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$132,000 for Groceries
Old 01-12-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
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$132,000 for Groceries

We've kept track of our finances on Quicken for over eighteen years. For the heck of it, I just looked at the income/expense report on an "Earliest to date" basis. The expense category that surprised me the most was "Groceries".

We spent over $132,000 on groceries for our family of six during the last eighteen years. This works out to an average weekly cost of $141. This figure seems unbelievably high to me but I guess I am just out of touch with the cost of groceries since I don't do much grocery shopping. I know I'm going to be very very careful in how I broach the subject with my DW.

Does this weekly cost seem reasonable to you? Did you ever look at your spending by category for such a long time period? What surprised you?
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:55 AM   #2
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Accounting for inflation over the 18 years notwithstanding (prob significant), it doesn't sound out of line for a family of six to me. Your weekly number equates to $611/mo, we spent $495/mo in 2012 - and there are only two of us. We eat healthy so few processed foods, but we're not extremely cheap or extravagant, probably middle of the road.

And it depends in part on what you include/exclude in groceries as well. Our "grocery" category includes everything you'd buy at a conventional grocery store except wine/liquor. We include not only food, but all household bath, kitchen & laundry items and personal care items such as shampoo, soap, shaving, etc. in grocery.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:29 AM   #3
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You probably should congratulate your wife. I spend about $400/month for one, and I have simple tastes.

Ha
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:42 AM   #4
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According to Quicken, we spend about $650/month at stores like Costco, Safeway, Trader Joe's etc..., which I lumped into the broad category of food. Obviously, that includes toiletries and various household products, but I do not break it down finer than that. We do not eat out often.

We eat a lot, and I mean a lot, of veggie, and my wife always makes sure she hits sales in local stores to get the best deal. For example, the other day she got tomatoes for $0.33/lb. We routinely get avocados, albeit smaller ones, for $0.20 each, which make for one neat single serving.

I eat a lot of meat, but my wife does not. She does not like fish either, so we do not eat too much of that despite my liking for it. Else, we could have spent more.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:04 PM   #5
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Over the past 9 years DW and I have spent an average of $670 per month on "groceries", which for us include everything I buy at the grocery store (food, wine, cleaning products, paper products, toiletries, etc...).
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:10 PM   #6
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Since you shop at Whole Foods and we don't, yet we spend about the same, I have to deduce that we I eat a lot more than you do.

PS. I had to make the above edit because I am the guilty one, not my wife.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:22 PM   #7
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Since you shop at Whole Foods and we don't, yet we spend about the same, I have to deduce that we eat a lot more than you do.
That was the average over the past 9 years. A few things have changed over that time frame. Early on, we shopped mostly at Walmart, we rarely drank any wine, and we ate a lot of cheap, processed food. Now we shop mostly at Wholefoods, drink more wine, and eat very little junk food. So our average monthly grocery bill has drifted from about $500 a month to roughly $900 a month with an average around $670.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:40 PM   #8
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And it depends in part on what you include/exclude in groceries as well. Our "grocery" category includes everything you'd buy at a conventional grocery store except wine/liquor. We include not only food, but all household bath, kitchen & laundry items and personal care items such as shampoo, soap, shaving, etc. in grocery.
$600/month for the 2 of us.
So for the OP with family 6. their grocery expense is reasonable, I think.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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Doesn't seem excessive to me. I have averaged ~$60/week for the last 9 years and that is for a single !
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:49 PM   #10
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That does not seem out of line. Actually it seems quite frugal to me. Obviously it may depend on how much you eat out (if you eat out every day then it would be more than if you never ate out).

Look at the USDA food plans for eating all food at home

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

For a family of 4 with kids 6-8 and 9-11, the lowest cost food plan was $144.60 a week which was the thrifty plan. THe most expensive was $286.50

A family of 6 would be a bit more.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
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Looks like the OP needs to reward his DW for her spending restraint, though he was seemingly otherwise inclined in his OP - hope he hasn't "broached" the subject already.

I wonder if his wife will have an opportunity to scrutinize his spending over the past 18 years?
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:01 PM   #12
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...So our average monthly grocery bill has drifted from about $500 a month to roughly $900 a month with an average around $670.
Ah, I feel better now. Our bargain shopping has not been for naught after all. I still have to be convinced of organic food though.

And speaking of grocery expenses, even if the OP's wife spends more on groceries, I would not call it a waste or imprudent expense. The extra money probably pays for better food. Not a waste unless you throw food away that is.

I had a coworker who complained that his wife tended to cook too much and throw away a lot down the trash. He might be exaggerating, but said they threw away as much as they ate. Of course I might not know the full story, but he also said his non-working wife needed a slush fund of $2K/month for her discretionary spending. He also said that the $2K did not include food! Good thing he was very well paid.

PS. And then, there was another guy who complained that his wife also had the same personal monthly expenses, but did not cook. Lots of misery!
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #13
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Looks like the OP needs to reward his DW for her spending restraint, though he was seemingly otherwise inclined in his OP - hope he hasn't "broached" the subject already.

I wonder if his wife will have an opportunity to scrutinize his spending over the past 18 years?
Thanks for all of your comments. It looks like I was definitely out of touch. I'm lucky to be married to someone who is frugal.

Fortunately I didn't say anything stupid to my wife when I saw the $132,000 figure. Maybe we can go out to dinner tonight to celebrate 18 year's worth of frugal, but great dining.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:10 PM   #14
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I must be doing something wrong. For one person, I average $28 per week on food. Yes, that includes everything.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:25 PM   #15
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We would not know what you are doing wrong until you show your menu.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:27 PM   #16
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Only a matter of time until this thread turned into another "I can live on less than you" p!ss!ng contest. Next up: how to salvage a jar of broken peanut butter by straining out the glass shards.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:32 PM   #17
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That didn't take long

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Only a matter of time until this thread turned into another "I can live on less than you" p!ss!ng contest. Next up: how to salvage a jar of broken peanut butter by straining out the glass shards.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:35 PM   #18
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Only a matter of time until this thread turned into another "I can live on less than you" p!ss!ng contest. Next up: how to salvage a jar of broken peanut butter by straining out the glass shards.
The salvaging works for smooth peanut butter but not the chunky style.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:44 PM   #19
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Nah, I've never seen these threads as a pissing contest. Rather, it's more about a boast of frugality, which is fine with me.

However, as it comes to food, I am not impressed until people can show that they can dine on wild-caught salmon, halibut, filet mignon, lobster, and the like on a daily basis, those things that I indulge in only occasionally, while at the same time spending less than I do. Frugal as I am, I can spend a lot less by loading up on carb and processed food, but when would that start to cut short my ER?
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:05 PM   #20
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Well, I enjoy ahi tuna and sushi, but only when clients spoil me ;-)
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