleaning supplies, not shampoos etc.. but I use mostly baking soda and vinegar to clean so its not a budget  breaker.

Zikoris

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2014, 02:11:42 PM »
Is there a thread or threads anywhere here where people post their actual grocery lists and associated costs?  I'd be really interested to see exactly what people are buying that allow them to have these tiny monthly grocery bills.  I'm obviously not efficient at all in this area.

I don't have a line-by-line list, but my boyfriend and kept records in March and did a blog post about it here:
http://incomingassets.com/2014/03/30/grocery-tracking-one-month-results/

We did total dollar amounts, percentage by category, rough breakdown by grocery store, and a list of the meals we made. We did include our receipts, but didn't track things like how many pounds of broccoli we bought.

Thanks...now I just need that exact same thing posted by a meat-eater :-)

It should be pretty comparable, if not cheaper - soy milk, almond yogurt, and vegetarian meat subs are still more expensive than their animal counterparts, unfortunately.

Interesting...I looked through your receipt photos on your blog as well, which was helpful.  Can I ask (you or anyone else), about how many calories do you eat in a day?

I'm not sure actually! I'm 160lbs and he's 110lbs, and neither of us is gaining or losing weight. We both exercise moderately but don't work out with weights in a gym or anything. I've thought about trying to figure out the calories in some of our dishes, but it would be quite difficult since we don't really measure anything.

A typical day's menu would be something like:

Breakfast - homemade 10-grain muffin and soy milk (probably about 1/2 a cup)
Snack - banana or orange and 1/4 cup almonds
Lunch - Stir fry with chopped veggie burger and mixed brown/white rice
Snack - Slice of bread with peanut butter, or some sort of baked good (muffin, brownie, etc - I don't use any frosting/icing or much sugar, so way less sweet than you might be thinking)
Dinner - Lentil stew with biscuits

Any idea what that would come to for calories?

1967mama

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2014, 02:22:06 PM »
Motivated by other posts on the forum, I've decided to do a detailed spreadsheet of exactly what food is purchased in the month of December for our household. I've seen others do this before -- sorry I don't have links to those posts for you, but maybe you could dig around for them?

My spreadsheet looks something like this:

FRUIT
oranges $4.00
apples $2.00
bananas $3.00

VEGETABLES
carrots $2.00
celery $3.00
potatoes $2.00

DAIRY
milk $2.50
cheese $6.00

etc, etc. 

What I will do is each time we buy more food, I will put it in the next column to add up all the times we buy that product. If we buy something new next week, I will add it to the list -- maybe grapes will be on sale or something. Already, I noticed one GLARING problem -- we buy WAYYYYYYY to much yogurt! I have dug out my recipe for making yogurt from scratch. I think we have been on a bit of a yogurt kick lately, but $31 in yogurt in a week? really?


okkiedokki

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2014, 02:28:26 PM »
.
.
.

What I will do is each time we buy more food, I will put it in the next column to add up all the times we buy that product. If we buy something new next week, I will add it to the list -- maybe grapes will be on sale or something. Already, I noticed one GLARING problem -- we buy WAYYYYYYY to much yogurt! I have dug out my recipe for making yogurt from scratch. I think we have been on a bit of a yogurt kick lately, but $31 in yogurt in a week? really?

That's what I noticed last night when i was reviewing receipts as being the first glaring problem of overspending where we don't have to spend.  A guy at work makes his own yogurt and has for 20 years and says it's super easy.  He's going to bring me a cup of his to start my own.

NinetyFour

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2014, 02:35:46 PM »

Mesmoiselle

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2014, 02:57:33 PM »
Husband and I, two dogs. $200 for us, $20 for them. $25-$50 for household items.

Dog stuff is separate.
Household is separate. (for the most part. The vinegar and baking soda is used for cleaning as well as cooking. only overlap)
Our food is separate.

I use YNAB and have about 10 master categories with 80 sub categories. Details let you know what is happening. I never wonder "where" the money went.

Lizzy B.

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2014, 03:04:27 PM »
This thread may be of some interest:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/track-and-categorize-grocery-spending-all-march!/

I must have read this and then forgotten about it because I've been categorizing our grocery store recipes since mid March but couldn't remember ever seeing this challenge before.  Yet another example of how the MMM lifestyle gets in your head.

Tracking has been really helpful. For example, I now know that veggies, dairy, starches, and meat are just about tied for percentage of my budget. Considering how little meat we eat (once a week unless we're having someone over), meat takes up an outsize portion of the budget. That's helpful to know come meal planning time. It's also embarrassing how much of that budget is for starches.  I'd never have realized it without tracking it.  I keep meaning to chart the percentages over time to see how they change, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

That's my new goal. Get starches down and decrease food waste. Groceries are the one category that I still need a lot of work on, and this really helps.

okkiedokki

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2014, 10:17:40 AM »
This thread may be of some interest:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/track-and-categorize-grocery-spending-all-march!/

I read through this thread last night; it was very interesting.  I'm going to start tracking our grocery items like this as well.  We meal plan for the week and that's what goes into our grocery list but it would be good to see where things are.

RunHappy

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2014, 10:36:02 AM »
I budget it all together because I usually buy it at the same time, but I typically buy it in bulk when I can.

For example, when I go to places like Target I hit their clearance aisles first to see what is on markdown.  Stores will sometimes mark products down because the manufacturer changes the box, label, color, etc.  When Dial soap changed the bottle, I found several of the gallon size hand soaps for less than a dollar (7 I think).  I bought every bottle (non-perishable).  This was 3 years ago and I'm only now down to one bottle.

For the ladies out there I do the same with feminine products.  we know we're going to need them every month for 20-30 years, so there is no sense in only buying enough to get you though the next 28 days.

Edit:  I am now living with someone who is frugal in some ways but not in others.  The grocery/household thing is more than likely going to change.  He found my soap and shampoo stash interesting.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 10:38:27 AM by RunHappy »

Lia-Aimee

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2014, 10:52:24 AM »
-Eat as many meatless meals as you can.  Eggs, beans, lentils, and rice are all relatively healthy low-cost protein sources (make sure you read up on combining to ensure you get all your amino acids.)
-Supplement your fresh vegetables with frozen ones.
-If you have a lifestyle where you sometimes do have to eat out, find the "chain" with the cheapest food options that you're comfortable with, without sacrificing health.  Go there and only there.

APowers

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Re: grocery budget?
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2014, 11:34:48 PM »
I was re-reading an older article today "Killing your $1000 Grocery budget" because it popped up when I first came back to the site.  It made me realize something that I wanted to see how others budget.  When I was reading through the article I found myself thinking of soaps, shampoo, detergents, and other cleaners that we buy as well.  My grocery budget includes cost for all those household and personal cleaners. 

So I guess my question I have is, do you guys budget separately for those items or include it in your grocery budget?

We budget separately for "food" (anything we eat) and "household" (stuff we need/use around the house).

Is there a thread or threads anywhere here where people post their actual grocery lists and associated costs?  I'd be really interested to see exactly what people are buying that allow them to have these tiny monthly grocery bills.  I'm obviously not efficient at all in this area.

I don't have a line-by-line list, but my boyfriend and kept records in March and did a blog post about it here:
http://incomingassets.com/2014/03/30/grocery-tracking-one-month-results/

We did total dollar amounts, percentage by category, rough breakdown by grocery store, and a list of the meals we made. We did include our receipts, but didn't track things like how many pounds of broccoli we bought.

Thanks...now I just need that exact same thing posted by a meat-eater :-)

It should be pretty comparable, if not cheaper - soy milk, almond yogurt, and vegetarian meat subs are still more expensive than their animal counterparts, unfortunately.

We keep a record of exactly what we buy and the cost of each item broken down by month. We don't usually organize the list, though-- one of us reads off the item/cost and the other enters it into the spreadsheet.

Attached are our food expenditures for april-september of this year. Not shown in august is an Azure order (bulk foods, mainly oatmeal) of $67.45. This is a luxurious food budget for us. Notice the ice cream, nuts, sliced turkey, and pre-made guacamole.