- 3 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013 - The front lawn of our church
Need some help! What’s your monthly food budget, and how do you stick to it?
Need some help! What’s your monthly food budget, and how do you stick to it?
DH and I have a budget of $500 per month. We use Mint to keep track of our budget. We only buy whats on sale, and we coupon like a boss.
It’s hard to make any valid comparisons, because it varies greatly where you live.
I live in downtown Vancouver and our groceries are more expensive than out in the suburbs, even in the same stores. They know that many people here don’t own a car and that allows them to charge higher prices because people don’t travel from store to store in their car picking up the specials in each store.
Our groceries in Canada are also higher than many places in the US because our dairy industry not only is not subsidized like the US but also the farmers function under quota system that limits how much they can produce.
Having said all that we spend about $500 per month which includes all household supplies like cleaning products, toilet paper etc.
I don’t go monthly, but weekly. I have a $100 budget, which includes the fact that I always make enough food for dinner that both me and the FI have lunch the next day (and possibly addtional left overs later in the week/month) I am mostly under this budget. eg, the last two weeks I was around or under $60
Here are a few ways I stick to it;
1. Store ads; I check them on line the first day they come out, and plan my list accordingly.
2. Planning weekly meals; I know what I will make, make a list of the ingredients, and do not deviate from that list.
3. Check before I leave; I make sure nothing on my list is something that I already have. Double dipping can kill a budget. I also look for what I can make out of what I have on hand or only need 1 or 2 more things for.
4. Bulk; My meat counter puts hamburger on sale in large packages in the case. Its usually $4-5 cheaper than buying by the pound. I bring it home and divide into packages that I can use later.
5. Off brand; 9 times out of ten I’m buying the store brand item. I also look at the price per oz, as the store brand is not always the cheepest.
6. No extras; I don’t buy snack food/empty calories.
I try to stay around the $300/month mark. We buy large quantities when things are on sale and cycle through everything. We don’t coupon but have a mini-stockpile/pantry so when some months are tighter than others we always have food in the house.
I budget weekly and its usually around $90 a week for the two of us. The budget is higher because we need to buy some specialty items bcause of my crazy stomache. We also like things super fresh so we visit the grocery store a few times a week to get stuff instead of all at once. I look for sales on items as much as I can and I go to the cheaper grocery stores
Ours is $400/month. We are vegetarian, so that saves some money. We shop at a local grocery co-op where most of the produce/dairy we buy is local and organic. We like to do small shopping trips where we just buy for upcoming meals. We’ve found this prevents wasting food and inspires us to cook with what we have, with a quick trip to the store to get a random ingredient. We also cook/bake as much as we can from scratch and avoid packaged stuff (no pre-made frozen meals, sauces/dressing, canned thing, chips, cookies, etc.) Our monthly budget includes a trip to Costco where we we stock up on toiliet paper, oatmeal, cooking oil, rice, soap, and nuts. I don’t use coupons.
Ours is around 600/month, we buy all our meat, eggs,bread,spinach, and milk from Costco and freeze the meat in portioned freezer bags, then we go to our regular grocery store for the smaller stuff. SO and i each put 150 in our joint account each payday, and really it’s not just groceries, it’s our “house stuff” budget, so light bulbs, dog food, stuf like that. and since we are trying to be good and not eating out at restaurants, if we do feel the need to grab dinner out, unless it’s a special occasion dinner, we take it out of our “Food budget” in the joint account, since it is , after all, food! 🙂 sometimes we put in a little extra money, other times we have some left over and that just rolls into the next month, but we each put in 300 a month. SO created an Excel sheet to track what we spend on house things, bills and all that, gas we put in the vehicles, i love how organized he is!
Ours is about $300 a month, but it isn’t necessarily strict. I shop mostly at Bottom Dollar and Wal-Mart, but there are a few specialty items like lunchmeats and cheeses that we prefer that we can only find at more expensive places like Wegman’s. I use a lot of coupons, especially Internet, and I also do weekly meal plans. I would LOVE to do 95% of my shopping once a month and then just buy perishables once a week, but it doesn’t work that way due to SO’s work schedule. I don’t know how many days I’ll actually have to cook dinners for us, so I can’t plan more than a week in advance. Can’t wait until he gets a regularly scheduled job!
I also wish we had the money to buy organic, but we definitely don’t right now! In our area, eating organic is considered “snobbish” so literally there are never any sales or coupons for any of the items, and organic food sections in stores around here are maybe one aisle at the most, but mostly like 3 feet LOL. If I budgeted for buying organic it would cost probably an extra $100-150 a month, and we just don’t have that laying around right now!
We spend probably around 450-500 a month on food which includes all meals except DHs lunches (he eats at work.) That might seem kind of high but food prices in NYC are in. sane. We only buy meat/seafood on sale and we buy “family packs” a lot and freeze, plus I make a lot of crockpot meals and bake a lot. I think knowing how to cook helps a lot- we dont buy much prepared or convenience food aside from the occassional treat (DH has a salt n vinegar chip addiction, for example, and I”m not trying to make that from scratch!) We don’t keep a lot of snack food in the house or things like cereals- when we snack it’s usually on cheese or we’ll make a homemade quesadilla or something. I’m not as crazy as some people with the home-cooking (I will buy tortillas, for example) but its SO much cheaper to eat more “real” food than processed foods… for example…
Oreos (in NYC)- easily $4.50-$5.00 a bag. Would potentially last 4 days in the house
Homemade quesadilla- $6 total for a bag of flour tortillas and two chunks of cheese to shred. With that, I can make 10+ snack-size quesadillas, plus all the other stuff I can do with cheese and tortillas that are full meals.
Stouffers Mac n Cheese- $7 for family size
Roasted chicken ($3), brussel sprouts ($3 on sale) and potatoes (1.50)- $7.50 and that chicken will last me two meals, plus then I’ll make stock to make a huge pot of mushroom riscotto for another $4.
That’s not eating especially “healthy” but its REAL food. Plus, to me, there’s a sense of pride in making a meal from scratch versus microwaving something (not that we don’t have our fair share of late-nights with a bag of Pop Secret…we all have our vices.)
I try to stay within $800/m for the two of us including household supplies and most personal care stuff.
We’re in Canada, so our food prices are stupid high, and I have a physical job so I eat a lot, and he’s tall so he too eats a lot. We go through a whole roast chicken or a pot roast that would satisfy a family of 4 in one meal even with potatoes, a whole head of roasted broccoli, and a big salad along with it soooo…food gets expensive very quickly.
@turnanewleaf: LOL same. Leftovers? What are those!
Our budget is 500.00. I also use mint to track spending. I buy a lot of meat when it’s on sale and I will freeze it, particularly some of the stuff that’s super expensive to buy non sale like ground turkey.
Also meal planning is pretty much the biggest thing that keeps us in budget. For breakfast, lunches, and work snacks we pretty much buy the same thing every week but dinner is another story. I can go to the store with no dinner plan and walk out having spend 100 bucks and not even have a full week of dinners. I can go to the store with a dinner plan, buy all kinds of seasoning’s, herbs, other stuff one uses in recipes, and come out with an entire week of meals and 100 spent, or less.
ETA: I cannot BELIEVE how much it costs to buy things like cheese in Canada! Ridiculous!
I spend about $200 maybe–not including eating out on weekends. But, this is all just stuff for me since FI and I don’t live together yet.
My best advice is getting things you know are going to last like certain staples–dry noodles, cereal, eggs. I also don’t buy fresh vegetables and fruits because I know that when I remember I still have them they’ve already gone bad, so I get frozen veggies and fruits now, which I know probably are not as good as fresh and organic, but they are better for you than canned.
Also really sit down and think what you are okay with having off-brand. Like, I really could care less what brand of dishwasher detergent I get, but you can bet that I won’t be skimping on some good organic cheese!
And, lastly, I always go in with a list, so it’s more like a mission to just get what I need. I put a post-it on my desk at work, and if I think of anything I need throughout the day, I just add to it and take it with me when I leave for the day and go to the store.
@hisgirl10: Our monthly budget for “Grocery” Items is $600. We eat completely different foods so it actually gets broken down into $250 for him $250 for me and $100 for essential items such as toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Each time we get home from a trip we deduct the total we spent from our amounts so we know how much we have left if we need/want to get other things.