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Average Grocery Bill-for 2

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Looking for a consensus. What's your average MONTHLY grocery bill for 2 people. -Please note if you're an occasional Whole Foods shopper or any other significant items that could rack up your bill. I'm trying to find a good number to compare to, since our bill is outrageous and I need to tighten the pursestrings a bit! :) Thanks in advance for your input.

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  1. I would say $500 is pretty average for a grocery bill, split into two or three grocery runs. I generally split that between one slightly more upscale trip (for better produce, coffee, tea, spices), and one SuperTarget/Cub (better deals on cereal, boxed items, soap, t.p, etc).
    That includes frozen lunch items for my husband at work.
    I am not counting any special trips, like if I am having a dinner party...and that doesn't count wine, beer or spirits.
    This will be an interesting topic to hear what other people spend. I am always fascinated by people's shopping carts at the grocery store, it is amazing how different the items in each cart can be!

    1 Reply
    1. re: run2eat

      I eat healthy but never over 100 a week for 2 sometimes 3.

    2. I try to keep it under or at $100 a week, so between $300- $400 a month (including those damn nonfood items that always run up the bill). For the most part it's for all three meals since lunch is usually left overs and breakfast is cereal. I tend to make around 4 trips a week to the grocery store because I don't have much space to store food and try to buy only what we need. Mostly shop at Star, TJ's and Whole Food (depending on who has the best price and selection). Occasionally I will hit up Costco for meats and coffee.

      Now that it is fall/winter I am trying to do more soups/stews (things to freeze) that are cheaply done in bulk. To help lower my bill I've also stopped buying soda, most processed food, and bulk packages that I end up throwing away instead of finishing.

      6 Replies
      1. re: viperlush

        Forgot to add: Live in Cambridge MA, tend to eat out 2x a week, and rarely use coupons.

        1. re: viperlush

          New budget of $60 a week for food and non food items (excluding one cat's prescriptive diet). Mostly shop @ Star/Shaws (standard grocery store), Russo's (local grocery store w/ excellent produce), and Market Basket (discount grocery store). Bi monthly $100 trip to Costco for meats, coffee, etc. Eat out a couple times a week (mainly drinks and app after work). Still rarely use coupons. For two people and two cats.

          1. re: viperlush

            My husband spends at least $50 a month on toys and treats for our two miniature pinschers (spoiled lil darlings!). We have dinner on Friday nights at our Elks Lodge ($13 per person for the buffet; $16 for rib eye steak dinner) and occasionally go out for breakfast on weekends. I work 20 minutes from home so I eat lunch out every day and buy great coffee each morning from Human Bean via their drive-through. But our budget for home-cooked meals each month is probably $500 to $600 per month. I love fresh seafood (we live in Oregon and crab season just opened) so that's spendy. And that amount includes a lot of household items that are not edible....like paper towels, cleaners, baggies, foil, etc. That stuff really adds up. We have a great discount grocery here -- Grocery Outlet -- where I could really save some money, but I hate running to several different stores. So I bite the bullet and usually do Albertson's or Safeway. Hopefully, when I retire I'll be able to hit the sale items from various stores more often and do a little couponing, as well. I enjoy the new *Extreme Couponing* show and it is amazing to see how much they save. But I don't want to spend 40 hours a week doing it, as some of them say they do.

            1. re: pilotgirl210

              Extreme Couponing is fake!!! I'm on a coupon website (HotCouponWorld.com) and we all hate that show. The stores featured bend or break their own rules so these people can come up with their savings. Average savings for dedicated couponers is 40 - 60%. I don't get that because we don't eat packaged, processed foods. I can save a lot on paper goods, and non-food items, like laundry soap and such.

              My average food bill is $100/wk, but that takes into account that it goes up during the fall when I'm buying meat and poultry to freeze and eat during the winter,and down now that I'm buying dairy and fresh produce only. The price of EVERYTHING has skyrocketed, though, so it'll probably go up further.

              1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                there should be separate lines for people with more than a few coupons

        2. At least $500. I make weekly trips to Whole foods(mostly sale items, veggies,dairy) and TJ. I also make stops according to what I need and where I am at the time at Costco, Sprouts mkt, fish mkt, Veggie and friut stand, and much more. We try to eat Vegetarian meals for lunch and dinner at least a couple times a week and still spend a fortune.

          1. 500, at least, but probably closer to 600-700. I'm an occasional WF shopper for things like cheese. I support the local bakeries. I go to specialty stores for prime meat and other things.

            I mostly don't think about it, though, because it's pretty frightening.

            1. 1x a month wholefoods -type store shopper, otherwise buying lots of fresh veggies and normal groceries at the supermarket if they are on sale..I try to avoid full price.
              I'm about 400 a month

              1. Not sure why you think there IS a consensus, or that some common # might apply to you. A lot has to do with your diet, where you live (food costs vary widely by area), how many meals you eat at home, etc. I probably spend $4-600, making every effort to buy on sale, use coupons, etc. I bring my own lunch to work, as does wife, so we're talking a lot of meals per week. I like to check out WF once in a while, but rarely buy anything there. Too much of a ripoff.

                1. Wow. I just went through my bank statements to see, and in September, I spent about $120 on groceries. That includes Safeway, the local "nice' market, Trader Joe's and the occasional Whole Foods. Probably includes a bottle of wine or two. Doesn't include Target, the farmer's market or the possibility that my husband went to the store. To be fair, I think I made an effort to eat what was in the pantry, and I have a CSA share that includes veggies, eggs and good bread 2x a month.

                  Of course, the number for August was a bit more than double, but I know that I spent a considerable amount preparing for overnight guests, although I didn't make dinner.

                  I'm really surprised by how low these numbers are. I guess my mother's deep-seated lessons in frugality really sunk in!

                  1. At least $100 a week. It had crept up to nearly $200 for awhile but we've slash-and-burned it and removed a lot of the luxuries (like fast food/eating out/desserts!). So say $500 a month - and we almost never eat out so that's all on groceries. We're trying to get it down to $400 by shopping at BJs but it's too soon to have any results to show.

                    1. About five or six hundred a month, including cat food, dog food and rabbit food if that counts? Oh and wild bird seed. Okay mmuch, awesome topic to post about but now it's your turn. What is your average monthly grocery bill?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        Well, on average, I'm about $500++. It just seems a bit much to me, but then again, I am a food snob and refuse to go cheap on certain items-I'm trying to get over it but it's so hard! I must have good butter (Lurpak), good bacon, good cheese, as many organic veggies as possible, and any organic/free range meats that I can find. I rarely find any coupons that are for products that I actually buy on a regular basis. I would really like to get down to under $100 per week, but being the cook lover that I am, I don't see how that's possible! Any advice would be helpful! :) PS. we have cut out eating out all together lately, so 95% of our meals are at home.

                      2. I'm a Costco shopper, between there and the mega-mart for small stuff it's about $250 -$300 per month and there's no skimping needed.

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: cstr

                          Two people, $120 a month. Jesus christ, no WONDER so many people around here talk about fancy shmancy stuff.

                          1. re: Chowrin

                            You're feeding 2 people for $120 per month? Hmmm. That works out to $4 per day for both of you.. How are you doing that?

                            1. re: flourgirl

                              ... with lots of veggies, sparing meat (1/4 lb per person is a Large Meat meal, and they don't happen too often), and a lot of pie!
                              Also, I shop at costco -- once a month.
                              Avoiding pasta ($1 a pound, roughly) and going with basmati rice (.75 cents a pound, and many more calories), making my own pizza (.20cents a pound for flour, and a plain white crust will do. plus a coupla ounces of cheese.)

                              I buy things on sale (have a buncha 500Cal noodle bowls that we got for less than fifty cents apiece), and stock up when things are cheap.

                              1. re: Chowrin

                                Yes, cutting way down on meat helps a lot but I have a growing boy and a very hard-working, very large husband. They both need their meat.

                                I don't know about where you live, but where I live, vegetables are pretty darned expensive - even in season.

                                Pasta goes on sale all the time - there's no money savings there that I can see.

                                Noodle bowls in my experience are usually low on nutirtion and high on artifical crap. Maybe you are finding better brands - but the better brands tend to cost a lot more too.

                                I buy stuff on sale and stock up cheap as well - it's still costing me a lot more than $4 per day per person. A lot more.

                                1. re: flourgirl

                                  I live in a city (pittsburgh).
                                  They need protein, and a decently balanced diet. Meat is actually mostly optional, though it is a good way of getting a good diet.

                                  Last night I made Tamatar Khabli Chana Usal, it was delish! you don't notice lack of meat at all.

                                  Do you shop at Costco or Trader Joe's? I highly recommend both of them. I find buying carrots and onions and potatoes from there gives me enough "veggies" during the cold months. During the warm months I have a CSA (which is where all my money goes to).

                                  I'd suggest using canned tomatoes, frozen collard greens, and carrots to give you some decent vegetables -- they should be reasonably cheap, unlike a lot of vegetables at the store. Carrots because people buy them a lot, and the other two because they keep, and package reasonably well. Or go with canned spinach -- a wonderful source of iron.

                                  How many vegetables do you eat a day?

                                  Today's breakfast was almonds. Today's lunch was a nongshim noodle bowl (.35 cents at costco on sale). Today's dinner will be beets. (maybe eating cheaply helps when you're on a diet. teehee?)

                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                    "Today's breakfast was almonds. Today's lunch was a nongshim noodle bowl (.35 c
                                    cents at costco on sale). Today's dinner will be beets. "

                                    Unfortunately, not one of those meals you used as an illustration is remotely close to being balanced. Which just proves my suspicion that the extremely low dollar amountss you say you are spending on food are not remotely realistic for anything long term.

                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                      today's breakfast and lunch will be almonds. tonight's dinner will be stirfry (with sirloin 3-4 oz, broccoli, carrots, peppers and onion). One doesn't need a "balanced" meal, one needs a balanced diet.

                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                        So you're basically not eating very much, then.

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          depends. had a chock full of veggies stirfry (for multiple meals, each 300 C rice, 200 C beef, plus veggies) over the weekend.
                                          And I had greens/beans and "bacon" (turkey andoille, but you know the real recipe) as well.

                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                            But today you had almonds and a stir-fry with a small amount of beef. Not that much food really.

                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                              1000Cals of Almonds, and 700 Cals of stirfry (forgot to mention the oil above). That's more than my recommended calorie count even when I'm not dieting.

                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                Well you have chosen to eat calorie dense food in almonds. 1000 cals of almonds is less than 150g. For most people, almonds are a snack, not a meal. It's easy to eat your recommended calorie amount with not much food - whether that is healthy, or would satisfy the average person is another matter.

                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  Geesh, does it really matter? The purpose of this thread is for people to share what they spend/month on food. Some spend more, some spend less. Obviously Chowrin spends a lot less, but as long as she is satisfied with the amount she eats who really cares? She shouldn't have to defend her diet.

                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                    viper,
                                                    I'm choosing to think that people are just kinda curious, and interested.

                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                    protein's protein, it satisfies ya pretty decent. Guess I should say that I'm eating peanutbutter and crackers today (and yesterday night had a bacon/olive salad (yes, with greens too) with most excellent dressing)

                          2. I'd say we easily spend $800 or so for two, if not more, but, to be honest, I don't keep track. It's one of my few indulgences, though we also eat out maybe 3 times a week. We live in Manhattan and shop at a wide variety of stores - Whole Foods for some of their 365 brand products that we like - maybe once a month, then Citarella for our regular shopping, and various specialty stores for cheese, etc. I usually spend quite a bit at the beginning of the month loading up on ingredients for whatever the cookbook of the month is on the Home Cooking board. Seafood and meat tend to be expensive, and I usually buy wild/organic when possible. That said, I have noticed food prices going up significantly, and find myself reconsidering some purchases, whereas I wouldn't have before.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Same thing here, we don't have a budget, so I'm guessing it's around $800 for food, alcohol, and other supplies for 2 adults and 4 dogs (luckily the dogs don't drink that much ; ). Does not include eating out, that's around 4-6 times a month. I buy a lot local, some organic, and some at Ingles, the main chain here.

                              We actually spent less living in San Francisco (probably half the total now), where I would hit all the ethnic and specialty shops and farmers markets. Here in the Asheville area there are no butcher shops and only a few ethnic shops, and they aren't really a bargain here. But for us, the cost of living here is so low, we can spend as much as we want on good groceries.

                            2. It's really hard for me to gauge because we buy very little from a "one stop shopping" grocery store and instead visit a lot of little markets and such throughout the month for our items.

                              I would say we spend about $200 a month. We visit the big farmers type market twice a month and spend about $75 there each time, and we supplement what we buy there with things here and there from other stores, including the "regular" grocery, occasionally trader joe's, etc.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                $200/month is impressive. I am wondering how you do that. Vegetarian? I like the little markets too but I think I am way beyond $200/month for the two of us. I am going to check.

                                1. re: foxy fairy

                                  I shop at costco. buy big cans, 20 lbs of basmati at once. Avoid expensive starches, buy foods in season. $120 a month, non vegetarian (rarely eat meat though).

                                2. re: rockandroller1

                                  ziggylu--

                                  I like that you cook based on what you have. I am trying to do that much more. I combine coupons with sales, which can save a lot on dry grocery.

                                  I used to eat in restaurants all the time, and then I changed jobs. Now that I'm self-employed with time to cook, I opt to eat in a restaurant *maybe* one time every three months. Most items that I would eat in a restaurant are things that I can prepare myself with an equal or better result. I agree with you -- "now that we're used to it we're really happy eating at home more often." I do go out to eat when someone treats, and I am usually aghast at the prices (like for pasta dishes, bruschetta, desserts) even though I used to dine out in SF and Boston all the time. It's funny how perspective changes. So my grocery bill may be higher now but my overall food cost for the month has plummeted without those restaurant outings.

                                3. Well, I would imagine there'll be a wide range of answers depending on where people live and how much cooking at home they do.

                                  That said ... we are just two people and I'd guess we spend around 400-500 a month, though I don't keep that close track. This comes with a few big caveats: 1) we are in Manhattan so that may mean that some things are just generally more expensive; 2) I don't cook meat and we don't buy prepared foods, so that reduces the grocery bill; 3) however, DH does eat meat so he purchases his lunch every day which is not included in the bill; 4) being in Manhattan and not shopping at a "megamart" type store means that things like toilet paper, shampoo, cat food, etc. are not included in what is our strictly-groceries bill; 5) we probably eat dinner out at least once per week; 6) I do a lot of shopping at the greenmarket which means during certain times of year we get real bargains; 7) we are addicted to good cheese which can scarily raise the grocery bill; 8) we drink a lot of coffee and we buy good coffee and also use a lot of 1/2n1/2.

                                  I have noticed dairy prices rising a lot. We are up to $2.49 for a quart of 1/2n1/2 now. Ouch. Most cheeses we buy are now around $15-20 per pound. Our greenmarket milk, yogurt and ice cream source hasn't raised her prices as much for which we are very grateful.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: LNG212

                                    I would guess we spend probably around $700/month. I live in Canada (and pretty far north), so many things are more expensive. We also shop almost exclusively at farmers market, so that adds to price. Free range chicken, bison, venison, etc...so it is more than just buying factory chicken and beef in grocery store.

                                    And lots of expensive cheeses, good coffee, some pre-made soups that are expensive but delicious.

                                    But, we figure it is what we want, we are two people both with good incomes and no kids - other people go to Disneyland, we eat.

                                    1. re: Dan G

                                      Great quote...I hate Disneyland and love to eat!

                                    2. re: LNG212

                                      What you pay for half and half cream and cheese is still a lot cheaper than what I pay in Toronto!

                                    3. Ugh. Just looked at the bank statement and did the real math (vs the amount I'd like to pretend I spend) and for the 2 of us, not including eating out, but including toiletries, cleaning supplies and other grocery store randomness we spend upwards of $1000 per month. We don't eat out much (~$200 a month?), so premium groceries are our treat. We do spend about $120 a week at the farmer's market including meat and cheeses which I will not change, but damn! I need to do some re-evaluating! Particulars: we're in San Francisco, shop primarily at the farmer's market, ferry building shops and Rainbow grocery, and supplement with Safeway.

                                      1. we actually spent more when we didnt have a daughter than we do now(alot more lobster, crab, etc.) When it was just me and my wife we would spend around $600/month for groceries.

                                        Now that we have a daughter, and are trying to save it is closer to $400 - $450 a month. We utitlize recipes that we can make more than one meal out of, and have just cut back on some items to be more repsonsible parents, and adults. Luckily I am a scratch cook, and can make pretty much anyting we want. Not included in either total is the meals we eat out( probably 1 dinner, and 1 linch a week minimum).

                                        We never shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joes(I really dislike & cant stand both of those places). We still get most of our meat and seafood from the meat market, or fish monger, other than that we shop @ Krogers, a local grocery store, a mexican market, or Super Walmart.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: swsidejim

                                          Trader joe's is a discount supermarket. if you can't stand it, that's fine -- but don't knock its prices.

                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                            I agree, I live in Los Angeles and can buy a dozen eggs for $1.49, a lot cheaper at Trader Joes than WF, Ralphs etc. Bag of healthy greens for $1.99 vs 3.49 at others, Almond milk at TJs for $1.99 while Ralphs is around $3.00. Milk is cheaper at TJ too among a lot of other things.

                                            I sometimes do the 99 cent stores for great fresh veggies now, than stop at TJ and Ralphs when needed.

                                            I spend about $50 - 80.00 a week for 2 adult depending. Occassional buy meats at Bristol Farms. This includes cereal in the am M-F, eggs, spinach, onions on S&S, lunch at home (tuna salad) on weekends and 1 lunch a day on weekdays (he goes out for lunch at work so it's NOT included). Dinners at home except sometimes we go out on Friday and Sunday but always go out on Saturday (not included). I didn't include going out because I can average a dinner at home for about $5-10.00 a day including fish or meat, salad and rice or other side. You can cut down with coupons, 99 cent stores and what you eat and how much you eat. I use smaller plates so my other half cuts down on his eating, he eats too much LOL and it shows.

                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                              I've tried to like Trader Joe's. My best friend loves to shop there, so I go there with him every now and then.

                                              We went to the one in East Liberty on Sunday. I needed a few things to make chili. But in order to buy any garlic, I had to buy two heads packaged together. Ditto, two green peppers. I would have had to buy twice as much meat as I needed to accommodate the amount of peppers I was buying, and would probably have ended up throwing out the extra head of garlic.

                                              I ended up putting everything back. I hate being manipulated like that.

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                The prepackaging of their produce is probably the most annoying thing about Trader Joes.

                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                  if you're in east liberty already, swing by whole foods (or market district) for produce. I never buy produce at TJ's.

                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                    Yeah, I mostly shop at WF or MD for produce. What happens is, I have this friend who just adores TJ, so we end up there fairly often since it's in my neighborhood (he lives in the N. Hills). I've always found the place kind of annoying, and one day I got into kind of a snit with him about it. I think it was the day described above.

                                            2. Giving it some thought, I'd say probably around $350 a month. Variables include whether our CSA is going on: that cuts down considerably on our trips to Russo's, the greengrocer over in Watertown, which average about $25 a week from mid-October to the end of May. On the other hand, I think that's probably about what our CSA charges, pro-rated for the 16 weeks it's running. We spend a bit more during farmer's market season, and tomorrow we're going out to Blood Farm in Groton to stock up on some meat, so that'll be spendy, but then, we only do that about once a year, so again it pro-rates out.

                                              We eat out once MAYBE twice a week. Neither of us eats lunch out more than once a week or so: I work from home, and Allstonian brings in her lunch.

                                              Where we save: careful shopping of the sale circulars (it helps that there's a Star Market and a Stop and Shop within easy walking distance), and we have both a large pantry and a basement freezer, so we can stock up when prices are good. But the main way we save is that we buy practically nothing in the way of prepared foods. Almost all our meals are prepared from scratch with fresh ingredients. We happen to be lucky in that we have the time and the inclination to cook like this, but the further you can move into that direction, the better. Even when we're not specifically saving money, the food is better: we could probably buy Cabot or Stonyfield Farm yogurt for about as much as it costs to make our own, but the stuff I make just tastes better.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                "But the main way we save is that we buy practically nothing in the way of prepared foods."

                                                That's me, I'm a student and really have to budget, but people always wonder how I manage to eat pretty well and it's because I don't buy processed stuff. I probably spend more on food than the average student, but I cut back on other things.

                                              2. I would estimate that we spend $300 month, at most ($75/week). We buy all our fresh items at whole foods, and we buy non-perishables at cheaper places. Husband buys 5 lunches/week, we go out to dinner twice a week. Like the OP, we buy good butter (actually, it's 2-tiered--plugra for eating plain, trader joe's for baking), good cheese, organic veggies, and free range meat. I think the reason that our grocery bills tend to be low is that we don't eat much meat at home. We eat a lot of salads, which are inexpensive even if you are buying organic produce at whole foods. And we eat a lot of sandwiches that use expensive meat and cheese (e.g., prosciutto at $22/lb), but they are so rich in flavor that we don't need that much for each sandwich (quality over quantity). We do use coupons and stock up on non-perishables when they are on sale. We splurge where it "counts" and save where it doesn't matter as much. I think our butter thing is a good example...if I'm putting butter on bread, it's going to be expensive plugra. But if I'm baking, I use $1.99/pound trader joe's butter. I always have both on hand.

                                                1. I spend $500 - 600/month and I BET if more people actually tracked it they would find that they spend a lot more than they think.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: shaebones

                                                    This is true. At the beginning of this year Iooked at what I had spent last year per month. I was shocked to see it was $700! For two people. Who typically ate out twice a week as well spending another $400-$500+/ mo on that budget item. Yikes.

                                                    So...this year I've been paying much more attention to what I buy, when I buy and where I buy it. Since January I'm now averaging $400/mo in spite of higher food prices. We're still eating very well at home too....

                                                    I've cut down my shopping to about two times per week. I buy most of my groceries at a local supermarket or at the Fresh and Easy which is now open here in Phoenix. I live walking distance to a Whole Foods but very rarely go there. Too overpriced for my taste(maybe we're fortunate in this market but there are other options for local and organic at much lower prices) I cook based on what I have on hand and no longer run out to buy an ingredient or two for something I might want to cook that night. If I don't have something, that recipe waits until I do have what I need on hand(If it's something I really want to make the missing ingredients usually make it on the list for the next trip to the store). I shop sales and ads now as well.

                                                    We eat at home almost every night now and my husband takes his lunch daily so the $400 covers most of our food bill for the month. These days we spend an additional $100-$150/mo or so eating out(we're cut way back to about 2-3 meals per month now_. That part of our budget has been cut back substantially but to be honest now that we're used to it we're really happy eating at home more often.

                                                    We definitely are enjoying all the saved money from shopping more mindfully.

                                                    1. re: shaebones

                                                      I shop once a month at costco. it's $125 a month for food (counting small trips to the corner store for milk)

                                                    2. I really have no idea, because I don't do a regular shop, but probably around £80 a week. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less. I live in London and shop locally for most things. Basics come from the German supermarket Lidl, which is great value. Eat out probably once or twice a week.

                                                      1. Here, north of Boston MA we're spending about 500.00 a month for food. We cook everything from scratch using fresh organic produce from local farms in season and from the greengrocer at other times and free range meat. We don't eat beef, but do eat bison, pork - the other white meat - seafood and chicken. There are several specialty/ethnic markets we frequent plus a really good supermarket with the lowest prices in the area. Trader Joe's is a very short drive from our house and so is the market.

                                                        DH takes his lunch to work and we have not been going out to eat as often as we did in the past. In fact, we've not been doing take-away at all lately either.. ..

                                                        1. wow- just checked my account and we're close to $700/month

                                                          we're in NOLA and eat out an average of once a week- that adds around $300

                                                          time to rethink that budget- seems outrageous

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: chef4hire

                                                            For the quality of restaurants you have in your backyard, I would gladly spend $300 a month on that. ;)

                                                          2. It looks like everyone is right around the same average I am. About $400-$450 a month. 100 a week or so.That seems like so much for just two people but we try hard to keep quality up and look for items on sales. We do splurge on a few items now and then.

                                                            My most expensive items I find are:
                                                            Organic Orange Juice
                                                            Milk
                                                            Beer/Wine
                                                            high quality cuts of meat and fish
                                                            Cheese

                                                            1. I have been struggling to get ours down. It was $600 until I realized how much I was spending so now it is down to $475 for the last ttree months. That's about 25% Trader Joe's (incl. lots of coffee for home and work), 25% farmer's markets and the discount produce hut, and 50% supermarkets. Not too much in the way of organic and local, but if I can find a farmer or CSA to sell me bulk pork, that will be cool. I don't mind eating pesticides on my apples but my pigs must be treated humanely.

                                                              I recently bought a small chest freezer and a bunch of gladware containers so that I can make large amounts of food and freeze meals. I was sad that it had not impacted my grocery bill until I realized that my spending on lunches, snacks and coffee during work hours as well as those "I'm too tired to cook" takeout meals are down $250 this month, which covers the cost of the freezer and containers, so that's cool. I just made 12 servings of lentil loaf w/ gravy w/ side of macaroni and cheese w/ broccoli for $10.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: tompaineinthe

                                                                mmm.... should add in a pinch for coffee. I don't count it because we buy it green, but that's maybe another $20 a month.

                                                              2. Wow...I would've said around $600, but I just added up the last ten days' worth, and it came to $331! And that was only the debit card transactions, none of the cash ones. I have been slacking off in my pursuit of cheap groceries, i.e. defaulting to Ralphs instead of the Latino and Asian markets, and it really is hurting me more than I'd suspected. I know that we can eat quite well on less than $150 per week, and adequately on under $100; we don't eat out very often, and even though I typically shop every day I can keep it under $20 per trip if I have to. Thanks to mmuch for the wakeup call...

                                                                1. Just wanted to say thanks for this thread, its given me a great idea of what's realistic. I'm sad to say we got in an eating-out habit that came in at close to 2k per month for food for two of us, which just isn't sustainable. Hooray for realistic goals!

                                                                  1. I did a quick check and it is about 600. I bring lunch and breakfast to work most days and we eat dinner at home prob five nights a week, and at least two of these nights I am cooking for 2-4 extra people. I dont really buy much packaged food- squeeze my own juice, make my own baked goods etc. I will say I am much more apt to drop 100 bucks on ingrediants than I am to drop 100 at a reastaurant as nothing makes me more sad than a medicore meal at a restaurant that is $$. I do save a lot of money by buying some meats, seltzers, pet food, cleaning supplies, papertowels etc in bulk at costco.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: cassoulady

                                                                      We've figured we've saved quite a bit of money by making our own seltzer instead of buying it. We had been buying about a case (of 1 litre bottles) per week. Now with the home-making set-up not only are we saving money on buying it but we've eliminated all those plastic bottles as well.

                                                                      1. re: LNG212

                                                                        I'd love to hear more about this seltzer-making at home. I hate the piling up of bottles and it does get pricey, especially when a lot of the flavored ones only come in 1 liter size

                                                                        1. re: jpmcd

                                                                          We got the Soda Club system about a year and a half ago ( http://www.sodaclubusa.com ). We've averaged about 1 CO2 canister every 4 months. The canister refills are about $20US. So once the system is paid for, we really figure we're saving money. Plus the added benefit of not having all those plastic bottles (and for me, not requiring delivery for my groceries any more). The machine itself doesn't take up all that much space either.

                                                                          We don't drink any flavored sodas or seltzers. I did know one person who tried the "flavoring syrups" from Soda Club and thought they were gross. If we want a little flavor, we just add a splash of juice (eg, cranberry) to the seltzer.

                                                                          Edit to add: there were a couple of threads about Soda Club at one point on the General board.

                                                                    2. Varies on how much stocking up of staples we're doing. Last night I went to TJ's while my husband went to WFM. We each spent under $50. FWIW we're vegan and I'm gluten-free so no animal products and no products containing wheat, barley, rye, spelt ( generally no products containing oats but my husband did buy some oatmeal for himself). We generally spend somewhat more than that but that includes things like supplements, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. We usually walk or take transit to the store and have some walking in addition so we only buy what we can carry...

                                                                      1. We probably spend about $250/month in groceries, not including wine & spirits.
                                                                        I don't use WF, but do use farmers markets as frequently as possible. TJ's for our olive oil and dried sunflower seeds. We do our best to buy whatever is in season, which helps.
                                                                        This is just for the humans--our dog eats $25-40/month in food (cat, $10 including litter).

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Caralien

                                                                          Wow Caralien that is wonderful. Can I ask for some insight on how you do it?
                                                                          I also buy at farmers markets every week in fact and buy in season but our expenses are in the $700/month range.
                                                                          Happy eating, Oana

                                                                          1. re: Caralien

                                                                            Yes, how do you do it because I find farmers markets SO expensive so it's they're a fortune to shop at, esp here.
                                                                            I would say I spend about that much on myself per month.

                                                                          2. I live in Western New York. In the winter, we spend between $500-$600/month on food and household supplies. We aim to spend $150/wk, and usually come in below that.

                                                                            All of our produce comes from a small, local produce shop. We buy our basic food and household supplies (paper towels, laundry detergent, shampoo) at Wegmans, and we go the MOSTLY organic/natural route. I get all our bulk (grains, beans, etc) from a local co-op. We only eat meat 2-3/wk at most, and we buy that at the local butcher, and we pay more for the free-range/all-natural/local meats. Oh - and we have 1/2 pig and chickens in our freezer that we raised ourselves.

                                                                            In the summer, we spend only $150-$200/month, because we eat primarily from our garden and orchard, and our chickens give us their eggs :)

                                                                            1. We're two people and I spend about $300/month. We eat dinner home, take lunch and breakfast to work. I shop mostly at Stop and Shop or ShopRite (I'm in Brooklyn)- whichever store has better items on sale. Also, I go a separate fruit store- much cheaper than buying fruits and veg from the supermarket and also much fresher. We don't eat tons of meat, b/c kosher meat is very expensive and I prefer dairy or tofu.

                                                                              I limit fancier stores to once a month- and I usually choose Fairway over WF or TJ's. I could probably spend less, but I bake and cook a lot.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                I spend about $300 a month as well. We take lunch to work and I even make extra for my brother in law since he's single and doesn't really like to cook. I do go to more than one place for best pricing & freshness. Usually we eat out on Fri and Sat. So I'll say we tag on another 350 or so for restaurants.

                                                                                1. re: gourmet wife

                                                                                  We eat out three or four times a month. I didn't include that though. I'm always making extra food for people- my brother in law's lunch, cookies for the office, a cake for a friend.. if I cut that out I could probably save a lot.

                                                                              2. I've whittled it down to an average of $340 a month over the last year (does not include pet food, pharmacy, but does include some of our toilet paper, plastic wrap, and the like). This allows for us eating out twice in a week. The total includes a soda habit, so if that were kicked, there would be an adjustment, but the calories would need to come from somewhere. I rotate my shopping between stores so that I hit the best one for freezer items, a better one for produce, etc. I don't have access to farmer's markets of any value, nor do I drive far enough for the absolute best values. I am not a member of a food club. Coupons so rarely apply to anything that I buy that I stopped reading the Sunday coupon section. I do shop sales, though, and use a freezer.

                                                                                I look at the number and wish, oh, I don't know, that somehow I were happier with it. If I were more frugal and managed to plan better, I could eat better with that number than I do. At the same time I realize that we could add a some really nice extras for about $50 a month. Thanks for making me think about it.

                                                                                1. My sister and I budget $480 a month for groceries, but we usually spend about $400. We eat at home pretty much every night and bring our lunches to work. We mostly shop at Safeway but go to the farmers' market almost every week for produce and every once in a while to Whole Foods for something special and/or hard to find. We live in DC.

                                                                                  1. We dine out 3-4X week on average and spend probably $600/month on groceries (not including wine and liquor) and about $2500/month on dining out.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                      That just blows my mind. We live in a cheap part of the country, and subsist on one paycheck. Your "dining out" budget is more than my husband's bi-weekly paycheck! Our average "dining out" expense--for three--runs about $28 at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. When we spend over $40 on ANY meal, we feel guilty. ;-)

                                                                                      1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                        It's what we love :-) And where the bulk of our disposable income goes. My husband is at the peak of his earning potential, our one child is grown (well we are paying for her wedding in a few weeks...LOL) and our mortgage is less than ten percent of our income.

                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                          You're very lucky. I'm out of work and still looking after a year! If you have more of that disposable income, you can surely send some my way ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                            please remember to save some of it! ;-)

                                                                                        2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                          i dine out 4 or 5 times a week.
                                                                                          when i had more money i was regularly enjoying the best omakase at one of the best sushi bars in town.
                                                                                          now i go to restaurants that cost a little less and and absolutely reduce the amount of alcohol that i order.
                                                                                          the LAST thing that will go is my restaurant attendance, though.

                                                                                        3. On everything including paper and cleaning products for me, my husband and one dog we spend about 120 a week, less in the summer when we have a very significant garden and orchard production. We eat almost every single meal at home except when we go to friends (but I call that even since we have them over too). We are young and retired so we have a long way to go (fingers crossed) to make the money last. We do not buy convenience food, take a trip out to the coffee drive thru. I shop a lot at Costco, we have a HUGE freezer (and buy meat on sale) and eat like complete gluttonous , over the top kings of the world most every night.

                                                                                          Sometimes it is a lot more if our fave wines go on sale.

                                                                                          We stock up on all things we KNOW we will use later and so rarely buy on impulse. I always shop the sales flyer. ALWAYS.

                                                                                          1. It has gone up as we've been eating out less. Last year, was probably about $300 a month, but that was mostly for breakfast, lunch, household staples, and wine. We were eating out about five times a week, and probably spending $250 a week in restaurants. Now the grocery bill has gone up--I'm aiming for <$600 a month, but also to cook at home most days. I think we're eating better, too. But there are a few strange inconsistencies in my buying. I find it hard to spend a lot of money on meat or fish (even though we're avidly carnivorous/pescatarian), and also balk illogically at spending a lot on single items--like really good olive oil, parmesan cheese, vinegar, etc. And yet these make all the difference! On the other hand, I spend a small fortune on produce (including expensive things that we tend to waste, like pre-cut pineapple). When I was a student I used to do lots of comparison shopping, but now my schedule is busier, it's pretty much Whole Foods and then the farmer's market, with occasional last minute Safeway supplementation (and once a month Trader Joe's trips: wish we had one closer).

                                                                                            1. I was happy to come across this thread because my husband commented that we were spending too much on groceries and I was wondering about other people's consumption. We spend about 700$ for 2 people. I buy all food at the market and for special items at the local organic grocer. I always thought I was being reasonable :).
                                                                                              That being said, reading what everyone says it seems we could improve. Thank you for posting.
                                                                                              Happy eating, Oana

                                                                                              19 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: oana

                                                                                                I spend about $700 month for two adults, one 8 yr old, a dog and two cats. And we eat very well. This also includes all our paper products, cleaning products and most personal care items. This also includes almost all meals, as we don't eat out very often and I pack my and my son's lunch almost every day. I shop the sales, use coupons, buy a lot of store brands where it makes sense to. (And this is a very big jump, because I was paying less than $500 a month just three or four years ago.)

                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                  wow that is amazing - I am really over then. the only thing is that there are no coupons at the market. as for "sales" I guess that would be the older veggies which I buy only for stock or sauce ... for cleaning products and personal care items I try to buy chemical free as much as possible so this makes it more expensive. I also pack lunch every day but it is for my husband :). I know it's not possible to know in a post but I would love to know what you are eating ... we have made a budget for this month for $600 so let's see how we do ...then after we have mastered the $600 point we will try for 5 ... wish us luck :)
                                                                                                  happy eating, Oana

                                                                                                  1. re: oana

                                                                                                    We eat a lot of fruits and veggies - I buy from the farmer's markets in season but that leaves almost 3/4 of the year when I have to buy at the supermarket. So I buy fruits and veggies based on what looks good, and what is reasonably priced. (I'm all for shopping/eating locally but I can't feed my family based purely on this philosophy and I refuse to be a slave to it...) I hardly buy any processed foods, especially things like frozen meals, etc. I bake fairly often from scratch and the products of these efforts is normally what my son eats for breakfast, along with some fruit. I'm incorporating more whole grains into our diet. And I almost never buy meat/poultry that's not on sale. I do buy organic eggs and milk - because it's one easy way to reduce the amount of hormones/anti-biotics we're exposed to. I don't buy a lot of snack food, almost never buy soda etc. We have fish a few times a month. And my budget has room for stuff like lobsters (especially when they're $4.99/lb..) the occasional pound of crab, etc. When pasta is on sale I stock up. When canned beans are on sale I stock up. Nuts on sale?Well, you get the picture. Trust me, it takes a LOT of work for me to feed my family well and keep it reasonable. It's something I can't slack off about because the minute I stop paying attention the bills start climbing...

                                                                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                      Thank you so very much for this flourgirl. Actually it is funny that you mention it because I have recently started baking myself. I have started with muffins from whatever I have in the house and have come up with some pretty yummy concoctions :) I will try bread next. As for the eating locally I am not only doing it for myself but to support the community I live in. It is selfish of me but it feels good to know that my money is going to local farmers and these farmers hands are what will produce the food I eat and will help them to keep their farms going. I know what you mean. I have always considered it a full time job to properly feed your family and to feed them well. They are lucky to have you :)
                                                                                                      Happy eating and thank you again for taking the time to write, Oana

                                                                                                      1. re: oana

                                                                                                        I could be doing a little better job with the buying locally - especially with meat and egg products. Like I said, the farmer's markets aren't an option for me in my area from the late Fall - through late Spring. But I totally agree about supporting farmers. Here in Jersey there are hardly any left and I want to see the remaining ones remain. Supporting farms also means helping to keep property taxes down which are just outrageous where I live.

                                                                                                        And you are right - I was going to say that it is basically another full-time job feeding my family well on the money that we have to spend on food. The clipping of the coupons, the scanning of the sales fliers, the careful grocery shopping, the menu planning, the post-shopping breaking down and storage of perishables, the cooking/baking and the constant vigilance of the pantry/freezer to a) make sure we are stocked with staples and b) that I'm using what I've purchased before I buy more. (I honestly don't think my husband really has a clue how much work goes into this.)

                                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                          It is not easy though because it is more expensive. I know what you mean; it saddens me so much that this is happening. We should all be supporting our farmers it is the most natural thing in the world. Maybe that is the problem because we are living in an unnatural state most of the time we have lost track of what is real. Any way let me not start :)

                                                                                                          Totally! :) You should let him take over for a month. He'll freak out at what you do :). I asked mine to just help me prepare for a supper for 8 and he was astounded to see what went into the preperation - house and food - it is good for people to know so that people can appreciate things.
                                                                                                          happy eating, Oana

                                                                                                          1. re: oana

                                                                                                            I'm glad to read your posts, oana and flourgirl. I was surprised at how much more my husband and I spend on food than others on the board (I posted earlier that we spend between $500-600/mo on all food and household supplies), because we cook most of our food from scratch, don't buy much meat, rarely go out to eat, and buy in season as much as possible. This thread led me to examine our grocery list, but I just can't figure out where to cut from! Where do you get your coupons? We don't get a paper, so I don't use them as I maybe should.

                                                                                                            1. re: RosemaryHoney

                                                                                                              Hi RosemaryHoney, To me you are doing beautifully :). If only I could see $500-600 as my amount did not include any household items or wine :). As for coupons that is flourgirls alley.
                                                                                                              Happy eating, Oana

                                                                                                              1. re: RosemaryHoney

                                                                                                                RosemaryHoney - depending on where you are, you might want to purchase your Sunday newspaper. They almost always have various inserts, including coupon inserts.

                                                                                                                But you can also sign up on various online coupon sites - just Google "grocery coupons" and you'll get several pop-downs to choose from - "grocery coupons to print"; "grocery coupons in Canada", etc.

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  First, remember that prices will vary (sometimes greatly) depending on your location in the country, or in whatever country. So sometimes you may not be able to get down below a certain "threshold".

                                                                                                                  Second, I think checking out the Sunday coupon supplements is a good idea. But only provided that you use that sort of thing. As someone who doesn't buy any prepared (boxed, bagged, canned, etc.) items, I rarely find any coupons that I can use. Rarely. As for the online coupon sites -- I suggest doing a little research first. For example, the market where I mainly shop will not accept any online coupons. So that whole thing would have been a waste of time.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                    Very true on some markets not accepting them.

                                                                                                                    However, coupons aren't just for prepared foods (you don't buy ANY canned goods?) I cut them out and use them for Sensodyne toothpaste, Advil, various cold medicines (should I need them) my favorite brands of tissues and toilet paper, cleaners, detergent, dish detergent, etc. But it all depends on the area of the country you live in. When I lived in central PA, most of what was couponed was stuff I wouldn't buy (like mostly prepared foods). But I'm living in Boston now, and I usually get 2-4 inserts with all sorts of things that are offered.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      The only canned things I'll occasionally buy are canned beans -- and only the organic lo/no salt kind and there are rarely coupons for that.

                                                                                                                      You are correct about the toothpaste and such. This thread was about the "grocery store" and so I totally didn't think of those sorts of things. We don't shop at a mega-mart type store (ours is strictly groceries) so that sort of thing didn't pop into my head. But, yes, our inserts do usually have toothpaste, cold meds, deoderant, and shampoo coupons that we'll use. Sorry about the confusion there. I sometimes forget that the "rest of the world" thinks of "the grocery bill" as a "mega-mart" bill. My bad.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                        I don't shop at a mega-mart either, but my grocery store has all of the household items as well - at least the majority of what I might buy or want to use in the household supplies area. If I've got a coupon and don't have the time to go to a Target or someplace where it might be the same price or a smidge cheaper, I'll just use the coupon at the regular grocery store.

                                                                                                                        And RosemaryHoney, to whom I originally responded, had said what she spend "on groceries and household supplies" - which is why I mentioned the Sunday paper inserts. :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          Yes, I'm amazed at the people in this thread who've managed to keep their bill under $500 including the "household supplies" category! I'm in the $400/mo area; but I'm sure I'd top out much higher than that if I added in any "household items" and "kitty cat supplies". Ouch. I just don't keep track of that sort of thing the way I do for food supplies.

                                                                                                                        2. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                          No I don't shop at a "mega-mart" either. But same a s LindaWhit, my store does carry most common household and personal care items, and often at very good prices - sales and coupons.

                                                                                                                          And I don't buy a lot of processed, pre-packaged foods either. But I do buy dried pasta, some canned beans, tuna fish, OJ, milk, yogurt, sour cream, riccotta cheese, bread, etc. and many of these thing often have coupons available. And hooray for you if you can afford to buy organic all the time. I can't.

                                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                            That's terrific that you all have grocery stores where the nonfood items are reasonably priced. That just doesn't seem to happen here. The grocery store is the most expensive place to buy the very few nonfood items they actually carry. And maybe our Sunday coupon flyers are just crappy. I wish we got coupons for yogurt. That would come in handy. Oh well. I always learn intersting things about where other people live and how they shop/cook/eat.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                              You're in Manhattan and you don't have good prices on yogurt? Or coupons for it? It seems like there are at least two different yogurt coupons in my Sunday inserts every week!

                                                                                                                              1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                HA! I think someone from my grocery store is reading Chowhound. :) I just got in the mail today a $10-off the next purchase of $100 coupon. Woohoo.

                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            coupons are for anything...
                                                                                                                            just ask /b/

                                                                                                      2. Take into account ...

                                                                                                        2 adults or 1 adult one child
                                                                                                        animals?
                                                                                                        do you like junk food, big cost
                                                                                                        A big wine, alcohol driker, another expense
                                                                                                        entertaining, yes or no?
                                                                                                        Leftovers, yes or no. I don't mind making a big pot of past and pair it with something else later in the week to make a complete dinner. It helps cut costs.
                                                                                                        If just everyday food for 2 adults, 100 or less per week even healthy whole food items is plenty, Add in alcohol, wine, entertaining, animals, kids ... it is a whole different story.

                                                                                                        Does this include cleaning supplies, paper towels,napkins, laundry detergent. That is a whole different story depending on your home. I have lots of plants, a pool and other itmes. All depends.

                                                                                                        700 a week I saw ... maybe caviar as an appetizer, lol. Honestly, I spent 175 for 20 people and a very elegant prime rib dinner, appetizers, deserts, sides and wine, I'm not sure I could spend 700.

                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                          you fed 20 people all those things for only 8.75 a head? and it was prime rib? and it included wine??! :) or maybe it's a typo? :)
                                                                                                          happy eating, Oana

                                                                                                          1. re: oana

                                                                                                            Absolutely! good wine, prime rib, appetizers, bourbon cake for desert with a marcaponse glaze, shrimp appetizer btw, also smoked salmon, a regular veggie dip. Roasted root veggies, stuffed baked bread and a simple salad.

                                                                                                            Just shop around a couple of stores and be smart, also take advantage of our farmers market.

                                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                              wow! :) my hat to you kchurchill5 :)
                                                                                                              the prime rib alone around here is about 7-8$ a piece - and that is not organic :)
                                                                                                              happy eating, Oana

                                                                                                          2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                            I was going to start a thread like this b/c I checked our end-of-year totals for grocery spending and was shocked and appalled. We average $1,000/month for a family of four (kids are 7 &10). I thought that was way too high. Now, mind you, that includes wine and cleaning supplies, farmer's market, TJ's, etc. No caviar. No foie gras. No iberico ham. But I do cook a lot and I buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. I also go to the grocer about 3-4 times/ wk.

                                                                                                            You don't even want to know what our dining out total for the year was - shocking!

                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                              LOL, yes, I can understand. I'm not much for going out. I cook better, but it is fun and I do and it is expensive!!

                                                                                                              4 of us and I try to eat around good but still concious of price. I try not to encourage, chips and soda, but hell, I was young too, we all eat that. I drink bourbon and wine so have to factor that in. Glad there is no caviar, hahaha.

                                                                                                              Lots of fruits and veggies are cheap down here. 3 peppers for a dollar, red, green, yellow or orange, same with alot. FL living I guess. But cleaning supplies I actually make my own laundry detergent, honestly and my own glass cleaner. I don't use the 409 and other stuff, just have comet, bleach and baking soda. My mom taught me. It works just as good and saves a fortune. I do have those crazy sham wow towels sold on TV ... well worth it. I use them every day for everything. Saved a ton with paper towels. And I love leftovers, I save a little left over pasta and re invent it with some fresh roasted vegetables, fresh romaine and a great viniagrettew and a left over chicken breast and you have a great salad for 2, double and for 4. Same with salmon when it goes on sale I buy the whole fish and cook it. I make 5 meals for over the next month with 1 salmon 40 dollars for the whole fish if that, which breaks down to 8 dollars per meal for 4 people ... No remember you need sides or fillers, but still 8 dollars for 4 people ... Sandwiches, crabcakes, grilled, poached, salad, still a great value. Anyways, lots of shortcuts I have

                                                                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                You know that is a great idea. I have never considered just buying the whole fish and freezing it in portions. That is what I will do next time and see how it turns out.
                                                                                                                Thank you. Happy eating, Oana

                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                  Wow, 3 peppers for a buck? That would cost me about $6 bucks here. Groceries are very expensive here in NC. It's ridiculous. I try and buy things when they are on sale, but it's not always possible. Harris Teeter, in particular, has such high prices for basic food items. You'd think I was shopping at WF. Sadly, they have a virtual monopoly on the market here... with a Lowe's Foods or Bi-Lo scattered here & there.

                                                                                                                  I need to tighten my belt, that's for sure.

                                                                                                            2. 250.00- 300.00 per month. That includes a 2 year old boy. So, 2 adults and 1 toddler. Rotate between 4 stores within 3 miles of my house. Wegman's, a local grocer's, Wal Mart and Aldi. Get 4 ads out, go to best stores for best deals. Never pay more than "X" amount for certain items. Use coupons, and buy discounted items when practical (meats, dairy, bakery). Buy produce at bottom prices if possible, and make recipes from these items. Do not pick recipe first and then buy all the items at high prices. Well stocked freezer, mix of fresh items and convenience items. Well stocked pantry as well, with non perishable items, never know when that ice storm will knock out power. Good to have some canned items on hand in case.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. What a great (and enlightening) discussion! I know geographic area plays a part in all of this because prices do vary. There are two of us -- we work from our home, so on a normal day eat 3 meals at home. We go out about 2-3x a week, but usually only spend about $40 or less each time. I shop weekly and go between two stores close-by, depending on their weekly newspaper ad. I am a coupon-clipper. I buy everything from these stores - paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, wine, pet products, etc. I usually spend about $150 or so per week, so $600 avg. per month. We do visit Total Wine Warehouse every other month and buy a case of wine then, and I'm not adding that in to our $600 avg. We do like our wine with dinner!!! Putting in an herb garden in the yard has helped a little, and also added to the fun of trying new recipes. We eat lots of fish, chicken, some pork, very little beef. Thanks for bringing this up. Makes me realize I should be trying to lessen the amount we spend.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: SunnyFL

                                                                                                                  Love fresh herbs. Even when I lived up north in Michigan vs FL now I grew herbs. A great way to save money. I had a small earth box which you can buy online or at most nurseries. Well I always grew 2-3 parsley, 2-3 thyme, 1 rosemary, 1 marjarom, 1 oregano, 2 cilantro and chives. Lots of fun. On a nice day when I was up north I would set it outside, even during colder days. Going out is what really does it, but I have my vice with good wine too. For two months I kept track of going out then I added it up, this included lunch too. It was over 300. Now for work I go out 1x per week is all, and now single I go out very little, but when married we cut way back. We ended up going out with friends to someones house instead and bring something to make and grill. It was more fun and way cheaper.

                                                                                                                  1. re: SunnyFL

                                                                                                                    Had to laugh here. We buy at least four or five cases of wine a month. Our wine budget is higher than our food budget (about $600 per mo.). We eat very well and our food budget is about $300 per mo. We eat at home and take lunches to work. I read grocery ads and only buy what is on sale. We have a large freezer and pantry is full.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pepperqueen

                                                                                                                      Pepperqueen, glad to hear someone else is so into wine. I forgot to add that the trip to Total Wine Warehouse is in addition to the wine I pick up at the grocery store every week! We always joke that we know we had a good time when we eat out if our food costs less than our wine. I guess that's not really so funny when I re-read it. Guess if times get really tough for us, I know where to start cutting back (sigh).

                                                                                                                    2. re: SunnyFL

                                                                                                                      I'm in pittsburgh. so freaking jealous of other people's prices on cilantro -- but we get good apples here, and the best Eastern Peaches north of the Carolinas -- and fantastic blueberries, so I can't complain too much.

                                                                                                                    3. I forgot to send you this, my apologies. When I get a whole salmon I have the fish guy at the grocery store filet and give me two nice pieces. I cook it all just with some olive oil, salt and pepper. If I am having some that night I may do something a bit different like a bourbon maple glaze but usually just cook it all. Before cooking it I usually cut it into 6 portions (easier to cook).

                                                                                                                      Then after is done I divide it into 5 or so meals. I divide this like this ...

                                                                                                                      1 portion for salmon cakes, easy and quick. Serve with anything on the side
                                                                                                                      1 for salmon warm pasta with a cream sauce dill and olives and other veggies, nice
                                                                                                                      crusty bread on the side
                                                                                                                      1 for a salmon salad, romaine, citrus vinaigrette, artichokes, olives, fresh tomatoes of
                                                                                                                      the season
                                                                                                                      1 for salmon quesadillas, and I love a side of fresh black beans. I give this a Tex-Mex
                                                                                                                      flavor with the pepperjack cheese but add anything you like
                                                                                                                      1 for creamy salmon salad sandwiches and serve with a great side soup, Like good ol'
                                                                                                                      tuna fish sandwiches but better served on some good pumpernickle lightly toasted
                                                                                                                      and a good quick potato or tomato soup
                                                                                                                      Also, just some reheat some and serve with a simple creamy lemon sauce served with a
                                                                                                                      herbed rice, grilled lemons and fresh roasted asparagus (almost traditional)

                                                                                                                      $40.00 dollars, 5 meals to feed 4 each night . $2 each, but that is just for the salmon but it is still very cost effective and healthy. I always kept under $5 per person.

                                                                                                                      Want any recipes, just give me a shout. kchurchill5@comcast.net
                                                                                                                      ENJOY!

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                          Great suggestions for salmon -- thanks!

                                                                                                                        2. I am a frugal shopper..
                                                                                                                          Costco, Trader Joe's, Henry's and Von's..
                                                                                                                          I use coupons which cut my expenses about $100+ each month..shop the circular flyers.
                                                                                                                          For two with wine and beer and eating salmon, scallops, king crab, chicken breast, ahi..cheeses and tons of fresh fruit and veggies and its averaging about $300 a month..
                                                                                                                          I pack DH lunch with quality lunch meats and goodies too.

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                            "I pack DH lunch with quality lunch meats and goodies too."

                                                                                                                            Isn't it funny how when someone else says things like that it sounds so appetizing? Makes ya wanna pack your own lunch w/ such things. But, eventually the daily chore of it catches up w/ ya and you eventually you get annoyed by the task. Atleast I do. Pitiful, I know. :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                              Be creative. I always try new things. Salmon salad on a hoagie, Fried sweet potato chips with a grilled chicken sandwich, left over from 2 or 3 nights ago on the grill. Slice and it is good for 2 meals. Mexican one day, savory the next.

                                                                                                                              I don't find it a chore, I fine it a challenge and fun. I enjoy taking what I have and making it something better. That might just be me. But I can understand

                                                                                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                when I wrote it..I thought..wow, he is one lucky dog..especially after I'm cooking a nice meal...drinking wine..sometimes, the daily chore of it all does catch up with me and he'll make a joke about his 'not so gourmet' lunch..

                                                                                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                  I also find packing lunches an annoying task--In the morning, I'm lucky if I get the dog fed and get out the door and to my office in time! If I work out in the morning, there's rarely extra time to pack lunches for my husband and myself. And packing things the night before means items like sandwiches are less fresh (IMHO nothing worse than bread that's been refrigerated).
                                                                                                                                  I prefer dinner and weekend lunches to be my outlet for creativity, plus we don't like heavy lunches--we save our appetites for dinner. I keep a supply of things in my office refrigerator (hummus, cheeses, veggies) or I'll pick up a soup, sushi or a sandwich during a lunchtime shopping trip. My husband does the same.
                                                                                                                                  If I didn't work and had more time on my hands, I'm sure it would be a different story and my husband would have all sorts of imaginative lunches!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                    I don't work, yet I still find packing lunch a mundane task. I have little spurts of creativity and motivation but all in all, I don't like doing it. Now, cooking dinner every night? Love it too. It's my favorite thing to do in the evening. And as kchurchill suggested, I enjoy taking leftovers and reinventing them in a new dish.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                  $300/month including tons of fruits and veggies, wine, scallops and king crab? Wow! You're good.

                                                                                                                                  My monthly grocery bills add up to about $600-800 (excluding liquor). This is just for my husband and I in NJ (where, admittedly, the cost of living is among the highest in the country). I shop at Whole Foods and Wegmans most often because they are most convenient to my work location and have the most interesting offerings. I prefer to purchase organic/wild caught and/or locally grown whenever possible and steer away from processed foods. I also shop at Shop-Rite and other local supermarkets that tend to have lower prices on staples. (In the summer time the bill gets higher as I frequent farm markets for local produce that is now marked up, I think, to take advantage of the locally grown craze). Most of the time, I even make my own bread for sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                  And by no means do we over-eat. I keep portion sizes realistic and if there are any leftovers, we'll finish them up another night. I use a shopper card, but rarely coupons, since they are rarely for items I buy and tend to make me purchase products or brands I wouldn't otherwise. But I suppose I get into trouble because I do a lot of spontaneous purchasing--if I see an interesting cheese or cut of meat (this week it was gorgeous bison short ribs) I add it to my cart almost without thinking--which can be dangerous. Lately, I'm mad for tapas and all things Spanish, so the frig has a supply of various cheeses from Espana and I've got a stock of spanish tunas, high-quality canned mussels, clams and piquillo peppers for the weekend. Instead of traveling to Spain, I'm spending practically as much bringing Spain into my kitchen!

                                                                                                                                  Grocery shopping is not a chore for me--I enjoy it immensely and also love to cook and create new and different dishes. (Hence my interest in this website! I am truly a Chowhound!) I work at a stressful job all week and coming home and cooking on the weeknights and weekends, and sharing a great meal and bottle of wine with my husband is one of life's greatest pleasures.

                                                                                                                                  It's all about priorities. I work with people who think I spend crazy amounts on food while they drive around in luxury SUVs and redecorate their house every other year. Growing up, my family didn't have a ton of money, but food was one area where my Mom did not believe in skimping or buying cheap (I'm not talking about coupons--she used them religiously. I'm referring to purchasing lesser cuts of meat or lesser brands). We always had quality, home-cooked meals on the table (I've never tasted Hamburger Helper), and Holidays and special occasions were celebrated with an abundance of specialty foods. What better way to say "I love you and care about you"? She passed this attitude on to me and, in this economy when I know I need to be more frugal, I'll sooner cut back on my wardrobe, makeup or vacation expenses than my grocery bill.

                                                                                                                                  They say lipstick sales go up in a bad economy, as women see it as an affordable luxury...I personally get more mileage from a wheel of La Tur cheese and a good baguette.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                    Costco has great deals on seafood/meats..a slab of salmon is around $12 that yields 3-4 meals..ahi is around $12..package of chicken breast $15..8 meals
                                                                                                                                    Love the Food Saver to vacuum seal and freeze.
                                                                                                                                    I don't shop Whole Foods..like them but way too pricey..live in San Diego so we have great produce here.
                                                                                                                                    BevMo for wine with the buy one the next bottle a nickle or Trader Joe's.
                                                                                                                                    I save about $1-2k a year from coupons and I take that and go to Paris or Tahiti and eat and drink my way to vacation happiness.

                                                                                                                                3. Very good discussion here. We found ourselves eating out, getting delivery too often, or buying really expensive prepared foods -- probably because we were tired or lazy. For several months now, we have worked our "food plan." It's a simple plan to make our actions consistent with our values. Our values: Eating healthy and satisfying meals, with the best ingredients we can find. We also believe it is important to use ALL the food we purchase. The fact that we are committed to buying really good ingredients is expensive, but overall we're saving money. I cringe when I think about how much money we used to spend on food. Now, we take turns cooking (each of us cooks 2x per week - the weekends are up for grabs - there are always leftovers for lunches), and we work intently to incorporate more veggies and fruits in our meals. We shop together, and alone, and use a special account that is earmarked for food. We shop at local produce stands, farmer's markets, butchers, Whole Foods, Target, our closest chain grocery, and mail-order. I tend not to deviate from the plan I've made of what to cook each week (although my spouse does). I plan the 2-3 meals that I cook each week well in advance, and I make a pretty precise grocery list that includes ordinary staples. This all sounds boring, but it's satisfying really. We still spend a lot on wine, beer, and spirits - we have a nicely stocked bar - but you only go around once. Excluding the booze, we're spending about $150 each week on groceries. Today, we realized we hadn't eaten out for about two weeks, so we treated ourselves to a burger for lunch at our favorite spot. Other than an occasional burger or a really fine meal, we feel more comfortable pursuing a cook-at-home lifestyle. Call me old-fashioned - or just earnest - but it feels better this way.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: lifespan

                                                                                                                                    Kudos to you. I do the same. I try to plan and go shopping and get most of the stuff. Roughly for the week, Of course it never works that way but I try. But a plan really helps. I too buy good quality food but make sure I always use it all. If I have some squash or a half of this or half of that left I save it. A couple left over roasted potatoes or mushrooms, some frozen corn, a left over chicken breast and a few other veggies and you can make a great creamy soup. It may not make a big pot, but enough for dinner for 4 with some good sandwiches. I try to be creative. If not enough leftover ham for mac and cheese or scalloped potatoes with ham ... I take a little ham, some celery and onion and make some ham salad. Top with some fresh tomato and lettuce on a toasted baguette and you have a great dinner with soup. Also once a week I make a dish I eat that night but freeze 4 or more containers for 2-3 dinners in the next few weeks. It may be lasagna, meatloaf, stews or even roasted chicken.

                                                                                                                                    Quick tip. My grocery store Sweetbay and Publix offer the whole roasted chickens in the deli. Now expensive but still good and they are a last minute go to. HOWEVER ... I went to the store one night around 9 and they had the chickens reduced to 1/2 price. They only keep so many to use in their deli salads and the rest they try to sell. The one manager says they can sell 20-30 easily and at least they don't go to waste. I pick one up now and then and cut it up and bag it, freeze it. Use it for soups, chicken and dumplings, sandwiches or just make some stuffing and gravy and instant chicken and gravy dinner. A great money saver.

                                                                                                                                  2. This is an interesting thread. We previously spent less on groceries, but spent around $2000-2500 a month eating out 3-4 times/week. We had a baby in November, and I'm at home for a few months on maternity leave and cooking approximately 6 nights a week. For the two of us we spend around $600-700/month. That includes some household paper goods, but excludes all wine. Given that I've virtually had to give up eating out at new and exciting restaurants, I don't make any attempt to economize on groceries. I occasionally shop at Whole Foods, but not often because it's not convenient anymore. Most often I shop at Fresh Direct (online delivery in NYC), Garden of Eden and fill in with Key Food for items that I've forgotten to order or need to fill in before the next big delivery. We eat very well...great cuts of meats, seafood, wild and/or antibiotic free, when possible, occasionally organic dairy but not always with produce. During the summer I shop at the farmer's market, but less often in the winter.

                                                                                                                                    Now that I'm cooking more out of necessity vs. a creative outlet as I did before I am constantly searching for menus that are interesting, convnenient, healthy and delicious. Economical is less of a priority now, but I'm sure that I could save some if I tried without really sacrificing.

                                                                                                                                    1. Interesting thread. I'm scared to add it up because I think it's way too much. Probably $600 a month for one adult, one tween and one dog. More if you include paper products, dish soap etc.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                                                                        Having the tween (beginning of the hollow leg syndrome) absolves you of high costs. :-)

                                                                                                                                      2. Our average grocery bill is also around $100 or so per week. We make a run to Trader Joe's every Tuesday for a few items, and at the weekend we go to Whole Foods for everything else. We order in about once a week, and rarely eat out, perhaps once every few months. We both take a lunch to work every day. My better half plays in a band, and sometimes after late night practice or gig, will grab a light meal with friends. I didn't factor ordering in or dining out into the grocery figure. I also didn't factor in cat food, as ours is on a prescription diet and we buy from the vet as opposed to Whole Foods.

                                                                                                                                        I'm vegan, he eats cheese and eggs but we don't buy them for use at home (he'll just have them if we order in or eat out), and we're nor drinkers, so perhaps our grocery bills are lower than average because we don't buy meat/eggs/dairy/wine/beer?

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: opehlia payne

                                                                                                                                          Around $500.00 a month. Including beer, wine and spirits, and a $400.00 trip to Costco every other month, when we buy a whole pork and beef tenderloin, whole beef brisket and whole prime rib of beef.

                                                                                                                                        2. I am so glad I found this thread. I have been watching our pennies this month.

                                                                                                                                          In the past, we spent $1,000/month on Groceries AND Dining Out (also including vitamins, wine, gum/candy).
                                                                                                                                          This month, we're cutting to $600 including Dining & Groceries. It's going to be a crunch, but we are increasing our savings.
                                                                                                                                          We've cut out going out for coffee (saves $40/month), impulsive Costco (at least $100), buying cheaper wine ($30 overall so far), no Pellegrino/Perrier, late night frozen yogurt runs, etc.
                                                                                                                                          We still get outr co-op food once per week ($25, included in the overall budget). But, we are swapping out goofy items (soap, honey, jams) for things we actually will cook with (veggies, proteins).

                                                                                                                                          I live in the Midwest, and I shop at Whole Foods, Aldi, the reg grocery store, and some international grocers, too. There are two of us!..
                                                                                                                                          I use coupons for household products, rarely for food

                                                                                                                                          1. Location. location, location.....I live in the SF bay area I spend about $1200 a month on groceries, cleaning/ paper items, and pet food for: 2 adults, 2 cats and 2 dogs. That includes about 3 trips a week to various stores ie: Whole Foods, upscale grocery and Safeway. I do cook organic as much as possible (and yes that goes for the animals as well). This does not include alcohol or dinners out. Scary.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: EAH

                                                                                                                                              I'm right there with you EAH! We live in the Bay Area and spend about 900 for two adults and that doesn't include the two cats or the wine or dinners out. But then I only shop at Whole Foods (used to be Good Earth but we moved) Now I'm trying out the Sunday Marin farmers market.

                                                                                                                                            2. We spend $300-$400/month with the occasional light shopping at Whole Foods. We stock up at Costco or Sams every other month it seems, as well a trip to Pensy spices every few months, hence the $100 swing each month. We cook mostly from scratch and that helps keep the cost down a lot. We eat seafood twice a week and mom still sends home left overs for us which we usually eat once a week. In addition mom has a family dinner once a week, so that helps too. We dine out infrequently. Probably spend another $70 or so on alcohol a month. We live in Pittsburgh.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                                I don't know what's been going on in the last few months, but all of a sudden we're up to $700-$800/month! Not sure if it's food prices or we're just buying more expensive ingredients. Or maybe it's because business is finally back to near pre-recession levels and my discretionary income is finally back!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                                  where in pittsburgh, if I can ask?

                                                                                                                                                2. i think we spend around 300 per month. We live in a small town outside of SD our bills are low mainly because we no longer eat much meat or seafood; good cuts of meat are hard to find as wild caught or organic are non-existent in Oceanside. and so are decent restaurants. We go out while we are out of town or visiting friends/family on the weekends. I say we eat out 1-2 times per week.

                                                                                                                                                  we don't drink much alcohol. i make most things from scratch, sometimes even juice. once in a month or so, i make my pilgrimage to whole foods to pick up good cheeses, mushrooms, olives, even the occasional pate or sliver of foie etc.. i spend around 30 in farmer's markets and pick up the rest at TJ's, co-op and local grocery stores for bulk items and baking supplies. We stock up on things like crushed tomato and cereals from costco.

                                                                                                                                                  we live quite simply, my parents and sister has ducks and chickens in the backyard and i pick up eggs and veggies from them whenever i visit. save the yolks for thickening soups or ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                  occasional coupons for m&m's, and soaps. Though we are trying to do biodegradable.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Between wife & I about $350 for food only & about $50 for supplies (cleaning, toiletries, soap, etc.). Eating out comes out to about $75-200 depending on the amount of special occasions. so I'll say about $120 on average. Booze about $50-100 again depending on the number of special occasions. I'm very precise on this because we've been tracking this for about 6 months now & relized we could be spending less than we were. Grocery bill used to be $450, so we managed to shave off about $100. Now, as for where we shop & what we buy: We buy on sale & in season as much as possible; we go to WF once a month for the pricy meats & cheeses. Once every week or every 2 weeks we shop at 2 local markets that sell primarily organic foods. We supplement the remainder (roughly 20% of our needs) from a couple of local chains within walking distance. Most of the groceries we purchase is organic & local. Being in Hawaii, local actually costs more than something flown over. Ironic, isn't it? I'd say we eat pretty well for what we spend & are setting our goal down even further to $300 in the upcoming months.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I guess I'm feeling pretty good after reading all the responses. My husband and I average around 150/month for the two of us. The recession has hit us pretty hard, and we have to scrimp and save. We live around 20 minutes from the nearest grocery store, so I usually make up a menu to last us for 2 weeks. I departmentalize our grocery list for the ingredients to make what's on the list, nothing else. My husband keeps track of how much we're spending while we're shopping, so we don't get sticker shock at the end. If we go over budget, we figure out a cheaper way to make something, or an ingredient that we can do without. I also plan my menu around the weekly circulars. For instance, chicken quarters were going for 59 cents a pound this week, so we're having chicken noodle soup and chicken enchiladas.

                                                                                                                                                      I would love to be able to spend like my parents do. They go shopping about 3-4 times a week and probably spend 1 grand a month on food. Maybe a day will come when my husband and I can do that.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I run at 350$ per month, I live alone in a college dorm. I don't buy canned stuff, and buy most of my stuff from my local farmers market.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Well, I just ran the numbers and am a bit shocked, but not really surprised. I'm a foodie cook, and have to pay through the nose, sometimes, to ship really good ingredients to this tiny, rural town in Iowa. I drive to the Omaha Whole Foods on occasion (combined with other reasons to go that far!), I order food from Amazon and from specialty importers, I belong to a food co-op/buying club for "health" food, and I buy organic or natural beef, pork, chickens, and eggs direct from the farmers....

                                                                                                                                                          So, I pro-rated the cost of the side of beef, the hog, and the dozen or so chickens in the freezer, but I can't entirely eliminate the household supplies and pet food from the list (as they're lost in the grocery store purchases) and I came up with about $750 a month for three people, or $500 a month for two.

                                                                                                                                                          And we live in a fairly inexpensive part of the country!

                                                                                                                                                          This bill goes down a bit once the garden starts producing, and I can stop purchasing vegetables. I hope it will drop even more, once my fruit trees, various berry bushes, and beds, and my grape vines all mature. Last year, I got 12 apples off of 7 trees! Not exactly the best return for my investment, so far. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. We spend about $750/month but we have an 18 month old son with a pretty big appetite. This does not include lunches during the week for any of us (DH's work revolves around client lunches, DS is in daycare, I eat cheap, quick, somewhat healthy <$5 lunches). We eat out about once a week (restaurant or take-out) which is also not included. What is included is beer/wine (I'm pregnant so this is probably quite reduced now) cleaning supplies, diapers, soap, paper, dog food, etc. Even the cleaning supplies are minimal since our cleaning lady only uses simple products like vinegar, scouring powder and the odd specialty cleaner, which she dilutes.
                                                                                                                                                            We live in Toronto and shop everywhere - Costco, local greengrocer, large grocery chains, organic (eggs and milk - always), seasonal farmers markets. I read the flyers and tend to shop at whatever store has the most appealing items on sale. We cook mostly from scratch, but DS does love canned baked beans and DH has a thing for Kraft Dinner and a few other horrific items.

                                                                                                                                                            1. We just focused to get this down to $1100 for the month. Family of 4. Rural central Texas.
                                                                                                                                                              We are living in while we are building our own house. We only have a small hotel size fridge. We shop nearly every day with a list. My wife eats like a bird but 14 year old son is a human vacuum cleaner. I can chow also. We have seconds, sometimes thirds. 10 year old son doesn't eat much. We shop at Walmart and HEB. $1100 includes several six-packs or 12 packs of Shiner beer. Includes daily bottle of the cheapest good wine we have found. Oak Leaf CabSauv at Walmart for $2.97. Includes anytime we go out to eat or buy something to eat outside the home. Maybe 4 times a month max. Includes all our household products. Does not include petfood. We eat eggs for breakfast with some cheese and veggies. Youngest son eats cereal with soymilk. We BBQ a lot of meat/veggies for dinner. But we try to get reduced cost deals. We eat veggies/salads/fruit. We use to spend even more, we were active duty military, bought whatever we wanted. I want to get this down to $1000. If we stopped drinking beer and wine we could easily do that. But today it was 104F and a cold Shiner Bock is just too awesome after working on the property all day. Maybe we can get it to 1050. I have a veggie garden and ripe things should start rolling in soon. :-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. I've spent $349.02 on groceries so far this *year*. That works out to $69.80 per month, but I live alone and am a vegetarian who eats out every other month. The restaurant meals are not included in that <$70/month figure, which, on the other hand, does include toilet paper, shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, feminine hygiene products, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                I don't have a sweet tooth, so only tolerate fruit, but I buy vegetables in season. I live in the middle of Virginia, where there lots of farmers' markets, and the cost of living is neither high nor low, according to this nifty <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/s..."> cost-of-living calculator</a>. I also grow my own tomatoes, lettuces, chili peppers, and herbs in containers on my porch and on my kitchen windowsill. These don't take much effort.

                                                                                                                                                                Like AHan, foxy fairy, Nicole, flourgirl, Linda_Whit, rochfood, Beach Chick, and others, I have recently combined sales with coupons for canned tomatoes, dry pasta, steel-cut oats, organic soy sauce, flour, yogurt, butter, brown rice, frozen organic fruits and vegetables, plus all of the non-food items I mentioned above. (Actually, I can't remember the last time I paid for shampoo or toothpaste.) I rarely shop Whole Foods, because I don't like the vibe, though I do shop Trader Joe's and our local independent natural foods grocer, but most of my shopping—such as it is—is done at our local affiliates of Kroger and Giant (which used to be Ukrop's). It helps to know when stuff will be on sale. For example, if I ate hot dogs, now would be the time to stock up on them, given the grilling season. I do bake my own bread and cakes, and make my own tortillas, baozi, pitas, samosas, and once in a great while pasta, so I buy my flours in March-April and December, the baking seasons. I've never seen coupons for King Arthur, but Bob's Red Mill does issue coupons, and one of the chain grocers puts those items on sale quite frequently.

                                                                                                                                                                I think I eat well. Perhaps people are being polite, but they always marvel at what I bring to potlucks, when I just bring more neatly presented versions of what I eat anyhow. In addition to the bags of frozen organic spinach or blueberries, my freezer is stacked with little Pyrex containers of all manner of cooked beans, some vegetable pies, single servings of soups and stews, vegetable-and-grain patties, and other things that look and taste much better than my list sounds.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I keep groceries and food in general to less than $60 a week for a solo woman living in NYC who cooks for her boyfriend 3-4 nights a week, including 4-5 lunches for myself and 2-3 lunches for him. This also includes my $2 a day McD coffee habit 5 days a week (not willing to quit, I know its cheaper at home but carrying coffee on the subway isnt really viable for me and it makes me feel like I'm not as po' as I am.) So that works out to $170 a month for basically 1.5 people.
                                                                                                                                                                  I eat out lunch aprox once every 6 weeks and dinner about once every 2 months, not including uber cheap days where all I eat is $2 worth of dumplings from chinatown (I dont really consider it eating out if its cheaper than what I would make at home for a similarly substantive meal, so anything under $3 for a day is counted as groceries.) We eat well and healthily, although we are not able to splurge on anything gourmet or not on-sale. Lots of Trader Joes. I could widdle it down further if we ate NO "junk food" but I really like my crackers and tj hummus and the occasional bag of pirates booty, so its worth the $10 a month for me.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. We live in Toronto and our spend is about $350-$400 per month for 2 adults. I buy lunch about 5 times per month, relying on leftovers or brown bag otherwise. My bf buys his lunch most days though. We shop mostly at Loblaws, with the occasional last minute items from Longos on the way home from work and then once a month a few meat/seafood purchases from the St.Lawrence market.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. We live in Portland, Oregon and there are two adults. We spend about $400 a month and since we are an entirely cloth household, we don't have the cost for paper items like toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                      We grow alot of our food so I was still surprised at this cost. We keep jars for various expenses that we add money to each pay day and just make sure we don't go over our food budget.

                                                                                                                                                                      I love to cook at home so we RARELY go out. If we do go out, it is for breakfast which is alot less expensive than a dinner at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                      We use to spend about $600 a month about a year ago and just made the decision to cut down. Alcohol can really raise the budget but since I am not a big drinker, we are able to include my husband's beer in our budget.

                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FrugalQue

                                                                                                                                                                        Umm, I don't mean to get personal, but no paper toilet paper? I can understand the no paper towels and napkins, but you use cloth for TP?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          Yep. We use colored washcloths (one color for me and one color for my husband) and we use those instead. Very soft to use, easy to clean with our towels. I know the shock factor gets to people but it really is nice to use. We line dry all year round and they are nice and sanitized.

                                                                                                                                                                          We do keep regular TP in the house for guests but it has been over two years since we have had to buy it.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FrugalQue

                                                                                                                                                                            How do you store them after use and before washing? (it's funny; I was just watching "No Impact Man" tonight, and this subject came up) In a diaper pail type set-up, with something to sanitize them while awaiting washing? I suppose you have to use bleach to get them really clean, though, don't you? That's not good for the environment, either. It's such a quandary, making these kinds of decisions and changes...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                                                                                                              No, we don't use bleach at all.

                                                                                                                                                                              There is an empty bucket we keep under the bathroom counter and after using the cloths, we just put them in the bucket. Nothing is in the bucket to sanitize them before washing because we tried that and it just causes a nasty septic water in the bucket.

                                                                                                                                                                              What works for us is just to put them in the bucket and when we wash a load of clothes (usually whites or towels), just add this to the wash. Nothing more. Trust me, there are no issues at all. They just get really clean. We have learned not to overload the washing machine at all though. :)

                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry to highjack the thread and sorry if I have grossed anyone out.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FrugalQue

                                                                                                                                                                                Frugal Que,..... This is a revelation. An entirely cloth household!! Ohhhh, Well, being an outsider looking in, so to speak, um, ah, well, uh, cloth toilet um "wipes" are they ,you know, i mean, here goes, SINGLE USE?????? whew.
                                                                                                                                                                                What do you use for your grocery list?? NO DON'T TELL ME!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. For myself, SO, son, two dogs and cat we spend about $600 a month. This includes our cleaning supplies, paper products, kitty litter, pet foods and other randomness that the SO buys. I cook at home five days a week and we try not to eat any processed foods. In addition I make the SO lunch everyday. I also cook for the dogs (they have allergies and homemade food is cheaper than the specialty dog food). I really am wanting to get this down to $400 a month. We don't drink at the moment tho (I am eight months pregnant) and we rarely go out to eat. We shop at Savemart, Von's and Winco. Shopping at Costco, Whole Foods or TJ is pretty silly for us since we live 9 miles from the nearest of any of them. My opinion is that using the gas to get to them off sets any of the savings or 'greeness' of the trip. I shop by the weekly ads, coupons (love coupons.com) and the discount bread store (ten dollars for a month of bread products). Now if I could get the boys (SO and son) to kick the junk food habits and runs to Central Fish Co (it isn't for fish but imported Asian treats such as Pocky) we would be doing really well.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I found this page because my husband thinks that $60 is way too much to pay for groceries that should last about 1 1/2 weeks for the two of us. This includes non-food items such as laundry items, paper towels, toilet paper etc. We rarely eat out.
                                                                                                                                                                          I see from these posts that the average is way above $60/week or $280/month so I don't think that is being unreasonable. I usually shop sales and will visit more than one grocery store looking for the best buy.

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bevster

                                                                                                                                                                            Take your husband to the stores when you shop.

                                                                                                                                                                            Remind him there has to be food for 20 breakfasts, 20 lunches, 20 dinners...ten days, two of you. Then remind him about the other items...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bevster

                                                                                                                                                                              During my less financially secure times a few years ago I was able to keep my grocery bill around $20/week for one person, for just food (I budgeted separately for non-food items). It took a lot of work in terms of menu planning, and a fair amount of sacrifice in terms of not always eating what I wanted, when I wanted. You're spending an average of $20 per person, per week. When you account for non-food items, and assuming you pack lunch at home and only eat at restaurants 1-2 nights a week, you're spending less than $1 per meal on food. It's hard to get much cheaper than that and still enjoy your food.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                                like hell. I can make damn fine food on .50 a meal. You may not enjoy jheera rice, but I like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope you don't mind my observing that I would not really enjoy eating almonds for breakfast and lunch. I had cinnamon almonds, strawberries, and blueberries for breakfast this morning, but they did not figure in my lunch ...

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. I was hard-wired in shopping and cooking frugality when my husband was, long ago, in school for the first seven years we were married. 1) Start with what's on sale this week---consult the paper or pick up the flyer when you enter the store. Work from that. 2) Freeze meals at home---leftovers or cooked in quantity. We all have nights when we don't feel like cooking. If you have chili, lasagna, picadillo, stuffed peppers, chicken & gravy etc etc in the freezer you won't be as tempted to order out or go out, two much more expensive options.3) Variously, if you are too tired to cook, cook something easy--just a couple of pieces of chicken and a couple of Idaho or sweet potatoes will give you a foundation for dinner with one minute of effort. 4) Avoid processed pre-cooked foods when possible---compare, per ounce, frozen macaroni & cheese and homemade which will produce enough for several meals. 5) If you have time, bake at home and skip the bakery. Even using short cuts (frozen pie crust, cake mix) you will spend much less.6) Taking lunch to work beats restaurant lunches.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I live in the Southeast and our COMPLETE eating bill for one month is $525 for two adults. This includes food and treats for one large and one medium dog. It also includes any dining out or "to go" orders. We use one of the grocery discount cards, very little coupons and also
                                                                                                                                                                                it earns 5% towards gasoline credit.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. This one scared the "bleep" out of me when I figured it out! We currently spend over $1100 on our shopping trips to Walmart and Safeway (that's where we do the bulk of our shopping) - this does include food/treats for our two very large dogs (and believe me my DH feeds them very well), junk food, snacks, pop, paper products, personal care items, laundry, etc. It includes 7 breakfasts, at least 5 lunches and 6 dinners per week. Hubby always takes leftover dinner for lunch, and I make my lunch fresh for work everyday. I have taken out an amount I figure covers the other things we buy like the occasional pair of shoes, books and magazines, etc. which I figure we spend probably $200 per month on (we actually spend about $175 - $200 at Walmart Supercentre per week and another $125 - $150 at Safeway).

                                                                                                                                                                                  I occasionally shop at a local butcher for meat and buy lots and freeze it. My freezer is always half full or more so just because I buy something - we may not eat it for months. My pantry is super well stocked in case of emergency (I'm thinking maybe it doesn't need to be quite so well stocked).

                                                                                                                                                                                  We live in Edmonton, Alberta (northern Canada) and prices have gone up at least 25% in the last year or so. To give some standard examples - we pay about $5 a pound for extra lean ground beef. For one dinner that I make on a rushed night - 1 lb ground beef = $5, 1 can of Green Giant Niblets Corn - $1.50 (large can) and 1 pkg Hanburger Helper Beef Noodle = $2.87 (reduced price at Walmart). This feeds my hubby and I one dinner and his lunch the next day. I realize I could probably buy regular ground beef for about half the price - but I don't like all the fat, so I buy better meat. We find things are just getting very expensive. I cook from scratch as much as possible, which is why we only eat out once a week. I'm also diabetic and have a specific diet to follow which probably increases the costs. A 5lb bag of idaho potatoes was $4.49 yesterday - I decided not to buy them - they shouldn't be more than $3.50 to me. I can't see how people manage to eat chicken - one box of boneless, skinless chicken breasts from M&M Meat Shop is around the $16 mark (on big sale only regularly $20 which I won't buy) and it gives us two dinners for two plus two lunches for hubby.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I am sure if I really put some work into it I could reduce that bill a couple hundred a month, but we prefer from scratch, quality cooking that's interesting - I make a lot of mexican food, which uses fresh ingredients that can be expensive in winter. Same with stirfries - they are wonderful to make but fresh ingredients in the winter months can be expensive. That being said, we started saving money the moment I started making weekly menus and shopping lists. We still impulse buy (ok by we I mean DH) but it's better than a few years ago. He also drinks a lot of pop - probably three cases a week. But we don't drink much alcohol so that kind of makes up for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks mmuch for posting this, you scared a few of us I think, made some others really proud of themselves for being so budget friendly, and gave us all something to think about!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nsstampqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                    Edmonton is our shopping destination, too, though we live three hours away. I know what you mean about dietary restrictions - I have celiac disease. A 1-2 pound bag of a gluten-free flour costs between $11-$18 and I have about 18 kinds of flour. GF snacks are absurd - I make my own but most things are double to quadruple the prices. For example, for FOUR muffins you can spend $8.49. Four hot dog buns for $8.29. A loaf of bread $10 at the Farmer's Market. It is outrageous!

                                                                                                                                                                                    We shop at the Italian Centre, T&T, etc. when in Edmonton for our specialty items which cost a lot. But, like you, I am a scratch cook and love using unique ingredients and will never give that up. I buy exotic spices, duck, pheasant, foie gras, truffles, and so on regularly but we also do have very inexpensive but delicious meals at times such as braised lentils/polenta. We have lots of vegetarian meals for about $1. Having said that, we never, ever have a dull meal! We do not drink pop and very little alcohol but I do use alcohol in my cooking regularly. No coffee in our house. If I see fresh geoduck, fresh goat, mangosteens, etc. I snap them up regardless of the price. Great ingredients are my indulgence. As I have celiac, we rarely go out (no safe places where I live) except when we are in Edmonton or traveling. Because we do find such treasures in Edmonton we tend to go a bit overboard when we go there every other month.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Using my own garden produce I can, preserve, make my own vanilla and condiments which may not necessarily save money but I know what goes into them and they taste soooooo much better. We buy very few processed foods such as tomato paste - other than that I make pretty much everything!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Corn at our FM is $1 per cob; 3 lb potatoes $6. Not cheap here.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Having said that, I am a very responsible shopper and wait for many regular items to go on sale and stock up when they do (i.e. toilet paper). I shop according to the flyers for the best deals on daily things.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                      I couldn't believe the prices people are paying for GF items. I saw a lady in line at Safeway and she was paying over $7.50 for a loaf of GF bread and she must have had 10 of them (this was at the Fort Saskatchewan Safeyway so maybe she was buying for oil workers??). I can't believe the ridiculous prices for the rest of the stuff I see - one wonders how a person can afford to eat a special diet at those rates. I am fortunate that I don't require special food, just special combinations of regular foods. I have to be careful and count carbs and such - if I had to search out specialty things I'd go nuts I think! Or go broke one of the two!

                                                                                                                                                                                      I love shopping at T&T and the 99 Street Market as well - they both have some items that you can buy (canned chicken broth for example) that cost way less than the same type of product at even Superstore or Walmart. There meat prices are usually less than the main stream stores and sometimes even their produce is cheaper. I know for sure they are one of the cheapest sources for fresh (and frozen) seafood around. I always find out what a few places are charging for lobster and then make a trip to T&T and it's always the same price or cheaper. Have you checked out their new location on the north side yet? It's close to hubby's work and on my route home now so I will be stopping in more often.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I would like to know what is making potatoes and onions so expensive for us in Alberta right now. I understand the fancy little baby potatoes being crazy expensive - but 5 lbs of russet potatoes should never go over the $4 mark (ideally i'd like to be paying under $3 but I think those days are gone).

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Usually $400-$500 per month.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. So i just added up my grocery bill from the entire month of october for two people I spent $208.00

                                                                                                                                                                                      about a month prior though i spent more than usual stocking up on basics at a 20%off entire purchase sale and got tons of pasta, canned veggies/soups, etc. so i would say normally i would spend about $250 per month. im still trying to cut back though and eat what we have instead of going out and buying new stuff

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I live in Manhattan, and my husband is a BIG eater. We host dinner for 3-5 guests once or twice a week. We are definitely under $200 a week, almost always under 150, and occasionally even under 100, but it varies from week to week. Also, we keep kosher, and kosher meat/chicken tends to be very expensive. Meat for us is (usually) a Sabbath treat, but we do enjoy any leftovers for the rest of the week. I shop at TJ's alot, but they don't have everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I have somehow spent $792.85 on "groceries" this month. I included food items that were not groceries, like eating out or getting things at the concession stand at the movies. Yikes!!!!!!! And only ~300 of this was at the grocery store.

                                                                                                                                                                                          StampQueen, I feel your pain. The problem with my situation is - I don't eat. I rarely EVER eat more than one meal per day, if I do it's probably the weekend when I have time to eat breakfast. My girlfriend, who lives with me - complains ad nauseam from the second she is awake until the second she is asleep that she's hungry and we have no food.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I spent 200 dollars on groceries one day and we came home, and then she complained about not having groceries. I am finally completely pissed off - she is buying the groceries from now on. I will starve. She says "we don't buy actual food." A) You don't buy anything, and you're lucky I feed you since you refuse to get a job and B) What am I supposed to be buying? I purchase a lot of frozen dinners - like P.F Changs and Bertollis, and Franks, stuff like that, and some pizzas. We also buy stuff to make taco's, salad;s, sandwiches, bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes/waffles, french toast, rice, potatoes, all that good stuff. I am seriously not understanding what I am supposed to buy, or what I am not buying enough of. Should I be buying 38 pounds of chicken and such and going light on everything else? Obviously cutting out the external dining will help tremendously, as would not ordering delivery.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grenadeh

                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, there's the obvious thing. One or both of you needs to learn how to cook. Frozen dinners and pizzas, are expensive. Food for tacos and salads are fine, but maybe not what you need all the time. If you have to spend big bucks, it should be for healthy, fresh food, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Cooking is a life skill that everyone needs, even if at a very basic level. But it also sounds as if you two aren't communicating what you expect. If she wants snack food, and you want dinner, then you've got problems right from the get go.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, IMO, you two need a food budget that is realistic. The budget has to take into consideration your income.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I hope you figure this stuff out, because not doing so can make continual trouble for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grenadeh

                                                                                                                                                                                              Very simple solution. Ask her for a list of what she would like to be bought or send her to the store to make the purchases.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. We average is $500-700 and we cook 6 nights a week and I take my lunch to work everyday. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and shop at Costco for some items (chicken, canned goods, frozen pasta, & cheese). We shop at FoodMaxx for most everything else. In the summer, our bill is MUCH lower because we're fortunate enough to have access to a HUGE garden and grow much of our own fruits/veggies.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I used to spend $200 per week at the grocery store without blinking for the 2 of us and our almost-weekly Friday night/Sunday afternoon entertaining. The cabinets were bursting with food and the full-sized freezer in the basement was overloaded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The budget is severely restricted these days. I am spending about $50 (or less) on food each week... and that includes our every-other Sunday football entertaining. Let's just say that we are eating more penne al vodka and spaghetti carbonara and less steak these days. Still, I cringe thinking about how much I was spending and how much food was wasted. We DON'T go out to dinner and we take our lunch every day. Maybe on a Saturday afternoon we go out for lunch, but usually not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                That being said, all the extras are gone and I haven't been able to re-stock non-essentials like PAM, dry mustard, chicken/beef broth, etc. I am expecting a $400 check soon and will use that to re-stock the freezer and cabinets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                P.S. The $50 per week also occasionally includes household items like toilet paper, paper towels, cat litter, etc. Some weeks there is a bit more money available so I don't have to cut into my already-small food budget.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. We are a retired couple,living in Las Vegas, NV. We eat most meals at home. We Eat out once or twice a month, pet food for our two dogs is purchased separately. We spend about 400. per month and that includes paper and cleaning products, and two contributions of $15. each to Bountiful Baskets co-op. Other than an extra bag of potatoes and some fresh greens, most of our fruit and veggies come from the co-op. I buy very little premade or processed foods, and no canned foods, other than tomato paste, salt free beans, and the occasional bottled salad dressing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  We eat out only once or twice a month. I like fresh fruits and veggies daily, meat three or four times a week, I eat oatmeal or grits and fruit for breakfast, my husband prefers eggs. I like to make large one dish meals, and freeze half for another meal. I also make,a lot of soups, mostly vegetable. We buy very little alcohol or soda. We do have a Keurig, and buy a box of kcups each month, but we drink little coffee, just like to have it in the house for guests. I shop mostly at Fresh & Easy, they have great $$ off coupons. I like the package sizes, and small sized stores.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  If I cant find something at F & E, I shop at the local Kroger affiliate, especially if they're running a sale on meats. We have a large fridge with freezer, and another in the garage which we use in the cooler months, mostly for the additional freezer space. Around The holidays, I like to stock up on turkeys and hams for the freezer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also at holiday time I bake loads of cookies and breads and sometimes candy that I give as gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. a couple of years ago 'rworange', a regular poster, discovered that with some diligence one person could get by on 3 dollars a day in San Francisco, or a little under $100/ month. That was a couple of years ago, and as mentioned, took some dilligence, attention to not wasting, careful shopping, etc. With inflation, more traditional shopping habits, and less attention to sale items, etc, $150-$200 per person per month is probably more realistic. There are some savings to cooking for two, but that aside, the $300/$400 range wouldn't take much splurging to push it to the $500/$600 range in 2011. Of course some of that depends on where you live, as well as where you shop and what you buy/eat/toss. Whether or not tax is charged on groceries (it is in Hawaii) can make a difference as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I live in Sacramento CA, not a cheap city to live in...and my grocery bill for myself and my partner is $200 a month. I plan a menu every week and buy items according to it, we eat cereal or yogurt and granola for breakfast, leftovers for lunch and a home cooked meal every night, except saturday it is our one meal out. So even in 2012 in a high cost living area, it is possible to make it work. I shop every week on double ads days at our local grocery store and buy as much at the farmers market as I can. We also are NOT vegetarian if your thinking that cuts our bill down, we eat chicken, turkey, fish and I eat beef. So we do spend money on meats. But even still we are consistant in keeping well within our $200 budget. So it is possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chefsage

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would LOVE to see a week's meal plan where you make this budget work. I need help - and most of the meal plan web sites are BORING. Post if you feel comfortable.!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stellamystar

                                                                                                                                                                                                          gain facility at cooking rice well. jheera rice, saffron rice, etc. great way to make a non-boring meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: chefsage

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I too would love to see a typical weekly meal plan. What stores do you shop? The farmers markets are often as or more expensive than the grocery stores . At least that's what I've found out in Sac/Roseville/ etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EAH

                                                                                                                                                                                                            they must be doing all their shopping at the Roseville auction. (my grandparents lived in Roseville, a trip to the auction was always a big event)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. For two of us, no alcohol or soda, no children but one very fussy kitty. It averages about $125 a week. Special occasions of course are much higher if the family comes home for dinner. I try to buy one treat every week for my husband. Special chocolate. I buy organic ginger tea which is $4.59 once a week and try not to drink more than one cup a day. Even tho' we are on a small fixed income, I try to share with the food banks as I know there are those even worse off than we are. I thank GOD every day that we have enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I forgot to mention....we do NOT eat out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Interesting thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I live in the in Southern Michigan - not exactly NY here, so that gives you an idea of the area's cost of living - probably around 30% below average.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That being said, we have a store budget of $100 a week, but that is for all consumables - food, toiletries, oil change stuff for the car, the occasional purchase of a kitchen utensil, new pair of work jeans for hubby, etc. Whatever we have left over from that $100 goes into our "Extra" fund, for trips, emergencies, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          We buy organic as much as possible, almost no processed foods (exception soup bases, pasta, etc.), and I no longer get my 'dinner' meats from the big box stores - namely Meijer and Target - I visit a local small grocery/butcher and farmer's market for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          So $400 a month for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. What a great thread. I thought our food budget was way over the top, but turns out we're completely average, even though we live in New York City and buy really expensive free range meat from Marlow. We spend about $110 for two each week on groceries (including lunches but not alcohol) and eat out twice a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Easily about $1,000. That includes food, household supplies, beer, wine and liquor. I cook practically everything from scratch, and I'm willing to pay for good quality ingredients. The two of us eat at home 3X per day, and dinner is special every night, with a tablecloth, candles, and a bottle of decent wine. Last night, for instance, we had grilled swordfish ($22 per pound), spaghetti with olive oil and garlic, sauteed spinach and a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. About $800 for two in CT - get takeout about once a week (Avg. $30/pop). Includes adult beverage spending. There's an interesting post on another blog about food spending: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/201...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel on the higher end compared to those readers, but it is a different audience. Still, interesting reading if you like to see how much everyone else is spending.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. ~$100/wk for one + 3 dogs who eat real food. I shop at a combination of a Whole Foods comparable store + an ethnic market, and this number includes non-food items such as cleaning products and a few supplements. I eat out ~1-3x a week, so this covers the vast majority of my meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. We spend about $300/month on food only (not including restaurants, alcohol etc) but I'm sure we could easily spend a lot more if incomes allowed for it. I live in a suburb of LA and we're lucky to have some ethnic oriented grocery stores that sell fruit and vegetables very inexpensively- fruit is probably the main staple of my diet and we eat a lot of salads. If we had to purchase the volume of fruit and vegetables we eat at a standard grocery store, we would easily spend three or four times as much on produce. I'd love to be able to buy all organics from the farmers market, but it's just not possible right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We buy meat at Whole Foods because of the step system they have there, but we don't buy anything else there because of prices- used to buy this great bread but they suddenly raised the price by ~25%. Nearly everything else is purchased at Trader Joes because it's very convenient for us and their ingredients even in premade foods are usually very natural- they have great prices on cheese, breads and some quick meal options like pastas etc. We limit our frozen/premade meal purchases because of concerns about processed food and additives, but this also greatly helps with budget concerns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. It was $500-600 a month for me and my SO here in Ohio. That's all food, wine, and paper products. We rarely go out to lunch, even less for breakfast, usually 1-2 meals out a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I bought a 7 cu. ft. freezer back last Nov. mostly filled with meat and frozen vegetables. I have been focusing using that when possible and my monthly bill has dropped to $350-450 a month. While I don't buy ribeyes, I don't buy ground meat either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looks like I'm going through a purge cycle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I've never attempted to really add it all up and it would be pretty hard to do and probably vary greatly. The only items I buy every week at the grocery store are Milk, Coldcuts, Yogurt and Bananas. I buy as much as I can of my produce, meats and breads as I can at the Farmer's Market and supplement that with purchases from my butcher, and fishmonger in addition to Grocery Stores. I buy for when I'm cooking and my girlfriend buys when she's cooking. I'd guess that I spend about $200 a week across all sources. I don't know what she spends but I'd assume it's a lot less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bg90027

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess our $1100 - $1400 a month for 2 in Miami FL is a bit high, it does include wine but I dont think we are extravigant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I had to pull out a couple of Meijer bills since that is my main shopping store with trips tp Costco every other month and am a bit taken aback that just that is about $250-300 for one person. I quit using coupons some time ago since I found myself buying things I really didn't need just because I had a coupon. At this time of the year many veggies come from roadside stands and my eggs from a local farmer(so this is not included).. Summer gets a bit high with visits from family (I live near Lake Michigan). Many nights I invite my daughter to join me (then we usually kill a moderately priced bottle of wine). I regullarly pop for a really nice piece of seafood and eat out with friends several times a week. I'm afraid that my casual attitude toward my food bill might have to change as I notice the prices rising quite rapidly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. i spend about 400-600 a month for 2 adults a 3 year old and a dog. but im trying to get it lower. its pretty high but i live in flordia and i find all the produce and meat are just ridiculously overpriced but i say that becuz i just moved from cali. another reason is, my husband and i love to snack. we used to go out to eat about once a week but we completely have pretty much taken that out completely. we shop at mainly at supertarget winn dixie bjs and rowes. about once a week we will stop by the swapmeet and grab some produce. (still pretty expensive but definately cheaper than the regular supermarket). we do buy alcohol tho which isnt included which could add maybe another $50 more to our monthly bill for groceries. we dont usually ever eat instant noodles but we do have some on hand for emergencies. we use coupons which helps alot!!!