Author Topic: What is Your Monthly Grocery Expenditure?  (Read 15175 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: What is Your Monthly Grocery Expenditure?
« Reply #50 on: June 04, 2013, 08:04:50 AM »
Orca, before I even knew this was your post, I thought, "that's just like us!!"

We are in a high COL area, too. Now that I am no longer working full-time, I am trying for reduce the grocery spending by going to more stores for the sales, etc, going back to ALDI for certain items, little to no convenience foods, and today I will be planting my garden!

I think it's hard to compare yourself to others because we all live in different regions. And I agree that cutting the food bill can be done but not at the expense of your health. It's definitely tricky.

Even the CSAs and farmers markets are expensive around here. People always mention them as a way to save, but $6 for a small bunch of spinach is not cheap! I did the CSA thing for two years, will not be doing it this year as I hope that my own garden will suffice, and I will fill in with produce from the local coop and the farmer's market at times.

It's high, we are in a high COL area. We average about $800 per month for a family of four, but it is not unusual to hit $1000 from time to time. This includes all food and household supplies. I know, crazy. However, our eating out budget is about $50 per month, so we are eating mostly all meals at home for this cost.

I pack all lunches for my two school age kids, my husband makes and takes his lunch every day to work. When I was willing to drive to 5 or 6 different stores, our bill was a bit lower (around $600), but the quality of the food was lower. We have decided the quality/source of food is important to us. My husband eats paleo, I am GF, and my kids eat a balanced, healthy diet. We do not rely on cheap grains for the bulk of our meals. Mostly organic veggies, fruits, pastured and organic dairy, hormone-free meat, grass fed beef, as local as possible.

I shop at Costco and the locally owned Co-op, an alternative to Whole Foods, but similarly high priced. We also have our own chickens for eggs, and a garden and fruit bushes which produce lots of salad greens, some veggies, blueberries and raspberries.

Honestly, I am in an ongoing battle with myself to bring these food costs down, but part of me wonders whether I should just relax and accept that it's worth it to us to have this beautiful food. We drive old cars, got rid of cable 8 years ago, have a cheap cell phone plan, and no debt besides our mortgage. Oh, and we still save about 50% of our income.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 22
Re: What is Your Monthly Grocery Expenditure?
« Reply #51 on: June 04, 2013, 09:24:22 AM »
What I lack in experience/knowledge about investing (I'm learning!) I make up for in grocery prowess. We spend about $80 a month for two people and a cat, and we live in Brooklyn so food prices are high, most of our couple friends have told us they spend about $250-$300/month (figure out those numbers if you want to pass out).

I don't buy any pre-made foods, and I make many condiments myself. That's where you're really losing money on groceries. You can make basically everything from fresh produce, bulk grains, bulk beans, bulk nuts. Meat is a treat for us. I make our almond milk, I make faux meats from scratch, tomato sauce from scratch, I freeze pesto, I freeze peppers, mushrooms, fresh cut corn, green beans, during the summer when prices are low and we eat them through winter. This way I am also not buying any commercial frozen food. I can tomatoes, beans, carrots, beets, pickles in the summer/fall. I make homemade gnocchi, sweet potato pasta, zucchini pasta, (so easy to do with a $25 spiralizer), pizza dough, sausages, dumplings, vegetable and meat stocks. For two dollars I can make about 12 cups of hummus- think about that versus commercial! Even the best sale in the world will NEVER get you close to the cost of most homemade foods.   

Basically aside from produce the only items we buy commercially at a grocery store are: peanut butter, tahini, olive oil, ghee or butter, eggs, dried spices, molasses, bread, and cheese. The only real key to cutting down your grocery bill massively is to do as much as you can yourself, and avoid anything pre-packaged. People who wouldn't think twice about learning plumbing to fix a toilet scoff at the idea of making your own bbq sauce or pasta as being "crazy" or "too hard", but 3 cups of bbq sauce costs me about 20 cents to make, you can't even find that kind of deal at walmart. Oh, and the best side effect is that you won't want to go out to eat anymore, because your food will kick the ass of basically every restaurant anywhere.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 09:26:20 AM by thefrugaltwo »


  • Bristles
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Re: What is Your Monthly Grocery Expenditure?
« Reply #52 on: June 04, 2013, 11:17:41 AM »
$300, just food, family of 5. I also spend an extra $30 for each birthday we celebrate so that's another $150 a year total. We eat Flexitarian and I make most everything from scratch. I buy loss leaders and fill the pantry and freezer only once or twice a month. I have hubby stop on the way home from work to get any fresh produce we may need. I keep things pretty simple. We aren't "foodies". We don't live to eat around here. What we do eat I want to be low sugar, low processed and whole grain. And I hate wasted food so I really limit how much "new" stuff we try. My basic plan is to make two more expensive, meat centric meals per week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, and fill in the rest of the week with basic fare centered around veggies and bread, with any meat as an accent and not a star player. Tonight's dinner is chili spiced black bean burritos. Tomorrow I'm making Chick-fil-a nuggets with mac and cheese, broccoli and rolls as well as a lemon meringue pie. The next night is leftovers. Friday night is always homemade pizza night. Lunch is leftovers, homemade soup if I've made a big pot that week, eggs, salad, fish, hot dogs, sale chicken nuggets, homemade pizza I've frozen, pbj's and smoothies. Breakfast is homemade quickbreads/muffins/pancakes/waffles, eggs, yogurt with fruit and granola, cottage cheese, smoothies, oatmeal, grits or toast. Snacks are air popped corn, fruit, yogurt and cottage cheese, baked goods and good ole pbj. My girls enjoyed a morning snack today of leftover corn on the cob, cold.  Drinks are water, green iced tea, milk and almond milk. In the winter we eat more soup at dinners. In the summer we eat more salad. We're not one of those families who never buys" treats". We have half a dozen bags of pretzels and chips in the pantry right now. We break them out on the weekends and have a serving or two each then forget about them the rest of the week. Same thing with alcohol. I was raised in a house that always had ice cream in the house and, on the advice of a pediatrician years ago, allow my skinny kids to have a serving of ice cream everyday if they want. We are perfectly healthy and happy with this arrangement. I feel good about what I am teaching the kids about nutrition and frugality as well as being content with a less decadent than average diet.