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Grocery Money - Food Only
Old 11-16-2013, 05:42 AM   #1
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Grocery Money - Food Only

I was wondering how much others spend on groceries per month. This doesn't include non-food items.
There was an article in the paper the other day about our mayor and other officials who took the food stamp challenge by trying to live on $4.83 worth of food a day. They made it sound hard. My husband and I eat very well on about $5.00 each per day. We splurge once in a while but sometimes we eat less than $5 too. All the stores I shop are on the bus route for those who live in the inner city so I don't get it.
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..

(Aren't most food stamp recipients overweight anyway?)
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:51 AM   #2
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About $700 per month all in for 2 people. Not including eating out.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:28 AM   #3
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Our grocery total for a family of four is about $780 per month (actually less now that we changed from Pick n' Save to Woodman's). I figure $45 per person per week. I find we spend less when we plan the menu out for the coming week.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:24 AM   #4
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I would find this difficult right now because we are eating a lot of fresh vegetables and quality meats. We have cut way down on the carbs. A lot of calorie and carb fill foods (even with quality) are much cheaper. But they are not fitting the diet. For example, pastas, beans, etc.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by HappyOutsourced View Post
(Aren't most food stamp recipients overweight anyway?)
Yours is an unfair stereotype. Most people in this country are overweight, regardless of whether they get SNAP.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:44 AM   #6
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~ $160/month for one.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:54 AM   #7
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Just making something as simple as spaghetti for 2 people is not dirt cheap.

3/4 Pound of 93% lean ground beef $4
Jar of sauce $2
Half a pack of thin noodles $.75
Partial bag of Costco salad $.40
Salad dressing $0.25
Parm cheese $0.40 (I like cheese)
Garlic bread $0.50 (the frozen texas toast type makes for small servings)

Ok, it is pretty cheap but that is one meal. $8.30

Anyway, we spend about $450 a month just on groceries for 2 people. Sometimes we make more expensive meals like ginger and garlic covered grilled salmon.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:06 AM   #8
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Anyway, we spend about $450 a month just on groceries for 2 people. Sometimes we make more expensive meals like ginger and garlic covered grilled salmon.
There's that pesky quality meat I'm talking about. I haven't priced it out, but I suspect we're in the $450 to $500 per month for two. We don't eat out much so it includes most meals.

I consider it a payment against health issues, however. Back in the rice and pasta days, I was gaining weight constantly which does nothing for my health.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:25 AM   #9
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We spend $1300 per month for a family of four. I know its crazy, but it includes sundries, and my kids are ravenous teens. And with a working wife, we buy quite alot of convenience foods.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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We spend $1300 per month for a family of four. I know its crazy, but it includes sundries, and my kids are ravenous teens. And with a working wife, we buy quite alot of convenience foods.
About the same. Our budget is $1200 per month. But that also includes various personal care and other items that we buy at the grocery store. It does not include eating out once a week.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:41 AM   #11
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I spend about $235 a month on groceries alone for one. I eat plenty of veggies and fruit and a lot of fish, though mainly the cheaper types of frozen fish - wild-caught where possible. On average, I eat out once a week, though it's "cheap eats", as in $10 - $15 a meal. If I were to nix the eating out completely, it would only add $15 - $20/month to the grocery bill. About 2 bottles of wine a month, though it's only 2 buck Chuck (which is now $2.49 here).

Oh - plus about $95/month for food, litter and Feliway for 3 cats, though I know that wasn't part of the question!

This is in the SF Bay Area, for the sake of comparison.
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:58 AM   #12
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A couple of thoughts/comments -

1) We spend $80 a week on food alone for two people. We do not buy meat which is a significant cost saver. (We run marathons and bike centuries on a vegetarian diet, as do many fellow athletes we know. Meat is not a dietary necessity, particularly in today's increasingly sedentary world.) That breaks down to about $5.71 a day per person, which we could reduce by trading out more expensive choices (strawberries, blueberries, Brussel sprouts, arborio rice, gruyere cheese) for less expensive choices (bananas, apples, broccoli, brown rice, basic cheddar cheese) without sacrificing any nutritional value.

2) Concur that stereotyping most SNAP recipients as being overweight is inflammatory for purposes of this discussion. The current percentage of Americans considered to be overweight and/or obese is roughly 70%, the percentage of Americans receiving food stamps is roughly 11%. A lot of folk in this country are overweight, not just those that may be on food stamps.

3) Whining about a turkey sandwich being subpar as the mayor quoted in OP makes me nuts. I prefer salads for lunch, my my DH regularly enjoys a nutritious PB & low sugar J sandwich on wheat bread, along with an apple, grapes and a homemade cookie. And has energy to burn, as I mentioned earlier.

4) I would expect anyone on a tight budget, SNAP or no, to 'get' that cooking from scratch is therefore a necessity. I can make a pot of vegetarian spaghetti with sauce for two, with enough leftovers to feed us for two additional meals for less than $4.50. Adding salad and bread would add another $1 per meal. Multiply that times a weeks worth of meals, once the pantry has been stocked, and it is totally feasible. Is it feasible to 'cheat' and pick up pre-made foods on nights when one is too tired to cook? No, unfortunately it is probably not, but that is not a do or die issue IMHO. It just is what it is.

My $4.50 Vegetarian Spaghetti with sauce for six, plus $1 salad and bread for two, which I make all the time:

One jar of spaghetti sauce: .99 (One sale at this price in my area all the time)
One package of pasta: .99 (On sale at this price in my area all the time.)
One onion: .49
One bell pepper: .49
Four mushrooms: .75
One soy 'sausage' for added protein: .75
Lettuce and leftover vegetables above for salad: .25
One roma tomato to add to salad: .25
Dressing at 1.99 a bottle if not homemade: .25
2 slices of toasted, buttered bread: .25
Water for beverage: .0
Total: $1.25 per person, per meal
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:13 AM   #13
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Food only, no soaps, paper goods, or alcoholic beverages etc... probably about $350/month... for two persons.
That works out to about $12/day, and if broken down into meals, about $2/meal... IF-- we ate 3 meals a day, and IF-- we didn't eat out, about once a week, and IF-- we actually ate all three meals a day, which we don't always do.

In the past few years, after age 75, it seems like the appetite was less... and the "need" for meat dropped off even more... now, little red meat, and even poultry and fish has declined... portions less, and when a full meal is made, we always have leftovers...

A new phenomenom for us... we often pick and choose our own afternoon and evening meals... doing our own thing. The kitchen sometimes looks like a restaurant kitchen... with all kinds of pots, pans, and fighting for the microwave.

We shop (almost exclusively) at Aldi's as we like $2.00/gal. milk, $.99 eggs, $.99 pineapples and $.69 mushrooms, and my weakness, $.99/lb shank ham. A learned "gourmet" taste experience.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:02 AM   #14
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Excluding liquor, in 2013 I've averaged roughly $135/month for 1 person, shopping mostly at Aldi for most staples, and buying beef/chicken/pork on sale at the other grocery stores.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:10 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
Yours is an unfair stereotype. Most people in this country are overweight, regardless of whether they get SNAP.
Maybe not?

SNAP and Obesity: The Facts and Fictions of SNAP Nutrition | Snap To Health

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A 2010 study completed by the Harvard School of Public Health using the 2007 Adult California Health Interview Survey (which tracks Body Mass Index and obesity data among Californians) found that obesity rates among SNAP participants were 30% higher than among non-participants, when adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics, food insecurity, and participation in other programs.
Or then again, maybe?

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At the same time, there are numerous studies that have found a positive contribution of SNAP towards nutrition
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:23 AM   #16
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....
(Aren't most food stamp recipients overweight anyway?)
I don't know. Do you know most food stamp recipients? We try to count our blessings that we never needed assistance such as this.

I don't really track our grocery spending. With only two people even if we splurged every day it would not make that much difference percentagewise to our budget.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:36 AM   #17
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The last fews years this has been between $300 and $400 per month for two. It seems to be trending down but this may be due to me being more careful about pulling out other household items (e.g. tp).

We buy a little meat and wouldn't necessarily have it as the focal point of the meal (or even at every meal). We usually buy it at costco and find that stuff like the frozen salmon pieces are huge and will often split one.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:54 AM   #18
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We spend $1200 per month for family of 4, with 2 daughters 8 and 10. But I buy lunch most of the week days, which counts as eat out.

Splurge on food: FedEx lobster from Maine, crawfish delivered from Louisiana, and fresh catch from gulf.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:04 AM   #19
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Our main meal is lunch, which we eat at restaurants every day, and my groceries cover breakfast, possibly snacks, and a very light supper. I do not shop for low price at the grocery store. High quality, healthy food is a very high priority for me and helps in my weight loss efforts.

All that said, I don't separate out the non-food items from my grocery bill when I record it. Maybe I should! I buy a lot of non-food items at the grocery store, from detergent to deodorant and so on.

Anyway, last year my average grocery store spending was $210/month, so my guess is maybe $190/month? That would be $6.33/day not including lunch.

I am 65 and probably don't eat even half of what a younger, active person would need to eat. I wouldn't begrudge anybody a mere $4.83/day for SNAP. That is pretty minimal IMO and probably about right. If $4.83/day was all I had to spend on food, I would certainly be inspired to crank up my job search efforts.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:06 AM   #20
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We have 4 people at home, youngest is 17. Over the last 6 months spending for groceries and some non-food items (primarily paper towels and toilet paper) is $677 a month. We have made a concerted effort to get it down. Before that it was about $150 a month higher. The more we eat out, of course, the lower our costs are for in home food.

To spend $5 a day for 2 people is extremely low, particularly if you don't eat out often.

The USDA each month puts out the cost of food plans to eat a nutrition diet at 4 cost levels. This assumes that all meals and snacks are prepared at home.

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publication...oodSep2013.pdf

For a family of 2, aged 51-70, the monthly cost for the least expensive plan (thrifty) is $362.90. There is also a low cost plan, moderate cost and liberal plan. The highest is $698 a month.

So, if you are eating at $150 a month for 2 people and aren't eating out that would suggest that you are either getting food far cheaper than the USDA shows for a thrifty plan or you aren't buying food that meets the nutrition guidelines (or some combination thereof).

For our family, 2 adults and our 17 year old and 19 year old, the thrifty plan would be $677 a month. Our average grocery spending which is actually $677 a month does include some non-food items. However, we don't prepare all meals at home. DS is in college and usually eats lunch out (about $100-150 a month). The rest of us eat out a couple of times a week (about another $350 a month for dining out).

So if we just ate at home all the time we would probably be closer to the monthly low cost plan which for us would be $865 a month.
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