Grocery budget is supposed to be $100 a month per person?

svel713
svel713 Posts: 141 Member
I've heard elsewhere multiple times that its "easy" to live off $100 a month for groceries. This was after I patted myself on the back for eating below the food stamps max allotment for 2, which is $357 a month. So of course I felt like I was a super overspender after that.

I did math for months on and off, and found I could live off rice and dry brown lentils, leaving only $30 a month for fruit, veg, and vitamins. But that sounds like it would be unhealthy with such a lack of variety.

So is it actually possible to live off that and be healthy? Are these $100/mo people living off just 30g of protein a day? What is the proper lowest amount of money to live off for groceries that is healthy?
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Replies

  • lucerorojo
    lucerorojo Posts: 790 Member
    edited October 2017
    $100 per month is laughable to me. I did that in the 1990s when I lived in the midwest and the produce was dirt cheap. Also, consider inflation. $100 per month, is about $185 today. But even $185 is too little for me per month, and I'm single. I now live in an expensive city. I would have to eat rice and beans for lunch and dinner to live off of $100 per month. I already eat oatmeal for breakfast and that is cheap but I would have to forgo any nuts or seeds in and no blueberries or other fruit. If I eat well--cooking at home, I spend about $80 per week for me, and more if I get something special. Take out would cost me $140 per week (cheap take-out for lunch and dinner).

    Depending where you go here, a sandwich is at least $6.00 and more if it's not just a "deli".
  • ADeCapua
    ADeCapua Posts: 35 Member
    Food prices vary everywhere, and are high-cost in the state I live in. I spend way more on groceries per month. Close to $180 per week, for a family of 3 adults(this includes non-edibles like toilet paper, etc and also over-the-counter medications). We buy bags of frozen chicken breast, chubs of frozen ground hamburger, fresh fruit and veggies, rice and side dishes. We do get some extra treats every week, but we really try to buy a minimum as we are all trying to lose weight. Since you have food stamps, if you do not use up your allotment every month, they WILL cut your allotment accordingly, I think it's after 3 months. So, make sure you really buy what you need to live and be satisfied too. And don't worry what other people do, you take good care of you. Everybody is different, and their nutritional needs and palates and calorie allotments are all going to be different. Good luck!
  • corinasue1143
    corinasue1143 Posts: 7,469 Member
    I used to work at a place that budgeted 250/mo for groceries for the first person, add 100 for each person after. That included things you might buy at a grocery store like paper towels, vitamins. That was a minimum whether rich or poor.
  • shaumom
    shaumom Posts: 975 Member
    Yeah, the whole 'it's easy to live off of $100 a month' for groceries is kind of a crock, from what I've seen. Or at least, a crock when you look at reality.

    Cost of living is SO different in different places, which includes groceries.

    It's also worth noting that 'living off of' and 'being healthy' is NOT the same thing. Sure, a person could survive for a while on rice and beans, in terms of calories. But there's going to be some slowly increasing healthy problems due to lack of nutrients, fiber, and so on.

    And lastly, it greatly depends on one's diet. If a person has any food allergies, for example, that limits what 'cheap' foods you can get. Like, I can't have wheat, not even things that are cross-contaminated. Which actually means that most grains, most dried beans, most nuts, and most dried fruits are unavailable, because most of them are processed in facilities, or on equipment, that process wheat. So when I get dried beans, say, I have to get some that are over $5 a pound, because they guarantee they are not wheat contaminated.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,027 Member
    It really depends on where in the world you live and how picky you are. I probably spend @ $150-175 a month for myself but I do without some stuff I wish I could spring for. I'd probably spend another $50 or so if I had it.
  • LiveLoveFitFab
    LiveLoveFitFab Posts: 302 Member
    I keep hearing about American's having cheap shopping trips at Aldi's where the eggs are a dollar for a dozen and everything else is cheap cheap cheap.

    Just a Canuck fantasizing about being able to afford more clothing due to spending less on food here...
  • SolotoCEO
    SolotoCEO Posts: 293 Member
    The largest determining factor of your grocery money is where do you live (cost of groceries) and how much money do you have to spend. I easily spend less than $100 for just me - $25 for meat (mostly chicken), $25 for (frozen and fresh) veggies, and $25 for other (canned beans, pasta, eggs, butter, bread, dairy, etc.). Rarely do I exceed those amounts - and I eat well at 1200 calories a day.
  • JustRobby1
    JustRobby1 Posts: 674 Member
    This is entirely divergent based upon geography. Here in Chicago, 100 bucks does not get me very far. Crook County being what it is keeps prices high. My grocery bills have easily doubled since I moved here.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    edited October 2017
    svel713 wrote: »
    I've heard elsewhere multiple times that its "easy" to live off $100 a month for groceries. This was after I patted myself on the back for eating below the food stamps max allotment for 2, which is $357 a month. So of course I felt like I was a super overspender after that.

    I did math for months on and off, and found I could live off rice and dry brown lentils, leaving only $30 a month for fruit, veg, and vitamins. But that sounds like it would be unhealthy with such a lack of variety.

    So is it actually possible to live off that and be healthy? Are these $100/mo people living off just 30g of protein a day? What is the proper lowest amount of money to live off for groceries that is healthy?

    A flat amount of $100 per person is suspect because:
    1. Food costs different amounts depending on your location in the world. Easy in one area of the world is impossible in another area.
    2. Different people have different calorie needs. Someone who is a tall teenage male athlete is going to eat much more than a petite 80 year old sedentary woman. Someone who needs a special diet might have to spend more to buy certain foods.

    I have seen bloggers doing $100 for food per month as a challenge.
    $100 per month for one person for food would be pretty low for most people so I would not believe that that is what you are supposed to spend unless it is a minimum amount to budget for the month per person for food. Most people could not eat very well for a month on $100 worth of food unless they were growing some of their own food or getting free food from somewhere. Otherwise you are probably buying things like ramen, pasta, rice, tuna, dry beans, lentils, powdered milk, oatmeal, generic brand frozen vegetables, cheap canned vegetables, eggs, peanut butter, flour. Not much meat. Drinking water mostly.

    You might be better off looking at these things to help you figure out a reasonable food budget:
    https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/plan/what-you-spend/
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10586530/monthly-grocery-budget/p1
    https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodPlansCostofFood

    I spend about about $120-200 per person on food (in Kansas). It is fairly frugal for someone without a garden. It means eating meals prepared from home. It requires meal planning, buying store brands/generic, not eating a ton of meat. If someone offers us free food we take it.

  • Confuzzled4ever
    Confuzzled4ever Posts: 2,860 Member
    Not me. I'm closer to 150 per month. I eat a lot of meat and cheese and veggies. I also buy things like baby Bella cheese and precut veggie noodles. I could cut back a little there if I had to. When I get my place back and I'm the only one eating what I buy, I'll have a more accurate number.
  • Confuzzled4ever
    Confuzzled4ever Posts: 2,860 Member
    edited October 2017
    I keep hearing about American's having cheap shopping trips at Aldi's where the eggs are a dollar for a dozen and everything else is cheap cheap cheap.

    Just a Canuck fantasizing about being able to afford more clothing due to spending less on food here...

    Aldis is cheaper. I got baby Bella mushrooms for 79 cents a container today. Boneless skinless Chicken breasts are 1.89 a lb or less, cheese slices are 2 dollars or less a package. Eggs range from $1 to 1.50. Greek yogurt is 3 bucks for the bigger one. They've got a lot of organic stuff too.

    I live in south Jersey at the beach.