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Monthly Grocery Budget

KelseyRLKelseyRL Member Posts: 123 Member Member Posts: 123 Member
Hey,
I was wondering how much people generally spend on groceries. I manage the money in our house and I feel like my husband and I spend a huge amount on food. We've kind of attempted to reduce it in the past, but we never tried too hard and have never been successful.

I read the average in Alberta (the province I live in) is $240 per person per month. My husband and I spend at least double that every month and it's usually just the 2 of us. This doesn't include eating out or purchases at the liquor store.

So, what do you spend on groceries on average and if you spend less, how?! I'm looking for any tips to reduce our monthly grocery budget (but I am going to say that I'm not a couponer).

Thanks for the replies!
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Replies

  • browneyes1520browneyes1520 Member Posts: 94 Member Member Posts: 94 Member
    I live in Saskatchewan and food is very expensive here. Weare a family of 4 and I easily spend between 200 - 250 every single week on groceries. And that's just buying what we need for the week and no extra treats or anything "junkie" so just fruits and veg, whole graims, a bit of dairy and a teeny tiny bit of meat (I don't buy much meat Cuz my husband hunts so we usually have deer in the freezer to eat ). I have tried and tried to reduce our grocery bill but its just so expensive for everything here. What I spend also doesn't include 1 take out meal a week and any alcohol we may buy (this is only occasional) or my monthly Costco trip
  • alondrakayyalondrakayy Member Posts: 304 Member Member Posts: 304 Member
    3 person household - $160 per week. We eat out maybe 2-3x on the weekend. Idk, we eat quite a bit so towards the end of the week our fridge is empty.
  • kommodevarankommodevaran Member Posts: 17,891 Member Member Posts: 17,891 Member
    I live in Oslo, Norway, I live alone, and I spend around the equivalent of 300 Canadian dollars per month on food and other normal groceries. 240 would be difficult for me, and a bit sad, but perhaps it's possible for a couple, per person. I rarely eat out and I don't drink alcohol. I plan my meals to aim to avoid waste, I cook a lot from scratch, and I eat simple, but healthy and tasty meals. I have a range of staples in my pantry, fridge and freezer, and my monthly expenses include the refilling. I usually shop for groceries twice per week and avoid impulse purchases. We don't coupon to any extent here, but I do read through the flyers before I finish my shopping list and look for good bargains. I avoid everything that is hyped and overpriced, and buy cheap foods more often than luxury items, compare prices per kilo, but also take into consideration how many portions an item will yield. I portion and freeze whenever that's necessary, and take up to thaw overnight to cook from fresh. It's really about getting in a routine you like and know what you're doing and why.
  • OregonMotherOregonMother Member Posts: 1,113 Member Member Posts: 1,113 Member
    In the pacific northwest, $200 a week, for a family of four. We rarely eat out -- hubby and I have "date night" once a week and bring take out back for the boys. $800 a month for food seems outrageous to me, but maybe not so bad after all.
  • zdyb23456zdyb23456 Member Posts: 1,706 Member Member Posts: 1,706 Member
    I budget $500 a month that includes everything - food, toiletries, vitamins, paper products, cleaning products, batteries, printer ink/paper, Sams club membership fee, basically anything that is purchased at the grocery store or Sam's club.

    Eating out is separate and we only eat out or get takeaway a few times a month.

    I just checked my budget for last year and we averaged $460 a month. To be fair my husband travels a lot for work so it's just me and 3 kids under 8.
  • KelseyRLKelseyRL Member Posts: 123 Member Member Posts: 123 Member
    @browneyes1520 - I also find groceries expensive here in Alberta. But I still think my husband and I are doing something wrong. We spend on average about what your family of 4 is spending and that seems a little crazy to me. We also don't buy many pre-packaged foods, mostly fresh produce, dairy, and meat/fish. My husband's family does hunt but he's been out of it for a while. I think this year he'll try for a deer and that will help with meat purchases.

    @alondrakayy - We might need to do more of the "we only buy groceries once a week and at the end of the week just eat whatever happens to be in the fridge" kind of approach. We're bad for thinking of something we want for supper and then buying just the stuff for that even if we have other stuff in the fridge. We we're doing meal planning a couple months ago, and while it did cut down on waste a lot, it still didn't change our spending much. Maybe I need to look at different food plans that have less expensive meals.

    @kommodevaran - I totally agree with the idea that developing a routine is important. We've only been in our house since mid-March and before that we we're staying with family after a move and renovation, so we've only had a couple months to settle into living on our own again. Summer's a challenge too as we camp a lot and need different groceries for that, and there's lots of potlucks and BBQs that can throw off our planning. Maybe things will be more stable in the winter. I think we just need to put more planning into things. It seems that's that solution to a lot of problems, but it's not always the solution people want to hear :smile:
  • NinkyouNinkyou Member Posts: 6,666 Member Member Posts: 6,666 Member
    I usually spend between $75-$160/week for a household of 5 (soon to be 6), but that will also include household items (toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, soap, diapers, etc). I shop the grocer's ad every week and pair sales with coupons.
  • KelseyRLKelseyRL Member Posts: 123 Member Member Posts: 123 Member
    In the pacific northwest, $200 a week, for a family of four. We rarely eat out -- hubby and I have "date night" once a week and bring take out back for the boys. $800 a month for food seems outrageous to me, but maybe not so bad after all.

    Yeah, we're over $800 a month and for 2. It does seem outrageous. This is something we've struggled with for quite a few years, but in past year we earned more so it was easier to overlook. Now that our jobs have changed and we're not making the same money, it's time to finally deal with this.
  • KelseyRLKelseyRL Member Posts: 123 Member Member Posts: 123 Member
    @JeromeBarry1 - I don't think we throw out that much stuff, although my husband does most of the cooking/fridge clearing, so maybe I'm out of the loop on how much waste we really have. I find too that we seem to pay for convenience to some extent. Powdered milk and home-made yogurt may be cheaper, but I don't think we would find the time trade-off worth it. I guess it can't be convenient and cheap.

    @zdyb23456 and @Ninkyou - that seems insane to me. I've always been amazed and what people can feed families of 5 or 6 on, considering how much we spend on 2. We don't have Sam's Club but it would probably be worth it to get a Costco membership. It's just balancing the waste that can come with buying larger quantities for 2 people. My in-laws have a membership and we've gone with them and bought large portions of meat and things so we can freeze it. I thought that would cut down on the next month's spending, but nope. We just seem to find other grocery things to buy even though we did well at eating the frozen meat.

    Most of what I'm reading from everyone's responses seem to line up with "have a plan and follow it". I guess we'll just have to work harder at that. We're generally okay at making a plan, but I'm realizing we come up short on following it a lot of the time. At least I have a place to start working from now.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,890 Member Member Posts: 3,890 Member
    Never added it all up but it's not enough to concern myself about.

    I live alone but buy a lot in bulk and what I buy that way will last me months and sometimes even a year or more depending on what it is. Some weeks I buy nothing than some bananas that just cost me $1 all week. Then again, if I buy a lot of meat or canned goods at Costco, I can spend $200+ at a time.

    It just depends but I am gnerally very frugal when it comes to food shopping.

    Always looking for sales and the best $ per # bulk prices available. Just bought a couple of whole chickens (which normally sell for $1.19/#) for 79 cents a # and some NY steaks (which normally sell for $8-9/#) for just $4.98/#. Also bought 2# of strawberries (which can sell for $2/# for just $1/#.

    Just got to know what things cost and look for the best deals when they become available.
  • kristen8000kristen8000 Member Posts: 747 Member Member Posts: 747 Member
    It's just me and my boyfriend in Ohio, USA. I feel I spend an absurd amount on groceries (which includes paper products and household stuff). I'm thinking it's about $150 a week (US) for 2 adults. I don't keep good #'s on it... We eat out maybe 2x a week. I've tried to get it down, but I miss the stuff that I cut out and when I'm eating well, my veggie and meat budget is through the roof. I try and keep things interesting so my BF doesn't disown me (I could eat grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner all the time and not get bored, but I'm pretty sure he'd throw me out of the house).

    I do coupon some. I don't do Costco because there isn't much there that makes sense with a 2 person household. I do have a chest freezer that comes in super handy on meat sale day. I do love Aldi for their prices, but there are still tons of things I have to get at a regular grocery store. But yes, I feel like I spend a ton on food too.

    I have no suggestions - I feel food and cooking are like my hobbies and that's where most of my money goes. I think spending much less would make me sad. LOL
  • mjbnj0001mjbnj0001 Member Posts: 971 Member Member Posts: 971 Member
    Mid-Atlantic USA, upscale area: about $225-250/wk for three at home (occ. more for visiting family). Includes most dinners, weekdays lunch for two, all breakfasts. About 35% on fresh produce, 20-25% on meats/dairy, 25% on assorted other groceries (coffee, tea, frozen, etc.) and remainder on household items (paper towels/TP, soaps, etc.). Eating out/takeout is another budget line item (varies), as are other specialty item purchases (e.g., whey I use in daily breakfast smoothies). With summer produce plentiful - and excellent, I'm buying more right now, including lots of fruit - and the cost has ticked up a bit as a result.

    I try to hold costs through not buying a lot of branded products (prepared foods), holding wastage down (mostly veg trim/peels/etc.) and using leftovers. Plus: I make about 80% of the bread we eat, most salad dressings, tomato sauces, etc., plus a lot of from-scratch cooking (mostly grilling season now, tends more towards oven/pressure cooker/slow cooker in cooler months). Could cut $$$ down if I actually got to Costco more often for meats/poultry and some produce.
  • JennJ323JennJ323 Member Posts: 646 Member Member Posts: 646 Member
    I'm in the Northeast (USA) and I spend about $50-$100 a week for a family of 3 (2 adults and 1 toddler). I shop at Aldi's for most of my groceries, so the cost tends to be lower there.. I plan my meals to use the same ingredients (ex: I buy a big 3lb pack of ground beef for around $8 and make 2-3 dinners with that.. same with packs of chicken breast). My husband is a restaurant GM so most of his meals are at work, which he just gets for free from the restaurant.. my 2 year old isn't a huge eater. So most of my list is my breakfast & lunches then our dinners, and I only have to cook big dinners a few times a week since my husband is gone a lot at work.. and when it's just me and the toddler I keep the meals simple and cheap.
  • Old_Cat_LadyOld_Cat_Lady Member Posts: 1,200 Member Member Posts: 1,200 Member
    Google: Recipes with beans.
  • LounmounLounmoun Member Posts: 8,428 Member Member Posts: 8,428 Member
    My household is fairly sedentary. 43 year old woman, 36 year old man, 17 year old girl. No special diet. No coupons. Shopping at regular grocery store, Walmart, sometimes farmer's market. Kansas, USA

    We spend $400-600 a month on food. We eat almost all of our meals prepared from home.
    I plan meals and stick to the plan. This is pretty important to helping stick to our budget.
    My family doesn't buy a lot of drinks.

    Low budget friendly foods where I live are things like oatmeal, tuna, whole chicken or chicken thighs, dry beans, lentils, rice, pasta, bread, peanut butter, eggs, potatoes, carrots, apples, ground turkey, cabbage, onions, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, powdered milk.
    Reduce waste. Use what you buy.
    Look at store ads and your kitchen contents while meal planning.
    Buy produce in season.
    Buy generic or store brand items.
    Buy things whole and peel, skin, bone, shred, cut it up yourself.
    Sometimes a larger container is a better value than a smaller container so figure out cost per serving and compare.
    Saving money takes a little effort.

    There are a number of threads about eating more frugally.
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10565773/tight-budget-grocery-list#latest
    edited August 2017
  • pelerojapeleroja Member Posts: 3,979 Member Member Posts: 3,979 Member
    We're in Alberta as well and I think we spend probably about $600/month for the two of us including all the other stuff one buys at the grocery store (cleaning products, toiletries, whatever.) We also have a medium sized dog.

    We shop almost exclusively at Costco and make liberal use of our chest freezer, buying meat etc in bulk and freezing in individual portions. We eat a ton of fresh vegetables (never frozen or canned or anything) but also almost never throw away food. We also don't buy a lot of convenience foods, mostly just veg, meat, etc. And I go to Superstore for anything we can't get at Costco or can't handle the Costco size of, like milk since we only use it for sauces.

    We also don't make much attempt to economize, though, like if my husband wants the fancy cheese or the $18 bacon two-pack or whatever we just buy it, so I'm not sure where the difference is since we live in the same province. Mainly we are just pretty vigilant on not wasting anything. If the tomatoes are getting soft then it's pasta sauce that day, if the sour cream is expiring then it's taco night, any vegetable that has been in the fridge longest gets thrown in my salad first, etc. And I am pretty meticulous with portioning freezer stuff as soon as we get home and making sure we get all the meals we can from the club pack of chicken thighs or whatever.
  • OliveGirl128OliveGirl128 Member Posts: 801 Member Member Posts: 801 Member
    peleroja wrote: »
    We're in Alberta as well and I think we spend probably about $600/month for the two of us including all the other stuff one buys at the grocery store (cleaning products, toiletries, whatever.) We also have a medium sized dog.

    We shop almost exclusively at Costco and make liberal use of our chest freezer, buying meat etc in bulk and freezing in individual portions. We eat a ton of fresh vegetables (never frozen or canned or anything) but also almost never throw away food. We also don't buy a lot of convenience foods, mostly just veg, meat, etc. And I go to Superstore for anything we can't get at Costco or can't handle the Costco size of, like milk since we only use it for sauces.

    We also don't make much attempt to economize, though, like if my husband wants the fancy cheese or the $18 bacon two-pack or whatever we just buy it, so I'm not sure where the difference is since we live in the same province. Mainly we are just pretty vigilant on not wasting anything. If the tomatoes are getting soft then it's pasta sauce that day, if the sour cream is expiring then it's taco night, any vegetable that has been in the fridge longest gets thrown in my salad first, etc. And I am pretty meticulous with portioning freezer stuff as soon as we get home and making sure we get all the meals we can from the club pack of chicken thighs or whatever.

    This brings up a good point-prices vary a LOT, based on location. Here-bacon is $3.99 a package (Aldi), and if I wanted to get really fancy I can get it from the butcher's shop for around $6lb. So while we're both buying similar products, your bacon is a lot more expensive.

    Op-there's usually always things you can do to tighten things up, but at the same time realize cost of living will vary quite a bit. Just focus on what's feasible for you :)
  • zdyb23456zdyb23456 Member Posts: 1,706 Member Member Posts: 1,706 Member
    I keep an inventory of what's in my freezer/fridge and pantry. We grow a garden and last year my husband was able to kill some deer. We ended up with a lot of deer meat which saves a great deal.

    So last week I made stuffed peppers. I used bell peppers from my garden and deer meat that was free. I bought an onion, a box of rice, and 2 cans of tomato sauce. Approximately $1.75 which lasted me 6 dinners. That was a really frugal dinner :smile:

    So like the above poster said plan meals around what you have or need to use up. Make it a priority to not throw food out.

    There are only certain things I buy at Sam's club otherwise it's wasteful. Plus it's not always cheaper than the grocery store.

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