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

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  • dillydaisys
    dillydaisys Posts: 132 Member
    I think I need to reevaluate my grocery shopping. I spend $150+ a week for a family of 4. I'm in Australia but I'm thinking that's still a little too high
  • diannethegeek
    diannethegeek Posts: 14,776 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    I'd be curious to know where this $100/month ideal comes from, how old it is, which agency came up with it, and whether it's before or after sales tax is applied.

    In most areas there is little or no sales tax on staple food items. If you start getting into chips, cookies, pop, etc you may see some higher rates.

    I'm aware that sales tax is different per location, but here in Kansas it's applied to everything, including all groceries. Which is why I asked for more details about this supposed guideline that apparently just comes from some people on reddit. I feel confident ignoring it.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,849 Member
    crazyravr wrote: »
    I think anyone who thinks it's easy to live off 3 dollars a day 1 dollar a meal has probably never done that for longer than a week!

    Nahhhh it would be boring sad life (month) but it can be done. But you will not be eating the best nor the most nutritious stuff. Im in Canada (Mississauga) spend about $100 / week for myself only, cook all of my food, hardly ever go out to eat. I buy grass fed, organic meats and dairy, organic fruit and vegg if it makes sense taste wise, mostly WF (some things are worth it some absolutely not).

    Moderately boring, requires a good bit of imagination, and the $100 a month is generally an aggregate taking economies of scale into account for a family of 4. It's hardest as an individual.

    Staying healthy means shopping coupons and chasing deals for frozen food that makes multiple meals.

    Yes. At lower food expenditure, you do have to be willing to eat a lot of the same thing over and over if only 1-2 people. I spend much less on groceries now that I count calories (and thus plan and prep own meals). Limited time coupled with limited calories (and viewing food less as a means to enjoyment and more for nutrition) means I usually make a large pot of something, that I eat repeatedly most of the week, instead of buying stuff for 1 meal at a time.

    (And, of course, not being picky...the 'food is so expensive' posts are pretty much always the "I'll only eat organic/grass-fed/... / fresh &/or organic produce / only like some specific breed of apple not native to my region and out of season / buy only the 2 most expensive protein sources" BS. -northern Canadians/Alaskans are excluded from this last observation).
  • leggup
    leggup Posts: 2,942 Member
    Hahahaha. So, we spend about $800/month for 2 adults and 2 dogs at costco. That said, that includes all housewares, cleaning supplies, sometimes I get clothes, dog food, cleaning products, coffee, etc etc. We never have food go bad, so I'm guessing it's a bigger % of non-consumables. That said, I like to keep our pantry stocked with oodles of noodles and baking supplies and nonperishables like cartons of soy milk and soups.

    We also host a lot of parties, host DnD sessions (people chip in for food but we def spend more than we ask them to chip in), and just have people over a LOT. I just looked up what my food cost for yesterday. Calories: 1,567, cost: $11.17 for the whole day. Burrito for breakfast, lunch was veggiechicken burgers on bread with guac. Dinner was mock chickentenders with veggies and cheese.

    Final point: I live in the DC metro area. It's expensive here, but it's still cheaper than eating out.

  • vnb_208
    vnb_208 Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited October 2017
    vnb_208 wrote: »
    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 :(

    Food stamp allotments are adjusted based on your income. The OP said the maximum food stamp allotment, presumably what's allowed for those with zero income.

    Maximum here is $352 p/m for a household of 2 based on gross income.
    My gross incomes is about $1905 after taxes $1318 per month but my bills alone w/o grocery or gas included is about $1300-1400 So even with the $60 p/m I have very little to no money to buy foods for my weekly meal prep. Idk where you live but here alone milk $4.99 , Eggs $3.99 Bread $3.00, so I usually stick with canned*beans, rice, bread, eggs, frozen vegetables and rarely even buy meat anymore.
  • perriwinklejones
    perriwinklejones Posts: 11 Member
    LOL not for us.

    Family of 4, normally our bill (without house hold or eating out) is 500 min, I'd say more like 700/800 typically. We could cut down because we do buy nicer cuts of meat, protein powder, lots of Greek yogurt (7 dollars for 650ml here), lots of stupid expensive avocados.

    I see it like I'd rather put some money into food since we use it to nourish our bodies.

    When I was a teenager and didn't eat meat, I spent about 150 a month on food, but I also worked in a kitchen and had free meals provided there as well.
  • maggibailey
    maggibailey Posts: 289 Member
    We spend so much on food. But when I was a single mother working two jobs and skimping by we made it on a lot less. My theory in all things money is that you live up to the amount of money you have. When i had to make it on very little I was very creative with food and bills. Now that we are very comfortable we spend a lot more. We do about 200 once a month at Costco and about 150 each week at our regular grocery store. So for a family of 4 about 800. That doesn't include date night or the husband eating out for lunch everyday.
  • BeccaLoves2lift
    BeccaLoves2lift Posts: 376 Member
    I spend anywhere from $600-800 a month on groceries and toiletries for a family of 5. We eat healthy but not organic. That includes our lunches as we pack them. In addition to that we get 1-3 meals out a month.
  • cmtigger
    cmtigger Posts: 1,450 Member
    I can eat for $100. But it’s bare bones. Usually what I do is I stock up on non perishables and stuff I can freeze when it’s a good price. My guess is that I’m $150-200 in food a month. I’ve got a limited diet for medical reasons so I cook most of my food. Going out is a treat.

    If it’s a tight month I shop at winco. It’s got great prices. Yesterday I picked up salad mix, two small avocados, two pounds of bulk popcorn kernels, a pack of cheese sticks, and 2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs for under $16.
    Normally it’s Safeway, Trader Joe’s and a local natural foods store.
  • cmtigger
    cmtigger Posts: 1,450 Member
    girlinahat wrote: »
    I actually think most of us spend too little on food.

    We spend a fortune on cars, clothes, going out, technology etc. but we don't actually spend all that much on something that is so very fundamental to our long-term existence.

    shopping at a traditional butchers and greengrocer tends to be cheaper than the supermarket, whatever the big companies tell you, and you don't get distracted by 'deals'

    I drive a Yaris, my computer is 7 years old, I don’t buy designer clothes- Levi’s, lularoe, and I make a lot of them, and my TVs are over 20 years old.....
    I probably have a similar clothing and food budget.
  • xvolution
    xvolution Posts: 721 Member
    edited October 2017
    It depends on the dietary needs of the person. Any kind of food restrictions caused by medical issues makes reaching this a lot harder. One way to save, since you have SNAP benefits, is to see if there is a local food bank program that can help (they help those with low income, and usually someone who gets SNAP is considered low income) . They usually give out things like bread/dairy/rice/dried beans/fruit/veggies/meat. That way your SNAP funds can go towards anything they don't have.
  • pmm3437
    pmm3437 Posts: 529 Member
    edited October 2017
    Single male living in the NE US ( western New York ), with daily targets of 1800 net cals and 100g protein. I hit the gym at least 3 days a week, doing both strength training and cardo work.

    I spend $25-30/week to meet nutrition goals, and another $15-20 for optional items or product "upgrades". I've also had weeks where I decide to splurge, and so can easily double that amount in both categories.

    It can be done for around $100-120/m in my area, eating healthy, but it takes some planning. You will also be rotating thru a few protein and vegetable options each month. An example follows:

    $3.69 - 3 dozen grade aa eggs
    $7.58 - 2 lbs bacon
    $4.98 - 2 lbs breakfast sausage
    $6.96 - dozen multigrain english muffins
    $2.99 - 2 loaves of whole wheat bread
    $3.29 - 1 lb butter
    $2.79 - 1 lb peanut butter
    ~$10 - 5 lbs chicken thigh ( family pack, $1.89/lb )
    ~$10 - 7-8 lbs pork shoulder ( bone in, $1.39/lb )
    $4.29 - 1 lb bratwurst sausage ( 5 links )
    $5.69 - 1.5 lb Italian sausage ( 6 patties )
    ~$5 - 3 lbs dry beans ( red, black, white )
    $1.99 - 5 lbs white potatoes
    $2.89 - 5 lbs long grain rice
    $2.37 - 3 lbs assorted pasta
    $2.79 - 24oz jar of Alfredo sauce ( 7 servings )
    $1.89 - 24oz jar spaghetti sauce ( 7 servings )
    $3.96 - 4 packages seasoning mixes ( taco/enchilada/chili/white chili/etc )


    Total ~$83.15 ... leaving you with $16.85 for various frozen produce/fruit, dairy and supplemental/variety items. And this is all at regular prices ... pantry and freezer space to buy in bulk/on sale can save you another 15-25%. I typically shop mid week, and can get mark downs on a good portion of my meats ( use or freeze in next couple days stuff ... ), cause they over stock for the weekends, and they end up marking it down on Wed/Thur.

    For breakfast your eating eggs ( to order, fritata bake, french toast ) w/ or w/o a breakfast meat and/or a grain, or maybe just an english muffin/toast with peanut butter. Couple this with your dairy options ( cheese, milk, yogurt ) and/or breakfast beverage ( coffee, tea, juice ).

    For lunch during the week, your taking a batch cooked pre-made option like chicken chili, pork burrito bowls, reheated leftovers from the night before, etc. You can make a couple different items and freeze, then be able to pull and alternate for some variety day to day.

    For dinner, and possibly lunch on the weekends, your rotating between stuff like chicken broccoli Alfredo w/ pasta, braised pork tacos, chicken fajitas, bangers & mash, spaghetti with Italian sausage or other combinations you devise, along with your vegetables and supplemental items.

    This grocery list would support my targets, on a month average, and I probably don't use up all that I bought ( particularly dry stores and frozen veg ).
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,465 Member
    @pmm3437 great way to break it down. Out of curiosity I checked your prices with our local flyer. Keeping in mind that these are all sale prices, the prices seem about on par with your New York prices. (Our Canadian dollar is worth less though)

    https://www.salewhale.ca/

    All I would do differently is buy the spices and make my own sauce. Alfredo is screamingly easy to make up. Taco/enchilada/chilli can be made with cumin, chilli powder, and whatever else jumps off my spice shelf.
  • Moxie42
    Moxie42 Posts: 1,400 Member
    My husband and I eat comfortably on about $250/month (so about $125/month per person). However, I do think I'm lucky that where I live has a few options for buying food other than typical chain grocery stores. When I was buying everything at those bigger chains (Albertsons, Safeway, etc.) I was spending twice that much. Now I buy my meat and fish from a local Persian marketplace. Depending on the meat, I spend between $0.89 and $5/pound. (Chicken drumsticks being the cheapest, and ground lamb being the most expensive). The rest (fruit, veggies, snacks, dry and canned goods) I buy at Trader Joe's which is MUCH cheaper than a typical chain. I can usually even get away with buying some beer or wine on that budget (as long as it's not one of those weeks I need to re-up on a bunch of condiments and things like olive oil). I also buy store brands rather than name brands. It helps to pre-plan my meals. I like finding lists on Pinterest of, say, 7 recipes (with servings of 4-6 each) that all use mostly the same ingredients. That way, I avoid spending tons of money on things that I will only use a little bit of, and then let go to waste.
  • Lisa8823168
    Lisa8823168 Posts: 139 Member
    $100 per person means $400 for a family of four...

    LOL, have you ever fed two teenage boys-even without junk food? I grow my own pretty large garden, can sauces and fruits and I cant feed the three men in my house on $400. God bless anyone who can!
  • svel713
    svel713 Posts: 141 Member
    xvolution wrote: »
    It depends on the dietary needs of the person. Any kind of food restrictions caused by medical issues makes reaching this a lot harder. One way to save, since you have SNAP benefits, is to see if there is a local food bank program that can help (they help those with low income, and usually someone who gets SNAP is considered low income) . They usually give out things like bread/dairy/rice/dried beans/fruit/veggies/meat. That way your SNAP funds can go towards anything they don't have.

    I'm not actually on SNAP. I just picked the amount they list online as the maximum allotment since its the lowest "reasonable" amount that it seems someone should attempt to spend on food. The $100/mo. was found months later elsewhere.

    I could have loosened up the rules and multiplied by the single person amount ($194) but that didn't feel properly strict enough to me.

    I plan to put the savings into my retirement. I'd have had no problem topping it off easily if it weren't for my household's student loans ($550/mo. total), but that's a whole different topic.
  • pmm3437
    pmm3437 Posts: 529 Member
    jgnatca wrote: »
    @pmm3437 great way to break it down. Out of curiosity I checked your prices with our local flyer. Keeping in mind that these are all sale prices, the prices seem about on par with your New York prices. (Our Canadian dollar is worth less though)

    https://www.salewhale.ca/

    All I would do differently is buy the spices and make my own sauce. Alfredo is screamingly easy to make up. Taco/enchilada/chilli can be made with cumin, chilli powder, and whatever else jumps off my spice shelf.

    Yeah, some of the convenience items are replaceable with homemade, to save a bit more ... but I'm a single dude, and my spice rack consists of 2-4 McCormacks seasoning blends for use on my proteins, and a few others like salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I cook for just me, cept the couple weeks a year my retired mom visits from FL, so its down and dirty, finished in 15 min meals, when cooking to order. Usually no more then 5-6 ingredients, including seasonings.

    If the exchange rate is in our favor these days ( I dont keep track ) vs. your local currency, then you should adjust by that when making comparisons. All the restricted spending lists/challenges I tend to see on the Internet are in US dollars.

    For reference, the prices are from Wegmans.com ( local/regional chain ) and Walmart.com ( national chain ), if anyone is interested. And yes, you can get some even better deals from local vendors ( butcher, farmer's market, etc ).
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    I did some shopping today and realized that the way I buy food may be different to someone else who spends a much smaller amount.
    I have a meal plan. My family eats meals from home except one meal a week. Not too different.
    I keep my cupboard and freezer stocked. I do not expect that I will consume every bit of food I buy in one week. I probably could feed my family for a several weeks on the food I keep on hand. That is important to me.
    I don't know if the $100 per month people maintain that much extra or they just buy what they will use right away.
  • xvolution
    xvolution Posts: 721 Member
    svel713 wrote: »
    xvolution wrote: »
    It depends on the dietary needs of the person. Any kind of food restrictions caused by medical issues makes reaching this a lot harder. One way to save, since you have SNAP benefits, is to see if there is a local food bank program that can help (they help those with low income, and usually someone who gets SNAP is considered low income) . They usually give out things like bread/dairy/rice/dried beans/fruit/veggies/meat. That way your SNAP funds can go towards anything they don't have.

    I'm not actually on SNAP. I just picked the amount they list online as the maximum allotment since its the lowest "reasonable" amount that it seems someone should attempt to spend on food. The $100/mo. was found months later elsewhere.

    I could have loosened up the rules and multiplied by the single person amount ($194) but that didn't feel properly strict enough to me.

    I plan to put the savings into my retirement. I'd have had no problem topping it off easily if it weren't for my household's student loans ($550/mo. total), but that's a whole different topic.

    I'm on SNAP and I get $192/month. That's all they give you for a single person per month. The price you looked at is probably for a family of 4.
  • MinuitMinuet
    MinuitMinuet Posts: 156 Member
    My family of 4 lived off of a 80-100$ a month each and had a varied and healthy diet.. But I also cooked a lot from scratch and my cupboards looked bare. Now that it's 8 people in the house, it's more like 120-130$ per person because we don't make everything from scratch anymore. This is NC though. California or Alaska would cost more.