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What is your budget

So, I am reading all these threads about eating on a budget, and I really am wondering what is your budget and where are you located?
I see people quoting some prices here that I would never believe were even real. And while my budget for some might look huge, it actually isn't at all.

So, I budget $125 for groceries for week. 2 people, well eaters. We eat organic, non GMO only and we try and eat healthy. My husband also has issues with gluten, so we eat limited amounts of gluten.

My $125 EXCLUDES all meat. I buy meat in bulk on the farms couple times a year. For side of beef, I believe I paid $6.45 / lb actual weight, and something like $340 for side a pig, and $5.50 / lb of chickens.

To explain why I find this budget hard, here are examples of some of the prices from our Alberta stores:
Dozen Organic eggs – ~$6.75
Organic Butter – ~$10 a stick
Organic apples - $2.50 / lb (cheapest)
2 small sea bream fish - $20 (I remember as I bought it last Saturday)
Organic gluten free bread -$8-10
Organic cucumber - $3-$6 (depending which store has it in stock)

I find fruits and vegetables here (especially organic ones) are ridiculously expensive and our $125 / week budget does not go very far.

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  1. 'Organic' food costs a fortune compared to non-organic... I went to the local farmer's market and there was a chicken farmer selling his frozen direct-from-his-organic-chicken-farm birds specially processed and packaged for his customers... how good can you get? Then the lady in front of me bought two nice juicy birds and I found out that it was $7 a pound! Ack! Our food budget totally excludes anything 'organic' for price reasons.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Kajikit

      What is your food budget and where do you live?
      I find that non organic stuff here costs almost as much. For instance, the organic produce at safeway often is comparable in prices to non organic and sometimes some items are actually cheaper organic. Meat I buy in bulk, as that way it’s cheaper than non organic meat in the stores. Last I checked, chicken at the store here was $5 or so for a whole bird…I think prices in Canada have increased significantly over last 6 months or so. My sister in law was telling me on the weekend that cheapest beef at Costco is $5 / lb…that is the cheapest…

      1. re: Allenkii

        A whole non organic chicken in Montreal is 9-12 dollars

        1. re: kpaxonite

          really? where? i mean which store?
          its more like $20 here :(

          1. re: Allenkii

            At a small chain called PA but also at Provigo.

            I was commenting because you wrote: Last I checked, chicken at the store here was $5 or so for a whole bird.... which I found strange for out west...i guess you meant 15

            1. re: kpaxonite

              oh, sorry, I meant $5 per lb if you buy a whole chicken. Prices go up if you buy parts

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  non organic, depending on the chain, but on average $5/ lb
                  legs are cheaper, everything else is more expensive. Organic I believe is closer to $10/ lb at Costco and co-op IF they have it (which is rare). Stores like Planet Organic is much more expensive. I will check when I go grocery shopping on the weekend

    2. There are a lot of old threads on this topic, you might try a search to find more ideas before others reply. Here's one with many replies http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855272.

      Also I think to compare prices you should compare organic vs. organic or non-organic vs. non-organic. The prices here are often vastly different as Kajikit mentioned.

      1 Reply
      1. ~125 dollars a month for two people. Obvs not doing organic.

        Organic gluten free bread seems like... a really poor idea. Why not just eat rice??

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chowrin

          A bit difficult to do sandwiches with rice ;)
          sorry, your budget is $125 a month for 2?

            1. re: Chowrin

              You mean rice balls? I make those some times, but hubby often asks for a sandwich, so i just ordered a bread maker. He likes caramel spread on his "bread" and strawberries on top :)

              1. re: Allenkii

                yup, rice balls with a bit of a filling.
                and strawberries are really expensive!

                1. re: Chowrin

                  organic strawberries here are $5.99 / lb and he only needs one thingy sliced on his toast :)

        2. Budgets depend on how you eat and where you live.

          I made the mistake of starting a grocery budget thread on another board I belong to, and got ripped apart from people who said there was no way I could spend what I spent unless I was buying sub-par quality food and/or not including X, Y, or Z. What I did learn was that produce in other parts of the country is very expensive compared to what I pay in So. CA. That's where a big difference in cost lay.

          30 Replies
          1. re: boogiebaby

            Yes, I believe that your cost of produce is a fraction of what I pay in always snowed in Canada. LOL. Just this morning I was telling to my husband how I cannot wait till eggplant is in season. Now, it costs as much as meat, and when you cook it, it shrinks in half...for that reason, last time I bought eggplant was early last fall and I love eggplant :(
            If you don't mind me asking - what is your budget and what are your eating preferences? I swear I won't tear you to pieces lol

            1. re: Allenkii

              I'm in NY, and tomorrow I'm buying eggplant at 79 cents/lb and red pepper at 99. Always comes down that low at least once a month, so I wait, then roast and use or store. I can't imagine what I'd do if my prices were that high. But I don't worry about organic, are they really that close in price where you are?

              My budget is $75 a week for two. I don't feel like I have to scrimp, but I seldom buy anything that's not on sale.

              1. re: coll

                In ny also, bought eggplants for 69 cents/lb. broiled two of them whole and will use as a side dish for dinner tomorrow night.

                I typically don't buy organic, unless it's the only way the item is available. (Like kale)

                1. re: coll

                  Yes, I find organic at Safeway costs almost the same as conventional, but choices can be limited. If you go to organic store - its way more pricy.

                  1. re: Allenkii

                    I've never been to an organic store, maybe someday when I win the lottery ;-)

                    1. re: coll

                      I keep reminding myself that health is the MOST important "thing" I posses. without it, all $$$ saved won't matter...

                      1. re: Allenkii

                        I eat healthy but not hung up on labels like organic. Sort of old school I guess. There are no guarantees, that much I can tell you.

                        1. re: coll

                          I know there are no guarantees, but at least I feel I am doing my best. I am scared sh*tless by GMO (pardon my language)...

                        2. re: Allenkii

                          Many studies have shown that organic doesn't always equate to "healthier" however you're defining that.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            Organic is always healthier for farmworkers.

                            1. re: JudiAU

                              figure it depends on what the pesticides are designed to protect against, and on how effective the sulfur or other "organic" pesticides are.

                            2. re: fldhkybnva

                              I am wondering what studies showed GMO as safe that were not sponsored by major food producers...

                              1. re: Allenkii

                                Organic is not always equivalent to non-GMO. I'm not criticizing just pointing out because some confuse organic and assume it's always necessarily better. I've had friends get down on themselves that they can't afford organic but not buying organic doesn't always mean you're not buying the best you can.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  All organic is non-GMO but not all non-GMO is organic.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Actually, if its organic, it has to be GMO free. This is the main reason I am buying organic. If the products here were labelled so I could see which (if any) of conventional products were GMO free, I would not be shopping all organic. GMO scares me a lot. There is a reason that its banned in many countries across the world... So, for me, for that reason alone organic is necessarily better. I don't rule out contamination of produce when it comes to chemical and pesticides, but I am still hoping that my diet more than 80% GMO free (i travel a lot for work and forced to eat out)

                                    1. re: Allenkii

                                      I meant to write it in the opposite order since you referred to "GMO as safe" (non-GMO is not necessarily organic) but either way the distinction is important and I totally understand your shopping practices.

                                      1. re: Allenkii

                                        *blink* have you looked at all the laws everywhere? Maybe this is true in America.
                                        In Peru, Whole foods used to buy "organic" -- which was basically "burn down the rainforests, then in two years burn more"

                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                          No, i haven't looked at the laws in all countries, but I have looked at some that I know ban GMO and try to buy products from those countries. While burning down the rainforest is very unethical and wrong, it won't give us cancer...

                                    2. re: Allenkii

                                      google for golden rice. Monstersanto isn't the only one running studies.

                        3. re: boogiebaby

                          Produce is a killer. I'm outside DC and when I visit my sister in central FL, we hit the farmer's market on the last day so I can stock up. An example- a red pepper here costs me $2.50-$3; there, you can buy 3 or 4 for $1! Amazing.

                          1. re: Hobbert

                            try costco? I can get six there for ~6 bucks (I'm not near dc though)

                            1. re: Chowrin

                              Costco has cheap salad mix and sometimes cheap organic strawberries, the rest is very much comparable to other stores here :(

                              1. re: Chowrin

                                I had a Costco membership for awhile but couldn't seem to justify the savings with only 2 of us. Plus we just moved out to the boondocks. I do hit up the Asian grocery store when I'm nearby. The prices on produce and spices can't be beat.

                                1. re: Hobbert

                                  We shop at costco so much that this year we got $300 back! Now, last year was a bit of an abnormality as we had kitchen renos and bought backsplash and some other materials there, but still, in any average year, I find we get our membership for free after the rebate...tires alone worth the fee

                                  1. re: Allenkii

                                    With me and BJs (although Costco opening this month even closer) just the savings on my contact lens are more than double the membership fee. Everything else, gravy!

                                  2. re: Hobbert

                                    Plenty of people from the boondocks drive 90 miles (at least) to shop at my costco, judging by the license plates (they're from a different state).

                                    I think they do it every three months or so, judging by a sign I saw -- "please limit purchases to 10 bags of flour" (these were 50 lb bags!)

                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                      Wow. That's way more baking than I'll probably ever do.

                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                        If you live in the boondocks, you probably don't have a good bakery either. So maybe they are making their own bread and baked goods and won't be back for a year?

                                        1. re: Hobbert

                                          I know. But they were expecting a surge in flour prices, so they were stocking up (being farmers, they watch commodities religiously)

                                  3. re: Hobbert

                                    That sounds like our prices...pepper is not something I buy a lot cause it's like buying a steak lol

                                2. We are in the same boat Allenkii

                                  Eating healthy is way more expensive.

                                  We have a grocery store here callled Publix that has a :GreenWise" section it's usda certified 100 percent organic non gmo. and we are always blessed with some small local orgaganic farms and groves but it is still expensive..

                                  I can make a nice meal for 40 bucks with left overs and beer and wine, cheaper than going out for the same quality but still expensive.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                    how much do you figure you spend on food a month excluding alcohol?

                                    1. re: Allenkii

                                      My husband travels for work often. He is out of the country for the next two weeks. I usually spend a lot less then. and when I could for my nana and her diet health restrictions I spend more.

                                      Ground Lamb and Ground Bison at Publix costt about 10 dollars a pound.
                                      If I go for a wild caught halibut at Whole foods its 25 a pound.

                                      when I do crockpot meals I spend a lot less. I would say on average between 80-95 a week when my husband is home and I'm taking my nana a meal once a week. and if its just been more like 60 a week but I always make so much food and share. I'm bad about that.

                                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                        Hahaha, I am also bad for sharing and entertaining!

                                        ground bison and lamb is the same price here. I actually just got some ground bison in anticipating the summer. And I got 2 NY bison steaks....I did not realize that they raised the prices to $50 kg and 2 steaks (small) cost me $40...how ridiculous is that? Needless to say, I am not going back to that farm, as in addition to very poor service, they also charge you whatever they feel like without any heads up :(
                                        Where are you located? 80-95 a week is still way less than what I spend

                                        1. re: Allenkii

                                          my Nana needs to eat leaner meats and bison is something she likes. I make her bison meatloaf but its a lot more expensive than the crap ground beef she was used to eating.

                                          1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                            Can't believe I'm saying this, but I made meatloaf last time with ground turkey someone gave me, lots of seasoning, and it not only tasted fine (really couldn't tell the dif) but I also lost a little weight eating it over a few days.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              I think I'm the only person on earth who loves ground turkey breast.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                Never used it much, but I have my eyes on it @$1.79/lb tomorrow. If you spice it right you really can't tell what it is.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  I like to be able to tell what it is :)

                                              2. re: coll

                                                My nana may be old but she is quick mentally and she can smell and taste like no one I know. She'll know it's turkey and won't eat it. but she likes the bison. and she loves ground lamb.

                                                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                  Will she do ground chicken? I DESPISE ground turkey but I really like ground chicken, especially if it includes at least some dark meat (usually I grind my own, using thighs, but some of the pre-ground brands are good too). My DH feels the same way.

                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    nana hates chicken more than she hates turkey. lol :)

                                            2. re: Allenkii

                                              Have you revieved the other thread's comments re: vegetarian meals and legumes saving $$? Organic no gmo tofu amd veggies and beans worth $40 would feel you both for dayyysssss.....(if in new york city, manhattan, i can get organic tofu for $3/lb, organic beans $2-4/lb, organic carrots (big ones) $2.50/lb..... Then i think that shows something))