What's your monthly grocery budget? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 02-06-2010, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH does all of the cooking (I know, I'm lucky)! He is a definite food snob, though, and our grocery bills are very high. I'm trying to make a budget for us, but he feels that food should be "exempt" from it, since it's a necessity. I feel that with careful shopping we can continue to get high quality food. His problem is that he doesn't do price comparison, and often buys impulsively.

Anyway, if you could give me an idea of what your monthly grocery budgets are, I think it would help in our planning.

Thanks!
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#2 of 16 Old 02-06-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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My suggestion is to sit down with him and make out a rotating menu. Since he does all the cooking then make an agreement with him that you will make sure he has the ingredients he needs. This will allow you to comparison shop and get your bill down plus no impulse buys since he will not be doing the gathering.

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#3 of 16 Old 02-06-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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If you want guidelines for setting a food budget, considering basing it one the USDA food plans. The link is for the US average costs. If you're not in the US, you'll have to adjust up or down for your own country, but the rough amounts are interesting.

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

I'm in Canada, which does make many foods cost a bit more. For my family of 6, we're under what the thrifty budget would give us, but not by much if we include restaurant meals too.
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#4 of 16 Old 02-06-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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There are so many variations among families that it is kind of hard to translate one persons budget to another. I have found this tool really helpful as a starting place... http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

They show the average amount spent on groceries using four different budgets and you can adjust it to the specific amount of people in your family.

Four our family the weekly cost for the lowest budget is at $177 for 2 adults and five children ages 1,3,5,7, and 9. Right now due to necessity I am actually spending a lot less than this but I have to be very careful with my money.

Maybe you could sit down with him, determine what a moderate or low-cost food plan would be for your family and challenge him to it for one month.
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#5 of 16 Old 02-06-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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Wow, that USDA website is so not user-friendly. I consider myself pretty web-savvy and I found navigating that site really difficult. I feel that way about a lot of US gov't websites.

I have found keeping our food budget in check is getting harder every month. I am hoping the coming warmer weather will help---farmer's markets and more fresh foods that have further to travel, etc. The percentage of our income that goes to food has been increasing far more than it should (based on amount bought---we do have a couple of pre-teens now so we are buying a lot more food than we did just a couple of years ago). It's frustrating.

There are a lot of really great threads here, and in the meal planning forum. Meal planning with circulars in hand is our #1 money saver on groceries.

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#6 of 16 Old 02-06-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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Wow, that USDA website is so not user-friendly.
Were you looking for something specific? The direct link to the latest budget (Dec '09) is http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publication...fFoodDec09.pdf
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#7 of 16 Old 02-06-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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Wow! That's what they call "thrifty"???

According to the USDA our monthly food budget should be almost $500. Our entire grocery budget--food, toiletries, and household products--is just over half of that (56%). Apparently, I'm thriftier than I thought.

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#8 of 16 Old 02-07-2010, 12:30 AM
 
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yeah, it made me feel good too, I was starting to feel like we spent huge amounts of money. we eat REALLY well for being between thrifty and low-cost. ($400 a month for two adults)

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#9 of 16 Old 02-07-2010, 01:02 AM
 
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http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publication...fFoodDec09.pdf


According to that chart - if done individually - on the thrify plan my family should spend 1177.60 on food each month! According to the family plan...again thrifty..(I tacked on one more kid)...we should spend 625.80 a month. In reality, we average about $400 a month.

Could you track all of your food spending for a month or two, to get a baseline of how much you are spending? Then you could either budget that amount in for DH to work with or work on cutting it back. I'd also suggest rolling over the food budget for your DH each month, instead of putting it into a different fund if you spend less. Then DH can splurge on something fancy if he cuts corners somewhere else.

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#10 of 16 Old 02-07-2010, 02:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post
My DH does all of the cooking (I know, I'm lucky)! He is a definite food snob, though, and our grocery bills are very high. I'm trying to make a budget for us, but he feels that food should be "exempt" from it, since it's a necessity. I feel that with careful shopping we can continue to get high quality food. His problem is that he doesn't do price comparison, and often buys impulsively.

Anyway, if you could give me an idea of what your monthly grocery budgets are, I think it would help in our planning.

Thanks!

My husband and I share the cooking 50/50. We are both total food snobs and like expensive foods even though we cook from scratch 95% of the time. We set a budget about 1.5 years ago and have consistantly gone over in the food area. Because cooking and food (along with beer and wine) are both of our favorite joys we have had to make extra space in our budget for it. For example I don't ever get my haircut (I do it myself) we don't ever buy new clothes, we make our own laundry detergent, are a one-car family with my husband biking to work and are just very frugal in general in every other area. We probably average 900/month on food for a family of three, this includes eating out.

Julia, mama to Bumpa 2008, and The Mole 2011

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#11 of 16 Old 02-07-2010, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

We decided yesterday that we will make a weekly meal plan, and I will do the shopping. This will allow DH to do the planning and cooking (which he really enjoys), and will allow me to keep an eye on the budget. By not having him go to the store, we get rid of the impulse buying.

He actual was pretty receptive to everything. He really is into making the weekly meal plan- I never realized it, but having to plan dinner every night was stressing him. He's glad we can plan on the weekend now.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions...I'll check back in a few weeks and let you know how it's going...overall, I'm aiming for $100-150/week (two adults, one preschooler and an infant just starting solids...)
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#12 of 16 Old 02-07-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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Give your husband an extra hug today. You are so lucky to have a dh who cooks AND is receptive to your budget. That is so rare! Hug that guy.

Mama to A 8/05 and S 11/06
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#13 of 16 Old 02-07-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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Well my monthly grocery bills tends to fluctuate, sometimes I may need something this week and other times I don't. May be a visitor is coming by and I need extra items this month, when the other month rolls around I may just only need stuff for me and my DD.

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#14 of 16 Old 02-07-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions!

We decided yesterday that we will make a weekly meal plan, and I will do the shopping. This will allow DH to do the planning and cooking (which he really enjoys), and will allow me to keep an eye on the budget. By not having him go to the store, we get rid of the impulse buying.

He actual was pretty receptive to everything. He really is into making the weekly meal plan- I never realized it, but having to plan dinner every night was stressing him. He's glad we can plan on the weekend now.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions...I'll check back in a few weeks and let you know how it's going...overall, I'm aiming for $100-150/week (two adults, one preschooler and an infant just starting solids...)
DH and I do a very similar thing. In our case we both cook (not usually together, but I make one meal he makes another). We talk/meal plan/make a list based about what needs to be used up and what we have been craving and each plan 2 or 3 meals. I do the shopping. DH really doesn't like to grocery shop and when he does he pay zero attention to cost and labels (and will buy things very close to the date or juice that is mostly HFCS) and other things that make me crazy. We spend about the same as you have budgeted for four people (my kids are older 8 and 4) and I think eat very, very well for that amount. Good luck
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#15 of 16 Old 02-15-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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We eat out a fair bit (depending on the week anywhere from 2-8 times) and we eat really expensive, good food. Our grocery budget ranges from $750-$1200 for two adults and a toddler. We spend a freakload of money on food.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#16 of 16 Old 02-15-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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I'm right there with you. We spend $1200 or more on food. More than our car pmt, more than our mortgage. BUT...

I have started shopping at Whole Foods (it's a 45 minute drive so I never went before last month) once a week for produce, and since their produce is so great, and I can actually USE it and not end up throwing 1/2 of it out, we are spending less. I go to WF once a week and spend $100 there. Then, I go to the "regular" grocery store once a week and spend a little over $100 there. Plus, I just recently discovered Target for groceries and have been saving some money by going there.

So, it's a progression. It took me a while to figure out that I would SAVE on produce by going to WF. They are way cheaper than my grocery store, so I gladly make the drive once a week and get the GOOD organic produce for cheaper. It's a no brainer (although it took me long enough to figure it out!).

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