Spinoff: How Much Do You Spend on Food for Your Family? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am very curious these days about cost-of-living in different places. At a glance, I notice there are wild fluctuations regarding this subject, so I'd like to hear more about the specifics.

I know we all have different types of diets and budgets and, therefore, different spending habits. But I want to probe even further than that. Let me give you my story as an example:


We are a vegan/veggie family of four who eat about 70-80% raw food (produce). We eat all organic everything, which is quite pricey anywhere, geographically speaking. One of our issues is that we are all very stubborn about our food choices in the sense that, say, we're having a tight month ($ wise) but still everyone in my family expects their usual food choices to be available to them. Like right now, certain vegetable prices are are especially high in our area due to the recent CA rains. So we're paying twice as much for lettuce, cukes, etc., yet my dh still wants me to buy as much as usual, which is lots ( ). Plus, I think we're spoiled in that some of us in my family (I'm not going to name names... let's just say that it's 'those who do not do the food shopping'.... ) are addicted to high-price items like organic almond butter which is $8/16 oz. at TJ's (heck, it's like $14 for the same thing at Wild Oats, etc.!) and go through about 2 jars (16oz each) a week!
We compensate, financially speaking, by eating out only when family is in town visitng (about 4x a year) and also to adhere to our rather strict diet. Also, we have mutually decided that we are willing to sacrifice other things in order to eat the best food we can, because that is very important to us. All in all, we end up spending about $800+/- per month on food.

So I guess this is a 'priorities/values' question, too.
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#2 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:03 PM
 
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#3 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:12 PM
 
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We are a vegan/veggie family too. My kids are all vegan and dh and I are lacto vegetarian. We live in MA where things can be expensive. I don't cook as much as I should. I buy a lot of Amy's stuff which is expensive but we like it. I don't really buy any junk food. I also splurge a lot(probably more than i should) on gourmet items from specialty stores. I'd say we spend close to $600 a month on food.
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#4 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:15 PM
 
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well, we set aside $500 every two weeks to cover everything from groceries to gas to lunches for the kids at school, and anything else that pops up... i don't know if that's too much or too little or what...

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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#5 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:16 PM
 
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We spend about 95 - 110$ a week on groceries for two adults, a four year old, and a baby. I eat a lot, because he's a hearty nurser, and he eats bits and dabs, so it probably evens out to about four people.

We shop almost exclusively at Trader Joe's and our local produce market. We do eat meat, but we buy the hormone free/free range whenever we possibly can. We also drink good beer every other day or so and make good coffee every day.

Our grocery options (even in a large, urban area) are somewhat limited - we live in a retail-scanty part of the city, so we have to plan our weekly grocery lists well. We make almost everything from scratch.

May May, I am astonished at your grocery bill - I'm sure you're careful and everything, but wow! that's a lot for groceries. I couldn't pay my mortgage if our groceries cost that much. I'm just sharing my surprise, not being snarky or anything.

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#6 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:18 PM
 
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We spend anywhere from 350-600 a month on food for 4 people. (Ds is almost 14 and a big eater! Feeding him is it's own job lol) After a break from all meats last year I am now eating it again except for red meats. The rest of them eat it though. We don't eat organic really (sometimes, but it's all we buy). We have staples, things we buy each and every month, and then we have extras like things that are on sale that we like or something for a recipe etc. We do buy some "junk food". I like to try and buy from farmers market when I can

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#7 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:22 PM
 
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We are vegan and for the three of us groceries run about $600/month. We buy very little processed food so most of that is for organic veggies which are very expensive here. We also compensate by not eating out ever. We eat about 80% organic. The other 20% is not available here. I am also paying premium because we live in a very rural area and therefore shop for all of the groceries at a very small (but good) co-op. The nearest Trader Joes is probably at least 4 hours by car.

ETA that this also includes organic beer and wine which is probably at least $75 of that.
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#8 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:34 PM
 
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My wife is demi-vegetarian (Like lacto-ovo, except eats chicken too), we try to get as much organic as possible, and I like to get really good/high quality stuff so sometimes it's a little pricey. I think we're about $500 a month, which is mostly organic veges and fruit.

One thing we're doing this year to control costs somewhat is we joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) co-op. It's something like $500 for several pounds of organic fresh from the farm (I pick it up at the farm, and can pick my own if I want) produce. It runs for 27 weeks, and since it's all paid up front it should help on the future bills.

Also, shopping at farmers markets seem to help. And usually you can get organic, and local, and sometimes oraganic/local/sustanable farming choices.

Liam.
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#9 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 04:35 PM
 
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#10 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 05:48 PM
 
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We live in a dirt-cheap area. We usually go out 2-3 times a week, breakfast once on the weekend and dinner once or twice (as the baby allows - she's not an evening person). We're big meat eaters, and Mike is a huge dairy fiend (I used to be... baby can't tolerate much anymore). I buy organic if I see it, but I'd have to go out of my way a lot to find it. I rarely buy boxed or canned prepared stuff, except my few junk addictions and cravings. So mostly we live on meat, cheap starches (potatoes, brown rice, dried beans etc) frozen veggies, and tons of cheese. I guess we spend around $60/week in the grocery store and waaaay too much eating out ($40-50 maybe?) I could easily just spend the $60/week and be well fed. And usually rent week we don't buy groceries at all, just live on whatever's in the cupboards and we're fine. So maybe average that out to $45-50/week?
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#11 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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We eat mostly organic (all organic meats, mostly organic veggies and fruits and dairy stuff) We don't buy a lot of boxed or packaged stuff and no ready made meals (other than the occasional box of Annies shells and cheddar).

So for the four of us (dh, me, Olivia who is 22 months and nursing and Maddy who is 3.5) plus the cat and dog (their food, treats and litter) all of our paper products and cleaning products, we spend right around $600 a month. Oh and that includes eating out at the Pita Pit twice a month ($20 a pop)

Tammy
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#12 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 06:17 PM
 
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Our food cost has literally doubled since ds2 (now 2.5 years old) was born. The year after he was born, it was at least tripled and then we found Trader Joe's and a few other sources of reasonably priced food. He's allergic to dairy, soy, egg, corn, peanut, treenut, wheat, bananas and avocados and latex, mustard, sesame, coconut, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, all fruit except blueberries, and so many veggies. His flours are much more expensive than wheat (although we've found global food markets to be a good source), plus we have to buy guar gum in order to produce a decent bread or muffin. He cannot eat most legumes, so beans are iffy. Meat is an extremely important part of his diet and we're careful not to buy anything that has been treated or injected with anything (do you know how many allergens they inject into meat??). When we find affordable organic meats, we stock up. He reacts to the corn used during the bleaching process of white sugar as well as to the corn used in the molassas solution they use to coat "brown" sugar, so we have to buy raw sugar. But, fortunately, we've found a wonderful inexpensive source for that. We also buy oatmeal in bulk from that same source and it's half the price of the grocery store's. Their flax seed meal is incredibly cheap, too, but he's started having problems with it recently. He is able to eat cooked carrots and sweet potatoes as well as green beans in moderation and we try to stick to organic. I Trader Joe's! He's still nursing so I'm on the same diet and I think I would have starved if it hadn't been for TJ's.

Still, we end up spending between $600 and $800 per month. I keep looking for more ways to cut it. I've looked into local co-ops, but ds2 is allergic to most of the produce that's available. But, when we first discovered his allergies, he was extremely sick and we didn't have time to explore our options--we just had to start buying the appropriate foods where ever we found them and we were spending probably $1500/month. Once his health was stabilized, we could focus on finding more affordable food and I think we've done a good job.

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#13 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 08:12 PM
 
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We eat mostly organic too. On groceries we probably spend $350 a month (3 of us) but we also spend some on eating out too. Once a week at least. LOL I shop at Henry's which is really cheap on organic fruits and veggies. I thought they were part of Wild Oats but maybe I am wrong. I got organic almond butter there (in the bulk section) for 6 dollars for a pound.

Desiree

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#14 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 08:20 PM
 
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Moved to Finances... Thought maybe it should go in Good Eatin', but wasn't quite sure...

We spend about $600 a month on food and try to eat mostly organic. We're a family of 31/2.

anna kiss partner to jon radical mama to aleks (8/02) and bastian (5/05)
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#15 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 08:26 PM
 
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We are 2 adults and 3 kids aged 13, 10, and 5. I budget $400 a month for groceries. That amount includes soap, t.p., etc., so the actual amount spent on food is a bit lower than $400. We are omnivores and I don't go out of my way to buy organic. We try to eat very little highly-processed food, and I save an enormous amount of money buying in bulk and cooking from scratch.
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#16 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 08:28 PM
 
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I live in No. Ca.... For our family of 5, plus dog food and other things I get at the grocery, we spend around $600. Mostly organic produce (we have a CSA), trader joe's, buying in bulk (a local buying co-op). We eat out once a week.

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#17 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 08:51 PM
 
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We do a Nourshing Tradtions, GFCF type diet, so it's pretty expensive, as we do lots of meat and fresh/frozen veggies. I try to only buy grass fed beef and free range chicken, so we spend a ton on groceries.........I'd say about 550/month for the five of us, and more now that we have 7 (we do foster care so our family size changes often!)

Kristi

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#18 of 21 Old 04-06-2005, 09:05 PM
 
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Embarassed to say that I have absolutely no earthly idea... :

I go over the grocery store flyers for two stores nearest me (one chain and one mom/pop type) and make lists of what we use that is on sale. I try to figure out meals using what is on sale and what is in the pantry already.

We buy organic milk from a local farm (they deliver it to my back porch cheaper than I can buy it anywhere! ) and organic beef from the mom/pop grocery, occasionally free range chicken but not as much.

I have made an effort not to buy food we don't "need" at Costco - oh, look, they are sampling blueberry muffins! kind of thing. I also try to find half decent deals on non-grocery items (tp, cleaners, diapers, etc.) at the grocery store because if I go to Target for them, I just end up spending a ton more on other stuff - a cd here, jammies there. I more than eat up any savings so I try to avoid that place now.

I AM curious though - as to how much we spend on groceries per month. I like to think we are fairly low - maybe $250 a month??? - for a family of five (kids are 8, 4, and 1) but I could be way off. I should track it for a month...
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#19 of 21 Old 04-08-2005, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do believe the bulk of what we spend our food money on is produce. I spend about $60/week on organic fruits and vegetables. We do a lot of juicing, though, which uses lots of veggies at once.
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#20 of 21 Old 04-12-2005, 01:55 PM
 
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I'm ashamed to write how much we spend a month :

Five years ago we were spending in the $100 monthly range for the (then) three of us. It has skyrocketed from there (w/DPs new job, discovering whole foods/organic, etc...).

 

 

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#21 of 21 Old 04-12-2005, 02:34 PM
 
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We spend about $120 a month for two adults. We are vegan and eat about half organic. That also includes all cleaning stuff, laundry and food/litter for three cats.
Also maybe another $30 in eating out/treats.
I am in the UK which is loads more expensive than the US but we eat alot of beans!
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