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How much do you/should you spend on food (US)?

amandaeveamandaeve Posts: 541Member Member Posts: 541Member Member
How much do you spend on food? Do feel like what you spend is reasonable? Do you feel like you are stuck spending more money than other people, or do you feel thrifty and like you get good food for the cost? I spend 17% of my take-home pay on food (groceries, eating out, everything). This seems like way too much, but my partner disagrees. I searched the internet to get an idea of what "normal" spending is, but I couldn't find anything very current from a reliable source.

This is the best I could come up with, but it's from 2014 and doesn't account for the variety of cost of living in different places. I do live in an expensive city compared to other places in the US.
https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/CostofFoodJul2014.pdf
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Replies

  • RAinWARAinWA Posts: 1,307Member Member Posts: 1,307Member Member
    I'm in the same area you are and we spend about 13% of our take home on food, including groceries, eating out and food for 3 pets. I think we eat pretty well but I do a lot of bulk buying, freezer stocking, etc. and I cook a lot.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,011Member Member Posts: 7,011Member Member
    15% of take-home goes to food for me. I'll admit I do not eat kn a particularly budget friendly manner though and in theory could probably cut that down by almost half of I went full budget conscious.
    edited May 12
  • 4legsRbetterthan24legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 15,379Member, Premium Member Posts: 15,379Member, Premium Member
    I would estimate we spend about 12-15% of our households takehome income on food. We dont have lavish taste when it comes to food, but we arent very budget conscious either. We could definitely cut it back to around half that if we really needed to. I am in Maryland so its a fairly expensive area to buy food, but incomes are fairly high as well.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,011Member Member Posts: 7,011Member Member
    Put another way my food bill is a little less than half as much as my house payment.
  • 100_PROOF_100_PROOF_ Posts: 1,175Member Member Posts: 1,175Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Put another way my food bill is a little less than half as much as my house payment.

    Same here. I'm in a fairly expensive area but we spend about $150- $175 a week at the grocery store.
    Once in a while we spend closer to $200. I buy what we like or think tastes the best.
    My dogs eat a homemade diet and that comes to $70 per week but I didn't include that, I count that separately.
    I don't buy the cheapest cuts even for my dogs. I try to look for the best cuts possible.
    I could definitely stand to trim down my food budget some though.
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 4,855Member Member Posts: 4,855Member Member
    This report says those in the US spend 6.4% of their income on food:
    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/this-map-shows-how-much-each-country-spends-on-food/

    From the article:

    "There are only eight countries in the world that spend less than 10% of their household income on food. Four of these are in Europe: the UK is third at 8.2%, followed by Switzerland at 8.7%; Ireland spends 9.6% and Austria 9.9%.

    The remaining four countries are spread across the globe. The US spends the least at 6.4%, Singapore spends the second lowest amount at 6.7%. Canada spends 9.1% on food, while Australia spends 9.8%."


    This shows per capital spending on food by country (US was a bit over $2,400 in 2016, # 15 in the world):
    https://knoema.com/atlas/topics/Food-Security/Expenditures-Spent-on-Food/Expenditure-on-food-per-capita

    Just the wife and I, we probably spend $175-225 on food a week including eating out.
    edited May 12
  • EvamuttEvamutt Posts: 1,440Member Member Posts: 1,440Member Member
    I always wondered what others spend. I spend about $200 on payday when I buy most of our meat which I divide & freeze. It's just the two of us & our dogs & buy things as we run out like milk, bread, eggs etc, maby another 150? I cook from scratch most days but do buy a few things from constco to keep on hand. I could spend less, but why? We also have 6 dogs & 2 cats, husband gets numerous burritos during the month too
  • EvamuttEvamutt Posts: 1,440Member Member Posts: 1,440Member Member
    100_PROOF_ wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Put another way my food bill is a little less than half as much as my house payment.

    Same here. I'm in a fairly expensive area but we spend about $150- $175 a week at the grocery store.
    Once in a while we spend closer to $200. I buy what we like or think tastes the best.
    My dogs eat a homemade diet and that comes to $70 per week but I didn't include that, I count that separately.
    I don't buy the cheapest cuts even for my dogs. I try to look for the best cuts possible.
    I could definitely stand to trim down my food budget some though.
    I also buy canned food for my dogs. I mix it into the dry once a day for my 4 big dogs & feed canned to my 2 little dogs twice a day, but the little ones are SO picky, most times I have to mix chicken or beef into their food for them to eat it. I also use canned dog food to give them their supplements each day. We had a dog who had liver problems so I cooked for her but I can't afford to do it for my current ones
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 4,855Member Member Posts: 4,855Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    This report says those in the US spend 6.4% of their income on food:
    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/this-map-shows-how-much-each-country-spends-on-food/

    From the article:

    "There are only eight countries in the world that spend less than 10% of their household income on food. Four of these are in Europe: the UK is third at 8.2%, followed by Switzerland at 8.7%; Ireland spends 9.6% and Austria 9.9%.

    The remaining four countries are spread across the globe. The US spends the least at 6.4%, Singapore spends the second lowest amount at 6.7%. Canada spends 9.1% on food, while Australia spends 9.8%."


    This shows per capital spending on food by country (US was a bit over $2,400 in 2016, # 15 in the world):
    https://knoema.com/atlas/topics/Food-Security/Expenditures-Spent-on-Food/Expenditure-on-food-per-capita

    Just the wife and I, we probably spend $175-225 on food a week including eating out.

    Actually it says "percent of consumer expenditure spent of food that was consumed at home"

    which is not the same thing as "percent of consumer take home income spent on food"....although I guess the text of the article claims that which is a bit weird...the chart clearly says something different. Makes me wonder if the person writing the article misrepresented the actual data? Not sure.

    Then later in the article it says this

    "Over the past 25 years, the poorest 20% of households in the US spent between 28.8% and 42.6% on food, compared with 6.5% to 9.2% spent by the wealthiest 20% of households."

    But how can the average be 6.4% if the wealthiest spend 6.5 to 9.2%? Something is fishy with that article.

    Talking about % of consumer take home pay means absolutely nothing. This is impacted by the individual's tax situation which really gets skewed when talking about comparisons between different countries let alone just in the US.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,011Member Member Posts: 7,011Member Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    This report says those in the US spend 6.4% of their income on food:
    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/this-map-shows-how-much-each-country-spends-on-food/

    From the article:

    "There are only eight countries in the world that spend less than 10% of their household income on food. Four of these are in Europe: the UK is third at 8.2%, followed by Switzerland at 8.7%; Ireland spends 9.6% and Austria 9.9%.

    The remaining four countries are spread across the globe. The US spends the least at 6.4%, Singapore spends the second lowest amount at 6.7%. Canada spends 9.1% on food, while Australia spends 9.8%."


    This shows per capital spending on food by country (US was a bit over $2,400 in 2016, # 15 in the world):
    https://knoema.com/atlas/topics/Food-Security/Expenditures-Spent-on-Food/Expenditure-on-food-per-capita

    Just the wife and I, we probably spend $175-225 on food a week including eating out.

    Actually it says "percent of consumer expenditure spent of food that was consumed at home"

    which is not the same thing as "percent of consumer take home income spent on food"....although I guess the text of the article claims that which is a bit weird...the chart clearly says something different. Makes me wonder if the person writing the article misrepresented the actual data? Not sure.

    Then later in the article it says this

    "Over the past 25 years, the poorest 20% of households in the US spent between 28.8% and 42.6% on food, compared with 6.5% to 9.2% spent by the wealthiest 20% of households."

    But how can the average be 6.4% if the wealthiest spend 6.5 to 9.2%? Something is fishy with that article.

    Talking about % of consumer take home pay means absolutely nothing. This is impacted by the individual's tax situation which really gets skewed when talking about comparisons between different countries let alone just in the US.

    Well that is what the OP asked about so it seemed relevant on that basis.

    How do you explain the discrepancy between the article saying the average in the US is 6.4% and then breaking down the income brackets like this:

    "Over the past 25 years, the poorest 20% of households in the US spent between 28.8% and 42.6% on food, compared with 6.5% to 9.2% spent by the wealthiest 20% of households."

    How can the average be 6.4% if the top 20% wealthiest ranged from 6.5-9.2%?
    edited May 12
  • livingleanlivingcleanlivingleanlivingclean Posts: 11,767Member Member Posts: 11,767Member Member
    It's hard to know how much I spend per week as I often buy things in bulk that adds up quickly, but lasts a while (weeks to months). I'd say $150-200 week for 2 people.

    I have tried to decrease that (and that is a lot less than it was) by buying less organics, stocking up on meat when it's on special, eating less variety, eating less volume, being more conscious of cost per kg etc
  • LounmounLounmoun Posts: 8,302Member Member Posts: 8,302Member Member
    amandaeve wrote: »
    How much do you spend on food? Do feel like what you spend is reasonable? Do you feel like you are stuck spending more money than other people, or do you feel thrifty and like you get good food for the cost? I spend 17% of my take-home pay on food (groceries, eating out, everything). This seems like way too much, but my partner disagrees. I searched the internet to get an idea of what "normal" spending is, but I couldn't find anything very current from a reliable source.

    This is the best I could come up with, but it's from 2014 and doesn't account for the variety of cost of living in different places. I do live in an expensive city compared to other places in the US.
    https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/CostofFoodJul2014.pdf

    Food for 2 adults and 1 teen in Kansas- It is about $100-150 per week. It is a full cart of stuff every week.
    We eat most of our meals from home and one meal out per week usually. We eat meat and meatless meals. We don't have any special diets. We do not do heavy physical labour or are athletes.
    It seems reasonable. I think we are on the lower end of what similar people are spending. I think under $100 per week would be possible but not very comfortable.
  • JeromeBarry1JeromeBarry1 Posts: 9,169Member Member Posts: 9,169Member Member
    We are 4 adults. I spend at least $250/week but that includes toiletries. That's about 16%. Food is the largest category of spending we have.
  • kimothyschmakimothyschma Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    I have a family of four in the midwest. We spend $100 to $150 a week on food, plus eating out. My husband's pay check and hours are variable and some weeks are leaner than others. He also wastes probably $100 a month on snacks and drinks he buys at work. So, $600 in groceries, $100-200 on convenience stores and restaurants.
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