Canadians: What do you spend on groceries each month? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Every time there's a grocery thread I feel left out seeing there's such a big difference between the cost of food in the US and Canada. Don't get me started on the coupons! bigeyes.gif

 

So, how many people in your home, how much do you spend? Do you live in a high cost of living area or low cost?

 

For 2 people, 1 small dog and including toiletries, dog food etc (whatever I buy at the grocery store) we spend roughly $350 a month and live in a fairly LCOL area. It might be a little bit less now because I did have a huge garden last summer so I'm not buying pasta sauce, veggies etc. We're about to embark on a bare bones grocery budget and I'm wondering how low we can go! 


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#2 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:04 AM
 
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Around $700-750/month for 2 adults and 3 kids (6.5, 4.5, and 22 months, all with VERY big appetites). That also includes household products eg. toilet paper etc although we don't really spend a ton in that area. Mostly vegetarian (with some seafood eg. canned salmon/tuna), almost no prepared/convenience foods at all due to multiple food intolerances in the family. We don't buy organic unless it is on sale for the same or less than conventional. No dairy at all. We do get free range eggs which are now nearly $6/dozen and we go through about 3 dozen a week.

 

And I agree with you on the price difference between US and Canada!! Holy smokes. Crazy.

 

Edited to say: No pets, very high COL area, and some months it is more like $800 if we are stocking up on some things (and some months it is a bit lower if we are already really stocked up). The $700-750 is kind of an average. 

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#3 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 10:09 AM
 
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It's me and and my 2 year old dd, 1 full time daycare child, 1 part time child, and another adult 3-4 days/nights a week. A dog and cat, includes diapers, pet food, toiletries, etc. I was spending 500+ a month, but I found lots was going to waste. I cut it down to 400 and am now working on cutting it to 320-350. I am meal planning not letting things go to waste and not buying what we don't need or much convieinece food. I feel like it's high around here but I'm not sure compared to everywhere else, a jug of pc orange juice is 3.99, which to me is crazy. Everytime I go shopping it seems they put the prices up.
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#4 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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We are two adults and 3 children (7, 4 and 2) with no pets and we live in a high cost of living area.  We spend between $800 and $900 a month NOT including household items like toilet paper etc.  We do buy as much organic as possible and some convenience foods because we both work outside the home. Having said that I cook from scratch a lot and almost all meals are eaten at home as we have Nanny so my kids aren't in daycare.  This is down from over $1000 we used to spend.  I would really like to get it down further.

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#5 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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We are a family of 6 - 2 adults, and 4 kids ages 12, 9, 9 and 7 in SWO.

 

We spend about $30-45 a week at the farmers market for fruits and veggies, honey, eggs and more in the summer because it is all so good - lol (this is not including summer canning which costs me about $175 -$250 a year for produce)  I figure about $150 or so a month.

 

I spend probably another $40-50 a month at bulk stores.

 

And I spend  about $150-175 every 2 weeks at the grocery store but this fluctuates based on what I am stocking up on.

 

So that would be about $500 - $600 a month.

 

We don't buy much processed food - I make our yogurt, bread and baked goods, granola, cleaning supplies/soap, we can a lot and buy a fair amount in bulk.   I am now in the place where we basically only buy stuff on sale and fresh veggies/fruits/milk each week.


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#6 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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We're a family of 4. Two adults, a 2.5 yr old and a 4 month old, plus 1 mid sized dog. We live in a moderate COL area. I'd guess we spend about $700/month on average. We're vegetarian, cook almost everything from scratch, we buy organic produce, milk and yogourt. We don't buy much convenience foods, some kashi crackers. We're still amazed at how much 1 toddler can cost in food. I seriously think she eats as much as I do! We just got a costco membership as a gift, but I don't know if that will actually decrease costs in any way for our family. I assume not.


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#7 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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For the last couple of months I have been in denial about how much we spend.  But it's probably about 700 a month for the 4 of us.  I've been overspending, if I really planned it out and was careful I think we could average 500.  


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#8 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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I've found a BIG difference moving from Ontario to Nova Scotia. In Ontario we'd do $50 at the market and $50 at the grocery store each week which would get us a mix of awesome, whole food from the market, with some cheap convenience stuff from the grocery store for a grand total of $400/mo (including toiletries and household items).

 

Here in NS, we tried and tried to keep the same budget and were starving with an empty fridge by Wednesday!  We had to change it to $150/wk and it just barely works, so that's $600/mo.


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#9 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:56 PM
 
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We spend $900 a month, and that's a challenge while buying local organic animal products (including butter, cheese, etc).  We live in a medium-high COL area.


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#10 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 05:44 AM
 
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2 adults - $225 a month for food only, about $300/month including vitamins/toiletries/household items.  We eat meat and usually don't buy organic.  This is an average - it fluctuates wildly since I save a LOT of money stocking up with sales.  We have so many grocery stores nearby (there are 7 within 2km, lol) that I can easily choose where to shop based on the weeks sales, or just go to the chinese grocery store for some cheap produce if there are no sales on stuff we need in the flyers.

 

Cost of living.. um, I live in Toronto which is of course HCOL as far as housing, but from some other food threads I think it is on the low end of food costs in Canada.  


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#11 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 06:45 AM
 
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We have 2 adults and 3 kids (one is a newly diagnosed celiac) and now we're running at about $700/month. It will be more this month as we're heading down to the US for American Thanksgiving and I'm going to be stocking up on gluten-free items, as there's more variety and it's cheaper down there. Like many here, I do most of our cooking from scratch and rarely buy pre-packaged, convenience items but that's changed a bit with DD being GF now. I grew up in the States so when I moved up here I was just floored at the differences in prices! Even after 6 years, I still suffer from sticker shock.


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#12 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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I'm in a med COL area (I think) and we are 2 adults and 2 kids (2yo and 6mth). We spend around $600 per month.

 

We don't eat out, even for snacks so this is all our food. i have quite a few playdates so provide food for those too as well as some entertaining on weekends. We eat all whole foods, minimal processed (oatcakes, protein powder and yoghurt). Some organic (2L non-homo organic milk a week) some non-certified but organic-ish stuff. Eggs from a farmer ($4/doz) and some veg. All our meat is from a market and is drug and hormone free/grass fed etc. I render my own lard but this is not our exclusive cooking fat. We eat meat most dinners.


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#13 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 07:49 AM
 
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If it makes any difference to your budget, you don't need to buy meat that is advertised as "hormone free" because growth hormones are not legal to use in Canada, so any meat off the shelf is hormone free.  PC likes to take advantage of media attention to BGH in the US, and advertises its "free from" line as hormone free at a premium kewl.gif Of course, very little meat is grass fed, so yeah.  Buy the grass fed!

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All our meat is from a market and is drug and hormone free/grass fed etc. 

 


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#14 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 07:50 AM
 
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In Ottawa it was super cheap.  Thunder Bay was at least twice the price.  In Nova Scotia it's about the same as Tbay $800/month for 2 adults (me nursing) and two kids.  That includes toiletries.  Milk products are crazy expensive here but other stuff is cheap so it evens out.

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#15 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 10:05 AM
 
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2 adults, one 5-year-old, and a 9-month-old who doesn't eat much yet. We buy the cats' food at a pet store, so haven't factored that in.

 

About $600/month - trying hard to pare that down by buying less packaged goods. I'd like to chop $100 off the budget if possible - we're getting there. We had family come to stay last week and they eat a lot of packaged stuff - couldn't believe how  big the grocery bill was!

 

And yeah, I've noticed NS is very expensive when we've gone to visit...

 


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#16 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 10:59 AM
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2 adults, 3 kids, 8, 5 and 2. We spend $600 a month. We live in Toronto though so tons of options for cheap produce and ethnic stores which helps keep our costs low. Very little of that is organic though except the milk and eggs.

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#17 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 11:14 AM
 
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I would say around 800 a month including household items. Two adults, two kids. We eat mostly organic.


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#18 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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I am so glad to see this thread!  I've always thought I wasn't doing all that well with my grocery budget, but it seems that I'm doing comparatively well.  For the previous poster who couldn't believe that the juice was $3.99 - at our old house it would have been $7.99 and I haven't even dared to look here! 

 

I would definitely say that we have a high cost of living, food wise, but we're in Yukon.  We (ideally) spend about $800 per month feeding 2 adults and 3 kids (7, 4, 1).  That doesn't include any pet food but does include toiletry type items.  We don't eat organic and try to eat 'whole foods', though we do buy crackers and a few canned items.  We try to make most bread products and yoghurt and generally only eat out in the summer, when the restaurants are open. 

 

As context on the 'high cost of living', I buy *any* fruit or vegetable when it's under $3 a pound, and almost any meat that's under $5 a pound.  We bought a lot of flour the last time we were in Whitehorse because the regular price here, for a 10kg bag, is $25.  (It does go on sale for $17).  And a 4L jug of whole milk goes on sale for $6.99. 

 

Looking forward to reading more!

 

:) :) 

 

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#19 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I buy fruit when it's under $1/lb, meat $2/lb. I buy some bulk food items from a restaurant supply store where ww flour is $13/20kg. (I think that's right...) Milk is roughly $5.80/4L (it's the type of thing I buy the 'cheaper' brand and toss in the cart without looking at the price.) I noticed the price of some food items going up in recent years. Off the top of my head: canned tomato products, pasta, rice and milk.

 

I already answered up top, but we spend $350/mth. I feel like I should be able to get it down to $280 or so, especially since we had a big garden and I froze lots of fruits and veggies when they went on sale last summer/fall. Next year we hope to buy meat from a farm. 


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#20 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JERENAUD View Post

 

As context on the 'high cost of living', I buy *any* fruit or vegetable when it's under $3 a pound, and almost any meat that's under $5 a pound.  We bought a lot of flour the last time we were in Whitehorse because the regular price here, for a 10kg bag, is $25.  (It does go on sale for $17).  And a 4L jug of whole milk goes on sale for $6.99. 

 

It's low cost of living here.  I buy fruit and veg when it's under 1.20/lb, meat under $3/lb, flour is expensive at $8.99 for a 10kg bag (a couple of years ago it was $3.99). 4L of milk is around $7-8.


 

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#21 of 40 Old 11-19-2010, 10:06 PM
 
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I posted in the other thread, forgot to say my $ amount is Canadian.

 

We spend about $750 a month for 5 people, 3 adults and two boys 9 and 7.  This include some household stuff and is about 30 - 40% organic.  Greater Vancouver area so I suppose it's on the HCOL side.  Though I think fresh produce are very reasonably priced here, if you buy them from produce stores.  We eat meat everyday.  Though none of us are big people so I think we probably don't eat as much as some families do.  I don't use coupons much, as most of them are for processed stuff we don't use.

 

We don't drink anything other than water and some milk, maybe an occasional teabag, so we save a lot of money on beverages.


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#22 of 40 Old 11-21-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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Here's a link with average food prices in Canada.  Maybe you can compare to the list to see if what you pay is higher or lower than average.  I know I don't really pay higher than the listed prices for most of those items.  Maybe the cost of food here is not high, just about average.

 

http://www.livingin-canada.com/food-prices-canada.html


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#23 of 40 Old 11-21-2010, 04:45 AM
 
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We live in Toronto which is a HCOL area, but I find that food prices are not bad at all, its mostly housing that is expensive. Generally speaking, we spend roughly $600/month on groceries for 2 adults, a 6 year old, 5 year old and the baby is still nursing, no solids yet. We buy all gluten free for the oldest two children which can be costly. However, I found that ordering certain items online has really helped me to find the best deals possible.

We have A LOT of choices in Toronto regarding where you do your grocery shopping, there are the big box places like No Frills, RCSS, Metro (overpriced!!) etc. but we also have tons of smaller ethnic markets that are very reasonably priced and other markets, such as St. Lawrence Market.

We eat about 50% organic (mostly milk and meats) and eat very few processed foods.

 

ETA: This $600/month includes toiletries and cleaning supplies.

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#24 of 40 Old 11-21-2010, 06:01 AM
 
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We spend about $1000 a month on food which we are trying to lower to $700.  That included soap, shampoo, laundry soap, TP etc

 

We buy mostly organic foods.  Things like non-organic apples, carrots and especially celery make my mouth numb so I have to eat those organic.   I buy organic beans and grains.  We try to buy local as much as possible but for some reason Ontario farmers are not growing organics and if they are they are shipping them elsewhere and not here.  Milk, eggs, meats and grains from local farmers for sure.  I bake, cook from scratch.  We eat meat about every other day.  Pretty much mostly ground beef at $3/lb grass fed.  Some whole chicken.  We eat a lot of fresh vegetables, I don't really like the taste of frozen and organic frozen isn't cheap around here.

 

We only have 1 grocery store in town so they charge whatever they want for foods.  Where is everyone shopping for their fresh produce.  Our farmers market is really small and disappointing.  I could drive 40 min to a much better one but I try not to drive as much as possible.

 

ETA:  4 people  - 2 adults, 2 kids (11 and 5)

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#25 of 40 Old 11-21-2010, 09:56 PM
 
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We are a family of 7 (2 adults and 5 kids ranging from nearly 3 to 10).  We spend about $900 but I'd like to get it down to $600 since that's what we're budgeted for.  I'm finding it really tough though.  We cook mostly from scratch, as much organic as we can afford and what I feel is really important to purchase organically, and hardly any processed foods.  The only things I buy "processed" would be things like crackers, rice cakes, canned tomato products and pop (dh's and my one vice).  I don't buy fruit juice because it's too expensive.  My kids would guzzle a bottle of juice in 5 minutes flat.  They drink water or milk or I make homemade iced tea if they want something "juice-like".  We do purchase a side of grass fed beef every fall so our meat cost is on the lower side.  We eat meat daily.   The cost of toiletries isn't included in that.  I stock up on natural soaps at the Christmas craft fairs every year and check at Winners for natural shampoos and conditioners (half the cost there) and buy a bunch when they have them.  I can't use regular brands of shampoo because it gives me wicked eczema on my hands.  

 

It makes me sick though to go through the checkout with a cart full of groceries (mostly whole, healthy foods) and have it come to over $400.  We live in a fairly HCOL area, just outside of Vancouver.  I've done grocery shopping in the US and had it come to about 1/2 the cost for the same things.  And yeah, don't get me started on coupons.  I rarely come across any for stuff I actually buy. greensad.gif


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#26 of 40 Old 11-22-2010, 09:22 AM
 
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Usually the only thing I end up using coupons for is toilet paper.  Sometimes laundry detergent or cleaning supplies.  Check save.ca


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#27 of 40 Old 11-22-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
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Usually the only thing I end up using coupons for is toilet paper.  Sometimes laundry detergent or cleaning supplies.  Check save.ca

I do get some coupons from Save.ca as well as gocoupons.ca and brandsaver.ca.  Mostly for laundry soap, paper towels, etc.  You do get the odd coupon for something good like whole grain pasta.  We don't buy a lot of toilet paper since we use family cloth here, toilet paper is only in the powder room on the main floor for guests.  I've also been making my own powdered laundry soap for our regular laundry and save the liquid laundry detergent for the diapers.  Our toiletry/cleaning supply expenses are relatively low compared to most. LOL
 


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#28 of 40 Old 11-23-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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We spend around 600-700 a month for a family of four.  This includes paper products (we don't use a lot of paper products, but we do use some).  

 

We just moved to Canada from the US about a year ago.  We spent less each month in the US and it included a raw meat diet for our dog and beer.  Our grocery budget does not include beer now or dog food.  I can't afford to feed my dog raw here.  We haven't given up beer though!  But I just don't count it in the grocery budget.  Somehow that makes me feel better about spending $40 a case.

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#29 of 40 Old 11-25-2010, 08:03 AM
 
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So nice to see a thread with numbers that I can relate to! 

We live in Vancouver, so ridiculously high cost of living, but the groceries are actually quite sane compared to when we lived in Pemberton, and only had two stores, both of which jacked up the prices as much as they could.  We were a family of 2 adults then, and spent about $600 a month.  Now we have a toddler girl who eats like a teenaged boy, and live down here, and spend about the same.  We cook everything from scratch, and don't buy any processed foods, but it still adds up! 


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#30 of 40 Old 11-29-2010, 06:02 AM
 
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we spend $400 per month for 2 adults, a 9month old and a cat. i could probably do a lot better if i actually shopped around and went to our ethnic/budget stores for some produce, but i have a baby, so in and out is my goal! as it is, $400 is a bit of a challenge and we are generally scraping the bottom of the barrel by the end of the month.

 

we are vegan, and in quebec this does make things more expensive, as i find produce to be a bit more expensive than it was in ontario, and specialty items are way WAY more expensive too. we do eat mostly from scratch, but organic produce is completely out of our price range right now (if it's available at all, or in any decent shape). our $400 includes all toiletries and usually cat food as well which is high quality wet food. i think we do pretty well, but i do miss the variety of vegan items and wonderful produce we had access to in toronto and elsewhere in southern ontario.

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