How much do you spend on food?

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Mia
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Postby Mia » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:39 pm

We spend on average $600 to $700 per month on food and toiletries for a family of 5, including eating out & school/work lunches, laundry, cleaning, personal grooming supplies, etc. . I only shop at Albertsons and, rarely, WalMart (small town).

We eat well/good and I cook home-made; few processed foods but not 'organic' or anything like that and I don't clip coupons though I will stock up on a good sale. I don't 'watch' the grocery budget much so I'm sure I could do better and I should probably try.

2 kids eat school lunch twice per week for $28 a month ($1.75 each per day) and brown bag it the other 3 days - last year it was the other way around by I'm tired of writing those big checks and the school lunch food is crap. All the public school kids get a very nice free breakfast now, but it used to cost just a dollar (so $40 a month for two kids) - free breakfast was a nice surprise this year!

Family home dinners are important to us now, but we used to eat out a lot more when the kids were younger.

We used to make a trip to WalMart every couple of weeks and I swear we never walked out for less than $200. I hate that store. Now I shop once or twice a month at Albertsons and dh stops in for fresh fruit, veggies & milk when we need them- the less I'm at the store, the less we spend because I love to shop and he hates it (though he can't find the good prices like I can and he wouldn't hesitate to buy that $7 jar of olives!).

Dining Out: $50-$100
Dh's Lunches - $120
Kid's School Lunches - $28
Groceries, Etc. - $3-400

It seems as if everyone is pretty much on par with each other; I do think it costs more to feed young kids and teenagers and prices can depend on where you live and the type of food available. I'm thinking about buying a quarter or half beef this year - nice to know where the meat's coming from and it might be less expensive.

dariaclone
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Postby dariaclone » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:03 pm

Two adults: we spend $300/month on groceries. This doesn't include eating out, but I generally include that in the "going out" budget, but it's probably around $250/month. We've gotten pretty healthy and eat lots of fresh foods, but I've been stockpiling from the farmer's markets for winter, so hopefully the winter bill will go down a bit.

The dining out portion is somewhat high, but we work A LOT, so with that comes the need for some convenience.

And I just realized that the $250 doesn't include our individual budgets, just the "joint" account. Lunches eaten out at work come from the individual accounts. Again, we generally think it's ok because of our jobs, but the amount is coming down because we are packing our own lunches more frequently.

Joanna
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Postby Joanna » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:39 pm

It's just me, and I buy almost no prepared or frozen foods at all because of my food allergy, so I spent between $25-30 a week. I have spent about $90 this month and that includes two meals out :) Getting a food allergy has made me so frugal. I used to spend so much more than this.

MITBeta
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Postby MITBeta » Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:08 am

Our budget (two adults and a 7 month old) has been $375 (yes, that specific) for the last 4 months or so. 3 weeks ago my wife discovered The Grocery Game and it seems like we're saving A LOT of money on groceries this month. I'll let you all know at the end of the month.

This $375 does not include eating out, but it does include anything else you can buy at the supermarket (toiletries, paper goods, etc.) but does not include liquor/beer (can't buy those at the market in MA...).

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pf101
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Postby pf101 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:58 am

Lately, way too much because i'm eating out 1-2 meals/day. I *LOVE* to cook and back in DC I would cook all the time. Unfortunately here my situation is different. I'm sharing a fridge so I can't cook in bulk which is a pain. and only have one shelf so what I can buy is limited. but the bigger problem is that i *HATE* my house mates and how freaking anal one of them is so spending time in the kitchen is just not fun.

it's one reason i'm looking to get a place of my own. the extra money for rent will be balanced by my reduced food costs.

Gnashchick
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Postby Gnashchick » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:08 am

I spend between $350 and $400 a month on food & household items (toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc) for two. Like other posters, I could spend less, but I'm buying fresh food & organic whenever I can, and that tends to be more expensive.

The grocery store bill used to be up around $600 a month, but I cut that down. My taste buds can't tell the difference between a $10 and $30 bottle of olive oil anyway. And while I do like to cook with exotic ingredients, I needed to back off and only cook a "gourmet" meal once a week.

I also clip coupons, keep a price book, and did my own research into which local grocery was actually the cheapest. I watch for loss-leaders in the Wednesday paper and shop just for those specific items if they are something I'll use anyway.
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Ryuns
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Postby Ryuns » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:28 pm

Food is a funny part of the budget, because if I'd worry too much about it, I'd end up eating less healthfully and environmentally friendly, and I'd be less social. (At 23, sometimes you just have to go to the bars...) All told, probably $300-400 a month for a single person.

Does beer count as food? (Isn't that a Homer Simpson quote?)

SJean
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Postby SJean » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:24 pm

My boyfriend and I split groceries and eating out (roughly in 1/2).

My share comes to about 125 for grocery and about 75 for eating out. I expect a drop in this soon, as the relationship will become long distance and it'll just be me. I'll go out to eat less, and probably spend less on food too. I like eating soups for lunch, which is way cheap

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morydd
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Postby morydd » Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:10 am

So, I just ran the totals, and we're running about 465/mo for groceries and 228/mo dining out according to MS Money.
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kick_push
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Postby kick_push » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:06 am

a big percentage of my budget goes on food =/ i spend way too much for lunch.. it ranges from $5 to $10 daily.. that stuff adds up

that doesn't include breakfast, dinner, and groceries =/

Cady
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Postby Cady » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:47 pm

I've been reading a book called How To Cook a Wolf. One of these blogs I read mentioned it and I picked it up last week, used of course. ;) It is written by a woman trying to feed her family with some dignity during the rations of WWII. It is chock full of amazing stuff. The main things I've taken away from it right now though is:

Instead of eating balanced meals, eat a balanced day.

Altho I aim for $30 a week I actually am closer to $37 a week. I never eat out, at least not on my own dollar, at least not while I'm trying to pay off the 20% mortgage.

Every 3 weeks I cook a whole fryer ($2-5 depending on sales.) Then I make chicken soup from it (About $8.50 for all ingredients.) That soup covers 15 small lunches at work. (It is a wonderfully frugal trait to be able to eat the same thing every day.) My other meal at work is leftovers, or a sandwich or peanut butter and saltines. I like to make a breakfast sandwich 3-4 times week as well. My other breakfasts might just be a yogurt, or thick sliced toast with cream cheese or a banana.

Today I've eaten two small bialys (tiny bagels) sandwiches that a friend was going to throw away at the beach last night. I had some carrots, (I buy a 2 pound bag of real carrots, peel and slice them and put them in a pot with a very small amount of water, a pat of butter and a squirt of honey. That'll give me 4 veggie sides for work for $1.49.) And I have a chicken soup defrosting behind me for dinner.

I'm learning that some meals only need to give you enough sustenance to get to the next meal.

One of my other favorite tricks is to go to the deli counter and make the person slice two slices of some meat and two slices of some cheese, (you get a sample slice too so that is three of each really,) and then head to the bakery and buy one roll. I walk out with a "deli sandwich" that only costs $1.40 or so instead of the $5.99 sandwich they sell there.

BTW, I call this the mortgage diet. I've lost 17 pounds since closing. Trim the fat indeed!

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pf101
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Postby pf101 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:46 pm

Cady, be careful. It doesn't sound like you're getting enough calories in your diet. You don't want to sacrifice your health in order to save some money.

consultantjournal
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Postby consultantjournal » Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:41 pm

I agree. Please make sure that you're getting enough calories and nutrients. It doesn't sound like you're eating very much. Even if you're on a diet, you'd want to aim for 1500 calories a day.
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Cady
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Postby Cady » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:15 pm

Thanks for the concern. Y'all are sweet. It's not as dire as that makes it out to be. I'm in the ball park of my normal weight. What I lost was weight from eating junk food that I don't buy anymore. I'm still quite porcine and 17 pounds in 18 weeks is fine. I'll be solvent in time to be svelte. Or maybe the other way around...

consultantjournal
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Postby consultantjournal » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:53 pm

Okay...it's just that I counted up your daily meal at <1000 calories. :) But I hope you eat some other stuff during the day.
Andrea Coutu
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