General Question

MooCows's avatar

How much do you spend a month on groceries?

Asked by MooCows (3190points) April 1st, 2016

Wondering how much everyone spends a month
on groceries including buying pet foods.
I spend about $450 a month.

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56 Answers

janbb's avatar

I probably spend roughly $50 a week; not including if I eat out but there’s just me in my household and I tend to eat very simply.

jca's avatar

It’s hard to say as I don’t keep a budget for groceries and I will buy at random on an as needed basis, and also buy on an impulse basis. I buy at stores like Trader Joe’s (cat food, random stuff) and Costco (milk, fruit, some things like crackers and cheese), and local grocery stores (yogurt – one per day) and everything else. The Costco stuff costs more but may last for weeks. We go out to eat at least once per week (cheap – less than 30 for dinner for two). If I go out solo, it’s about 10 bucks.

Cat food is about 70 cents per can at Trader Joe’s and I use 3 to 4 cans per day, plus hard food. Yogurt averages about one dollar per day.

I don’t know. 70 to 100 per week maybe including the restaurant and cats’ food?

ucme's avatar

Ahem, we really do have staff for this

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

$27 last month for myself. About $50 for the cat and two dogs. All other feed is a business expense and runs into the hundreds.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Between the wife and I probably close to $500 in just food items. Our grocery, eating out and non food grocery items likely come close to about a grand. My biggest expense by far.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Probably $150. Maybe. It’s just me and Rick.

zenvelo's avatar

About $150 a week, so $600 per month. I go to a local market that has an excellent meat counter with high quality meat, and an excellent produce section. So I pay a bit more on meats and produce than if I went to Safeway.

On the other hand, I rarely throw out any uneaten meats or veggies. And we don;t eat very many processed foods. I shop on the perimeter of the store, rarely in the middle.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve been economizing.
Maybe $60–80 last month, if I have to include pop, but that will last weeks.
I had a little splurge on ½ price Easter candy this week.

If I’m just fending for myself, I can eat ¼ a cheese pizza and a 32 oz. carbonated water at the grocery for $1.75.

Seek's avatar

It depends on what we have that month. When we have more, I’ll spend more – make sure there are fresh vegetables in the house, buy real butter, grab a jar of honey, etc. I’ll also buy foods that are easily preserved, which is always a good idea in Florida, where a hurricane could spring up at any time.

I try to have a month’s worth of canned goods and dry beans, rice, flour, sugar, oatmeal, etc. on hand at all times. When we have a rough month and I have to dig into the supplies, I get worried, and replace them as soon as possible. I also buy meat in bulk whenever possible and repackage it into meal-size packages. I try to have at least one extra week of meat available, and prefer two.

In the last year I’ve done everything from $80 in one month for four people and a dog to $500. There was one month where we lived entirely on my stocked supplies.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It just occurred to me that we no longer experience the cart bulging with groceries, and I can’t remember when that sort of thing stopped. I have no idea what we spend on groceries these days, but I’m in grocery stores all the time picking up something or other as per the wife’s instructions. It’s curious that I didn’t notice the fall off in the bulging cart expeditions.

Seek's avatar

@stanleybmanly Probably stopped right around the time that everything in the grocery store doubled in price, and in some cases tripled. That lined right up with that damned “Extreme Couponing” show and the subsequent coupon rage, then disappearance of useful coupons.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Now those price rises are something I’ve really noticed. Milk and beef are REALLY out of line. A month or so ago, I was in the Costco picking up cheeses on the wife’s list, when I wandered past the meat cooler, thinking I would pick up a couple of steaks. I’ve got this bad habit of picking up the pkgs and eyeballing them. Anyway my hand contacted the first pkg containing a beautiful pair of modestly sized New York strip steaks. My fingers contacted the cellophane at the exact instant my eyes registered the $29 price label. My reaction? It was like touching an electric fence!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Vegetables, so damn expensive. We “shop around the perimeter” also and that perimeter keeps going up in price. Once the farmer’s markets get fired up and we can supplement with our tiny garden our grocery bills drop by like half.

Seek's avatar

Oh, gosh. I haven’t had a real steak in a year or more. Hamburger is hard enough at 6–7 dollars a pound. The only time I buy red meat is when I can get the “almost expired” reduced packages at Winn Dixie. Then they’re “only” four or five dollars a pound.

Cupcake's avatar

$200 per week for this family of 5 with dietary limitations. Now that it’s not so freezing cold, we can save some money by going to the public market weekly.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The one thing I will say about the produce out here is that it’s plentiful, of great quality and variety, and reasonably priced. There are wonderful produce markets within 2 blocks. They’re in former banks and drugstores and such. The best ones are run and patronized by Hispanics and they just bustle with mothers and kids, strollers and occasional dogs. For some reason, neighborhood folks, including elderly Chinese ladies tend to hang out in front of these places. Sometimes there are ladies out front with carts selling these unbelievably delicious tamales or these huge ears of hot steamed white corn smothered in butter. These places also feature too delicious to be believed fruit juice popslicles at 2 for a buck. One of my favorite tricks to pull on visitors eager to experience the overpriced touristy schlock of places like Fisherman’s wharf, is to march em down to the produce store and force one of those tamales on them.

ucme's avatar

I think those extreme coupon documentaries from eeh-merry-ka are fantastic, dunno if they exaggerate for dramatic effect, but bloody hell, the shit they save is unbelievable.

Seek's avatar

Except it’s almost impossible to do anymore, and because of those shows and the popularity of the secret getting out, most stores have done away with double- and triple-coupons, have instituted coupon limits, and companies themselves have made their coupons less valuable.

So while I used to save a reasonable amount of money to get something I actually needed and was going to use, for a while I’d get to the store just to find the shelves had already been emptied by one “extreme couponer” buying out the store so they can resell the stuff at a profit at the weekend flea market . And now, I don’t even bother looking at coupons, because most of them now are like ” $0.75 off if you buy four” and I’m literally never going to buy four bottles of dish soap at once.

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Coloma's avatar

Probably $200—$250.00 Like @janbb It’s just me and I eat pretty simply. My housemate and I do pitch in for some community dinners a few times month, she will buy the meats or fish and I will buy the veggies and side dish items. I tend to do most of the cooking.

ragingloli's avatar

Not much, but I spend about 170€ each month in the university cantine.

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jca's avatar

I never buy beef at home. It’s gotten so expensive, even at Costco! The only time I eat beef is when a guest at someone’s house or at a restaurant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sniff. I miss my food stamps.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III But then you’d have to wear your pjs to the store!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Never never never never letting me live that down, are you! At least I will be REMEMBERED! It would be bad because I don’t have any pjs. I would have to go naked. In my fuzzy leopard slippers.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, me, two dogs, average two meals per week (local diner fare) out, probably somewhere around $400 per month. I tend to buy quality spices, I’m not counting those, and I manage to freeze a lot of what I grow in the summer. It’s not a lot, but it makes a quality difference in the winter. I don’t buy any red meat, and I get organic whole chickens and deconstruct them.

MooCows's avatar

What’s great about my house is we live on a farm and raise Hereford cows
and sell all natural chemical free beef/pork and chicken at the farmers mkt.
So all I have to do is decide what meat I want and go to the meat freezer
and get it! Once you taste farm raised beef with absolutely no additives
you will never eat a grocery store meat again. We also have soy-free eggs too! :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Soy free eggs?

johnpowell's avatar

Around 80 a month. Lots of Totinos and spaghetti. Salads are to expensive.

tinyfaery's avatar

For 2 we spend about $500 a month. I’m a vegan and I try to choose products from companies that function sustainably and I choose organic products as much as I can. That adds up.

canidmajor's avatar

@Dutchess_III: from chickens that aren’t fed soy. Soy in feed increases the phyto-estrogens in the end product. Eggs, meat, whatever.

flutherother's avatar

It averages about £120 a month. That’s just for me.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Only what I can carry walking from the store to home. Yesterday I spent $50 for 20 frozen burgers and hamburger bread and 4 packs of cheap bacon, 2 liters homo milk and 10 green bananas. I’m saving money not going to eating out or getting a huge rib roast beef steak.

CWOTUS's avatar

A bit more than “just enough” – however much that is – I honestly don’t track it. Because I seem to keep accumulating, little by little over the months, a frozen thing here or a jar of something-or-other there and a can of whatchamacallit that sits on my shelves forever.

I’m always surprised to find out what my tally amounts to week by week, especially since I tend to load up on fresh vegetables (I do salads nearly every day, and sometimes that’s my primary evening meal), and those vegetables are expensive!

On the other hand, if I ever want to – and I did it a couple of times over the winter – I’ll spend next to nothing as I browse through those random accumulations and make some pretty odd meals for weeks at a time.

canidmajor's avatar

@CWOTUS: I do that too, I call it “eating down the pantry debt” and it’s an exercise in creativity. :-)

Love_my_doggie's avatar

About $350 per month, for the two of us plus the dog and cat.

I do Blue Apron for $60 per week, which hikes the grocery bill. Blue Apron’s worth every penny, though; I get to create fabulous vegetarian meals without planning them or going shopping.

nightwolf5's avatar

I average about a little less than $150.00 per month I say. It’s just myself. I try to watch my budget and what I eat.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

After conversion to USD it costs me around $100 per month just for myself. I would imagine that it may increases to $150 on certain months where I plan to consume pricy goods. I don’t eat a lot of meat. Most of the money goes to vegetables, mushrooms, and rice, and veggies are mostly as expensive as meat.

ibstubro's avatar

@johnpowell you can add salad to your diet relatively inexpensively by buying greens at Aldi (they have everything from baby greens to iceberg now). Some veggies, too if they have them (like 4–6 Roma tomatoes for 99¢). Then stop at the grocery and buy just what you like to top a couple salads from the salad bar – watch the weight.

Also, get greens from Aldi.
When you go to Subway, have them pile the veggies on, and take enough off to top a couple salads later.

Seek's avatar

Aldi veggies don’t keep where I live. I mean, not much keeps at all due to the climate, but Aldi is worse than most.

I do really dig their frozen vegetables. The one near me has broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in a “California Blend” bag for $0.99. Microwave in the bag, add a bit of butter and salt, and Bob’s your uncle. I buy ten bags at a time. Sometimes I’ll chop it all up and throw it in a Casserole, or cook it in Marinara sauce to pour on Rotini noodles.

ibstubro's avatar

That’s what I like about Aldi veggies, @Seek. They’re ready to use, and you have the ‘use or lose’ incentive. I try to only buy what I’ll use within 48 hours or so, if possible. I especially use the hell out of the Roma tomatoes and button mushrooms – they run those cheap regularly enough I have a plan. Peel and seed the tomatoes and you can add them to almost anything, or chunk with a cuke and marinate. Coconut oil has made all the difference in mushrooms for me – I can heat the oil hot enough to brown a quantity of roons without them degrading into a watery mess.

Aldi has the clamshell of baby greens now, too. I think about ½ the price of grocery.

Walmart is where produce sucks. It’s about like the hardware section any more – “If you’re desperate enough to buy it here, you’ll buy whatever we offer.”

Stinley's avatar

I spend about £500 a month for four of us. That’s about $175 each

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LBM's avatar

We do an online shop once a month, and that comes to around £100. We spend about £40 in the butchers a month. Then probably about £30 a week for the basics.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Less than $1008 a month. probably around $500 Canadian. I buy books from Amazon too and the accounts are joined.

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SmartAZ's avatar

I fed myself and my mother for six years while stockpiling about 500 pounds of food spending 70 bux a month, and not every month. In the two years since she died I have made three trips to the grocery store and spent 400 bux. I do this by buying things on sale, and buying enough to last a while. For instance butter was on sale for a buck a pound in 2008 so I bought a hundred pounds and froze it. Lentils were on sale for 59 cents a pound so I bought all they had. The soups that I liked went on sale for a buck a can so I bought two cases. Milk often goes on sale for two bux a gallon so I buy eight gallons at a time, transfer it to smaller bottles, and freeze it. Lately I have stopped buying liquid milk and started buying powdered because it is almost the same price and doesn’t have to be frozen. Eggs keep a long time with or without refrigeration so I buy twenty dozen at a time at Walmart, a buck a dozen. Mom liked oatmeal; it was priced at $3.50 a pound but I bought the nine pound package at a restaurant supply store for a buck a pound. It’s easy to live cheaply if you just don’t insist on living expensively.

canidmajor's avatar

@SmartAZ: all those are good tips if you can afford them. It presupposes you have enough money on hand to buy huge amounts in bulk, and enough space to store, and a large enough freezer, all things not usually available to poor people. It is a sad irony that the people who can live the most cheaply (as in the examples you gave) don’t need to.

SmartAZ's avatar

@canidmajor I did this while my income was $975 a month, and I never suggested “huge amounts in bulk.” I did say 70 bux a month. I had a small freezer to start, and when I went to take care of my mother she had a large freezer, and that was a wonderful blessing. But the point is not a large freezer, or a lot of money, or a lot of space, the point is to look around and see what is the smart thing to do. The usual tendency is to decide what to do first, and then get forced into doing something not so productive.

jca's avatar

@SmartAZ: 100 lbs of butter at a time and 8 gallons of milk at a time are what I would definitely call “huge amounts in bulk.”

Stinley's avatar

I get what you mean @SmartAZ. We’re doing up our house and we have a plan of what we want to do. When we see the stuff we need at a good price we get it even though we’re not quite ready for it yet. For example we are putting a wood burning stove into the new kitchen. We haven’t even laid the floor yet but we’ve got the stove for a knockdown price second hand. It’s perfectly good and was about 10% of the new retail price. We have saved a fortune doing it this way. In fact because we are not well off, this is really the only way we can do this refurbishment.

SmartAZ's avatar

OMG! Somebody agrees with me! I won’t know how to act!

Stinley's avatar

Have you heard of Martin Lewis, the self styled UK Money Saving Expert? His general advice is great and universally applicable. Also he has his Money Saving Mantra:
If you’re skint:
* Is it useful?
* Can you afford it?
* Have you checked if it’s available cheaper anywhere else?

And for those who aren’t skint:
* Will you use it?
* Is it worth it?
* Have you checked if it’s available cheaper anywhere else?

A mantra to live by, I think.

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