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Grocery Poll 2: How Much Do You Spend On Groceries Per Month?

Long time readers of My Two Dollars may remember that I asked this very question back in 2007 and got some great responses. At the time, I was spending about $460 a month on groceries for my wife and I, which some people thought was low and some thought was high. It’s amazing how different perspectives and different locales change the equation so much! Since I am single and have been living in a different place for a month, I tracked my grocery spending again – and thus wanted to share it with you guys and ask you for your figures as well. First, some of my info:

Last time I did this poll, I was doing most of our shopping at Trader Joes and the Farmers Market. Now, living in Denver in the winter, I do 90% of my shopping at Whole Foods with the other 10% done at the “regular” grocery store.

I am now single, so I buy a lot less “stuff” for the house.

I still eat only organic vegetables and fruit, and meat about once a week. No milk, but lots of yogurt and cheese. And only a tiny amount of crap/processed food.

Because of the lack of Trader Joes, groceries cost more than they did in California – but less than they did in New Mexico.

Still, all that being said, I did OK – I spent about $200-$225 on groceries during my first month here. That’s a little less than half the dollar amount I was spending per month for two of us in 2007. So, this leads me to you guys…how much are you spending on groceries per month? Where do you live? Where do you shop? Has the recession changed your shopping habits?


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Comments (26)

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  1. I’m in NJ, just outside of NYC. For just me and my husband, we spend an average of $200-$250 a month on groceries (I’m big on coupons, though). I mainly do ShopRite — A&P or Pathmark if the sales are good. Some months might be higher depending on the need for toilet paper, paper towels, cat food or cat litter — but we buy those in large quantities.

  2. There’s two of us – me and a 7 year old. I think the kid, however, eats more than I do.

    I averaged out my CSA, which comes to about $50/month. Almost all of the rest of my shopping comes from small local markets that are in my neighborhood – within a couple of blocks – so they tend to have higher prices. My estimate for other items is $35/week so I am spending about $190/month.

    I don’t buy milk or meat so that helps keep the cost down. The produce in the CSA is organic and also includes granola cereal, eggs and cheese. There are only a couple of weeks out of the year that I can’t get the farm box.

    I could make the cost lower if I didn’t shop at the local stores and went to the big stores like Superfresh but I am currently trying to keep my dollars in my neighborhood.

  3. nan says:

    Me, too. Alone, I spend about $200/month. When the girls were living home full time, it was about 800+. I quit keeping track. Too depressing! lol

  4. Tara says:

    About $700 for a family of 4. Two adults, two growing boys. We shop at Costco, Trader Joes, and Food 4 Less. I know I could save money if I stuck to just Food 4 Less, but I hate that store and they have little organic food. Our Costco is big on organics though, so buying it there is cheaper than other places in town. We live on the Central Coast of California. I insist on organic meat and dairy, so I know that brings up the monthly bill considerably. And there are a few companies I won’t buy from (Tyson, for example), even though the alternatives are more expensive.

  5. Momma @ 3pm says:

    I don’t actually break my food/basic household consumables into separate categories. I spend between $600 and $650 a month for all groceries, dog food, and sundry items for our (full time) family of 5, which consists of me, my husband, 3 teenage daughters, and our 3 dogs.

  6. Annie Jones says:

    I spend just under $240 a month for my husband, my 6yo granddaughter and myself. This is for food store items only…no pet food, no cleaning or paper supplies, no HBA, no meals out…all of those things are budgeted for separately.

    I cook most of our food from scratch, use the occasional coupon, and shop at Aldi before going anywhere else. I don’t buy many highly processed or convenience foods, and I buy in bulk when it makes sense.

    I have decent cooking skills and we eat well on that amount.

  7. Cynthia says:

    Our monthly budget is $325 to feed our family of four (kids aged 2 and 5). We shop mainly at Cub and Rainbow (local grocery store chains). We have Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco but don’t shop at any of them out of convenience (and general dislike of anything Walmart/Sam’s Club).

  8. […] Grocery Poll 2: How Much Do You Spend On Groceries Per Month? | My … […]

  9. Rini says:

    We budget $300/mo for the two of us, near Fort Worth. In reality, we spend closer to $260 most months (assuming I’m not actively couponing). This includes a few treats from Schwans and pork chops once or twice a month. Definitely luxury items! 🙂

    When my 8-year-old step-twins live with us next school year, we’ll bump the budget number to $500/mo. Based on their summer visits, that should be more than reasonable for us.

  10. simon says:

    My wife and I have a budget of $150 per month set. All of our meat and veggies are bought in bulk at the local farmers market and we price shop for everything else. We have no problems staying under the budget. When we start having kids we will most likely make baby food rather than buy jarred food.

  11. chad says:

    Our family of four spends between 4 and 500 dollars / month on grocery “stuff”. This would not only include food but also include toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, etc.

    We combine Sam’s Club, Aldi, and the local grocery store. Most of our meat, eggs, chickens, etc. comes from a local dairy farmer. who cuts us a decent deal (and supporting the local folk, woo hoo!).

    We’re in NE Indiana.

  12. Lulu says:

    I spend $310 a month (well less than that, this the budgeted amount but I am always under) for food, personal items, toiletries, cat food and litter, and clothing. This is for me and the cat!!!!

  13. Seattle says:

    Single, living in Seattle. I spend $200-250 a month on food (groceries, eating out, coffee) in the winter. do most of my food shopping at Whole Foods. At one point over the summer, I was spending only $160 a month, because I was getting my produce from the local farms (fresher, cheaper, and mostly organic).

  14. kristen says:

    I’m married with two children, and live in San Francisco. We live on one income (my husband’s) and have spent an average of $675 a month of groceries this year – this doesn’t include toiletries or household sundry items. This also doesn’t include alcohol – we have that as its own budget category.

    We cook most of our three meals a day at home, and my husband takes his lunch every day to work. We usually have people over for dinner about once a week and might eat a meal out once every two weeks. We rarely eat processed foods (of course, we’re having frozen pizza tonight, at the kids’ request!).

    Despite the recession, in the past couple of months, I started buying all of my meat at the local butcher. It costs more, but I am supporting a neighborhood establishment. Also, the quality of their products, their knowledge, and the amazing customer service they provide is well-worth the price difference. I also started buying bread at a local bakery for the same reasons.

    To counter those price increases – I started learning how to shop the sales with coupons when I can, and I buy most of my produce at the Asian market in the neighborhood, where it’s ridiculously cheap. I hit all these stores on my home from nearby weekly appointments, so I’m not going out of my way.

    I would love to join a CSA. That will probably be my next step.

  15. Debbie M says:

    $133/month, one person, no pets, includes toiletries. I live in Texas.

    I buy about half my stuff at HEB (a regional store with mostly conventional foods but some organic). I buy about 1/3 from a grocery coop (lots of organic and whole-grain options, a bit cheaper than Whole Foods except for WF 360 brand). The rest comes from Whole Foods, Randalls (a more expensive but walking-distance conventional grocery store), Target, and other random places.

    I have not changed how I shop because of the recession. However, I’m always paying attention to ingredient prices, using a price book, buying seasonally, and looking for recipes featuring cheaper, healthy food. At the same time, I’m getting more picky about the treatment of the land and animals involved in raising the food I buy. But then I’m also on the lookout for substitutes, like vinegar instead of hair conditioner (and that means I don’t need a no-slip bath mat anymore, either) and textured vegetable protein substituting for half the ground beef in various dishes.

  16. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by RainyDaySaver: RT @mytwodollars: New blog post: Grocery Poll 2: How Much Do You Spend On Groceries Per Month? http://bit.ly/5Em9BW

  17. Stacey says:

    $160 per month, two adults, Pennsylvania.

    We use a lot of coupons, and I tend to buy all our meat when it goes on clearance – I bought about 10 pounds of steaks for $2 per pound and froze them last week, and we won’t buy more red meat until we finish them. Some weeks the bill is over $80, but most weeks it’s around $20-30 for milk, eggs and fresh foods. We supplement year-round with fresh and home-canned veggies from our garden!

  18. Kathy says:

    I live in western Wisconsin just across the border from the twin cities (Mpls/St Paul). For one person, food only, all meals home prepared I spend about $120-150 per month (up from $80-100 just a couple years ago). I’m something of a food nazi and have been following the silver cloud diet on my own for years – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy. The more nutritious the food, the less I want/need to eat. Other than the rare meal eaten out I haven’t had highly-processed food for 10 years. I shop my local natural foods coop for most basics (beans, whole grains, etc) and in winter; own garden/farmer’s markets/CSAs/local family farms in summer. Luckily this area has a wealth of folks practicing healthy agriculture.

  19. Like you, I shop mostly at Whole Foods and farmer’s markets. Once in a while I will shop at a regular grocery store.

    I spend around $400 a month on groceries. On months when we are eating out quite a bit, I can reduce that to around $200. I try to keep my bill low by using The Whole Deal newsletter which has great coupons and recipes that feature sale items.

  20. Lydia says:

    I live in Missouri with my husband and 1 year old daughter. We spend about $500.00 a month on everything (cleaning supplies, toiletries, paper supplies etc included.) We have one income and shop mostly at local grocery chains and at costco for a few things. We might move to San Fran soon and I am a little worried about the cost of groceries there but it sounds like there are far more options (i.e. trader joes, local markets, farmers markets…)

  21. Skaijo says:

    I spent $401.31 last month just to feed myself. No excuses here, I’m pretty good with keeping track of my money and I know quality of food I like. I’m currently a struggling grad student who couldn’t stand the cafeteria meal plan here at my school, so even though it is a bit pricey–it’s a much cheaper alternative and one that gets my cooking skills polished at the same time. Nothing like home cooking after a midterm.

  22. […] have talked before on this site about how much I spend on groceries, asked you how much you spent, and even advised you that cooking at home with “real” […]

  23. jenn says:

    I spends SO much more than the rest of you!!! Argh!! We are single income military (05-pay rate). We live in Northern VA. Family of four. We are up to about $1000 – $1200 a month. Wowzer. An important side not would be to state that we rarely eat out at restaurants due to food allergies in the family. I shop at the Commissary once a month for long shelf life items like canned goods & cereals and frozen foods. Then I hit Wegmans about once a week for produce & specialty items .. as my daughter has the severe food allergies so I shop in a way that accomodates her restricted diet. I make it to Trader Joes about once or twice a month for other family favorites. We do eat organic but not exclusively. I find that there are not many coupons published for the foods that I buy. I also follow the shopping advice of Eat This Not That and do find that it is more expensive to eat better.

  24. D.Gibbons says:

    My husband and I live in Portland, OR, and spend an average of $400 per month on groceries. This does not include household items such as toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.

    We occasionally shop at farmers’ markets, but mix up the rest between Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and occasionally Whole Foods and a nearby little market.

  25. Tanya says:

    My family is me, my husband, a 4 year old and a 5 month old. We try to keep our food budget to 700 per month, and it’s hard. We live in San Diego County in California & shop at Jimbo’s, Trader Joe’s, a little Costco (not much we can actually eat there), and the local farmer’s market. We don’t eat anything processed, canned or packaged, buy mostly organic, including our raw dairy and meats, and buy only wild caught fish. My husband eats out for lunch 5 days a week and I do 1 day a week. Other than that most meals are at home or with friends. We avoid wheat (even tho’ not glueten intolerant), and are somewhat “big eaters” in comparison with other families we observe. We do not include alcohol (mostly Stone Brewery beer), or paper or laundry goods in our budget.

    By the way, Amazon.com subscribe and save is a great program and that’s where we get our laundry detergent and dish soap, diapers and a few other items, better quality, environmentally friendly brands, and lower price than Costco.

  26. Lori says:

    I spend about $140 to $200 and shop online and have my groceries delivered from Hyvee in Illinois. I have spent as much as $350 but the food lasted for months in the freezer.

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