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How much do you spend on groceries per month?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I am really trying to get this food budget under control NOW because it's a huge financial drain on us and it needs to be $500 a month or under!!!


It's just my husband and I, and we shop at health food stores (I do have a 15% discount card because I worked at one and am on "pregnancy leave" because my job involved stocking and lifting stuff all day) and buy almost everything organic, and live in California, where everything is just more expensive. We shop at the farmer's market once a week for produce, but honestly it's not that much cheaper than the store. We eat mostly vegan, no dairy, he eats eggs, fish once or twice a month, and gluten free. I have been trying my hardest to buy NOTHING packaged and make everything from scratch. Right now the only things that we buy packaged is gluten free bread, kombucha, coconut water and raw chocolate. I could make kombucha at home, and raw chocolate too probalby... maybe even the bread- but the ingredients are expensive.


we don't shop at whole foods! we shop at the independent health food stores, I've been nagging my husband to get us a membership at costco because I have friends with similar diets who have no problem finding everything they need there and for way cheaper!!


it's just getting ridiculous spending like $200/week on groceries!! 


How much do you spend on groceries per month?

What is your diet like?

Where do you live?

What meals do you make completely from scratch? Do you buy packaged stuff?

post #2 of 15
  1. $555(me,my husband ,and 2 year old toddler)
  2. Organic and healthy
  3. Oregon
  4. 95%. I do buy organic cereal and Annie's cheese crackers
post #3 of 15

I spend a lot, and if I figure out exactly how much, I'll come back and answer your questions. :-)

I just went to the farmer's market today and spent about $24.  I got 3 tomatoes, a head of romaine lettuce, 4 yellow squash, 2 containers of raspberries, a dozen eggs & 2 ears of corn.

I stopped by a discount grocery store to pick up some pectin as I was making jelly today, and I also got some grocery items. They weren't cheap, and it amazes me how much things can be at a supposed discount store when they are not that expensive at Trader Joe's, which is where I do a lot of my shopping. Coscto can be cheaper too, I just have to be better about going there. I usually buy meat locally, however, not from TJ's or Costco.   


I've made kombucha at home, so I feel like it has to be cheaper when you consider how much one bottle costs.  On the other hand, the kombucha I made was not as good as what I could buy.

post #4 of 15
1. We spend about $1100 per month on groceries for our family of 8.
2. TF/paleo-ish/organic when possible
3. Wiesbaden, Germany on a US military installation, so we shop at the commissary and also at German stores. Produce is better & cheaper at German mkts.
4. 90% made from scratch.
post #5 of 15

We spend about $450 a month for a family of three, one 8-year old. This includes alcoholic beverages, my love for very fine coffee, and ice cream. Every 6 months I also spend approximately $60 on ground beef from the local rancher. The budget does not include toiletries and I'm rather picky about what goes on our skin.


Meal planning has been a HUGE budget saver for me. Also, signing up for deal notifications at Whole Foods has helped. They will have some good one-day specials that they notify people via email.


I live in the southwest and I don't know what the cost of living rates as here, but it's not as high as CA.


I eat healthy, usually not processed or pre-prepared foods, I prefer organic produce, but I will also shop for a few items in conventional groceries if there is a sale - tortillas and Oro-wheat bread and goldfish crackers, for example.



I cannot do one stop shopping. I go the farmer's market, trader joes and then supplement with stuff from the Co-op and Whole Foods maybe once a month (bulk spices, beans, etc).

Costco is great but for a small family, I am not sure if it is worth the membership. From there I generally get toilet paper, olive oil, organic chicken, and organic diced tomatoes and Eco friendly laundry detergent. We don't need to go more than every two or three months and the impulse shopping there is hard to resist. I have found that things in Costco sizes like quinoa go rancid before I can use them. They have good deals on produce but  very little of it is organic, in this town at least.

post #6 of 15

How much do you spend on groceries per month?
Around $900-$1000, give or take.  Two adults, four children (3.5yo, 5yo, 7yo, 10yo), three of which aren't even teenagers yet and eat more than I do.  We also perpetually have my mom visiting which bumps it up to 7 mouths, and my 'charity' of choice is food.  When a friend or acquaintance is having a rough time for whatever reason, I show up with freezer meals (breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, plus snacks like muffins or cookie dough balls or cookies).  Things that are about ready for them to use, with minimal prep.  And we all know we need to eat, and little ones especially are awfully fond of eating, no matter what mom or dad is going through.

What is your diet like?
American/homemade.  I.e. my family wouldn't know what to do with pad thai, closest Mexican type food we have is tacos, etc.  We're omnivores, for sure.  I kinda try to aim more paleo, but I only have so much time/energy in a day.

Where do you live?
Inland northwest.

What meals do you make completely from scratch? Do you buy packaged stuff?
I don't hand make tortellini or ravioli.  Just, no.  I do have a box of egg rolls (that were on sale) from Costco for when I'm feeling extra tired/lazy.  I buy bread because I have too much other stuff on my plate to be able to do that right now.  I buy noodles, don't make those myself, or sweetened condensed milk, or chocolate chips.  I buy cereal boxes on sale for snacks, but never as a meal (because they never last like a meal should/does).

The majority of what's in my freezers and pantry is ingredients.  Half a cow, half a pig, 80lbs of chicken breasts, several whole chickens, some turkeys/turkey breasts, jams I made during the summer...  Some freezer meals I've made like waffles (with home cultured buttermilk, I make my own butter), uncrustables, a few casseroles (the Chicken Cordon Bleu is yummy!), meats in marinades ready for the crockpot or grill, etc.  Sometimes it's annoying... most everything needs to be prepped in order to be eaten, so when I'm feeling all slug like, it's not so fun if we're not in the mood for one of the prepped meals from the freezer.  Oh, and in addition to buying my meat local in the fall (when it starts getting cold/snowing, there's not much grass left for the critters to eat!), I do a ton of canning during the summer.  So all the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, peaches, pears, cider, green beans, corn, chicken stock, vegetable stock, relish, jams and such are all done by yours truly.  I don't can mandarin oranges, and canning dry beans is on my to-do list (probably after Christmas is when I'll get around to it).

Nope, I don't have anyplace to do one-stop-shopping.  Unless you count my house.  ;)  My cow comes from one farmer/butcher, my pig comes from another farmer/butcher, my milk comes from another guy, the eggs from another gal.  My produce is procured locally, at the farmer's market, or on a few August/September trips my hubby takes south of us where we get 15+ boxes of peaches at a time for a screamin' deal.  Or Costco because lettuce is just hard to grow around here, for whatever reason. 

My prices for my meats and milk and eggs aren't the absolute rock-bottom cheapest compared to the absolute least expensive items (think ground beef - the conventional store stuff can be found for $.98/lb sometimes, but mine's totally grass fed and humanely killed, and all the meat from the cow averages out to about $3.50/lb, including roasts/ground/steaks/filet mignon).  But at this juncture in life, we can afford it, and I'm a fan of keeping us healthy from the get-go rather than trying to undo a KoolAid addiction or whatever.  Drawback is that this time of year is absolute insanity with getting everything procured and taken care of and put away.  Oof.


post #7 of 15

How much do you spend on groceries per month?

$700 - 800 cdn  for 4 people (the boys eat as much as adults do) Organic only on the dirty dozen produce, I try to focus on local and fresh.


What is your diet like?

Omnivore and a very wide variety of food, I like to experiment.  We probably eat less meat and fruit than average and more veggies.  I do buy some boxed cereals and snacks for the kids, I don't eat them myself.


Where do you live?

Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada


What meals do you make completely from scratch? Do you buy packaged stuff?

I would say most meat and veggie dishes are made from scratch.  Occasionally I bake bread, but we have an awesome bakery here that I like so most breads are bought.  Most snacks are bought, though.  I feel bad about this sometimes but DH and kids love them.  I don't like eating snacks and have no interest in baking treats.  I bake two cakes a year for birthdays and that's about it.


I think it might be also important for you to work on simplifying cooking. ;) Having my first baby changed a lot of things in my life, including my standards for cooking, cleaning and social life.  There's just not enough time to do time consuming or labor intensive chores (like making everything from scratch)unless you have help with the baby.  Don't worry, life will go back to normal eventually.

post #8 of 15

How much do you spend on groceries per month?


I have only estimated what we spend on groceries and here is how I have it broken down...   Food   800.00, Booze     150.00. I do buy some paper products and some cleaning products at the grocery store... it depends on sales, etc. My DH likes his beer so I have a separate category for that. I do too, not as much as DH though. I am probably overestimating the booze amount, but am somewhat close. DH likes good beer and we're talking $7-10 a six-pack every other day or so. "We" are 2 adults, 2 kids.


What is your diet like?


I'd say we eat 75% organic. Kids are very picky and so meals are very routine and repetitive. That's ok though. They eat well, plenty of fresh fruit, veggies, etc.


Where do you live?


Atlanta, Georgia


What meals do you make completely from scratch? Do you buy packaged stuff?


Most things are made from scratch. Things that come out of a package... pasta, pretzels, pirates booty, wheat thins, canned organic beans, jar pasta sauce, bread, organic cereal. I be sure that anything I buy that is in a package is either non-GMO or organic or both.

post #9 of 15

How much do you spend on groceries per month?

$300-$400 a month for a family of three - myself, my husband and a two year old. And that's all in - inclusive of food, toiletries, medicine, diapers, household items, etc. I think of it more as a "consumables" budget than a grocery budget. 


What is your diet like?

We cook mostly from scratch. We're omnivores. I do a lot of canning/preserving in the summer. Husband and I are lactose intolerant, but our son is not. 


Where do you live?

Chicago suburbs. 


What meals do you make completely from scratch? Do you buy packaged stuff?

We make most of our meals from scratch. We buy cereal, but we treat it as more of a snack than a breakfast item. We buy condensed tomato soup because it's easier than home made, and I like to have something ready-to-eat and shelf stable in case of emergency. Every once in a great while I'll buy bottled pasta sauce and Duncan Hines brownie mix, but we mostly make those things from scratch. When we go camping a couple of times a year, we'll buy a box of Pop Tarts. Occasionally we'll buy pre-made potstickers and burritos to keep on hand for quick lunches for work, but mostly those are home made too. I can't think of anything else we buy that's "packaged". I tend to buy dry beans and soak and cook my own. I bake a lot of breads and baked goods from scratch. 


ETA - also, I do couponing and stock up shopping so I can get the best price of stuff. I'm not one of those "extreme couponers" - I shop two stores, Woodmans for most of it (they have tons of coupons and great prices with an awesome selection) and Target for the rest. Target will stack coupons, so they'll take a manufacturer coupon plus a Target coupon on the same item, plus a Cartwheel discount if you play your deals right. If you have a smart phone, you can get some pretty awesome mobile coupons via text as well. That's saved us a lot of money. When I find a great price on something shelf stable, I buy as much as I can store. I have about 50 boxes of Barilla pasta that I got for about 70 cents a box over the course of a few weeks where I had some killer deals. Right now my big stock up items over the next few weeks are Egg Beaters (husband has a yolk allergy so can only eat whites/egg replacer - and you can freeze it!) and Better Than Bouillion stock base. You pretty much only find coupons for those two once or twice a year, so I buying enough to last a while. If you rotate what you stock up on, you can get some great deals. I'm actually spending less money and getting more stuff now than before I started shopping this way.

post #10 of 15

$600 with a family of 4 (two kids 7-9). Budget is paramount for us as we are paying down some debt. However, what has really kept us on budget is mealplans4thefamily.com. Sounds crazy to pay money for meal plans, but it has lowered our grocery bill by $250 per month so it's a no brainer!


We are gluten free, which can be pricy, but found some great, relatively inexpensive foods at glutenfreefamily.net. We justify it by using a small part of what we save on our grocery bill. This is really a treat for us because it's a good way to discover new gluten free products. 

post #11 of 15
$350-$400 a month for two adults and one 3 year old. I'm vegetarian but DS and DH are not, although 3/4 of our meals are meat free. We live in a city with a COL comparable to CA. I make 90% of our meals from scratch- but i do buy canned tomato sauce, canned beans, icecream, and crackers on occasion. We don't buy nearly as much organic food as I would like- usually only if it's on sale and the same price as conventional. We're digging ourselves out of debt and saving up to build a house, so our food budget is tight. When I tried to stick to organic only, our monthly food costs doubled. :/ But once things aren't as dire for us financially, we'll definitely be bumping up the amount of organic food we buy. Oh, and I highly recommend making your own kombucha though- I started about 3 months ago and love it!
post #12 of 15
We spend between a minimum of $800/month on food for me and my husband. I go to the Chicago farmers market every week and buy what I can't get there only organic/non GMO food mostly at Whole Foods. We entertain a fair amount and that certainly includes more expensive products like probiotics occasionally but that's really a minimum for us. But I like to think I am saving myself a lot of healthcare costs this way and really not dining out at all. I know I don't have to eat everything organic but organic farming is so important for the planet that I am a stickler. Food values are so important to me and so whenever I feel like I could save money I food I remind myself that I am in my own way advocating for the things I believe in.

Hope that makes everyone feel like they're totally food frugal.
post #13 of 15

We are as family of 8. Two adults and 6 kids ages 15-2.  We spend about $600 on groceries.  That is just food,not household or health and beauty supplies.

We eat some organic, but mostly whole foods and from scratch.

post #14 of 15
We budget $1000 per month for food and non food grocery items. It's for our family of eight, two adults and six kids (all the kids are under ten). DH is athletic and needs extra calories. I'm breastfeeding, our youngest is using grocery funds in this way as well as for diapers.

We eat a healthy diet, about 50% organic. I lean towards paleo so we have lots of meat. Very little of our meat is organic but it is natural and decent quality. Organic, grassfed milk is a big part of our budget. We use a gallon a day at $7/gallon.
post #15 of 15

How much do you spend on groceries per month?

$750 (this includes other household stuff that we get at the grocery store, not just food) for my husband, I, and our 2 year old


What is your diet like?

Easy, mostly whole foods. Not as many veggies lately as we should be eating, but otherwise I feel good about how we eat. Organic when possible, but not as much grassfed meat as I would like since it's crazy expensive. 


Where do you live?

We were living in San Diego for a few years, now that we have moved to Montana I expect our grocery budget to drop slightly. 


What meals do you make completely from scratch? Do you buy packaged stuff?

Almost everything from scratch besides staples like pasta and the occasional frozen lasagna. I don't buy any mixes for baking and make all pancakes, muffins, etc from scratch. We still buy bread but I am trying to move away from that by making homemade once a week. 


The best budget-improving thing we have done lately is 1) our chest freezer 2) buying in bulk. When things go on sale I buy a large amount and put it up however I can - canning, dehydrating, freezing, pickling, making syrups, wines and liquors, etc. It is a bigger upfront investment but gradually it is dropping how much we spend. I have food-safe 5 gallon buckets of flour, rice, sugar, and salt. I also make meals ahead (enchiladas, casseroles) and make a ton of soup and freeze the leftovers in individual portions. 

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