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What is your grocery budget? - Page 3

post #41 of 68

Location is everything. I spend most of my summers in Alaska with my family and we easily spend $200 or more than our usual $800-$100 on food here in Kansas City. Even here in town food is more expensive in some parts of the metro than in others. 


post #42 of 68

There are only DP and I, however we eat like 16 year old boys, which is to say that when we have dinner with my mom and stepdad and sister, we each eat 2-3 times as much food as anyone else.


Our grocery budget is 100 a week (400 a month), however lately we've been able to keep it to about 75-80 a week. That includes buying only grass-fed and pastured meat and poultry (we don't eat a lot of meat, 1-2 pounds a week or a whole chicken), pastured eggs, raw grass-fed milk, grass-fed butter, and organics when they are cheap, or from food that is convetionally heavily contaminated, or frequently GMO.  We eat seasonally, and a lot of local foods.  And we live in a very high COL area.


My guess is this summer when the garden gets going, we may be down to about 50-65 dollars a week (that's about how much we spend on non-produce food right now.)

post #43 of 68

We're a family of 3, and average about $500 a month for groceries.

post #44 of 68
Originally Posted by Magelet View Post

Our grocery budget is 100 a week (400 a month), however lately we've been able to keep it to about 75-80 a week. That includes buying only grass-fed and pastured meat and poultry (we don't eat a lot of meat, 1-2 pounds a week or a whole chicken), pastured eggs, raw grass-fed milk, grass-fed butter, and organics when they are cheap, or from food that is convetionally heavily contaminated, or frequently GMO.  We eat seasonally, and a lot of local foods.  And we live in a very high COL area.


My guess is this summer when the garden gets going, we may be down to about 50-65 dollars a week (that's about how much we spend on non-produce food right now.)

What's your secret? We do eat more meat than that (and don't only eat pastured - working towards it, but nowhere near there), but even with what you describe...a single whole pastured, grass-fed chicken would set me back at least $25.00. I need to figure out where to get grass-fed butter and milk, because they're the two things we eat a LOT of that I want to switch around. Where do you get your meat, eggs and dairy? (I do eat organic, free-range eggs, and they're not quite as crazy expensive as some other things. Well, they are comparatively - could get a dozen conventional eggs for about $1.50, and pay $6.50 for the ones I eat - but they're still only about $0.50/serving, yk?) I really need to work on that aspect of my shopping.


I spend easily $75.00/week just on produce - probably more, but I haven't broken it out recently, so I can't be sure. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping we can get something out of our garden this year, but it's only 4' X 4' plot, and I'm not an experienced gardener, so it won't be much. :(


post #45 of 68

We are a family of 4 living in a moderate size city in Washington and we spend $500-$600/month on groceries. There have been periods (when I wasn't meal planning) that we would spend $800-$1000. We eat mostly organic and local (when possible). We only eat meat a couple times a week. I do most all of our shopping at a food co-op and I am trying to get us started with Azure Standard. If I was willing to let go of buying organic and local we could eat for less than $300 or $400 a month, but that isn't worth it to us. Nor, is shopping at places like Walmart or Winco.


I have struggled a lot with what we spend on groceries and I have cut back where I think it makes sense. What I always come back to when I start feeling guilty about what we spend on food, you have to pay more for quality and that eating high quality food is investing in our health and future well-being.

post #46 of 68

I just spent $166 for 2 weeks of food- well, some things will last longer than 2 weeks. We are feeding 2 adults and an 11 year old girl.
Dh takes his lunch to work and dd is homeschooled so lunch and snacks for both of us are at home as well as breakfast and the evening meal. We don't eat out much.

We live in a small town in Kansas. We do eat meat but not every night. We don't stress about buying organic- sometimes we do and sometimes we don't. We don't use coupons. We go to a normal grocery store- one store for everything.


Things that I think save us money-

Meal planning is #1. Looking at the food I have on hand while I plan meals. Planned leftovers.

Sticking to my list in the store.

Shopping less often. We seem to spend less if we shop every two weeks.We tried weekly trips again recently and are switching back. For some reason when we did shopping once a week we would need to run to the store multiple times

Big pots of soup are dollar stretchers for us.

Edited by onlyzombiecat - 3/29/11 at 10:14pm
post #47 of 68

We're in NYC, vegetarian, 2 young kids. Budget including household supplies (TP, paper towels, cleaning), but not dog food, is about 150/week or $600/month. Some organic here, eggs and milk local, but we don't drink a lot of milk straight. Less than 1 gallon a week for all 4 of us. I buy some things in bulk, but we don't have storage for a lot. We have a decent pantry and stocked freezer that I restock when we visit relatives who live in cheaper areas. I was able, in a financial crunch, to do $350-400/month for 2 months, but that was using the pantry heavily and telling the kids no to snacks and meals eaten out. But $600 allows enough space to eat in a way that makes us happy. I've spent $800-1000/month before, and that was mostly based on convenience foods and expensive grocery stores.

post #48 of 68

That seems a little high to me as well, depending on what you're buying. Half your income is quite a bit. We budget 400 a month, but that doesn't include raw milk, pastured eggs or bulk purchases. Let me look up actuals for this year....Ok, we've spent $2,100 on groceries this year which comes to about 700 a month...I'm in Seattle. About $300 of that total is for milk, some for bulk purchases. So I guess I go over budget almost every paycheck. blush.gif I don't do much couponing for groceries but look for sales. We also haven't ordered any meat this year.  I should probably have a separate budget line for Costco purchases, I think that is sometimes not separate when I make non food purchases, but a good bit of it is.  My husband is a pastor so we add more to our budget for hospitality.

post #49 of 68

I think it is reasonable - we spend about the same, but also eat vegetarian & organic as much as it is available.  I figure I'd rather spend the extra money on good, healthy food now than later on medicine.

post #50 of 68

Wow, I am surprised at how little some of you spend! You must be very savvy when it comes to food preparation and shopping, which I am unfortunately not.


I used to separate all "food" items into separate categories, but have recently decided to combine everything. That includes grocery store items, going out to eat at restaurants, Starbucks (my splurge), and booze (hubby's splurge). All of it combined for two adults and a toddler is around $900-$1000. I feel like we eat healthy and I do tend to buy organic products and lots of fresh foods. But, we do go out to eat pretty often.


I think the original poster's amount seems reasonable but I would be very concerned if half of my budget went to food!!! How do you afford all your other expenses such as housing/car payments, etc.?









post #51 of 68

I find it easier to afford good quality meat and fish if we eat vegetarian dishes made from beans and lentils about 3 times a week. We used to be vegetarian and so we do not mind vegetarian dishes. We probably spend 400-700 dollars a month depending if we need to stock up on things from coscto. I do a lot of cooking from scratch, and I keep a lot of seasonings on hand from a lot of different cultures, like curries (thai and indian), latin spices, italian herbs, etc, so its always easy to switch it up. I bake my own bread and make my own yogurt. This also saves money. I buy frozen organic veggies, and I grow a garden in the summer.

post #52 of 68

I spend between $800-1000 for 2 adults + toddler.  I am also pregnant.  We eat all organic, dairy and meat.  I wish I could spend less but I do see it as an investment in our health.  I spend $35 on a bi-weekly CSA delivery.

I also buy all of my toiletries and household items at our neighborhood co-op since we live in the city without a car and it is more convenient. 


Our co-op has monthly coupons and I also use those from mambo sprouts.  you can find them printed at some stores or online at mambosprouts.com




post #53 of 68

We live in western Colorado, family of 2 adults, a 7yo and a 8mo who barely eats a couple tablespoons a day.


My budget is $400-500/mo, and I feel like we eat like kings! I often have leftover money to go to next months budget (which I invest in staples or csa fund for the year). I was actually thinking about this today, and I think it's because of how we shop and eat--we pretty much eat the same menu with variations every week, with primarily vegetarian meals supplemented 2-3x/wk with small amounts of good quality meat/seafood.


I buy our staples (grains, legumes, oils, salt, sugar, vinegar, etc.) in mass amounts when they are on sale, so I really only have to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, eggs, cheese. Oh, and I totally buy cheese on sale and freeze that, too--hard cheeses get crumbly but I don't care! A couple local stores periodically drastically reduce their frozen salmon, so I watch for that and purchase enough for a few months. Same w/ juice--our hfs marks them down periodically, and I buy like 10, haha. Then drink half straight and water down the other half for juice kefir.


We don't do processed foods hardly at all--maybe a box of cereal or a bag or two of chips per month. I make most everything from scratch; when it gets busy I will buy bread and tortillas, but again I buy on sale and freeze--I try to buy double or quadruple what we'd need for a week if I see it on sale. We don't really buy sweets either, every once in a while a candy bar or something. Sweets are a big bulk bag of raisins or coconut flakes or homemade cookies, or fruit, cooked cereal with homemade jam. Snacks are leftovers, egg on sammich or tortilla, a salad. If I feel like we're ahead and stocked up, then I'll get rice cakes for spreading peanut butter and sprinkling with raisins or some pretzel sticks. Oh, I do buy one of those big OK MOK boxes of cracker bread because it's so versatile, and I crave crunchy!


Basically my weekly fresh needs are maybe $50 in organic fruit and vegetables, eggs, Greek yogurt. When our CSA starts up again, we won't need to buy veggies and fruit, and if I've got the pantry stocked with dry goods, we'll be able to get by on practically nothing, just buy toilet paper and tooth brushes ;) That's when I tend to buy more snacky stuff like chips to go w/ homemade salsa coz I know we've covered all the bases.


I am planning on buying part of a cow and possibly a herd share for fresh milk, so those will be significant costs. ---Well, I just did the math for the year, and even with our CSA and a $500 bulk meat purchase, at $100wk with other grocery costs, we're spending $535/mo total for everything.


I would encourage you to check out a CSA--we ended up paying about $35/wk for about $75-$100 worth of organic produce (had it been purchased at a grocery store) not even counting the gleaning at the end of the season which landed us quite a bit of frozen produce.

post #54 of 68

we are a family of 3. We are full time college students, with a 7 mo old. we spend about 500 dollars a month on food. We  buy organic milk. eggs, bacon and dairy but, mostly conventional veggies and fruits. Our grocery store often slashes prices on wild caught salmon when it's not fresh so we always check the seafood counter. The only other meat we eat besides bacon is grass fed beef from DP's family farm. I always have my eye out for a good deal. I go to the regular grocery store, the natural grocery store, a fruit stand, and always check out the food sections in random stores like target and big lots when I happen to be there.

post #55 of 68
I am currently trying to establish a grocery budget because we eat mostly organic and due to food allergies much of the processed food we buy are more expensive. Also my kids have failure to grow(low weight gain)so I add organic oils to everything which really does add up. Right now I spend 600-800 a month. This essentially leaves us nothing extra so we end up living pay check to paycheck so I am trying to cut it down to $400 a mo th. We have three kiddos ( a four year old, and twin 18 month olds) the twins are nursing and drinking plant/ nut milks. I am trying to reduce our meat consumption by making beans, rice, and quinoa dishes but my hubby won't eat beans...eggs are a great way to serve an inexpensive meal unfortunatel the twins are allergic so we can't have them. I am slowly reducing my processed foods. My girls love fries and tater tots(not the most nutritious food but with their issues they get em) I have realized that small bag of organic frozen tots is almost the same price as a 3 pound bag of organic potatoes so I make our own fries, hash brown etc... I have stopped buying treats for myself like dark chocolate and gluten free cookies because they are non essential. I stopped buying chips, crackers, and dried cereals. These items are more pure ounce then hot cereal, popcorn, etc I did splurge on raw cacao nibs so I can make my own chocolate treats. I am Lso going to try to make homemade crackers this week for the kiddos. Basically our choice was for me to cut grocery costs or work more hours (I currently work about 15 hours a week out of the house). I am also trying to do a large garden this year...we will see what happens!
post #56 of 68
For three adults and a toddler, I usually spend $30-50 bucks a week plus $100 every six weeks or so at Trader Joes (this includes cat food, toilet paper, dishwashing detergent etc). We only buy organic milk and fancy local eggs. Other than that it's all conventional. Oh and we don't eat meat. I cook pretty simple stew type dinners, but I can't actually take credit for being so thrifty with groceries. I shop at a Mexican grocery store. The produce is amazing and the prices are even better. If I spend more than $50 there I'm shocked. The other thing I love about our grocery store is that they have almost no processed foods so dd isn't tempted by little debbies etc. They only have produce, fresh herbs grains, beans, milk, cheese, eggs and dried fruits and nuts. That alone cuts down on your impulse buying. I love my grocery store. I don't think I could move because I wouldn't know where to shop, and our bills would skyrocket.
post #57 of 68

Does anyone have a copy of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food?  I leant my copy out, but I remember that in it he talks about percentage of income spent on food & how most of the world spends a much higher percentage of their income on food than Americans, who eat so much processed food that is artificially cheap.  One of his arguments was that we should all be eating less, but better quality & spending more on it.  :)

post #58 of 68

Our budget is $600/month for our family of five.  We don't buy all organic, though.  I try to break it up into weekly grocery trips ($150/week), but I'm a poor planner, so I usually end up needing to spend a few dollars here & there instead of doing one big weekly grocery trip.

post #59 of 68
For DH and I in the desert of Southern California (which is cheaper than LA, etc) we have had a vastly varying food budget. When I was working full-time and we were eating TF/mostly organic we spent about $500/month for just food. When I was sick and experimenting with GAPS/SCD, high meat low carb diets I was spending almost $800!

Now we are down to one income, eating mostly vegetarian and little organics (only the small amount of animal products we eat), and are doing well on $300/month. We try off and on to get down to $200 and can do it if we have to, but quality greater suffers. As in we can't get in 5 servings of fruit and veggies easily (well, maybe all frozen veggies and cabbage or something). We used to shop at the farmers market, health food stores and have a CSA membership. Now I shop at Trader Joe's, Fresh and Easy, Henry's, Costco and a local but non-organic produce market.

I constantly struggle with the balance between spending a large amount of quality food for my family, the fact that we used to spend a larger percentage on food...and the fact that it is now elitism to say everyone has to eat this way when others are living on food stamps. The balance between sustainability/food justice and health. I now feel what is sustainable/healthy for mankind is healthiest for me...so less animal products, more plants. This article kind of touches on whats on my mind lately: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/22/what-food-says-about-class-in-america.html
post #60 of 68

We're a family of three and we usually spend a little less than $100/week.  This doesn't include milk, meat or eggs because we get those separately from local farmers.


We eat very well and could easily cut our budget if we needed to cut some luxuries.  We don't stick to any kind of special diet, but we tend towards whole foods and organics, especially for the dirty dozen.

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