Our grocery bills have…

Our grocery bills have been notably higher than expected the last few months, so I'm taking a survey. What do you spend on groceries in a month?

Helpful to know:

- where you live
- how many in your household (we have two adults, two small kids)
- how much eating out you do
- how much entertaining
- what stores you typically shop at

I'd put wine / other alcohol and household items (toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, etc.) in a separate budget. Ditto pet supplies and food. So for now, I'm just asking about human food. :-)

I see a Costco membership in our near future. I'm also taking over grocery shopping entirely for this month (usually Kev and I split it), so I can carefully track it; I'm actually writing down every food item we buy for the rest of April.

6 thoughts on “Our grocery bills have…”

  1. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Oh, and here’s ours. Our current monthly food budget is $600, and I’d like to take that down to $500, but last month the bill was $1000, hence the sticker shock and reassessing. Although at least $100 of that was restocking our wine, which had mysteriously run out. 🙂 And some of it may be diapers and the like, which I’m trying to move to a separate budget for clarity.

    We live in Chicagoland, and primarily shop at Jewel (with the Jewel card) and Whole Foods. We don’t clip coupons. We eat organic fruits and veggies mostly, and are more erratic about erratic milk, eggs, and meat. Once the farmer’s market starts, we’ll be buying more fruits and veggies from there; we may get a CSA again (under discussion). We cook most of our meals from scratch (not a lot of processed foods), and I pack my lunch for work (usually leftover rice and curry, yum).

    Kev eats lunch out at work three days a week (with colleagues, usually), and I’ll have dinner out with friends once or twice a month. We’ll order in for the family maybe 1-2 dinners a month, usually in the $40 – $60 range (which usually provides us with a couple more meals of leftovers). We rarely eat out as a family.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Oh, and we entertain about 1-2 times / month. That’s really variable, though, from $20 for potluck supplies to $200 for lots of groceries for a dinner party + wine. I see more potlucks in our future.

  3. Well, the USDA has done surveys and published results for decades. Here is Feb 2011 http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2011/CostofFoodFeb2011.pdf
    which says “thrifty” households spend $523 and low-cost spend $667, so you’re doing great. You probably did some extra stocking up (aside from the wine) this month and are well within the low-cost range overall. Also interesting are the calculations for kids – right now the kids cost $80/month each; in a few years that goes up to $120/month, and by tweenage they’re eating the same as a grownup.

    I’m surprised the men don’t cost more than the women (or teen boys twice everyone else). My theory is that, while they’re inhaling calories they’re often eating the same amount of the expensive stuff – fruits, vegetables, meats. If anything, teen boys have unhealthy diets without those “fillers” – you can have a lot of PB&J sandwiches for the cost of a serving of asparagus.

    here are the historical records, also:


  4. I’m surprised you don’t already have a Costco membership. They are not the cheapest for everything, but certainly way better than Jewel. They also have decent fruits/veggies, though not always organic. We have not bought meat there, but it always looks fine (we do prefer our local meditteranean or south asian butchers for meat, who are wayyyy cheaper). Booze/wine is also reasonably priced.

  5. For two adults in Madison, Wisconsin. We eat almost no processed food; no emphasis on organic; at least 30 grams of primarily animal protein at each meal. We spend around $650/month. No alcohol; modest coupons (no buying 14 of things cause they’re on sale); shopping primarily at a local warehouse chain called Woodman’s, with biweekly visits to local food coop and monthly visits to Whole Food for the Only Sold There items. In the growing season, add an extra $50/month for Farmer’s Marke purchases; we don’t eat enough to warrant buying a CSA basket (although I moon over one every spring).

  6. I can’t remember our food budget, but it is high. We took a careful look at it once and as far as I can tell eating fresh food is the problem. You can eat much more cheaply on canned/frozen fruit/veg. And American cheese instead of real cheese, etc. Once you go fresh, the costs are higher.

    If you really buy opportunistically during sales and have say, pork shoulder because it was on sale instead of the fish you were planning, you can save a bit. But we found we couldn’t save as much as the sale ads would have us believe, because we weren’t willing to compromise some things (eg we always buy bananas, onions and red peppers)

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