How much do you spend on food?

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Postby pf101 » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:39 pm

mallow wrote:I'll try adding some beans or meat to it next time for some protein.

Try lentils. They're easier and faster to cook than dried beans. One nice thing is that both can be frozen so you can cook a big batch ahead and then use them as needed if you like.

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make your own stock - cheaper and you control salt

Postby vicsailgarden » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:43 pm

Make your own stock with beef bones or chicken pieces. Lots cheaper. And I use a discounted pkg of beef. If you use it right away when you get home, esp. if your boiling it to make stock, there's no problem with the fact that it's a day overdue. If you can't use it right away, toss it in the freezer until you can (BTW freezing does not kill bacteria, but it does stop the growth - boiling it long enough to make a stock will kill bacteria).

mallow wrote:Baked wild salmon with rice/potatoes and veggies? How does that come out to under $8?? The CHEAPEST wild salmon we can buy here (and I wouldn't settle for it, it's definitely not fresh) is $14/lb and we usually buy half a pound.

My homemade pasta sauce takes 3-4 vine-ripe tomatoes (about $1.5), squash/zucchini, basil, mushrooms, one brown onion, garlic, and maybe various other veggies + pasta. All of it still comes out to over 8 dollars and has only one serving leftover.

For the veggie soup I use this recipe: ... _basil.php , I guess the ingredients don't really add up to $30, more like $20 including two cartons of stock. If we take out the stock, it will be more like $10. EDIT: Nah.. it will still be around $15 I think.

Good tip on the saving veggies for stock, I heard it before but I keep forgetting to do it! You even save the onion and garlic skins? Interesting. Aren't ends of things usually dirty? Do you wash them thoroughly before you freeze them?

We used to have a growbed and grew our own herbs, but our new place doesn't have a yard so we can't grow anything :(
We will try growing basil in pots until winter though.

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Postby vh » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:11 am

The recipe sounds delicious . . . and it does look pricey. Leeks, once a poor man's food, are pretty expensive. Thirty leaves of basil? From the grocery store? Eeek!

You can get those boxes of allegedly organic chicken stock at Costco for a fraction of what they cost in grocery stores or places like Sprouts. Don't use bouillion cubes--they're nothing but salt with some fake chicken or beef flavor added. Better to substitute canned chicken broth, tho' it's also extremely salty. But far cheaper & tastier is to make your own:

Bake a chicken. Eat the meat. Save the bones & carcass in a plastic bag and toss it in the freezer. Repeat a couple of times over the course of two or three weeks.
Pick up some chicken or turkey wings or chicken legs & thighs on sale.
Place the sale poultry parts plus all the frozen leftovers in a large pot. Toss in a couple of roughly cut-up onions (skins included), several cloves of garlic, a couple of cut-up carrots, a cut-up stalk of celery, and whatever herbs come to hand (dried are fine--get these in an ethnic market for best price).
Cover with water. If you have some cheap white wine sitting around, add a dollop or two.
Bring to a boil. If you're the finicky type, skim off the stuff that rises to the top. This is not necessary, however, as it will disappear as the stock cooks--your stock just won't be crystal clear.
Turn heat down to a SLOW simmer. Go away.
Come back several hours later.
Ladle the cooked stock through a strainer into a big bowl. With the back of a spoon or your ladle, press the juices out; discard the used-up solids. Add salt to taste. Voila! Chicken stock. What you don't use, you can ladle into ziplock freezer bags, one cup per bag, press out the air, seal firmly, and stack flat on a shelf or the floor of the freezer to freeze into handy one-cup packages.

Then engineer the Wolfgang Puck recipe to fit your budget: substitute another onion for the leek; substitute canned tomatoes for fresh (canned are often more flavorful, unless you grow your own; get the store brand), and consider slimming down by cutting the pistou or substituting store-bought pesto. Pistou, while scrumptious, is not de rigueur. Try topping each serving with shredded parmesan, instead.

Basil, thyme, mint, oregano, marjoram, summer savory, Italian parsley, cilantro, & rosemary all thrive in pots (don't use those tiny things--they need at least a 6-inch pot), and they look pretty on your balcony or patio. Sometimes you can get tarragon to grow in a pot, too, depending on your climate and your willingness to neglect the plants. All except tarragon grow inexpensively from seeds. If you live in a cold winter climate, you can store all these herbs by cutting back the plants, tying bunches of stems together with string, and hanging in the garage or kitchen until crisply dried; then crumble the leaves and store in old jars or ziplock bags.

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Postby pf101 » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:38 am

I also use skins in my stock. I find it adds a good flavor, if a lot of fat. so my preferred method of stock making is to simmer it over night, strain in the morning, throw in the fridge all day and that night, peel off the hard layer of fat that has formed on top. That helps keep the fat content down but still gives you good flavor because many times it's the skin that caramelizes and gets all crispy and has the herbs baked into it and that is just yummy.

It's also, IMO, a good idea to roast the bones at low heat for an hour or two if you have the time and want the extra flavor. I do the same thing with beef bones. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, some fresh cracked pepper and some sea salt and roast until golden. Gives a much richer flavor.

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Postby ladykemma2 » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:52 am

consultantjournal wrote:In asking this question, you should remind people to subtract non-grocery items. A trip to Safeway or Costco can entail cooking implements, shampoo, laundry soap, dish soap, toilet paper, Kleenex, feminine hygiene products, baby stuff, prescriptions, film processing, light bulbs, etc.

i don't see how you guys do it. hubby and i spend 200 a week on (the above). the 200 a week includes food and things to keep the house running like light bulbs, furnace filters, dishwasher detergent, cleaninng agents, pet needs, all that.

we went overbudget this week, spending 263. we went hungry -- live and learn. :D

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Postby consultantjournal » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:02 am

But that's what I'm saying. Subtract the non-grocery items from your estimate of grocery spending. I tend to buy non-grocery items at another store, so it's easy for me to tell you how much I spend on groceries.
Andrea Coutu
Consultant Journal

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Postby davidg » Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:51 pm

I'm a college student in Texas and I have been working on getting my food spending under control since I moved out on my own, and sure enough, it has been going down. I chose to concentrate on food-related expenses, just because that is a fairly organic part of our spending, as opposed to our fixed expenses (rent, etc). Here are the monthly averages from Quicken:

12/month: $160
6/month: $140
3/month: $130

12/month: $168
6/month: $175
3/month: $155

12/month: $328
6/month: $315
3/month: $288

Note: These are numbers for feeding myself, my girlfriend and I split this stuff down the middle except for special occasions.

We eat pretty well for college students, little to no Ramen, thank goodness. This is pretty healthy eating, lots of fruits/veggies where we can and a good deal of generics when we can.

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Postby Bluebell » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:45 am

I thought I'd bump this thread b/c today's GRS post got me thinking about it.

Ever since I've been tracking what I spend, I've averaged:

$237/month on "food"
$131.47/month on "grocery"
$102.35/month on "restaurant"

I'm not sure why the total for grocery+restaurant doesn't equal the exact number for the food tag, since everything that gets tagged w/ grocery or restaurant also gets tagged for food (even though I buy household products at the grocery, too).

I could break it down further by actual totals for months (b/c there is disparity there) but don't have the time to right now.

Is $237/month okay for groceries and eating out for a single person for a month? I do try to make good, healthy selections at the grocery and buy more fresh fruit/veggies and good stuff like that, nowadays, rather than noodle packets. And like in the GRS post today, I find myself going to "nicer" places to have a better selection than fast food (perhaps psychological, I guess...I feel like I'll eat out less and make better choices if I'm spending a bit more.) Of course, my version of "nicer" is still not fine dining...$15 or so including tip and beverage.

I see right off the bat that I spent a LOT more on "food" in April, perhaps b/c I was on vacation at the beginning of the month and had a big case of the lazies? I spent only $100 in February. I should also note that I typically re-load my grocery gift card (a portion goes to charity) with a large amount every few months and that gets tagged with "grocery" and "food," even if I don't buy any groceries at that time, and then I use it over the next month or to to buy groceries, which isn't tracked on my online system, since I already tracked it before.

Just wondering what everyone else's numbers were like!

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Postby kick_push » Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:24 pm

just on eating out (breakfast and lunch) daily.. it ranges from $5-10 daily x 5 (weekdays) = $50 weekly = $200 monthly

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Ridiculous Amount in San Fran

Postby my10000 » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:41 pm

Ever since I moved to San Fran...I spend probably about $200 week just on food. The restaurants are great, the drinks are great. Don't get me wrong, I'm LOVING it...but I sure am paying for it....

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Postby FranticWoman » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:49 am

tell me about it my10000

Although, I found that eating out was cheaper than grocery buying and cooking well at home.
Didn't think I'd ever see that!

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Postby saucysault » Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:03 am

I spend about $120-150/week on food (since months have an unequal number of weeks I don't understand monthly budgeting). We don't eat out but I sometimes get a $10 takeout pizza or fast food from macdonalds for the children. This is for a family of five. I used to budget less than $100 a week with NO take out at all but in the past year I've been pregnant (and now breastfeeding) and my personal food consumption has gone through the roof (but I have been losing weight and she has thunder thighs so I know the extra calories have all been going to baby). I am trying to bring the cost back down to under $100 (this isn't food only but includes toiletries/extras like a $20 box of diapers or wipes or dvdrs or mini-indulgences like a $2 hot wheels car. I have found food costs have gone up quite a bit in the past few months, plus food in Canada is a lot more expensive than the prices I have seen in the US. Bread is $2.50 a loaf and milk is $4.50 for three bags (about a gallon I think?) and I buy both of those several times a week. I do not buy meat or frozen food but I spend a lot on boxed breakfast cereals (around $8 for a box) and juice. I shop at the nicest, more expensive grocery shop because it is walking distance (and I HATE buying food from a dirty, cheap shop). Sometimes I walk to the farmers market but with the children in tow (and they are ALWAYS in tow) that can get expensive. Lunches for work for both my husband and me are brown-bagged, as are the children's school lunches (with a weekly happy meal or pizza treat walked over by me). For a while I babysat a friend's child for free but that 5 year old ate non-stop and was costing me about $10 a day in food (seriously, she ate non-stop but was she was stocky, not pudgy) so I asked my friend to make other arrangements (if my friend had paid me $10 a day I would have kept her but that little one was blowing my food budget every week and I had her three times a week). We live pretty close to the bone. When I meat my husband he was on welfare and spent $20 a week on food, total and was blown away by our food spending after we had our first child. I do all the shopping and I am a very smart shopper buying most things in bulk so that when we have a lean week money-wise I can get away with spending less than $20. We just had two months of having less than 50% of our normal household income and we reduced our food costs a bit during that.

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Postby anomar » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:10 am

In a 2 week period I typically spend about $70 on groceries... and $100 on going out to eat! D'oh!

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Postby Dan3500 » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:58 pm

My wife and I spend about $80-$100 a week on food.

Recently I read an article from Time Magazine that talked about what people around the world eat and how much their weekly groceries cost. It is very interesting to look at the photos of the families surrounded by their weekly groceries and look at what they buy.

Time Magazine - What the World Eats

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Postby kick_push » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:13 pm

kick_push wrote:just on eating out (breakfast and lunch) daily.. it ranges from $5-10 daily x 5 (weekdays) = $50 weekly = $200 monthly

today alone i spent about 8 bucks

$2.40 for toast and coffee

$5.50 for bbq chicken and chow mein

who knows what i'll be getting for dinner

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