Grocery Spending for November

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Since some visitors have been dropping in via J.D. Roth's excellent Get Rich Slowly blog, I thought I would post my grocery spending over the past month. (This is shopping for one person who eats out about once per week.) Recording spending like this is a great way to get it under control, with a bonus of information about your eating habits. For example, I thought I spent 75% of my food money on fruits and vegetables, but it ends up being much closer to 50%. A lot of my diet does not appear on the month's snapshot - oats, soybeans, bulgur, flour and rice showed up a month or more ago.

My shopping trips are frequent, and rather than use a list I look for good values, often spending only a few dollars per visit. I try not to buy more than I can use up over the next few days, no matter how good some things look (this is tough). Also, even though my local big grocery store flyers are linked on my blog so I can study them weekly, I often end up going to smaller, more specialized places like the Italian Centre and H&W Produce. Someone who can grocery shop only once a week and needs to buy everything in one place will have a lot different shopping pattern than mine - you need to find what works for you.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really love this idea. Not only is it good to manage where you are spending your money (something I need to be doing!), but it's always interesting to peek and see what someone else buys and eats.

Pepper said...

Hey Sara, your black bean couscous cakes are gorgeous and very frugal; wish I'd posted them first.

You know, once I saw that I was well within budget for the month, I went out and spent seventeen dollars on groceries the next day! Ai yi yi.

kazari_lu said...

This is really interesting to me. I spend around $50 a week on groceries for two of us, so about $7 a day. But I do a weekly shop - to the fruit & veg markets, then past the good weekend deli and the supermarket. As you said, different people have different patterns.
If I have left over at the end of the month, I often go to the butcher and buy a roast or something like that.

Pepper said...

Kazari - my dollars are Canadian, yours are Australian (but pretty close in value I think), and 99% of this blog's visitors are American.

Bet you can get great produce in Australia right now! I am envious.

Jonathan B. Horen said...

I'm living on a very frugal budget, but remain conscious of my nutritional requirements (I row a half-marathon six days/week on an indoor rowing machine). I eat:

1 wholegrain bagel for breakfast (package of 6, @Publix for $2.35)

1/8-cup each of rolled oats, rye flakes, oat bran, wheat bran, and ground flaxseed, together with a diced medium Granny Smith apple; microwave for 8 minutes, and then mix-in a large teaspoon of fresh-ground peanut butter ($4/lb and lasts 2 weeks). 1lb of each "grainy" ingredient lasts a month, and together they cost a bit less than $8. A 3lb bag of apples goes for $3.29 @Publix, and lasts 2 weeks.

Dinner is always the same: a salad, consisting of 2 diced tomatoes, 1 diced cucumber, 1 diced medium onion, half-a-can of canned mackeral ($1.20/can), a couple of splashes of balsamic vinegar, and a liberal drizzling of Publix extra-virgin olive oil. I buy the veggies at a Farmers' Market near the tattoo shop, along with 3-4 lbs of bananas, for a weekly cost of $9. The balsamic vinegar and olive oil cost me $15, but last for a month.

Oh, and a gallon of OJ ($4 @Publix, lasts 2 weeks)... can't start the day without a mouthful of OJ; living alone, I drink from the container -- who's to get upset?

So, $8 for OJ; $15 for "salad dressing"; $36 for veggies and bananas; ($19 for fish); $8 for peanut butter; $6.60 for apples; $9.40 for bagels; $8 for grains. That's $110, and I add 1/2-gal Half 'n Half ($3.75 for two weeks) and instant coffee ($6 for two weeks), and other assorted grains, all of which bring the monthly total to somewhat less than $140/month.

There are always some grains left-over at the end of the month, but the $140 figure is pretty solid. No treats, no crap... oh, $10/week for a 3-liter bottle of Carlo Rossi "Burgandy", a nice glass with dinner. So that's already $180/month. Still, I never waste food, or throw any away; and the packaging is minimal. I only wish they recycled here in Boca Raton, FL.

Besides giving me low Glycemic Index and low Glycemic Load foods (especially the grains), it all helps me work-out, and sure keeps me "regular"!

One more thing: instead of eating "three squares" each day, I eat 300-400 calorie meals every 3-4 hours... it's a metabolic thang.

Pepper said...

Jonathan, you are a good example of the main point - to be in control and know how much you spend on what. The total amount you are spending looks very high to me (more than what I was spending even before starting the frugal budget), but someone as physically active as you definitely needs to eat quite a bit more than I do to maintain health.

Jonathan B. Horen said...

Thank you, Pepper. The high $$ amount is that $40/month for wine. If it wasn't for the Farmers' Market, I couldn't afford to eat vegetables: I paid $0.59/lb today for vine-ripened tomatoes, which Publix sells for $2.49/lb. Cucumbers were 5/$1 at the FM, but $0.75/each at Publix. Bananas at $0.39/lb vs $0.49/lb. A week's-worth of salad-fixins and fruit for $8.13... then I put in 10-gallons of gas @2.379/gallon.

I'm hoping my food-stamps application gets approved.