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Old 01-28-2013, 08:10 AM   #21
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We don't try to minimize our grocery budget, because what we eat is a big contributor to our health, and we don't compromise on quality. So don't feel bad about spending (investing) money in an area so important to your well-being.
What she said.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:22 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
We don't try to minimize our grocery budget, because what we eat is a big contributor to our health, and we don't compromise on quality. So don't feel bad about spending (investing) money in an area so important to your well-being.
Thanks for that. I mean, that is how we generally feel about it. But, being our largest non-mortgage expense, it's hard to ignore
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:33 AM   #23
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We have not cooked since early December as a kitchen remodel etc. is in progress (backsplash grouting in on for today). Once that is done we expect our grocery bills to soar beyond the pre-remodel, from both filling the pantry and using our new toys. We shop a lot at Aldi's for most staples and at nearby Whole Foods for all meat and foo-foo stuff, and then we hit the little ethnic stores for almost all the produce and fun stuff. Not a big fan of Trader Joe's although the salt caramel brownies DD picks up there could sway me .

Around the time DH retired in mid 2008 we went on a crazy shoestring budget that fall for about 6 months just to see how skinny we could make it. I know groceries were well under $300/month but it was a worrisome time so we were happy to see what we could do (same time we dialed down to 66 degrees daytime, 60 night).

After 6 months we were miserable and knew we were okay, so we threw the shoestring away and have done okay with just buying whatever we want or think we need and returning to not-the-cheapest-on-the-shelf products (a 68 thermostat setting now feels tropical, however).

ETA I think the OP's $469 is great and is not a deprivation level. Well done!
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:49 AM   #24
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I am so pleased: I brought our food budget in this month at $469. For a reference point, January 2005 was $771. In 2005 I wasn't just buying everything--I'd buy store brands, avoid steak and scallops (both of which we do love!). All hail to Aldi!
Wonder how much lower I can go??

Mentioned your success to DW, she and I are very impressed. good job! We cannot seem to break the $700 barrier but you've motivated us to try harder.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:37 AM   #25
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i've been tracking our food budget, which includes restaurants. Last year was $343/month. The previous 3 years averaged $312/month: Evidence that there is inflation going on in food.
+1,000,000!!!!!
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:47 AM   #26
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I am so pleased: I brought our food budget in this month at $469. For a reference point, January 2005 was $771. In 2005 I wasn't just buying everything--I'd buy store brands, avoid steak and scallops (both of which we do love!). All hail to Aldi!
Wonder how much lower I can go??
Congratulations! I have a couple of questions: is this food budget for 2 persons? Is it only for home cooked meals? How often do you eat out? Do you have pets? Does it include pet food also?

Thank you for sharing.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:03 PM   #27
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We don't try to minimize our grocery budget, because what we eat is a big contributor to our health, and we don't compromise on quality. So don't feel bad about spending (investing) money in an area so important to your well-being.
That is how I see things as well.

Food is also a source of pleasure for us. That alone makes it a worthy expenditure.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:18 PM   #28
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My grocery bills for January so far add up to $141. That includes cleaning products, toilet paper, etc. It also includes organic meat and vegetables. I hosted one dinner party, which turned out very economical because the leftovers lasted several days. And I only ate out twice, for a total cost of $39. So let's say $180 in total. I need to buy coffee, fruit and milk today, so let's estimate $200 for the month. Bills do not include wine, which is not sold in grocery stores here.

I have never calculated food bills in the past but estimate that I would have spent as much or more at the grocery store while working. The difference is that I would have bought more processed food and thrown out a lot more wilted vegetables and mouldy cheese. I would also have eaten lunch out most days and eaten dinner out more frequently because I was too tired to cook at the end of the day.

I am finding that home cooking is both cheaper and more satisfying in ER and probably healthier too.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:24 PM   #29
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Wife and I spend $800 to $900 a month on food including restaurant meals two or three times a week. We are trying to cook more and more at home with lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, salads, and little or no fat and salt. We figure treating food as our medicine will wind up saving us money down the road on doctors, pus we'll enjoy retirement more is we are healthier. Neverthess, it's nice to know that we several hundred dollars to play with if we reduced our restaurant eating, and cooked even more from scratch.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by palomalou View Post
I am so pleased: I brought our food budget in this month at $469. For a reference point, January 2005 was $771. In 2005 I wasn't just buying everything--I'd buy store brands, avoid steak and scallops (both of which we do love!). All hail to Aldi!
Wonder how much lower I can go??
Do you need to go lower?

We don't have an Aldi here, but planning meals around seasonal items or those on sales seems to be helping - as are Costco & Sprouts.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:42 PM   #31
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I averaged $254 per month (single) last year for groceries. This includes all things I buy at the grocery store not just food (cleaning supplies, detergent, etc....). It does not include eating out which I track under "Entertainment". If I included eating out it would about $100/month more.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:44 PM   #32
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I really cannot estimate my monthly grocery costs, because our shopping habits are both seasonal (pre-winter stockup) and impromptu (Mr B gets a hot tip about a good sale on meat).

Aldi's is our primary shopping destination for periodic purchases. We will occasionally take a trip to a larger town 35 miles away to take advantage of sales like the most recent mission to buy full racks of pork ribs for $1.99/lb. I buy my specialty cheeses and canned goods at a wholesale-retail combo food store, single-site and privately owned. It services local small restaurants but allows the public to buy also.

I know I could tally up the yearly grocery bill from my monthly credit card statements but...I spent my entire career chasing numbers, so I am taking the lazy route.

I am, after all, FIREd.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:55 PM   #33
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Good golly--$100? How skinny ARE you?
Seriously, I'm amazed.
Ack, should have clarified: I haven't spent over $100 PER WEEK yet in January. And we were easily approaching $150 a week before that.

Sorry, didn't mean to scare you.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:20 PM   #34
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My food bill is very low. I eat sometimes at the clinic (when drug reps bring food) or I get a quick salad. I guess my monthly food bill is about $100-$300.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:34 PM   #35
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Retire, I love your picture! No pets, and we hardly eat out. Not once this month. When we move eating out and food budget will be separate line items, but the bottom line is affected either way. Where we are, there's only every chain restaurant you could name to choose from, and it's easy to eat at home when I can do twice as tasty, twice as healthy, for way more than 50% less. I also really enjoy cooking, so it is not a penance.
Sumday, happy to hear that is per week!
Walkinwood, we don't need to go lower, but when we look at our retirement budget, something spouse says is that we could trim back in case of a lengthy economic plunge, which led me to think, "Hmm...can we?"
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:12 AM   #36
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I'm just starting to track expenses carefully. My grocery bill (I'm single and live alone) came to $159.00. this January. That includes paper/cleaning products. I have a separate budget line for personal care items (shampoo, etc), cat food, and eating out. Eating inexpensive things like oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, an egg for lunch, etc. goes a long way--as does shopping at Aldi. I'm eating better now that I'm budgeting carefully.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:16 AM   #37
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To know our food expense, I'd need to go line-by-line on each and every receipt. Then what? We try to balance frugal and a few 'luxuries we can afford' - I really can't imagine that seeing the actual $$$ number would change our buying habits. Would we skip the occasional Rib-Eye if it was a 'high' number (and what's 'high'?)? Would we buy Rib Eye more often than we do if it was a 'low' number? Why" We have Rib Eye as often as we really feel like it. We stay within our overall budget (I just add up monthly withdraws from the two accounts we spend from). Good enough for me.

-ERD50
About the way I feel, for now anyways. If circumstances change, requiring a closer (i.e. more detailed) look at the budget, I'll deal with it then, but for now, for us, DW and I are OK with knowing that we're conscious of the "healthfulness" of what we eat, and we know how to shop for deals.
Of course, I do make a distinction between food shopping and dining out. Dining out is "entertainment" for us, and that we do track.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:06 AM   #38
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Dining in is entertainment to us too, now that we are retired and have the time to cook some awesome meals.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:46 PM   #39
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Dining out is therapy for me. Every Sunday before church we drop the kids at bible school and go to breakfast. We get to relax and enjoy coffee and a meal together. It is by far the best $20 a week to come out of our budget.
So I guess you retired folks experience this everyday?

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:04 PM   #40
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Many of us take pleasure in making our own meals, and trying different dishes now that we have the time, just like the post above yours indicates.

See this long-running thread: What Did You Eat Today?.

Occasionally, a home-cooking thread like this pops up: Cooking questions.
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