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Old 02-20-2012, 11:01 PM   #21
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Dear All!

I am ecstatic to read comments from everyone that $900 seems high for one person for groceries and toiletries. I love to cook and I do cook from scratch using quality ingredients. When at home, I cook over 95% of my meals and pack my lunches for work when I am in town. I have not yet been home for a full month or two in order to track my expenses for these categories. I have tracked everything else, i.e., household utils, property taxes, entertainment, etc.

I am really happy to know that if I budget $900 but do not eat out frequently then I should still be OK in years when the Market is doing poorly and will not have to resort to eating cat food.

Thank you so much for your replies. I still hope to hear from more Forum members. It is so interesting to learn of amounts that members on this Forum spend on various budget categories. I am looking forward to ER and over the next 3 years I will really monitor my expenses in order to feel less anxiety when I am ready to take the leap.

Thank you ALL!
Hi Retire2014,

Glad that you find our replies helpful. For me, as part of my strategy of keeping my grocery expenses down each month, I also have one of those vacuum sealers for food. Especially, since for one person, after cooking a meal, I can save the excess portions, and freeze them without freezer burn for a meal later in the month.

Of course, there is the cost of a machine and the vacuum bags, but I with a good system, you'd definitely cut the grocery costs down and not have to eat the same leftovers throughout the week.

Plus, it's great to have on grocery shopping day. For example, each month I'd buy all my meats (poultry, hamburger patties, pork chops, etc.) and spend about an hour food sealing them. Then have that supply all ready in my freezer to cook through out the month.

Easysurfer
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:09 PM   #22
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I think $900 sounds generous but this is really going to vary according to taste, creativity, etc. One item I rarely have to buy is soap, because I travel so much and pick up a hotel soap or two (only the nice ones) that I have a basket full of it which will last for years.

OTOH, I was participating in or teaching workshops every day last week, and hardly ate at home at all (good) but I now have limp lettuce in the fridge (bad). I think that once I ER I will be able to increase the utilization efficiency of the food that I buy - as well as have more control over what I eat.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:15 PM   #23
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For DW and I, we spend $500/month for groceries, toiletries and cleaning products. Dining out is a separate category. I also track coffee expenses on a separate category - $750 last year.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:24 PM   #24
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For food, toiletries, pet food and supplies, we spend about $125 weekly and about $30 eating out each week, unless it's a special occasion.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:25 PM   #25
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I spend about $200-$250 a month on food and other items at the supermarket, and including going out to eat about once a month (with my ladyfriend or my dad). I cook most of my own meals, and my ladyfriend cooks for me once a week and gives me leftovers.

I live in a small apartment, so I don't have a lot of storage space and can't take advantage of buying many sale items in bulk (other than boneless chicken).
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:56 AM   #26
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Alot of good feedback so far, $900 a month would be generous unless that includes nice dinners out regularly.

We're a family of 4 (2 small kids) and my monthly budget is about $1000. This includes going out to eat a few casual meals a week. Casual = Old Country Buffet or Chinese Buffet running about $30 - 40 a meal for the family.

Since you travel for work, time to start collecting those extra shampoo and soap from the hotels LBYM I did that when I traveled for my personal vacation supplies. It added up quick, not sure it's worth it, but I got in a habit, so I always had a basket full at home.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:17 AM   #27
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I'm single and average about $200-$250/month for groceries, including toiletries and paper products. I always stop at Aldi's first when grocery shopping and find many staples that work just fine for me. This has considerably dropped my grocery bill, and I'm very happy with that. I realize that people's opinions vary widely on Aldi, but the one close to me is just great!
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:21 AM   #28
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FWIW DW and I live in Northern VA and I hit the commisary on base most weekends. We normally spend about $150 or about $600/month. Includes anything that they have like dog food, batteries, soaps, etc... So I would think $900 plenty, but every once in a while we hit local giant and the cost there is through the roof. If we didn't have commisary that $600 would jump.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:28 AM   #29
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I think that is about what we spend, but I believe that DW is stockpiling for Dec 22nd, 2012
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:37 AM   #30
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$900 a month for a single person sounds really high unless that includes restaurant meals and you eat out a lot.

We spent $12,500 for groceries including toiletries paper products etc. in 2011 and we are a family of 4 with two teenage boys.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:40 AM   #31
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For the two of us our spending for groceries, toiletries, etc. was $4,480 total for 2011. This does not include eating out about twice per month, we have a separate budget category for entertainment. However, we vacationed about 4 weeks in 2011 and all food costs for those 4 weeks are counted in a separate budget category for vacations. So, if you figure $4,480 spent for 48 weeks that is approx. $100/week.

By choice we rarely eat red meat, we do eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies. We are eating healthy food and we like what we eat.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:29 AM   #32
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For DW and I, we spend $500/month for groceries, toiletries and cleaning products. Dining out is a separate category. I also track coffee expenses on a separate category - $750 last year.
$500 per person? Or $500 total for both you and DW? Thank you so much for sharing your information. It is quite encouraging for me to know that I've budgeted on the high end.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:52 AM   #33
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I'm single in Boston and spend $500/month on groceries, meals, eating out and beer.
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:51 PM   #34
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We spend around $400 a month at grocery stores. If we eat out more, we might spend slightly less for groceries. And if we eat out less, we might spend slightly more for groceries. But i think $400 is just abiut average for us. That's for food, laundry & cleaning supplies, toiletries, paper & plastic goods, and all. Most of that us spent at our local Aldi store. We also shop at the local Kroger and IGA grocery stores, but only for what we can't get at Aldi. And we buy a few odds and ends at the Dollar Tree store that's next door to Aldi.

We keep our two freezers stuffed full of meat, fish, and veggies, and we keep the cupboards and shelves filled to overflowing with canned and dry goods. We could easily go for over a month, maybe two, without needing to go shopping for anything other than dairy products & eggs.

We stockpile non-perishables and paper goods when we find a good sale. Especially TP! When Northern 12-roll packages are on sale we stuff the trunk and backseat of my Mom's car, and carry it into the house as needed....her car is like a portable storage shed!
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:15 PM   #35
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$500 per person? Or $500 total for both you and DW? Thank you so much for sharing your information. It is quite encouraging for me to know that I've budgeted on the high end.
$500 total for both per month
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:26 PM   #36
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I also think $900 is very high . We(two adults ) spend $400 a month on groceries,cleaning supplies , shampoo and paper products . I mostly shop Publix's and buy whatever meat is on sale then plan my meals around it . I also do to Aldi's especially for produce . We eat out once a week and the bill is usually around $40. All other meals are at home except for my Friday lunch with my gym pals usually $15.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:47 PM   #37
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$900 seems high. For our family of 4, we spend roughly $500-600 per month for all groceries, toiletries and household items (consumable stuff you routinely buy at a place like walmart or target that don't fall into some other category like auto parts, house repair, etc). We don't eat out a lot (around $1000 a year). We are pretty frugal and I shop around for bargains so YMMV.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:47 PM   #38
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Not sure what you're including/excluding. The two of us spent:

$444/mo on groceries (incl toiletries, pharma, household stuff),
$79/mo on wine/liquor &
$347/mo at restaurants.
$870/mo total.

We eat at home 5 nights/week and restaurants 2 nights/week on average. We're probably considered foodies and we eat well/healthy, but we shop pretty carefully and we don't go crazy on restaurants, except for special occasions several times a year (half dozen splurges or so). We used to spend considerably more, especially on restaurants...
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:47 AM   #39
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We spend about $125/week for 2 people for at home meals. We tend to have pizza 1x per week ($25) on top of that. For $900 you can have some very nice meals

On another note, I'm happy to see the wine budgets in this thread !!
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:23 AM   #40
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$900 sounds really high to me as well. Our grocery, etc. expense (includes paper products, toiletries, etc.) averages around $500 per month for 2 people. Our eating out is usually around $250. We eat out about 2-3 times a week.
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