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Lumber Baron
06-01-2010, 08:55 PM
This was easy in college: I spent $7.50 a day by eating at the all-you-can-eat cafeteria for $10 every other day and having a Subway foot-long on the days in between. This was supplemented by the breakfast bars I got from home.

Now that I have a spouse and the luxury of an actual kitchen and refrigerator, the possibilities are greater, but the pitfalls more numerous. ViolentVixen and I have settled on a goal of $400 a month (≈$13 a day) and we're having trouble. We were spending around $550 a month earlier in the year, though to be fair we were going on road trips to LA every month and hosting weddings. In May we managed to spend $350, but a lot of that was due to unusual circumstances we'd rather avoid in the future.

We eat out around 3 times a month, which I feel or hope is reasonable, and then almost always with a coupon or gift card or something. We hardly ever buy meat for home cooking either, which might change once grilling weather decides to show up. Costco's been a big help, though there's only so much you can rely on them for. I also have a feeling food prices here are a bit wonky considering Trader Joe's is the cheapest grocery store in town outside of Food4Less.

So what's the food budget situation for you Tyrants?

DemoWeasel
06-01-2010, 08:57 PM
I could live for a week with $20 during this past year of college.

boot101
06-01-2010, 09:09 PM
Between me, the wife, and our two daughters we spend about $400 or so a month. But this is buying cheap food, not always the most nutritious stuff. We have the added benefit of being military and shopping at the Commissary, which is, on average, cheaper than any local grocery stores.

Food is expensive stuff!

Sarcasmorator
06-01-2010, 09:50 PM
We spend a lot on food; we should eat cheaper, and our overall bill has gone down a lot since we started cutting way back on restaurants and packing lunches, but it's still higher than I'd prefer, around $900 in May. It's a little hard to figure because that amount includes non-food purchases at the grocery store, which last month totaled quite a bit. But we probably average about $20/day on food.

Rosencrantz
06-01-2010, 09:56 PM
Cat and I usually spend $60-70 per week on groceries. We like eating out, but we've been avoiding doing that for a while because money has been tight. Fortunately, Cat's grandparents like to treat us to dinner out every so often.

Falselogic
06-01-2010, 10:00 PM
Mrs. Falselogic and I budget $100 a week for groceries and $150 a month for discretionary foods (drinks, dinner out, lunches, snacks, etc.) We keep to the list by planning our meals, making a grocery list. Left-overs serves as lunches the next day.

As long as we don't eat meat everyday of the week or buy booze every week we stay under budget and always seem to have plenty of food lying around.

Balrog
06-01-2010, 10:13 PM
We spend about $125 a week on groceries for us and the two kids (both still in diapers, DAMN). I think we spend $60 a week for going out to eat and doing stuff. We also have money budgeted out for buying crap which also includes going out to lunch during the workweek. I probably average $10 a week with that.

NevznachaY
06-01-2010, 11:21 PM
Too much.

Mightyblue
06-01-2010, 11:33 PM
Somewhere around ~$75/week for me. Most of that is eating out (well, eating from the store's deli most of the time) actually, although it does run cheaper when I actually buy stuff to cook so I can make enough food for two or three meals at once. Lots of stir fries and other cheap and easy things with hamburger, mostly.

Marfy
06-02-2010, 01:05 AM
I spend about 20 pounds/$30 a week. That's just on fresh vegetables, fruit and yogurt, pretty much. Every so often I'll drop about 30 pounds on replenishing my supply of frozen veggies, pasta/couscous and so on.

Olli T
06-02-2010, 01:43 AM
I don't keep track, but being a guy who likes to eat well while trying to stay healthy and ecological is not cheap.

mablem8
06-02-2010, 06:34 AM
Now days I spend between $100 and $120 a week on foodstuffs. A lot of that is spent on fresh meats. I don't eat out more than once a week, and when I do it's often when someone else is buying. Same as Olli T, I've noticed that eating healthy and ecological is not cheap. It doesn't help that I don't have the patience to deal hunt. If I'm handed a coupon for something I usually buy I'll use it, and I'll choose the cheapest type of salmon when there are options, but I don't shuffle through the Sunday papers for discounts or store hop in search of price drops.

Ethan
06-02-2010, 06:56 AM
Too much.

This.

But on the other hand, how much money is too much money to spend on the gustatory good life? I make it a priority.

Paul le Fou
06-02-2010, 07:32 AM
I'm pretty frugal with most things, but my friend made a good point: eating is one of those things that you should have no excuse not to enjoy. That doesn't mean splurge like crazy on groceries. I guess it means "splurge a little" though.

Going out for indian food and sushi are too much for my poor weak self to give up D:

djSyndrome
06-02-2010, 07:49 AM
When we had our own place it was about $800/mo. for the four of us, but that included eating out once a week and buying groceries at Whole Foods.

Now that we're staying at the in-laws and eating dinner with them most nights it's dropped considerably, but then again so has the quality of our meals :\

Violentvixen
06-02-2010, 08:01 AM
For the record I spent <$200 a month before Lumber was up here, including dog food and toiletries. But this is because my grocery list every week consisted of: milk, protein bars, lettuce, chicken, coffee, juice.

But on the other hand, how much money is too much money to spend on the gustatory good life? I make it a priority.

This is very true. We don't really go out to movies, splurges really are just good food for us. We just had no idea if we were trying to set a reasonable goal.

We only started separating out bathroom/cleaning and dog stuff recently, the dog stuff is about $100 a month, bathroom stuff seems to vary quite a bit.

When we had our own place it was about $800/mo. for the four of us, but that included eating out once a week and buying groceries at Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is crazy expensive here, everyone at work calls it Whole Income.

taosterman
06-02-2010, 09:09 AM
We average about $100/w on groceries, but I'm bad about remembering to make myself a packed lunch, and we still eat out too often (granted, sometimes it's only for a $5 burrito), and sometimes we'll get hit with a burst of cooking inspiration that results in running to the store and buying another $20 worth. So, uh, I try not to think about it, but I still manage to save a decent amount.

The-Bavis
06-02-2010, 09:38 AM
We shaved some money off of our grocery bills by doing thegrocerygame.com... If you don't already get a newspaper, I don't know how cost effective that would be. You can get real serious about using this system and spend a lot less, but it will take a lot of time. We normally shop at target, but our grocery game stuff is at Albertsons, so we go there to buy whatever is a good deal that we will actually use/eat. This probably shaved $20-$30 off of our weekly grocery bill which probably averaged around $150, but was creeping up.

Calorie Mate
06-02-2010, 11:16 AM
We spend a lot on food; we should eat cheaper, and our overall bill has gone down a lot since we started cutting way back on restaurants and packing lunches, but it's still higher than I'd prefer, around $900 in May. It's a little hard to figure because that amount includes non-food purchases at the grocery store, which last month totaled quite a bit. But we probably average about $20/day on food.

I don't keep track, but being a guy who likes to eat well while trying to stay healthy and ecological is not cheap.

I'm pretty frugal with most things, but my friend made a good point: eating is one of those things that you should have no excuse not to enjoy. That doesn't mean splurge like crazy on groceries. I guess it means "splurge a little" though.

Going out for indian food and sushi are too much for my poor weak self to give up D:

This all sounds about right. But then, I'm fine with food taking up more of my income; eating out with friends is what I like to do with them. I'm perfectly happy meeting up, having a good meal, and then hanging out playing boardgames or watching movies. A little less money on entertainment in exchange for a little more on good food.

Still, it always seems like it's not that much more to eat out than to cook. You need to buy plenty of ingredients to cook, whereas my girlfriend and I can get good burritos for like $6-7 each.

Dadgum Roi
06-02-2010, 11:20 AM
Still, it always seems like it's not that much more to eat out than to cook. You need to buy plenty of ingredients to cook, whereas my girlfriend and I can get good burritos for like $6-7 each.

Yeah. Cooking is one of those things where economies of scale are important. It's cheaper to cook for an entire family than to eat out, but it's often equally or less expensive for one or two people to eat out, instead of cooking.

Dizzy
06-02-2010, 12:38 PM
Moneyless man reveals how to live a cashless life without starving (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jun/02/mark-boyle-moneyless-man-food-for-free)

When I began living without money 18 months ago, the most common question people asked me was "How on earth are you going to eat?". An understandable remark, but an insight into the burgeoning degrees of separation between the stomach and the soil.

For most of us, food comes in plastic packets from the supermarket. A friend, who runs tours of an organic farm for school children, gives much anecdotal evidence of this. One week, while pointing to a rosemary bush, he asked the kids if anyone knew what it was. After 20 seconds, one 12-year-old raised his hand and proclaimed it to be "corned beef". Worse still, none of the others laughed.

The answer to this FAQ is in the query itself I eat from the earth. Food is free, and indiscriminately so. The apple tree doesn't ask if you've got enough cash when you go to pick its fruit; it just gives to whoever wants an apple. We are the only species, out of millions on the planet, that is deluded enough to think that it needs money to eat. And what's worse, I often observe people walking straight past free food on their way to buy it from all over the world via the supermarket.

There are four legs to the money-free food table. The most exciting, and my favourite, is foraging, which originally meant to wander in search of food and provisions, but is used these days to describe the act of picking and eating wild foods. Although this can take a lifetime to learn, anyone can start today. I'd recommend picking up a pocket-sized book called Food for Free by Richard Mabey (sourced for free via Read It Swap It) or perhaps taking a weekend course with people such as the BBC's "roadkill chef" Fergus the Forager, before hitting the hedgerows.

At the moment look out for giant puffballs, bristly ox-tongue and rocket, the latter often found in the cracks between walls and paths in cities. If you need any more excuse to hit the coast, now is the perfect time to collect seaweed. The real beauty of wild food is not only that it's highly nutritious and ecologically sound, but that picking it is also a fantastic excuse to go adventuring with friends.

Great Britain has been tamed, so its remaining wilds could no longer feed its population. This makes the next leg growing your own food crucial, both in terms of tackling climate change and rebuilding a resilient local food network. Whether it be on your kitchen windowsill, in your back garden, or on the allotment, start with whatever you can manage. Choose crops you love eating and if you are time poor, choose varieties that require little work. Not only will you reduce your food miles and packaging, you'll also get to eat food that tastes of your own sweat, a flavour no spice can match.

Growing and foraging all your calorific needs is a huge task, especially without fossil fuel inputs such as fertiliser. This is where the third leg comes in: bartering. Bartering can either be an exchange of food, especially in the summer when many people have gluts of one crop or another, or an exchange of skills for food you can't get elsewhere without money. In many ways barter is just an awkward form of money and lacks the deeper benefits of doing something completely for free (such as you do with close family and friends), and it brings up the age old problem of "the double coincidence of wants", where both parties have to have something the other desires. But it has got huge benefits. Not only does it localise the economy, it helps build bonds between neighbours, leading eventually to communities that are more resilient to external shocks; societies where friendships, not cash, are seen as security.

The fourth leg of the food-for-free table is waste food. Skipping jumping into skips is one form of this, but I prefer to build relationships with small businesses that throw perfectly good grub away, either because of insanely rigid laws or their own quality standards. By choosing this method, you save yourself the task of looking through a bin and you get to build a relationship with another local who, in almost all cases, feels terrible about chucking out edible food (one third of all food in UK is wasted) at a time when one half of the world's population goes hungry. Whilst I don't tend to eat much waste food myself it makes up roughly 5% of my diet I do go skipping regularly. It's a lot of fun and I distribute the harvest to those who need it. Using waste food is far from ideal, as it is hardly building a sustainable model that the rest of the population could replicate. But while we continue to fly food from all over the world just to make it into a UK skip, I feel our first obligation, to both the farmer and the hungry, is to get it out of bins and into bellies.

So Milton Friedman if the Guardian is available online beyond the grave I hate to break it to you, but there is such a thing as a free lunch.

Mark Boyle is the founder of the Freeconomy Community and has lived moneyless for the last 18 months. His book, The Moneyless Man, is out now, published by Oneworld - sales from the book will go to a charitable trust for the Freeconomy Community

Willm
06-02-2010, 12:42 PM
This all sounds about right. But then, I'm fine with food taking up more of my income; eating out with friends is what I like to do with them. I'm perfectly happy meeting up, having a good meal, and then hanging out playing boardgames or watching movies. A little less money on entertainment in exchange for a little more on good food.

Exactly. I remember listening to a story from Colin Cowherd (a sports radio guy) about how much people spend on eating out a year. He was initially shocked to find that some people spend upwards of $15,000 a year eating out, but then realized that he spends the same. While I definitely don't spend that much, it is in that neighborhood. And frankly, I don't mind doing that. My tradeoff is that I spend very little on groceries (I tend to buy the supplies I need for a specific meal, one meal at a time).

Lady
06-02-2010, 01:42 PM
For groceries, I've been averaging between $40-$60 a week. I don't want to think about dining out *_*

mint.com says it's between 200-300/mo for the last few months, but that should be cut drastically for the summer. dorm living -.-;

gamin
06-02-2010, 01:58 PM
Back when I lived by myself and never ate out, I could stay within >$100 a month on food. That's a diet consisting mostly of pasta, chili, lentil soup, eggs, peanut butter, grilled cheese sandwiches, ramen, fried rice and frozen chicken. Generally, when added up I would max out at around $3-$4 a day on food. Basically, my budgeting boils down to this one fact: what I eat day-to-day is generally unimportant to me, and only concerns me in terms of quelling my hunger and satisfying basic nutrition.

I would still be around that level today, except now that I pay less for rent, I have more money to go out to eat these days. I like spending money to go out and actually enjoy food on occasion, so I've been doing that. Now I'm probably spending $200-$300 a month?

mablem8
06-02-2010, 03:30 PM
But on the other hand, how much money is too much money to spend on the gustatory good life? I make it a priority.

I used to get by on $30-$40 a week for groceries, and I wondered why I was always feeling so terribly run down. Not hungry, just tired. Remembering to feed yourself good food can make a bigger difference than some realize!

dwolfe
06-02-2010, 04:25 PM
This was easy in college: I spent $7.50 a day by eating at the all-you-can-eat cafeteria for $10 every other day and having a Subway foot-long on the days in between. This was supplemented by the breakfast bars I got from home.

Now that I have a spouse and the luxury of an actual kitchen and refrigerator, the possibilities are greater, but the pitfalls more numerous. ViolentVixen and I have settled on a goal of $400 a month (≈$13 a day) and we're having trouble. We were spending around $550 a month earlier in the year, though to be fair we were going on road trips to LA every month and hosting weddings. In May we managed to spend $350, but a lot of that was due to unusual circumstances we'd rather avoid in the future.

You were spending 225$/month in college for just you, so 450$ for both of you sounds reasonable. She might not eat as much as you, but that allows for eating out while working a little.

I found that stocking some cheaper staples when they were on sale for in my kitchen (esp stocking up if on sale) helped my food budget as a grad student. Rice, pasta, oatmeal, eggs, cheese, frozen veggies/fruit/meat in the freezer to be complemented by whatever seemed a reasonable price fresh from the store that week. npib gets it :)

My biggest splurge was hitting the grocery salad bar (when sliced bell pepper is 4$/pound in the salad bar and 6$+ as whole, making a 'salad' of salad veggies and throwing my own lettuce/spinach into during the week saved me a ton of money while eating healthy) for the fresh veggies.

If I lived near a college where I could hit the salad bar once a day for 10$ I'd be hitting it every other day just like you did.

My biggest tip: keep a well-stocked pantry of basics. You'll be less likely to blow the budget eating out if you can thaw out leftovers or cook a healthy meal in 30 minutes or less, without stopping at the grocery first.

Posaune
06-02-2010, 06:15 PM
Yeah, I looked at my online banking spending report and it looks like I am spending around $30 - $40 a month on food, which is kind of disappointing me. Gotta be more frugal!

EDIT: Ahhh! A week! Not a month! I was looking at a monthly average and was still thinking month after I'd broken it down to weeks. I am not some kind of monster who doesn't need food.

Violentvixen
06-02-2010, 08:06 PM
I suppose one good thing is that we never say we're too lazy to cook and just go out (except for colossal kitchen fuckups which leave me to cranky to try again). We've lived here three years and have never ordered delivery once. I will admit to getting a pizza for dinner a few times.

Social eating and drinking, as people have said, become the issue. I want to hang out with my friends, but not when they want to go out every night and drink $8 drinks.

Calorie Mate
06-03-2010, 01:58 PM
mint.com

That...that's the best idea in the world!

Is it safe, though? I'm not usually one to worry about online security (I laugh in the face of danger!), but giving some website all of my banking and credit card information seems like a bad idea.

Yeah, I looked at my online banking spending report and it looks like I am spending around $30 - $40 a month on food, which is kind of disappointing me. Gotta be more frugal!

...that's it? $30-40 a month on food? How the hell does someone spend so little!?

Violentvixen
06-03-2010, 02:17 PM
...that's it? $30-40 a month on food? How the hell does someone spend so little!?

I assumed that's a mistake since it's followed by a mention of being more frugal.

Sven
06-03-2010, 02:21 PM
I know that keeping myself in homemade lunch salads runs me about $20 a week all by itself*, so, yeah, that's a ridiculously low monthly total.

Beyond that... I'm pretty good. I usually take a $200 hit (beyond the salad stock-up) at the grocery store every three to four weeks, but then a lot of stuff I wind up having in the freezer for when I have time to do something with it (at the moment, for instance, I have a couple bags of perogies since Kelly's brother likes having them and he's due in in a couple of weeks, and about five blocks of tofu since I need to get to mom's and do some grilling). I actually had a bigger bill than normal last month, though, since I had to restock several of my "summer" items (BBQ sauces, mustard, etc.)

My big weakness is that I always toss a bag of onion rings in. It's totally $5 that I have no need to spend, but... ONION RINGS, MAN!

Ethan
06-03-2010, 02:31 PM
It's possible if all your calories are coming from plain pasta, cheez doodles, ramen, and soda.

Sven
06-03-2010, 02:34 PM
It's possible if all your calories are coming from plain pasta, cheez doodles, ramen, and soda.

That must be some deep-discount soda.

Ethan
06-03-2010, 03:33 PM
I was picturing the 3-liter bottles of store brand fizzy neon sugar water that you sometimes find at major grocery chains for less than a dollar. If your goal was to load yourself up with the cheapest calories possible, those would do nicely.

Violentvixen
06-03-2010, 07:30 PM
It's possible if all your money is going to medical bills instead.

Yeah, I'm a dick.

Makaris
06-03-2010, 07:58 PM
Between the wife, myself, and a very voracious Bunny we spend about ~450 on food. We eat well, though. We avoid cheap, nutrition-void food and tend to buy organic when we can. We also hit up the farmers market rather consistently, so that isn't exactly cheap either.

We've started a rather large garden this year that, come this fall, should drop our food bill by a great deal.

Posaune
06-03-2010, 09:44 PM
I was picturing the 3-liter bottles of store brand fizzy neon sugar water that you sometimes find at major grocery chains for less than a dollar. If your goal was to load yourself up with the cheapest calories possible, those would do nicely.

Just lard and sugar water for me.

Violentvixen
06-04-2010, 07:51 AM
Just lard and sugar water for me.

You were serious? Ewwwwww.

ThornGhost
06-04-2010, 09:43 AM
I would honestly hate to wager, but I'd guess no less than $450-$500 for the two of us. We eat out a LOT, especially right now. When our lives were less turbulent, that number was probably way down, but as things are, the wife and I just have a hard time rustling up frugal food.

We've moved three times in the last year, but we've finally landed in our own house and are pleased as peaches to not have to move in the foreseeable future. It seems like as we get settled into a place, our routines get more and more set and we're able to cook at home more often, but when a move/other major life event throws us into chaos (such as our recent marriage) we find ourself falling back on eating out more and more.

I'd love to be able for either of us to get a job that would allow the other to stay at home and take care of the place and cook; it would save a bundle. When you've got two people working full time jobs, coming home and having to take care of the house, and then staring at a cupboard of ingredients exhausted at 8:30 at night, it's hard not to hit the restaurant. I'm not saying we're unique, I know it's a situation a lot of people are in, and I can see how food budgets can swell.

I think the best thing to do is attack each meal individually and get them under control. Eating at home for breakfast is easy, and lunch can usually follow shortly after. Dinner is the hard one - I think I may try and start the process of cooking that at home by buying more frozen dinners. They're no less "bad" for you than most restaurant food, and definitely cheaper. Once we get in the habit, maybe I'll start whipping up more homemade food more often.

Ethan
06-04-2010, 11:04 AM
Wait... who was serious about what? I was just trying to figure out how $30/month could be plausible.

Ghost from Spelunker
06-04-2010, 11:44 AM
Looking at my spreadsheets last 4 months, I have spent $143 on groceries a month, plus $15.3 a month on eating out and convenience stores. This is for MEEE, with no pets.

Violentvixen
06-04-2010, 12:32 PM
Wait... who was serious about what? I was just trying to figure out how $30/month could be plausible.

He was serious about $30/month, and suggested that you were correct and that he only eats snackfood-type things.

That's sickening.

Makaris
06-04-2010, 07:56 PM
I would honestly hate to wager, but I'd guess no less than $450-$500 for the two of us. We eat out a LOT, especially right now. When our lives were less turbulent, that number was probably way down, but as things are, the wife and I just have a hard time rustling up frugal food.

We've moved three times in the last year, but we've finally landed in our own house and are pleased as peaches to not have to move in the foreseeable future. It seems like as we get settled into a place, our routines get more and more set and we're able to cook at home more often, but when a move/other major life event throws us into chaos (such as our recent marriage) we find ourself falling back on eating out more and more.

I'd love to be able for either of us to get a job that would allow the other to stay at home and take care of the place and cook; it would save a bundle. When you've got two people working full time jobs, coming home and having to take care of the house, and then staring at a cupboard of ingredients exhausted at 8:30 at night, it's hard not to hit the restaurant. I'm not saying we're unique, I know it's a situation a lot of people are in, and I can see how food budgets can swell.

I think the best thing to do is attack each meal individually and get them under control. Eating at home for breakfast is easy, and lunch can usually follow shortly after. Dinner is the hard one - I think I may try and start the process of cooking that at home by buying more frozen dinners. They're no less "bad" for you than most restaurant food, and definitely cheaper. Once we get in the habit, maybe I'll start whipping up more homemade food more often.

I totally hear you man. Seriously, cooking three meals is a pain in the ass. It's good if both you and your partner can cook, though. Delegation is a big help.

We still go out a lot, but we're still amazed at how much cheaper dining out is since we moved to the midwest from NY. We've been become regulars at some of the smaller joints here and we tip well. Accordingly, we seem to be getting considerably larger portions then we first started going there. Two meals for two people for 15 bucks, including the tip, isn't bad!

Posaune
06-04-2010, 10:12 PM
He was serious about $30/month, and suggested that you were correct and that he only eats snackfood-type things.

That's sickening.

Oh man no that'd be way gross, I was just trying to think of the saddest easy and cheap calories one could get outside of raisins. I wasn't thinking too clearly when I posed and typed month instead of week on accident. I think it'd be hard to spend that little on snackfoods since they aren't very filling and are too expensive.

Although I did by some freezer pops today and that basically is sugar water.

Violentvixen
06-05-2010, 01:48 PM
I'd love to be able for either of us to get a job that would allow the other to stay at home and take care of the place and cook; it would save a bundle. When you've got two people working full time jobs, coming home and having to take care of the house, and then staring at a cupboard of ingredients exhausted at 8:30 at night, it's hard not to hit the restaurant. I'm not saying we're unique, I know it's a situation a lot of people are in, and I can see how food budgets can swell.

I must say, I often feel guilty for how much I enjoy the fact that Lumber is at home to cook and stuff. More money would be nice, but sometimes I wonder if this is better.

I wasn't thinking too clearly when I posed and typed month instead of week on accident. I think it'd be hard to spend that little on snackfoods since they aren't very filling and are too expensive.

Glad to hear it!

Sven
06-07-2010, 09:07 AM
This thread has also revealed to me how many of do our budgeting on Excel. :)

shawn struck
06-08-2010, 03:44 PM
I assumed that's a mistake since it's followed by a mention of being more frugal.

It varies. On a low end, for myself it's been about 35 dollars a month. On the high end, it's been closer to 85.

StrawberryChrist
06-08-2010, 05:31 PM
It varies. On a low end, for myself it's been about 35 dollars a month. On the high end, it's been closer to 85.

You pig!
Unlike certain disgusting individuals I happen to be a paragon of health and I spend no more than $15 a month on food.
My diet consists entirely of packing "peanuts" and Andy Capp's Hot Fries (found them in an abandoned warehouse, expired 1993.) On weekends I splurge for a gumball or two.

taidan
12-03-2010, 01:02 PM
Gonna bump this thread, since I never saw it way back when.

I'm gonna ballpark it and say it's close to $400 for two of us, though that would diminish greatly if we ate out less. Currently, we plan on eating out one night a week, as a "date night" thing, and cooking the rest of the time. But we're very slowly figuring out how to plan out meals and find time to cook them, so more often than not we break the rule and go out because we come home from work and have nothing ready to go. It's gotten a lot better than when we moved in in the summer, but we could do better.

Ethan
12-03-2010, 07:21 PM
I posted a thread about this last week or something, but it got closed and I was reminded that this thread already exists. Egg on face!

I try to spend about 90,000VND per day on food (well, on all non-rent expenses, but 95% of that is food), which is about 2.8 million per month, which is a touch over $140. Considering I have no kitchen and have to go to a stall or restaurant whenever I want a real meal, this ain't bad. In Chicago, $140 would have only covered my weekday lunchbreaks in a given month.

Violentvixen
06-20-2011, 11:48 AM
Reviving this thread with a related question: What do your groceries tend to consist of?

I ask because we went to Costco with a couple friends and one bought an absolutely massive amount of meat. While she got many other things as well her total bill for one visit was over $300 and I think about $100 of that was meat.

I don't know if we've ever spent that much on meat in one visit, not even for a party.

Our groceries are probably close to half vegetables, 20% hummus and yogurt, 10% cereal/rice/quinoa/bread, 10% drinks (including coffee and milk) and the rest seems to vary wildly depending on what we do that month. And that's percent by volume, not by money. These are pretty broad guesses but the general idea is that we rarely buy meat and the majority of our stuff is vegetables.

I didn't count toiletries/personal care stuff. Those are expensive and usually things we don't need more than once a month.

estragon
06-20-2011, 09:02 PM
the general idea is that we rarely buy meat and the majority of our stuff is vegetables

That's what we do as well. Neither of us is actually vegetarian, but de facto we often eat vegetarian. We usually get between zero to two meat products a week depending on our mood. The most common meat purchase is diced pancetta, which is more like a spice to flavor pasta than the main part of a dish.

Mightyblue
06-21-2011, 02:49 AM
Probably somewhere around $150-200? It varies how much I eat at the store, since I can get a discount on most of the store brand and non-hot deli stuff (sandwiches, mostly). It's actually less than that most of the time, since I tend to only eat two big meals a day (breakfast/dinner) and snack a bit the rest of the day when I get hungry.

Beefy Hits
06-21-2011, 12:42 PM
I don't spend nearly $400 on food, but I do eat out.

Now that I bought a house, I'm going to keep it as low as possible.

I will shop at Aldis, the Asian market, and Super Target and try to keep groceries to under $100 /month for one person.

BusyZombieLord
06-21-2011, 06:46 PM
My soon to wife and I spend about 100 to 150 a month on groceries. We go for breakfast every Saturday at Panara Bread and abuse their free wifi. Other then that we eat out about once or twice a month when we don't feel like cooking. In spite of all that I still feel like we spend too much.

I'd say 15% of what we spend is on soda. I have an unhealthy sugar addiction. 50% is veggies and another 15% fruit. The rest is meat and junk food.

fugu13
06-21-2011, 08:12 PM
Where do you live? Even shopping cheap, that's a very low amount for two people.

Violentvixen
06-21-2011, 11:10 PM
That's an insanely low amount for two people, especially if the majority of it is produce. Dang.

taosterman
06-22-2011, 11:47 AM
Reviving this thread with a related question: What do your groceries tend to consist of?

I ask because we went to Costco with a couple friends and one bought an absolutely massive amount of meat. While she got many other things as well her total bill for one visit was over $300 and I think about $100 of that was meat.

I generally restrict meat to eating out for that exact reason - it ends up costing about the same as it would at home anyway. Whereas you can totally have leftovers for days on a dish made from $10 worth of vegetables.

Violentvixen
06-22-2011, 11:59 AM
I generally restrict meat to eating out for that exact reason - it ends up costing about the same as it would at home anyway. Whereas you can totally have leftovers for days on a dish made from $10 worth of vegetables.

It really does, and most restaurants prepare the meat better than I can, both in terms of cooking ability and access to interesting ingredients for marinades/sauces/etc.

BusyZombieLord
06-22-2011, 03:35 PM
Where do you live? Even shopping cheap, that's a very low amount for two people.

Maine has fairly low prices for food but rent is moderate to high. Unless you make 40000 or more a year, you need a roommate or significant other to split the bills.

upupdowndown
06-27-2011, 04:04 AM
We tend to take the approach of go around the perimeter of the grocery store and don't go down the aisles. Probably half of what we buy is fruits and veggies, followed by milk/cheese/yogurt, eggs, chicken breast, and whatever proteins we're having for dinners that week, like tofu, lean pork, seitan, or ground turkey.

Violentvixen
08-18-2014, 07:52 AM
Interesting that overall our budget and plan hasn't changed (little to no meat, Costco, etc.) but we're much, much better about getting things we need when there's a good price. We hit the clearance aisle of the store, watch for sales and stock up on things we need, etc. Also if we're going to cook a more expensive meal we downgrade the rest of the meals that week to make up for it. Also quinoa. Quinoa is freaking amazing.

We always had a separate restaurant budget, but one thing we added was a "social" budget. Going out for people's birthdays, buying alcohol for a party, etc. These things tended to go into the "other" category before, and tracking them made us really aware that having friends is expensive that we needed to scale back on groceries when there are a lot of birthdays or social things.

Beefy Hits
08-25-2014, 06:05 PM
My mom, dad, and I spend about $40 a week at Aldis, but we get lots of stuff that lasts.

We don't eat out as much as we used to but I do on my own.