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zina's avatar

What's a ~reasonable~ amount of money to spend on groceries (in the Bay Area)?

Asked by zina (1661points) September 26th, 2008

What are you guys spending on groceries? Or what seems like a good food budget per week/month?

(I know this really varies between people, singles or families, eating habits, balancing convenience/healthfulness/cost, etc—- so I’m opening to hearing lots of different kinds of budgets for different eating/shopping habits! I’d love to get a sense of range and comparison!)

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13 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t live in S.F., but I do live in L.A., and I’d say that’s comparable. The only real advice I have is don’t buy food you are not going to eat. I buy food with the good intentions of eating at home, but I end up throwing food away. Be realistic about how much you can eat and how often you will cook.

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Les's avatar

Well, if you are interested in all sorts of different demographics, then I will answer your question, though I do not live in the Bay Area. I live in Laramie, WY, which is to say that cost of living is relatively low, but comparing what I pay now for groceries as opposed to three years ago what I paid outside of Chicago, food isn’t that cheap in the wild wild west.
I am one person, and I do try to cook for myself (meaning I try to limit the amount of pre packaged foods I consume, but hey, I am a student, so I guess I am allowed some liberties.) In addition, I try to visit the local food co-op (we have co-ops in Wyoming! Who knew?) to get some more natural foods in my diet, but that isn’t my primary concern. On a once-a-week shopping trip, I will probably spend roughly $75, though that number changes depending on things I buy. I am unable to do the “stocking” up thing due to lack of space, although I wish I could. I hate having to go to the store to buy canned tomatoes because a recipe calls for it. I should just have that.

basp's avatar

I spend between $125 to $160 on a weekly basis for three adults. We very rarely eat out and this budget includes cleaning and household products (shampoo, garbage bags, etc.).
There are times I spend more, when i’m buying for a special event or something like that. I buy most of our fruits, nuts, bread, and vegetables at the farmers market which isn’t always cheaper than the grocery but I like buying local grown products.

sdeutsch's avatar

I spend about $75–80 a week on groceries for me and my husband. We eat mostly vegetarian, though, so if you were buying meat and fish, it’d probably be a little more.

One of the key things to keeping the food budget down is definitely making things from scratch, rather than buying pre-packaged meals – you can usually make the same thing for half the cost, if you make it yourself…

cwilbur's avatar

I live in Somerville, MA, in the metropolitan Boston area. I spend about $75 a week for groceries, but a lot of that is organic fruits and vegetables—more expensive, but tastier.

emilyrose's avatar

I think I spend most of my money on food!!! I may even spend $100/ week. Just for me! I exercise a lot so I am always hungry. It really depends though. Right now the fridge is empty and I probably spent $50. What the heck did I buy if the fridge is empty? I have no idea.

galileogirl's avatar

San Francisco calling…I have a grocery delivery from Safeway every 2 weeks or so at a cost of $100/aversge. That includes $10 delivery charge and paper, plastic, cleaning supplies. I cook very little from scratch but for example a lb of groind beef will last 2–3 days for a burger and 2 pasta meals. I buy packaged vegetables and fruit for ease and convenience and also less waste. I generally will stop in the neighborhood store on my off week for produce and maybe bread and a quart of milk for another $10. Sometimes I will pick up a piroshki, a scone or a pork bun at an ethnic food store-we have dozens.

Even though I do more heating than cooking, I almost always buy “specials” I will stock up on my favorites like when Bertolli dinners for 2 are on sale for $6.50 instead of the regular $9, With a little salad or a sliced tomato that makes a 10 minute meal for $3.50. Also by keeping the pantry and freezer stocked, I can go 3 weeks between deliveries every couple of months.

I have really noticed the cost increase this last year. When I started delivery service in 2005 I would barely make the $60 minimum. By the summer of 2007. I was paying $70. The $30 jump to $100 happened almost from 1 month to the next last fall

Trustinglife's avatar

A little late but jumping in anyway…

I live in San Rafael and do most of my food shopping at Trader Joe’s. Ok, more like all of it.

I spend about $75–115 when I go. That’s every week or two, depending on how often I’m eating out. A bigger shopping usually runs me for two weeks. Oh, and I’m one adult. If I shopped at Whole Foods… the prices are just ridiculous there for me.

emilyrose's avatar

damn, I need to learn a lesson from you guys. I spend way too much money on food and I’m still hungry! I think I need to do an experiment for a couple of weeks to see what I actually spend.

@trustinglife—- TJs is a great place to save money on the basics, but I find myself disappointed (read:freaked out) by their produce much of the time. There is excessive packaging, and I don’t feel great about the food coming from all over the world. Do you just deal with the produce they offer or do you go elsewhere for it? Just curious… I wish I could get my butt to the farmer’s market more often. We have some great ones here in SF!

Trustinglife's avatar

@Emily, I feel pretty much the same way – disappointed by TJ’s produce. I moved down here from Ashland, OR, where I went to the farmer’s market every week and loved it. Haven’t loved them here, and quickly stopped going. But for everything else, I do love my TJ.

I’d be psyched to see what you learn by tracking your food expenses! Possibly a way to save some money, and maybe even find ways of getting yourself better fed! Report back.

answerjill's avatar

Yes, I like TJ’s, too, but not for produce! For that, I go to elsewhere – supermarkets, food co-ops, farmer’s markets.

AtillaOfTheFlesh's avatar

I myself grow my own vegetables. I feel that planting next to my marijuana plants really brings out the color of their FLESH.

I would do that. Just do it. It makes you feel better.

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