What's Your Monthly Food Budget? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-18-2014, 02:43 PM
 
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We have a family of 5 (Dh, myself, dd14, dd9, ds7mths) and spend between $900 and $1200 a month ($200-$300 per week), including everything you could get at a grocery store (toiletries, supplements, cleaning supplies).  

Probably 70% organic.  

This feeds our family of 5, plus teen guests and grandparents who often join us.  I cook mostly from scratch and bake at least 1/2 of our bread.

 

We raise our own laying hens, but feed costs translate to between $4 and $5 per doz - this is not a whole lot less than the organic eggs at the grocery store.  I buy beans, rice, flour, oil, honey and sugar in bulk (25 to 50 lb bags and gallon jugs) through a coop ordering group.  Most of our veggies are through a CSA.  Local grass fed beef is $6-$7 per pound for ground chuck, depending on sales at the grocery store.  Non-organic-but-local chicken can be as low as $2 per lb if I buy a whole chicken and part it out myself.  

 

We are dairy free, so I purchase non-dairy "butter" and some rice/soy/coconut milk.  We splurge on 2 bags of chips per week and a non-dairy ice cream for our family dessert night ($8).

 

The crazy thing is that it's hard to find a rental for less than $2,000 per month and that's for a townhouse or dilapidated single family home.  So I guess food prices match all the other crazy high costs.

 

Unfortunately, the farmer's markets are more expensive than the grocery stores or our CSA, so I don't get to enjoy market shopping.  Farm fresh free range eggs (like ours) are from $6 to $10 per doz.  We live in one of those areas where it's significantly more expensive to buy directly from the farmer.  This year we may have enough extras from the apple trees or garden to trade with others for veggies we don't grow or other apple varieties.

 

We don't drink coffee . . .occasional 6 pack of locally brewed beer . . . 2-quarts of juice per month for making water kefir . . . . that's about it!

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Old 01-18-2014, 06:05 PM
 
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We live in Oregon and we spend between 450-500/ month.  This includes other household items too.  Ive been trying to figure out if we can get it any lower so Ive been keeping a close eye on our spending this past week. Meal planning goes a long way.  In the past I ended up having to go to the store in the middle of the week but with planning Ive been sticking too whats bought.

 

We are a family of 4.  We do have some significant allergy issues so while somethings might be cheaper we can eat it.  Ive enjoyed what others have posted.  Anyone use any particular tool to keep track of their finances?

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Old 01-18-2014, 08:17 PM
 
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Thank you for the help!! Coupons for organic food?? Where? And yes, I need to get into a co-op soon. I have been planning our meals before food shopping, but only for dinner. 

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Old 01-19-2014, 07:05 AM
 
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Thank you for this question! We lived in south western South Dakota, a family of 4 eating 80% organic, and or local. Our food, dry goods, pet food, supplements etc was $750 a month. Now we live in southern Chile, and eat about 5% organic, and or local. Our food, dry goods, pet food, supplements etc. is about $700 a month. In both calculations I am including coffee, eating out once every other month. I realize that our food costs have stayed basically the same, but the quality of many things has declined in regards to being organic. We do however eat more fresh produce now and in the states we were eating more pastas and rices or dry goods. In neither place did we eat highly processed foods and in both places we cook in the home most all of our meals.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:12 AM
 
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love this thread - we are a family of 4 (one teen, one toddler, two parents)  and three cats - we live on Long Island - so high COL and super high priced farm fresh foods (and why not?  they have to travel here from PA, NJ and Dutchess county!)   we are going through about 1000$ / month and i really need to bring this amount DOWN.

I shop at a local grocery store for meat, paper goods, bread, beans, pasta & sauce etc....   every week and spend about $120.  then i shop at  a local produce store for produce and deli, DH takes salads to work every day, i try to keep meals to veggies and lean proteins as much as possible (i fall off the wagon  a LOT!)  - thats about $70/week.   I go to a health food store and spend $30/ month on dairy free butter and hemp milk.  And then BJ's at least once a month for close to $200 for cat food, cat litter,  laundry soap, shampoo/conditioner, soap, coffee, overnight diapers -

i only buy sale items and when they are cheap - i stock up on things i always use.  I cook from scratch most of the time - i do have some frozen ravioli on hand for my teenage son.

i have been considering not re-upping my BJ's membership - i wonder  if i buy more stuff i dont need when im there?   

bflohockeygirl - how do you spend so little with a WEGMANS in town?????   (lol - i miss Wegmans!)  


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Old 01-19-2014, 11:13 AM
 
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Family of four ( 2 adults, 1 preschooler and a baby). We spend $450 a month on groceries. Includes dh's packed breakfast and lunch for work. We mainly use cloth diapers except at night and daycare. Diapers, paper products and such come out of home goods budgeted $75 a month.

It seems to work. What makes things tight is hosting a dinner or dinners for guests. I am thinking it's because we need exactly what we budget. I get all meats once a month for the local butcher for $135 the rest of the money goes towards fruits, veggies, dairy and such.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:57 PM
 
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This is a great thread! We are a family of 2 adults and a toddler. We spend about $150 to $200 a week on groceries and household items. I buy almost everything organic and I plan meals. My husband also eats lunch out 5 days a week. This thread is inspiring me to spend less!
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:56 AM
 
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Thank you everyone for being so honest! I have been trying to gage this for so long and have been beating myself up for months because I kept trying to feed our family of 4 for $400/month, missing the goal every time! I wondered what was wrong with me. smile.gif
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kellyanne77 View Post

Thank you everyone for being so honest! I have been trying to gage this for so long and have been beating myself up for months because I kept trying to feed our family of 4 for $400/month, missing the goal every time! I wondered what was wrong with me. smile.gif


Depending on your area, that's actually very low! We are a family of 4 and 2 cats and spend about $200/wk. or $800/mo. That includes whatever I buy at the grocery store - if I end up buying cleaning supplies or cat food, that's in there (I try to buy those things at Target, though, and conversely sometimes I buy milk or snacks at Target, so the categories get a little mixed).

 

I'm in a HCOL area and live in an apartment, so not much stockpiling, no gardening. I don't bake - don't like it, so I don't do it, but could save $ if I started. Four-season climate with a real winter, so farmer's markets only in the summer for a couple of months, and they are not cheaper than stores. No CSA or meat share currently, although we have done that in the past - great, but also not cheaper. I am a WAHM, so I eat almost all lunches at home, and DH and DDs brown bag every day. I cook the majority of our dinners. I have several kids over after school a couple of days a week, so I provide extra snacks for them (has to be gluten-free at least once a week). We eat out maybe 1x per week or every other week - that is not included. I also put in a Vitacost order (maybe $40) every month or two for chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc. for smoothies, vitamins, etc. and go to Costco about once every two months (maybe $150-200) and get our meat, sometimes eggs, some crackers and snacks, drinks, olive oil, almonds, frozen fruit for smoothies, dried fruit, etc.

 

I could reduce our number if I did a couple of things we aren't planning to do right now - no beer/wine, no pre-made snacks (I use things like tortilla chips and cheese sticks for school lunch and after-school snacks), no convenience foods (when it's busy we use frozen food like pizza for dinner once a week or so), not so much organic. Currently I am buying grass-fed milk, natural meat (mostly chicken drumsticks or thighs and some ground beef - 2-3x per week for dinner), the occasional natural ham or something for sandwiches, Ezekiel bread, whole wheat pasta, good brown rice, good eggs, etc. If I went to "regular" versions of all of those things for half the price and dropped our vitamins/supplements, we would save a lot. However, right now we are prioritizing health and are fortunate enough to be able to pay for these things, so we do.

 

Getting a separate freezer would be great, though - then we could do U-pick in the summer and freeze fruit, or stock up on meat, cheese, etc.

 

PS Have you checked this out? USDA cost of food. Food is expensive! Our amount, which I consider to be very generous, only rates the "low-cost" plan on this chart.

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2013/CostofFoodNov2013.pdf


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Old 01-20-2014, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly I think now we cannot it it any lower than $555 a month because we are mostly organic! I make everything from starch(except Annie's crackers and apple sauce, and anything dairy) but yes we do have a deep freezer and during the summer months we unpick all kinds of berries and such. Great idea! I am searching coupons now( organic)
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:34 AM
 
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I also want to pipe in and say thanks.  I've been trying to get this information for years . . . and there have been other threads like this in the past . . . but this one finally has other families that spend a similar amount for the same size family.  

 

FYI - our $900-1200 per month includes cleaning supplies, but I purchase laundry detergent only 2 or 3 times per year at $15 each time, and I spend maybe $5-10 per month on bar soap or liquid castle soap and vinegar.  Not a huge part of the budget.  Now, the shampoo and conditioner that works best for my teen daughter's difficult curly (and oil) hair is about $12 a month . . . out biggest toiletries expense.  Uggg.  Well, she doesn't use any other hair products so I guess I can count myself lucky.  : )

 

Being dairy-free is actually a good thing for our pocket book - local farm fresh milk (not organic) is $5 a gallon, organic raw milk is $15 a gallon at the store, $20 a gallon through a cow share program.  We don't cook meals needing dairy substitutes, so that line item is pretty much deleted from our budget.  Heh, I new there had to be an up-side to the struggle of raising kids with diary sensitivities!

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Old 01-20-2014, 03:00 PM
 
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Very informative thread!

 

My goal is about $400/month for a family of 4 (now 5 w/ a 4 day old newborn). It's probably more realistically like $450 because I can't always keep it quite that low. We use cloth rather than paper towels, I make my own laundry detergent, and vinegar and baking soda for nearly all cleaning. We don't eat organic unless it is comparable in price to conventional. We cook nearly all our food, and bread but I am lucky to have access to wholesale f bulk flour. We rarely eat meat, but it is as local and clean as possible. My goal is about $20/biweekly for meat. Lots of beans and lentils and quinoa and brown rice. No pets, and we live in NH

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Old 01-20-2014, 07:57 PM
 
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Our budget is about $150 per week if we are careful. Before vegan, we could get away with $120. There are 7 of us but we do not shop organic and this does not include protein powder or vitamins that we buy monthly.


PLEASE share your inexpensive vegan meal plans!!!  pretty please!:blowkiss 

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Old 01-20-2014, 10:01 PM
 
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We are a family of 5 and keep our grocery (plus toiletries), on average, under $400/ month. We have to because we have been living off our savings and selling things here and there for the last year and a half after getting laid off.

 

We eat a variety of beans and rice meals. We buy organic produce (except garlic and cilantro) from Sprouts and have food storage (non-organic): beans, wheat berries, coconut oil, honey, "Real salt". We buy bulk: pastured chicken for the deep freezer. We were gifted beef for Christmas from my father-in-law. Our eggs from a lady are $3.00/ dozen. Raw milk: $8/gallon. We drink mostly water, and milk just at breakfast and before bed. We cook everything from scratch. My husband chose sausage for his Christmas present and I gave chose maple syrup. I splurge of 85% chocolate bars that we all enjoy once in a while :0)

 

We do use regular liquid laundry detergent (but sometimes I make a batch), dish detergent, shampoo, olive oil based soap from France that we buy in bulk and chop up for hand washing and shower. We just use a little less detergent when we wash. We use olive oil as a moisturizer, makeup remover (when I wear makeup). And we make homemade "natural" cleaners.

 

I can't say I'm having fun with a limited budget, but it has been interesting to see how little we can get by on. When we finally do get an income again (here's hoping it's soon!) I will be even more frugal than I was before this whole jobless ordeal).

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Old 01-21-2014, 12:29 AM
 
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Wow the variety is huge!

We spend around $800 per month for some organic (animal products are always organic and other stuff is organic if its reasonable) for a Family of three (2 adults and one tot). I consider it to be a lot but we live on an island so I think that makes it more expensive.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:35 AM
 
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We are a family of 7 and spend between $1000-$1200 eating probably 50% organic and the rest I avoid hfcs, most gluten, and most dairy. My kids are 14.5, 11.5, 9.5, 3, and 21 months and the older ones are really getting to the age of big appetites.


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Old 01-21-2014, 03:19 PM
 
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$650 for a family of 3.  We don't eat strictly organic, but we do eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and pretty much nothing processed. 

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Old 01-21-2014, 03:27 PM
 
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For our family of 2 adults, 2 kids age 5 and 1.5 and a dog we spend about 300-450 a week on food and supplements. We eat nearly 100% organic and or local and our dog eats 100% grass fed and finished organic meat. We collect spring water once a month so we don't have any costs there and we cloth diaper our kids. We have had it as high as 5-600 a week - ug.

We don't buy anything processed and literally never eat out. Maybe 3-4 times a year. We both work from home and our son takes his lunch everyday to school. 

Things get a lot cheaper in the summer because we live in the organic fruit and vegetable capital of Canada so I can literally walk down the street to an orchard and gather a weeks worth of produce for 20 bucks. We dehydrate, freeze and ferment a ton of food over the summer months so we have it through the winter.....but everything still adds up.

 

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Old 01-21-2014, 05:18 PM
 
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So much depends on location, I think.


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Old 01-22-2014, 01:52 PM
 
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We are a family of 3 with a 3 year old in s. California. She eats lunch at preschool which we pay $60 a month for. I try to buy as much organic as possible. $500 for groceries and $60 for dining out for the week. I feel we eat pretty well.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are a family of 3 with a 3 year old in s. California. She eats lunch at preschool which we pay $60 a month for. I try to buy as much organic as possible. $500 for groceries and $60 for dining out for the week. I feel we eat pretty well.
Oh that is great for California!
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:15 PM
 
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We are a family of two adults, a 3 year old, 2 year old, and 5 month old. We live in northern FL and spend about $400-500 per month at the moment, mostly local and/or organic. We will be spending about half as much when we move somewhere with a yard hopefully.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:47 PM
 
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For those with families of 4+ who spend $100 or less per week - would one of you mind posting what you buy in a typical month? I am really curious now!


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Old 01-22-2014, 05:56 PM
 
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$750 for a family of 5 - Dh and I, an almost 4 year old, 2.5 half year old, and 2.5 month old (breastfed). I can't eat grains or legumes at all, or potatoes of any kind (or sugar). Kids are grain and sugar free, DH can eat everything but feels better when he keeps his gluten minimal and no white flour. Not being able to eat grains or legumes is hard financially, plus I only do organic and/or grass fed meats and that can be pricey too. We only buy whole chickens, use the bones to make broth, and only buy beef from local farms in bulk or when it's on sale at the store. That budget does also include things like dish and laundry soap and toiletries though. We live near Denver.

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Old 01-22-2014, 08:14 PM
 
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I'm in the Amazon Vine program, and I realized I have nabbed most of our toiletries and detergents through that for free... very helpful there.  I was wondering why my spending was low.


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Old 01-22-2014, 08:34 PM
 
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$2-250 a week, just food.

 

Family of 7.  I rarely buy processed stuff, and my dh buys meat in bulk so that isn't included every week either.  Drives me crazy.  I could feed us poptarts and spaghetti for cheap, but then we always get sick.  I buy real food and cook from scratch, and my "household" budget is shot.  So frustrating.

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Old 01-22-2014, 09:42 PM
 
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I live in Canada where some food items cost a LOT. We eat only organic, free range meat, and buy only local organic produce. I'm careful about buying in bulk, and watch for regular items when they are on sale. For a family of 5 we easily approach $1000 per month! yikes! This doesn't include alcohol or the occasional eating out.

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Old 01-22-2014, 11:29 PM
 
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We spend about 1,000-1,200 per month for a family of 4 on organic foods (including toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.). I see many of you are spending way less. Please tell me the secret as I would love to spend less!!

We're a family of 4 (kids are 5 and 8.) I was spending about $1,200 a month, and little of that was organic, but we just couldn't afford it. So...I cut about $500 a month out of my grocery expense. We are a vegetarian, gluten free household. Plus our daughter can't eat dairy or cane sugar so we have little of that. We get our eggs from our chickens. I do not include their feed in our grocery budget. To save money I grow microgreens to make up about half their diet.

 

Although I'd already been meal planning (make a menu for the week and buy the ingredients for the menu plus staples I'm running low on.) However, I became firm in I only buy what is on my list (if I'm shopping with my kids. They can really send the price tag through the roof.)

 

I buy very little processed food (Many processed foods are actually cheaper than whole foods) other than a couple breakfast cereals and spaghetti sauce. 

 

I stopped buying any extra treats. This was HUGE. Fruit leathers at Trader Joe's and little cups of applesauce and a package of dried fruit add up fast. I do buy the kids one juice box each and we share one 5 oz bag of chips on grocery day. Beyond that, any treats we have I make. I even stopped buying Lara Bars. Even though they're healthy and were so easy for a snack food, even buying them on amazon.com they're $9.40 a pound. Instead I mix peanuts and raisins together for $3 a pound.

 

I buy as much as possible at Costco that won't go to waste (I can't go through the produce quantities they sell so I don't buy them there.) Mainly I buy quinoa, coffee, parmesan cheese, frozen oj we mix in with water kefir (and dog food, though that's not out of our grocery budget.) I was buying avocado oil, but our local Costco is not going to sell it any more (so I bought a dozen bottles since it is significantly cheaper than even amazon.)

 

I buy as much as possible off amazon's subscribe and save. If you buy 5 different items any given month you get a 20% discount and shipping is free. I buy macadamia oil, coconut sugar, cereal, tapioca flour, corn pasta, etc. I buy hot quinoa cereal flakes but they aren't subscribe and save.

 

One of the biggest savings choices I made is to only buy groceries once a week (except for bananas or produce I planned on buying but didn't want to sit in my fridge for 5 days.) I found that each of the little quick trips to pick up a small something ended up costing me $20 or $30 for fruit, a snack or two for the kids, something on sale, etc.

 

Oh, and we go through about 5 pounds of almond flour a month. That stuff is expensive. I buy it online. So I wait to get a 15 to 20% off coupon then I buy 25 pounds (since you get a bulk discount.) With the bulk discount AND the coupon I can get it for $4-5 per pound. Then I freeze it until I need it.


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Old 01-23-2014, 07:49 AM
 
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Ours is $160/wk family of 5, gluten free and always from scratch, leaning toward paleo, DH sometimes eats lunch out too but sometimes I pack him lunch. That does include hygiene and cleaning stuff.

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Old 01-23-2014, 07:55 AM
 
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Thanks so much for this thread! I spend between $600 and $700 per month for our family of 4, including all household products, and I've been feeling like a terrible failure! I keep thinking we should be closer to $400/month for some reason, but it sounds like we're actually pretty average. It's crazy that groceries can be such a huge cost -- that's our biggest expense after our mortgage!

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