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Old 11-16-2013, 04:25 PM   #41
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About 6-$700/month including beer/wine for two of us.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:31 PM   #42
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About $200-$225 per month for one person (me). Other than going out for pizza lunch a few times a month, I very rarely go out to eat (for dinner). Even the Omaha Steaks burgers I buy (I used to buy more from them, I was not enjoying their other foods any more) don't cost much because it takes me 9-12 months to go through one package of them.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:40 PM   #43
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We spend more than $5 a day..............buying expensive fruit and veggies.

But we have a .99 cent store......cheap lettuce and veggies.....that helps. just over $100 per week for 3 of us.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:52 PM   #44
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FWIW $1,485.53 (for "Groceries" through today for 2013 for two people. The "Dining Out" category is $102.82 through today for 2013 in addition. So that comes to about $151 a month (about 10.5 months thus far this year). We do eat to live versus living to eat (for those that understand what that means).
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:36 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Independent View Post
According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average for two person families in the US is:
$6,634 per year, or $553 per month, or $9.09 per person per day.

57% of that is "Food at Home", and 43% is "Food Away from Home".

Their lowest income groups spend about $3,800 per year. (But, "income" is kind of slippery in the CEX.)

Average spending varies a little by age, with the 75+ couples spending $5,781 per year.

The ratio of (food spending) / (total spending) is about 12% overall. It varies by income group, from about 15% for the lower income groups to 11% for the highest ($70k+) group.

Consumer Expenditures Survey (CEX)
Thanks for the stats. So I guess our approx. $5 per day per person is close to the average. .57 x 9.09 = $5.18.
Since we retired we typically spend about $20 on eating out a week. When we were working we ate out more and used the cafeteria and vending machines some. I know we're saving a few thousand dollars a year now and the food is better grade.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:04 PM   #46
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We'll tag your's the high living breakfast, and mine the on-the-cheap version. Something for everyone!
Cheaper stores 20 miles away, but I 14 mi. to the gallon of gas, so that would negate any savings, I gotta have those strawberries fresh!
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:05 PM   #47
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And I thought I was eating oatmeal because it was cheap For me oatmeal, some raisins, maybe some banana slices and little honey is less than $10/month. I don't use milk, maybe that's where difference is.
RB, I made mistake about 6 months ago and put strawberries in them and haven't stopped. Banana's are good ( and cheaper) too as that was what I did prior to my new strawberry addiction.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:20 PM   #48
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I put applesauce and cinnamon or canned pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in my applesauce. I'll have to try the strawberries, that sounds great.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:23 PM   #49
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I put applesauce and cinnamon or canned pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in my applesauce. I'll have to try the strawberries, that sounds great.

KB, I love the strawberries...but if you have a sweet tooth, you can't beat what RB does and put bananas in it.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:08 PM   #50
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We are a family four with a. Teenage boy, approx $900 per month. We live outside oh Philadelphoa and believe that does not help 😁
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:35 PM   #51
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I don't know why people on food stamps can't do the same. I just don't get it. Honestly, many people of my mom's generation ate a lot of beans and cornbread and were very healthy. They spent their own money for that and that's all they could afford.

This article I think gives some insight into the different food habits of people at different places in the economic scale.

It is a very long article (which I coincidentally read yesterday) but it gives some insight into these things:

How Junk Food Can End Obesity - David H. Freedman - The Atlantic
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:03 PM   #52
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$600-$800/month for 2. However, I'm a foodie. Seasonal/local/organic/grass fed meat . . . and all that. The only cutbacks when I ER'd was wine purchases and very expensive restaurants. I cook from scratch a lot and we go out a couple of times a month. If I was interested in doing it differently then I have no doubts I could cut back a couple of hundred dollars and eat well enough and stay healthy.

It sounds like you are mostly interested in why food stamp recipients shop the way they do and can't make ends meet. Lot's of studies but no one has figured out how to fix that one.
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:49 PM   #53
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We spend about $950/month - mostly at costco, but some Sprouts, Vons, and the local farmers market tossed in. This includes sundries and impulse items at costco. It also includes beer/wine/booze from Costco.

We're a family of 4, 2 being pre-teen/teen boys who eat AMAZING amounts of food. We also buy organic when possible. But prices on organic have been coming down a lot in the past few years. We cook from scratch mostly - but do buy the take and bake pizza's from costco for the nights that we need a quick solution...
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:34 AM   #54
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Incidentally, the 'measly' lunch the mayor said he ate was a turkey sandwich, chips, apple and something else I don't recall. That is my typical lunch and that is about what I carried for lunch when I was working.
HMMMM..
I did that for decades, worked out of a car and I still have that little Igloo "Lunchbox" cooler - $15 then and it saved me thousands - had a sandwich, fruit, and a bottle of tap water. Later when microwaves became common I'd also make rice and a portion of grilled chicken chopped or shredded in it.

We budget $800/month for "groceries" now which includes a lot of non-food items but admittedly there is a lot of discretionary spending there. The main staple is a big salad that I mix up in one of those giant Tupperware bowls and usually some grilled chicken and a bit of shredded cheese. We make something with hamburger or steaks maybe two/three times a year. Nothing with wheat, oats, or barley because of my gluten intolerance.

I don't drive all over town looking for the absolute cheapest items because I have to wonder if the fuel costs outweigh the savings. And grocery shopping is not on my list of "fun things to do".

Restaurants maybe once a month and then someplace inexpensive. Once or twice a year someplace very nice and correspondingly expensive.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:53 AM   #55
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And I thought I was eating oatmeal because it was cheap

For me oatmeal, some raisins, maybe some banana slices and little honey is less than $10/month. I don't use milk, maybe that's where difference is.
I'm not much on oatmeal except during the winter. But when I do I use blueberries. I have a freezer full given to me from a neighbor who has several bb bushes. Sometimes I will just eat a small cup of bb with low fat whip cream and some fiber one sprinkled on top. A nice desert and not bad for breakfast.

I spend maybe $175/mo for groceries. I eat out a lot though.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:12 AM   #56
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Thanks for the stats. So I guess our approx. $5 per day per person is close to the average. .57 x 9.09 = $5.18.
Since we retired we typically spend about $20 on eating out a week. When we were working we ate out more and used the cafeteria and vending machines some. I know we're saving a few thousand dollars a year now and the food is better grade.
If I did the math, I'd recognize that your "at home" food budget covers all your food for the day, while the $5.18 for the average person probably just pays for 2/3 of their total. So you're thriftier than your calculation suggests.

But, I agree with the general comment. Eating at home is usually cheaper than eating away from home. That can be a big money saver. When I was working, lunch was often soup, fruit, and yogurt at the company cafeteria. It was cheaper than the typical restaurant. No that I'm retired, I often have soup, fruit, and yogurt at home. Even though I buy canned soup, I'm sure that I spend less.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:51 AM   #57
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We have a $600 per month budget for groceries, and $300 for eating out. We track it on Mint, which can show any way payment is made.

For us, groceries is broader than just food. Cleaning supplies, paper products, etc are part of groceries.

We travel different parts of the country during the year(s). Location makes a difference in whether making budget is easy or nearly impossible.

Easy= South Texas
Hard= Northern California
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #58
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Quicken says $5587 for food and $1129 for dining, or about $560/month for the two of us. That's a bunch of shopping at Costco and much less shopping at Winco/Walmart. Very obvious difference wheeling out of Costco with packages of frozen lasagne @ $12 and other frozen pre-made meals scattered in the bottom of the giant cart adding up to over a hundred bucks vs shopping at Winco and leaving with bags of bread flour and oatmeal and veggies - way more weight and volume - and spending $40. Hard to beat a Costco chicken for ease and cost/meal though - or Costco $1.50 hotdogs or pizza for that matter. $10 or less for a pizza that will serve four foundering quantities. Lotta sundries and wine in the Costco "food" bill as well.

Add us to the oatmeal brigade - bulk old fashioned with fresh blueberries or strawberries or mango or raspberries and a dab of butter (maybe some cinnamon in the boiling water). Man! Mango is cut, need to get the water boiling and get the girl up!
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:09 AM   #59
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I eat at home ~90% of the time. Once or twice a week I have a guest, and once or twice a week I am invited to someone else's house. I spend $375/month, which involves lot of conscious cost control. I have brought it down maybe $75 since I first came on this board about 10 years ago.

The concept of millionaires eating on less than poor people has never had much appeal for me.

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Old 11-17-2013, 10:30 AM   #60
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I have spent an average of $327 per month on groceries during the first 10 months of this year. That includes non food items*. My estimate for food alone would be $290, for one person, and includes entertaining. It does not include groceries I bought on vacation, which I classify under Travel. I am cooking at home a lot more than I used to when I was w*rking and my diet is healthier. I am avoiding processed food, eating local and often organic, purchasing direct from farm markets when the opportunity arises, and minimizing waste. For example, orphan vegetables become delicious soup and a basket of too-sour plums became a gourmet plum sauce that was great with meat. I don't add any salt during cooking and now I really notice the excessive salt added in many restaurants.

*If we are looking at excluding non-food items bought at a supermarket, I can see why toothpaste, deodorant and laundry detergent should be excluded, but what about things like tinfoil and ziplok bags? These items are consumables used to support food production and storage so perhaps we should include them. But who's counting? This is not a test!

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