What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

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mickeyd
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by mickeyd » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:01 pm

According to the Discover Card Spend Analyzer' we have averaged $600/month over a 48 month period for groceries. That's for two adults. Add another $100 for eating out.
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by lthenderson » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:02 pm

Here in rural Iowa, $500 per month is living high on the hog and eating out more than once a week with two adults and two children. We are what I call perimeter shoppers though in a grocery store. We go around the perimeter buying veggies, meats and dairy and avoid most of the middle aisles with processed foods which are much more expensive. In the winter when we don't go out nearly as much, $400 per month is probably about average.

However, in my trips to New York City and other large urban areas, I wouldn't be surprised to have a food bill like yours especially if you eat out a time or two a week. One of the reasons I'll let all you folks have it and just stay out here in no man's land.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by wander » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:06 pm

$200 per person per month.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Dimitri » Sat Aug 01, 2015 6:24 pm

Two adults - Las Vegas metropolitan area. $258.10/month in 2015 YTD July 31. $238.29/month in 2014. That is for all food and drink (at home and restaurants) but not for any toiletries. Now to be fair, my office buys lunch two days a week. My wife's employer has a heavily subsidized cafeteria. And we really enjoy shopping and getting great deals.
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by stoptothink » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:13 pm

This thread has been done several times. Ours is dramatically less than most on here, ~250-$325/month for a family of four (wife, 3yr old, 3-month old, and myself) in a medium COL area. My wife and I are also competitive athletes, we eat a lot and almost zero processed food. We've got it down to a science and also have the benefit of a local grocer which has regular sales on food we eat that are nearly unbelievable. If you are willing to eat the same meals pretty much every day, as we are, you can dramatically cut grocery costs. Food to us nourishment, not really pleasure.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by bottlecap » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:24 pm

I have to call B.S. on these threads. The low prices mentioned are usually understated and I don't care if you eat boringly. $8 per day for 2 or 3 people is impossible. If it is possible, the government is wasting a lot of money in assistance.

JT

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Watty
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Watty » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:35 pm

If you are not already doing it you should check the on-line prices for the organic food to see how that compares to the NYC store prices.

I was looking for a spice mix that I had bought once I could not find locally now and I was surprised at how much food was on Amazon and I would think there would be lots of other organic stores too.

I would suspect that you may be short on storage space in a NYC apartment so part of the reason that your costs might be high is that you are having not able to buy and store bulk items when they are on sale.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by FreeAtLast » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:43 pm

Retired and live alone in upstate NY. Can cook for myself Italian cuisine, learned at elbow of beloved nonna. Mostly pasta dishes, or chicken breasts and lean red meat. Refuse to buy cheap ingredients: only quality Romano and provolone cheeses, pepperoni, soppressata, capicola, olive oil, tuna fish, anchovies, etc.....this raises my grocery bill, but it's worth it. For the past year, about $165 per month. Wish I could find some good spinach noodles. I do buy some Boston Market microwaveable dinners, which are not too bad when you are in a hurry.
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:53 pm

FreeAtLast wrote:Retired and live alone in upstate NY. Can cook for myself Italian cuisine, learned at elbow of beloved nonna. Mostly pasta dishes, or chicken breasts and lean red meat. Refuse to buy cheap ingredients: only quality Romano and provolone cheeses, pepperoni, soppressata, capicola, olive oil, tuna fish, anchovies, etc.....this raises my grocery bill, but it's worth it. For the past year, about $165 per month. Wish I could find some good spinach noodles. I do buy some Boston Market microwaveable dinners, which are not too bad when you are in a hurry.
What? You don't make your own soppresata?

Here, try this for your spinach noodles: http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-spi ... les-159587
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:56 pm

StevenNJ1 wrote:So I started paying close attention to our family spending. We're a 2 adults and a 2yr old child. Living in NYC, monthly spending is $1,000 on food. Is this a lot? Keep in mind, food does not include restaurants or eating out. Just home food that I also take to work for lunch.

We try to eat well. Mostly buy organic food. Nothing pre-made. Wife cooks every day. Shopping at places like Trader Joes but not Whole foods. I am just curious what an average family of 3 spends.
No, you are shopping in NYC, do you think the rent for grocery stores is cheaper just because they sell food?
It's expensive to ship food to NYC, it's expensive to park (if you can find parking) instead the food delivery companies get ticketed just to make deliveries, it's expensive to sit in 2.5 hours worth of traffic driving down the West Side, or god forbid you get stuck in the Holland tunnel mess :oops: who do you think is paying for this? Why you are, of course.
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FreeAtLast
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by FreeAtLast » Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:15 pm

Grt2b: Before my nonna got too old to do it, I would watch her make her own pasta noodles. A lot of work! I will buy excellent ingredients, but I am way too lazy to make them. If you make your own salami, I am Very impressed. Maybe we should start another thread about cheap Italian cooking for the home. Since it involves saving money, I don't know if the mods could shut it down.
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:18 pm

bottlecap wrote:I have to call B.S. on these threads. The low prices mentioned are usually understated and I don't care if you eat boringly. $8 per day for 2 or 3 people is impossible. If it is possible, the government is wasting a lot of money in assistance.

JT
I have to call B.S. on these threads. The high prices mentioned are usually overstated and I don't care if you eat organic, free-range processed frozen food. $35 a day for 2 or 3 people is unreasonable.

And NYC is not just Manhattan.

Wasn't there a TV show where they gave contestants a $20 bill and said, "Go buy and prepare dinner with this $20"?
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by stoptothink » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:18 pm

bottlecap wrote:I have to call B.S. on these threads. The low prices mentioned are usually understated and I don't care if you eat boringly. $8 per day for 2 or 3 people is impossible. If it is possible, the government is wasting a lot of money in assistance.

JT
This thread has been done several times. I've even posted online ads for the grocery store we buy 98% of our food from along with a weekly grocery list because people didn't believe me. There is no BS, for the most part I am completely blown away by how much people actually spend on food considering the lengths they'll go to save in other ways. If our entire family of four ate whatever we wanted (regardless of cost), I can't imagine it would even exceed $800/month total and a lot of people are spending more than that. Organic produce, expensive cuts of meat, cheese, and alcohol are things we have no interest in - a major component.

And yes, IMO the government is wasting a ton of money on assistance. As has been mentioned in other threads, a large part of my previous job (health director for a large non-profit) was teaching low-income families to eat on a budget. At least in the four major metro areas I have lived in as an adult, it isn't that difficult (IMO) to eat off not much more than half of the SNAP benefits. I've taught thousands of families to do it. It's my experience that eating what they want is one thing most people will not compromise on, regardless of financial situation. It is definitely possible, whether you personally are willing to eat what that low of a budget affords is another story.
Last edited by stoptothink on Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:20 pm

Just had Chinese/Thai take-out for dinner for 3 adults with enough leftovers for 6 additional adult meals. Cost: $37, so about $4 a meal.
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by briansol » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:58 pm

I've been lurking here for a while... finally compelled to register.

I used to spend a LOT on food. I'm a clean food snob and never cut corners by buying the 'lesser' quality items, non-organic, etc etc.

I'm a single guy, so it's just me, but I was spending upwards of 150 a week on groceries at one point.
These days, I spend about 40-50 bucks. I get my paper goods at the wholesale club. i set it up so that unless unforeseen spills, etc happen, i rotate my TP vs my paper towel 'months' so i never have to buy both in one month.

I've found better ways to think beyond the individual meal.

For example, I could buy a pack of chicken breast for $7 and it's 1 meal. Or, i can buy a whole chicken for $10 and it lasts for 2 dinners and misc left overs for a few sandwiches or salad topping for a couple lunches.

Selecting veggies is huge- you can pay double for things like 'peppers' and other things that have seeds inside. There's a LOT of wasted weight inside and finding the ones that are less seedy save a few bucks on the scale. Broccoli- same thing, search for the one cut at a decent length.

Same applies for steaks.... you're buying the ring of fat the butcher was too lay to fully trim off. or that bone-in cut that has a HUGE bone in it, you' paying extra for food you can't eat. I'm not a big red meat guy these days, so i don't spend much in this area.

Never buy things like grapes or cherries. They aren't that important to your diet, and they weigh a 'bunch'. $10 for an average order is just ridiculous.

The only beverage i buy is almond milk. Otherwise, i just drink water.

Oatmeal was brought up- don't buy the individual 10-packs. buy a 'quart' of it. the unit price is 10x cheaper. You can add in your own brown sugar, or berries, etc. I don't eat it much. i'm more of a banana and protein shake guy for breakfast.

I spend about $15 on lunch for the week. a big tub of mixed lettuce, ($5) a couple peppers ($2) mushrooms ($2) hummus ($5, but lasts 2 weeks) tofu ($3) and a dressing ($4, but also lasts 2+ weeks) and sprinkle some of the above chicken on it for the first few days. sometimes i throw in a hardboiled egg.

I eat out monday's because i play a team sport right after work, so it's an on the road meal. I'll get a burrito from chipotle or something. $10
The rest of the week, I'll have the left over chicken for one meal, i pick up some fish at the store again mid week usually... < $5 for a half pound of something. A zucchini or other veggie is a buck and lasts a few days. I'll do a veggie meal one day, add some of the lunch tofu or something. Brown rice is a staple in my house. A 20lb bag lasts a long time. translates into pennies a week. Weekends i usually eat out, or am at friend's places for dinner parties, etc.

Some may find this boring. I get bored of it sometimes too. But, it's pretty healthy and cost-effective to the budget.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Dimitri » Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:18 pm

A lot of the world eats rice every day. What does a bag cost? $35 or so for 50# of Thai Hom Mali Jasmine Rice at Costco. There is the cornerstone of your diet. Congee in the morning and stir-fry for dinner (or rice on the side of something else). If you don't like rice in the morning substitute oatmeal or cereal. Or an egg or yogurt and a banana. Real easy (in my opinion) for two people to eat for under $300/month. And that includes alcohol. Now admittedly, if I drank Pappy Van Winkle every night that would go up. But most nights I'm happy with a taste of Evan Williams which on sale I can pick up a 1.75l for $12.99.
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by celia » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:10 am

OP, Is the $1,000 really just for food or does it also include liquor, diapers, paper goods, make-up, magazines, lottery tickets, laundry detergent, and/or pet food?
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by ks289 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:29 am

I do not call BS on either end, since our family has transitioned from one extreme to the other over time. Many of the factors above (geography, etc) but mostly just a result of change in diet.
Shifting away from carbs can jack up costs because getting more calories from cereal/bread/rice/pasta tends to be much cheaper than produce and fish and meat. Yes we could just get our protein from beans, but I do not particularly like beans. Natural and organic also are pricier.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:34 am

ks289 wrote:Shifting away from carbs can jack up costs because getting more calories from cereal/bread/rice/pasta tends to be much cheaper than produce and fish and meat. Yes we could just get our protein from beans, but I do not particularly like beans. Natural and organic also are pricier.
The same is true for me. I don't eat carbs and pay extra for fresh produce and chicken/fish/meat. Most of my food is organic. I drink kefir to feed my gut microbiome and I drink European mineral water as a beverage. Whatever extra I spend on groceries, in comparison to cereal/bread/rice/pasta, I save many times over on my healthcare cost and lower-cost lifestyle. I am not taking any medications, and all my biomarkers are excellent.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by engineer1969 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:38 am

wander wrote:$200 per person per month.
+1 we spend about this on average including fast food excursions. We have a separate budget line for sit down dining.
{edit] we live in the dc area and have 3 pets...

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by jridger2011 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:03 am

stoptothink wrote:
bottlecap wrote:I have to call B.S. on these threads. The low prices mentioned are usually understated and I don't care if you eat boringly. $8 per day for 2 or 3 people is impossible. If it is possible, the government is wasting a lot of money in assistance.

JT
This thread has been done several times. I've even posted online ads for the grocery store we buy 98% of our food from along with a weekly grocery list because people didn't believe me. There is no BS, for the most part I am completely blown away by how much people actually spend on food considering the lengths they'll go to save in other ways. If our entire family of four ate whatever we wanted (regardless of cost), I can't imagine it would even exceed $800/month total and a lot of people are spending more than that. Organic produce, expensive cuts of meat, cheese, and alcohol are things we have no interest in - a major component.

And yes, IMO the government is wasting a ton of money on assistance. As has been mentioned in other threads, a large part of my previous job (health director for a large non-profit) was teaching low-income families to eat on a budget. At least in the four major metro areas I have lived in as an adult, it isn't that difficult (IMO) to eat off not much more than half of the SNAP benefits. I've taught thousands of families to do it. It's my experience that eating what they want is one thing most people will not compromise on, regardless of financial situation. It is definitely possible, whether you personally are willing to eat what that low of a budget affords is another story.
Years ago I was reading about Cory Booker and his attempt at using SNAP. He obviously survived in the week he tried it. He later gave an interview saying although it is not impossible, it required a lot of planning to stretch the money, and he grew tired of taste since he could not "switch it up" midweek.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Minsc » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:08 am

Our family of 5 is around 1500 per month

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by killjoy2012 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:12 am

I think a lot of people underestimate how much they actually spend on food. At least those of us who do not track spend & budget tightly.

$1000 sounds like a lot. But...
$1000 / 3 people / 3 meals per day == ~ $3.70/meal/person

Good luck with that, esp in NYC.
My COL is much lower than NYC, and I spend more $10/day. Then again I'm single and don't have the time or SO to cook 3 meals a day from scratch. One meal (cafeteria lunch) and you're busted.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Durzo » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:28 am

livesoft wrote:Just had Chinese/Thai take-out for dinner for 3 adults with enough leftovers for 6 additional adult meals. Cost: $37, so about $4 a meal.
Livesoft,

You seem to fully believe that everyone can do this. I believe you have/can do it, but I do not think it is reasonable to believe everyone can do this. You are at one end of a wide spectrum. There are people at the other end as well.

This morning I finished my weekly long run. It was 18 miles with 10 of them being very fast. The 90 minutes following the run I probably ate 3-5 of your take out "meals". This week I ran 72 miles and hit the weight room three times. Your take out order of 9 meals should be about three days worth of food correct? Do you think it would last me the full three days? How about one? How long do you think I could keep on training with your meals?

Now obviously that is one far end of the spectrum, but the point is that there is a spectrum. For example people have suggested oatmeal and a banana for breakfast. I eat that every morning, but that's only the start for me. Oatmeal + banana would barely tickle my belly on most days.

Back to the OP. I spend around 300 for a single person. So while not completely out this world $1000 for three is quiet a bit. There is probably some room to trim if you look.

-Joey

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Hayden » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:51 am

I spend countless hours looking for ways to save a few bucks (reduce taxes, etc). Then, we go out to dinner several times a week. We spend much more than $1000/month on food. That's probably a fertile area for my future analysis.

But ultimately, it's all part of a larger process of setting your priorities and aligning your spending with your priorities. My priority is my health, so I try not to scrimp on health related purchases (eg, my CSA for fresh veggies each week).

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by briansol » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:09 pm

You also can't put a price tag on "living". What's the point of living so frugally that by the time you retire, you haven't done ANYTHING?

no one dies saying "gee, i did too much.".

find your balance to enjoy your life and prepare for the future as well. You might get hit by a bus tonight. You might live to 99.


you won't find me at a $50 steak place. But I do enjoy going to ethnic restaurants. It's amazing what $9 will get you.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by livesoft » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:11 pm

Joey, this morning I did not exercise at much as you did, but I did run 4 miles, then I walked the dog 4 miles, then I did yard work. I am about to take my 2nd shower of the day. Last week, I rode my bike about 20 to 40 miles for each of the week days averaging a slow 18-20 mph (I am not in racing condition). I did lose a couple of pounds, but I put them back on after my big Chinese meal last night.

I do eat oatmeal+walnuts+protein powder for breakfast which I noted is about 50 cents.

When I get back from the wilderness later this month, I will happily participate in a thread where folks post their receipts and photos of their meals, but to give an example of what I mean below is the fifth and sixth meals from the take-out last night that I am about to eat for lunch. There are still plenty of leftovers.

Image

Clearly, people burning the calories need to eat more calories. I suggest you eat chocolate w/almond candy bars.

Added: I could not finish my lunch meal and only ate half so it is really 2 meals, but the photo has the same portion sizes as the meal I ate last night. No wonder I gained weight!
Last edited by livesoft on Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by SamB » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:17 pm

There is no way that I could even start to form an impression before analyzing the nutrient content (macro and micro) of the food that you buy. Forget the take-out/restaurant comparisons. If you are eating the most nutrient dense foods, and you can relate it to your health, especially your children, then whatever you are paying is appropriate. However, if you are eating low nutrient dense food, and paying for just taste, if that, then you need to adjust your spending and choices. "Organic" could mean anything. In fact, the processed food companies are beginning to buy up the organic suppliers. People are migrating away from the aisles and toward the periphery in supermarkets. The big suppliers are catching on, so they want to own the periphery as well.

Don't skimp on food, as long as it is the best, most nutritious that you can buy. I firmly believe that most chronic disease has its origin in the food supply, and there have been huge changes in what people eat in the last half century.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by rgs92 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:18 pm

I think the trick is to eat quality stuff but avoid overpriced things where you pay for hype. Like organic produce and gluten-free is not worth it. Fresh produce and whole-grain things and are fine. Fresh fish and out-of-season berries are more expensive, but worth it for healthy/happy eating. (Sorry for the value judgments, but I think the principle is sound, and you can plug in your own food preferences.) I don't drink much, but to me you can get a decent bottle of wine for the price of a fancy Starbucks drink, like $5.99 +/-.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Durzo » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:32 pm

livesoft wrote:Joey, this morning I did not exercise at much as you did, but I did run 4 miles, then I walked the dog 4 miles, then I did yard work. I am about to take my 2nd shower of the day. Last week, I rode my bike about 20 to 40 miles for each of the week days averaging a slow 18-20 mph (I am not in racing condition). I did lose a couple of pounds, but I put them back on after my big Chinese meal last night.

I do eat oatmeal+walnuts+protein powder for breakfast which I noted is about 50 cents.

When I get back from the wilderness later this month, I will happily participate in a thread where folks post their receipts and photos of their meals, but to give an example of what I mean below is the fifth meal from the take-out last night that I am about to eat for lunch. There are still plenty of leftovers.

Image

Clearly, people burning the calories need to eat more calories. I suggest you eat chocolate w/almond candy bars.
I had overlooked that you mentioned this idea earlier as well. I would really appreciate a thread of this sort. Maybe the op and others could benefit as well. Specifically I have only been on my own/out of school less than two months; I was surprised how pricey it was at first. I will make sure to start a thread once I see you posting again.

I also agree with your chocolate w/almond candy bars idea. I make my own protein bars and almonds + dark chocolate are two ingredients I always include.

-Joey

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by SamB » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:38 pm

livesoft wrote:Joey, this morning I did not exercise at much as you did, but I did run 4 miles, then I walked the dog 4 miles, then I did yard work. I am about to take my 2nd shower of the day. Last week, I rode my bike about 20 to 40 miles for each of the week days averaging a slow 18-20 mph (I am not in racing condition). I did lose a couple of pounds, but I put them back on after my big Chinese meal last night.

I do eat oatmeal+walnuts+protein powder for breakfast which I noted is about 50 cents.

When I get back from the wilderness later this month, I will happily participate in a thread where folks post their receipts and photos of their meals, but to give an example of what I mean below is the fifth meal from the take-out last night that I am about to eat for lunch. There are still plenty of leftovers.

Image

Clearly, people burning the calories need to eat more calories. I suggest you eat chocolate w/almond candy bars.
It sure sounds like you are counting calories. Give it up. 3500 Kcal does not equate to one pound of fat, and there is no study, either starvation or substantial overeating that has ever come close to establishing that relationship, and I mean ever. If you attempt to sort out 9kcal/g for fat, 4kcal/g for carbs, etc. you will end up in a maize of inconsistencies (It is not necessarily 9 or 4). Of course 9x454 does not equal 3500 and then you can sort out what percentage of adipose tissue is attributed to fat. It varies. One British nutritionist claims that the 3500 Kcal formula had its origin in a diet book in the early 20th century. The author claimed you could lose 2 oz of fat by decreasing consumption by 500 Kcal. Of course this does not work out without making assumptions about percentage of fat in adipose tissue. None of this violates the first law of thermodynamics, however. But the diet industry has managed to garner at least 50 billion dollars per year by running what amounts to a perpetual motion machine scam. They never heard of the second law, and apparently neither has most of the population.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by lama55 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:42 pm

I spend around $1000 a month with 2 people, but I am pretty active and on a Paleo AIP diet which is $$$. That $1000 is in European capital cities, if we are in a secondary city it drops to ~750 a month. I don't think 1000 is that crazy if you eat well, ie, meat, veggies, and fruit. If you eat delicious bread and a normal american diet it can be cheaper.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by livesoft » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:48 pm

SamB wrote:It sure sounds like you are counting calories.
Believe me, if I am counting calories it is to keep from losing weight!
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by livesoft » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:17 pm

rgs92 wrote:Fresh fish and out-of-season berries are more expensive, but worth it for healthy/happy eating.
I tend not to eat expensive out-of-season berries, but when they are in season and less expensive, then I am eating them in massive quantities. For instance, there is a blueberry farm/orchard near us and my spouse will go pick a few pounds a few times in season, so for a few weeks in June and July we are gorging on blueberries. Here is a post with a photo of said blueberries from last year: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 6#p2088546

We will not be eating blueberries from September to May. Cherries have a short season when they are least expensive, too. We have an orange tree and oranges are inexpensive in season. A few fruits are always in season and inexpensive: bananas, strawberries, and apples since they are grown worldwide and ship easily. Grapes are also nothing special.

Same goes for vegetables. Asparagus has a season. We will not be buying asparagus out of season.

But I am curious, what out-of-season berries do you buy? I just cannot imagine that I would ever need to do that, but maybe I am missing out on something?
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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by ram » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:29 pm

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicd ... ly-chart-5

The US spends 7% of household income on food. Assuming a household median income of 50,000 that will be 3500/yr or 300 /month. Now I realize that this board does not represent average US income. So presumably 1000/ mo groceries would be appropriate for a household with an income of 150-200K.

In my own house the percentage of income spent on groceries as a % age of total income has substantially decreased as our income increased. It is only in the developing world that you see more than 25% budget going to food (which is what 1000per month / median US household income is).

A few students at Univ of Wisconsin, Madison lived on a daily food budget of $1.50 for 1 to 2 weeks last year. They raised a sizable amount of money for a project in sub saharan africa by bringing to attention that the equivalent of this is what the beneficiaries in Africa were living on (for food). More than 90% of these students' calories during this time came from home cooked rice and beans.
Ram

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by SamB » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:19 pm

livesoft wrote:
SamB wrote:It sure sounds like you are counting calories.
Believe me, if I am counting calories it is to keep from losing weight!
If you do not have a ready explanation for this, I would go ask a doctor. I doubt that it relates to the quantity of food eaten or how much you exercise.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Balance » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:24 pm

2 Adults
1 2 year old child

We spend anywhere between $1200-1500/month
We eat organic, grass fed, free range, wild caught, fresh fruit and veggies etc. We utilize Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Safeway and try to buy in bulk/deals. We take our lunch to work and eat out only a couple times a week as a splurge. But otherwise, all meals are home cooked. It's a lifestyle decision for us and so far we are all very healthy and can't complain except for the sticker shock :) We live in the Bay Area too where everything is pretty expensive.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by stoptothink » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:35 pm

jridger2011 wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
bottlecap wrote:I have to call B.S. on these threads. The low prices mentioned are usually understated and I don't care if you eat boringly. $8 per day for 2 or 3 people is impossible. If it is possible, the government is wasting a lot of money in assistance.

JT
This thread has been done several times. I've even posted online ads for the grocery store we buy 98% of our food from along with a weekly grocery list because people didn't believe me. There is no BS, for the most part I am completely blown away by how much people actually spend on food considering the lengths they'll go to save in other ways. If our entire family of four ate whatever we wanted (regardless of cost), I can't imagine it would even exceed $800/month total and a lot of people are spending more than that. Organic produce, expensive cuts of meat, cheese, and alcohol are things we have no interest in - a major component.

And yes, IMO the government is wasting a ton of money on assistance. As has been mentioned in other threads, a large part of my previous job (health director for a large non-profit) was teaching low-income families to eat on a budget. At least in the four major metro areas I have lived in as an adult, it isn't that difficult (IMO) to eat off not much more than half of the SNAP benefits. I've taught thousands of families to do it. It's my experience that eating what they want is one thing most people will not compromise on, regardless of financial situation. It is definitely possible, whether you personally are willing to eat what that low of a budget affords is another story.
Years ago I was reading about Cory Booker and his attempt at using SNAP. He obviously survived in the week he tried it. He later gave an interview saying although it is not impossible, it required a lot of planning to stretch the money, and he grew tired of taste since he could not "switch it up" midweek.

Link: http://economy.money.cnn.com/2012/11/21 ... ood-stamp/
How many celebrities have we seen do this? IMO, their experiences and opinions are pretty much irrelevant. Not only are SNAP benefits designed as a supplement, not to totally replace all of a household's spending on food, but my family subsists on half of the SNAP allowance in my state (currently $649/month) and I have taught countless actual low-income families to do the same as part of my previous job. We do it not out of necessity, but because it is an avenue to save a lot of money we can use for other things we enjoy more - we are definitely outliers in that food isn't that big of a source of pleasure for us. We aren't starving either, I am over 200lbs and a former competitive powerlifter, my wife is a pretty competitive distance runner (mostly 5k and 10K) who runs over 40 miles a week. Yeah, it takes planning; if others are paying for your food, I would expect that some planning and sacrifice are part of the equation. I would expect some planning would be part of a family's food buying regardless of their financial situation. I'm not trying to belittle anybody who spends much more on food than us, people have different priorities; but it most definitely is possible.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Caduceus » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:48 pm

I spend about $450-$500 a month on food for one person, but I never cook. All meals are take-out, or quickly prepared meals (like yogurt with fruit, salads, oatmeal, etc.) Now that I am trying to increase my veggie/fruits intake, it is about $600 a month.

I think most foods have an implicit "cost" or "benefit" to them beyond the sticker price. I could probably lower my grocery bills if I ate more processed/canned stuff instead of fresh produce. But what's the true health-adjusted price of whatever it is you are buying/eating?

My area is expensive, or I would eat more sushi instead of Chinese/Indian take-out, which are often very oily/buttery. The portions are huge, and usually enough for two meals, but Chinese places tend to use copious amounts of oil, even when I tell them not to.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by MP173 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:27 pm

Great discussion.

Makes me glad to have the 800 sq ft of garden we have. Not sure if it is organic or not (probably not if I dont know), but the vegetables are fresh. There is nothing quite like walking out to the garden for salad ingredients or freshly dug potatoes. Our food bill drops dramatically in the summer.

That being said, I have noticed food prices are starting to move upward, perhaps it is a local matter as the market I use has gone "full service" with bagging and carryout service.

Does NYC have Aldi?

Ed

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by stoptothink » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:38 pm

MP173 wrote:Great discussion.

Makes me glad to have the 800 sq ft of garden we have. Not sure if it is organic or not (probably not if I dont know), but the vegetables are fresh. There is nothing quite like walking out to the garden for salad ingredients or freshly dug potatoes. Our food bill drops dramatically in the summer.
My mother has a very extensive garden. According to her, the cost of maintaining the garden is far more than it would cost to simply buy the produce from the store. It's a hobby for her.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by wolingfeng » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:21 pm

You can definitely save quite a bit if you want to shop in places like Chinatown... The Chinese supermarkets meat and produce are way cheaper than Trader Joes or even whole food, unless you care so much about organic food. I don't think their quality are that much different unless you're a professional chef or something that could tell the difference in ingredients. At least i remembered when I went to check out Trader Joes' organic chicken breast, they're like 6.99 per lb vs typical 1.99 per lb I buy. I mean that's a lot more expensive for me. I buy fresh salmon from Chinese supermarket for 5.99 per lb. But hey, after all it's a personal choice.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by jjface » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:20 pm

livesoft wrote:Just had Chinese/Thai take-out for dinner for 3 adults with enough leftovers for 6 additional adult meals. Cost: $37, so about $4 a meal.
Fortune cookies do not count as a meal
Just joking of course. I love chinese takeaway... lasts forever

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by TxAg » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:35 pm

I don't keep track of what we spend per month. We are two adults, a toddler, and a dog.

We eat and drink what we want when we want. We like healthy but splurge for pizza and craft beer at times. We drink wine out of a box. We aren't afraid to eat leftovers. We should cook more often. The kiddo gets organic milk per my wife.

We save money in many ways, but I don't lose any sleep over our food/drink bill. One of our small pleasures in life.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by fidobogo » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:53 pm

One person in a HCOL, my median monthly total for groceries, takeout, and coffee (excluding social dining out) is about $230. Range for last 12 months is $161.79 to $384.28.

Before I ran a GnuCash report just now, I guessed I was probably close to $300/mo., so these numbers are a pleasant surprise.

Looks like takeout is the most expensive contributor, when it happens. Morning coffee is a big contributor, whether brewing at home (supposedly fair-trade beans, milk, sweetener) or takeout.

With my current habits, I could get to median $200 with very little effort. Getting below that, however, it gets uncomfortable, with flashbacks to grad school frugality. With my current much better financial situation, I'd actually rather budget $300/mo., and eat a lot more fresh vegetables and fruits.

Just some context, if it matters: I'm car-less in a pricey but walkable neighborhood, and almost all of the grocery options are about the same prices as Whole Foods, and the farmers' markets are about the same prices. The metro area has surplus wholesale produce markets (where a few of the farmers' market vendors secretly source), but transportation and time costs make those not a good deal. Similarly, friends with farm shares I've seen around here take big time commitment to cook whatever the farm/coop gives you (or has available to pick from, for your allowance for the period) before it spoils, and seem more of a lifestyle or a philosophical societal investment, than a way to save money.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by SimonJester » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:02 am

I believe people do not compare apples to apples in these discussions. One group may be counting everything they purchase at a grocery store to include paper products, OTC medicines, chewing gum.. etc. Others may only be including food items.

Also do not forget some may be including sales tax in their overall "grocery" number and that can very greatly from region to region...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:16 am

wolingfeng wrote:You can definitely save quite a bit if you want to shop in places like Chinatown... The Chinese supermarkets meat and produce are way cheaper than Trader Joes or even whole food, unless you care so much about organic food. I don't think their quality are that much different unless you're a professional chef or something that could tell the difference in ingredients. At least i remembered when I went to check out Trader Joes' organic chicken breast, they're like 6.99 per lb vs typical 1.99 per lb I buy. I mean that's a lot more expensive for me. I buy fresh salmon from Chinese supermarket for 5.99 per lb. But hey, after all it's a personal choice.
Yep, 99 Ranch Market was my secret to savings in both Southern California and Houston. We don't have one here (Utah), but we do have what may be a better (more economical) option. The cost difference in produce can be pretty insane depending on where you shop. Last Thursday during our regular bi-weekly shopping trip we picked up honeycrisp apples at our usual grocer for $.68/lb then went right around the corner to Sprouts (comparable to Whole Foods) because they had chicken breast on sale for $1.79/lb (plus students get 10% discount on Thursdays, my wife is a part-time student). At Sprouts, honeycrisps were $3.79/lb.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Confused » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:23 am

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by randomguy » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:51 am

SamB wrote:
livesoft wrote:
SamB wrote:It sure sounds like you are counting calories.
Believe me, if I am counting calories it is to keep from losing weight!
If you do not have a ready explanation for this, I would go ask a doctor. I doubt that it relates to the quantity of food eaten or how much you exercise.
Losing weight when training is a common problem for endurance athletes. It gets hard when you need to eat 4k+ calories/day and you are not willing to eat junk food. People talk about strugglig to lose wieght just through exercise. Pretty much none of them are doing enough.:) When you start getting 60+ mins of intense aerobic exercise, maintaining weight is a chore for most people.

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Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

Post by Miakis » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:21 am

bottlecap wrote:I have to call B.S. on these threads. The low prices mentioned are usually understated and I don't care if you eat boringly. $8 per day for 2 or 3 people is impossible. If it is possible, the government is wasting a lot of money in assistance.

JT
It's not BS - but it does take a lot of effort to get a food budget that low. At one point, my husband and I challenged ourselves to reduce our food budget (we were spending between $800-$1000 on food - grocery+restaurant when we tracked our budget - for two people). It felt extreme. We realized that we could eat out every single day on our food budget (in our area, we could), so we had to wonder at what was happening with our meal planning and grocery shopping!

We bought some extreme-frugal cooking books and really targeted our per-meal budget. Coincidentally, it was $8 per day. $5 for dinner, $3 for lunch and breakfast. Meals were supposed to be sufficient to save us from snacking. We stuck to it strictly for 4-5 months. It was work. I often had to abandon a meal plan at the grocery store because a key ingredient was too expensive. Rice, beans and cheap vegetables were our cornerstones. At the time, we still ate meat.

We often had leftovers for lunch, but I also made cheap burritos in bulk to freeze that we brought to work. I think my per burrito cost was something like 60c (less if I could get the tortillas on sale). Breakfast was usually yogurt+dried fruit, but also sometimes milk+cereal.

We have bounced back from our low extreme. Our budget increase is mostly from eating out, but also from fancy cheese and more expensive veggies (CSA). What didn't creep back in was dessert every day, snacks, soda, juice, cookies, etc. I can't say we really missed that stuff once it was gone.

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