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Old 11-17-2013, 10:58 AM   #61
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We typically spend about $6oo per month for groceries, non-food items, beer and wine. This is for 2 of us and I'm sure we could cut if we tried. This doesn't include eating out or entertaining.

ETA: After I posted I realized this does contain some over lap for entertaining.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:06 AM   #62
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The concept of millionaires eating on less than poor people has never had much appeal for me.

Ha
Well, I could afford various organic produce/animal protein. Guess I haven't reached the point of making that choice yet.

As far as conventional food goes, I don't deprive myself by eating substandard items or processed crap - I eat reasonable amounts of food which I cook at home and freeze in individual portions that is delicious, with plenty of flavor and seasonings. Just as I look to minimize my costs with any aspect of my life, I minimize my grocery bill too.

I don't see a need to pay $3.00 for a 16oz box of saltine crackers at Walmart when I can pay just $0.99 at Aldi.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:07 AM   #63
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I was a little interested in your food stamp question so I looked up some information that I didn't know.

Eligibility

Apparently for SNAP (food stamps) there is a max amount for food stamps that is actually a low but not awful amount. For 2 people it is currently $347 a month. For 4 people it is $632 a month. However, I would guess lots of people don't get those amount. This is because 30% of the person's net income is deducted from the max amount. The example given is that if someone had $1143.50 in net monthly income (which is about $13716 per year) then it is expected they would spend $344 of their own income on food. So a 2 person family with that income would get $3 a month in food stamps or a 4 person family would get $288 in food stamps. My guess is that the idea that a 4 person family with $13716 in income (or a 2 person family) would be spending 30% of that money on food is a fantasy. I would guess that an awful lot of $1143.50 a month would go to other basic expenses such as a place to live, transportation, etc. The only people who would actually get max amount of food stamps are those with no income whatsoever.


I read that the actual average benefit is $133.85 per person per month (actually this number will be slightly lower going forward as the benefit was cut on Nov. 1).
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:16 PM   #64
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Mine is a bit less than 15 bucks per week groceries, and I don't eat out. I don't budget, but I can see it from my ATM withdrawals because I always pay cash for groceries. I don't eat meat or dairy for health reasons, and this knocks it down quite a bit. B12 supplements aren't expensive if you ignore what's on the label and take the RDA instead. I also try to avoid processed and canned food because they usually contain too much salt.

The concept of scaling spending to income doesn't appeal to me. I've met people who believe that doing otherwise is "cheating", but I don't see why. I would agree that maintaining a wide gap between income and expenses allows one to build up savings that eventually can aggravate income inequality, but I see this as a matter of individual choice that is within the bounds of acceptable behavior.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:40 PM   #65
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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.

Ha
Interesting. I just finished reading the Millionaire Next Door book. Apparently thrift is a big part of the success of first generation entrepreneurial type millionaires.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:58 PM   #66
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Interesting. I just finished reading the Millionaire Next Door book. Apparently thrift is a big part of the success of first generation entrepreneurial type millionaires.
I love that book. If you haven't read it yet, Thomas Stanley also has a blog with more current writings, though the basic message is the same -

Thomas J. Stanley | Official Blog
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:27 PM   #67
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We're around $400/month for the 2 of us, including eating out (which has become very rare). The monthly bill could be lower but we buy organic, non-GMO, and support local growers through a co-op. Not included in that total was a quarter-hind grass fed beef from a local farmer as it'll last us over a year as we use meat almost as a condiment anymore. We also have several raised garden beds in the backyard, grew tomatoes, peppers, onions, boysenberries, pumpkins, acorn/butternut squash, etc. Even though it took some work to get the tomatoes roasted and in foodsaver bags, when there's 4 feet of snow outside and it's 10 degrees I'll cherish every bite of that tomato basil soup I made from scratch.

Did not include the $$ we spend on red wine as it comes out of a different budget category.
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$400 per month - each
Old 11-17-2013, 05:46 PM   #68
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$400 per month - each

We spend $400 per month each on food - so $800 for the two of us. We try to buy simple, inexpensive, but healthy food. Fresh fruit is relatively expensive (even here in California) and not high in calories, but healthy. We ride our bicycles a lot of the time (road and trails) for entertainment - but based on the other food budgets here, I think it is an obvious conclusion that cycling is not "free" entertainment! That is not including bicycle repairs either...
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:01 PM   #69
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Hmm,

While I agree that eating on $4 / day is a challenge, this reporting (I had to google a few stories) is abysmal.

"The mayor said he quickly learned one must plan meals really carefully on a limited budget"

Really. He's the mayor and did not know one must plan meals carefully on a limited budget.

Also, the snap program is a SUPPLEMENTAL program (That's the S), it is not meant to be the sole source of food dollars for the recipient, but is intended to supplement their food dollars. What we used to call food stamps and now call snap has morphed from assistance to full support in news articles such as this (and by many politicians).
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:07 PM   #70
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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.
We love the 99 Cent Store. It has become our go-to place for produce. Yesterday I bought a bunch of asparagus, a watermelon, a 1-lb. bag of mini carrots, and a pint of grape tomatoes for $4. The same items would have been about $10 elsewhere.

What we spend monthly varies from one month to the next as I have a well-stocked pantry and freezer. I buy on sale to re-stock. We don't eat a lot of boxed or frozen processed foods, but occasionally DH likes a box of Rice-A-Roni rice pilaf when we have salmon.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:35 PM   #71
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I don't know. Being FI, to me, means I no longer have to do the type of budgeting I used to do. However, I still cringe when I hear my wife and 12 year old daughter are going to Whole Foods.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:48 PM   #72
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I don't know. Being FI, to me, means I no longer have to do the type of budgeting I used to do. However, I still cringe when I hear my wife and 12 year old daughter are going to Whole Foods.
I just went there today...I know what you mean. I enjoy good food, but my goodness, where on earth do they come up with those prices? I'll stick with Trader Joe's and Costco for 95% of my food purchases.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:15 PM   #73
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Pretty funny....
Grocery Money - Food Only
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I was wondering how much others spend on groceries per month. This doesn't include non-food items.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:18 PM   #74
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I don't know. Being FI, to me, means I no longer have to do the type of budgeting I used to do. However, I still cringe when I hear my wife and 12 year old daughter are going to Whole Foods.
I get this, and it speaks to what each of us prioritizes I think. As an earlier poster said on this thread, in our particular case, we eat to live, we do not live to eat. We do, however, live to travel, and so in our case, for every $$$ we don't spend at the supermarket, I can add more days to our travel schedule.

I will admit that there have been times my husband has accused me of having a depression mentality when it comes to our household spend, but that's another discussion altogether!
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:20 PM   #75
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I get this, and it speaks to what each of us prioritizes I think. As an earlier poster said on this thread, in our particular case, we eat to live, we do not live to eat.
Speak for yourselves folks...I live to eat!
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:23 PM   #76
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Speak for yourselves folks...I live to eat!
Love it.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:46 PM   #77
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I do not live to eat, but as I have to eat to live, I might as well do the "good stuff" to make the experience more enjoyable.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:02 PM   #78
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Laser month we spent $450 on groceries - but that also included non-food itms saucy as paper towels, etc. We eat healthily at home; but we also spent about $525 at restaurants (generally with a guest or two) - our main hobby lol. We eat healthily at restaurants as well, but not cheaply. It's difficult to determine how much we would spend just eating at home. I would guess about $500 - $600.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:20 PM   #79
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Life is too short to eat crappy food.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:48 PM   #80
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Year to date we've averaged about $730 Groceries + dining out. However, since our youngest went to college over the last two months it has averaged about $550 in our "empty nest".

We could go lower, but DW loves cooking and it is tough for her to get used to cooking just for me and not a house full of kids, and shares our food with others. We have a soft spot for some large families we are good friends with who, through no fault of their own, are going through some difficult situations. They are not the type to ask for help, but DW often helps by teaching their kids how to cook, and supplies most or all of the ingredients for them to cook a meal for the family

In addition, with our kids a lot of their parents do not cook - and probably 4-5 times a week some of our kids friends would be around at dinner time, and DW would invite them to eat with us. We suspect for several of them it is the best meal of the day for them, and some have wanted DW to teach them (or their parents!) how to cook.

Regarding the food stamps comment made earlier, From my observation the real issue is that we don't teach people how to cook anymore. I'm glad both of my parents taught me and all of my siblings how to cook. These days it is just so much easier to purchase processed foods, as folks do not take, or do not have, the time to cook a meal. That goes not just for folks on food stamps - some of the kids coming by our house are from families who earn just as much or more than us, but are eating fast food or packaged food almost every night of the week.
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