Curious About Your Groceries...

posted on: 2.07.2012

[photo, my sister]

Monday is grocery night. I make dinner Sunday- Thursday, and we eat out Friday & Saturday.
Tonight while out shopping, I wondered where I stood on the grocery spluring/saving scale.

In general, I'm not much of a saver, per se. Let's just keep it at that (wyatt). But I want to make sure I'm not going overboard on groceries either. So you need to help me out. 

This week I'm making:

Pork Taco's w/Carrot Cilantro Slaw
Barefoot Contessa's Pappa al Pomodoro
This Autumn Chop Salad
BLTA's
Chicken & Stuffing Casserole 

At the store tonight I purchased ingredients for these recipes, trying to get the best quality where I feel it matters, and store brand where it doesn't. Plus, I also purchased some fillers- some edamame, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, eggs, bread, milk ect... the usuals.

I spent $120. I usually come in around $100 per week on food. Is this about what you're spending? I really, really hope I'm not setting myself up here. Because if I'm WAY off, I'm not sure I'll know how and where to cut back. Any tips in that area would be helpful too. I also want to make a point of noting that my family is very on board for paying more for healthier foods, so that won't change. It's unfortunate that the junk is what's cheap.



24 comments:

  1. I spent $22 on pine nuts the other day. That should make you feel better.

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  2. I'm glad you blogged about this. I'm always so fascinated by what people make for dinner, how much they spend and how often they cook at home. We are so in line with you at our house. We cook dinner Sun-Thur and always, always, always eat out on Friday and Saturday. I don't have a grocery budget really bit always spend I'm the neighborhood of $90-$130 per week at the grocery store.

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  3. Oh, man, I've had this same question myself. It's just my husband and I, and we nearly spend as much as you do. I'm hopeless at the grocery store because, like you, I'm willing to pay extra for the healthy things.

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  4. To make everyone feel better, we live in Seattle, so food is a little more expensive, and I buy about 80-90% organic which sadly is insanely expensive, but we spend about $200-$250/week. That is including stuff for breakfast and lunches as well...but I think I'll probably take this competition :)

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  5. @Heather- wow! You probably DO take the cake. I also buy mostly organic, and included in the $100 is breakfast and lunch. I want to come to your house to eat though... you must be making some delicious stuff!!!

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  6. I feel like in a month I spend abut 500-575ish. But the weekly trips are the same as you, I think the little quick trips to grab fresh fruit etc really add up.

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  7. I like this post. It's very proactive. While you're "not a saver per se" (priceless BTW), I think you have gotten better and have become more aware of what you are spending on things like groceries. I don't think we could spend a lot less on groceries and still really enjoy our meals. Count me as one though, that believes the "organic" craze is overblown with regards to some foods. I'm not convinced organic is always better, which is relevant because it is almost always more expensive, and in most cases significantly more expensive. You are always going to spend a little bit more because you don't do things halfway. It's part of your charm, and the reason why cleaning up after your meals takes me so long:)

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  8. you are doing well i'd say! we spend on average 200 a week, but we don't eat out very often, save for a lunch here and there at chipotle. i'd love to go out friday and saturday nights for dinner! what a nice break for you. we always used to buy everything organic - when i had an income - but, since being on a med student budget we follow the dirty dozen list for what is essential to be organic.

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  9. i feel like i spend SO much on groceries, but we like to eat well. i feel like i do traders for good meats and reasonable specialty stuff, costco, and then try to only hit safeway for the random things...random spices, etc.
    we're in residency and it's SO hard to not spend lots on groceries.
    my boys eat me thru house and home. i think you're doing AMAZING with $120/week. wow.
    i do have more kids, but it's along the lines of $300/week.
    and that's trying to find deals, eating out or getting pizza 2x/week, etc.
    but i also pack my kids' lunches, etc.
    man i have no idea. you're right: it's totally a mystery where it all goes.
    i live at the grocery store, spend so much, and on some nights we still have "nothing to eat for dinner".
    interested to read the comments...

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  10. it depends. are you including bulk shopping, like at costco?

    i usually spend $200-$250 a month (maybe $50 a week) at the grocery store, but then i have to go to costco too for things like diapers, wipes, produce, bread & milk and i'll spend $100-$120 a month there, too.

    we just barely stopped using formula and i am SO glad, because that was a big chunk of the costco budget. i only gave it to her regularly for the last 3 months & just 3 months of buying it blew my mind. so expensive!

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  11. I am a dorky coupon shopper. I spend about $250 a month at the grocery store. We do eat out twice a week which kills me but it keeps my husband happy. We also eat Sunday dinner with family every week. I try and base my menu by whats in sale. I don't buy everything organic but am extremely health conscience.

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  12. Not kidding here, I recently just googled "average grocery spending". I was spending about $800 a month on groceries, and my husband told me i was overspending. Now i'm trying to be more conscious and look up the weekly ads and plan the week's meals based on whats on sale. I find that using the crock pot is great for cooking like pot roast or whatever when its on sale cause you tend to have leftovers for several meals. My new goal is to spend $150 a week on groceries for my family of 3.

    I think you're doing a great job over there! Wish I could figure out how to copy you! Maybe you could do a post on frugal shopping!

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  13. my bill is starting to increase, due to my kids growing up and Jake eating more! i spent around $125ish a week...some weeks more when i go to costco. i really dont like grocery shopping!but i want to learn how to coupon...anyone wanna tell me your tricks???

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  14. Our grocery/household budget is $800/month for a family of 7. I am very frugal and coupon when I can although we are health conscious and seems that coupons are not for the health conscious. We rarely eat out and eat simply but healthy.

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  15. This is an awesome conversation. I love when people ask the questions most don't. And I'm amazed at some commenters' amazing budgets. I really like fresh, organic food too. I would say I buy 90% organic and we cook mostly vegetarian with chicken dishes maybe twice per week and a beef dish maybe once every 2 weeks. Most of mine goes towards produce and dairy. My budget in California was $200/week and it was hard to keep. I decreased it to $150/week when I moved to the Park City area (shop at P.C's Whole foods and occasionally Smiths for whatever I cannot get) and that's hard to keep too. Around $200 is perfect for us (breakfast, lunch and about 6 dinners/week). We go to lunch for tacos or sandwiches or Whole Food's cafe on our grocery shopping day.. when we're out of food anyway.

    I just really wish Utah had Trader Joe's. It makes everything budget related so much easier!

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  16. Wow, so interesting! My husband thinks that $400 a month is a lot for a grocery budget so I cannot wait to show him this post and comments. We live in CA so when I am cooking regularly we were spending about $125 a week.

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  17. Great topic Chels- so interesting. We have a $600 budget for food per month and that includes 5-6 dinners per week and breakfast and lunches. We go out to eat at least 2-3 times a week (that number varies on Jo's work schedule because sometimes it's easier to meet for dinner than to come all the way home to see us)... I do 80% of my shopping at Trader Joe's and the other 20% at costco and the normal grocery store. It's tricky to stick to the budget and not overspend on things that you don't need or could easily go without! Meal planning is the only thing that keeps us on track.

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  18. what a great post! I have always wanted to know as well :). As like every other post, we spend the same as you $100-$130/week. which I know we can do better but it's so hard. I just started mint.com and I love it. It helps me look to see what I have left!
    And then my other friend told me to just make it a goal to eat EVERYTHING in your fridge (and mostly in the cupboards)... be creative (hard to be healthy that way and hard with kids). And don't go shopping until it's gone. Because I find myself going shopping when my fridge is full of stuff that I totally could use.

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  19. With 4 kids and a husband who is a bottomless pit . . . I swear I spend $600 on groceries. Blech. I like this post because it makes you aware, and that is a step. I hate trying to save money on food if I am buying organic because I feel it is worth the money. Budgets, psht!

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  20. I probably spend $100-$150 on groceries and anothr $50 on diapers, wipes and other non-grocery items. Love reading about what other people are spending also!!

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  21. I probably spend $100-$150 on groceries and anothr $50 on diapers, wipes and other non-grocery items. Love reading about what other people are spending also!!

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  22. Great discussion. I love reading through and getting an idea what other people's "normal" is! During the last 5 years we've been all over the place trying to find what is reasonable for us. At one point I was able to manage maintaining a $200/month budget for our groceries (eating out and household stuff is separate.) but I was baking bread, making marinara sauce from scratch, etc. It was great, but totally unsustainable.

    We're settled now around $100-125/week. I try to stick to $100 at Trader Joe's, then have $50/week to save up for my once a month-ish trip to Costco.

    I think MEAL PLANNING is key-as I always know what my weeks menu is, and shop with a specific list. I buy natural and organic where it matters to me (some produce and all dairy/meats) 90% of my weekly groceries are from Trader Joe's, which always amazes me with how freaking affordable stuff is. Bulk stuff I buy at Costco.

    On occasion I think I'm going to be ahead of the game (like spend $60 for the week's groceries) and then it always gets made up for somewhere-like the next week I host a party, or choose a recipe with all new ingredients, or run out of sugar, flour, eggs and milk all at the same time!

    I think we're all developing great skills-not only shopping and cooking, but learning to budget and make decisions is a really important piece of life, right? Maybe one day we'll all have completely unlimited resources, but for now, we're all doing a great job using what we have the best we can!

    xoxo

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  23. man i feel silly i posted "$300/week". i realize that meant all things "target and costco", too.
    see, i have an area in my budget called groceries but it also includes the diapers, occasional mascara from target, etc. etc.
    it's all in ONE.
    so, on actually FOOD, i'd say i'm more along the lines of $175/week.
    with 3 boys, a husband and in seattle.
    okay just had to clarify. no way we're eating $300/week on just FOOD ONLY!
    but i'm still amazed at all the budgeters here! inspiring!

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  24. we live in a very tiny town in Utah & have a very small grocery store and about 1/2 hour away, the usuals..I miss Whole Foods so much but driving to SLC just to grocery shop just isnt manageable with 3 kids.

    Literally every two weeks on payday, I sit down & pay all bills for the two weeks, that way they are done & over with, then make a menu plan for the next two weeks. This includes breakfasts & lunches too. At the start of the month we sit down with our oldest & she says what days she wants to eat at school & when she doesnt...she's not a huge fan of school lunch since we eat so well at home :)

    Every sunday is Taco Sunday at our house. We literally try different kinds of tacos every sunday...last week we mixed it up & did chilequiles, the kids loved them!

    I am with who said eating everything creatively. I have honestly come across some really interesting recipes that way. I love being creative that way & finding such satisfaction from using everything.

    Our budget is about $300 every two weeks but that also includes the inbetweens...dog food ingredients, wipes, soaps, etc. We also bulk up on things we use more of often...[cake flour for pancake mix, salsa, etc.]

    It helps a TON to do the menu planning so far in advance. Plus we have NO restaurants where we live. One little burger joint thats only open in summer & only when they choose...its very quaint. The store closes at 8 pm or earlier and doesnt open til 9 or 10 each day....so it really taught me discipline & also to "make do" like today we are making asian pork ribs & didnt have sesame oil...but we still created a killer recipe.

    Anytime I dont menu plan and shop with a purpose I spend WAY too much. Our little store has amazing produce & fresh meat butchered fresh...so I buy those items there but plan. Its way too easy to run in for "dinner items" and walk out spending $100 on blood oranges & other produce...[not that I have done that] ;) Not to be dumb but I really think it would be fun to do some more posting on this. I LOVE seeing how others live, LOVE seeing the food, the families & memories made & also LOVE to embrace other peoples habits & take some of them with me. Its a very humbling thing.

    Bottom line is that as long as we arent feeding our families total junk then we are all going to be broke from grocery shopping each month. But at least I know my girls are healthy & embracing stable & healthy eating habits. Its a good thing I love to cook & love taking pictures of my food...then its in the entertainment budget too. HA!

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thanks for stopping by, please be kind.

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