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Monthly Grocery Budget

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  • zdyb23456zdyb23456 Member Posts: 1,706 Member Member Posts: 1,706 Member
    kokonani wrote: »
    zdyb23456 wrote: »
    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.

    Wow! That's fantastic. Here in Los Angeles, 3 kids under 10, me and hubby- we spend roughly $1400/ month on groceries and toiletries. This doesn't include eating out or treats outside our house!

    I think LA is a lot more expensive than Virginia Beach.

    I also clip coupons for items we eat/use and stock up when there is a fantastic deal. I can usually get cereal, shampoo/conditioner, and cleaning products for dirt cheap or free with coupons. I generally refuse to buy something at full price. I've learned the sales cycle at my favorite grocery stores and stock up until the next sale.

  • NinkyouNinkyou Member Posts: 6,666 Member Member Posts: 6,666 Member
    zdyb23456 wrote: »
    kokonani wrote: »
    zdyb23456 wrote: »
    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.

    Wow! That's fantastic. Here in Los Angeles, 3 kids under 10, me and hubby- we spend roughly $1400/ month on groceries and toiletries. This doesn't include eating out or treats outside our house!

    I think LA is a lot more expensive than Virginia Beach.

    I also clip coupons for items we eat/use and stock up when there is a fantastic deal. I can usually get cereal, shampoo/conditioner, and cleaning products for dirt cheap or free with coupons. I generally refuse to buy something at full price. I've learned the sales cycle at my favorite grocery stores and stock up until the next sale.

    This is pretty much what I do. There are alot of blogs out there that will break down the best deals at whatever your grocery store is for that week. I clip/print coupons to go with the sale every week. I usually don't pay for things like shampoo/conditioner, soap, toothpaste etc. Cereal I don't pay more than $.49/box. It's amazing what you can get for free or under $1 when you plan correctly. It also allows me to buy pricier/brand snob things and still save money. I recommend searching for those kinds of blogs. For example, I shop at a store called ShopRite (I'm in the mid-atlantic area), and if you search for Shoprite coupon matchups, you'll easily find a blog that breaks it all down easily for you. There's ones that do other mass retailers like Target or Walmart as well.

    I also don't shop those wholesale places like BJ's or Costco's. TBH, I feel like the membership kind of offsets any real savings you might get.
  • clayelliott847clayelliott847 Member, Premium Posts: 125 Member Member, Premium Posts: 125 Member
    Wow I am not as frugal as most. I am in Florida and I spend about $100 when I go the grocery store. I go about 3 times a month. I guess as long as I am not wasting something expensive, like putting meat in the refrigerator and letting it go bad, before I cook it. That's just wasteful. But if buy carrots and only finish half the bag, no worries, I had something healthy available to snack on. I am saving money by taking my lunch to work and eating out less.
  • DamieBirdDamieBird Member Posts: 651 Member Member Posts: 651 Member
    One thing that no one has mentioned yet is store club cards and apps. I don't know if it's a US thing but my grocery total goes down pretty significantly just using the apps. I currently (mostly) shop at Safeway because that's the only store within about 30 miles, but I make it a point to prioritize buying brands or items that are on sale that week, and I always check the app to make sure that I catch any 'hidden' coupons or sale prices that aren't in the store flyers. I'm not very brand loyal, so between the Safeway app and iBotta, if there is a good deal on a brand that I don't usually buy - I'm all about the savings, lol. Sometimes I buy groceries at Target (which are usually more expensive) if there is a $10 off $50 purchase thing going on, or if I see meat marked down because the sell-by date is approaching. In fact, the meat 'manager's special' section is usually the first place I look in stores. I can get chicken breast for under $2/lb on some days (which is cheap where I live!). All total, I spend about $50/wk for 1 person and that covers eating at home for nearly every meal (I eat out maybe once a week), but does not include paper products or alcohol (I stick to BevMo's five cent sale and can usually pick up 8-10 bottles of decent wine for about $50 every couple of months or so). I may spend more if there is a sale on wild caught shrimp or meat that I can freeze.

    ETA - in the Southwest, Fry's (Kroger) also had a great club card. I would get coupons for free vegetables or bacon or something about once a month. With the Safeway card, in the past couple of months, I've gotten free bags of coffee, free bread and donuts, free yogurt drinks and bottles of tea, and $5 and $7 dollar coupons on top of the regular store sales for using the app.
    edited August 2017
  • queerpenixqueerpenix Member Posts: 47 Member Member Posts: 47 Member
    Live in a 3 person household, all vegetarian. I'd say we spend about 350-375$. There's a lot of cooking from scratch due to health issues of the household. Eating out at fast food or restaurants is a rare thing that we don't like to do often.
  • cmtiggercmtigger Member Posts: 1,453 Member Member Posts: 1,453 Member
    DamieBird wrote: »
    One thing that no one has mentioned yet is store club cards and apps. I don't know if it's a US thing but my grocery total goes down pretty significantly just using the apps. I currently (mostly) shop at Safeway because that's the only store within about 30 miles, but I make it a point to prioritize buying brands or items that are on sale that week, and I always check the app to make sure that I catch any 'hidden' coupons or sale prices that aren't in the store flyers. I'm not very brand loyal, so between the Safeway app and iBotta, if there is a good deal on a brand that I don't usually buy - I'm all about the savings, lol. Sometimes I buy groceries at Target (which are usually more expensive) if there is a $10 off $50 purchase thing going on, or if I see meat marked down because the sell-by date is approaching. In fact, the meat 'manager's special' section is usually the first place I look in stores. I can get chicken breast for under $2/lb on some days (which is cheap where I live!). All total, I spend about $50/wk for 1 person and that covers eating at home for nearly every meal (I eat out maybe once a week), but does not include paper products or alcohol (I stick to BevMo's five cent sale and can usually pick up 8-10 bottles of decent wine for about $50 every couple of months or so). I may spend more if there is a sale on wild caught shrimp or meat that I can freeze.

    ETA - in the Southwest, Fry's (Kroger) also had a great club card. I would get coupons for free vegetables or bacon or something about once a month. With the Safeway card, in the past couple of months, I've gotten free bags of coffee, free bread and donuts, free yogurt drinks and bottles of tea, and $5 and $7 dollar coupons on top of the regular store sales for using the app.
    I opened my Safeway app last week and got a free box of dried pasta, a bottle of electrolyte water, and some drinkable yogurt. All stuff I will use. I have a free doughnut coupon on it right now...

    I love the Safeway app.

    But when I'm really low on money in a month I shop at Winco near my work.


    For the OP, I try to stay around $200 for food, some months it's more, some less. This month the goal is to work through my freezers so I should spend less. It's just me and I don't include pet food or other stuff in the $200.

    I don't include eating out, but I usually bring my lunch to work.
    edited August 2017
  • piperdown44piperdown44 Member, Premium Posts: 958 Member Member, Premium Posts: 958 Member
    About $200 per week on food including going out (buy one, get one free burgers usually) for a family of 5 that has 3 teenage boys.
    I buy meat in bulk when there's a sale on. For instance a while back pork loins were on sale for $1.49/lb. Bought about 40lbs and it lasted for months. We try and do the same for side stuff.
  • RodaRoseRodaRose Member Posts: 9,574 Member Member Posts: 9,574 Member
    Uk and spend £240 a month for 3 adults.

    Eat seasonal fruit and veg and whatever is on Aldi super 6. Make my own yoghurt by the kg.

    Cook beans/chick peas in bulk from scratch then freeze. Buy whole chickens, remove the skin and dice the whole thing up. Freeze in 100g servings.
    Buy large joints of gammon etc that are cheaper per kg and cook and freeze in 100g servings.
    Bulk everything out with veg.

    Yes. ^This canned or dried black beans/other beans/chic peas/lentils/ :mrgreen::star:

    Also frozen veggies and even some fruits because they are actually more nutritious than the fresh --
    they are packed near the farms and lose less nutrition that way. For example, canned pumpkin, canned Tomatoes
    Canned fruits and veggies also.

    Canned fish. Lean cuts of pork. Whole chickens,
    Eggs. Buy only meats on sale.

    Rice/Pasta/Grains – plain crackers, oatmeal, quinoa, wild rice blend,
    boil-in-bag brown rice, lasagna, spaghetti, & macaroni

    Potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, apples sometimes, peanuts, bananas sometimes,

    >> Look for items at the bottom of the grocery shelf -- they are usually the least expensive items. :)

  • Cbean08Cbean08 Member Posts: 1,092 Member Member Posts: 1,092 Member
    I grew up in southern California. From what I can remember, every week we spent about 300 on groceries for a family of 4. But, we ate out for dinner every night. We also didn't usually eat lunch at home. The groceries were usually just for snacks or for feeding my brother and his friends.

    So 1200 for groceries plus another 2,000 or so for eating out.

    Now that I'm on my own, I've had to learn how to properly allot a reasonable amount for groceries. I can't afford what my parents did!! Some tips I use -

    buy higher calorie- I get more calories for the same price which means I can eat less and the item will last longer. I can fluff up the meal with something less expensive if needed.

    shop clearance- I look for manager special items that are discounted. You can get high quality bread and meat an then just freeze what you won't use right away.

    avoid gimmicks- I won't buy things that are marketed as health traps when in reality there is nothing special. I usually won't pay more for "double fiber," "all organic," "gluten free," "all natural," etc etc type things.
  • peraltapianoperaltapiano Member Posts: 26 Member Member Posts: 26 Member
    Hey,

    Between my bf and I we spend about 200/mo on groceries and maybe 100/mo on dining out. I think the only reason this was achievable is due to three factors: where we live, what we eat and where we buy it.

    We live in Washington state. I'm pescatarian and only buy our produce (greens, veg, fruit, mushrooms) and fish from two places- an international grocery store and an Asian market. They sell at very reasonable prices and source to the restaurants around them. He's omni and only eats red meat once a week for health reasons, so he's generally spending only 10 USD/week on meat.

    For shelf and fridge necessities like eggs/milk/bread we can only afford to buy in bulk, so we go to Costco and get like 8 dozen eggs for 9USD, 3 half gallons of milk for 7USD, and so on. This lasts around a month but can last longer and often times we get to freeze stuff.

    We also like to eat most of the* same stuff, own a crockpot, etc. I would say 100/mo on eating out is actually quite a lot for us, and he's probably like to cut back on that too haha. Living half a mile from Burgermaster can be... difficult. They have this crazy good crab and swiss melt. Willpower... :neutral:
    edited August 2017
  • nutmegoreonutmegoreo Member Posts: 15,512 Member Member Posts: 15,512 Member
    nutmegoreo wrote: »
    I've been looking for ways to reduce my grocery budget. I'm not sure how much I was spending, because I just bought what I wanted, when I wanted it. I want to do an aggressive debt repayment plan over the coming year (until Dec2018) to see how much I can get paid down. So looking at the grocery budget has been a big part of that.

    I have actually been buying stuff on sale (looking at fliers for various stores and picking what I'll likely eat or won't go bad) and then deciding my meals. I know it's the exact opposite of what people say (to plan then buy), but it seems to be working. I do tend to cook on the fly, based on what I feel like cooking/eating. This allows me more flexibility in that way. I also batch cook and freeze single serving sizes that are all premeasured. It's a great way to have variability without having to cook much during the week.

    ETA: I'm aiming for about $100/month (it's just me), but usually end up around $200. It's a fun challenge.

    That's how I became a frugal shopper-we jumped on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon to get debt paid off and we had to make pretty drastic cuts on everything. Fast forwards a few years now and we're completely debt free, except for the mortgage on our new house, which we were able to put 20% down on and lock into a 15 year mortgage :) Best of luck to you as you work on this!

    I'm really late getting back to this, but thank you! I haven't read any Dave Ramsey stuff, but have read several other debt reduction authors. I'll take a look at his stuff too.
  • MsHarryWinstonMsHarryWinston Member Posts: 1,027 Member Member Posts: 1,027 Member
    I spend waaaay more money getting fit. It's just more expensive. I can't live off of $2 packs of hot dogs and $10 budget bags of chicken strips to save money any more. You can really slash your grocery bill when you're eating calorie dense/high sodium foods. Which we needed to do when my husband was in a car accident and couldn't work. (He was injured party not the driver).

    Salmon steaks and chicken breast ain't cheap! Though pork is more affordable i like to try to rotate my protein every couple of weeks. I still try to shop the sales but Canada is pretty expensive for "healthy" food.
  • amtyrellamtyrell Member Posts: 1,449 Member Member Posts: 1,449 Member
    Single in midatlantic ,USA.
    I spend about 50 a week eat out about once every 2 weeks. But I know my bagged salads and seafood habits add up. I also eat a lot of protein bars and cheese.
    I think bulk helps families more as do coupons or Sams clubs.
    I use aldi and such and buy on special when I can.
  • OliveGirl128OliveGirl128 Member Posts: 801 Member Member Posts: 801 Member
    I spend waaaay more money getting fit. It's just more expensive. I can't live off of $2 packs of hot dogs and $10 budget bags of chicken strips to save money any more. You can really slash your grocery bill when you're eating calorie dense/high sodium foods. Which we needed to do when my husband was in a car accident and couldn't work. (He was injured party not the driver).

    Salmon steaks and chicken breast ain't cheap! Though pork is more affordable i like to try to rotate my protein every couple of weeks. I still try to shop the sales but Canada is pretty expensive for "healthy" food.

    I follow a very healthy eating protocol, (DASH), and base my meals around veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, lentils, wild caught salmon etc etc. I've found that eating this way is quite a bit cheaper than eating the more convenience/'processed' diet that I used to eat. Prices vary quite a bit though-here I can get boneless chicken breasts for under $2lb, frozen, wild caught salmon for $3.99 etc. You need to come on down to MI to get your groceries lol :)
    edited August 2017
  • lucys1225lucys1225 Member Posts: 597 Member Member Posts: 597 Member
    Family of three in New Jersey. I spend about $1,400 a month (sometimes more). I also buy mostly organic vegetables and meat is always organic, grass fed or wild caught fish.
  • scarlett_kscarlett_k Member Posts: 640 Member Member Posts: 640 Member
    I spend about £115 a week on main grocery shop for 2 adults but that includes things other than food like bin bags, toilet roll etc. We both work from home so are home most of the time and hence eat here most of the time. I cook dinner from scratch most days but only do lunches for me as he prefers to fend for himself for lunch.

    Could absolutely do it for a lot less and I have live on £10 A month to feed myself a few years ago (I don't recommend It!), but we're lucky enough to be able to not have to worry too much about money for food these days so I go for that nicer loaf over the basics range or buy herbs and spices for new recipes I want to try or whatever. If I were being frugal I would sacrifice these things for making more basic home cooked meals all of the time. I don't go overboard as I grew up poor but I've learned to be okay with spending a bit more on tasty foods.
    edited August 2017
  • kschwab0203kschwab0203 Member Posts: 608 Member Member Posts: 608 Member
    I spend anywhere from $600 - $800 per month on food for a family of 5. It depends on the sales and I also like to make meals that I have enough to freeze the leftovers. I can get large 2 meals out of a pot of gumbo and it only costs about $20 to make.
  • MsHarryWinstonMsHarryWinston Member Posts: 1,027 Member Member Posts: 1,027 Member
    I spend waaaay more money getting fit. It's just more expensive. I can't live off of $2 packs of hot dogs and $10 budget bags of chicken strips to save money any more. You can really slash your grocery bill when you're eating calorie dense/high sodium foods. Which we needed to do when my husband was in a car accident and couldn't work. (He was injured party not the driver).

    Salmon steaks and chicken breast ain't cheap! Though pork is more affordable i like to try to rotate my protein every couple of weeks. I still try to shop the sales but Canada is pretty expensive for "healthy" food.

    I follow a very healthy eating protocol, (DASH), and base my meals around veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, lentils, wild caught salmon etc etc. I've found that eating this way is quite a bit cheaper than eating the more convenience/'processed' diet that I used to eat. Prices vary quite a bit though-here I can get boneless chicken breasts for under $2lb, frozen, wild caught salmon for $3.99 etc. You need to come on down to MI to get your groceries lol :)

    My last purchase of chicken breasts cost a bit over $6 USD/lb sooooo *facepalm*
    Salmon steaks about $0.79 USD/oz to me that's basically a 9oz salmon steak for $9
    edited August 2017
  • aylajaneaylajane Member Posts: 979 Member Member Posts: 979 Member
    One way to help get started is to think of it in daily terms for a bit. I.e. if you want your budget to be $600/month, realize that is about $20/day or about $150/week. A container of oatmeal here is $3. A loaf of bread is $2. A jar of PB is $3 and jelly is about $3. A bag of over ten clementines is $5. A gallon of milk is $3. If I were trying to be really frugal, that is breakfast and lunch for a solid week for under $20. 3 pounds of hamburger is about $8, and hamburger helper is about 2/$3 box... so 1/2 pound hamburger and a helper packet is a decent frugal dinner (not always healthy but this is an example). 3 pounds for $8 plus $9 for 6 boxes of helper gets me dinner for 6 of 7 nights for under $20. If we eat out at Wendy's one night a week and get 2 half salads (decent size for me) its under $10. So I just got breakfast, lunch and dinner for a whole week for $50. That leaves me still $100 for the week for "variety" or extras like butter, or a veggie side.

    Part of the trick of budgeting is to lower your standards :) And realize that not every meal has to be "enjoyment". THink of food more as a utility, with a few luxury snacks for the enjoyment part (for the very frugal - get a bag of hershey's kisses - about 20 kisses for under $5... Use them as after dinner mints :).

    Your budget is basically what you make it. If you are spending too much chances are you are buying food for enjoyment, not utility. Compromise on one meal to start - buy something you dont mind eating, even if you dont love it, and just resolve to have one boring meal a day (followed by your "mint" :) ).

    Use the money you save to eat out for entertainment and enjoyment once a week or something :)
  • BushraMMBushraMM Member Posts: 9 Member Member Posts: 9 Member
    Wow! I live in bangladesh and we eat only organic fruits, vegetables and tons of fish and meat- my husband and I, our three year old, plus our three maids- 50 dollars a week! Food is very affordable here, yet we are a developing country. Seems a shame that developed countries charge so much for food!
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