Author Topic: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?  (Read 5225 times)

PoutineLover

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Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« on: September 22, 2018, 08:57:31 AM »
There was a moment in my provincial debate where a party leader suggested that $75 (cad) per week was a low but possible amount to spend on groceries for a family with 1 adult and 2 kids/teens. Everyone else basically claimed he was crazy and one leader started he spends $250/week for a family of 4. I didn't think it was that ridiculous, obviously you'd have to be shopping sales, buying cheap staples and maybe not eating all that much meat, but it's enough to live on. I thought the $250 figure was way more out of touch because I don't think most families can drop a grand on groceries every month.
Who do you think is more out of touch? When leaders often earn much more than an average constituent, how should they discuss food budgets like this?

wordnerd

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2018, 09:06:23 AM »
I don't know about Canadian prices. We are at about $75 US per week for two adults and a toddler who doesn't eat much (we have a baby too but he's still nursing).

Linea_Norway

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2018, 09:08:16 AM »
Don't you in America have a reference budget? In Norway the is a stately organization that makes budgets for people who need to live on a minimum. Like people who have a large part of their salary withdrawn for paying off debt. This budget organization calculates what you can live on as a single, pair or family. This budget is used to calculate that a person will receive at least that much in salary, while the rest goes to debt.

TheHardenedInvestor

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2018, 09:08:21 AM »
When people say “grocery” budget I assume everything that would be bought at a grocery store on a regular basis. This includes paper products, health and beauty, etc. So, not just “groceries” like food. So is your $75 just food or does it include everything else?

OtherJen

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2018, 09:32:00 AM »
Don't you in America have a reference budget? In Norway the is a stately organization that makes budgets for people who need to live on a minimum. Like people who have a large part of their salary withdrawn for paying off debt. This budget organization calculates what you can live on as a single, pair or family. This budget is used to calculate that a person will receive at least that much in salary, while the rest goes to debt.

I think the OP is Canadian. But yes, the US govt does have reference budgets for food expenditures.

APowers

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2018, 09:32:59 AM »
When people say “grocery” budget I assume everything that would be bought at a grocery store on a regular basis. This includes paper products, health and beauty, etc. So, not just “groceries” like food. So is your $75 just food or does it include everything else?

My grocery budget ($50/wk for 2 adults 2 kids) is just food, but then, that's literally all I buy at the grocery store. Well, I bought paper towels at Safeway once, but that was a fluke sale. I generally buy my non-food dry goods at other stores that are better at low-price strategies *ahemwalmartahem*.

I'm also in the US, so $75/wk sounds like a reasonable low baseline, given Canadian dollar being more inflated than the US dollar, and food in general being more expensive.

ormaybemidgets

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2018, 11:04:35 AM »
For one, my all-ALDI budget is about $25. But I've found adding another person more than doubles that, because I eat less than the usual amounts of meat and cheese.

On the topic of the out-of-touch referencing costs:


nessness

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2018, 11:26:49 AM »
This is going to depend heavily on where you live. Where I live (US, MCOL) it would be tight but doable, but my impression is that groceries are quite a bit more expensive in Canada.

neophyte

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2018, 11:40:04 AM »
Seems like a stretch to me. Feeding one adult and two small children, probably doable. Feeding one adult and 2 teen boys? That's like trying to feed 5 adults on $75 dollars a week. I don't think it can be done.

cats

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2018, 11:46:59 AM »
In the US, $300 USD/month for a family of four is possible if you pay attention to sales and have the option to buy stuff in bulk and the time to cook most meals from scratch.  It definitely doesn’t allow for a lot of meat/dairy consumption, packaged convenience foods, alcohol, etc, but yes, I think a basic nutritious diet is possible.  I hear groceries are a lot more expensive in Canada though, so...

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2018, 12:20:57 PM »
We spend $200-300 a month on groceries for 2 adults.

Zikoris

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2018, 01:05:58 PM »
We've spent $50/week for two adults for many years with no difficulty, so that seems about right assuming you're cooking all the food an not buying expensive convenience stuff.

Ecky

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2018, 06:35:01 PM »
I'd say I average around $40 per week for just myself. I eat a vegan diet whose staples are largely inexpensive things like beans and rice, but also contains some processed foods like chips, salsa, tofu, alternative milks, cereal, and... chocolate. I'm a 5'6" 115lb male though. Bigger guys I'm sure would have correspondingly bigger grocery bills.

Zikoris

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2018, 06:41:14 PM »
I'd say I average around $40 per week for just myself. I eat a vegan diet whose staples are largely inexpensive things like beans and rice, but also contains some processed foods like chips, salsa, tofu, alternative milks, cereal, and... chocolate. I'm a 5'6" 115lb male though. Bigger guys I'm sure would have correspondingly bigger grocery bills.

This is crazy, you're basically a clone of my boyfriend. He's the same height and weight, and eats almost identically (vegan, mostly staples). Except he doesn't like chocolate or beans. It was just such a funny coincidence I had to say it.

mountain mustache

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2018, 07:53:16 PM »
I spend about $75 a week on just me. Some months a little lower, some months a little higher if I have a big Costco stock up. I live in CO in a very HCOL area...spending less would maybe be possible if I did not eat meat, and if I was not an athlete. I don't eat dairy products, so most of the expense comes from buying good meat, and some (definitely not all) organic produce. I love cooking and like to experiment with new recipes all the time, so that probably plays into having a higher variety of products that I buy. When I lived with a BF, we easily spent less than $100 a week for the two of us, but he was super picky, so we ate the same boring (and more budget conscious) food all the time.

Freedomin5

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2018, 12:54:34 AM »
In Toronto, shopping at Food Basics/No Frills, I could feed a family of five adults and one kid for around $100/week this summer.

Lots of fresh in-season fruit (e.g., bought 8 boxes of strawberries when it was $1.97/box) which we froze before it rotted, lots of in season veggies (fresh sweet Ontario corn), and minimal amounts of processed or canned foods. Also minimal meat - bought meat on sale when it was marked down for quick sale.

It’s doable, but I think it does require pre-planning, the ability to recognize deals, a large enough freezer that you can stock up on cheap foods, stable electricity supply, etc. For low income families that may or may not have a steady source of electricity or even a stable home, I don’t know if they can utilize some of the cost-saving strategies (like buying in bulk) that most people can use.

Cassie

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2018, 12:22:05 PM »
We spend 400/month for 2 adults. We eat meat daily. We buy some convenience foods for when we are rushed or tired. We live in a MCOL.

OtherJen

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2018, 12:31:10 PM »
This month, we're at $330 so far for two adults, although at least $60 of that was freezer/pantry stocking because of good sales. I'll probably spend about $5 on salad greens and cottage cheese at Aldi later this week, and that will be it for September.

We live in a low-medium COL area and although this is about $100 less/month than we were previously spending (mindful shopping really works!), my goal for October is to do even better.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2018, 02:24:55 PM »
We average about US$125/week, for two adults and two small children. We buy quite a bit in bulk from Costco and eat very little meat, but aren't making any particular effort to keep the cost to a bare minimum, and there's also some beer/wine/soap/toilet paper contributing to that number. We could survive on a US$75/week budget for food alone if needed. Not sure about CA$75, and especially not when teenagers are involved.

letired

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2018, 02:30:54 PM »
I aim for ~$25 a week for just myself, though YNAB says it's closer to $30 for the last year. This includes some alcohol purchases, and effectively no non-food purchases. I almost never purchase and cook meat, but do buy organic milk and a decent amount of fancy pre-washed salad.

Cassie

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2018, 05:11:59 PM »
Ours includes all our paper products, cleaning supplies, etc.

bluebelle

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2018, 10:33:22 AM »
not sure what province you're in, but $75/wk for 1 adult and 2 teens does not seem reasonable to me, especially if those teens are boys.  I'm sure it's doable if you have to, and are eating alot of rice and beans.  I don't have to, so I haven't tried.   We're closer to that per person in our household (2 adults), but it does include everything bought at the very big box grocery I shop at (they price match sale prices), so shampoo, soap, laundry, care need stuff for my very elderly mother (she's in a retirement home, but I need to supply personal care items).....DH is a big eater, and I'm not a small eater.....we cook 95% of our meals from scratch.  We can both tell the difference between grocery meat and the butcher and the difference between grocery fish and fish monger, so we make the conscious decision to pay more for the quality we want. 

boarder42

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2018, 11:05:42 AM »
not sure what province you're in, but $75/wk for 1 adult and 2 teens does not seem reasonable to me, especially if those teens are boys.  I'm sure it's doable if you have to, and are eating alot of rice and beans.  I don't have to, so I haven't tried.   We're closer to that per person in our household (2 adults), but it does include everything bought at the very big box grocery I shop at (they price match sale prices), so shampoo, soap, laundry, care need stuff for my very elderly mother (she's in a retirement home, but I need to supply personal care items).....DH is a big eater, and I'm not a small eater.....we cook 95% of our meals from scratch.  We can both tell the difference between grocery meat and the butcher and the difference between grocery fish and fish monger, so we make the conscious decision to pay more for the quality we want.

but can you really -  i mean seriously claims like this i always laugh at and go back to  brain games episode where so called wine experts chose the franzia in a nice looking bottle over the 150 dollar bottle of wine in the bottle with a clown on it.  in blind taste tests most(pretty much everyone) can't tell the difference between things like this. 


OtherJen

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2018, 11:19:47 AM »
not sure what province you're in, but $75/wk for 1 adult and 2 teens does not seem reasonable to me, especially if those teens are boys.  I'm sure it's doable if you have to, and are eating alot of rice and beans.  I don't have to, so I haven't tried.   We're closer to that per person in our household (2 adults), but it does include everything bought at the very big box grocery I shop at (they price match sale prices), so shampoo, soap, laundry, care need stuff for my very elderly mother (she's in a retirement home, but I need to supply personal care items).....DH is a big eater, and I'm not a small eater.....we cook 95% of our meals from scratch.  We can both tell the difference between grocery meat and the butcher and the difference between grocery fish and fish monger, so we make the conscious decision to pay more for the quality we want.

but can you really -  i mean seriously claims like this i always laugh at and go back to  brain games episode where so called wine experts chose the franzia in a nice looking bottle over the 150 dollar bottle of wine in the bottle with a clown on it.  in blind taste tests most(pretty much everyone) can't tell the difference between things like this.

This is definitely true about the wine and probably about the beef, but fish is tricky. I think the difference would probably be obvious if one was comparing fish directly out of refrigerated cases—in my area, at least, grocery store "fresh" fish often smells "fishy"—but would be much harder if comparing frozen grocery store fish. I buy frozen wild-caught salmon and cod and the filets barely have any odor at all when thawed. It's also usually cheaper than buying fresh.

bluebelle

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2018, 11:49:10 AM »
not sure what province you're in, but $75/wk for 1 adult and 2 teens does not seem reasonable to me, especially if those teens are boys.  I'm sure it's doable if you have to, and are eating alot of rice and beans.  I don't have to, so I haven't tried.   We're closer to that per person in our household (2 adults), but it does include everything bought at the very big box grocery I shop at (they price match sale prices), so shampoo, soap, laundry, care need stuff for my very elderly mother (she's in a retirement home, but I need to supply personal care items).....DH is a big eater, and I'm not a small eater.....we cook 95% of our meals from scratch.  We can both tell the difference between grocery meat and the butcher and the difference between grocery fish and fish monger, so we make the conscious decision to pay more for the quality we want.

but can you really -  i mean seriously claims like this i always laugh at and go back to  brain games episode where so called wine experts chose the franzia in a nice looking bottle over the 150 dollar bottle of wine in the bottle with a clown on it.  in blind taste tests most(pretty much everyone) can't tell the difference between things like this.
Yes, actually I can tell the difference between grocery store meat and the butcher and grocery fish and a fish monger.  Thanks for assuming I couldn't.  If you can't, I fully support your choice for the cheaper cut.   Since I've done comparisions, I can state that.  We both have very keen senses of smell, I can't go near the fish in a grocery store, it smells too badly.  And to clarify, we buy our chicken at the grocery, because we don't see a difference, but we see a difference between the steaks and pork chops/roasts.

boarder42

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2018, 12:20:04 PM »
not sure what province you're in, but $75/wk for 1 adult and 2 teens does not seem reasonable to me, especially if those teens are boys.  I'm sure it's doable if you have to, and are eating alot of rice and beans.  I don't have to, so I haven't tried.   We're closer to that per person in our household (2 adults), but it does include everything bought at the very big box grocery I shop at (they price match sale prices), so shampoo, soap, laundry, care need stuff for my very elderly mother (she's in a retirement home, but I need to supply personal care items).....DH is a big eater, and I'm not a small eater.....we cook 95% of our meals from scratch.  We can both tell the difference between grocery meat and the butcher and the difference between grocery fish and fish monger, so we make the conscious decision to pay more for the quality we want.

but can you really -  i mean seriously claims like this i always laugh at and go back to  brain games episode where so called wine experts chose the franzia in a nice looking bottle over the 150 dollar bottle of wine in the bottle with a clown on it.  in blind taste tests most(pretty much everyone) can't tell the difference between things like this.
Yes, actually I can tell the difference between grocery store meat and the butcher and grocery fish and a fish monger.  Thanks for assuming I couldn't.  If you can't, I fully support your choice for the cheaper cut.   Since I've done comparisions, I can state that.  We both have very keen senses of smell, I can't go near the fish in a grocery store, it smells too badly.  And to clarify, we buy our chicken at the grocery, because we don't see a difference, but we see a difference between the steaks and pork chops/roasts.

i'm not assuming you cant - i'm stating its highly improbable you can even though you think you can.  and come on now a roast really?  You may be in the .1% of people who can actually do this but its not probable. you can get a bad cut of fish from the grocery store or from a high end fish market.  But whatever helps you sleep at night.

the true test would be if someone was actually giving you grocery store beef when you walked into the butcher that you thought was from the butcher and it wasnt - just buying beef from two different places and coming to the conclusion you believed to be true at the beginning is confirmation bias not a true study on if you have the power to tell the difference.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 12:21:46 PM by boarder42 »

PoutineLover

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2018, 12:29:59 PM »
Interesting to see the different perspectives. I personally spend about 80 a week on food, but that lumps together grocery and eating out. I think it's about 50-60 on groceries and 20-30 on eating out. I'm also not on a particularly tight budget, although I try to buy smart. I stock up on sales and mostly cook at home and pack lunches. I think that if I needed to spend less I could, but I'm pretty comfortable with this level of spending in my budget. It definitely takes a certain amount of skill to shop efficiently, and not all those on lower incomes have the tools or skills to eat healthy foods on a tight budget.
In the discussion of whether the difference in food can be tasted, I'd say with bacon it's super easy to tell between packaged grocery store stuff and real butcher stuff. With most other meat, it's on a bit of a spectrum depending on the type. My argument for buying from a local butcher shop is more environmental and local business oriented than taste oriented, but if money were no object I think I'd always choose my local butcher over a chain store. Since I'm not there, I do a mix of both.
This is in Quebec, for those who are wondering.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2018, 12:34:09 PM »
$25 per person per week, or $3.60 a day. Back in grad school as an early 20s guys I probably spent less than that.  Breakfast was a massive amount of oatmeal ($0.45/pound) with a chopped up apple ($3 for a 5 pound bag), lunch was skipped, and then dinner was rice & beans or salad. So I would say $3.60 per person per day qualifies as a "a low but possible amount to spend on groceries."

That being said, it's pretty easy to spend $9 per person per day on groceries ($250/wk)...especially if you get in the expensive (but delicious) habit of picking up those little trays of sushi at the grocery store.

singpolyma

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2018, 12:34:17 PM »
We're in southern Ontario spending $50 / week for two adults and a toddler (and we could spend less if we tried). So seems very realistic to me.

okits

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2018, 12:56:18 PM »
There was a moment in my provincial debate where a party leader suggested that $75 (cad) per week was a low but possible amount to spend on groceries for a family with 1 adult and 2 kids/teens. Everyone else basically claimed he was crazy and one leader started he spends $250/week for a family of 4. I didn't think it was that ridiculous, obviously you'd have to be shopping sales, buying cheap staples and maybe not eating all that much meat, but it's enough to live on. I thought the $250 figure was way more out of touch because I don't think most families can drop a grand on groceries every month.
Who do you think is more out of touch? When leaders often earn much more than an average constituent, how should they discuss food budgets like this?

I think they are equally out of touch.

As Mustachians we all know we could stretch $75 CAD a week into food for a family of three.  But we are willing to do all sorts of frugal things mainstream culture doesn't encourage.  This party leader was out of touch in thinking the majority of voters would respond well to hearing that they aren't already making optimal grocery purchasing choices.  It's more voter friendly to say food costs too much than to say people could meal plan and reduce meat to spend less on groceries.

The $250 CAD/week figure for a family of four is basically 2.5x what the other party leader argued for.  I think throwing that number out there was out of touch because the majority of voters don't want to be reminded that their politicians (already not so highly regarded) earn much more than the average person.  That party leader needs a better research team or speech writer (or whoever the handlers are that keep politicians from making obvious gaffes).  I think this figure is common enough for more affluent families, or those who really value food and home cooking. 

As for how party leaders should talk about food budgets, having some data to back up their claims (even just survey answers), using a range that would include most households ($100-200/week would cover the majority of people because if you spend $75 or $250 you are not too far out of that range and don't feel alienated), and if you are going to argue for the $75/week figure, FFS, post a concrete example on your party website detailing meals, ingredients, quantities, and grocery sources.  Then people can grumble that it's too much work vs. it can't be done.

mm1970

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2018, 02:56:21 PM »
not sure what province you're in, but $75/wk for 1 adult and 2 teens does not seem reasonable to me, especially if those teens are boys.  I'm sure it's doable if you have to, and are eating alot of rice and beans.  I don't have to, so I haven't tried.   We're closer to that per person in our household (2 adults), but it does include everything bought at the very big box grocery I shop at (they price match sale prices), so shampoo, soap, laundry, care need stuff for my very elderly mother (she's in a retirement home, but I need to supply personal care items).....DH is a big eater, and I'm not a small eater.....we cook 95% of our meals from scratch.  We can both tell the difference between grocery meat and the butcher and the difference between grocery fish and fish monger, so we make the conscious decision to pay more for the quality we want.

but can you really -  i mean seriously claims like this i always laugh at and go back to  brain games episode where so called wine experts chose the franzia in a nice looking bottle over the 150 dollar bottle of wine in the bottle with a clown on it.  in blind taste tests most(pretty much everyone) can't tell the difference between things like this.
Yes, actually I can tell the difference between grocery store meat and the butcher and grocery fish and a fish monger.  Thanks for assuming I couldn't.  If you can't, I fully support your choice for the cheaper cut.   Since I've done comparisions, I can state that.  We both have very keen senses of smell, I can't go near the fish in a grocery store, it smells too badly.  And to clarify, we buy our chicken at the grocery, because we don't see a difference, but we see a difference between the steaks and pork chops/roasts.

i'm not assuming you cant - i'm stating its highly improbable you can even though you think you can.  and come on now a roast really?  You may be in the .1% of people who can actually do this but its not probable. you can get a bad cut of fish from the grocery store or from a high end fish market.  But whatever helps you sleep at night.

the true test would be if someone was actually giving you grocery store beef when you walked into the butcher that you thought was from the butcher and it wasnt - just buying beef from two different places and coming to the conclusion you believed to be true at the beginning is confirmation bias not a true study on if you have the power to tell the difference.
I can definitely tell for fish.  My neighbor gets fresh salmon from his "fish guy" (in exchange for services) and he gives us what he can't eat and it is DIVINE.  My goodness.

I don't eat enough beef to be able to tell, I think.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2018, 03:44:54 PM »
I am not familiar with the Canadian equivalent of the USDA thrifty food plan, but it seems Health Canada has a National Nutritious Food Basket that can be used to compare prices across provinces.  The Edmonton, Alberta figures say it would cost $232/week to feed an adult female and two teen boys.

https://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd16557

By contrast, the USDA says the "thrifty" amount for an adult female and two teen boys in the U.S. is $118 a week.

I have no idea how much of the difference is driven by food prices vs. differences in how the two countries define a healthy minimal diet.

I have seen a lot about how the U.S. figures are too liberal, but I think you have to take into account that the figures assume a) all meals and snacks are prepared at home and b) the person is shopping at the grocery store(s) easily available to them rather than shopping sales at multiple stores, etc,  Shopping multiple stores for sales requires extra time, access to transportation, and access to a variety of stores, none of which are true for a lot of people on food assistance.

According to the USDA figures, my family can spend $528/month to meet the U.S. thrifty guidelines, and that is almost exactly what we spend without a lot of extra effort in a MCOL city.  We're mindful of prices and choices, mostly shop at Aldi, but pretty much buy what we want.  But we also eat a few meals out a month, so it's not the total cost of our food.

rdaneel0

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2018, 06:23:56 PM »
This is hard question for a few reasons. First, does this budget mean the family gets $75 each week, or that they get $300 a month? There's a big difference in terms of cooking and meal planning. At $300 a month it would be challenging but not impossible, if you were willing to cut down big time on milk consumption (for older kids and teens) and have no pre-made snacks. With a $300 a month budget you can stock up on meat at .99 a pound when it goes on sale, freeze the excess, and buy condiments, oils, spices, and canned goods whenever they go on sale. Then, you could use the remainder to buy fresh produce and a few luxuries (chocolate, cheese) and roll over savings to the next month. For reference, $300 a month is my goal budget for two active adults in a very HCOL area in the US.

I think $75 a week would be significantly harder, because you would be forced to buy many items at full-price and you wouldn't be able to stock up on deals. Either way, it's an ok budget for an adult with two little kids, but an adult with two teens...doable, but not super easy.

The other major variables are time and ability. If this were a two parent family with one parent at home full-time, with the ability to bake bread, make sauces from scratch, make dried beans from scratch, etc...then $300 a month would be plenty! Of course, most people on such plans are working like crazy, do not have a stay at home spouse, and may or may not have serious cooking skills.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 06:26:25 PM by rdaneel0 »

PoutineLover

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2018, 07:38:17 PM »
Just to be a bit more clear, he wasn't saying that it was necessarily desirable or healthy to spend that amount, but that some families do it. He acknowledged it's a struggle to eat well on that amount, and a lot of work to keep the budget that low, but that it is doable. It wasn't meant to be a detailed response, so 300/month vs 75/week wasn't specified.
I also just found out that the net worth of the guy who mentioned 75/week is about 450k (but he didn't claim to only spend 75 a week). The guy who said he spends 250/week is worth 10mil. Pretty significant difference there. Could account for some of the difference in perspective.

Davnasty

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2018, 08:16:43 AM »
I've scanned through a few websites like this one https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Canada&country2=United+States to get an idea of cost comparison but I haven't found what I think are reliable numbers. I know it's tough to compare as prices are going to vary as much or more from city to city as they do between countries but even sites that compare cities like https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living, have numbers I can't agree with. My conclusion is that the people this politician was addressing will pay more than I do but not by more than +15%.

Someone mentioned giving a detailed breakdown to support his claim, which I agree would help his cause. Unfortunately the people offended by his claim probably aren't the type to look at a detailed breakdown of how to do it, they'd rather just complain. So from a political standpoint it was probably a mistake to bring it up. That said I would defend his claim based on some meal plans I've put together in the past. I know I can feed myself 3000+ calories for 7 days for right about $21. This was calculated without any sales and including the cost of condiments. I even excluded Aldi prices for this analysis. I ate primarily beans, rice, oatmeal, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, eggs, greens, sausage, chicken, butter and milk (probably replace butter with oil and skip the milk if I was in Canada). I would consider what I ate to be very healthy and delicious, with a few boring meals.

If we assume 1 mother and 2 kids need 7500 calories (this would vary considerably by their age and size) then:

7500/3000=2.5
$21*2.5=$52.50
$52.50*1.15=$60.38   +15% for Canadian prices
$60.38*1.29=$77.89.   Convert to CAD

That's pretty close to $75 and I think I was estimating on the high end in terms of calories and the +15% for Canadian prices. Add in some sales and I don't think $75 would be that difficult. And of course this is all based on getting good nutrition, if it was a matter of not being able to pay rent or holding credit card debt this could be cut further by removing some meat and vegetables.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 08:20:28 AM by Dabnasty »

Davnasty

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2018, 08:38:06 AM »
When people say “grocery” budget I assume everything that would be bought at a grocery store on a regular basis. This includes paper products, health and beauty, etc. So, not just “groceries” like food. So is your $75 just food or does it include everything else?

I don't think it makes sense to include household products in a discussion like this and I would assume that is not what the politician had in mind. I understand combing them for tracking purposes as they go on the same receipt/credit card statement and breaking them out is more work but it adds huge variables to a conversation that is already difficult to compare by region. I could see the argument for things like aluminum foil which are used directly in food prep but I do not include any of it. Especially in the context of this conversation I would argue that paper products and disposables should not be used at all if you're trying to minimize your food budget, they're convenience products that can be replaced with elbow grease. The only disposable product I see as a true necessity in the kitchen is dish soap, which adds maybe $1/month?

It would actually make more sense to me to include the additional water/electricity/gas used by cooking all meals at home and cooking foods like beans which are cheap but need to cook longer. However, I consider this negligible and I suspect most people would.

Lews Therin

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #36 on: September 26, 2018, 06:02:08 AM »
There was a moment in my provincial debate where a party leader suggested that $75 (cad) per week was a low but possible amount to spend on groceries for a family with 1 adult and 2 kids/teens. Everyone else basically claimed he was crazy and one leader started he spends $250/week for a family of 4. I didn't think it was that ridiculous, obviously you'd have to be shopping sales, buying cheap staples and maybe not eating all that much meat, but it's enough to live on. I thought the $250 figure was way more out of touch because I don't think most families can drop a grand on groceries every month.
Who do you think is more out of touch? When leaders often earn much more than an average constituent, how should they discuss food budgets like this?

I presented at CM*TO how to be below that number. 250$ per month for three is reasonable, though it takes effort. (150$/2 here, but that's with a ton of flyer shopping)

BSL18

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2018, 08:22:39 AM »
I'd say it is definitely possible, although the teen boys won't always be happy with what's in the plate. We are 2 adults, eat quite a lot, and we are at 115/wk including everything that can be bought in the local Metro store (paper towels, beer, shower stuff, etc...).

Although I admit it would definitely take some meal planning and a few vegetarian meal along the way.
When people say “grocery” budget I assume everything that would be bought at a grocery store on a regular basis. This includes paper products, health and beauty, etc. So, not just “groceries” like food. So is your $75 just food or does it include everything else?

I don't think it makes sense to include household products in a discussion like this and I would assume that is not what the politician had in mind. I understand combing them for tracking purposes as they go on the same receipt/credit card statement and breaking them out is more work but it adds huge variables to a conversation that is already difficult to compare by region. I could see the argument for things like aluminum foil which are used directly in food prep but I do not include any of it. Especially in the context of this conversation I would argue that paper products and disposables should not be used at all if you're trying to minimize your food budget, they're convenience products that can be replaced with elbow grease. The only disposable product I see as a true necessity in the kitchen is dish soap, which adds maybe $1/month?

It would actually make more sense to me to include the additional water/electricity/gas used by cooking all meals at home and cooking foods like beans which are cheap but need to cook longer. However, I consider this negligible and I suspect most people would.

I do include all I buy there in the same tracking category, as the percentage it represents just does not make it worth tracking seperately (at least for me).

Lews Therin

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2018, 09:31:59 AM »
I'd say it is definitely possible, although the teen boys won't always be happy with what's in the plate. We are 2 adults, eat quite a lot, and we are at 115/wk including everything that can be bought in the local Metro store (paper towels, beer, shower stuff, etc...).

Metro has ridiculously high prices compared to Discount grocery stores (no Frills, Food Basics, Freshco) Just changing stores would reduce your spending by a large amount.

BSL18

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2018, 12:24:02 PM »
Believe me, I do know that!! Only other option I have in a 60 km radius is IGA... I go there whenever there's something interesting on their flyer. I try to stop at Maxi or SuperC when I have to go past this 60km radius. There's a price to pay for having no traffic all year long!

I'd say it is definitely possible, although the teen boys won't always be happy with what's in the plate. We are 2 adults, eat quite a lot, and we are at 115/wk including everything that can be bought in the local Metro store (paper towels, beer, shower stuff, etc...).

Metro has ridiculously high prices compared to Discount grocery stores (no Frills, Food Basics, Freshco) Just changing stores would reduce your spending by a large amount.

degrom7

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2018, 05:04:40 PM »
On average about $30-40 a week on grocery for 2 people. Costco purchases (paper towels, tissue, toilet paper, canola oil, coffee, etc.) is in addition.

use2betrix

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2018, 04:11:38 PM »
My wife and I spend about $125-$150/wk for the two of us in a low/medium cost of living area. Most of this is due to the amount of protein/meat I need to maintain/build muscle. This doesn’t include our protein powder/supplement costs. I am 5’9, 185 lbs and around 8% BF. I run 10-15 miles/wk and do three, 1 hour weight lifting sessions. If I was 150-160 lbs and less active I’d require significantly less food. If I had more fat/less muscle I could also get by with less protein.

MrsPete

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2018, 07:36:23 AM »
There was a moment in my provincial debate where a party leader suggested that $75 (cad) per week was a low but possible amount to spend on groceries for a family with 1 adult and 2 kids/teens. Everyone else basically claimed he was crazy and one leader started he spends $250/week for a family of 4. I didn't think it was that ridiculous, obviously you'd have to be shopping sales, buying cheap staples and maybe not eating all that much meat, but it's enough to live on. I thought the $250 figure was way more out of touch because I don't think most families can drop a grand on groceries every month.
Who do you think is more out of touch? When leaders often earn much more than an average constituent, how should they discuss food budgets like this?
We're a family of three adults, and we average $100/week without going overboard to be frugal. 

Clarifications that could make a difference:
- Does this budget include paper products and cleaning products? 
- Does this budget include three meals a day for the family, or are the kids getting lunch at school and/or adults eating out for lunch?   Does this budget include the occasional pizza or take-out meal?  If food is coming from other sources, it might make the budget artificially low.
- Does this budget include beer and soft drinks?  Those are budget-busters with negative nutritional value. 

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2018, 07:45:57 AM »
If the budget included no cleaning products/non food times, & we drastically reduced our fruit & veggie consumption, pulled from our stockpile (which, pretty much negates this as a realistic budget for families), & gave up alcohol. . . yes. We are a family of 4 (two adults, and 2 boys, aged 11 & 12). It would also require a significantly bigger time investment than we currently devote to the process of shopping/planning.

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2018, 10:10:12 AM »
With food and only food our best to date has been just under $30/week per person with 2 adults and 2 high school age teens.  I'm over 200lbs and do a lot of power lifting and crossfit style workouts along with all of us being frequent bikers and hikers (a.k.a. - I'm making excuses for high calorie consumption).

More typically we are around $35-40 per week per person for only food.  No eating out, includes snacks/desserts.

This is in the SE of the USA where food prices aren't too bad if you have an Aldi nearby and easy access to a Costco.  In AZ, we can cut our grocery bill by about 5-10%...in a major mid Atlantic metro I'd estimate our grocery bill was about 25% higher.

JenniferW

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Re: Is $75 a week a realistic grocery budget?
« Reply #45 on: September 30, 2018, 11:45:50 PM »
Would also depend on what type of diet you can eat.  e.g. I am severely diabetic and can't eat any grains or processed food.  So I buy a lot of different above ground non starchy vegetables (mostly in the green variety), eggs, cheese, meats, cold pressed oils, frozen berries, almond flour etc..  So I pay a bit more per week due to my diet, but it in turn keeps my blood sugar normalized.