How much do you spend on groceries? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 90 Old 07-31-2006, 06:52 PM
 
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We try to stay around $400 for me (pregnant), DH and 2 1/2 y.o DD. We buy all of our milk and produce from co-op which really helps. Actually, we really get most of our food from co-op. I still buy meats and a few other things at the grocery store. We are mostly organic, eat lots of produce, veggie meals a couple of times a week. Once every three months or so we do a trip to Costco for cleaning products, paper products, dog/cat food, etc. that usually averages $150. I have no idea how you all are eating off of $200 a month!

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#62 of 90 Old 08-01-2006, 02:49 AM
 
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We spend about $500/month for a family of 4 including a baby on solids. The baby, the 3yearold and I are bottomless pits. We get a good amount of organic especially milk and also veggies during the growing season. We also have to pay 8.25% tax on food.

When we lived in Boston we'd drive out to the suburbs to grocery shop most of the time b/c it was so much cheaper.
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#63 of 90 Old 08-01-2006, 03:54 AM
 
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It's only DH and I, and we spend anywhere from $350 to $500 a month on groceries alone, not including toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other household items. We live in the DC metro area. We eat out about once a week and buy exclusively organic products if we can help it, and cook everything from scratch. We try to buy pastured and/range meats, and pastured/cage free eggs whenever possible. We both work and haven't had time to find less expensive sources so we buy almost everything from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Right now what's killing us are the cost of fruits since DH and I both eat about 2 to 3 pieces of fruit a day (or equivalent in berries, grapes, or melons).

We are planning to move later this year to gain some acreage (currently in a townhouse) and will be growing some of our own produce and also getting a freezer so we can buy whole sides of beef and other whole or half cattle and save some money there.
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#64 of 90 Old 08-01-2006, 04:07 AM
 
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We spend $600-750 per month for two adults and one baby. This may seem like a lot but we have worked hard to reduce it from $850-1000 per month and I can't imagine spending less without seriously compromising quality. At this point I am actually thinking about consciously allocating more of our monthly budget to food, so that we can afford more seafood; I don't think we eat enough seafood, but it is so expensive.

We do buy mostly organic food, and we also try to eat locally grown food as much as possible as opposed to "walmart-style" organic food. Besides the fact that we buy organic, I think our food costs are high because (1) we eat a LOT of fresh produce, which is expensive, and (2) food is probably expensive in our area, but I haven't lived in other areas so I can't compare.

We get produce from a CSA (actually we subscribe to two CSAs because one is not enough!) and we get eggs from a local farm. We buy almost no packaged foods and make almost everything ourselves from scratch. We use a pricebook when we shop, to compare prices and make note of when there is a good sale. When we buy produce to supplement our CSA boxes, we are very disciplined about buying only the produce that is in season and near its seasonal low in price. Our local co-op allows us to save by buying lots of things in bulk, not only dry items like grains, but also wet and refrigerated items like olive oil, nut butter, honey, and sauerkraut, and even shampoo. We also buy by the case to get a discount on packaged items we use as staples (like coconut milk or tomato paste). We have reduced or eliminated many of our nonfood item costs, like paper towels (we have switched to using old cotton napkins).
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#65 of 90 Old 08-01-2006, 11:26 AM
 
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I spend about $300/month on food for 2 adults and 2 kiddos.

This includes toilet paper and most toiletries (toothbrushes, etc)

ETA: I will only buy organic milk,etc. The cereals, breads, etc are normally about 1/2 organic and 1/2 conventional.
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#66 of 90 Old 08-01-2006, 11:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saratc
It's only DH and I, and we spend anywhere from $350 to $500 a month on groceries alone, not including toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other household items. We live in the DC metro area. We eat out about once a week and buy exclusively organic products if we can help it, and cook everything from scratch. We try to buy pastured and/range meats, and pastured/cage free eggs whenever possible. We both work and haven't had time to find less expensive sources so we buy almost everything from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Right now what's killing us are the cost of fruits since DH and I both eat about 2 to 3 pieces of fruit a day (or equivalent in berries, grapes, or melons).

We are planning to move later this year to gain some acreage (currently in a townhouse) and will be growing some of our own produce and also getting a freezer so we can buy whole sides of beef and other whole or half cattle and save some money there.
Saratc, this doesn't help you this summer, but next summer, you could sign up for a farm share, including one for fruit. There are some really fantastic ones in the outer burbs in Va., and many of them come into Arlington, Fairfax and Alexendria for deliveries.

Whole Foods really is a budget-buster. The gap between what they charge and what the Mt. Ranier co-op I shop at charges is amazing.
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#67 of 90 Old 08-01-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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i spend way too much- between 300-500 a month when dh is here, and 200-400 when its just me. we have no kids yet

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#68 of 90 Old 08-01-2006, 09:04 PM
 
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For two adults, a two-year-old, and two cats, our total grocery budget averages $300--higher some months when we stock up, lower some months when we don't need to go shopping--and we could probably get it down to $200 if I were better at meal planning. That's for food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, cat supplies, everything. We live in rural central Illinois, but we do a lot of Costco and Trader Joe's stock-ups when we visit my mom in the Chicago suburbs.

We save a lot of money by skipping the store and buying directly from the source. Most of the meat and eggs are natural (essentially organic, just not certified yet) from a local farmer. I buy almost all organic dairy from the store, except for cheese. We grow quite a bit of our own produce, but also buy directly from local farmers and orchards, and round out the rest with produce from the store (about half organic). Most of the staples--flours, rice, oatmeal, sugars, etc.--are organic from the local Amish health food store. Unfortunately, we do buy quite a bit of processed snack food b/c I haven't been very good at meal planning, but I try to mostly get it from the grocery store's natural section or Trader Joe's. We've also saved money by cutting out a lot of disposable products.

We also budget $100/month for DH's work lunches and $100/month for eating out.
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#69 of 90 Old 08-13-2006, 09:56 PM
 
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: Wow. This thread was a real wake up call for me. We're struggling financially and I just spent the last couple of days entering in and running reports on the last 7 months of spending. I was kind of shocked to see that we average about $900/mo on groceries. (That's not even counting stuff like TP, Paper goods, shampoo, pet food, etc.) UGH!

How do you guys do it? Or, how am I managing to spend so much??? Augh!

We're a family of 3. 2 adults and one 3 yo. We're strict vegetarian, almost vegan. I shop pretty much exclusively at Whole Foods and some at Trader Joes. I guess that's part of the problem. I buy mostly organic. I'm not really willing to give up the organic though. I'm thinking of joining a local farm coop and trying to buy most of my veggies/fruits at a local farmers market, hopefully that'll help.

Truthfully, I have a suspicion that the biggest problem is we're just really wasteful. : I'm not much of a cook and I'm not good at planning meals so I end up buying a bunch of stuff thinking "yeah, maybe I'll make something with that" and then I don't and it goes bad.

Do most of you plan meals? If so, how far out?

Thanks!
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#70 of 90 Old 08-13-2006, 10:08 PM
 
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I spend about $150-200 a month. We do get WIC so that saves us money there. I make a meal list and shop for those items. I don't really buy a lot of junk food and rarely shop off the list. DH does drink soda but I mainly drink water or homemade ice tea.

I only buy food for the week. Every sunday night I make a meal list and only buy the stuff for those meals. The meals that I plan out are inexpensive but we always have a veggie with the dinner and we always have fresh fruit in the house for snacks.

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#71 of 90 Old 08-13-2006, 10:38 PM
 
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This thread inspired me to track our food spending this week. I was FLOORED when it totaled almost $100!!!! I believe 40% of it was due to poor planning. We are definitely going to do better this week. I should add that none of that food was organic. We live in a small town, so we have close to zero availability for organics at the grocery store (and I won't shop at Wal-Mart for food). We do eat a lot more produce than I thought (which is good), and I do make a lot from scratch, but we really, really need to get back on track!

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#72 of 90 Old 08-13-2006, 10:52 PM
 
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For two adults and one child (2.5), about $300-350/month. That bill includes everything--cat food, toiletries, TP, and so on. We also do buy beer and wine.

I am surprised by how much of that goes to DD's needs. When it was just the two of us, we could get by on $250/month, easily. DD often does not eat what we do for dinner, so I'm buying things like ww pasta, ww tortillas, refried beans, some soups, and extra beans, cheese, and fruit for her alone.

We are 95% vegetarian (we eat fish maybe once a month) and eat out 4 times a month. We buy probably 50/50 organic and conventional. All dinners are planned, but other meals are not. I do have a vegetable garden, but its yields are sporadic.

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#73 of 90 Old 08-13-2006, 11:01 PM
 
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2 adults, 2 kids (one who requires occaionsal use of Pediasure which is expensive), I have $100 a week to spend on groceries, including cleaning supplies, the Pediasure, and other grocery-related things. I usually have about $15 left over for my personal spending money.

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#74 of 90 Old 08-14-2006, 12:08 AM
 
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Right now, we're averaging $300/mo, but that's going to have to drop some b/c DH got a paycut and things are TIGHT. We buy organic milk and eggs, I buy wheat berries, rye berries, spelt berries, brown rice, and flax seed in bulk from a co-op and make EVERYTHING from scratch. We haven't started buying organic meat yet b/c we can't find a source that's not bulk buying (we live in a small apt and don't have room for a chest freezer). We've started eating more bean based meals. We buy conventional fruits and veggies and wash really well b/c I just found local CSAs and it's too late in the season to join. I'd go to the farmer's markets, but they're only 1x/ week and it's hard to make the trip w/ 2 kids and gas being what it is.

I plan EVERYTHING including snacks. We make a list and stick to it at the store and don't do any extras.

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#75 of 90 Old 08-14-2006, 12:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by scoobers
Truthfully, I have a suspicion that the biggest problem is we're just really wasteful. : I'm not much of a cook and I'm not good at planning meals so I end up buying a bunch of stuff thinking "yeah, maybe I'll make something with that" and then I don't and it goes bad.

Do most of you plan meals? If so, how far out?
I plan meals, but only loosely. I feel too restricted when I plan them down to the day because, really, what if I don't feel like having X on Monday when we're "supposed" to?

First of all, I always try to do a week's worthof shopping at a time, and I go with a list. When I make the list, I do two things. First, I check the cabinets and the fridge to see which staples we're running low on. Staples would be things we use all the time and that I count on having in the house whenever I need/want them: milk, bread, eggs, some canned goods, pasta, rice, beans, soy milk for dd, etc. Then, I figure out which dinners I'd like to make that week. We're a family of three, too, and I find that I really only need to make 3-4 dinners a week because the other nights we either have leftovers, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, pasta, or something equally easy. Then, once I know which dinners I want to make, I just write down which ingredients (usually produce and meat, but that wouldn't apply to you) I need, and that's it. I also put a Post-It on the fridge door with those meals listed because sometimes I get busy during the week and, even though I look in the fridge, I can't remember what I was planning on making with this or with that, KWIM? That's when waste happens for me! I've also tried to be more disciplined about freezing what I don't end up using. So, for example, last week I bought celery because I wanted to make soup, but I only used three stalks. Rather than letting the celery wither away in the fridge and constantly thinking, "I know I'll use it, I will!" I just chopped the rest of it up and froze it. Now, the next time I need chopped celery, it's in the fridge. One of these days, when I have all kinds of time (HA!) I'm going to do the same thing for onions, garlic, and parsley. It won't take long in the food processor, but I just need to do it!

BTW, if you're serious about lowering your food budget, do look around for different sources. I always spend waaaaaaaay too much at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and WF especially, marks their stuff up A LOT. I can get much better deals by driving 10 miles out of my way to a local farm. I wouldn't have known that unless I asked one of the vendors at our farmers' market if they sell their stuff anywhere else, but with a little research, I'm sure you can find better places to shop!

Hope this helps!
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#76 of 90 Old 08-14-2006, 02:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by msjd123
I also put a Post-It on the fridge door with those meals listed because sometimes I get busy during the week and, even though I look in the fridge, I can't remember what I was planning on making with this or with that, KWIM? That's when waste happens for me! I've also tried to be more disciplined about freezing what I don't end up using. So, for example, last week I bought celery because I wanted to make soup, but I only used three stalks. Rather than letting the celery wither away in the fridge and constantly thinking, "I know I'll use it, I will!" I just chopped the rest of it up and froze it. Now, the next time I need chopped celery, it's in the fridge. One of these days, when I have all kinds of time (HA!) I'm going to do the same thing for onions, garlic, and parsley.

Hope this helps!
I love the Post-It idea, thanks!! That's definitely one of the problems. I totally forget that I've even bought certain things. They end up buried somewhere until I uncover them at a later time and then it's "uh-oh".

About freezing: can you freeze anything? How long will veggies last when frozen? Do you store them a special way? In a freezer bag or tupperware?

I'm looking around on the web for places to buy things like grains/legumes (organic) in bulk. Anyone have any suggestions or luck doing this? How long will grains and dried legumes be good?

Thanks!!
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#77 of 90 Old 08-14-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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Scoobers, I'm not an expert on freezing, but I think you probably can freeze a lot of things. I've done all of the following in chopped form: onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, kale, parsley, and basil. I just chop them in the food processor and then put them into quart-sized freezer bags. Tupperware would probably work as well, but with bags, it's easier to break up any clumps that have frozen together. There was a thread about putting things away for winter in which someone explained how to freeze veggies -- just blanch, cool, and freeze. I usually freeze small amounts because our freezer is kind of temperamental, and after 3 months or so, I start noticing freezer burn.

As for buying things in bulk, I either get things at Costco, Smart and Final, or our regular grocery store. Azure Standard is a good online source. I never buy more than what I can use in a year, and that's usually fine, but with things that have some fat in them (whole wheat flour, for example) you have to be careful because it will go rancid and then it doesn't taste as good.
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#78 of 90 Old 08-14-2006, 06:29 PM
 
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I spend about $400-$450 a month on groceries for 2 adults and 1 toddler. This includes eating out. We live in Hawaii where the cost of living is notoriously expensive thanks to shipping costs. We eat mostly organic wholesome food 60% of the time. We shop sales. We shop at Costco. We clip coupons. We try to make a meal stretch. For example, we cook dinner from scratch then we eat the leftovers either for breakfast or take it to work for a brown bag lunch. We don't drink soda. We don't smoke and we rarely drink. We have a few bottles of wine in the fridge but we use it for cooking although DH and I have been known to kick back a drink now and then. Hard day at work, anyone?

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#79 of 90 Old 08-14-2006, 06:30 PM
 
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Too much, About $200+
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#80 of 90 Old 08-15-2006, 10:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msjd123
Scoobers, I'm not an expert on freezing, but I think you probably can freeze a lot of things. I've done all of the following in chopped form: onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, kale, parsley, and basil. I just chop them in the food processor and then put them into quart-sized freezer bags. Tupperware would probably work as well, but with bags, it's easier to break up any clumps that have frozen together. There was a thread about putting things away for winter in which someone explained how to freeze veggies -- just blanch, cool, and freeze. I usually freeze small amounts because our freezer is kind of temperamental, and after 3 months or so, I start noticing freezer burn.

As for buying things in bulk, I either get things at Costco, Smart and Final, or our regular grocery store. Azure Standard is a good online source. I never buy more than what I can use in a year, and that's usually fine, but with things that have some fat in them (whole wheat flour, for example) you have to be careful because it will go rancid and then it doesn't taste as good.
OK, thanks so much! I'm going to try freezing some veggies and see how I do!
Also, thanks so much for the website. Looks like they've got a great selection and have lots of organic too!

I'm really inspired by this thread, thanks all!
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#81 of 90 Old 08-15-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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We budget $500 a month for myself, dh, 3 kids and a toddler. this is for food only. We are vegetarians and try to buy organic as much as possible but do not have much available locally.

My goal is always to improve quality with raising the budget. I plan meals for the week then make my grocery list and shop. Any longer and we don't stick to it. We rarely eat out though I love to do so. It is just too much commotion and better kept at home right now.

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#82 of 90 Old 08-15-2006, 03:01 PM
 
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We budget $500 a month for myself, dh, 3 kids and a toddler. this is for food only. We are vegetarians and try to buy organic as much as possible but do not have much available locally.

My goal is always to improve quality with raising the budget. I plan meals for the week then make my grocery list and shop. Any longer and we don't stick to it. We rarely eat out though I love to do so. It is just too much commotion and better kept at home right now.

oops sorry about this.

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#83 of 90 Old 08-15-2006, 11:34 PM
 
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i get $320 in food stamps for myself and my 2 kids. we also get wic thankfully sinse all of us need lactaid milk. having said that by the end of the month things can get pretty sparse lol. we rarely go out to eat unless someone else (read my parents) are paying. maybe once a month or so we'll order a pizza.
We live in MA
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#84 of 90 Old 08-17-2006, 02:57 AM
 
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2 adults and 2 kids - 800 a month

why? a) we eat organic/natural/whole
b) b/c my daughter has a devlopmental disorder and food allergies and needs special foods.
c)She needs all of my attention so I have like no time for cooking. sucks. I hate it (I love my daughter just hate the cost of food!).

when we only had one child we spent 100$ a week give or take. but now we eat organic as much as possible and we didn't then.

we live in a very expensive area (we live rent free!)

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#85 of 90 Old 08-18-2006, 04:12 PM
 
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Well I go shopping for the house(me my dh and our 8mon old), once every two weeks. Then I meal plan and chop and freeze for those two weeks. I eat fresh healthy snacks(my dd is getting to the wanna go-go-go stage so I dont have time to sit and eat meals during the day), and our dd eats fresh baby food(we buy her some snacks, like the fruit puffs and such so she can have a snack when we eat like popcorn)that I make, and then comes dad. He is diabetic so we shop based on his eating needs. Which means lots of protein and less sugar.
We spend about $120 every two weeks on food alone. Thank God for Aldi's, cause other wise it would be close to $250. Plus we have a privately owned Piggly Wiggly and their prices on meat are really really cheap.
This was a small town, but is now a big tourist town, so certin times of the year our food prices go up-but in Wisconsin there is no tax on groceries(food items), which is really nice too..

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#86 of 90 Old 08-18-2006, 04:24 PM
 
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I think the easiest way to budget is to use quicken and download everything from your debit card online. If you did this you could figure out what you have been spending for the last few months on groceries and pretty much everything. That is how I set up our budget.

I also ring up only groceries and then ring up a second ticket for everything nonedible. I have found that TP and soap etc can cost far more than the food. I budget 400 for food ( two adults and a toddler) Its gone up a bit from 80$ a week because off the effects of the economy lately. I waste money on non food items that is why I ring them seperate. I used to buy organic but now I just can't afford that. I do shop at the coop and buy a few things that are essential.

If I plan my meals and make sure I use what is in the fridge I do WAY BETTER than just winging it. I also make a one extra piece of meat etc and pack it in a gladware container for my husbands job. If I freeze it immediately then he has a good quality lunch at a very reasonable price. Also the more you can make from scratch or use your leftovers than the more you can save.
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#87 of 90 Old 08-18-2006, 05:33 PM
 
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About $400 a month for 2 adults and 4 y/o ds who is very tall and slim and could out eat a teenager! We go through tons of produce, cheese, yogurt, bread, peanut butter... We are whole grain, no trans-fat, no high fructose corn syrup (that shows up in everything), etc, so it can be a bit tricky finding certain items. The $400 does not include meals out or take-out.

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#88 of 90 Old 08-20-2006, 09:29 PM
 
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I just did my September budget....for groceries at the store I budgeted $290, $40 for my organic produce co-op, $10 for one quick lunch out, and $12 for my milk club....So $352 for all food, cleaning stuff, and toiletries for 2 adults, a three year old and 1 year old.
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#89 of 90 Old 08-20-2006, 09:44 PM
 
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We usually spend about $800 a month on groceries for a family of 7. I buy my cleaning stuff and toiletries about every 3 months from Frontier and we spend about $300 each time we do that. I try to buy as much organic as I can, but its not redily avalible in our area. A gallon organic milk is $7+ here and I can't find any organic meats.
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#90 of 90 Old 11-03-2006, 09:38 PM
 
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Bumping for mommas following grocery spending thread under nutrition and good eating
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