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pleased with food budget
Old 01-27-2013, 10:44 AM   #1
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pleased with food budget

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??
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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Wow, that's great, Palomalou! Good luck with this endeavor.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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You have to have a basis for comparison. For a family of 10, your food budget is amazing, for a single person, not so much.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
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I have a similar effect when I started shopping at Costco. Several Aldi shoppers weighed in with their personal "Aldi Effect":
My personal Costco Effect
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:16 PM   #5
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Bondi, we are a couple. There are a few things my husband particularly likes that are expensive, such as a certain brand of mixed nuts, that I will continue to buy. I know we're not cut to the bone, but it's a good step in the right direction.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:20 PM   #6
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Bondi, we are a couple. There are a few things my husband particularly likes that are expensive, such as a certain brand of mixed nuts, that I will continue to buy. I know we're not cut to the bone, but it's a good step in the right direction.
For 2 people, you are doing quite alright. I recently got to shop at Aldi, it does have some good prices.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:06 PM   #7
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These Aldis must vary quite a bit. I've stopped in ours three times, walked out with nothing. DW did the same on another trip.

As we drive into town, we have the two big local Chicago area grocery stores, and a Trader Joes, and Costco. Plus, the Walmart and Target added produce/grocery recently. Those are all on 'the main drag', I don't even have to go out of my way to hit all of them.

And a few Supermercados nearby as well. I can go a bit further to a Whole Foods, Fresh Market, World Market, Joe Caputos (large local grocery with a Hispanic focus), and then a bit of a drive to a very large Asian market.

Aldis pales in comparison, and I didn't notice the prices to be any better.

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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I am on a mission to lower our food budget too. I should really give Traders Joe and Costco another look, but I would have to drive there and deal with parking. Right now I am just trying to shop for sales at two grocery stores that are within walking distance.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:23 PM   #9
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Excellent progress, congrats! You must have been living pretty high on the hog (pun intended) when you were averaging $771/month.

We eat very well at $495/mo, but our spending mistakes in other categories (home & auto insurance ) have been documented earlier. We also know how good it feels to reduce spending.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:03 PM   #10
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$469 is a great number for 2. Our weekly trip to Walmart is always between $90 and $110. DW has a little bit at Jewel too, so we're close to $500 a month.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:25 PM   #11
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To tell the truth, perhaps it's because my wife always shops carefully, but we never really look at grocery expenses. It was not until I tracked expenses with Quicken that I knew how much we spent ($6626 for last 12 months, including sundry household and pet supplies).

But now, looking at other people's expenses, it validates my expectation; that is we are already at the "Efficient Frontier" when it comes to food, and there is no reason to change anything.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
These Aldis must vary quite a bit. I've stopped in ours three times, walked out with nothing. DW did the same on another trip.

As we drive into town, we have the two big local Chicago area grocery stores, and a Trader Joes, and Costco. Plus, the Walmart and Target added produce/grocery recently. Those are all on 'the main drag', I don't even have to go out of my way to hit all of them.

And a few Supermercados nearby as well. I can go a bit further to a Whole Foods, Fresh Market, World Market, Joe Caputos (large local grocery with a Hispanic focus), and then a bit of a drive to a very large Asian market.

Aldis pales in comparison, and I didn't notice the prices to be any better.

-ERD50
This must depend on which Caputo's you live near. Ours has a European focus with some Hispanic and some Asian features. I like Caputo's for Deli and produce. None of the major chains or Aldi's comes even close for variety, quality or price in these areas.

I agree with you on Aldi's. They're OK and I've ventured in a number of times. But with over a dozen large grocercies nearby and many dozen specialty shops, by spending a little time and gasoline running from place to place I can always do better than single store shopping, including Aldi's, Costco, Walmart or Sam's, etc. Of course, I've lived here for decades and know the stores well.......
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:02 PM   #13
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Funny you should mention this. We met with a financial planner last fall, and she mentioned that our grocery budget seemed high for 2 people, particularly when you factored in our dining-out budget.

We decided to get through the holidays, and then in January we'd tackle it.

Interestingly enough, the grocery store we frequent also has an on-site gas station, and if you spent over $100, you got 25 cents off per gallon when you filled up. However, they ended that promo on 1/1/13.

Since January 1, I haven't spent over $100 yet. Not sure if it's because I'm really cutting back, or I'm not feeling the need to top the $100 mark, but in any event we've done really, really well this month.

We're using lots more Groupons to eat out, or actually finishing off leftovers rather than going out.

So far, no one has died from this little experiment so we plan to continue it into February.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:37 PM   #15
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Funny you should mention this. We met with a financial planner last fall, and she mentioned that our grocery budget seemed high for 2 people, particularly when you factored in our dining-out budget.

We decided to get through the holidays, and then in January we'd tackle it.

Interestingly enough, the grocery store we frequent also has an on-site gas station, and if you spent over $100, you got 25 cents off per gallon when you filled up. However, they ended that promo on 1/1/13.

Since January 1, I haven't spent over $100 yet. Not sure if it's because I'm really cutting back, or I'm not feeling the need to top the $100 mark, but in any event we've done really, really well this month.

We're using lots more Groupons to eat out, or actually finishing off leftovers rather than going out.

So far, no one has died from this little experiment so we plan to continue it into February.
Good golly--$100? How skinny ARE you?
Seriously, I'm amazed.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:47 PM   #16
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We live in the NYC metro area so food is a bit more pricey. My wife and I avg about 550 - 600 a month but that excludes our lunches but does include eating out at fancy places a few times a year. Would love to lower the bull but the trade off is to cook more often, which I am putting off for now.

We love Aldi and Costo even though they are smaller here relative to the ones in NJ. Aldi prices are real good and most of the stuff taste the same as the name brands.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:56 PM   #17
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This must depend on which Caputo's you live near. Ours has a European focus with some Hispanic and some Asian features. I like Caputo's for Deli and produce. None of the major chains or Aldi's comes even close for variety, quality or price in these areas.

I agree with you on Aldi's. They're OK and I've ventured in a number of times. But with over a dozen large groceries nearby and many dozen specialty shops, by spending a little time and gasoline running from place to place I can always do better than single store shopping, including Aldi's, Costco, Walmart or Sam's, etc. Of course, I've lived here for decades and know the stores well.......
That could be the same for our Caputo's - my visits there have been far and few between as there are so many alternatives closer, the Hispanic section is what I remembered, but I guess there was European/Asian as well. But if it were closer it would be high on our list, based on what I recall.

Regarding other posts here, I don't have a good idea what we spend on food. Much of our shopping is at Costco, and we pick up paper goods, sometimes wine and/or beer if they have something interesting, cleaning supplies, maybe office supplies, and even things like TVs and other electronics.

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
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:33 AM   #18
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Groceries is one of our biggest expenses for a few reasons. We live in a higher COL area. We don't eat cheap staples like rice, bread, pasta. We try to buy mostly organic/grass-fed/pastured meat. We don't buy any processed food (essentially nothing in a box). It makes for a higher baseline bill to begin with, unfortunately. Mint.com tells us that our average over the last year is $727/mo for the last year (2 adults, 1 9mo old). To be fair, sometimes we eat lunch at the grocery store food bar, which contributes slightly to the average. It's still a bit disheartening when I read about people cutting back.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:02 AM   #19
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We live in the NYC metro area so food is a bit more pricey. My wife and I avg about 550 - 600 a month but that excludes our lunches but does include eating out at fancy places a few times a year. Would love to lower the bull but the trade off is to cook more often, which I am putting off for now.

We love Aldi and Costo even though they are smaller here relative to the ones in NJ. Aldi prices are real good and most of the stuff taste the same as the name brands.
One reason I'm trying to lower food now is that we don't eat out. Anticipate eating out much more when we move back to NYC, so if I can have a lower cooking at home (which I love to do), that can help.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:06 AM   #20
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Groceries is one of our biggest expenses for a few reasons. We live in a higher COL area. We don't eat cheap staples like rice, bread, pasta. We try to buy mostly organic/grass-fed/pastured meat. We don't buy any processed food (essentially nothing in a box). It makes for a higher baseline bill to begin with, unfortunately. Mint.com tells us that our average over the last year is $727/mo for the last year (2 adults, 1 9mo old). To be fair, sometimes we eat lunch at the grocery store food bar, which contributes slightly to the average. It's still a bit disheartening when I read about people cutting back.
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.
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