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Money Matters
How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 07:48 PM

How much do you guys spend on food, alcholic drinks, baked goods and basically anything edible?

I just realized that I am spending about $1000 a month for food, for 2 people. I just looked at my spending budget on Wells Fargo ( which lays it out on a chart).

When I was in college, I could get by on about $150-$200 a month, but once I moved in with my BF, for some reason that expense shot waaay up.

43 Replies to How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?

re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 08:28 PM
Edited by Moonlitefairy06 (90715) on 2013-07-26 20:30:59
Before I lost my job I would buy about $200 worth of groceries a month all at once and have it delivered from Safeway. (I'm in a city without a car) then just get milk or whatever as needed, but I also spent A LOT of money going out for lunch and/or dinner. Probably at least $50 a week in addition. I wasn't spending money well in that regard. So at least $400 a month for all food.

Since I've become unemployed and watching money very closely, I spend between $20-$40 a week on groceries. I walk to the store myself (whole foods it's the only one walking distance unfortunately). I try to keep it down to the bear basics and mostly fresh food, no extra snacks and stuff. I've done one bulk delivery in the last 4 months to stock up on dry goods. On top of that, I do allow myself about $10-$20 a week (not every week) for getting a drink or take out or something. So that's about $160 a month for one person.

I don't know how much my parents grocery bill is, but grocery shopping is like my dad's favorite thing too. He goes to different stores everyday. My mom keeps telling me I should go on food stamps, I don't think she really gets that I don't spend as much on food as him and I'm not starving lol.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 08:39 PM
^I almost feel that it would be actually cheaper to go out and eat dinner instead of prepping it at home! I have a tendency to overbuy food and it goes bad before we eat it all. At least with myself, I basically ate cheap stuff and never threw things away.

Sometimes for dinner I have way too much food prepped or I underpepped and we are starving after finishing dinner.

Cooking for only myself was a lot easier. I guess I have to get used to learning to cook a mans portion of food. I overshoot or undershoot that amount EVERY SINGLE TIME.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3906, member since Fri Jul 25, 2008
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 08:40 PM
Edited by Jonelle (199601) on 2013-07-26 20:48:42
Somewhere between $300 and $320 per month on groceries, for two people. But then we also probably spend at least $50 every week eating out, and I also buy lunch at work two or three times per week at about $7 a meal. So I guess maybe $600 total on food per month. But I think we're comparing apples to oranges, because I live in the Midwest, and from everything you've posted, your cost of living is astronomically higher than mine in every way possible. That $600 I just cited is about 15% of our net household income, if that helps to give a better frame of reference.

EDIT: I used to have that problem too, with not knowing how to cook for two people. I still wouldn't say I'm a pro at it. I mostly gravitate toward recipes that say they'll feed 4 to 6 people, because then I know we'll have enough for both of us plus leftovers for a day or two.

When you say you are buying too much food and it's going bad, are you shopping from a list? Are you planning out meals in advance and just buying what you need for those, or are you stocking up on ingredients you use commonly? I used to do the "stocking up" method, but now I plan out my week's menu in advance (with my husband's help) and just buy the things I need for those meals. There are a few exceptions, like I always keep bread around, and cheese, and some snacks, but mostly I stick to the menu. It's still hard sometimes though, no matter what. Like WHY can't I find parsley at the store in a normal quantity? WHO are all of these people who are using up a huge bundle of parsley before it goes bad? I guess I should just grow my own, but it just seems ridiculous that I can't buy a couple of sprigs of parsley and call it a day.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent there, but the parsley thing is fresh on my mind because that just happened to me this week, and now I have a boatload of leftover parsley I need to do something with.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 08:58 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-07-26 21:00:41
The food usually goes bad in our fridge within 4-6 days. We do have a leaky fridge, so maybe thats part of the problem...It is mostly the produce going bad.

I also have an irrational fear of food poisioning, so I throw out anything that "might" be old. For example, one of my hard cheeses grew a little bit of mold on the edge, so I just tossed it. My BF said that a tiny bit of mold on hard cheese is fine if you cut a few inches into the cheese, but I threw it away anyways.

I do shop from a list of recipies, but my produce just isn't lasting for whatever reason.

I also can't eat grains, so all the "cheap" stuff like pasta, bread, crackers are out of the mix. The gluten free stuff is pretty expensive and tastes bad , so I just don't buy that stuff.
I can basically only eat produce and meat, so that stuff adds up.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 09:19 PM
I go grocery shopping once a week, and try to spend under $100 each time, so I guess it would average out to about $400 a month. That does include nappies, wipes, etc for the baby, but doesn't usually include meat.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Sakura_Efreet Comments: 707, member since Fri May 02, 2008
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 09:34 PM
Edited by Sakura_Efreet (195729) on 2013-07-26 21:47:43
We rarely eat out anymore, but I'd say we spend about $250-$400 on food. $250 when we are struggling, $400 when we are doing better. I cook a ton at home, especially now that I'm unemployed.

However, I'm trying to switch to organic, sensibly farmed produce and such, and it's really difficult. A jug of organic orange juice is nearly $7! We barely got 4 bags of groceries for $99 last week (nearly all of it was organic). Organic stuff rarely goes on sale here. We don't have a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or anything like that here, so I depend on Kroger and the midwest store Meijer (like an upscale Walmart) for organic foods.

Oh, I wanted to add.. I am the same way about "old" food. I will not eat it if it looks remotely bad. I nearly died of ecoli poisoning my senior year of high school. It was horrific and I'm terrified of getting sick again. It's because of that also that I never, ever cook chicken. That's what got me sick.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 09:34 PM
Are you cooking two separate meals because of your food intolerances? That would help it to add up a lot. My roommate and I cook and eat separately and if you combined how much we spend on food it would be a lot more obviously, but split between two people. Also, what stores are you going to? Whole foods is going to be more expensive than Stop and Shop or a "non special" grocery store. Though ironically when I cut my grocery budget I started going to Whole Foods more, but buying the bear minimum and eating it all before going back.

I know you are getting a new kitchen soon so that will be good. In the mean time, you might save money by buying a mini fridge to keep your vegetables in. What kind of veggies are you getting? Keeping them in the fridge if they are meant to be room temperature might be making them go bad faster. I went to the farmers market last Saturday and my tomatoes and corn lasted a week without refrigeration (and maybe longer, I have one cob of corn left, I used it all). The peaches only lasted about 4 days though (one went bad, I bought 5). I think you should buy less veggies and other perishables at a time and buy it more often until you figure out the best way to keep them or get a new refrigerator.

When you have a big refrigerator and not a lot of people this is hard to do, you can fill it up, so you do. I really learned to grocery shop when I lived with 7 people in Italy and we got half a shelf each. Not having a car in Italy, and here in DC helps too in that I literally can only buy what I can carry. I use a basket in the store instead of a cart so I know that it won't be too heavy for me to carry home. This cuts down on waste tremendously.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Bril Comments: 150, member since Thu Mar 07, 2013
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 09:56 PM
When I was in uni and on a tighter budget I spent 140/month on groceries. I was super careful, bought things on sale. It also helped that I lived across the street from a grocery store so I never bought more than I could carry in one bag at a time.
Now, it's easily double that and I'm still only cooking for one.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:31 PM
There are four adults living at my house. If I am guessing right we spend $800 a month and that includes toiletries etc.

So, spending $1000 for two people is way too much.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Meganmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12956, member since Wed Mar 17, 2004
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:37 AM
Edited by Megan (87282) on 2013-07-27 00:49:06
Edited by Megan (87282) on 2013-07-27 00:49:30
My boyfriend and I live with two other guys, and the four of us do a big Costco shop between $400-800 once every month or two. Then we pick up produce etc as needed, probably another $40-50 per week between my boyfriend and I. He eats out for lunch every day too, and we have sushi on Friday nights, so.... $200-300 per person, roughly. The boys eat a ton of meat and I buy expensive farmers market produce, so I think we do okay, all things considered.

Edited to add: we buy bread at Costco and freeze it in our deep freeze because the boys easily go through 9 loaves a month. Other than that, I don't buy baked goods- I make it or we don't eat it, and I make bread often too. As for alcohol, I buy a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine maybe once a month and have one or two cocktails when we go out to eat, so alcohol isn't a big part of my personal food budget. I buy a $100ish bottle of scotch when I run out too, but I only drink occasionally so it's months between scotch purchases. My roommates buy a ton of beer though. So add, I don't know, another $50 per month if I'm getting crazy? Alcohol just has too many calories these days, haha.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By saaammiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 440, member since Thu Apr 01, 2010
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 02:34 AM
I spend around... 2000 SEK in a month, that's about $300.
That's considered pretty average for a student living on his/her own. I'd say that's what most people who aren't SUPER thrifty spend.

So yeah, things are MUCH more expensive here :/


I eat lunch out maybe once a week, and cook most of my other meals. Unforunately, my freezer is too small to buy things in bulk, so I buy groceries about every second day. When I cook, I cook maybe 4 or 5 portions at a time.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By saaammiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 440, member since Thu Apr 01, 2010
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 02:36 AM
YumYumDoughnut wrote:

I have a tendency to overbuy food and it goes bad before we eat it all. At least with myself, I basically ate cheap stuff and never threw things away.



I do this too!
I've basically stopped trying to shop only once a week/every second week, because too many things go bad. It's actually much cheaper for me to buy food more often and only buy what I need.
But I think if I had a bigger freezer, it'd be easier.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By tumblebugPremium member Comments: 10100, member since Fri Mar 29, 2002
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 08:01 AM
For a family of 3 we spend $150 a week on groceries and that includes all the extras (tp, shampoo, soaps, razors, etc.). Median income here is $40K, although our income is lower than that. In my opinion, it's too much but a lot of that is due to my husband being a picky eater and eating above his means. If it was just me and my daughter I'm guessing we could get by on $50-$75 a week easily.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Krystalmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 8458, member since Tue Sep 02, 2003
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:09 AM
$1000 a month on groceries? Holy cow. That's almost one of my husband's whole paychecks! Yikes.

To feed the two of us I spent between $130-$170 every two weeks. I shop at the commissary, and that combined with coupons I can get some pretty good deals. We go through a TON of drinks and snack foods that my husband takes to work/the field with him so that adds up. Also we buy the huge $50 bag of dog food so depending on when that runs out will affect the budget. Usually it lasts for a couple months.

I usually end up making a run to one of the grocery stores in town about halfway through the two weeks to stock up on produce that we ran out of, water, paper towels, etc. But that trip is never more than $20.

Also sometimes eating out IS cheaper. It really depends. We had a week or so where I didn't grocery shop at all and we ate out for almost every meal and I think financially we came out the same and maybe a little cheaper. I know with places like Olive Garden I can eat off a plate of their pasta for 3 meals so it's totally worth it to go there and take home leftovers.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:26 AM
^Well it isn't only for food groceries but things like shampoo, toilet paper, laundry soap....and organic high quality cat/ dog food. The animal food each month runs us about 100-200 bucks.

We go through paper towels like no other. Does anyone else have an issue with running out of paper products like paper towels and toilet paper real fast?

I cut out my atkin protein bars which was costing about 100 a month only for protein bars, I switched to hard boiled eggs, which is a lot cheaper.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:15 AM
YumYumDoughnut wrote:



We go through paper towels like no other. Does anyone else have an issue with running out of paper products like paper towels and toilet paper real fast?


What are you using the paper towels for?
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3906, member since Fri Jul 25, 2008
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:18 AM
Edited by Jonelle (199601) on 2013-07-27 11:19:27 LOL, posted the same question as majere at the same time.
Edited by Jonelle (199601) on 2013-07-27 11:29:08
^^What are you using paper towels for? Is there a possibility you could swap some of those out for reusable cloth products instead? For example, we use old towels to clean up spills. We use my husband's old undershirts, cut into pieces, as cleaning rags and dust rags. We don't really use napkins at home, but of course you can use cloth napkins instead of paper as well.

Sometimes you can save on toilet paper by spending a little more up front for thicker paper but then using fewer squares at a time. And toilet paper doesn't go bad, so that is one item that you really can stock up on if you find a good deal.

EDIT: Forgot to say, newspaper works great to clean any type of glass. We don't have a newspaper subscription, but we get enough ads in the mail that are printed on newspaper that we still get plenty.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Puffin Comments: 28, member since Mon Dec 10, 2012
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:04 PM
I'm a student living on my own, and I think I spend about $250-$300 a month. I try to keep to a budget and buy the bare minimum, but I know how to cook well enough and I can't find myself folding to the 'student diet'. It doesn't help that fresh produce and meat seem to be rather expensive in my area, so veggies are bought frozen and meat in bulk when it's on sale.

One thing that helps is that the local grocery stores have 10% discount on Tuesdays for students. While that's great and all, I don't have a car, so I can only make a single trip each week on whatever day I happen to have free. And that is rarely a Tuesday. I should say though, having to carry my own groceries home forces me to keep a budget in itself - I can only buy what I can carry!
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:13 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-07-27 12:16:50
I think I might start walking to the grocery store from now on. I always tend to fill up the cart! I need to have more self control when I go to grocery stores.

I cook "real" food 3 times a day ( so like eggs and bacon for breakfast and not just cereal) and I think cooking 3 times a day+cleaning seems to use up those paper towels.
I use paper towels for everything except for showers and drying dishes. My BF goes through them really fast too, and I'm not quite sure HOW we are going through 1-2 rolls each day.

I finally convinced my bf to stop using paper plates instead of real dishes. That cut down on our expense big time. Before I moved in, my BF was living using paper cups and plates for each meal!
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3906, member since Fri Jul 25, 2008
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:27 PM
What are you using paper towels for when you cook? Just general cleaning up? Could you try using a reusable dishrag or sponge instead? Using 1 to 2 rolls of paper towels a day sounds absolutely insane to me. We probably use up a roll every 2 weeks. We are also really into environmentally friendly living, so that helps. Even if you're not particularly concerned about that kind of thing, looking up tips for living a greener lifestyle is bound to show you ways to save money, because they're going to encourage you to reuse things instead of throwing them away.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:36 PM
I don't even own dishrags. I think I will stop by at target tomorrow to get some!

I usually spray cleaner on my counters 3 times a day, and I always get paranoid that the dish rag will "soak" up the cleaning solution. And I hate using sponges for cleaning because I feel like they hold bacteria in. I guess I just need to get over my wierd little quirks.

On the other hand, I only do laundry about once every other week, because I reuse my clothes yet I can't get over my fear of germs in the kitchen. Super weird right?!
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By RingingPhonePremium member Comments: 3509, member since Thu Nov 10, 2005
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 01:29 PM
I always thought I spent a lot on groceries, but maybe it's not as bad as I think.

I average about $400/month for myself, and that includes basic toiletries, cleaning supplies and eating out.

I don't eat out that often and usually bring my lunch to work. I'm trying to get better at meal planning so I stop wasting so much food and trying to shop sales more- I have a tendency to eat the same thing every week, which adds up since I will buy something if it's not on sale. I also usually just eat meat, fruit/veggies, and dairy; I don't eat a lot of grains.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 03:40 PM
I get my paper products and cleaning products when I do my occasional bulk grocery delivery, so that is included with the $200, along with dry foods, frozen food, and meat. I can't afford whole foods meat.

If we are counting toiletries though, I do spend too much at CVS. I'm a sucker for their coupons and I do spend more than I normally would sometimes to use a coupon, but then of course those will all get used eventually. My last CVS trip I spent $36- I believe I got four hair products (coupon), shaving gel, mouth wash, and antiseptic soap which is expensive but I need for a skin condition.

We have a dishwasher but we don't use it to save on utility costs, we use it as a drying rack though lol. Between my roommate and I we go through maybe a roll of paper towels a week. She uses a lot more than I (she is also a food germaphobe). When she was gone for a month, I think I used a little more than one roll on my own during that time. I clean my dishes with a sponge that has a plastic soap dispenser attached to the handle and have never gotten sick. She does it by hand with kitchen gloves as like you, she doesn't trust sponges. However, with regular sponger that don't have the soap dispensers, you can wet them and put them in the microwave to sanitize. You can also put them on the top rack of the dishwasher. As for toilet paper, I found the fancy kind was clogging up my toilet, so I switched to the store brand and I don't go through it any faster than normal. In fact I've found that the cheapest rolls "Scott" last the longest for me. I get them at CVS if I run out before my next big shop, it's only about $1.50 for a four pack and it lasts at least a week and I go pretty often lol.

I don't have a pet, so I can't comment on that cost. My parents get the pet food from the vet so that doesn't factor into their grocery bills either.

I think trying the buying only as much as you can carry system may help you. Even if you have to drive to the store, just get a basket instead of a cart. My roommate has her own fold up shopping cart and she buys a lot more food at a time than I do (usually four reuseable bags or so), and throws a lot more out as well. Since you don't work full time hours and have time, I think this would be a good way to go, even if it means going to the store more often.
re: How much do you guys spend on groceries a month?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Sat Jul 27, 2013 04:44 PM
YumYumDoughnut wrote:



I cook "real" food 3 times a day ( so like eggs and bacon for breakfast and not just cereal) and I think cooking 3 times a day+cleaning seems to use up those paper towels.
I use paper towels for everything except for showers and drying dishes. My BF goes through them really fast too, and I'm not quite sure HOW we are going through 1-2 rolls each day.


That is just silly. Get some dish rags/ hand towels. Cut up old clothes to use as rags too.
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