How is your grocery shopping experience? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I'm not very good at grocery shopping. I go way over budget and I end up buying food that ends up going bad. I try and buy organic and try to stay on the healthy side (with a few treats ). We try and keep our grocery bill under $100/week for our family, which is just three people (and my 8 month ds is nursing and not eating foods).

Are we unreasonable to try and keep a $100/week budget? This seems like a lot of money to me, but it goes sooo fast. How much do you budget for your family? Any helpful tips on getting good deals? I don't want to start buying food that isn't organic but it seems like we're heading that way? :

Tell me about how you do it!

Thanks for the input!
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#2 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 03:08 PM
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We are a family of 3 also and $100/week seems like a LOT of money to spend on JUST groceries. We are only one adult and a 4 year old and an 18 month old.

Of course, prices vary a lot by region. I spend $400/month on groceries PLUS. The plus includes diapers (yes, bad me), soy milk (at $4/carton and we go through about 3 - 4 a week), toilet paper, dish soap, etc. and I wasn't sure if you were including toiletries. My monthly income is $833/month and my rent is $400 so there isn't a lot of room for negotiation on what I spend on groceries. However, I would spend more if I had more $$ to spend because I would buy more natural and organic foods which run about twice as expensive as their counterpart here. (Example: large Kraft peanut butter $2.99 (on sale), small (half the size) container of organic, just nuts, peanut butter at same store $4.99 -- that example works out to more than double but the Kraft was on sale, usually $4.)

We buy a lot of beans, pasta, frozen veggies and fruit in their own juices (no sugar added). I don't buy meat except for fish and buy the fish packaged at our grocery store because it tastes good and is a lot less expensive. I also try to buy fruit/veggies that store well (apples, yams, etc.) and use my Tupperware FridgeSmart containers (don't mean to tout a product, but I love these, I can keep mushrooms fresh for 2 weeks!!) as soon as I get home (wash what needs to be washed and store it properly). This means that I throw a lot less food out for going bad before we get around to eating it.

I'll be interested to see what other's have to say, maybe other posters could note a couple of prices so we can see if $100/week for one family is comparable to another's $100.

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#3 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 03:13 PM
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My Sunday shopping trip was around $75. I bought some things on sale to take advantage of the group rate so to speak. Seeds of Change frozen bowl entrees were onsale so I bought a few for lunch.

I probably go to the store every week and spend roughly $100-$125 for our family of 3. Even though Sam usually eats only peanut butter sandwiches or mac and cheese for lunch and dinner, he is seriously into yogurt, cereal bars, fruit of all kinds, and waffles. I can't run out of any of this.

As for my produce, if I shop on a Sunday, I will pick some up then. But to keep down waste, I limit it to what we will use by Wednesday. I usually hit Whole Foods for my weekly dairy run on Thursdays and if more veggies and fruit are needed, I will get them at that time.

I am a massive coupon clipper and will spend a little more on a trip if stuff we use is on sale. We are brand specific picky, so it has to be exactly what we like or I don't buy it.

Not everything we buy is organic either. It would be nice, but isn't feasable.
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#4 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 03:45 PM
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I am not a budget grocery shopper. We are very tight on cash, but I tend to shop only at Whole Foods. An average week is about $150. And we get an organic produce delivery every week that is $29. I spend too much money on food, but Whole Foods is expensive, and that is who has all my favorite foods. I also shop at my local health food store, but the prices are about the same. I could save money if I didn't buy as many prepared or convenience foods. It's something I'm trying to work on. I'm actually starting to actually look at the price of things I throw into my cart, and am shocked! A certain brand of jam was $7! So I put that one back. The one I got was still $3-4, but again, we prefer to do all organic whenever possible.

Also, I live in an incredibly expensive area. Everything costs more here.

The only way I can make sure that nothing goes to waste is to menu plan. I have tried to wing it, but it doesn't work. I write out a week's worth of meals, include some snacks/lunches, and then shop from that list. I usually plan it around what I am going to get in my delivery that week.
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#5 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 05:51 PM
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Our monthly grocery budget is $600 right now. I buy almost everything organic, and almost no meat. Well, no meat for us. Included in that $600 is a $65 budget for chicken for our two dogs.

Here are some examples of the prices I pay:

-1 bunch of organic lacinato kale - $1.99
-1 5 lbs bag of organic apples - $4.99
-1 5 lb bag of organic carrots - $3.99
-1 bag of organic lemons - $6.99
-60 lbs of organic chicken (one month's worth) - $0.99-$1.49 / pound

I also buy lots of pasta, canned beans, and so forth. Lately our bill has been higher because I am pregnant, and making fresh juice everyday. Produce is the most expensive part of our groceries. I buy almost no convenience foods (except the occasional deli splurge). Actually, when I was feeling too crummy to cook, and Mrs. Stouffer (frozen) cooked for us, our bill was dramatically lower. Isn't that sad?

I also buy organic, unfiltered olive oil, which is significantly more than the conventional variety.

Food is expensive!!


Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#6 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 07:31 PM
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Our family of 3 spends about 75-100 a month on food and other stuff (cat food, tp, soap, etc). This is for myself, my husband, and a 8 month old. We buy mostly organic (produce, eggs, some oil, beans, rice, pasta, etc) but some non-organic (cheese, juice, some oil, etc). I carefully decide what we buy organic based on availability, cost, and the specific product (some things are more important to me to be organic. What is not rganic is carefully selected by brands (like I get local cider and local goat cheese - I've been to the farms, etc). We buy no meat.

I stock up on things that are on sale and we buy some stuff in bulk (beans, rice, oil). We shop at several different stores and I know what things cost at each and keep my eyes on the prices.

I waste nothing. I used to be worse about this, but we really like being able to buy organic and we make a commitment to eat it all. I'll make soup with things that are going bad and I always plan our meals around what needs to be eaten, what is in the house, and what types of food we need (ie 5 fruits and veggies a day).

IN terms of cost, I pay:

1.79 for organic kale
1.29 for organic celery
.99 for 1lb of org carrots
1.59 for org lettuce
1.79 for butter
3.29 for 1/2 gallon of soy milk
2.99 for a lb of mozzarella



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#7 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 09:09 PM
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We also have a $100/week budget for three of us, and that includes toilet paper, detergent, etc.
Well, it's HARD!!! I find Whole Foods is quite ex and dec'd to go there less often, haven't been there in a month. Instead, I go to Trader Joe's, Sprouts, and lately I find the local Farmer's Market is GREAT!! True, they are not CERTIFIED organic (but everything is naturally gorwn without pesticides and all the nasty stuff), and you can;t beat the freshness and price!! (A fren whose dh once worked for Albertson's told me no matter how "fresh" supermarkets' produce are, they are at least a week old before they make it to store-front!). We try to eat organic as far as poss, but if the price diff is just too much, we just eat conventional. No point stressing out over financial issues, eat as best as you can and be happy!
I find having a shopping list helps. I plan weekly menus, and while I had specific dishes, now I just put for eg, Monday- rice, vegetables, tofu; Tues- Pasta, soup, etc. Before, when I specify what I wanna cook, I find I may have to buy fresh herbs, or some other special item, and the costs add up. When I keep it more open, I just have to make sure I have abt 5 types of vegetables, fruits, etc, and then just make dinner according to the rough menu I have.
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#8 of 10 Old 02-25-2003, 09:35 PM
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Wow do I feel like a glutton! Its only Dh and myself, but I spend about 400$ a month on food and extras! We used to spend less, but we'd also go out to dinner a lot, so I decided instead of blowing a few hundred a month on dinners, I'd spend a little more on groceries so we could have foods we enjoy in the house. However, I do notice that some months I can go spending WAY less... like right now, my checks are screwed up, so I haven't shopped since Jan 20th except for a small fruit and veggie run about a week ago. We've done just fine with what we have, I've got tons of stuff we eat occasionally but stays good for a long time (nuts, raisins, frozen veggies and meats, canned and boxed goods, ect). I also have a Dh who whines around the house if I don't have 'snackies' for him... so that does bump our spending up considerably (and no the bowl of overflowing oranges is not a snack in his world! :LOL) I do think I could really feed another 1-2 people on what we buy though...

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#9 of 10 Old 02-26-2003, 01:25 AM
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I'm really not positive how much we spend in a month, but I would say it's between $300 and $400 (I really should figure it out! But I am spoiled - I just turn in receipts to dh and essentially he lets me know if we need to hold it on spending for a while or not) for our family of four. I am a pretty frugal person, but it's also important for me to get as much organic as possible. We are all vegetarian, so I always figure that some of the cost that I might spend on meat can be diverted to organics.

We are members of a buying club. That is extremely helpful! I can get, for example, Edensoy Rice/Soy milk for just over a dollar a box when I buy it by the case. The Edensoy Soymilk is under $2 a box and it is about $2.39 in the grocery stores around here.

I'm in Minnesota and we have Whole Foods, but we also have co-ops. The co-op is closer to me - and I prefer to shop there as it is member owned and operated - but it is still a half hour away! What I don't get thru the buying club and the coop, I get at either a large grocery store (cheaper, but 20 minutes away) or at the local, smaller place - close, but almost as expensive as the coop and hardly any organics.

The local store is actually moving to a larger location near enough to my house for me to walk. So, environmentally speaking, it would be wonderful to walk to the store - and I still think I will for any individual items I may need. But I'll end up sticking to the coop for most of my needs I think. It's weird - I can walk to buy foods that originated thousands of miles away, or I can drive 25 miles to purchase food grown and shipped from local growers. :

Ah, well. BTW, any time I think about how much money I am spending on food, I think about a few things:
1) the money I am saving by NOT visiting the doctor
2) the huge percentage of wages it costs people in other families in other countries to feed themselves. We don't like to spend money on food; we like to have money for more "fun" things. But we really do live in the lap of luxury compared to many in the world.

So, I am thankful that I can choose good foods and clean water for my family (though I am angry that the condition of the "food" most people accept as food is so poor that I have to drive all over creation to find the good stuff) and I am thankful that I DO have disposable income leftover - even if it is a modest amount.
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#10 of 10 Old 02-26-2003, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm glad to see that our budget isn't as crazy as I thought it was. I was feeling like we were living very greedy by spending $100/week. This $100 does include other things, rather than just food. I cloth diaper so it doesn't include this expense, but soap, detergent, t.p., etc. is included in the $100.

Thanks to everyone for spending so much time detailing information for me. right now I shop at a large grocery store for most of the food, and then I go to a "natural food" grocery store for produce, so I can get organic. I'm lucky that our large grocery store has a nice size organic and health food section.

I would be very interested in finding a buying club. Does anyone have any information how to find buying clubs? I bet this is also a great way to meet people that think along the same lines as I do.

Granolagirl97, thanks for listing the 2 reasons on spending money on food. Very good insight and I agree with both. Good things to bring up with DH when talking food budget.

I'm excited for the Farmer's Market's to come alive again in the spring. I sure love the feeling of walking around and supporting local growers and also talking with people about their products and their thoughts on buying local organic.

Thanks again for all the great responses!
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