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What's Your Food Budget?

Wow. Thanks to everyone for the TJ’s suggestions.. more stuff to check out on the next grocery run!icon smile What's Your Food Budget?

January isn’t over yet, but I’ve bought all the groceries I’ll buy for this month – not to mention that next weekend will be February, so I don’t expect to buy any more food until Saturday or Sunday.

With a revised food budget of $220 ($110 each for Dining Out & Groceries), I spent $218.55 ($124.17 groceries, 94.38 dining out)… barely squeaking by. I’ve increased my budget $20… my original budget of $200 felt a little tight for me.

I’m curious – so I’m posing a question to all the 20-something female bloggers (my demographic!) out there: what’s your overall food budget (groceries + dining out)? It’d be helpful if you can also list your area of residence to provide context – food would be much more expensive in NYC than in the Mid-West.

Update: I’m still on the Clothing Hiatus… even though I saw some really cute things on sale at J. Crew. One month (almost) done… 5 more to go.

  • Mike - I usually spent about $400-$500/month on food.
    I’m the type of person who walks through the grocery store and randomly grabs anything that looks tasty.

    But lately, I’m a bit low on money….so I’m trying to budget myself to 240 dollars a month. I’m trying to survive with 8 dollars per day of food. It’s hard when I’m use to going out everyday and eating 15 dollars per meal.

    It’s going to be hard. I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been looking around ads and promotions. I don’t think I can come up with a $8 dollar budget plan.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Walt - I usually spend about $225-$300 a week eating out and about $100-150 on groceries a month. I am a single divorced Male 33 in L.A. I know, I eat out waaay too much! I randomly found this website when looking for Food Budget Guidelines. Thanks Y’all! :) ReplyCancel

  • Clay - I am a single guy living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
    Wow, so I just totaled my ‘eating out’ tab from Dec 14 to Jan 14. One month of eating out (not including groceries) came to $368.06. It’s actually a little higher for items that have not cleared yet and for times I may have paid with cash.

    I know this is a bad (and expensive) habit and really crushing my budget, but I enjoy the social aspect of getting out etc….

    Well it must stop. I am going to try a budget of $200 per month total for eating. It can work in any combination of groceries or eating out but must stop at $200.

    Wish me luck!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - I live in Rhode Island and belong to a community supported farm program where I pay one up front price for veggies during the growing season, so that takes care of most of the produce. I don’t have a budget per say, but I do keep track of how much I spend each month on groceries for the year. This grocery budget reflects two adults who generally eat in/take lunches to work regularly, this also reflects any alcohol that was purchased using our joint account.

    In 2007 our monthly average for groceries was $255
    In 2008 our monthly average for groceries was $394

    That’s a 53% increase! I try to buy mostly organic unless the price is prohibitive. I try to buy all produce either local or organic.

    I don’t keep track of how much I spend when we go out, I think I would get depressed. We were cutting back a LOT going out in 2008 (almost never by ourselves, only with a group), which may partially reflect the increase in grocery budget…ReplyCancel

  • Mattie - From Ontario, 1-person household – I aim to not spend more than $50/week on food, and no more than $15/week on household stuff. I always spend the $50 on food, but rarely max out the $15 for household items.

    This is out of my total cash flow of $100/week – what doesn’t get spent on food and household items pays for gas (no more than $20/week).

    Evidently, I don’t eat out.

    Whatever is left goes into ‘cash surplus’, which adds up over the weeks to buy things I need every few months or so (like new running shoes).

    I eat a very healthy home-cooked diet on $50/week, and even discovered after a few weeks that I could afford more cheese (the good kind!), by cutting down the large amounts of well-priced meats that I am able to buy at my local Superstore to every two weeks, instead of buying it weekly.ReplyCancel

  • GREENI$BLACK - I live in NYC with my boyfriend, and try to set my limit for groceries at $50/week (so $200 a month) and for dining out, I don’t really have a budget…oops. Our biggest accomplishment has been to eliminate ordering take out or going out to eat Monday-Thursday. That usually really kills us since we always end up at brunch on the weekends and out with friends for dinner. I would estimate I eat out once or twice a week, and always try to keep those below $30 each time, so my eating out budget is $240 a month (but for my frugal January and on, I’m keeping it to $100)ReplyCancel

  • jen - My husband and i live in philadelphia, and together we spend about 400 dollars per month on groceries. We spend about 15 dollars eating out per month.

    How do you guys manage to spend so little on groceries? we clip coupons, pretty much only buy things when they are on sale, shop at mulitple stores (including save-a-lot) and we don’t eat meat (but veggie meat can add up)?

    I’m looking for some more money saving tips!ReplyCancel

  • Goal #7 for 2009 « Well-Heeled, with a mission - [...] will be iffy if I go on a vacation AND if I lose my job. Maybe I will try extra hard to cut back on eating out costs to [...]ReplyCancel

  • jennifer - I don’t know what you people are talking about i rarely can spend less than about $400 per month at the grocery store and then buy miscellaneous stuff at the corner grocery when i need it. which is about $50 a week…. this does include paper goods. I also spend about $50 a week or more depending on how busy our week is on take out. We are three people and live in nyc.ReplyCancel

  • jennifer - oh and i forgot to mention why i spend so much…. the cost of meat is so high…..i must buy 1-2 pkgs of meat per dinner….. plus i always have cereals and frozen waffles and frozen pizza and other quick meals in my house…. i try to only buy whats on sale….this month i spent $150 at the grocery and am praying it will last me a few weeks…as i am on a tight budget. but many nights i simply have no time to cook….and i’m exhausted sometimes we will order takeout like four times a week. i rarely can order less than $30 dollars but sometimes we have leftovers for lunch the next dayReplyCancel

  • Sidra - let’s see…here’s a sample day from when i had a job:

    8 AM
    2 milano cookies or a bowl of cereal $3/12 servings= $0.25
    almond milk $2/4 serving =$0.50

    12 PM
    moe’s kids meal $5.00
    water bottle $0.25 (i buy them bulk)

    pack of gum $0.70

    4 PM
    leave work, eat something in office kitchen like bday cake $0.00

    6 PM
    microwave leftover half of kids meal $0.00
    water bottle $0.25

    9 PM
    meet friend to study/have coffee $2.66

    daily total =$9.61

    so with this budget i end up spending around $200 a month. but if i get invited to 1 or 2 dinners i can easily add $40. it is hard to have a social life with a budget, especially if one’s friends are much wealthier. i have pretty much become a loner since i become unemployed; it can be kind of depressing sometimes but the good thing is my brother usually shares his takeout food with me.ReplyCancel

  • T - This is the best post I’ve ever seen. Really, I love it!

    I live in Chicago.

    I spend about $100 a month on groceries. Either two $50 deliveries from Peapod or one $50 delivery from peapod and a few trips to Walgreens and CVS when I run out of eggs, bread, milk, etc. (I don’t have a car and the nearest grocery store is 5 blocks away. Perfect in the summer, brutal in Chicago winters.)

    Dining out depends on the month, but I typically take my lunch to work every day to save money (and time) and we pre-game or find drink specials and generous gentlemen :) at bars/clubs. I’d say dining out is $50 a month in the winter, maybe $100-200 in the summer. We cherish our 6-8 weeks of summer every year, so I have to splurge a bit. LOL!ReplyCancel

  • SuperLia - I’m literally breathless with these replies. $200 on groceries and eating out A MONTH??? Whoa. Yeah right! That’s one week for my husband and me! We usually pay around $100 a week in groceries, which includes meat and alcohol. In the last month (according to my bank reporting feature), we spend $540 on groceries and $340 on restaurants, for a sum total of *$870 a month*. Do I get to divide that in half because there are two of us? That would be *$435 each* -which still pales – blanches even! – in comparison with other estimates of your food bills. Wow.

    The funny thing is that our food bills have plummeted since I have started cooking real food, and we’re not eating out every night like we were before, and I’ve started planning my menus on Google Docs so I just buy what’s on the list.

    I’m a bit amazed. I really thought we were pretty frugal. We both drive 15-year old cars, we both put 15% of our pre-tax income into retirement, we live off of one paycheck (almost completely), we have no debt except mortgage and student loans, and we save into our savings account. But obviously we have a TON we can do with the food budget. I just now have to stare bewilderedly at my accounts and figure out how the heck to do what all of you are doing… if you do it, it must be possible. Wow, thanks, that is such a blessing to hear from all of you.

    I live in D.C. (well, in Arlington VA).ReplyCancel

  • Twin XL - In Ohio I would say monthly grocery budget is about $200, dining out is about the same.ReplyCancel

  • Mom2boys - I represent a family of 4 (husband, wife, 2 boys) and my weekly budget for food/household items is $175 ($700/month). However, lately I’ve been getting the sunday paper to clip coupons & go to coupons.com to print additional coupons, and it has decreased my weekly spending to about $150-160. I also shop at Homeland where they double your coupon & give you gas coupons up to $.50/gallon off. So all in all, I will save between $15-25 a week.

    Would love to hear feedback if my “weekly budget” for food/household items is way too high.ReplyCancel

  • @journey2mymba - I just came across this post. It made me realize how ridiculous my food spending goal is. I just need to accept me spending $100-$150/month and focus on making meals. When I make great meals, the need to spend money outside my home almost vanishes.ReplyCancel

  • Food Budget Inflation | Well Heeled Blog - [...] For someone who had a ~$200 food budget just a few years ago and who had expected cohabitation to decrease food costs (because we can split groceries! and [...]ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I'd say my average is between 300$ – 400$ . This is about 100$ on groceries and the rest eating out because I love dining out in San Fran! Gotta live it up while I can – why not enjoy my city? The 400$ a month happens usually when I take my boyfriend on an expensive date or have friends visiting from out of town. In Ohio I used to spend half this amount on food…kind of a scary leap and I guess I could limit myself – but I'm enjoying my lifestyle!


  • Tempest - OMG I need to move to the midwest I guess. My grocery budget for the month is $400 if I don't have to buy non food items such as detergent. That does not include eating out. There are two adults and one toddler in my household ReplyCancel

  • Joyce - I am a young 20-something just out of college with a stipend paycheck. I currently am fed all three meals a day at the school I teach in rural Massachusetts – so my food budget is under $30 a month for drinks and meals. However, when I am living on my own I try and spend no more than $160 a month. I always cringe when I see more than $35 at the checkout line. I guess that is what a beginning career as an artist feels like. ReplyCancel

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