Forums > Off-Topic Discussion > how much do you spend in groceries?

Retoucher

Angela Perez

Posts: 340

Orlando, Florida, US

I spend $650/month for a household of 4 and I don't even get everything I want.

I prepare every meal and don't buy premade stuff but I'm finding that to make dinner every night I'm spending about $20 per household meal a day.

It seems most of the budget goes on the fresh vegetables/fruits and meats they seem to have incredibly increased in price.

Normal meal at my house consist of 2 sides (grains,Vegetables) and meat.

How much are you spending and how do you keep the cost down.

I did not include eating out or things that were not food in the above budget.

Oct 11 12 06:20 am Link

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ChaiNoir

Posts: 345

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

ooooppphhh just me alone $100 a week on a really reallly big shop.

Oct 11 12 06:25 am Link

Photographer

The Art of Churchwell

Posts: 3171

QUEENS VILLAGE, New York, US

about three day then I get out of the bag. just like David Blaine

Oct 11 12 06:27 am Link

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ChaiNoir

Posts: 345

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

ChaiNoir wrote:
ooooppphhh just me alone $100 a week on a really reallly big shop.

This is on a TREAT MYSELF MONTH - this is usaly a few times a year.

I am quiet frugal most of the year - I usaly go into super markets a day or two before organic produce is due to be past its best and get 70% off. If anything is in the reduced section I buy the lot. The same for sea food. Every shop I go to knows me al too well and usualy has a stash of bargain goodies tucked away for me smile

I also go to community swap meets and at the farmers market I wait till the end and bulk bargain and also rummage through the bins - Hey its al fresh wink

Oct 11 12 06:28 am Link

Retoucher

Angela Perez

Posts: 340

Orlando, Florida, US

I remember about 8 years ago being able to only use $250 for the whole month Stuff seems to just be getting pricier and pricier.

Oct 11 12 06:34 am Link

Photographer

Through Elizabeths Eyes

Posts: 4916

Yelm, Washington, US

Our food is our one big luxury. We don't have car payments or credit cards, or any major bills, so a lot of our budget goes towards eating really well (it helps that I'm a great cook).

So, for two people, around $400-500 a month. Again, we eat REALLY well. Salmon, steak, and shrimp happen at least once a week.

Oct 11 12 06:55 am Link

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Stormee

Posts: 2463

San Antonio, Texas, US

Oct 11 12 07:22 am Link

Photographer

Tore

Posts: 13710

Stamford, Connecticut, US

Approximately $200 a week for two people. We shop at Whole Foods.

Oct 11 12 07:26 am Link

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Kelli

Posts: 24344

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

It ranges, but a lot. There's just 2 of us, but due to Celiacs disease and having to go gluten free, making everything ourselves from scratch it is double to triple the standard 2 person household grocery bill. Being sick is very expensive on so many levels.

Oct 11 12 08:00 am Link

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Alana Miles

Posts: 6459

Alma, Colorado, US

We spend $45.00 a week
$180.00 a month for two people and we eat very very well.

Also, I cook every meal from scratch and use only real ingredients and nothing from a can, even beans.

Not sure how the lot of you are spending so much but to each their own I guess.

Typical example of a days meals:
Breakfast: banana pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup, coffee and fruit
Lunch: turkey and barley stew with homemade bread for dipping
Dinner: chicken boobs with shallots and a red wine reduction sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes, and a vegtable - asparagus, edamame, sweet peas...

Also, I cook really well so that helps. I can look at food and creativley make a recipe up for the ingredients i have in hand. We don't throw anything away as I make soups at the end of the week or whenever my fridge is telling me "use these or throw em out".

As to how to cut your own costs down? We used to spend over 100 a week on food, and just started to experiment since our money is very very tight...we are lucky and have four grocery stores within a 4 minute drive, so we look at flyers that week and see what's cheaper where.

I de-skin and de bone my own meat saving me a lot per lb.

I do not buy anything that isn't on sale if I can help it. Meat especially. When ground beef goes on sale, I stock pile it in my freezer so when it gets jacked back up I still have lots. Same goes for cheap lamb or any cheap ground meat. I love me my meatballs.

I buy my produce in season. I also buy locally to offset some costs. I buy from the reduced bins when I know I will be using those veggies that evening. Or freezing them.

I make my own snacks. Almond barks, biscotti, bread, granola bars etc. saves me buttloads.

Which usually means I only shop on the outside isles of the store, and not the middle isles where the crap is.

I also make my own lentils and beans, I buy them in a package and rehydrate them. Saves me insane amounts of money.

So that's my trick, and I spend 45.00 a week, and when we really really splurge, like when the staples need to be restocked, we spend 75.00.

Oh last thing with this novel - my best friend is on a macrobiotic lifestyle, and she can oly shop at whole foods, and she has to buy specialty everything...her bill is only at 60 a week. And almond butters aren't cheap. It's about bargain hunting, and knowing when is the right time to buy things. Know enough recipes and you can live cheap forever!!!

Oct 11 12 08:21 am Link

Model

Kelli

Posts: 24344

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Eryn G wrote:
We spend $45.00 a week
$180.00 a month for two people and we eat very very well.

Also, I cook every meal from scratch and use only real ingredients and nothing from a can, even beans.

Not sure how the lot of you are spending so much but to each their own I guess.

Typical example of a days meals:
Breakfast: banana pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup, coffee and fruit
Lunch: turkey and barley stew with homemade bread for dipping
Dinner: chicken boobs with shallots and a red wine reduction sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes, and a vegtable - asparagus, edamame, sweet peas...

Also, I cook really well so that helps. I can look at food and creativley make a recipe up for the ingredients i have in hand. We don't throw anything away as I make soups at the end of the week or whenever my fridge is telling me "use these or throw em out".

As to how to cut your own costs down? We used to spend over 100 a week on food, and just started to experiment since our money is very very tight...we are lucky and have four grocery stores within a 4 minute drive, so we look at flyers that week and see what's cheaper where.

I de-skin and de bone my own meat saving me a lot per lb.

I do not buy anything that isn't on sale if I can help it. Meat especially. When ground beef goes on sale, I stock pile it in my freezer so when it gets jacked back up I still have lots. Same goes for cheap lamb or any cheap ground meat. I love me my meatballs.

I buy my produce in season. I also buy locally to offset some costs. I buy from the reduced bins when I know I will be using those veggies that evening. Or freezing them.

I make my own snacks. Almond barks, biscotti, bread, granola bars etc. saves me buttloads.

Which usually means I only shop on the outside isles of the store, and not the middle isles where the crap is.

I also make my own lentils and beans, I buy them in a package and rehydrate them. Saves me insane amounts of money.

So that's my trick, and I spend 45.00 a week, and when we really really splurge, like when the staples need to be restocked, we spend 75.00.

Oh last thing with this novel - my best friend is on a macrobiotic lifestyle, and she can oly shop at whole foods, and she has to buy specialty everything...her bill is only at 60 a week. And almond butters aren't cheap. It's about bargain hunting, and knowing when is the right time to buy things. Know enough recipes and you can live cheap forever!!!

We bargain hunt as well, go where the sales are, use points and coupons. I never buy anything full price. We also buy local.

Oct 11 12 08:34 am Link

Photographer

Dannielle Levan

Posts: 12857

New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada

$400 a month for two people. We eat well though, on a Paleo lifestyle.
Might I add that Vancouver is *hellish* expensive. I do try to do it as efficiently as I can, balanced with quality.

Oct 11 12 08:36 am Link

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P I X I E

Posts: 35327

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

$200-300/month for a household of 2. We're vegans, and we eat pretty damn well. We try to eat organic and local as much as possible.

Oct 11 12 08:41 am Link

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J Jessica

Posts: 2330

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, US

Over $300 a month for 2 people.

I love the reaction on the cashier's faces when 80% of the cart is... vegetables.
lol

Oct 11 12 08:45 am Link

Model

P I X I E

Posts: 35327

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

J Jessica  wrote:
Over $300 a month for 2 people.

I love the reaction on the cashier's faces when 80% of the cart is... vegetables.
lol

We shop at vegan/vegetarian friendly shops most of the time. No reaction whatsoever. big_smile

Oct 11 12 08:47 am Link

Photographer

Orca Bay Images

Posts: 32233

Lodi, California, US

Around $100-150 per month, for myself. I eat well. Too well.

I buy chicken (w/bones & skin), cheese, bread & tortillas, watermelons and #10 cans of tomatoes/tomato sauce at Costco. I buy canned and dry goods at discount grocery stores, dollar stores, or on sale at local supermarkets.

If I grab some fast food, it's usually on the value menu.

One big plus of the Central Valley is the affordable supply of fresh produce. Most years (not this one), I grow a bunch of Roma & cherry tomatoes, lettuce and a variety of chiles. Some years, I've grown as many as 40 tomato plants and harvested 20+ pounds/week; I have to dehydrate much of that. A jar of sun-dried tomatoes costs $6-7, but I was doing five jars' worth daily for pennies.

Oct 11 12 09:11 am Link

Photographer

Wildcat Photography

Posts: 1486

Valparaiso, Indiana, US

Angela Perez wrote:
I spend $650/month for a household of 4 and I don't even get everything I want.

I prepare every meal and don't buy premade stuff but I'm finding that to make dinner every night I'm spending about $20 per household meal a day.

It seems most of the budget goes on the fresh vegetables/fruits and meats they seem to have incredibly increased in price.

Normal meal at my house consist of 2 sides (grains,Vegetables) and meat.

How much are you spending and how do you keep the cost down.

Hello Angela...yes, I think you are right on budget when you think about it...and you are doing well.  We probably spend more than you for a month on food and 95%+ eat at home...but we only buy our meat at a butcher shop, but the quality is great. 

Nothing beats free range Amish chicken in taste, especially when they cut a whole chicken...we cannot even buy store chicken anymore because it is nasty compared to the fresh chicken we get.

We eat a lot of ground Bison too...which is excellent for you.

We have to deal with one family member being gluten intolerant and another with a mild beef allergy...and lots of fresh fruit & vegetables. 

Wildcat

Oct 11 12 10:07 am Link

Photographer

Solas

Posts: 9537

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

$400 a month.. I eat a lot. Ultra active/high metabolism hmm

Oct 11 12 10:10 am Link

Model

Jordan Bunniie

Posts: 1693

Los Angeles, California, US

On average I spend about 75/week feeding two people and multiple animals.  After you count in the takeout purched whenever im working 2+hours away or am too damn lazy to cook, its more like 100/week on food.

Oct 11 12 10:16 am Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 11721

Oakland Acres, Iowa, US

Ways I've at times kept costs down:

Comparison shop between stores and between brands to purchase the cheapest I'm content with.

Buy and cook in volume, freezing some for easy to rewarm meals later.

Think carefully about those convenience purchases, which can be expensive and add up.

Think carefully about meals out - spending 20% more on a night out, can end up costing me more than frugality with groceries.

Get needed calories from less expensive foods that are at least not bad for me such a whole grain pasta.   (However, now I'm purposely spending more on foods with more nutrition and low calorie content as my goal is to loose weight, more than to eat cheaply)

(I know some people save with coupons and watching for sales, but that's never been my thing.)

Oct 11 12 10:18 am Link

Photographer

PhillipM

Posts: 6545

Martin, Tennessee, US

Angela Perez wrote:
I remember about 8 years ago being able to only use $250 for the whole month Stuff seems to just be getting pricier and pricier.

Government say's we're not in a inflationary period....

smile

Oct 11 12 10:20 am Link

Photographer

GH-Photography

Posts: 9421

Jacksonville, Florida, US

If your mostly going for fresh fruits and veggies,

go to your local farmers market, even if not local, i drive around 60 miles to the one in jacksonville. 

walk around find a booth that sells most of what you want,

talk to the owner, tell him/her your planning on buying a ton of food, and usually they will give you some deep discounts if your buying a lot.

I'll go and spend $50 to $120 at the same guy around twice a month, and come back with my car loaded down, trunk backseats, front seat, floorboards packed to the hilt with fruit and veg. What would cost $300 to $500 dollars or more at a grocer. My family can't even eat it all we usually end up giving most away to neighbors or soup kitchens.

Its gotten to the point the guy I go to flags me down when I pull in and saves back stuff he knows I'll buy. If I want something, he doesn't have, he'll find it from his friends for me. Its amazing what can be accomplished just by being a good customer and build connections with people.

Oct 11 12 01:37 pm Link

Model

Sophia Be

Posts: 6354

Portland, Oregon, US

A lot! probably around $800-$1000 a month, give or take (that includes toiletries, food and supplies for 3 animals, and eating out on the weekends, about one day a week, sometimes two) for three people.

Groceries are very expensive in Portland. Many prices have doubled or even tripled in the last 3 years. I think it's due to the high gas prices here

Most of our grocery budget goes to fresh and frozen veggies, cheese and meat. I try to buy in bulk when I can. I only eat once a day, but I have a very large teen aged son who consumes a lot of food.

Oct 11 12 02:14 pm Link

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Koryn

Posts: 36710

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Between $100-$150/month, for just me.

I eat very well, mostly fruits and vegetables, plus nuts and beans. I purchase some dry grains, and prepare/sprout them at home. I buy a few canned things, but not a lot. I keep some canned beans, and jars of plain tomato sauce, because they are fast to prepare when I'm hungry and get home late.

Most of my dry goods are organic brands.

Bargain shopping is my bitch.

Oct 11 12 02:20 pm Link

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Sophia Be

Posts: 6354

Portland, Oregon, US

ShivaKitty wrote:
Between $100-$150/month, for just me.

I eat very well, mostly fruits and vegetables, plus nuts and beans. I purchase some dry grains, and prepare/sprout them at home. I buy a few canned things, but not a lot. I keep some canned beans, and jars of plain tomato sauce, because they are fast to prepare when I'm hungry and get home late.

Most of my dry goods are organic brands.

Bargain shopping is my bitch.

My pets cost more to feed then you tongue

Oct 11 12 02:28 pm Link

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Koryn

Posts: 36710

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Sophia Be wrote:

My pets cost more to feed then you tongue

lol

Every now and then I will splurge a little, and buy some stuff I don't normally get, but that's not the average grocery month. Just occasionally.

Oct 11 12 02:30 pm Link

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Ivanafox

Posts: 979

Healesville, Victoria, Australia

I'm probably close to spending $1000 a month on food but I'm feeding 5 adults a cat and a dog, and we eat fairly well, one adult pretty much eats for 2. I keep telling him..........

Anyway when I look at prices it seems here in Australia we pay through the ass for everything I'm stunned when photographers quote how cheap it is to get started in photography and then quote prices for which you can get equipment. I wish. I think local retailers have been ripping us off for years and are now complaining because a lot of sales are now going offshore to online businesses. If it's cheaper to buy overseas online even with postage added there's something dodgy going on.

Fresh foods have increased crazily, I think a lot of that has to do with our supermarkets being a Duopoly, it's got so bad the goverment is looking into doing something about it. the government doesn't usually do anything until the horse has well and truly bolted. I went to buy 1 capsicum yesterday and decided not to when I discovered that 1 capsicum was going to cost $3.50. That was to add to a stir fry. Didn't miss it.

Oct 11 12 02:32 pm Link

Photographer

eos3_300

Posts: 1505

Brooklyn, New York, US

A few years back living in the cheap South
Solo person
$20 a week
6 pack of beer once or 2x a month
$100 for the month tops!

Oct 11 12 02:37 pm Link

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Sophia Be

Posts: 6354

Portland, Oregon, US

ShivaKitty wrote:
lol

Every now and then I will splurge a little, and buy some stuff I don't normally get, but that's not the average grocery month. Just occasionally.

Does the budget you listed above include things like alcohol (if you drink), food out, laundry supplies and other toiletries (makeup, shampoo, soap, tp)? Or just grocery store food only? Just curious

(I can't really separate those things in my budget since I have a set amount for every pay period that covers all my grocery and food spending, including my pets needs)

Oct 11 12 03:03 pm Link

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Koryn

Posts: 36710

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Sophia Be wrote:

Does the budget you listed above include things like alcohol (if you drink), food out, laundry supplies and other toiletries (makeup, shampoo, soap, tp)? Or just grocery store food only? Just curious

Just grocery store food.

The other stuff, I get at Dollar Tree for $1/item, so... it doesn't come out to much either. It takes me 2 months to use one bottle of shampoo, and I wash my clothing in baking soda.

It looks sort of like the Great Depression at my house.

Oct 11 12 03:07 pm Link

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Damon Banner

Posts: 85305

Hayward, California, US

It used to be around $250 a month (just me).

Probably more now

Oct 11 12 03:08 pm Link

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Damon Banner

Posts: 85305

Hayward, California, US

ShivaKitty wrote:

Just grocery store food.

The other stuff, I get at Dollar Tree for $1/item, so... it doesn't come out to much either. It takes me 2 months to use one bottle of shampoo, and I wash my clothing in baking soda.

It looks sort of like the Great Depression at my house.

I'm depressed reading about that!

Oct 11 12 03:09 pm Link

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Sophia Be

Posts: 6354

Portland, Oregon, US

ShivaKitty wrote:

Just grocery store food.

The other stuff, I get at Dollar Tree for $1/item, so... it doesn't come out to much either. It takes me 2 months to use one bottle of shampoo, and I wash my clothing in baking soda.

It looks sort of like the Great Depression at my house.

I spend a ton on shampoo and conditioner (even with my licensed discounts), everyone in my house has long hair. James has the most hair of all of us, ha ha.

You should write a book about it.

Seriously.

Oct 11 12 03:13 pm Link

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Koryn

Posts: 36710

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Sophia Be wrote:

I spend a ton on shampoo and conditioner (even with my licensed discounts), everyone in my house has long hair. James has the most hair of all of us, ha ha.

You should write a book about it.

Seriously.

Shampoo used to cost more when I had long hair. It's been short for the past year, so it doesn't require much to wash it. Maybe a nickel-size dab of shampoo.

Oct 11 12 03:38 pm Link

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Kitty LaRose

Posts: 12715

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

I make all my meals as well and try to spend no more than $150/month for my husband and myself.

When I was still in university, I could get by off $50/month. smile

Oct 11 12 05:20 pm Link

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Frances Jewel

Posts: 9149

Dayton, Ohio, US

We spend $150 a week for a family of 5, Me, hubs, two teens, and a toddler.

We don't eat garbage, mainly shop the outer circle. I do a lot of prep and freeze/portion for grab and go things for the kids.

Oct 11 12 07:35 pm Link

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Graham Glover

Posts: 1261

Oakton, Virginia, US

I'm the shopper in our family.  When I was younger, I worked in grocery stores so I know a bit about shopping.

I spend probably on average $175/wk for groceries, including non-food items (and I don't know the mix between food and non-food items).  We're a family of 3.  I'm busy; I don't have time to make two+ shopping trips a week.  I also buy a fair amount of name brand items.  That said, I shop every week and make a list of what we need.  Mostly I stick closely to the list.

I buy bulk meats, and I freeze them.  Buying in bulk is cheaper in the long run.  I will hand-form burger patties, repackage them, and freeze them.  If other items need to be repacked, I do that too before freezing.  For last-minute use, I'll thaw items in the microwave.  We throw very little food away.

Fresh produce is generally seasonal.  For instance, buying corn on the cob in February is going to be expensive, at least up here.  In the summer, it is relatively cheap.  I buy what we can consume, never more.  Organic is usually more expensive than regular, and the quality may or may not be worth the extra money, depending on the item.  All that said, produce can vary from week to week.  If you are flexible on produce, assuming you don't need some very specific item, you can get a nice variety of items at relatively reasonable prices.

Canned veggies can be okay.  Some veggies are better canned than others.  If you're on a budget, house brands (store brands) are less expensive, and can be good.  Hold the cans, rotate them in your hand, and feel the metal underneath the label.  It isn't for some sensual experience; you're feeling for dents.  Labels hide dents well.  For me, if it is dented, it doesn't come home.

Frozen veggies are also good, and can be better than canned.  Simple is usually better.  A vegetable such as frozen peas should be pliable.  If the peas are in a solid chunk, you don't want it as it's probably been refrozen.

Spices may be expensive, but they give variety to your meal and they last a long time.  Also, you may find some other items that can be used to flavor food.  You'd be amazed at what a bit of lemon juice and oregano can do to a can of green beans.

Lunch meats from the deli are what we can consume in a week, and mostly it's mundane though healthy.  Fat free turkey and ham are our staples.  We also keep a good supply of peanut butter in the house.  A PB sandwich is a quick and easy lunch.  For work or school, it doesn't need refrigeration.

We freeze bread, and take it as needed.  If I'm making a PB sandwich for work, I'll make it using frozen bread; it will thaw by the time I eat it.  If I want to use it right away, I'll thaw the bread in the microwave.

I look at unit prices.  I also always look at expiration dates on products.  Typically the freshest products are in the back, as the stockers are supposed to rotate products.  They don't always.  As I said earlier, I make a list and mostly stick to it.  In part, I plan meals for the coming week.  If I can grill chicken breasts one night, that's great!  If we need something for pickup meals during the week, maybe we have a jar of spaghetti sauce with a pound of ground meat that I'll brown, and we'll have that two or three times during the week.

I hope that helps!  Planning helps, for both meals and the shopping trips.  Flexibility helps too.  If I want to get a package of pork chops, for instance, and what's in the store isn't that good (quality, age, price, whatever), I'll choose something else for the week.

Oct 11 12 10:01 pm Link

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K Allende

Posts: 14172

Columbus, Ohio, US

Spend 250 to 350 a month on two people, who like to drink so that includes the wine, beer and liquor we buy, and two pets that get fairly expensive food themselves. Fish gets bought frozen in bulk, if I was buying from the local fish guy or even the "fresh" fish department in the chain stores I'd end up spending a lot more money on the fish we eat. I could cut our budget back further if we spent less on alcohol and I didn't demand lots of stuff be bought organic.

We'd spend even more if we ate meat for every weeknight dinner, that is one place where I have cut back.

But, we get a lot of free meat, eggs, and vegetables from the boy's family so that helps. We get a carton or two of orange yolked farm fresh eggs whenever we take the trip home and we get around a quarter of a grass-fed organic free-range cow every year along with lots of thick cut bacon and whole hog sausage straight from the butcher. In the past three years I've only had to buy beef at the store maybe.....six times?

Oct 11 12 10:09 pm Link

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NicoleNudes

Posts: 3860

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I average a little over $100 a month for myself.
I shop at Walmart now instead of going to grocery stores. It's so much cheaper.

Oct 11 12 10:14 pm Link

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Laura UnBound

Posts: 27372

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

it depends on how many nights I cook. We go shopping at least every other week, usually every weekend. somewhere between 300-400 a month for two of us.

But we just go to a popular grocery chain and buy mostly name-brand. I buy a lot of meat and veggies and he buys a lot of fruit.



I had to bargain hunt when I was 18 broke and with my ex on our own. The entire day of sunday was set aside so we could make trips to 3-5 grocery stores. In retrospect we probably lost all our savings in gas, but our grocery bill was low. Pain in the ass though.

Oct 11 12 10:28 pm Link