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What do YOU spend on groceries?

Robyn Openshaw - Jul 05, 2008 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

I have wondered this for years and was so interested and enlightened to learn, on a Yahoo group I belong to, what others spend on groceries in a month.   Only a handful answered the question, but the answers ranged widely, from $1,000/mo. for a family of 4, to $400/mo. for a family of 7.

Unless you’re new and not a subscriber to 12 Steps to Whole Foods, you know that part of my passion for teaching families to eat a health-promoting, plant-based diet, is helping them do so INEXPENSIVELY, within a budget, since the moms who are teaching the kids are usually in the stage of life where money is a scarce resource and must be accounted for carefully.

Maybe it’s a taboo subject, but if so, I’ll try to  pave the way  with some self-disclosure:  my family of 6 spends $800/mo. on groceries, on average (less in the summer, more in the winter).   It’s also important to note that all of  my kids are athletes and big eaters, two of them teenagers.   (Shouldn’t a teenager count as 2 people?!)

We save by gardening, participating in a CSA, buying in bulk and stocking up, and preparing meals from scratch.   We preserve and freeze food in our basement cold storage, second fridge, and upright freezer. As you probably are now aware, we eat whole foods and don’t buy meat, dairy, or boxed/canned processed foods.   All of the budget is whole plant foods except for the occasional church social, extended-family, or after-soccer-game food assignment.  We grow organic, but we don’t always buy organic.   We splurge by going to Sweet Tomatoes once a week, and I’m actually not counting that in the budget.

Please write here what you spend, and give any tips on how you save and how you splurge within that budget (and what percentage of your grocery budget is whole foods).  I think women (or the money manager in the home) will find this fascinating and helpful.   I know I will.

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Relationships

4 thoughts on “What do YOU spend on groceries?”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My grocery budget is $900/month for our family of 7.5, one of which is a 14 yo son and 12 yo dd who often eats as much as the son! However, that includes all paper goods, gifts, birthdays, printer ink, etc, so I’d guess it’s more like $700 on food.

    I make almost everything from scratch, buy almost no convenience foods (much to dh’s chagrine, because he has a hard time finding stuff to eat). I have a square foot garden that’s not fantastic, but there! I have a GF daughter so occasionally I’ll spend the outrageous sums on GF breads just cause it’s so much more convenient. I only buy organic if it’s fairly close in price. We do still buy meat, as dh is not ready to give that up (and is also thinking of going GF at which point he definitely will not give it up!) We rarely go out to eat, but if we do we use our entertainment budget, not grocery $.

    I used to be a coupon queen (i’d get a cartful worth $150 for $5!), but found that the time spent wasn’t worth it for the loss of nutrition. I mostly bought convenience foods, and while I tried to only buy the “healthier” kinds, we still ate way too many.

    Also trying to build up the food storage, and I must say, I really struggle with my budget! I just don’t know how ya’ll do it on so much less except by perhaps owning a cow or goat, chickens and huge garden, but I’m too rural for that. Although one thing I am sure I could save a lot on is by eating more beans, and by soaking them myself rather than purchasing the cans, because that is one convenience item I still buy!

  2. I imagine it varies a lot based on where you live in the country & what resources are available to you. I remember Robyn sharing what she pays for raw honey and molasses, and there is no way I could get either of those items for the same cost. I can’t even find anywhere, not even my buying club, that has them in bulk.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ocean Skater:

    I’m not sure where you live but if you have a local person who has beehives, you may be able to get a good price from them if you let them know in advance.

    We can get local raw honey here in our grocery store. It’s expensive in the store but I have a friend who bought 60 pounds from a local beehiver and it was much, much less (can’t remember what she paid) than the store.


  4. http://? says:

    Lol-budget? What budget?

    no, just kidding-our allotted budget is 800 dollars/mo for 2 adults 2 kiddos-including toiletries, misc., etc.

    The best way I save money is always, always planning out meals-i don’t think a week has gone by in 6 years when i haven’t planned at least a few meals in our week, even during visits with relatives, etc. Maybe im a control freak, lol.

    It’s really convenient for me, and easier to actually prepare meals during the week-i look at the list and say “such n such” for tonight, awesome-OR “hm, maybe we’ll have ___ tonight instead of Friday” And, to be honest, i do this for every meal pretty much-only because i have to plan DH’s lunches (2 lunches/ 14 hr. shift), and etc. It also saves because it keeps you from buying a bunch of stuff you might not eat, that could spoil before you remember it in the fridge. Saves GAS from having to make multiple trips during the week.

    Costco is a great place to save money, if you have the space for bulk items like beans and whole wheat flour, etc. Whenever they have a great deal on produce-peaches, pineapple, grapes-i always buy tons and freeze it for smoothies. Bulk pasta and rice at the Good earth or whole foods is way cheaper than at the regular stores.

    At this point, I would say that about 25% of our food is whole-maybe more, i guess I haven’t thought it out-we buy mostly organic, whenever we can-and the budget has gone up a lot because of that-where i used to spend 90 bucks now doubles. It’s okay though, because we tend to eat a lot less now than before, and i’m all for that! More efficient nutrition.

    We also freeze anything … like…. anything that we think we can freeze-meals, beans, cheese, greens, etc-anything that might be starting to go bad! (how’s that for cheap!!)I just scrape off the moldy strawberries and in they go-pull out the squishy spinach and the rest goes in…. i LOVE groceries…isn’t that wierd?! 😀

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