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Feb 15, 2012 05:28 AM

How much do you usually spend on groceries per week?

Im a bit new to the grocery shopping thing as a college student so im never sure when im spending too much. I cook for a family of 6 and I spend roughly $300 per week on groceries. D: Thats a lot to me considering i dont even work. I used a calculator based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Low-Cost Food Plan and it said I should spend around $291.08 per week for my household so it seems i have a reasonable budget but im still not sure. Just wanted to get an idea how much you guys usually spend.
If you're interested, heres the calculator:

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  1. There are a couple (recent) threads on this topic floating around, so try doing a search.

    We are 2 adults and 1 cat. My weekly shopping budget is $60 including non food items. Monthly $200 trip to Costco. Ended up approx $100/week last year. Eat out a couple nights a week. Urban Northeast.

    1. DH and I are late 30s and I spend about $100 per week lately. This includes meat or chicken nightly, fresh veggies, cereal, milk, bread, soda, yogurt, pasta, cheese, coffee and snacks. Most of my shopping is done at Trader Joes and A&P, watching sales and occasionally using coupons. I stock up on things like boneless chicken, pasta, beans and canned tomatoes since we use them often. I buy paper products at Costco about 3 times a year (napkins, paper towels, TP and tissues) when I go with my dad. We are in Westchester county NY.

      Your link is very interesting... though I would love to know what the "thrifty" meal plan includes :)

      For your $300, what are you getting?

      2 Replies
      1. re: iluvcookies

        I always have a spreadsheet made every week for when I go grocery shopping. I plan out what i'll cook and what i'll need. I cook mainly for health. I shop at a variety of stores but try to get my produce from a popup greenmarket down at Union Square (you probably \ know about this)when farmers travel to the city to sell their produce and meat. We are 4 teens and then there are my parents. Here are the week's groceries pasted from Microsoft Excel but its long:

        6 Salmon Fillets (6 oz.)
        6 Halibut Fillets (6 oz.)
        6 Swordfish Steaks (6 oz.)
        Fresh Tuna Steak (2 lbs.)
        1 lb. large shrimp

        Turkey Bacon
        Fat-Free Turkey Breast (3 oz.)
        Ham (3 oz.)
        Chicken Breast Halves , with ribs (3 lbs.)
        Top Sirloin (6 oz.)
        Ground Turkey Breast (1.25 lbs.)
        Pork Tenderloin (1 lb.)
        Bone-in Turkey Breast (6.5-7 lbs.)
        Skinless Chicken Breast Halves, with ribs (4)
        Skinless Chicken Thighs, with bones (2)
        Prosciutto (3 oz.)
        Flank Steak (1 lb.)
        Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (6)

        Artichoke Hearts (1/2 cup)
        Artichokes (2)
        Arugula (2 cups)
        Baby Spinach (6 cups)
        Berries (1 cup)
        Canellini Beans (15-oz.)
        Capers (2 tbsp.)
        Carrots (5)
        Cherry Tomatoes (3 cups)
        Chopped Tomatoes (14 oz.)
        Cucumbers (6 lbs.)
        Diced Tomatoes (2 14.5 oz. cans)
        Golden Raisins (1 tbsp.)
        Green Beans (3 lbs.)
        Green Onions (14)
        Hass Avocados (2)
        Hearts of Palm (1/4 cup)
        Hothouse Cucumber (1)
        Jalapeno (1)
        Lemons (8)
        Limes (5)
        Medium Cantaloupe (1)
        Medium Grapefruit (1)
        Mushrooms (3/4 cup)
        Napa Cabbage (1 cup)
        Onion (10)
        Orange (1)
        Plum Tomatoes (4)
        Red Bell Pepper (4)
        Red Onions (2)
        Roasted Red Bell Peppers (2 12 oz. jars)
        Roasted Red Peppers (1/2 cup)
        Roma Tomato (2)
        Romaine Lettuce (2 cups)
        Russet Potato (1)
        Salad (2 cups)
        Shallots (6)
        Small Zucchini (1.5 cups)

        Snowpeas (12 oz.)
        Tomato Juice (23 oz.)
        Yellow Bell Peppers (4)

        Basil (4 cups)

        Hemp Milk
        Cottage Cheese
        Egg Whites (18)
        Feta Cheese
        Heavy Cream (1/2 cup)
        Light Coconut Milk (1/2 cup)
        Mozzarella Cheese
        Parmesan Cheese
        Plain Yogurt (3 cups)
        Sour Cream (3 cups)

        Cornmeal Muffins (6)
        Whole Wheat English Muffins

        Pine Nuts
        Soy Sausage Patties
        Sauvignon Blanc

        I plan to grow a garden though so I can get vegetables and herbs whenever I need it.

        1. re: Eric_Cartman

          Wow. You are organized!
          Seems like you are spending your $$ wisely, with 4 teens in the house, $300 really isn't that much. And if you live in or near NYC, even better! Nice that the budget includes Sauvingnon Blanc :)

      2. My spending varies through the year since I use a CSA for produce in the growing season and therefor cook a lot of vegetarian meals. The CSA membership is about $22 per week - although I apy in one lump sum in March. Durig the rest of the year I spenf about $100 per week on food and other grocery store items for one person and 2 cats. This includes at least one meal for a "company dinner" when my daughter and son in law come over and one "special" meal that I cook at my bf's house on the weekend. It also includes, usually, one lunch (just a sandwich at a coffee shop -nothing fancy). Also - when I but meat or other animal products, including eggs, I buy locally raised and organic which is slightly more costly than conventional.
        Try looking at things you can buy in bulk like cereal, oatmeal, beans, rice etc. Also - at least one vegetarian meal a week can make a difference in spending and is good for family health and the planet as well. I use Mark Bittman's cookbook "How to Cook Everything" a lot - not really for recipes but for ideas. I find that it is helpful for getting ideas about what to make from what I have and so waste is reduced.
        If you are cooking for 6 adults and providing most meals (as in 3 meals a day) what you are spending doesn't seem excessive but if money is tight I think that you can reduce it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Fiona

          Money isn't tight. Just my credit card is a joint account with my parents. Meaning they pay for it. I just feel guilty at times charging it and racking up a receipt that could have bought me a new PS3 every week. But my mom loves my cooking. I often catch her sneaking leftovers to showoff to her friends. Yes, I do cook all 3 meals. I always have a lunch packed up for my siblings. I dont like cereal much though but at times, I cant cook so theres always Total Cereal or Steel-cut Irish Oats available but we rarely eat it. I've spoiled them with fresh homemade meals lol. My siblings wont even touch McDonalds or any fast food. They rather starve than eat cereal or cup noodles. I actually use "The Flavor Bible" which is basically a book on natural flavor affinities which helps when making up my own recipes. It has input from some of the world's greatest chefs too.

          1. re: Eric_Cartman

            I wouldn't feel guilty since you aren't loading up on crap and are cooking three meals with it. Have you spoken to your parents about your concerns about the amount being spent?

            If you do want to cut down your spending maybe choose less expensive fish and choose meats based on what on sale. And I don't know anything about where you live but maybe a CSA or Costco membership could help.

            1. re: viperlush

              I have spoken to my mom about it and she says im being ridiculous and just charge it. Yeah...we have a Costco membership and BJ's membership. My mom is just happy im making sure we get the proper nutrition and stay healthy and have gone to such extremes as preparing meals based on lifestyle. She has high triglycerides and my dad is diabetic so i've adjusted their meals to benefit them. I have prepared a high lean protein , complex carbohydrate, and low fat meal plan for my brother and I who are both into modeling and need to keep our body in shape. My sister, on the other hand, is having a high protein, low carb diet. And my other brother...well hes picky as hell and I have to cook what he wants. So far, I've decided to grow my own produce which should help prevent waste as I will only pick what I need. It bothers me when im required to buy big bunches of herbs when i'll only use a fraction of it. I have a new idea of getting gift cards on ebay and bidding on them for less. So that should help.

              1. re: Eric_Cartman

                Eric - I think that you are doing a great job and providing a terrific service for your family. As I said above $300 a week is not at all unreasonable for feeding 6 people. It sounds like you are feeding them well and that the money is not really an issue. My advice is keep up the good work!

            2. re: Eric_Cartman

              You are an awesome kid, and I am very impressed with your meal planning, shopping and cooking for your family! Wow!
              To answer your original question, I live in upstate NY, and generally cook for a family of 7. My mom, my husband and I, my daughter and her husband, and our two grandchildren, ages 3 and 6. I average around $200 per week, but that doesn't include 3 meals for everyone. My daughter buys her lunches for work, and she also buys most of the kids lunches for school/day care. My son-in-law works at a restaurant, and often eats dinner at work. My mom is only here about 1/2 the time for meals. So I don't think your $ 300/week average for 5 people is bad at all.

          2. A fortune. And rising. :(

            1. Hi Cartman..
              For 6 people, I feel that $300 is about right but do you use coupons and shop the circulars in your area?
              Just 2 of us and I spend about $100 a week and that includes wine/beer.
              Costco Amex would benefit you with their 2% cash back program.
              I find their produce great as well as their seafood and meats..
              I shop at Costco, Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Albertson's/Von's for the coupons..saved about $2k last year..

              I think what you are doing is extremely admirable and wishing you all the best!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick

                I also spend $100/week with wine. Since Mrs. O read "Eating Animals" and decided not to anymore, my cooking and meal-planning has gotten more complicated but not having that daily $6-$10 package of meat has saved us some noticeable money. The shopping is mostly Trader Joe and Ralphs, plus Whole Foods for some fruits and veges in season.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Kudos to Mrs. O..
                  Some great soy based products like Morningstar with their 'Crumbles' that is fab in tacos or lasagna..
                  I make a fantastic patty melt with garden burger on rye with grilled onions and Swiss/American cheese that my DH, whom is a meat lover prefers over meat.
                  Do you have a Sprouts up in Pasadena area?

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Last question first: yes. Not a huge fan; oddly enough, I like them best for their meat! Produce quality is less than Ralphs' and not sufficiently cheaper, and their bulk stuff isn't up to WF standards or range.

                    We explored a lot of the available fake meat, and have pretty much decided to stick with beans and tofu, which I'm finding more uses for. We do like TJ's Meatless Meatballs with spaghetti, and the Tofurky "Kielbasa" in both bean dishes and sauerkraut. Brother-in-law has recommended an orange "chicken" from TJ's, too, but we haven't found that here.