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Old 12-13-2009, 03:17 PM   #21
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I'm at about $250/mo for 1 person. That includes household items that I buy when I get groceries. That also includes the occasional fast food drive-thru. It does not include the rare occasion I go to a sit down restaurant with friends or family. That gets put into my entertainment section. Same with alcohol. If I buy it at the store for use at home then it's included with grocery costs. If I drink out someplace, it's entertainment expense.
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:04 PM   #22
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We're at around $320/month for 3 people (two adults, one teen). We eat very well. The key to getting it that low, as someone else said, is to review the sale ads for a couple different grocery stores (we have 2 close to us), and then shop both stores with your list of items to buy from each store (and coupons also, if they are available). I'd estimate that about 80-90% of the items that I buy each week are these sale items (a few things we like/need never seem to go on sale, but not many).

I also grow a big garden and we freeze/can garden produce, which helps. We also like wild game (very healthy for you also). I normally get 2 deer each year, which we butcher and wrap ourselves, which also helps cut down on the meat bill.
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:21 PM   #23
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Hubby and I have a budget of $250/month. Many months, we are well below that number. Hubby and I eat out only twice a month together. That is not included in the grocery budget. We have a "date night" budget of $100/month. This includes movies, dinners, or any other recreational thing we do (fairs, stock car races, wineries, museums, etc.)

We mainly shop at Aldi's, but get our meats from local grocery stores while items are on sale. For instance, I got steaks for $1.89/lb today at the grocery store. We got fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.79/lb. When they went on sale, we bought over 40 lbs and froze it.

We get our fruits/veggies at Aldi's. We go through alot of mushrooms, carrots, celery, apples and bananas in our house.

Lunches are either leftovers or sandwiches for us every day of the week.

We've found that we can make the foods we enjoy out at restaurants for alot less money than going out to eat. This goes for breakfast foods too. I love Egg McMuffins. We make them at home with egg whites and turkey-ham for alot less money than McD's.

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Old 12-13-2009, 05:30 PM   #24
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Keep the staples stocked up in the pantry when on sale here. Check the weekly ads and hit 2 or 3 stores in a month for specials. Cook many items in bulk and freeze. Bake fresh bread once or twice a week. Hit the produce stand twice a month. Rarely use coupons as I do not buy processed foods and they never have coupons for meat or produce. Use bleach or vinegar for cleaning along with a rag and some elbow grease. Take advantage of meat sales when they happen. Try to never run food down the garbage disposer. Monthly bill for 2 people plus 1 dog and 1 cat runs between $250 to $300 and this includes steak dinners weekly and prime rib a few times a year to fill out home made basics like soups and pizzas as well as anything else our heart desires. I could trim $25 to $50 off if it were essential, but it is not right now.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:33 PM   #25
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I have no idea how much we spend on "groceries" in a month. It would probably scare me if I knew. The biggest problem with groceries is having DW go to the store with me. You see, I'm a list maker and coupon shopper. I only cut out coupons for $.50 and up. Mostly stick with the dollar value stuff. I make a list as we go through the week and then when I go to the store I only go by the list and/or maybe the coupons. Throuble cones into play when DW goes along. She is the consumate shopper. She will go up and down every aisle looking for things to buy. This drives me nuts. Why is she looking at things we don't need? You should only buy the things needed and go back in a few days if you forgot something. Not her. When she is along we never get out for less than $80 and we're generally in the store a couple times a week. I hate "SHOPPING".
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:38 PM   #26
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It's kind of a meaningless number unless we know whether you eat lunches out or in the cafeteria at work, grab Starbucks many mornings, eat dinner out a lot or pick up pizza or fast food, etc. Many people can save a lot of money by increasing their grocery bill, i.e., eating at home or brown bagging your lunch. I try not to go too cheap on groceries because I'm already saving by eating at home and feel if I reward myself I'll keep doing it....
LOL, when I packed my own lunches for w*rk, Id choose favorites like Alaska King Crab..., ate out more cheaply most of the time. Now that Im retired, I do eat at home most of the time because my daily outings are about four hours instead of 10+. I try to overstock fresh fruits and vegetables and work around that. Todays brunch was leftover roasted root veggies with some leftover corn to which I added canned mushrooms, some scallops for the main item, diet coke and coffee. Dessert was leftover apple and cherry pies a la mode. (Its SOs birthday week.)

After 16 months of RE, Ive decided to spend more on groceries up front in order to have enough good healthy stuff stocked. The blender drinks made from fruits would shock me if I figured the cost. OTOH, I make slow cooked or blender soups that are very inexpensive. I plan to have the supermarket deliver twice a month until there is more stock on hand and for emergencies. I do look at everything the on-line store has on sale, stock up on stuff I use, and take advantage of free or reduced fee delivery offers.

OP, $400/month sounds really low. I have no idea what I spend on the grocery category, right now Im just looking at the bottom line which is way under 4% of PF this year.
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:45 PM   #27
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About $500 for two in Alaska. No Costcos, Wincos, or Walmarts in this town.

It requires careful shopping, but we do ok. Whenever we are in the "big city" (Whitehorse or Juneau), we stock up. Liquor is in a separate catogery.
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:50 PM   #28
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Sorry, a tip for those who shop at Kroger's: One of the threads here a month ago had a horror story about packaged meat, E.Coli, reluctance to do inspections, etc. The bottom line is that the meat sitting in the butcher's case could have come from Uruguay or just about anywhere else, and the hamburger was especially a problem as some of the factories mix meat from all over the world to get the cheapest product with the labeled fat content. I asked the butcher at Kroger if there was a way to tell which hamburger was ground up in the store, and there is: All the pre-packaged "chubs" come from a factory. The stuff in styrofoam trays with a blue/colored store label came from a central plant, and it might have been made of various things from various places. The styrofoam tray packages with a simple black-and-white Kroger logo are ground and packed right in the store from identifiable cuts of meat from of an actual cow. This is what I now buy when I get ground beef.

This is not a professional opinion, I'm just reporting what I was told by one butcher. Others stores miight be different, but if this kind of thing is of interest to you it only takes a second to ask the guy/gal at the meat counter.

Back to our regularly-scheduled discussion of grocery cost-cutting . . .
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:09 AM   #29
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Well, I won't teach anyone how to save on groceries because we spend almost $700 a month for 2 people. That includes paper products, cleaning supplies and alcoholic beverages but not dining out, which we do very rarely (no Starbucks, brown bag lunches). It's not that we buy large quantities, but we definitely favor quality. We buy mostly organic or wholesome ingredients and cook everything from scratch. We rarely purchase processed or prepared food. Admittedly, groceries is the only expense in our budget for which we allow ourselves to spend freely. So we could certainly cut down on our grocery bill if we had to.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:41 AM   #30
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Well, I won't teach anyone how to save on groceries because we spend almost $700 a month for 2 people. That includes paper products, cleaning supplies and alcoholic beverages but not dining out, which we do very rarely (no Starbucks, brown bag lunches). It's not that we buy large quantities, but we definitely favor quality. We buy mostly organic or wholesome ingredients and cook everything from scratch. We rarely purchase processed or prepared food. Admittedly, groceries is the only expense in our budget for which we allow ourselves to spend freely. So we could certainly cut down on our grocery bill if we had to.
IMHO, it's good to have a category you could easily cut down. I don't have a category like that anymore however.. Cutting down on cable, using less heat and such would be much more painful.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:07 AM   #31
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I am not into coupon-cutting or stuff like that. But, the most expensive item I often buy, boneless chicken for cutlets, is the one whose price varies the most. That is, it can cost $6 a pound one week and $3 a pound the next week. It is often on sale for the lower price so I load up on it when it is priced low, even if I have to rearrange the inside of my freezer to store the packages I don't buy. It last for months, if not longer, when frozen, so I can save $20 per shopping visit if I buy it when it is priced low versus high.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:43 AM   #32
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The BEST cost cutting advice I can give is: NEVER go to the grocery store without going thru the sale ads--most are found on the internet--and then not veering from your list.
And NEVER go to the grocery store hungry or you'll find you spend more than you normally would.

...and a garden is really a money saver!
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:06 PM   #33
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Thanks everyone I don't fell so bad now.
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:16 PM   #34
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I just started tracking my expenses so unsure exactly how much I spend. I do eat a lot of frozen meals (lean cuisine, healthy choice, etc).

But, if you or anyone else qualifies to shop at a military commissary, you should check it out. Meat, frozen foods and dairy are especially cheap. Most other stuff is at Wal-Mart level or less too.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:12 PM   #35
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When the goin' gets tough, the tough cuts back on DW's booze
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:00 AM   #36
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...The biggest problem with groceries is having DW go to the store with me. You see, I'm a list maker and coupon shopper. I only cut out coupons for $.50 and up. Mostly stick with the dollar value stuff. I make a list as we go through the week and then when I go to the store I only go by the list and/or maybe the coupons. Throuble cones into play when DW goes along. She is the consumate shopper. She will go up and down every aisle looking for things to buy. This drives me nuts. Why is she looking at things we don't need? You should only buy the things needed and go back in a few days if you forgot something. Not her. When she is along we never get out for less than $80 and we're generally in the store a couple times a week. I hate "SHOPPING".
DW never told me she had a twin sister....
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:26 AM   #37
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I started buying produce at local produce stores instead of buying them at supermarkets. Vegetables and fruit are really expensive at supermarkets although a couple of items may be on sale, but their sale prices are still higher than at my local produce stores.
I found this. Much of the fruit is 0.99/lb (1.99 at Acme) and tomatoes are 0.69 (vs 1.69+ at Acme). This particular produce market does have stuff "closer to expiration" than Acme - so you can't over-buy.

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Throuble cones into play when DW goes along. She is the consumate shopper. She will go up and down every aisle looking for things to buy. This drives me nuts. Why is she looking at things we don't need? You should only buy the things needed and go back in a few days if you forgot something. Not her. When she is along we never get out for less than $80 and we're generally in the store a couple times a week. I hate "SHOPPING".
Wow. Same here. This produce market - when I go, it's always $20-$30 max. Somehow every time my wife goes, it is $80.

Yet we seem to need to go back at the same frequency whether I shopped last or she did.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:44 AM   #38
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When the goin' gets tough, the tough cuts back on DW's booze
Careful; this could have unintended consequences...
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:31 AM   #39
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LIke Megcrispin we go to Aldi's, where we buy almost all our groceries; for food items only, for two people, that we eat at home, that is less than $200 a month. We might spend another $50 at a little ethnic grocery that has great produce (and whole skinned goats, too, if anyone's interested). We could easily live on that amount of food but we do eat out maybe twice or three times a month and that costs whatever it costs, whether fast food or four-star foo foo place.

We usually buy non-food items--shampoo, detergents, paper goods, etc.--at Target when they are on sale; we don't go through them very fast.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:34 PM   #40
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Slightly off topic, but I feed a lot of sunflower seeds to the birds, which I had been buying at the grocery store. I discovered that the hardware store had 40# bags for about the same price as the grocery's 20# bags. The farm supply is even cheaper, though it is a bit of a drive for me.
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