Cost of Groceries

by john on March 14, 2003

A couple of years ago the standard price for a bag of groceries was about $25. It seemed like every trip to the store I’d be lucky to escape spending less then $100, which would usually net me four well packed bags. It wasn’t too long ago that you could count on six or seven bags for that $100.

Lately, however, I’ve been spending more like $150. Tonight I set a family record – $210 on one trip. The yield? A lousy five bags. And it could have been so much worse. I went to Rainbow Foods instead of Kowalski’s. I saved $21 on coupons. Instead of buying three $5.49 bottles of spice I bought three of the cheapie $.99 deals. I even bought some generics.

Other than spending about $30 on fixings for Baklava to bring to work on Monday this was a normal weekly shopping trip. I didn’t get enough meat to load up the freezer – I bought a couple of pounds of ground chuck, a two pound chuck roast, a pound of bacon, some brats and some hot dogs. That’s it for meat. I bought a dental pick – other than that nothing from the healthcare department. I didn’t buy laundry detergent.

I just don’t get it. Our kids are four and five. What on earth are we going to be spending when they are teenagers? The mind boggles.

{ 5 comments }

Dorothy March 14, 2003 at 11:38 pm

John your not the only one that doesn’t get it. It seems every week I am stunned into disbelief when I hear the total at the check-out. My menu is dictated by what’s on sale and I am never to proud or stupid not to use a coupon when I can. I have an eleven year old that can eat more at one setting than three starving sailors…see what you have to look forward to. I don’t dare take my husband shopping with me, that’s an automatic $50 increase. So I just plug along and try to get the best value for my money that I can.

Joe Grossberg March 16, 2003 at 7:33 pm

Three thoughts:

* Moving to a more vegetable-based diet instead of a meat-based one can save you a lot of money (no, I’m not a vegetarian). For example, chili doesn’t need meat and eggplants or mushrooms can replace meat in lots of Italian food.

* Do your shopping for spices at an ethnic market. No joke, it’s about 1/4 the price Giant would cost me for the same Indian and Thai food. And it’s a great way to find “the right” vegetables and spices instead of substituting the wrong flavors.

* Similar to what Dorothy said, it’s helpful to have a list of recipes handy (have you got a PDA?) and decide which ones to buy based on what’s for sale, instead of being “forced” to pay whatever they want for a particular ingredient.

janeyq January 31, 2005 at 8:09 pm

I hear you!!!! I was just talking to the bank about my late mortgage and working out a “reasonable” budget when the customer service rep asked how much I was spending on groceries per month. I told her about $600 dollars for a family of four: kids are 4 and 8. This includes packing one lunch five days per week and my husband and I don’t usually even eat lunch! I limit how much meat I buy, I ALWAYS buy what’s on sale, I use coupons if they make sense, and we don’t waste food. The customer rep acted like I bought right from the Schwann’s truck every day – she said the average for a family of four is – get this – $400.00. No way. So after some research I found out this figure is based on
a USDA experiment to see how little welfare recipients could live on. I appreciate the above helpful hints, but let me assure you I have tried them all and still spend at LEAST $500.00 monthly on just food alone, let alone toiletries.

Good luck!!

donna October 3, 2005 at 6:01 pm

Here is a question that I would like you to answer for me. My husband and I will never see eye to eye on this. I have 6 children, ages 14, 13, 12, 10, 6 and 4, plus my husband and I – what do you think that we should be reasonably spending on groceries each week? My husband thinks I am spending too much money and he thinks that the kids are just eating out of control – this is not the case. I pack 5 lunches four days a week (they buy hot lunch once a week). Plus breakfast, dinner and snacks. Please respond for sake of a never ending argument.

Carla August 20, 2007 at 9:47 am

This is 2 years late in coming, but, for Donna, I would guestimate you would spend about $1300 or more a month in 2007. I was so happy to read the other posts, as my husband thinks I spend way too much on groceries. I spend about $150 a week for a family of four with kids ages 12 and 9. We eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and I find that sometimes that bill is about $35 per week on the high end. I buy generic and sale items, but I also have my staples. I shop at walmart for most everything except fresh fruit and vegetables. we have a lot of farmers around here, so when I shop at the roadside stands its cheaper. I live in upstate NY and just about everything is more expensive here, so I think I am doing good.

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