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

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  • nossmfnossmf Posts: 1,040Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,040Member, Premium Member
    Two adults and four teenagers (18, 15, 14, 11), plus three cats and a fish, under one roof. I diligently split my grocery bills into a number of categories. Looking at just FOOD and TREATS (soda, cookies, etc) we spend about $900/mo. That number swells to over $1500 when we factor in cleaning supplies, hygiene, pet supplies and dining out, which we do way too often (typically burgers at lunch and pizza at dinner 2-3 times per week).

    When we were playing host to 4 additional persons (3 young adults and an infant, all homeless til we took them in and got them on their feet), our groceries bill ballooned to over 25% of our take-home.
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 2,400Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,400Member, Premium Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    Gamliela wrote: »
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    There was no way for me to save a year's mortgage plus down payment in California. They were taking too much tax when I had no write off and rent was sky high. I am grateful to be in a house now.

    If you were able to save up enough for a downpayment then wouldn't continuing to wait longer and continuing to save allow you to save up enough to have both a downpayment and a financial cushion in case of job loss? I'm not saying you can't buy a house as soon as you have enough for a downpayment, obviously you can. I'm also not saying that you couldn't save money with a home over rental, obviously you can although unlikely at least until the mortgage is paid down. I'm just saying it isn't that financially prudent to purchase a house if the result is to completely empty out your bank account because that is extremely risky. It is hard to recover from defaulting on a mortgage and job loss or economic crashes can come with little warning (2008 anyone?). Buying a house without a safety net is gambling, it is a gamble that very well might pay off...but it is gambling. I'm just an advocate for prudence over basically betting that you won't lose your job in order to save a few extra thousand a year in the short-term.

    I ended up taking out a loan on my 401K to get the money for the down payment. That was the only way I could do it. I was renting a modest 1 bedroom apartment and driving a paid off used car. Even now, with my write off I only see about 60% of my income in take home pay. That is how bad the tax situation is here. There was no way I could save up the money before.

    wow, things have changed, I didn't know getting loans for a downpayment was even possible! I think you are doing very well to see 60% take home pay. well done!

    edit for spelling

    Thanks but I feel like as hard as I work that I deserve to take home more than 60% of what I earn.

    Do you get state and federal tax refunds? If so, you have too much withheld from each paycheck. If you you're not getting a large refund you must have a very high income.

    Not necessarily, if she did mean take home pay versus [gross pay-taxes]. Actual take home pay will also be after deductions for medical insurance (if through employer) and any 401K contributions, and not just taxes. The 60% may or may not have been adjusted for that. My take home pay is 65%, with my employer covering 2/3 of the health insurance premium. Only ~20% is going to statutory deductions (taxes) in my case.
  • RuatineRuatine Posts: 3,406Member Member Posts: 3,406Member Member
    This discussion is interesting, and I'm learning that my ideas on what constitutes spending a lot of money on food needed expanding.

    I'm currently in a 2-adult, single-income household. We budget (and spend) $500 on groceries and $70 on eating out every month. We also take it out in cash at the beginning of the month so we know how much we have to spend in each bucket at any given point during the month. Some months we might splurge and up the restaurant budget to go out somewhere nice, but that's our typical budget.

    Looking at our budgets YTD we've been spending anywhere from 10-13% of my take home pay on food. We don't scrimp on food, although I do look for coupons/sales because it just seems like a wise financial choice. I know we could knock down our food budget if I meal planned more, but I just haven't made it a priority recently. I feel like food is reasonably priced where I am. It's less expensive than when I lived in New England, but I also get less variety in my grocers.
  • COGypsyCOGypsy Posts: 430Member, Premium Member Posts: 430Member, Premium Member
    I don't cook, so that impacts my food budget considerably. I spend about $100 a week on a meal delivery service, plus a trip to the grocery for snacks, drinks, household stuff etc. Then I probably spend another $50 or so a week on dining out. I just figure food is like gas--you need it, so you just pay whatever it costs and make it work.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,078Member Member Posts: 7,078Member Member
    Wow you all spend a lot on groceries!!
    2 adults plus a toddler plus a baby. We used to spend about $280/month on groceries, plus $60-100 eating out per month. Now, it’s about $350/mo groceries, $70/mo eating out regular months, or $120-ish for special months such as birthday or anniversary. We live in the northern Midwest, and are in a low cost of living area. We eat well, though don’t buy meat very often any more. I don’t feel like we’re bare-bones-beans-n-rice by any means. $350/mo felt high to me until I read this thread lol. Not anymore. It’s only about 6 to 8% of our variable take home pay.

    2 adults plus 2 toddlers and we spend about $1000 to $1200 a month on food although we live in a city that is top 5 in the nation fir cost of living. That is about 8 to 10% of our take home and about 33% relative to our mortgage. I think as dollars there will be a lot of range but as percent of take-home or percent of mortgage or housing costs people will be pretty similar as that sort of normalizes to the cost of living of the area. Subjectively I feel like if your food costs are less than 10% of your take home you are doing pretty well
    edited August 28
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Posts: 7,012Member Member Posts: 7,012Member Member
    dodea48 wrote: »
    "I think the only way we could do it cheaper is if we cut out all flour based items (celiacs so we need to buy gluten free - as it is, I limit the house to 2 loaves a week) , stopped nuts and seeds and really limited meat."

    gluten free means "cut out all flour based items" no bread

    Not sure who you are quoting, but not all flour is made from wheat. Not all flour has gluten.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Posts: 468Member Member Posts: 468Member Member
    ritzvin wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    Gamliela wrote: »
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    There was no way for me to save a year's mortgage plus down payment in California. They were taking too much tax when I had no write off and rent was sky high. I am grateful to be in a house now.

    If you were able to save up enough for a downpayment then wouldn't continuing to wait longer and continuing to save allow you to save up enough to have both a downpayment and a financial cushion in case of job loss? I'm not saying you can't buy a house as soon as you have enough for a downpayment, obviously you can. I'm also not saying that you couldn't save money with a home over rental, obviously you can although unlikely at least until the mortgage is paid down. I'm just saying it isn't that financially prudent to purchase a house if the result is to completely empty out your bank account because that is extremely risky. It is hard to recover from defaulting on a mortgage and job loss or economic crashes can come with little warning (2008 anyone?). Buying a house without a safety net is gambling, it is a gamble that very well might pay off...but it is gambling. I'm just an advocate for prudence over basically betting that you won't lose your job in order to save a few extra thousand a year in the short-term.

    I ended up taking out a loan on my 401K to get the money for the down payment. That was the only way I could do it. I was renting a modest 1 bedroom apartment and driving a paid off used car. Even now, with my write off I only see about 60% of my income in take home pay. That is how bad the tax situation is here. There was no way I could save up the money before.

    wow, things have changed, I didn't know getting loans for a downpayment was even possible! I think you are doing very well to see 60% take home pay. well done!

    edit for spelling

    Thanks but I feel like as hard as I work that I deserve to take home more than 60% of what I earn.

    Do you get state and federal tax refunds? If so, you have too much withheld from each paycheck. If you you're not getting a large refund you must have a very high income.

    Not necessarily, if she did mean take home pay versus [gross pay-taxes]. Actual take home pay will also be after deductions for medical insurance (if through employer) and any 401K contributions, and not just taxes. The 60% may or may not have been adjusted for that. My take home pay is 65%, with my employer covering 2/3 of the health insurance premium. Only ~20% is going to statutory deductions (taxes) in my case.

    Typically take home pay is defined as gross pay less statutory deduction (taxes). Things like insurance and 401k contributions would not be considered as reductions in take home pay when applying for a loan, etc.
  • nighthawk584nighthawk584 Posts: 894Member Member Posts: 894Member Member
    single dude here..I probably average $125 a week ..but I buy a lot of meat. I prepare most of my meals and rarely eat out.
    edited August 29
  • WiseandcuriousWiseandcurious Posts: 708Member Member Posts: 708Member Member

    I don't. About 40% of what I make goes into taxes of one sort or another, and I usually end up cutting a check to the IRS when I file.

    This whole we need the government to do _______ nonsense needs to stop. I can't afford it.

    I pay 40% (a bit more actually) in Canada and am very happy with it - it gets me free healthcare, free education for my kids, plus al the usual infrastructure law enforcement etc. benefits, a social safety net should I ever need it, and the peace of mind and satisfaction of knowing I live in a peaceful and just society that values solidarity.

    In my view, governments do need to do ________, and taxes are the easiest way to afford it, but some governments dont do it. I can commisaretae :(
  • WiseandcuriousWiseandcurious Posts: 708Member Member Posts: 708Member Member
    To add a Canadian perspective on the food - roughly 1000 a month for food for 3, pet food and supplies (1 cat) and drugstore items (washing and cleaning supplies, shampoos, etc.) Including coffees and any lunches out. We rarely do takeout or restaurants so those would be included. We make no effort to be frugal when purchasing but we almost never throw food out. Don't buy bulk but rarely buy organic either.

    Edited because hit post too soon.
    edited August 30
  • KerrieA87KerrieA87 Posts: 72Member Member Posts: 72Member Member
    I’m U.K. based and we spend possibly upto £2000 most months on combined groceries and eating out. I definitely believe we could cut it down by more than half on a regular basis. Just last month I refused to buy anything because I was fed up of topping up food when we already had fridges and freezers full, one meal plan and less than £50 later we had 21 evening and lunch meals for 2 adults and 3 kids with options left over. I just don’t have the patience or stamina to keep up to it
  • missjck2missjck2 Posts: 127Member Member Posts: 127Member Member
    I spend about $425 a month grocery shopping, just my dog and I. I also live in Alaska where the cost of living is super expensive.
  • SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Posts: 1,135Member Member Posts: 1,135Member Member
    There are so many contributing factors here....where you live, your income level, your way of eating, and your budget priorities.

    My husband and I spend around $500-600 per month on groceries. We only eat out a few times a month.

    We live in a large urban area in the US with a high cost of living.

    I could probably cut this budget in half if I needed to. We are not "rich", but comfortable enough to include nice wine, fresh seafood, and high-end meats in our regular meals. I could easily save money by cutting back on the "luxury" items and shopping at discounted grocery stores. It's all about priorities...we really like cooking good food at home, and like our wine and treats, so that's where we spend our money.
  • happysquidmuffinhappysquidmuffin Posts: 387Member Member Posts: 387Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Wow you all spend a lot on groceries!!
    2 adults plus a toddler plus a baby. We used to spend about $280/month on groceries, plus $60-100 eating out per month. Now, it’s about $350/mo groceries, $70/mo eating out regular months, or $120-ish for special months such as birthday or anniversary. We live in the northern Midwest, and are in a low cost of living area. We eat well, though don’t buy meat very often any more. I don’t feel like we’re bare-bones-beans-n-rice by any means. $350/mo felt high to me until I read this thread lol. Not anymore. It’s only about 6 to 8% of our variable take home pay.

    2 adults plus 2 toddlers and we spend about $1000 to $1200 a month on food although we live in a city that is top 5 in the nation fir cost of living. That is about 8 to 10% of our take home and about 33% relative to our mortgage. I think as dollars there will be a lot of range but as percent of take-home or percent of mortgage or housing costs people will be pretty similar as that sort of normalizes to the cost of living of the area. Subjectively I feel like if your food costs are less than 10% of your take home you are doing pretty well

    That’s a good point, comparison of all those factors helps paint a more accurate picture of whether you’re spending a lot on food or about the right amount. It’s crazy how huge the difference in cost of living is in the USA. $40K in Idaho vs $40K in California or New York, for example. Huge difference in spending power.

  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,078Member Member Posts: 7,078Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Wow you all spend a lot on groceries!!
    2 adults plus a toddler plus a baby. We used to spend about $280/month on groceries, plus $60-100 eating out per month. Now, it’s about $350/mo groceries, $70/mo eating out regular months, or $120-ish for special months such as birthday or anniversary. We live in the northern Midwest, and are in a low cost of living area. We eat well, though don’t buy meat very often any more. I don’t feel like we’re bare-bones-beans-n-rice by any means. $350/mo felt high to me until I read this thread lol. Not anymore. It’s only about 6 to 8% of our variable take home pay.

    2 adults plus 2 toddlers and we spend about $1000 to $1200 a month on food although we live in a city that is top 5 in the nation fir cost of living. That is about 8 to 10% of our take home and about 33% relative to our mortgage. I think as dollars there will be a lot of range but as percent of take-home or percent of mortgage or housing costs people will be pretty similar as that sort of normalizes to the cost of living of the area. Subjectively I feel like if your food costs are less than 10% of your take home you are doing pretty well

    That’s a good point, comparison of all those factors helps paint a more accurate picture of whether you’re spending a lot on food or about the right amount. It’s crazy how huge the difference in cost of living is in the USA. $40K in Idaho vs $40K in California or New York, for example. Huge difference in spending power.

    Definitely for housing. A 600sqft condo in San Francisco would buy you a mansion in most parts of the country. Actually just checked and prices have dropped in SF. Can get a 2bd 1 bath condo with almost 1000sqft (with no yard at all) for under a million now. Price per sqft ($1,027):

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1800-Turk-St-APT-303-San-Francisco-CA-94115/15084450_zpid/

    In Des Moines Iowa that gets you a 6bd 7ba ~6k sqft mansion with a gigantic yard and what looks to be a second house in the backyard that is probably in itself bigger than the San Fran one. Price per sqft ($168):

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4212-Cherrywood-Ct-West-Des-Moines-IA-50265/866938_zpid/

    I need to look into telecommuting.

  • EvamuttEvamutt Posts: 1,596Member Member Posts: 1,596Member Member
    I grew up in SF & Daly City. Before we moved to central CA, we looked at homes to buy in SF, the average price was $23,000. This was in the mid 70's
  • ExistingFishExistingFish Posts: 896Member Member Posts: 896Member Member
    We spend a large percentage of take-home income on food (mixed grocery, as I call it, also includes hygiene and TP, pet food, etc). We spend about $200/week, which is like just over 30% of take-home pay. We are a single income family, 2 adults, 3 kids, a dog, and a cat. We don't have a mortgage (live with family). I don't think we could afford it. I did not really realize how much of our income went to food until now. We've tried to spend less, but then the next week we end up spending more to compensate. But honestly, that is $40 per person each week, which is quite low.
  • miriamkotkumiriamkotku Posts: 117Member Member Posts: 117Member Member
    We live in New York City and typically we spend over $700 a month on groceries alone for two people ( not even including the coffee trips and eating out..). We also feed our cat raw food and that runs us around $80ish every month. We also go out every weekend and spend usually around $100 at a time. We like cafes and exploring new restaurants/food eateries often. We both enjoy and prioritize food so we don’t mind spending money ..we shop at Whole Foods weekly and sometimes Trader Joe’s.
    edited September 28
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