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

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  • 100_PROOF_100_PROOF_ Posts: 1,175Member Member Posts: 1,175Member Member
    Evamutt wrote: »
    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
    Ours have food allergies .Are you using any special brand of canned dog food? I'm always interested just in case someone found something that I haven't tried yet.

    I have some low cost recipes saved for homemade dog food if you ever want to restart.
    I only do it because my rottweiler has food allergies and we couldn't find a brand that she wouldn't react to. We tried even the $80 per bag special brands and she still developed the allergy rash. I would gladly use store bought food for them if I could find one that worked.

    ( I'm sorry op for not staying on topic!)
  • RadishEaterRadishEater Posts: 470Member Member Posts: 470Member Member
    Single grad student here who gets paid a bit more than minimum wage, my food budget ends up being 15-20% of my paycheck mostly because I eat so much meat (ground beef and chicken bought in bulk) and fage yogurt with berries.

    Also being in NY, there is a massive Wegmans 3miles from my apartment so it is very easy to buy lots of fresh produce.

    My roommate who exercises ~1/4 of what I do per week spends much less money than me due to eating a fraction of meat and veggies
  • jefamer2017jefamer2017 Posts: 416Member Member Posts: 416Member Member
    For myself if I don't go out to a restaurant I spend 30 to 40 a week.
  • LounmounLounmoun Posts: 8,433Member Member Posts: 8,433Member Member
    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?

    Some people are giving amounts they are spending but not really answering these questions from the OP. It'd be kind of nice if in your answer you share some thoughts about your food spending.
    Do you feel you are frugal, average or spending more than similar people in your area? Is the amount you are spending getting you what you want or do you feel dissatisfied with the quantity/quality of food you get for your money in your area? Is it difficult to stick to your budgeted amount for food?


    For $30-50 per week per adult in my area would probably be on the more frugal end of food spending but still fairly comfortable if they spend the money wisely.
    It is a comfortable amount of food and the quality is fine for my family. It takes planning and some effort to stick to our budget but we are not struggling. We don't run out of food. We are not buying expensive brands, tons of meat or eating out frequently.
    If we bought expensive brands or did more dining out the amount of food would be less adequate.

    I recall some of those SNAP food challenges where the person went to a more expensive store and bought organic everything and pretty much just had food for a couple of days instead of the whole week because they did not plan or shop to fit that budget.
  • hesn92hesn92 Posts: 5,488Member Member Posts: 5,488Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Would people find dollar amounts or percentage of income more useful for comparison? Both can get pretty skewed depending on where you live.

    % of income doesn’t mean anything to me. If I got a raise I wouldn’t start spending more money on groceries.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,060Member Member Posts: 7,060Member Member
    Okay geez apparently I am doing it wrong. I'm spending about $1300/mo. In my defense I live in one of the most expensive cities and sales tax is around 10%...but still.
    edited May 2018
  • MJsStoryMJsStory Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    I have a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 teens 18,15, and 13) and we spend $650/month. We eat out 2x a month which costs an addition $100-$150 depending on where we go. I do not purchase anything processed or with soy do to severe food allergies. We do fresh produce, meat, and some dairy. Everything from scratch. Lots of bulk buying, vacuum seal, and freeze.
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 4,859Member Member Posts: 4,859Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Alright this thread is kind of humbling for me. I just went to the grocery store at Safeway (so not like it is Whole Foods). Got 1 cantelope, 1 bunch of banannas, 3 oz of green beans, 3 cans of black beans, 1 carton of eggs, 2 gallons of milk, 2 boxes of oatmeal, 2 chocolate bars, 1 pack of cookies, about 15 vegetable purees and a 6 pack of beer. No meat in there and none of that stuff is particularly fancy but it cost about $88.

    None of that stuff is for dinners or anything just snacky stuff. If I decided to try to live off that somehow it'd probably last me like 2-3 days for just me if that. It is hard to fathom a multiperson family living off $100-$150 a week in food. Pretty sure I spend more than that on just myself and I rarely eat at restaurants. Clearly don't know what I am doing.

    I guess to answer the OP's original question, I feel stuck spending more than everyone else...well I do now.

    You must be in a high cost area. Not going to the store and shopping those items, but working off memory, you would be around $40-$50 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in my mid-size, midwest community.
  • geneticsteachergeneticsteacher Posts: 623Member Member Posts: 623Member Member
    Vegetable purees?
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,060Member Member Posts: 7,060Member Member
    Vegetable purees?

    For my twin toddler daughters...most of that was for them minus the beer and chocolate.
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Alright this thread is kind of humbling for me. I just went to the grocery store at Safeway (so not like it is Whole Foods). Got 1 cantelope, 1 bunch of banannas, 3 oz of green beans, 3 cans of black beans, 1 carton of eggs, 2 gallons of milk, 2 boxes of oatmeal, 2 chocolate bars, 1 pack of cookies, about 15 vegetable purees and a 6 pack of beer. No meat in there and none of that stuff is particularly fancy but it cost about $88.

    None of that stuff is for dinners or anything just snacky stuff. If I decided to try to live off that somehow it'd probably last me like 2-3 days for just me if that. It is hard to fathom a multiperson family living off $100-$150 a week in food. Pretty sure I spend more than that on just myself and I rarely eat at restaurants. Clearly don't know what I am doing.

    I guess to answer the OP's original question, I feel stuck spending more than everyone else...well I do now.

    You must be in a high cost area. Not going to the store and shopping those items, but working off memory, you would be around $40-$50 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in my mid-size, midwest community.

    Yeah I'm in Seattle, so high cost area with close to 10% sales tax.
    edited May 2018
  • shaumomshaumom Posts: 897Member Member Posts: 897Member Member
    In a family of 3, I struggle to keep our food budget to $600 a month. It is often $700-$800.

    But 2 of the three of us have very specialized diets - celiac, so it all has to be gluten free. Food allergies, so a lot of food has to be certified free of X allergen (which is never the cheap brands). And also the food allergies unfortunately involve a lot of the vegetarian protein options, which means a lot of meat, but meat that has to be allergen safe, which means more expensive meat. And some of the food allergies apply to vitamin supplements, too, so we have to sometimes get more expensive food solely for vitamin purposes, ugh.

    So this $600 or so a month does not typically involve any processed foods or premade foods barring a few condiments and some milk or cheese here and there. It's just freaking expensive stuff

    So I think our budget is way too expensive for our size family. It is so bad that the past few years, I have started to try to learn how to garden, and planted a number of cheap fruit trees, partly to try and offset our food budget!!
    edited May 2018
  • Stockholm_AndyStockholm_Andy Posts: 625Member Member Posts: 625Member 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 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.

    The linked data was from the World Economic Forum its not a blog article. You can get the source data from the link too.

    As I read it the current average is now 6.4% in the US. The figures above goes back over a 25 years period. So it's trending down.

    I also think that % is so low because I think people (sweeping generalisation) eat out more often than, for instance, Europeans

    Just be glad you're not in Kenya where they're spending over 50% of their income on food eaten at home. Probably not much left over for a dinner out on date night.

    From my experience of travelling in the US food is cheaper in both supermarkets and restaurants than in Europe. Here in Sweden food also carries a 12% sales tax (standard is 25%).

    edited May 2018
  • deannalfisherdeannalfisher Posts: 5,038Member, Premium Member Posts: 5,038Member, Premium Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Alright this thread is kind of humbling for me. I just went to the grocery store at Safeway (so not like it is Whole Foods). Got 1 cantelope, 1 bunch of banannas, 3 oz of green beans, 3 cans of black beans, 1 carton of eggs, 2 gallons of milk, 2 boxes of oatmeal, 2 chocolate bars, 1 pack of cookies, about 15 vegetable purees and a 6 pack of beer. No meat in there and none of that stuff is particularly fancy but it cost about $88.

    None of that stuff is for dinners or anything just snacky stuff. If I decided to try to live off that somehow it'd probably last me like 2-3 days for just me if that. It is hard to fathom a multiperson family living off $100-$150 a week in food. Pretty sure I spend more than that on just myself and I rarely eat at restaurants. Clearly don't know what I am doing.

    I guess to answer the OP's original question, I feel stuck spending more than everyone else...well I do now.

    i find safeway to be the more expensive of my local options (Giant, Safeway, Shoppers and Food Lion within a 5-10min drive; Aldi if i want to go about 15min) - but they tend to have a wider range of items (second maybe to Giant)
    edited May 2018
  • wwhitney1wwhitney1 Posts: 9Member Member Posts: 9Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Okay geez apparently I am doing it wrong. I'm spending about $1300/mo. In my defense I live in one of the most expensive cities and sales tax is around 10%...but still.

    Holy sh** that is a lot lol (not judging I wish I could spend that much on our food)

    We spend about $400 a month on groceries for a house of 4. Myself, my husband and our two sons, 5 & 10 years old. And about $30 on the dogs food. We go out to eat maybe ... 3 times a month which is about $75 dollars give or take.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,060Member Member Posts: 7,060Member 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 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.

    The linked data was from the World Economic Forum its not a blog article. You can get the source data from the link too.

    As I read it the current average is now 6.4% in the US. The figures above goes back over a 25 years period. So it's trending down.

    I also think that % is so low because I think people (sweeping generalisation) eat out more often than, for instance, Europeans

    Just be glad you're not in Kenya where they're spending over 50% of their income on food eaten at home. Probably not much left over for a dinner out on date night.

    From my experience of travelling in the US food is cheaper in both supermarkets and restaurants than in Europe. Here in Sweden food also carries a 12% sales tax (standard is 25%).
    I recognize it was given as a range over the past 25 years (which is why each value is a range)
    That said there is no way it has trended down to the point that today the average is lower now than the total average for the wealthiest 20% has been over the past 25 years. Do you really believe the average person spends less of their income on food now than the wealthiest in the 80s?

    I know it is on the world economic forum but it is a blog post....places like that hire technical writers to post articles on their websites that describe results of studies...that isn't the study that is an article written by somebody about the study and it is possible it contains an error. It shouldn't but it might. I'm just saying the words used in the article dont match the words used in the figure header and that last part giving the distribution numbers doesn't really make sense.

    From my experience living in the United States my whole life the average household spends more than 6% of their income on food.
    edited May 2018
  • ZodikosisZodikosis Posts: 148Member Member Posts: 148Member Member
    We are in a high cost of living area and I would say that if you don't include eating out 1-2x a week, it's about $200-$300/person/month for groceries (higher if I'm feeling fancy and want some gourmet items like nice cheeses and salamis, lower if not). I'm a bit of a foodie, but we are pretty thrifty, shop mostly at Aldi and Giant, with the occasional trip to Wegmans and Lotte/H-Mart for harder-to-find items, and cook at home most of the time. Overall I don't worry much about what I spend on food. I've cut out all the bad food-related spending habits I'm willing to eliminate, cutting any further would be a huge compromise in my view, and tbf we make enough money where we can easily afford our food habits.
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