How much do you spend on food?

Five years ago, I posted the first-ever “Ask the Readers” question here at Get Rich Slowly. “How much do you spend on food?” I asked in a short post (the likes of which one never sees around here anymore). For five years, people have been posting their food budgets for others to see.

Shauna wrote earlier this week asking for an update:

Would you consider doing an update to the “How much does your household spend on food?” post from 2006? This is a constant point of contention in our household budget.

  • On the one hand, my husband and I are sort of “foodies”: We love to cook, experiment with new ingredients and recipes, share that food with others, etc.
  • On the other hand, it's a significant part of our budget and I feel like the general theme of most of the food-related posts on GRS is on how to spend the absolute minimum on food.

Many of our friends have cut back in other areas of their life (cheaper housing, cars, etc) in order to be able to spend more on food. They budget for eating out at new restaurants once a month, shop at the farmers market because they enjoy the experience, etc. None of those things are possible for us, even though we are supposedly spending more on groceries than most of the other folks on GRS, if the comments from your 2006 posts are right.

Our “groceries” budget is $750 per month, but that includes food, household items like paper towels and laundry detergent, personal hygiene items, etc. Basically everything we would buy at a grocery store. We live in the inner downtown core of a medium-sized city. We both work, and we take our lunches with us every day. We cut coupons where we can. We maybe eat out once or twice a month at low-cost places (pizza, happy hour, etc). We do grow some of our own produce (lettuce, tomatoes, etc) but there's really only a four-month window when we harvest significant amounts.

My question is: Are we really spending a lot more on food than most people? Or are we just using a budget that doesn't tell the true story? I'd love to hear what number others come up with, and the factors that influence it (eating at home vs. eating out, living in a city vs. a rural area, both partners working vs. one staying at home, buying organic vs. regular, etc) so we can actually compare apples to apples.

If I weren't vacationing in Alberta with Kris' family, I'd share our food numbers too. Looking at the most recent summaries of my discretionary spending (2008 and 2009), I'd guess we spend about $500/month on groceries and $300/month on dining out. That's for two “foodie” adults in Portland, Oregon. These numbers are both about $100/month more than what we were spending five years ago.

The restaurant dining is an ongoing issue, and one that I've tried unsuccessfully to address. On paper, we can afford to spend that much dining out, but I don't like it. It feels wrong. I'd rather use that money for something else. On the other hand, I'm okay with our grocery budget. Like Shauna, that number includes various household goods. It also reflects an increased focus on healthy foods in the past eighteen months. I used to buy junk food from Safeway. Now I buy things like organic chicken sausage from the local health-food store.

So, five years farther on — and facing ongoing price pressure at the supermarket — let's look at the same questions I asked in 2006.

What does your family spend on food in a month? How much of this is for groceries? How much for dining out? Do you make an effort to control food spending, or do you simply buy what you feel like? Do you use coupons? Do you grow your own food? Is eating organic important to you? What other considerations do you make when spending on food?

More about...Food

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
399 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John
John
9 years ago

Through the first seven months of 2011 my family has spent $2800 on groceries (or $400/month) for a family of 4, which includes two toddlers, one still in diapers. We stockpile non perishable groceries making heavy use of coupons.

Our restaurant budget for the first seven months is about $1200 ($175/month) which includes work cafateria lunches for me, fast food takeout and family sit down meals at restaurants. $700 of the $1200 is for work lunches, which partly I chalk up as a “networking” cost.

The+Other+Brian
The+Other+Brian
9 years ago
Reply to  John

We have a similar family makeup to John’s except we do not have either toddler in diapers. We spend $750/mo for groceries and HBA items. We sped $250/mo dining out which includes any work lunches that I may purchase, WAAYY too many trips to Caribou Coffee and family dining out.

We live in a suburban area of a major metropolitan city (3+ million)

Lara
Lara
9 years ago
Reply to  John

I’m VERY interested in knowing where you live, what type of city/town etc. My husband and I spend more than that – and it’s just the two of us! We live in a pretty affluent suburb but we ourselves are not affluent and are very frugal.

Joanna
Joanna
9 years ago
Reply to  Lara

Well I don’t know what I am doing wrong here. I have to be picky about what I eat and avoid gluten, and I like to shop organic. I enjoy going out to eat, but don’t go to extravagant places.

That said, I spend about 900 a month on a 2 adult household, sometimes when I have a party or dinner party it exceeds 1200 with alcohol.

200 bucks a month would be amazing, but I feel like I’d be eating rice and beans and beans and rice in for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Lara
Lara
9 years ago
Reply to  Joanna

I agree Joanna – your numbers are closer to mine. We’re a couple in a suburb of NY, and yes we do end up having a lot of company, and alcohol. Maybe that’s the variable?
I will say, reading everyone’s comments was a little discouraging, considering I am the one that ppl in my group of friends call cheap. But i’m going to see it as a challenge to get my numbers waaaayyyy down. And then once I do, have ppl over again. 🙂

Nathalie
Nathalie
9 years ago
Reply to  Joanna

Joanna, I’m Canadian and I’m always shocked (SHOCKED!) by how little groceries cost in the US. We live just outside of Toronto, and our family of four is lucky to bring in the grocery/household/toiletry budget for $950 a month excluding restaurants and alcohol (and we love to entertain). I also make nearly ALL of our skin care items from organic, raw ingredients, and I also make ALL of our household cleaning products both to keep costs down and to ensure our home is free from nasty chemicals. With the exception of our daughter’s favourite cereal, NOTHING we purchase comes in… Read more »

Claire
Claire
9 years ago
Reply to  Lara

I think the key variable (Lara & The+Other+Brian) is where you live. I live in the Triangle area in NC (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) and went to NYC (Queens to be a little more exact) for a visit. I went to a grocery store there and was shocked at how much groceries cost, even for basics like milk and cheese. I asked my husband (who lived there for 30+ years) how he could afford that (he never had a high paying job while he lived there) & he said he was just used to it since that’s all he had been exposed… Read more »

Robyn
Robyn
9 years ago
Reply to  Claire

I live in the Midwest and spend approx $225/mo for myself. I eat out way more than I should but the $225 includes groceries, HBA (which i buy very little), household (paper towels/facial tissues/toilet paper all bought in bulk)and even pet supplies. I do not buy brand name items, organic or even the high priced items (ie so called healthy items), usually buy on sale if possible, and rarely buy chips/cookies/etc. I do splurge on soda if on a good sale. I do shop at grocery chains and some cheaper chains.

Jessica
Jessica
8 years ago
Reply to  John

I’ll also be interested in knowing how you manage to spend so little on food for a family of four.

We are two and spend almost $600. However we try to buy everything organic if possible.

Johan @ HÃ¥rborttagning Stockholm
Johan @ HÃ¥rborttagning Stockholm
8 years ago
Reply to  John

We spend almost $600 on food, and that’s just me and my girlfriend… I guess we could be a lot more economical, but the worst part is we tend to throw away 10-20% of the food because we buy something and then just don’t feel like having that food, and then it starts to spoil. I guess i am getting poorer, slowly, and not the other way around. But i know i should turn it around, i am working on a food-plan right now – planning my meals an then i’m gonna try to stick to it and not just… Read more »

Anne+Cross
Anne+Cross
9 years ago

I budget $50 per week for food, clothes, and entertainment for my household of one. I often spend less than that (and put the rest in savings for those rare occasions when I need to spend more). I don’t break it out by how much goes to food and how much to other things, but I’d say I spend about $150 per month on food (I don’t drink alcohol, rarely eat out, I get maybe one coffee per month at a coffee shop, I brown bag my lunch at work, and am a vegetarian, so am not buying meat). I… Read more »

Britta B.
Britta B.
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne+Cross

I budget $100 a week for food/household items. I usually come in under that amount at the end of the month. I signed up for a vegetable CSA for 10 weeks ($135) and the stuff I get is plenty and I can make multiple meals out of it. I make my own bread, don’t drink alcohol and go out to a restaurant w/friend(s) maybe once every other month. I am an appetizer/dessert freak, so no big entree for me ‘-) I don’t coupon shop, but buy store brand most of the time. The other day I got two bottles of… Read more »

moink
moink
9 years ago

In the month of June this year, the first month in which we were tracking our spending, we spent £371 (about $565) on groceries and £62 (about $101) on eating out, for two adults and a small child. That is 23% of our income on groceries, 3.8% on eating out, for a total of 27% of our income on food. Groceries are our second largest expense (after rent) and I really think it’s the first budget item we need to start working on reducing. But I’m not willing to sacrifice on fresh fruit for the kid, or fresh vegetables for… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago

Our grocery budget has gone up a good bit over the last year. For a long time our spending averaged out to $700 a month. Now it’s up just shy of $900. We stockpile non-perishables when we can get a coupon/sale combo. As a result our spending is very uneven from month to month. The increase is due both to inflation and growing boys who seem to eat non-stop. We probably spend on average another $300 on eating out, but some of that comes from our adult allowance so it’s not really counted. Eating out is the first thing to… Read more »

Tonya
Tonya
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

We’re pretty similar to you. Family of six (me, two parents, three kids–though one is away at college most the time). The extra cost of groceries has been a killer. I buy the kids McDonald’s or Little Caesars a couple times a week, but I rarely eat out. I’m trying to lose weight, doing Weight Watchers.

lostAnnfound
lostAnnfound
9 years ago

We spend about $500.00 a month at the grocery store (includes most of our paper goods, laundry detergent, etc., but not for toiletries) and approximately $50.00 a month “dining out” which is usually take out pizza every couple of weeks or once in a while going out to a local restaurant once a month, usually for a lunch. We use coupons, both at the grocery store and for pizza or restaurants. This is for two adults and two teens.

Elle
Elle
9 years ago

This year has been interesting with the pregnancy (our first) and so our food bill has changed frequently.

This past few months we’ve spent around $350/month. It was around $500/month the second trimester as I got my appetite back from a rough first trimester.

moink
moink
9 years ago

Correction, that’s a percentage of our tracked expenditure on those things. If I use income instead, groceries is 18%, and food in total 21%. Knew it wasn’t quite as dramatically bad as the above comment seemed to suggest.

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  moink

That’s still fairly dramatic – I’m in the UK as well and my monthly spend is less than 9% for food (including eating out).

Oskar
Oskar
9 years ago
Reply to  Luke

We live in Europe as well (not the UK) here food is significantly more expensiv than in the US (lived in the us a few years ago) and still we spend no more than $300 on food for a family of 4. For us the difference is that we cook from scrach and also use high quality but less expensive meat and produce like chicken and pork instead of beef etc. E.g. we buy organic chicken for half the price of regualar beef…and it is better for the environment our helth and our personal finances. Our figure does not include… Read more »

Allie
Allie
9 years ago

Depends on the month. As a single adult, I pay about $100 for groceries, and anywhere from $50-$100 on eating out (grad student who sometimes has little time to be at home and cook). During the winter though, I save big time. I hate driving in snow, so I stock up and freeze a lot beforehand (and I try to do it in budget for Nov/Dec). I don’t like walking in the cold, so I go out to eat far less. If I had a second freezer, I would consider doing this year round for all the monetary benefits, but… Read more »

Liz
Liz
9 years ago
Reply to  Allie

I am a single young professional with about the same food spending each month: $115 on groceries, between $50 and $100 on eating out. These figures include alcohol purchases, and pastured eggs and raw, local milk from my farmer. I’d consider myself quasi-foodie, too!

graduate.living
graduate.living
9 years ago
Reply to  Allie

I’m with Allie – I throw in $125/month for my half of the groceries in our two person household (that includes TP, cleaning supplies, etc.). I’ll grab lunches on the fly quite a bit, because it’s a convenient way for me stay near/on campus. We’re trying to cut back on our grocery bill by eating vegetarian more often, and this fall I’ll have access to a fridge on campus so I can pack lunches. I’m also learning (very slowly) to use our crock-pot so I can make large meals that will last a couple days. This will be particularly useful… Read more »

maggie
maggie
9 years ago
Reply to  Allie

Wow – I’m really impressed. I’m very very careful, make all of my food from scratch (except bread), I make lots of big pots of things that can be frozen, and I struggle to keep my groceries between $180 and $200, and maybe $50 eating out. Now I feel challenged to try to get it down either further!

Lauren
Lauren
9 years ago
Reply to  Allie

I’m also a grad student, and living in a big city I’ve managed to get my spending down to <$250/month on food (for july, $110 on groceries, $54 on eating out). This generally doesn't include stuff like household goods, that gets sorted into the shopping budget, but it also doesn't include all the times my boyfriend will pay for us when we go out. Unsurprisingly, I've discovered that eating lunch at home dramatically cuts down on how much I spend (1 lunch at Arby's vs. sandwiches for a week!). It's not as glamorous as going to the food court on… Read more »

TC
TC
9 years ago

I spend about $200/month for one person on all food shopping. That probably includes about $15-20/month on fresh food for pets.

SB(One Cent At A Time)
SB(One Cent At A Time)
9 years ago

I think you do spend more than us. We are a family of two adults and we spend $300 for grocery and $80 -$100 per month on dining out. One differentiation might be that we don’t drink..

Monica
Monica
9 years ago

We are also a family of 2 adults and spend about the same amount (not including most paper products and tolietries). We are also not big drinkers.

TS
TS
8 years ago
Reply to  Monica

Our household is two adults, two cats, a lizard and a cople of fish. We spend about 400 dollars a month on food/ household products/ animal food. Prob about 35 dollars on eating out. Eat out twice a month unless it’s for something special. ( Just for the record we prob spend about 70 to 80 in gas. 750 I think is a little on the high side for a family of two. But if you have the money more power to you!:)

Jaime B
Jaime B
9 years ago

Where does everyone live? (approximately) … there are definitely regional or urban/suburban/rural price differences at play too.

Megu
Megu
9 years ago

We are a family of two adults in downtown Philadelphia, PA. We average $300/month for groceries and about $80 a month for paper products, toiletries, and medicines (a couple prescriptions). For eating out, we range from $80-$300/month but we’re usually only on the high side when family comes to visit. We definitely consider ourselves foodies but we love ethnic food so when we find a good place that’s cheap, we tend to frequent it. Also, I try to replicate the dishes at home and have been pretty successful with the help of google.

JC
JC
9 years ago

We’re a family of two in upstate New York. We budget $350 for groceries a week and $30 dining out. Overall, our monthly budget is parred down as much as possible, but since I love to cook and we both enjoy eating well, we allow ourselves to splurge a bit on groceries. I usually try 2 new recipes a week, requiring extra ingredients that I otherwise would not purchase.

Stacy
Stacy
9 years ago

We’re about the same here. Our food budget is about 250/month for 2 adults in Phoenix. This includes a fair amount of meat with lots of fruits and veggies and mostly natural whole foods (and a husband who likes to cook fancy). We don’t specifically budget eating out but our “play” money every month is $50 for “us” and $30 apiece for him and I.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

In 2011, our groceries average out to about £775/month, and restaurants to about £286/month. That’s about $1262 and $465 respectively, for two adults.

The groceries figure includes wine, toiletries, cat food, cat litter, and covers a couple of hosted dinner parties and barbecues. The restaurant figure includes some very expensive restaurants in Paris.

Overall, that’s a little under 18% of our net income, and our savings rate is around 28%, so we’re comfortable with it.

John
John
9 years ago
Reply to  Russ

I’m wondering if it really makes sense to consider how much food is as a percent of your income. I consider food a mandatory expense and would incur it no matter how low my income goes. There is only so much you can cut from the food budget.

Conversly, if my income were to double (Ha!), would I really feel OK doubling my food budget, to be in the same ballpark % wise?

I tend to try to benchmark our grocery spending in real dollar against others, rather than %.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago
Reply to  John

I prefer to measure both. Absolute dollar value would be of more interest to me if I was trying to trim the budget as far as possible, but if I’m spending money on good wine and expensive cuts of meat I don’t think I get much from comparing my dollar spend to someone who is cutting back. Percentage-wise, however, I like to be able to compare against large-population averages such as this one http://www.creditloan.com/infographics/how-the-average-consumer-spends-their-paycheck/ I can see that I’m spending slightly more of my income than average on food, but I’m happy with that because food is important to me.… Read more »

Talyssa
Talyssa
9 years ago
Reply to  John

if food was as important to you as it is to me, you would. Because food makes up the vast majority of my discretionary expenses. We drive 2 cheap cars and if our salary was to double we might buy slightly nicer cars but not TWICE the price nicer. And we are not clothes people, I probably own 3 pairs of work pants, 10 shirts, and 2 pairs of jeans at any given time and more or less replace as I wear things out (pants faster than shirts obviously). I wouldn’t personally double that either, I don’t care to own… Read more »

Marsha
Marsha
9 years ago

We have two teenage (16 and 18) sons so our food spending at times seems like a lot, but when I compare it to what others spend it seems pretty normal: $800 to $900 in groceries, $200 in eating out. We eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, poultry, and seafood, and dairy. I don’t allow much in the way of junk food in the house, because I’m growing two young men and I want to give them a healthy start in life. Food is a top priority to us, not just for nutrition, but as a family… Read more »

JMK
JMK
9 years ago
Reply to  Marsha

Teenaged boys are basically eating machines. I only have one and he consumes about 40% of the food that we buy. The best I can do during these years is stockpile on sale and buy fresh healthy products. We rarely buy convenience foods so he’s become selfsufficient in the kitchen and could quite happily live on his homemade egg mcmuffins, omlettes, grilled cheese and quesadillas. As a family of 4 I plan on $180/wk ($720). Four years ago we were spending $250/wk, then I started meal planning and shopping the sales. The next year I budgetted $225/wk and it worked… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago

My husband and I spend around $550 a month on groceries. It breaks down as follows: – ~$250 at Aldi or Walmart getting cans/cheese/milk/bread… – ~$50 at the Farmers Market for fresh produce during summer. Winter we eat more canned/frozen vegetables. – ~$100 at the bulk store (BJs or Sams Club) on TP, Paper Towels, Feminine items, Cat supplies – ~$100 eating out. We eat out 3-4 times a month usually at our local diner or other local restaurant. – Once a year we will spend $400-$600 on meat purchased from a local farmer. (Assuming $600/year = $50/month) This year… Read more »

Claire
Claire
9 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

I belong to Sam’s also. I have found that you can get better deals on feminine products at Target if you use Target store coupons paired with manufacturer’s coupons. Also see: http://www.stretchingabuckblog.com/2011/07/target-weekly-ad-deals-7312011-862011.html

Spending $100 total on just the things you mention seems like a lot, but I have no idea how much cat supplies/food cost. Instead of depending on paper towels, try using sponges or the like more often. Just a thought.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  Claire

With cat supplies, it really depends on the cat’s health. We had 1 cat who was fine with Purina Cat Chow and Nine Lives or Friskies wet food. He lived 16 years, & was healthy until the last few months of his life. Then we adopted other cats; we have 2 now. Unfortunately, for these ones, expensive prescription food is now required, and their food costs me about $6/day. Yowch. But we love them dearly, so we pony up. That doesn’t include cat litter, which costs us maybe $15/month.

JM
JM
9 years ago

We’re a family of 3 living on one income. We spend up to $50 a week on groceries including household and personal care items, with any leftover money used to purchase food pantry donations. We stockpile, use about $100 in coupons each month, concentrate our cash on fresh and organic when possible, and always eat our leftovers. Dining out comes from our adult discretionary cash, which is $50 each per month, so we only eat out once or twice a month.

Tom
Tom
9 years ago
Reply to  JM

My budget and life situation (3 people, 1 income) is very similar to yours. I think Grocery shopping (which includes toiletries) is aroun $200-240 per month and dining out (“Family Fun as we call it in our budget!) is about $150 a month

Clint
Clint
9 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I would love to know how you do this. We don’t really splurge, buy meat when it’s on sale, some couponing,etc., but we spend more than twice as much–same size family and also one income.

JM
JM
9 years ago
Reply to  Clint

Here’s what we’ve done: * stockpile things that regularly have deals to leave more $ available for fresh produce and meat * sign up on product websites to get any coupons they offer * become more willing to try different brands (whatever is new often has free samples and great sales) * follow a few local (by city or state) coupon bloggers. The best match local store sales with available coupons and pass on info. about rebates and freebies and coupons available by mail. If you can’t find a local blogger, do the matching yourself using an online coupon database,… Read more »

Claire
Claire
9 years ago
Reply to  Clint

I second JM on the suggestion of following local coupon bloggers. The deals & coupon matchups they find blow my mind. They were deals I would have NEVER found on my own.

I found my first local coupon blogger through my local paper, where such a blog is featured.

Tom
Tom
9 years ago
Reply to  Clint

How do I do it? First and foremost, in my opinion, is I don’t mind consuming food on the cheap. I don’t have special needs in my diet. I’ll buy store-brands and plain white bread. I don’t eat a lot (any?) organic/free-range/fad-of-the-week foods. Maybe I buy more canned or frozen produce than fresh. I did the coupon thing, too, for a while, but not religiously. I use them most with cereal and ice cream, two things I don’t usually buy store brands. Most of my grocery stores double coupons under a dollar. Sometimes you can get away with “stacking” coupons… Read more »

Kym P.
Kym P.
9 years ago
Reply to  Tom

We are a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids with one in diapers). Through 2010, we spent about $200/month on groceries/paper goods/diapers. Since 2011 began, we now spend about $250/month. We started going all organic and local, so it has bumped us up a bit in the grocery budget. We cut coupons and match with sales, have joined a CSA, and get occasional pick-ups through a couple of co-ops. We also spend an additional $100/month on dining.

Chris
Chris
8 years ago
Reply to  Kym P.

I’m finding that pretty hard to believe (no offense). Clearly you’re watching your expenses closely, but from my own parenting experience, huggies alone will set you back (easily) $50/mo or more, and that doesn’t include wipes, processed food, formula, and so on. $250/mo seems like it would probably be closer to your baby budget than your total budget, but hey, maybe you’ve got a method that works. It was not even close to my experience, tho.

Ashley
Ashley
9 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I spend about the same amout, but we eat all organic, grass fed, free range, gluten free. We eat meat at least twice a day and usually have avocados, steak and other things that can be pricey. This year it is going down to $ 100 per month or there abouts because we are starting a veggie garden and have bought a side of beef/ networked with family egg and pork farmers for cheap prices. Maybe, because the south is cheaper? I live in the heart of Atlanta and can see the capital building from the end of the street-… Read more »

Dana@ Budget Dietitian
[email protected] Budget Dietitian
9 years ago
Reply to  JM

We spend a similar amount to you JM. We spend about $80/week for a family of 5 (3 of those being 6 and under). That includes diapers for one and “household” items. I am a registered dietitian so eating healthy is very important to me. And we definately do eat healthy! Full disclosure: while as a family we almost NEVER go out to eat, my husband works late many nights and eats at his office. Some ways that we keep our expenses down: using rags instead of paper towels, getting most personal items for free via Walgreens deals, going to… Read more »

Cassy
Cassy
9 years ago

What are included in a grocery bill? Our grocery bill for two to walmart(or similar stores), costco etc account to $1000/month approximately. That is including food items, toiletries, cleaning products etc.., excluding electronics, pet supplies, prescriptions etc.

I am always confused when people say we spend X amount on groceries, are you talking about just food related items or is it the amount spent on one visit to a grocery store?

John
John
9 years ago
Reply to  Cassy

In my grocery amount (left in comment 1) I am counting all food, toiletries, baby supplies, etc in “groceries”. Anything I would go to a grocery store to buy.

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Cassy

I wonder that too! I include cleaning supplies and toiletries as part of my grocery budget. Actually some of my cleaning supplies are food — baking soda and vinegar.

mom of five
mom of five
9 years ago
Reply to  Cassy

In our $900, EVERYTHING that is purchased at BJ’s, Costco, Walmart, or a grocery store is included. This month, that means school supplies. So all cleaning, dog food, toiletries, paper and even printer ink is included. And underwear and socks come from the grocery budget too. The only exceptions we make to this rule are large purchases, like last month I put new tires from BJ’s on my car and those are their own category. Since we shop sales and stock up when we can, our grocery bill is wildly uneven from month to month. I took a six month… Read more »

STRONGside
STRONGside
9 years ago

Just my wife and I, so we spend $50 per week on food. We eat at home a lot, so that is where all of this comes from. My wife loves to cook Rachael Ray, and has mastered making meals last for 2 or 3 with leftovers.

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  STRONGside

What’s Rachael Ray – some sort of fish? 😀

Angela
Angela
9 years ago

We are a family of 4 spending $150 a week at the grocery store (which also includes things like paper towel and detergents), and about another $60 a month on occasional take-out or fast food. We rarely go out to dinner, both because we can’t afford it, and because the thought of listening to my 3 and 5 year old sing “Jingle Bells” over and over at the restaurant makes me want to rip my ears off. So we’re at a total of $660 for the month. I have found that for us, this is just about the least amount… Read more »

Meredith
Meredith
9 years ago
Reply to  Angela

We are very similar – we have a family of 4 which includes 2 adults and 2 kids (2.5 yr old and 6 yr old). I bring $150 in cash with me to the store and as many applicable coupons as I can and that is it for the week whether I like it or not. It forces me to be creative and make some decisions. I include food, toilet paper, diapers, cleaning supplies, hygiene products in this budget too. I try to buy mostly organic produce, milk, and the occasional grass fed meats but we mostly do bean based… Read more »

Erin
Erin
9 years ago
Reply to  Meredith

Special form of hell indeed 😉

Heather
Heather
9 years ago
Reply to  Meredith

I like your idea of bringing $150 cash to the grocery store and letting that be the only trip you make for the week. I am constantly going to the store – picking up fresh, organic produce at least every other day and i think that it’s really setting me over the top regarding my budget because i pick up other stuff along the way towards the check out line. I think i am going to try your method and see how it works for me. It certainly would save me time and get me to be a little more… Read more »

melissa
melissa
9 years ago

We (2 people) spend about $200 a month on bought food with about $80 worth of fresh produce being grown at home. We buy mostly from the farmer’s market for meats and any other produce we need. Dairy from the supermarket and the few other household items we need. We don’t eat meat everyday- usually every other day so this saves some money and we make a lot of stuff from scratch- tastes better that way!

I think the amount varies according to where you live as well!

Jadzia
Jadzia
9 years ago

When we were living in Eugene, Oregon (up until about 3 weeks ago), we spent about $600 for a family of six, including a baby who still drank formula until recently. That generally included a big “Costco shop” at the beginning of the month @ $250 for things like formula, bread, meat/fish, rice, baking supplies — basically anything that was either shelf-stable or freezable. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but we had been doing that for a LONG time, so our pantry was well stocked and much of that shopping was just replacing stuff we had run out of.… Read more »

Karen+in+MN
Karen+in+MN
9 years ago

I’m a single mom with 2 teenage kids. Over the past 2 years, I’ve spent an average of $550/mo for groceries (this includes all needed household items like toilet paper, light bulbs, & shampoo in addition to food). I’m also including in this number my costs for groceries for several parties/BBQs/picnics during the year that I host at my house for extended family. In addition to groceries, we spend an average of $140/mo for what I call “eating out” which includes $60/mo at actual restaurants/fast food and the rest for school lunch costs for my 2 kids & my purchasing… Read more »

Thomas Garrard
Thomas Garrard
9 years ago

My numbers are a little out of date, but 7 months ago for two of us I was spending less than my £50 per week budget on supermarket shopping (not just food and always at least one bottle of wine), and about £15 per week on eating out. The way I managed it was by deciding what I wanted to eat once I’d got to the supermarket rather than writing a list before hand. I walked the meat aisles first choosing reduced price cuts (but not old or poor quality). I would then decide on how to prepare the foods… Read more »

harper
harper
9 years ago

i live alone and spend a little more than $100 a month. i use some coupons and i also go to the nearby salvage grocery store. i can get coffee for less than $2 a bag, tea for less than a dollar and most cereal is 75 cents. i get my baking staples there too. i try hard to eat what is in my cabinets and fridge before i go to the store and i try to make only one trip every other week. i have just started making my own yogurt and that change should save me at least… Read more »

Frugalapolis
Frugalapolis
9 years ago

As a 2 person household in recent years before couponing we would spend about $100 week on food alone, plus more on household supplies at Walmart. Now that I’ve given up my photoshop hobby and replaced it with couponing we actually make money on groceries with overage. All our food, household supplies and even gasoline gift cards are paid for with coupons. I get 6 sunday papers and more from friends so we stockpile what we can and use overage each week to pay for our fresh produce and dairy products. The items we purchase for overage are either donated… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
9 years ago
Reply to  Frugalapolis

I would love a reader story on this… What type of store would you give you cash back?

Murray
Murray
9 years ago

For a family of 3, wife with celiacs, son with lactose tolerance in Canada, we spend $250/week on groceries. Due to health concerns, we tend to not eat out a lot.

CWebb
CWebb
9 years ago

We are a family of 2 adults living in a smaller city and we LOVE food and cooking.

We go to the farmer’s market, buy local honey, and eat seafood at least once a week.

Our food budget used to be $300/mo, but since switching from Publix to Aldi’s for my main food items, our cost has dropped to about $200/month.

On toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. we spend about $30/mo but we buy in bulk.

Eating out costs us an average $200/mo and spend $50/mo on alcohol.

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago

We used to spend $800/mth on food alone. I have now gotten that down to $200-$300. To do this, I go through my cupboards and come up with new food recipes. I also purchase very little meat and we eat pasta, soup, eggs and sandwiches. I won’t buy it unless it is on clearance or at a decent sale price. I also visit the dollar store (everything is $1) and buy cereals/pretzels/frozen foods there as long as they are pretty healthy. We do not have pets or smoke. We have 2 teen boys. I make my own cleaning supplies (I… Read more »

Jody
Jody
9 years ago

My budget for food, toiletries, medicine, dining out, etc. is $100 per week for one adult, 6 children, and 3 full time daycare children. That said, it usually ends up being about $130 per week … though we just totally cut out eating out so that should change that. (it’s a really tight budget, but doable, and good for working to get out of debt)

John
John
9 years ago

I am a single adult, and my grocery spending averaged around $330/month over the past 3 years, but has crept up to around $400 in recent months. That’s partly because I have become a little more confident of my future income and have loosened up a bit, but I think it’s more due to rising food costs. My grocery bill does not include non-food items or alcohol. It does include what I spend at farmer’s markets. In addition, I spend roughly $75 a month dining out, usually in the form of a couple of nice dinners. I bring my lunch… Read more »

SarahT
SarahT
9 years ago
Reply to  John

My numbers looks fairly similar to John’s.
Single adult, larger Canadian city.
Groceries about $250-300/mo, dining out ~$75.
Groceries are pretty much just food and TP. Most cleaners etc tracked separately. Food budget is usually higher in the summer when I do upick for berries for jam.
I know I could spend less, but I don’t need to. Savings rate is high enough and good food is very important to me!

Joshua
Joshua
9 years ago
Reply to  John

I feel the same way, John. I’m a single young guy and spend about $300 on just groceries with another $75-$100 on eating out. No achohol, so that does not add to it. I do know that I enjoy shopping at Publix, the best grocery store in FL. Every bluemoon when I stop at Wal-Mart I remember why I choose to spend more at Publix. Short lines, very clean store, and very good quality produce/selection. I do shop at an even more expensive local organic food store when I can, but I do try to not go there too much… Read more »

LauraElle
LauraElle
9 years ago

I find it hard to believe that there are no farmers’ markets of any sort in Shauna’s city. Nor CSAs. Perhaps she might find this link helpful. I’m assuming she is an American, so I’m including it (Please correct me if she is not an American): http://www.localharvest.org The above link is basically an American repository of farmers’ markets, CSA produce boxes and other small, sustainable farm products. We live in Seattle, WA. I’m a stay at home mom of one and we spend $90 a week on food, sometimes less. We eat very well- sure, it’s not trendy food made… Read more »

Jenny1337
Jenny1337
9 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

I think a lot of it is that it isn’t “$750 for food”, it’s “$750 for everything that has to be replenished monthly”. For example, I know in my area we HAVE to buy our trash services at the local kroger by buying $50 trash bags (we have no other cost, but that ends up meaning that our entire trash utilities cost is rolled up in our groceries). In fact, most everything we buy is at the grocery store. Napkins, Lightbulbs, stamps, gift cards for friends, party supplies, dish soap, toothpaste etc. When that’s the case, it’s really hard to… Read more »

Claire
Claire
9 years ago
Reply to  Jenny1337

In my town, the farmer’s market is NOT cheaper than the grocery store on most items. It’s usually about the same or higher than the stores. That plus the fact that our farmer’s market is beyond crowded, and it’s not convenient has been enough to keep me away. I love the experience when it’s not crowded, but that’s never. Oh, well.

CWebb
CWebb
9 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

Your menu sounds delicious!

Jennifer
Jennifer
9 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

Lauraelle – Your menu sounds delicious, but it would cost us $100 (if the meat/fish items were on sale). Never mind breakfast, lunch, snacks, dessert!

Sonja
Sonja
9 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

We just got a new TJ’s and we are inspired to go check it out today (has been very crowded)! I knew I was blowing it (in anticipation of extra freelance income…and because I was working more). But I was surprised to find our grocery expenses for this month were $650 for groceries (including a CSA) and $229 for restaurants. We’re a family of 5 who normally budgets $550 for groceries and $85 for restaurants including lunches. We frequently blow the restaurant budget a bit, but this was certainly more than usual in both catagories. We also have a separate… Read more »

Laundry Lady
Laundry Lady
9 years ago

I too find it confusing when people talk about their “food budget” without clarifying what exactly it entails. We budget $200 a month for two adults and a two year old. This includes food, household items and most toiletries. (Prescriptions and some over the counter medications go under medical). This usually includes two trips to Wegmans and a local produce market a month, plus one trip to Sam’s Club. (We typically shop every two weeks, approximately and go to Sam’s Club once a month). We also budget $20 a month for eating out, so we typically go out once every… Read more »

Skip H
Skip H
9 years ago

Family of 5 budgeted
Groceries – $525
Dining Out – $90

Laundry Lady
Laundry Lady
9 years ago

I should add that we don’t buy disposable diapers, since we use cloth that we bought and paid for well over a year ago. This significantly lowers our “grocery bill” compared to families who must buy them.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
9 years ago

My wife and I live in Manhattan, eat organic and mostly vegetarian (could we be any more of a stereotype?) We eat in mostly and take leftovers to work for lunch. Monthly grocery food bills average $350-$400, although it can range a bit lower or higher depending on how many weeks in a month, and if we’re feeling especially experimental in the kitchen. We also spend around $300 on eating out / getting drinks (hey, it’s Manhattan), plus about $50-$100 on wine/beer. When we’ve lived outside the city in the burbs, we spend half that, maybe less. Food prices are… Read more »

sarah
sarah
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve Jones

We also live in Manhattan, buy organic and vegetarian, and spend around $400 a month including the grocery store, farmer’s market, and CSA share. I’d like it to be $300 but it can go closer to $500 – I’d probably have to give up good olives and nuts and cheese to get it that low though, and it isn’t worth it to me. We spent about $100/month less when we lived in Chicago but that’s probably because we were spending $500-700/month on restaurants ($250 for work lunches for the husband and the rest was a weekend brunches with friends, nights… Read more »

Heather
Heather
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve Jones

So glad to see a nyc post! I live alone in Manhattan and my food costs have been exorbitant! (i realize this now that i’m taking a closer look) I’m vegetarian and i buy all organic as well. In the past months, i have been spending up to $860 per month on groceries. (Not including trips to starbucks which reached $50 at one point and eating out sometimes up to $100 a month) I go to the grocery store ALL the time and i’m sick of spending so much money on my lifestyle. I don’t even drink! I like buying… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  Heather

I don’t know if this is practical for yup, but if you can, I’d try shopping in Brooklyn. I live in Brooklyn, & am in Manhattan maybe once a week for meetings or entertainment. I’ve been in a lot of grocery stores in both boroughs, as I love to cook. The Manhattan prices are often 40% higher! I also do a lot of shopping at a local small grocery, owned by a Russian immigrant family, and their prices are terrific. For example, my husband like Chobani yogurt. A small container costs up to $1.89 in most grocery stores I’ve been… Read more »

Diana
Diana
9 years ago

We spend about $90 a week on groceries. I usually go about every two weeks and spend $180 which seems to help us have more food than if I went every week. We get creative with meals and I don’t buy many snacks for our family of five. I have found the crock-pot is a great way to have a meal ready when you get home so you won’t be tempted to eat out. We don’t eat out very much and it’s usually from the dollar menu at McDonald’s. We have two teenage boys so we do fairly well for… Read more »

jen_alluisi
jen_alluisi
9 years ago

We spend about $750 a month on groceries (including alcohol, which we drink a fair amount of) and $200 a month on eating out, for 2 adults. Food is the area where we splurge the most. We have cut back in a lot of other places, but because food is a hobby and a source of pleasure for us, we choose to indulge rather than scrimp in this area. Also, eating organic in some foods and eating locally produced foods as much as possible is very important to us. I won’t go crazy with it – there’s a local chicken… Read more »

Cgirl
Cgirl
9 years ago
Reply to  jen_alluisi

I think your grocery service sounds awesome.

leukothea
leukothea
9 years ago
Reply to  jen_alluisi

Wow, what is the name of that grocery service and are they in Seattle?

Janice
Janice
9 years ago
Reply to  jen_alluisi

i third that “like.” where is this service, i want to KNOW!! LOL…sounds AWESOME!!!

Claire
Claire
9 years ago
Reply to  jen_alluisi

Found a link to the grocery service on Jen_Alluisi’s personal page that she linked to (click on her name): http://www.horseandbuggyproduce.com/

It looks like it’s in the Charlottesville/Richmond/Lynchburg areas of VA.

AnneKD
AnneKD
9 years ago

Our budget is $700 for my husband and me, and I should include the cat too, I suppose, his food is $12/month. The $700 includes basically anything I buy from the grocery store. I love to cook, I cook from scratch and my husband is vegetarian- so, lots of fresh veggies, frozen veggies for recipes, dried beans, canned tomatoes, etc. We stockpile stuff when there’s a sale. This occasionally leads to budget overruns, like last week when I spent $300 (eek!) at the grocery store but bought a whole bunch of canned tomatoes and beans plus replenished some non-food stuff.… Read more »

SarahT
SarahT
9 years ago
Reply to  AnneKD

Just one statement there jumped out at me –
that you find $3/lb for butter to be expensive!
Just come on up to Canada… our dairy has always been more expensive… and SALE butter right now is hardly ever less than $4/lb. Regular price is about $5/lb near me.

Mary
Mary
9 years ago
Reply to  SarahT

Wow! $4+/lb of butter is very high. I don’t pay more than $1/lb and I buy as much as I can when I do get it. I know I can’t always count on finding reduced priced butter but I haven’t had to pay more than $1/lb in about 6yrs.

Bareheadedwoman
Bareheadedwoman
9 years ago
Reply to  Mary

In Brooklyn, NY a good sale on butter is 2 (1lb. box)/$4 and only happens in the name stores twice a year or so on the store brand butter which is when I’ll stock up. Rarely do I see even the non-organic brand on sale for less than $3/lb. Organic or European, raw, etc goes closer to $6/half pound. And I’ll be honest, I cannot afford to shop the “named” farmers’ markets in the city right now; I have to look for the unpopular and non price-jacked markets (rents) or simple sidewalk vendors in from Long Island. We have more… Read more »

Kris
Kris
9 years ago
Reply to  SarahT

I’m from Canada too (Manitoba specifically), and prices depend on your location – my regular price for butter at Costco is $3.63/lb. Any sale price less than $3.50 is worth buying several extra pounds! I’ve been feeding my family of 5 (including 2 teenage boys) on $800/mth – this includes things like shampoo and TP, but not household cleaners. Milk is ~$4.50 a gallon, and we go through at least 5 a week, plus a lot of yogurt and cheese – dairy probably costs me ~$150 per month of my $800. I cook from scratch, buy organic when reasonable, we… Read more »

Karen
Karen
9 years ago
Reply to  SarahT

Absolutely! I’ve been stashing Walmart butter in the freezer since winter. It was 2.97/# because of intense local comptetion, new WM and new competitor. A couple weeks ago it went to 3.13, but still more than 2.00 less than anywhere else within 20 miles. When milk hits 5.00 per gallon, I’ll have to stop.

honeybee
honeybee
9 years ago

For my family of two, my estimate would be $400/month on food groceries, $150/month on work lunches, $200/month for dining out (dinners). We make no effort to track this. We do make heavy use of Groupons, which are accounted for above. Dining out is a large part of our entertainment — for example, we do not have a TV subscription. We have no problems making ends meet, and save heavily for retirement, etc. We are also saving up for the wedding (next month), and for a big world travel experience. I’d like to be saving more for this last piece,… Read more »

Red
Red
9 years ago

I typically spend around $100 per month on groceries and I rarely eat out (maybe twice per month so around $30). I live in a suburban area and buy very little prepackaged food. Rather than spending the extra money on organic from the grocery, I stick to the local produce stands on the outside of town. I am only cooking for myself and am a veg. I prepare nearly all of my food from scratch. One of the biggest differences I noticed when going veg was the reduction in my monthly food budget! A $2 bag of dried beans usually… Read more »

Jenny1337
Jenny1337
9 years ago

Me and my husband spend roughly $500 a month on groceries (including paper towels and what have you), and $200 on eating out. Thing is, both numbers include us treating our friends (cooking a dinner or a dessert to share, or taking them out to eat). So the two of us alone probably don’t use all of that, but at the same time there’s some numbers hidden by the fact that our friends’ll treat us, too. Not sure if it evens out… Either way, we’re pretty bad at using coupons (sometimes it literally isn’t worth our time to look for… Read more »

Jenny1337
Jenny1337
9 years ago
Reply to  Jenny1337

In retrospect, I forgot to mention our situation: We’re two working adults, living in a suburb of Atlanta. Also, in replying to someone else, I realized that we, too, spend a lot on things that aren’t food that get lumped into our grocery budget. Pet supplies (two cats that need food, liter, toys, etc), our garbage services (rather than pay a monthly utility bill, our city just has us go buy really expensive garbage bags from the local kroger (can’t use any other kind). We even buy our stamps from our grocery store, so yeah, there’s a lot of noise… Read more »

Laura
Laura
9 years ago

I’m a 21-year-old living in a very large (and very expensive!) city, and I shop only for myself. I spend about $50 per week on groceries, including toiletries, and I try not to buy meat in order to keep my costs down. However, it does help that my boyfriend takes me out to eat once a week or so and buys the vast majority of our alcohol – my grocery bill would definitely be higher if it included alcohol.

Chris
Chris
9 years ago

I think I need to spend less on booze. 🙂

Pomegranate
Pomegranate
9 years ago
Reply to  Chris

I hear you! That is SERIOUSLY a huge part of our food budget. When DH and I started tracking our spending 5 years ago we were shocked by how much we spent on booze. Those $8-$12 bottles of wine really add up. (I live in CA near lots of small wineries). Now we only buy our cheapest favorites when they’re on sale and we can get a case/half case discount, too. I also stock up on alcohol during holiday sales. St Patrick’s Day = whiskey; Cinco De Mayo = tequila; Christmas = champagne. It’s kind-of embarrassing to buy 4 or… Read more »

Chris
Chris
9 years ago
Reply to  Pomegranate

Unfortunately, I have have a weakness for good tequila…

Erin
Erin
9 years ago

We are two 20-somethings living in a very, very expensive city. We spend $200 a month on groceries, which includes household items and toiletries (I should add that we are vegetarian, and cook all of our meals from scratch, and we eat in most of the time). Every two weeks I create a menu based on what’s on sale at our grocery store, building in one “free night” per week. We usually go out to eat on those free nights, or order takeout. That brings me to the embarrassing part of our budget. We currently budget $400 a month for… Read more »

Tom
Tom
9 years ago
Reply to  Erin

You shouldn’t feel bad about it if it fits in your budget. Commenters here have a different life than you, different size families, live in different areas, have different incomes. I can’t fathom two people spending $700 a month on groceries, but that’s because it wouldn’t fit in my budget. If $400 works, then it works. If you want to cut it down, keep working on it diligently.

Lauren
Lauren
9 years ago
Reply to  Erin

Erin —

Don’t feel bad about your enterntainment budget. My husband and I put $400 a month in our vacation account. In addition to trips, we also use it to buy tickets to plays, musicals, sporting events, etc… And our eating out is in addition to this account!

MikeT
MikeT
9 years ago
Reply to  Erin

Don’t worry about it at all. These comments are starting to make me feel crazy too. We budget $390/month for groceries (average, most months are lower and some are much higher as we stock up at BJ’s with non-perishables and frozen foods) and we budget $541.67/month ($125/week) for ‘going out’. The $125 really only covers 1 meal out for the two of us with friends per week. It could probably cover 2 meals out if we ever felt like leaving our neighbor hood, didn’t have drinks and apps with the meal. Just me and the wife, living downtown in an… Read more »

Seth
Seth
9 years ago

My wife and I live in NYC and like to both cook and eat out. I question whether we’re overdoing it on eating out.

We spend $300/month at Whole Foods and around $800/month on eating out, which does include drinks/happy hour/etc (we like good beer and good wine).

I’m hoping this is a result of the inflated NYC prices.

Bareheadedwoman
Bareheadedwoman
9 years ago
Reply to  Seth

When I was working in Manhattan while living in Brooklyn, my “eating out” (also including delivery at home and lunches/dinners/networking at work) would easily exceed my grocery spending ($120/week at Fresh Direct for the convenience/organics) and yeah, $800 a month for two grown people was about average.

Holiday seasons and business cycles would make it more.

Ryan
Ryan
9 years ago

Yeah, the budget my girlfriend and I have for restaurants is like that too. About four times as much as our grocery budget ($750 : $200).

I’d like to cut back a bit, but then again going to restaurants is one of our favorite things to do and being single without any kids we don’t have lots of bills. Anyone have tips on encouraging yourself to cook at home more?

Cindy
Cindy
9 years ago

We live in central Florida and spend about $950 a month on all groceries (food, toiletries, cleaning products, etc.) plus eating out for 2 working adults plus 1 growing boy. We pack lunches for work. I have a husband who is lactose intolerant, cannot eat beef, and hates fruits and vegetables and beans. We hit BJ’s Wholesale Club for the cleaning products, toiletries, and general bulk food items. I clip coupons when I can, but they never seem to be for what we buy or are not enough to warrant buying the item versus generic. I try to go to… Read more »

Cindy
Cindy
9 years ago
Reply to  Cindy

I just went into Quicken and looked at the last 30 days.
Groceries: $660
Eating Out: $270

mom of five
mom of five
9 years ago
Reply to  Cindy

Can you pack some water bottles and protein or granola bars (or even peanut butter crackers)? I began keeping water bottles and snacks in my car about 6 or 7 years ago and I was able to eliminate fast food from the budget. And during baseball season that line item was really adding up.

Cindy
Cindy
9 years ago
Reply to  mom of five

Yeah, I do need to start taking that sort of thing with me to at least cover those times where we are out and it is not already a meal time. A cooler with ice would keep the drinks consumable in the 100+ heat, too.
Too often, it is a meal time where crackers and peanut butter just do not cut it. 🙂

ccherry
ccherry
9 years ago

As counter-intuitive as it sounds CSAs and farmer’s markets are an urban thing. Those of us who live in rural, low population density areas do not often have easy access to these resorces. The closest farmer’s market to me is an hour away and it is very small, the closest one worth driving to is closer to two hours away. Other downsides of living rural include- I had to go to all three grocery stores in the county this weekend to get what I needed for supper – my produce costs 25% more than the same chain an hour away… Read more »

JM
JM
9 years ago
Reply to  ccherry

Some rural areas do have farmers markets and CSAs. I think it depends on whether the community uses them as to how good/available they are.

Most rural coupon circulars aren’t very good, but there are great printable coupons on the Internet.

No+Debt+MBA
No+Debt+MBA
9 years ago

We spend $25 per week on food for two. (doesn’t include paper products, just food groceries) We eat well with a wide variety of dishes, spices, herbs and a ton of produce, but we’ve been practicing at eating on a budget for a while and eat mostly vegetarian. We eat out about once or twice a month at low-cost places which is not included in the $25. It might add another $40 per month with paper products maybe another $10? That would make our monthly total around $150. Mint says our actual average for the last four months is $174.… Read more »

Lo
Lo
9 years ago
Reply to  No+Debt+MBA

I agree that $750 may sound high, but food (like everything else) is usually more expensive in high density urban areas. We’re (two) foodies in the DC area and we spend $600 a month on groceries and household products. One of our challenges is that most of the discount grocery stores and bulk stores are in the suburbs. We don’t own a car, so its a challenge to get out there and then you have to lug all those groceries/bulk items back on the metro. What I can’t fathom is living in a place where rent is $750! I mean,… Read more »

Becky F
Becky F
9 years ago
Reply to  Lo

Yeah, Lo, I’ve got to agree with you here, my GF and I live in DC, where rent for a 1,000 sq ft apartment can easily top $2,500. As I read these posts, I start feeling extremely guilty about our $451/month on groceries, toiletries, and food for 3 pets, and our $543/month on restaurants (including vacations).

But you know what? I like buying red wine with my meals, I can afford it, and I’ve yet to see a place in DC where 2 people could spend $750 a month on rent.

So I’ll try to stop judging myself.

Angulo
Angulo
9 years ago
Reply to  No+Debt+MBA

I’m just stunned that you claim to spend just $25 a week for 2 people and that you eat lots of fresh produce..I also followed your link to your blog and I’m still having a hard time accepting that. I’m a single middle-aged man in Miami and I spend between $400-$500 a month on just edibles.I NEVER eat out,order in or buy cooked or processed food and I cook virtually all the food I eat and bring my lunch to work every single day;and no alcohol or junk food or sweets whatsoever(I’m diabetic). I do spend $7-$9 a week on… Read more »

neal
neal
9 years ago
Reply to  Angulo

My family (3 people) isn’t too far off of No+Debt+MBA. We shoot for about $100/month. I posted at #245. The main difference, it seems, is that No+Debt+MBA actually cooks well, and has a knack for it. We don’t, although we still do try to eat healthy, even if our meals aren’t inspired. A lot of our expenses are low because I’m the one who shops and I have very little interest in paying more for something that tastes better. My wife sometimes wishes it were different, but it keeps our costs low. As for your grocery list, there’s a lot… Read more »

neal
neal
9 years ago
Reply to  neal

Another thought is that you don’t seem to mention buying in bulk…even a 5 lb bag of brown rice isn’t really “bulk.” Buying a 25 or 50 lb bag of brown rice to last over months and months, for instance, would end up saving a lot of money, especially if you applied the bulk principle across the board to other items (nuts, cheese, fruit – compare a bag of 15 apples to the cost of one single apple).

No Debt MBA
No Debt MBA
9 years ago
Reply to  Angulo

Hi all, I definitely was not trying to criticize anyone’s budget! A low food budget is a priority for us but may be an area of high spending value for others. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with spending more. I wouldn’t call us foodies and food costs can vary significantly from location to location and based on diet. We’ve lived in both rural areas and urban ones including some of the more expensive areas of the country and have averaged $25-30/week long term. However, we don’t each much meat or cheese, eat a lot of beans (which we happen to enjoy;… Read more »

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  No Debt MBA

$4 for kale is horrendous! Here in the UK, I’d never pay more than £1/$1.60 for it and it can often be found on offer at my local supermarket for £0.50/$0.80.

It takes a talented cook to make kale taste good, it’s tricky enough to make it taste ok 😉

maggie
maggie
9 years ago
Reply to  No Debt MBA

“So I don’t go out and buy ingredients for recipes, instead we modify recipes for the ingredients on hand.
That’s an intersting point. I’m just beginning to learn how to really cook from scratch, so I really need to look at recipes and shop the recipe. When finding recipes, I try to keep in mind what I think MIGHT be on sale… but that doesnt always work. I can see how more knowledge of cooking will eventually allow me to save money by seeing what’s on sale at the store and then deciding what to make.

Pamela
Pamela
9 years ago

We spend about $400 a month on groceries including toiletries and household items (which I stock up on when it goes on a big sale). We have two in our family. We don’t use paper towels at all–old rags do great. But eating out is a big temptation. We both have a very busy schedule and using restaurants as a fall back is a problem. I’ve found that increasing my grocery bill a bit and buying a few luxury items (fresh baked bread from the Farmer’s Market, stinky cheese, etc.) makes it easier to stay out of the restaurants. And… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
9 years ago

We spend about $700/month on groceries, for 2 adults (no kids). That does not include “household” items like toilet paper, kleenex, cleaners, etc. That’s just food.

Most of that amount is dairy and protein.

Sloane
Sloane
9 years ago

I’m a single professional, working full time, living in a big city with one roommate. I budget for and spend $250 per month for groceries and eating out. Groceries includes anything that I buy for the house at the grocery store (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc.). My roommate and I alternate buying things that we share like milk, coffee, and non-perishable baking food. I like to eat out at decent restaurants about once a week, so while I don’t split the budget between the two categories, I estimate that I spend roughly a third my food budget at restaurants, and… Read more »

Becka
Becka
9 years ago

$750 seems very high to me. I’d say we’re around $400/mo on average for food (that is, grocery store trips, though non-food items probably make up maybe 2% of that cost), alcohol (there’s a fair amount of it!), and dining out. It varies a lot – this was definitely a more expensive month. We don’t use any coupons, though we do try to make smart cost choices at the store.

Becka
Becka
9 years ago
Reply to  Becka

D’oh – “we” are my husband and me, no kids. I don’t include my dog’s food in this, because we don’t buy his food a the grocery store (and shame on you if you do, unless you get Costco’s Kirkland).

Jennifer+B
Jennifer+B
9 years ago
Reply to  Becka

No shame on me – it’s a budgetary choice that we all make where we spend our money and how. Since my elderly cat is now only eating freshly cooked chicken, I’m now buying bulk chicken thighs (at the supermarket) and cooking them up every 2-3 days. Turns out to be only slightly more expensive than the cat food we were buying before. For people food, in the Seattle area, 3 people, about $500 per month. I don’t coupon, stock up at Costco for staples and do most of my other shopping and the gourmet grocery because I can get… Read more »

Becka
Becka
9 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer+B

Sorry, I should’ve been clear. I meant shame for buying packaged pet food at the grocery store. No shame for you – kudos for feeding your cat from scratch!

Francie
Francie
9 years ago
Reply to  Becka

Costco’s Kirkland??? My dogs eat real meat every day and (shocker) I sometimes buy it at the grocery store. It’s part of my grocery budget wherever I get it. No kibble or canned commercial dog food.

shares