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Author Topic: Groceries  (Read 68585 times)
madison1
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2012, 1:51:15 PM »

I spend no more than $40-50 a week on groceries, but I shop the sales whenever possible.  It's just me, which helps, and every Sunday I make a big dish in my crockpot, whose leftovers then feed me for at least half of the work week.  I even had red meat this week...and no pink slime for me...I cooked a roast.
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arizona
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2012, 2:33:58 PM »

Our grocery bills for just my husband and me tend to run around $500-600 per month, largely because of my health issues. We are vegetarian (although I eat fish, too), which is certainly pricier in terms of protein products. In addition, I am gluten-sensitive, have a family history of diabetes, and suffer from an inflammatory disorder, so can't eat the less-expensive vegetarian options (rice and beans, for example, or pasta), and can't digest a lot of foods, either. Yeah, feeding me is one of our biggest single expenses.


We also pay an exorbitant amount of money per month on groceries due to health issues and severe food allergies. I'm grateful the speciality stuff exists, but it is INSANELY expensive. Plus we live in one of the highest COL areas in the country.
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barred_owl
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2012, 2:17:48 AM »

I agree with Pry that location matters with regard to grocery prices.  For example, the comment that a gallon of milk costs $4-$5 somewhere seems outrageous to me, but I live in a state renowned for its dairy production (here, a gallon of milk is running about $3.25).  Any milk I buy is likely produced locally or regionally and not subject to additional transportation costs. 

On a monthly basis, my grocery bill for 2 people is averaging about $250; about every two months we stockpile meats out of that total, so that we can buy veggies, fruits, staples, and things like pasta, rice, and canned goods in between.  Luckily, we have a separate freezer to keep the meats on-hand, as necessary.

FWIW, I have my environmental science students complete an exercise in which they are "given" $200/month to buy nutritious food for a family of four, based on a weekly sales flyer from the only large-scale grocery store in town.  They are allotted the staples--flour, cooking oil, butter, sugar, and salt--but have to come up with a weekly menu based only on the other food items that are on sale during the week in which we do the exercise.  In the latest iteration of this activity, my students' families would be subsisting on a diet dominated by cabbage ($0.29/lb) and rutabagas ($0.19/lb).  They might get enough dairy, but fresh fruits and greens were out of the question.  Some students opted for the 5 for $10 option on frozen pizzas, too--a logical choice, economically, but not the best choice nutritionally.  Sadly, the results my students come up with are reflective of the situation for about 20% of our county's population...Not necessarily very nutritious or well-rounded, eh?  Frugal, yes.  Well-balanced, no. 
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2012, 3:16:02 AM »

Just happens that I have my credit card statement sitting here. Our Trader Joe's bill for the month is $360, that's for two adults. I'm surprised it is so low; I'm not careful about what I spend when I am there (good milk = $6 a gallon). We might spend another $10-20 picking up odds and ends at other stores. This is all supplemented by meat from 1-2 pigs, eggs from the chickens, and a bit of frozen/canned stuff from the garden. We go out for dinner maybe once a week at most.

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scampster
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2012, 3:48:46 AM »

This is definitely my biggest runaway cost. I wouldn't be surprised if I spent $400/month total (including things like laundry detergent, etc) at the grocery store. I buy very little in the way of processed foods, but I am notorious for having too much food in the fridge. I would say produce is my biggest culprit. I think I mentally justify it because I am buying healthy things, not junk, but as you can imagine, a single person can only eat so much produce before it goes bad.

Anyway, living in Europe will be interesting. Not only do I not have a car (meaning I go to the store more often and buy smaller amounts I can carry), my apartment only has a small fridge in it (waist-height). And I don't have a lot of cupboard space, so I have one shelf in the cupboard for dry foods. And a freezer at the top of the fridge that is about 6" tall.
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totoro
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2012, 9:27:02 AM »

Here in Australia, 2 litres of milk is about $2.50 in the supermarket for the own brand (so around $4.50 for a gallon I guess. 3 litres is the biggest size). It is nearer $4.50 in convenience stores or for non-own brand in the supermarket, which would be around $8 a gallon.... I'm not sure what we spend on groceries per month. I only track total spending on everything... (1 Australian Dollar is currently worth 1.03 USD).
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anon99
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« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2012, 10:26:36 AM »

Our Trader Joe's bill for the month is $360, that's for two adults. I'm surprised it is so low; I'm not careful about what I spend when I am there (good milk = $6 a gallon).

Okay I have to ask, what the heck is 'good milk'?

We spend about $400 per month for two people and a pet.  When I was by myself, I spent maybe $150-200 per month.  We also cook from scratch and don't buy a lot of pre-made sauces (except pasta sauce).  I pay $4.50 for a gallon (okay 4 L) of milk.
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wet_blanket
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« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2012, 10:47:11 AM »

I will do a "big" shop early in the month that is usually round $70.  Then, I'll buy a handful of items  for $20-40 every week or so.  My budget is $140, but that's an average and is usually closer to either $100 or $180.

I also buy a lot of lunches and snacks in cafes, where I get work done.  This comes out of my spending money in my budget (and accounts for at least 80% of that category).  If I rearranged categories to have a combined food category I would be at about $350, but that's far more than what it would cost to feed myself if I didn't feel obliged to pay cafe owners for using their space!
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glowdart
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« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2012, 10:58:56 AM »

Our Trader Joe's bill for the month is $360, that's for two adults. I'm surprised it is so low; I'm not careful about what I spend when I am there (good milk = $6 a gallon).

Okay I have to ask, what the heck is 'good milk'?

I imagine good milk is the hormone-free, organic, free-range, etc.  (?)

Our store-brand milk is over $4.00/ gallon.  The first level up of non-store brand but still huge regional chain milk is over $2.50 for a half-gallon.  The local good but still widely distributed organic happy free range cows milk is $4.00 for a half-gallon.  

I had the opportunity to pay $3.99 for a pint of blueberries yesterday.  I declined.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 10:59:31 AM by glowdart » Logged
desmata
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« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2012, 11:00:23 AM »

I spent about $500 a month for my adult son, my chow (who eats "human" food), and myself. My daughter is  is usually here every other weekend. We do not eat (or drink) out at all. We are in the greater Philly area, so relatively high COL. I also have dietary restrictions but fortunately, I do not need much fuel to keep this body going.

My son, on the other hand, needs 3000+ calories/day. He is 20 and literally runs all day at his job (valet). We must buy high protein items such as nuts, beef jerky, protein bars, and protein powder because like me, he doesn't have a big appetite. We make smoothies about four times/week with fresh and frozen fruit, greek yogurt, veggie juice (also pricey) and extra protein powder for him.

Milk is between $3.50 and $5 here.
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corny
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« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2012, 11:05:38 AM »

Agh, this drives me crazy. Since moving to VAPville, we've shifted from doing all our grocery shopping at the hippie store (Whole Foods-style local chain) to doing almost all of it at the big cheap store down the road in an effort to save money. I diligently go through the flyer, we only buy the meat that's on sale (we probably eat meat 3-4 times a week, mostly ground beef, chicken, and sausage), we cook almost everything from scratch, etc. etc. And we STILL can barely come in under $500/mo for two people. I admit that I still end up back at the hippie store semi-regularly for vegetables or organic yogurt because I really kind of hate the food at the cheap store. The SO doesn't care a whit about organic food, but he does sometimes eat massive quantities of food as if he were still a teenage boy. But still. I feel like I'm bleeding money. In my last city, shopping for just myself at the cute but expensive co-op every week, I spent $250/month, and sometimes more. But at least then the produce was local and organic and the eggs were laid by hens who got their own iPods and personal masseuses.
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chaosbydesign
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Whatever your problem is, it's probably my fault.


« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2012, 11:24:52 AM »

I don't know if groceries are just really, really cheap where I live or if I just don't eat enough, but I don't think I spend more than $150 on actual groceries (plus cat food) a month.
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juvenal
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Juvenal


« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2012, 11:26:15 AM »

I am disorderly in some ways, and organized in others.  One of the things I am (perhaps) too organized about is keeping an exact record of all expenses.  I carry a new index card every day and put on it all the expenditures of the day: out of pocket, check, credit card (this used rarely; I work mostly on a cash basis for day to day expenses).

And since this happens to be the last day of the month and I've done the grocery shopping for the day, it was a matter of a few minutes to find out how much went for groceries in March: $182.67, and this includes some paper goods and cleaning supplies. 

The booze and wine bill is larger than this (I won't give that total).

I live alone, but I do live in one the more expensive regions of the country--a suburb in the NYC Metro area.

A gallon of milk?  Varies, and I look for stores that have "sales"--so on sale it's about $2.79 to $2.99 (for the 1% I drink), about a gallon a week.

I'm not a big meat eater, and my diet seems to have too much carbohydrate in it (crackers, popcorn, rolls, English muffins--none of these calories too pricey), probably most of my protein is from eggs, milk and cheese.

So, I suppose if there were two of me, $400/month would not be too excessive for groceries, but the liquor bill would be surprising.  I'd drink more than I do now if I had someone else in my living space...


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punchnpie
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« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2012, 8:59:04 PM »

With such little kids (who probably don't eat much), I'm surprised that your costs are so high. I stand by the USDA's budgets (http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2012/CostofFoodJan2012.pdf) and kick myself if I go over. I agree that your grocery bill in that it can include a lot of sundries; you have to figure what you are actually spending on food. Also, are you planning your meals? That can make a big difference regarding costs.

I have been on food stamps. I know how to make a dollar squeal, and am blessed that I don't have to, when it comes to food, anymore. If food money is a real issue for you, you have to use coupons (but only for what you'd normally buy) and cook a lot from scratch. You have to simplify your menus (they don't have to be dull, though).

I have some of MsP's issues, but have had to go the other way as I can't deal with the heavy carb load of veganism anymore. Now that I'm not buying expensive fake meats and the 'special entitled privileged person's veg*n grub,' I have plenty of money for food. I don't do cereals (which can be very expensive as people now eat cereal all day long), neither punch jr nor I eat breads, and I've cut my cracker habit. Due to lactose issues, I drink almond and soy milks, so there's that cost, but I only buy a qt of real milk for punch jr, so I have no idea how much milk costs if you're buying gallons of it.

I do have a killer diet pepsi/La Croix water habit, but since I don't drink liquor or smoke and can't indulge in a lot of 'fun' full sugar drinks anyway, it doesn't hurt the budget. We rarely have juice, so expensive juices (sugar water) don't take a lot of my money. We also do food storage, so I generally buy a few things extra each time I'm out. I save by buying sales when I see them, and cook around what is available.

We have a lot of locally grown meat & veg outlets here, so the quality is quite good at reasonable prices. I do Walmart for canned stuff, but not their veg or meat.

With all that, I find that I can go in the store and get what I want and stay in a reasonable budget. I don't feel deprived, or that I'm spending too much. It's my tendency to shop as entertainment that can make me go over budget. Damn you, 24 hr Walmart!

If you want to match your grocery shopping to your meal planning, so that you aren't buying a lot of stuff that goes to waste, you might try http://emeals.com/ which looks at prices at various chains and recommends meals/groceries based on them. I used it while in grad school and it really helped the budget.
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wilbrish
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« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2012, 9:48:44 PM »

I agree with MsP; sundries really take a bite out of the grocery budget.
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