Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

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MathWizard
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by MathWizard » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:00 am

imsomeguy wrote:Just looking over some recent credit card bills and realized we are spending $600-700/month on groceries. We are a family of 4 and the majority of our meals are cooked at home, wife brings lunch to work but I usually eat out, kids get lunch at their daycare. Don't shop at a fancy supermarket and while we try to give the kids healthy food almost none of the food we buy is 'organic'. Wife makes sure to buy stuff on sale but we don't really have the space to buy in bulk (ie Costco).

I dunno just seems like a lot of money but we gotta eat and we never waste food.

What do you spend on groceries? How do you save money?
That's not outrageous. We averaged about $800/month for 4 people and 2 cats, including cleaning supplies napkins, etc.

Everybody brought lunch from home, kids and adults included. I ate out for lunch only when needed for business.

Slacker
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Slacker » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:44 am

livesoft wrote:...
milk,eggs,oatmeal,yoghurt,spinach,tomatoes,carrots,apples,chicken,ground beef,fish,rice,beans
...
I went to the grocery store yesterday and had a coupon for everything I bought. In the end, I got one of those 2 feet long receipts, but my total cost was $0.00. That was a first for me though.
Where do you find coupons for these items???

I have very very very rarely ever seen coupons on produce (mandarin oranges mainly)
Occasionally for eggs (I admit to paying more for cage free eggs but usually $1.5 to $2 a doz).
Never on meat (maybe an in store markdown on meat that is getting too old)
Rice, beans, oatmeal? I've never ever seen a coupon on these items or at least a coupon that would beat the bulk price on a per unit weight price.
Coupons for milk?

I admit to not subscribing to a local daily newspaper, but my WSJ has coupons as do the monthly mailings and weekly mailings in the Postal box.

stoptothink
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:06 pm

Slacker wrote:
livesoft wrote:...
milk,eggs,oatmeal,yoghurt,spinach,tomatoes,carrots,apples,chicken,ground beef,fish,rice,beans
...
I went to the grocery store yesterday and had a coupon for everything I bought. In the end, I got one of those 2 feet long receipts, but my total cost was $0.00. That was a first for me though.
Where do you find coupons for these items???

I have very very very rarely ever seen coupons on produce (mandarin oranges mainly)
Occasionally for eggs (I admit to paying more for cage free eggs but usually $1.5 to $2 a doz).
Never on meat (maybe an in store markdown on meat that is getting too old)
Rice, beans, oatmeal? I've never ever seen a coupon on these items or at least a coupon that would beat the bulk price on a per unit weight price.
Coupons for milk?

I admit to not subscribing to a local daily newspaper, but my WSJ has coupons as do the monthly mailings and weekly mailings in the Postal box.
I'm with you. Never seen coupons for staples like that, and I am definitely one that would know.

livesoft
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by livesoft » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:39 pm

We have a Kroger card. Kroger e-mails us coupons and also snail mails us coupons. Since they know exactly what we usually buy, they send us personalized coupons for exactly what we usually buy. For instance, I can tell that my spouse buys and eats chocolate ice cream even before it gets home because of all the coupons for chocolate ice cream that she gets.

I found the receipt from my spouse's Saturday grocery trip. Not as good as my trip though. Some of my previous prices were not correct. Green beans, zucchini, broccoli, yellow squash, carrots, tomatoes were all $0.98/lb. (I don't consider $1/lb for vegetables to be particularly cheap either.) A coupon brought the spinach price to $1.67. Here is a bit of the receipt showing coupon amounts:
Image

The next time I get coupons in the mail, maybe I will photograph them and post pics in this thread.
Last edited by livesoft on Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:51 pm

livesoft wrote:I mean candy bars like this:
http://thecouponproject.com/wp-content/ ... banner.jpg or worse.

None of that dark chocolate junk.
In your opinion, do you find it to be healthy to obtain your calories from a chocolate bar? What's wrong with dark chocolate? It has almost zero sugar in it and comes with fiber.
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livesoft
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by livesoft » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:58 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:In your opinion, do you find it to be healthy to obtain your calories from a chocolate bar? What's wrong with dark chocolate? It has almost zero sugar in it and comes with fiber.
I am not a health nut. I don't like the taste, nor the mouth feel of dark chocolate. I don't care if milk chocolate is healthy or not.
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GeauxBR
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by GeauxBR » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:07 pm

OP's budget doesn't seem off. We are a family of 4 (5yr old and 11month old). Everything comes from walmart and our groceries, homegood/paper stuff, formula and diapers run us about ~900/month. Formula is almost $250 of that though...Can't wait til the baby gets on milk.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:25 pm

GeauxBR wrote:OP's budget doesn't seem off. We are a family of 4 (5yr old and 11month old). Everything comes from walmart and our groceries, homegood/paper stuff, formula and diapers run us about ~900/month. Formula is almost $250 of that though...Can't wait til the baby gets on milk.
$250/month on formula for a single child? We have an 18-month old and all our formula was purchased from Walmart (the parent's choice with the purple top is the only thing we tried that he could handle). My son is HUGE, 99th percentile 33lber (he eats significantly more than his almost 5yr old sister, including 1.5 gallons of milk a week), and I don't think we ever spent more than $80 in a single month on formula.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by GeauxBR » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:32 pm

$250/month on formula for a single child?
Yep. Neither of our kids could do powdered formula. Have to to ready to feed. Took months to find one that didn't constipate our 2nd kid. Months of switching & a lower gi mri to see if he was blocked up. We just sucked it up and went liquid knowing it would be until his 1st bday for milk.

BW1985
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by BW1985 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:58 pm

livesoft wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:In your opinion, do you find it to be healthy to obtain your calories from a chocolate bar? What's wrong with dark chocolate? It has almost zero sugar in it and comes with fiber.
I am not a health nut. I don't like the taste, nor the mouth feel of dark chocolate. I don't care if milk chocolate is healthy or not.
It's funny I'm exactly the opposite, milk chocolate is not chocolate to me (10% cocoa ?). It just doesn't hit the spot, there's no richness. I like endangered species brand 88% dark myself. My wife is more like you but I've got her to like their 72% with inclusions like raspberries, almonds or espresso beans.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

livesoft
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by livesoft » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:38 pm

BW1985 wrote:It's funny I'm exactly the opposite, milk chocolate is not chocolate to me (10% cocoa ?).
Label states cocoa solids 33% min.
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kenner
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by kenner » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:57 pm

imsomeguy,

Sounds like you are doing much better than the average US family:

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my- ... ican-waste

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:58 pm

livesoft wrote:
BW1985 wrote:It's funny I'm exactly the opposite, milk chocolate is not chocolate to me (10% cocoa ?).
Label states cocoa solids 33% min.
Yep, it's a minimum standard of 33-34%, the rest is vegetable fat fillers. I prefer higher cacao content, at least 60%, but once you've had 85% and then eat a 60% bar, you find the 60% bar is too sweet. :annoyed
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BW1985
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by BW1985 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:07 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
livesoft wrote:
BW1985 wrote:It's funny I'm exactly the opposite, milk chocolate is not chocolate to me (10% cocoa ?).
Label states cocoa solids 33% min.
Yep, it's a minimum standard of 33-34%, the rest is vegetable fat fillers. I prefer higher cacao content, at least 60%, but once you've had 85% and then eat a 60% bar, you find the 60% bar is too sweet. :annoyed
Actually the FDA minimum for calling something chocolate is 10%. Hershey's is 11% from what I read. The difference is also in sugar content.

Edit: you may have meant for that particular bar that is marked 33% min. as their standard which is higher than the FDA's standard.
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by guitarguy » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:30 pm

livesoft wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:In your opinion, do you find it to be healthy to obtain your calories from a chocolate bar? What's wrong with dark chocolate? It has almost zero sugar in it and comes with fiber.
I am not a health nut. I don't like the taste, nor the mouth feel of dark chocolate. I don't care if milk chocolate is healthy or not.
And I would say I'm the opposite...I really dig dark chocolate! Healthier...even by a little bit...just a bonus.

Same for peanut butter...I don't like any peanut butter that doesn't have to be stirred. I like the crunchy stuff where the ingredients read: peanuts. I think it tastes fantastic...no hydrogenated oils is a health bonus...but I genuinely like the taste better. Wife thinks it's disgusting. While I think Jif tastes like fake peanut paste after getting used to the natural stuff.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by overcomer » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:33 pm

Six of us, budget 450.00 every mo. total on grocery's, household items, we shop grocery's once every week, we home cook all our meals. don't eat out but maybe once every two mo., wife packs my lunch every morning, we like gardening,we put away lots of vegetables during the summer mo. for winter, buy potatoes 50lb bags 12.50.ea. ,50.00 mo. for fresh beef and chicken breast ,do not buy ready to eat foods, like cheese, we grate it ourselves it is fresher that way and less expensive , we don't buy paper towels, table wipes ,counter wipes, snacks, we eat everything that is in fridge than go buy fresh food every week we only use lights in the room that we are in at the time, do not waste hot water. we have a 450.00 mo budget and we stick to it, peppermint tea is something we like, we cut it and dry it for the winter mo.

hoops777
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by hoops777 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:26 am

This has been a really fascinating topic.It takes common sense,research and a little time to develop a food plan that suits you or your family.Once put into action it is fairly simple to buy healthy foods at a reasonable cost.
One thing I do not understand is why people who have no money worries,and you know who you are,would make buying food the cheapest they possibly can almost an obsession.Sometimes money seems to rule over everything else in bogleheads land.If I had a couple million in the bank I would not be getting giddy because my food expenditure was less than a couple struggling to make ends meet.Just sayin :D
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Tycoon » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:45 am

hoops777 wrote:This has been a really fascinating topic.It takes common sense,research and a little time to develop a food plan that suits you or your family.Once put into action it is fairly simple to buy healthy foods at a reasonable cost.
One thing I do not understand is why people who have no money worries,and you know who you are,would make buying food the cheapest they possibly can almost an obsession.Sometimes money seems to rule over everything else in bogleheads land.If I had a couple million in the bank I would not be getting giddy because my food expenditure was less than a couple struggling to make ends meet.Just sayin :D
Thank you for posting this. It forced me to think about people I have known that lived a long life (90+). They all ate cheaply. Granted the sample is small and biased, but the results pique my curiosity.
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TRC
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by TRC » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:58 am

Family of 4 (kids are 6 & 9). We are routinely between $1,000 - $1,200 per month, not including household items like paper towels & cleaning supplies.

We buy quality food - grass fed meat, raw milk from a local farm, wild caught salmon, etc.

hoops777
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by hoops777 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:17 pm

Eating cheaply has nothing to do with living a long life.Maybe they spent less because they did not buy much processed foods and ate healthy.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by runner3081 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:07 pm

Family of 3, 2 adults and 1 child. We spend $260 per month. Haven't really gone over that for the past 3 years. It helps that we only eat out, maybe once every 2-3 months.

Fortunately, we have 3 large grocers within 1.5 miles of our house. Allows us to easily shop the ads and buy what is on sale.

We also keep costs down by not buying expense and unhealthy food such as cereal, crackers, expensive ice cream, etc. Also, rice is usually made with every meal.

Drinking tap water (filtered) 100% of the time is another way to save money.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by WiscoTrout » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:10 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Slacker wrote:
livesoft wrote:...
milk,eggs,oatmeal,yoghurt,spinach,tomatoes,carrots,apples,chicken,ground beef,fish,rice,beans
...
I went to the grocery store yesterday and had a coupon for everything I bought. In the end, I got one of those 2 feet long receipts, but my total cost was $0.00. That was a first for me though.
Where do you find coupons for these items???

I have very very very rarely ever seen coupons on produce (mandarin oranges mainly)
Occasionally for eggs (I admit to paying more for cage free eggs but usually $1.5 to $2 a doz).
Never on meat (maybe an in store markdown on meat that is getting too old)
Rice, beans, oatmeal? I've never ever seen a coupon on these items or at least a coupon that would beat the bulk price on a per unit weight price.
Coupons for milk?

I admit to not subscribing to a local daily newspaper, but my WSJ has coupons as do the monthly mailings and weekly mailings in the Postal box.
I'm with you. Never seen coupons for staples like that, and I am definitely one that would know.
Unless the coupons are coming from the grocery retailer directly through their flyers, you won't see many for healthy staples. Most coupons are for products (or new products) that food manufacturers are trying to push, versus ones that are consistently selling well or have low profit margins (milk, rice, oatmeal, etc.). Just consider that if consumers were already buying the product regularly at the base price, it would be foolish for them to then subsidize those purchases with a money off coupon.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by N10sive » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:12 pm

One of my biggest cuts right now to decrease my overall debt was in food. I used to eat out every meal and hardly cook. I think it averaged around 800 for a single person or around $25 per day. Seeing that my rent increased $350 a month I decided to start cooking my meals or eating more cheaply which includes things like PB and J sandwiches and a healthy dinner of vegetables and a protein in the evening. My first month I dropped to $400 or around $13 per day because I didn't quite totally not eat out and one extravagant dinner because friends were in town. This month I am on track for $200 dollars or $7 per day. Mind you I am not a very big breakfast person so this actually doesn't include breakfast for myself. Coffee and a protein bar are supplied at work for me.

Ironically I am pry eating healthier because of eating smaller meals and cooking more vegetables since they are relatively cheap. I imagine if I included non food items my monthly budget will changed every month because of supplies that are not necessarily needed every month.

But honestly OP the amount your spending is quite low for a family of 4 in my opinion. Unless you cook larger meals and have leftovers for days, I don't think you can cut much further.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by hoops777 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:12 pm

Is there anything more important than the food we eat?Personally the last thing I would cut myself or my family short on is food and the quality of the food.If you are struggling to survive financially,you do what you have to.I have been there so that I understand.
What I do not understand is someone with no money issues that for example buys farmed salmon vs the much healthier wild Alaskan salmon,or anything just because it is cheaper.If you can afford certified organic produce why buy regular produce?If you can afford meat without hormones,why buy the other?
I will make one last comment before I climb down off my soapbox :D
Sugar is now being recognized as the most damaging thing in our diets.There is so much just horrible stuff that is sold like soda,as one of the worst and most commonly consumed."Oh but I give my kids Diet Coke."Tell me one item of any nutritional value that is in diet soda.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by stoptothink » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:29 pm

hoops777 wrote:Is there anything more important than the food we eat?Personally the last thing I would cut myself or my family short on is food and the quality of the food.If you are struggling to survive financially,you do what you have to.I have been there so that I understand.
What I do not understand is someone with no money issues that for example buys farmed salmon vs the much healthier wild Alaskan salmon,or anything just because it is cheaper.If you can afford certified organic produce why buy regular produce?If you can afford meat without hormones,why buy the other?
I will make one last comment before I climb down off my soapbox :D
Sugar is now being recognized as the most damaging thing in our diets.There is so much just horrible stuff that is sold like soda,as one of the worst and most commonly consumed."Oh but I give my kids Diet Coke."Tell me one item of any nutritional value that is in diet soda.
You are bordering on getting this thread closed, but I'll bite. Fact of the matter is, especially with "organic", we are still very unclear if there is any benefit at all. My passion and career is health, but we're not in the income bracket where doubling (at the very least) what we spend on food, for possibly no benefit, makes sense. I feel pretty confident that despite not eating any organic or free range or specifically labeled hormone-free food, that my family has a "healthier" diet than 99% of the population.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by ray.james » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:43 pm

hoops777 wrote:Is there anything more important than the food we eat?Personally the last thing I would cut myself or my family short on is food and the quality of the food.If you are struggling to survive financially,you do what you have to.I have been there so that I understand.
What I do not understand is someone with no money issues that for example buys farmed salmon vs the much healthier wild Alaskan salmon,or anything just because it is cheaper.If you can afford certified organic produce why buy regular produce?If you can afford meat without hormones,why buy the other?
I will make one last comment before I climb down off my soapbox :D
Sugar is now being recognized as the most damaging thing in our diets.There is so much just horrible stuff that is sold like soda,as one of the worst and most commonly consumed."Oh but I give my kids Diet Coke."Tell me one item of any nutritional value that is in diet soda.
Hoops777, I think for most in this thread it is elastic consumption that is decreasing rather than inelastic(essential). Food tends to be the highest discretionary spending. So it attracts the attention from budgeting. One cannot change gas price, home rent, shopping items for the most part.

For our family, most of the saving came from eating at home than outside. Its a drive to reduce costs but also health. Planning meals helped with food wastage and buying only those which we needed. That in itself reduced cost by 15-20%! As we added family members we chose organic milk and organic produce in few specific vegetables. I chose oatmeal for health and that ended up "way" cheaper. Same with beans/eggs for fiber and protein as we made conscious effort for protein from plant and animal sources which ended up "much" cheaper.
Regarding specific examples from your case, I gave up shrimp to once a couple of months from every other week. It saves 30 bucks a month which is nothing for our income. I do not have an explanation but I get satisfaction. At the same time, we buy tropical varieties of guava and other exotic fruits at various farmers markets at exorbitant prices. These are new to our palate. No explanation their either :happy
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dm200
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:46 pm

In my opinion and experience, most of the "healthiest" food options are lower cost than things that are less than healthy. As I posted earlier, Quaker Oats at Costco is 80 cents a pound. A head of cabbage is well under $1 a pound. ... and so on.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by BW1985 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:03 pm

hoops777 wrote:Is there anything more important than the food we eat?Personally the last thing I would cut myself or my family short on is food and the quality of the food.If you are struggling to survive financially,you do what you have to.I have been there so that I understand.
What I do not understand is someone with no money issues that for example buys farmed salmon vs the much healthier wild Alaskan salmon,or anything just because it is cheaper.If you can afford certified organic produce why buy regular produce?If you can afford meat without hormones,why buy the other?
I will make one last comment before I climb down off my soapbox :D
Sugar is now being recognized as the most damaging thing in our diets.There is so much just horrible stuff that is sold like soda,as one of the worst and most commonly consumed."Oh but I give my kids Diet Coke."Tell me one item of any nutritional value that is in diet soda.
It's a value system like anything else, some don't perceive any value in the things you mention. They may not know the difference or might not care.

My wife worked for a family living in a 2.5M house and the whole family ate junk all day everyday. They could afford any food they wanted but they wanted junk.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by hoops777 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:59 am

I understand the issues and the points being made.I also understand there is difference of opinion about different types of food.
I was just a little annoyed when I heard multi millionaires buying food like they live on a minimum wage salary.Not a big deal.Whatever floats your boat.Hey Warren Buffet can spend $200 a month on food and drive a 20 year old Buick if he wants as longg as he doesn't brag about it :D

Understanding nutrition is a big deal.All it takes is a look at the general population of the U.S. to understand the problems associated with that.Since we were discussing food and saving money I thought that went hand in hand because they are closely related.Whatever our budget we have choices.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by stoptothink » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:01 am

hoops777 wrote:I understand the issues and the points being made.I also understand there is difference of opinion about different types of food.
I was just a little annoyed when I heard multi millionaires buying food like they live on a minimum wage salary.Not a big deal.
I understand the sentiment, health is my career, I am even a legit "fat doctor"( PhD in kinesiology - obesity studies), but why get annoyed at the choices of others? I find it more interesting that people will jump through insane hoops to churn credit cards and cut other expenses to the bone, but will spend hundreds or even thousands per month on inherently unhealthy practices such as eating out or alcohol. It can be very cheap to eat very healthy, I've taught classes publicly and for my megacorp's corporate wellness program on the topic, but you can't force people to care enough about their health to change their eating habits no matter how important it may be to you.

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dm200
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:06 am

My wife worked for a family living in a 2.5M house and the whole family ate junk all day everyday. They could afford any food they wanted but they wanted junk.
Of course, there is a lot of expensive "junk food" available as well.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by hoops777 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:40 pm

Stoptothink.....you are right.I guess what bothers me the most is when I see the parents buying the junk food for their kids and the cycle just continues.I have a 2 1/2 year old grandson who we were babysitting almost full time for most of his life,but just 2 days a week now.We were providing most of the food he consumed so it just really struck home with me.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by randomguy » Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:57 pm

hoops777 wrote:"Oh but I give my kids Diet Coke."Tell me one item of any nutritional value that is in diet soda.
Last I checked diet coke had a lot of H2O in it.:)

Seriously you want to spend money on food with minimal science (yes I have read the echo chamber articles. I have also seen the other ones) to back it up. Other people want to spend that money on music lessons. I am fine with either choice.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by czeckers » Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:07 pm

Family of 11. We spend about $2000/mo on food. Those teenagers sure do eat a lot. That puts us in the same ball park as the OP.

We grocery shop almost exclusively at Aldi's (a discount grocery chain) and to a lesser extent at Walmart. We've been able to also save a lot by developing relationships with farmers who live near us and thus we buy much of our produce directly from them. We buy a side of beef each year and that lasts us the entire year.

Still trying to figure out how to buy chicken breasts in bulk (without raising the chickens ourselves).

Other ways we have found to save money are: 1) we completely air-sealed the attic and upgraded the insulation which cut our heating bill by 33% and electric bill by 25% (reduced summer A/C). 2) we installed solar panels which, after incentives, will pay for themselves in 8.5 years. 3) we drive our cars for 10+ years. 4) We have cut the cable TV cord and rely on internet streaming (Netflix and Hulu) for our entertainment needs.

-K
The Espresso portfolio: | | 16% LCV, 16% SCV, 16% EM, 8% Int'l Value, 8% Int'l Sm, 8% US REIT, 8% Int'l REIT, 20% Inter-term US Treas | | "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

livesoft
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by livesoft » Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:17 pm

randomguy wrote:
hoops777 wrote:"Oh but I give my kids Diet Coke."Tell me one item of any nutritional value that is in diet soda.
Last I checked diet coke had a lot of H2O in it.:)
Right. If you live in Flint, Michigan, I would guess that the Diet Coke is better for you than the tap water.
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hoops777
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by hoops777 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:17 pm

Limited science?I do not need a 50 page research paper to explain why a pesticide free apple is better to consume than a donut and a Pepsi.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

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Hulahoop60
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Hulahoop60 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:36 pm

Double coupons. I save $30-$50 off every grocery bill & come home with free items every week. The key is to shop at a grocery store that doubles coupons, and use coupons on sale items to save even more. I shop at Shoprite and Stop and Shop, and brand name shampoo, body wash, toothpaste are often less than $1. I also log into their sites and add store coupons to my store card, so I can use a double manufacterer's coupon and a store coupon on the same item. There are websites that list the weekly sales at local grocery stores and give you a link to a printable coupon. Does take time to organize your coupons, but it feels great to see that total on the cash register lower. I often pay less than $1 for brand name laundry detergent, and stock up when I find a great deal. I even get free paper to print the coupons from Staples when they have a sale. CVS, Walgreens, and Target are other stores where coupons can be used advantageously. I once purchased $50 of merchandise at CVS for $2.00 using coupons and cash rewards, but was disappointed because one of my coupons didn't work. The price should have been lower!! :moneybag

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by drawpoker » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:54 pm

Apologize if this is repeating stuff that has already been posted - did not read thru the entire thread for lack of time =

1. If you have a SuperCenter Walmart close by, buy as much as you can there using your WalMart credit card. They promise 3% cash back on all purchases if you use their card.

2. Vigorously protest to manufacturers who issue coupons that state "No Doubling" if you use a regular supermarket that offers to double all coupons up to a dollar. More and more companies are distributing coupons in the Sunday newspaper inserts with this sh -#!&#*^! - ty rule printed on top very prominently.
Every time I see one of these - if there is a website that allows emails - I will be damned if I use a 800 # - I write and tell them I am boycotting any and all of their products because of this "No Doubling" b.s. coupon policy they have adopted. Will resume buying when they drop those type coupons.

3. When food shopping, always aim to Hit the Trifecta. Always.
Meaning - a) Only buy stuff that is on sale b) use a coupon c) pay with a card that gives cash back rewards

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

stoptothink
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by stoptothink » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:29 am

hoops777 wrote:Limited science?I do not need a 50 page research paper to explain why a pesticide free apple is better to consume than a donut and a Pepsi.
Not sure what you are referring to, and you are again bordering on getting this thread closed, but you do realize that pesticides are used in "organic" farming every bit as much as they are in "conventional" farming right? In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence that the most common pesticides used in organic farming may be worse for you than the ones used in conventional farming. Unless you grow it yourself, you really have no idea what you are putting in your body.

BW1985
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by BW1985 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:01 am

Hulahoop60 wrote:Double coupons. I save $30-$50 off every grocery bill & come home with free items every week. The key is to shop at a grocery store that doubles coupons, and use coupons on sale items to save even more. I shop at Shoprite and Stop and Shop, and brand name shampoo, body wash, toothpaste are often less than $1. I also log into their sites and add store coupons to my store card, so I can use a double manufacterer's coupon and a store coupon on the same item. There are websites that list the weekly sales at local grocery stores and give you a link to a printable coupon. Does take time to organize your coupons, but it feels great to see that total on the cash register lower. I often pay less than $1 for brand name laundry detergent, and stock up when I find a great deal. I even get free paper to print the coupons from Staples when they have a sale. CVS, Walgreens, and Target are other stores where coupons can be used advantageously. I once purchased $50 of merchandise at CVS for $2.00 using coupons and cash rewards, but was disappointed because one of my coupons didn't work. The price should have been lower!! :moneybag
You mention brand name, just want to point out that the brand name and store brand (private label) are usually the same thing with different packaging, if you're buying a big national brand that is. They usually make the product sold as the store brand as well. I've worked for one personal care company and two food companies, they all manufactured for store brands. The exception is if you're buying something from a smaller brand name for its unique ingredients.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by mnnice » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:19 am

BW1985 wrote:
Hulahoop60 wrote:Double coupons. I save $30-$50 off every grocery bill & come home with free items every week. The key is to shop at a grocery store that doubles coupons, and use coupons on sale items to save even more. I shop at Shoprite and Stop and Shop, and brand name shampoo, body wash, toothpaste are often less than $1. I also log into their sites and add store coupons to my store card, so I can use a double man

You mention brand name, just want to point out that the brand name and store brand (private label) are usually the same thing with different packaging, if you're buying a big national brand that is. They usually make the product sold as the store brand as well. I've worked for one personal care company and two food companies, they all manufactured for store brands. The exception is if you're buying something from a smaller brand name for its unique ingredients.
My SO/DH has also worked for multiple food companies. I am personally leary of anything that says Great Value on it. At one of DH's former employers they used as the main ingredient a special super cheap grade for the GV stuff that they didn't use on the Kroger, Target, Meijer or Albertson stuff.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Barefootgirl » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:31 pm

heaps of greens, oats, eggs, small fish, yogurt, fruit, water, tea, 1 or 2 cups coffee per day

These make up the bulk of my diet, with pasta or rice/beans and veggies and/or maybe some chicken or steak on the weekends.

These are not expensive - leaving me enough for the occasional meal out with friends or family.

By rotating different seasonal fruits and vegetables, you can virtually never have the same meal twice in a year, if monotony is your concern.

Make good use of spices and seasonings.

Bon Appetit.
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hoops777
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by hoops777 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:51 pm

I was referring to truly organic produce if you can find it.The main point about diet was not organic food but real food vs processed junk and drinks.Anyway I apologize for taking the thread off course.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

jackietreehorn
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by jackietreehorn » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:16 pm

Hulahoop60, thanks for the idea, I've never thought of sending Shop Rite coupons right to my card.

Splanchnic
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Splanchnic » Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:41 pm

stoptothink wrote:
hoops777 wrote:I understand the issues and the points being made.I also understand there is difference of opinion about different types of food.
I was just a little annoyed when I heard multi millionaires buying food like they live on a minimum wage salary.Not a big deal.
I find it more interesting that people will jump through insane hoops to churn credit cards and cut other expenses to the bone, but will spend hundreds or even thousands per month on inherently unhealthy practices such as eating out or alcohol.
Sorry to side track this a little but can you show me reliable evidence that moderate alcohol is "unhealthy?" I have certainly read piles of studies that demonstrate moderate alcohol consumption markedly reduces the incidence of vascular disease, the major killer in the western world, much more so than the ubiquitous statins. Just to be fair, you are stating you are an expert "fat doctor" PhD and I challenge that comment.

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by Barefootgirl » Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:00 pm

Please don't ask him for his thoughts as to whether or not moderate alcohol consumption is unhealthy. Firstly, it will get this helpful thread locked.

Secondly, he's just a person on the internet.

Why not seek professional opinions from sources that are revealed by real name? I don't know - maybe try the Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic or Universities of Oregon or Maryland. they have this type of advice/guidelines.

Be well.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

aboose
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by aboose » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:33 pm

Has anyone tried the HUGE commendation chocolate bar at trader Joe's?

Only 15 bucks for 32 pieces of chocolate. Each piece has 330 calories. That's 700 calories a dollar. Insane. Next best I can find is the dark chocolate lovers bar which are sold individually at 625 calories for 1.70 (~300cal/dollar)


There has to be a catch aside from the bulk packaging. Is this chocolate any good. Can't find a single mention or review of it on Google

BW1985
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by BW1985 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:20 am

aboose wrote:Has anyone tried the HUGE commendation chocolate bar at trader Joe's?

Only 15 bucks for 32 pieces of chocolate. Each piece has 330 calories. That's 700 calories a dollar. Insane. Next best I can find is the dark chocolate lovers bar which are sold individually at 625 calories for 1.70 (~300cal/dollar)


There has to be a catch aside from the bulk packaging. Is this chocolate any good. Can't find a single mention or review of it on Google
Can't say I have. I've never looked to try to maximize calories per dollar spent, to me that's a survival mode thing and I'm not in survival mode. I'm more focused on maximizing overall nutrition (and enjoyment) per $1 not just calories alone.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

lostdog
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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by lostdog » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:37 am

Do you have a Wal-Mart and Aldi?

The combination of the two should save you some money.

The great thing about Wal-mart is they display the price per ounce on their price tags. Pay attention to it as it will save you some money. I am noticing smaller packages are priced higher per ounce. Food companies are making a large profit from smaller packaging.

Excellent post by Clark Howard.

http://www.clark.com/grocery-shopping-guide

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Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:59 am

Splanchnic wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
hoops777 wrote:I understand the issues and the points being made.I also understand there is difference of opinion about different types of food.
I was just a little annoyed when I heard multi millionaires buying food like they live on a minimum wage salary.Not a big deal.
I find it more interesting that people will jump through insane hoops to churn credit cards and cut other expenses to the bone, but will spend hundreds or even thousands per month on inherently unhealthy practices such as eating out or alcohol.
Sorry to side track this a little but can you show me reliable evidence that moderate alcohol is "unhealthy?" I have certainly read piles of studies that demonstrate moderate alcohol consumption markedly reduces the incidence of vascular disease, the major killer in the western world, much more so than the ubiquitous statins. Just to be fair, you are stating you are an expert "fat doctor" PhD and I challenge that comment.
Another post that is likely to get this post shut down. BTW, I'm not sure what my education and professional expertise in obesity has to do with the question you asked, I sense a bit of unnecessary judgement in that comment. Nonetheless, I'll bite - a little. All the recent studies touting that alcohol consumption is indeed healthy are very correlative in nature, not isolating alcohol at all. Find me something that isn't using the premise that Europeans drink more than Americans and generally have better health outcomes as the "evidence" that alcohol has health benefits. Also, the free radical theory of aging has pretty much been debunked by modern science (I say this as someone who works for a company which makes hundreds of millions annually selling antioxidant supplements) so it isn't resveratrol - if alcohol consumption does provide health benefits, we have no idea why.

If you want to think alcohol consumption is good for your health and you consume because that is your belief, that's great, I disagree and modern science hasn't provided a definitive answer (when used "responsibly", both my brothers nearly died and suffer life-long consequences from irresponsible alcohol consumption but that is another story), but I was primarily speaking to the financial cost of alcohol. I don't believe it is necessary to provide evidence-based research to suggest alcohol is expensive.

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