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

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  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,304 Member
    "Supposed to be"...I didn't know there were arbitrary rules like that...
  • Keladelphia
    Keladelphia Posts: 820 Member
    Sheesh I pat myself on the back when I stay under $100 a week for just me. That $100 is made up of only meat/dairy, fruits and veggies, some canned goods like tomatoes /beans and basic grains (oatmeal, rice, quinoa). That $100 doesn't include the additional $20 a week I spend on coffee beans. I can't even fathom staying at $100 a week if I wanted to buy things like chips, bars, cereal, juice, icecream etc.
  • svel713
    svel713 Posts: 141 Member
    $100 a month/per person? Does that include paper products, H&M, cleaning supplies too? Where? I live in the Midwest United States and spend MUCH more than that. And that is with coupons, trips to Aldi and farmers markets.

    In the last 3 months we have cut back drastically on eating out, so my grocery bill has actually gone up. I'd say most of my grocery bill every week is fresh vegetables/fruits and lean meats.

    Only stuff that vaguely counts as food. I doubt they were counting toiletries or cleaning products in their $100. I'm not counting those in my total, either.

    I did find an online post where a guy said he ate for $20 a week. But his post history showed he was an alcoholic trying to quit. I may not drink, but I'd still assume his $20/week wasn't including any form of alcohol.
  • kristen8000
    kristen8000 Posts: 747 Member
    svel713 wrote: »
    $100 a month/per person? Does that include paper products, H&M, cleaning supplies too? Where? I live in the Midwest United States and spend MUCH more than that. And that is with coupons, trips to Aldi and farmers markets.

    In the last 3 months we have cut back drastically on eating out, so my grocery bill has actually gone up. I'd say most of my grocery bill every week is fresh vegetables/fruits and lean meats.

    Only stuff that vaguely counts as food. I doubt they were counting toiletries or cleaning products in their $100. I'm not counting those in my total, either.

    I did find an online post where a guy said he ate for $20 a week. But his post history showed he was an alcoholic trying to quit. I may not drink, but I'd still assume his $20/week wasn't including any form of alcohol.

    Ok, then we might make it under $100/month/per person. If it was just food. Add in all the other stuff and booze (I love wine, the BF loves beer) and we are WAY above that.

  • RaeBeeBaby
    RaeBeeBaby Posts: 4,246 Member
    I'm such a thrifty bargain shopper that I'm pretty clueless as to what I actually spend a week per person. I have so much put up in stock that my weekly shopping is mostly fresh produce, eggs and dairy.

    I always have a garden so I can, freeze, dehydrate anything that I can grow as well as anything that comes my way from friends, relatives or roadside fruit stands. Shop the sales for meat and fish and vacuum seal so they'll last longer in the freezer. Last week my husband stopped to talk to some farmers on his way to work that were grinding pumpkins to extract the seed. The pumpkin meat was just going back into the soil for compost. They ended up giving him several of the smallish pumpkins to bring home. Turns out they were kuri pumpkins which are great for soup, curry or baking. I was super excited! Surprise honey! Here's some pumpkins instead of flowers!

    Of course this is dependent on where you live, but look for a discount grocery. We have a place called Wheeler Dealer that carries lots of fresh produce and tons of close-to-pull-date items like bread, yogurt, cheese. Boxes of tea for $1.49, cans of coffee for $2.99, chips for 99 cents. I've told many of my friends about it. It's been in business on a main street in our capitol city for 15 years and hardly anyone even knew about it!
  • aeloine
    aeloine Posts: 2,163 Member
    I think I could do it. I don't, but could. I grocery shop once a week and it comes to about $50 for me, but that's pretty much ALL fresh food. If I incorporated some rice, lentils, pasta, etc., that would let me stretch the $50 for another week. I've just not been into dry goods and starchy sides lately. It's pretty much all salads, sandwiches, and eggs for me these days.
  • NJGamerChick
    NJGamerChick Posts: 467 Member
    I definitely couldn't do it for myself. I think it's easier doing the $100/person per month in a bigger family. It's easier to buy in bulk and turn over that amount. My household is 2 people. Mom and I split certain groceries, buy during sales and in bulk at times, and because of having to eat gluten free, my groceries still aren't under $100. I could kill the $100 budget just on meats and cheap veg. We also shop at Aldi, but it's not that much cheaper. We pick and choose depending on the sales at other stores, and Aldi doesn't have everything we need. Chances are that if we had kids, that minimum would be easier to reach based on how much they eat. It would probably be easier to eat cheaper if we only ate junk or ate lower protein, but right now I'm aiming for 100 g just for me. Not trying to justify, but there is a reason there is a minimum for SNAP benefits. It equates to about $4.50 per day not including non food items like soap for dishes and personal care.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,974 Member
    $100/month per person is pretty austere.

    I live alone and easily spend more than $100/mo for food but I usually buy meat, poultry, seafood, canned/dry goods, as well as grains and beans, in bulk. Just spent $58 for a 13# slab of NY strip steak at only $4.50/# which is a great deal.

    However, I freeze all the meat, poultry & seafood (if it's not frozen already) and it can take me 6 months or more to eat what I bought b4 I have to buy more

    I buy rice in 25# bags; only need to buy one once every yr or 2. I also buy cans of soup, sardines and mackeral (that normally cost & $2-3/can each) by the dozen at the Dollar or 99 cent store. It can also take me a year or 2 to eat all of these canned goods.

    So, it's quite possible that I only eat only $100 a month in food that I've bought and frozen or stored. I've just never tried to figure it out that way.
  • I'm on a budget of $150/month for my family of 2 adults. (Not including any non-food items). I don't think we eat terribly unhealthy, but it's not what I would choose to do in a better situation. We don't eat as many fruits/vegs as I would like, but frozen/canned things help a lot.

    I live in the midwest. I can buy a loaf of bread, eggs, dried beans, lentils, pasta, canned tomatoes, frozen veggies, and rice all for around $1 each. For fruits and vegetables it's bananas, whichever fruit(s) is both in season and on sale, carrots, celery, spinach (all in the least prepared fashion as possible). I eat oatmeal every day for breakfast. Items I have to carefully stagger include peanut butter, more produce, butter, pantry items I'm out of, and "snack foods". I almost never eat out, my spouse does about 2 times a week. Luckily I have a pretty well built up cabinet of spices and things, and sometimes I can get a free meal (at my university).
  • Sp1tfire
    Sp1tfire Posts: 1,120 Member
    edited October 2017
    I live in wisconsin and spend probably around 225$ a month just for myself just for food, including eating out. I should add a eat a lot of meat, and vegan products too. That can up the prices a little.
  • kayeroze
    kayeroze Posts: 146 Member
    I think, and you would have to be living by yourself with a calorie budget of under ~1500 a day about, and NOT including essential items like hair products, laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc. it might be possible to live off $100 a month. It would just mean buying in bulk, mostly frozen foods on sale, at the beginning of the month for like $70-80 and then splitting the last $20-30 for refil on a few vegetables, dairy products, etc in the middle of the month. It would have to be a very limited diet and food choices, and you would need to to already have spices and condiments available.

    Personally, I can live off ~$200/month and that’s with buying meat and some organic foods. I could probably get it closer to $150, but that’s pushing it.
  • Tried30UserNames
    Tried30UserNames Posts: 561 Member
    edited October 2017
    That $100 figure is almost two decades old.

    Circa 2000-2010, that was always the goal when I was on Dave Ramsey and other frugal living message boards. I found it fairly easy to do fifteen years ago in a lower cost of living area, cooking everything from scratch, and eating a lot of beans and rice, but also a good amount of vegetables and meats, with a well-balanced, healthy diet.

    Now, with the rapid rise in food costs the past several years, and living in a very expensive area, I cannot do it, nor do I need or want to. An above poster wrote, "I can buy a loaf of bread, eggs, dried beans, lentils, pasta, canned tomatoes, frozen veggies, and rice all for around $1 each." I can't buy any of those things for anywhere close to a dollar in my area, even at Aldi or any of the local ethnic markets which are cheaper.

    A can of tuna used to be a dollar (or 50 cents on sale or with a coupon). Now, it's $2 or more. Chicken used to regularly go on sale for $2 a pound. Now, it goes on sale for $5 a pound. Bones, organ meats and other undesirable cuts were dirt cheap; now they're as expensive as the fancier cuts of meat. I didn't used to care about the origin of my eggs and they were $1 a dozen. Now they're $2-4 a dozen for poor quality I won't buy and $6-8 a dozen for ones I will buy. A pound of any type of beans/legumes was $1. Now, it's 2-4 times that. Bags of potatoes were dirt cheap; now they're about $1.50 per potato. Vegetables, fresh or frozen, have tripled or quadrupled in price the past several years.

    I suppose I could stick to that budget if I bought nothing but lentils, rice, onions and carrots for the month, but that isn't really healthy or sustainable. I remember the Hillbilly Housewife website's infamous emergency menu for when you were really short on grocery money, but when I just went to search to see if it still existed, I found that the $45 menu from 2006 cost $70 in 2009 and hasn't been updated since. http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm
  • Alatariel75
    Alatariel75 Posts: 17,945 Member
    We spend about 150-200AUD per week in Australia for my husband and I. Sometimes that's a stretch. Cost of living in Australia is ridiculous though.

    To be fair, our wages are a hell of a lot higher than, say, the USA.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,836 Member
    I live in the UK and spend about £100 on food just for me. Plus a bit more on other household stuff, medicine not available in the NHS, body care.
  • KelGen02
    KelGen02 Posts: 668 Member
    I spend $230-$250 every week... We are a family of 5, I would kill for $100 per person per month :o Now I am sure that if I clipped coupons and went to several different places I could cut that budget down a little but I work full time and my youngest is still in high school and plays sports so time is never on my side so I will take the convince of one stop shopping. I also live in CT where EVERYTHING is expensive and taxed to death so my numbers may be skewed compared to other parts of the country...
  • vnb_208
    vnb_208 Posts: 1,359 Member
    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?

    i have a household of 2 we get $60 p/m in food stamps :(
  • jdlobb
    jdlobb Posts: 1,232 Member
    I could probably do it, I know I've survived on a lot less in the past, but I'd be eating a lot of beans, rice, and factory farmed meat. None of which are a part of my diet anymore.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,854 Member
    The last 6 months have averaged $227/mo for ~1-1/2 people (the significant other buys some of his own food). Includes toiletry/household stuff. at least 96g protein/day. I could get that down a fair bit if I had too - but don't know if I could get down to $100/mo. (I'm willing to pay $.50/day for half a Clif bar in my yogurt, and eat a lot of yogurt and cottage cheese; I also aim for enough protein to support weightlifting, and pay extra for leaner cuts of meat).

    Small portions of batch-cooked food (things like chili, stew, soup, rice & beans) using fattier meat cuts gets the price of food way down. It would be a lot easier if one lowers protein down to at least MFP's default minimum, and ups the cheap filler calories (starchy stuff like bread/potatoes/corn/rice/..).

    And shopping at the cheaper store (Pricerite) rather than the fancy supermarket (Wegmans/Tops) makes a huge difference, especially when buying a lot of store brand dairy, and canned/frozen vegetables. The difference in price to get lean beef and ham is pretty huge too. The produce too. Apples, carrots, onions, red/green leaf lettuce, dandelion greens,.. all way cheaper.

    And some places have occasional sales on meat - so you can get the protein-source price down a lot if you stock up when it's on sale.