Food Budget for 2 Person Family

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Heya folks,

Any ideas on how to set a reasonable monthly budget for groceries for 2 people? How much do you currently spend?

We're around $250 per month, and I'm wondering if $200 is reasonable

Thanks for reading.

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There is nothing like a reasoable number. They are all over based on discussions in a few threads. $50 to $500 per person might be the range for FWFers based on my skimming the previous threads.

There have been many discussions about it in the past and the answer really boils down to what you personally want to spend on food. Some people like food and buy expensive things. Some people eat ramen noodles. Thus we have the beauty of economics and people allocating their scarce resources on their greatest wants. Usually these food discussions break down into someone saying they live on 30 cents a day and other people arguing about how that's impossible.

richfish13 said: There have been many discussions about it in the past

Let's do it again anyway!

We spend about $320 a month. Big targets for reduction include fresh fruit and veggies, meat (especially fish), and beer. I don't feel much like reducing it. Eating well (eating what you enjoy eating) is one of the things that makes life worth living, and diminishing returns loom.

OP: why don't you give at least a little idea of what you spend on: location, store, diet, preferences, yadda yadda yadda

I would think grocery spending varies greatly from person to person. If 2 people loves to eat out, they wouldn't have to spend much on groceries. When I was a one man family (single), I spent $0 on groceries as it was always fast food take out for me, 3 meals a day everyday.

Right now, my 2 people family spend about $200 to $300 on groceries. Breakfast and lunch is never eaten at home, so we only buy groceries for dinner and snacks. We eat out about once per week for dinner also, which is not included in the $200 to $300. $200 is definitely doable, but we would have to skim down on some things.

I am single and I use to spend 400 to 500 on going out and the supermarket. I then discovered fatwallet and have cut back to 150 on grocieries and going out 2 times a month with my girlfriend.

$250/month for 2 people is great IMO, as long as your "eating out" budget isn't $300.

Our 2 person family budget has been $300 and we haven't been meeting that very well over the past few months. As others mentioned, it varies too much between people's tastes/preferences to give a recommendation on what your budget "should" be. We enjoy having a nice meal from time to time, maybe a $10-12 bottle of wine every now and then, and the occasional meal out. If we wanted to eat as cheaply as possible, we would have generic cereal for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and ramen noodles for dinner. That would probably keep us well under our current budget, but we enjoy food too much to do that...

catanpirate said: Heya folks,

Any ideas on how to set a reasonable monthly budget for groceries for 2 people? How much do you currently spend?

We're around $250 per month, and I'm wondering if $200 is reasonable

Thanks for reading.


it depends on how much these two people eat.

catanpirate said: Heya folks,

Any ideas on how to set a reasonable monthly budget for groceries for 2 people? How much do you currently spend?

We're around $250 per month, and I'm wondering if $200 is reasonable

Thanks for reading.


Yeah it sounds meaningless without knowing how much you're eating out - unless you are saying you can each eat on $4 a day, which is pretty darn impressive (I can't imagine it is fun).

With two adults and two toddlers we were easily able to stay under $200. And we ate just fine.

$800/month for 2 people here in the SF Bay Area - we rarely eat out, and over half of our monthly budget is spent on fresh produce, usually from Costco or farmer's markets. Plus my wife is a pastry chef (specializing in allergy-friendly pastries) and specialty baking products can be expensive. I'm aware that our grocery budget is well above what most would consider "reasonable", but it's one of the few spending areas we splurge on.

Our budget for eating out is $200/month, which covers 2-3 dinners out a month.

1K a month with hygien articles and restuarants.

Average ~$250-300 a month for two people (it's currently closer to $400 but my sister is staying with us for the summer- the incremental cost really isn't that bad). Most of the dry goods come from Sams club, meat is bought in family packs then divided and frozen. It'd be less if we cut down on beer and wine, and if we didn't have friends over for dinner as often.

This is the area me and misses have to work on.

Last 3 months we have averaged (per month):

$550 in groceries (includes hygiene)
$725 dining out (includes coffee + bars)

In all fairness, we have been living 5 states apart and only see eachother on the weekends, so grocery bills are slightly higher (2 homes) and when we are together, we tend to splurge all weekend after being conservative all week. In a couple weeks we'll be living together again and this is on the top of my list to address when discussing our finances.

It's all geography and diet. If you live next to a Bo-de-ga and you like moon pies and quarter water, you can do four bucks a day.

You might die a little sooner, but you will also die a little richer.

When we were 2, 50-65 dollars a week was the usual. Now, with 3 kids under 10, we spend 200-300 a week on groceries in the Northeast. Very little processed foods but vegetables and milk are not cheap.

I do not think that many people are honest about this part of their budget. We are not extravagant at all and mostly eat at home. I figured it was better not to reply to the assumptions...but thank you to those of you that are reasonable.

ES

two people at $300 a month works out to about $1.67ish a meal.

question: how can one eat a reasonable lunch/dinner for $1.67?

newlin99 said: two people at $300 a month works out to about $1.67ish a meal.

question: how can one eat a reasonable lunch/dinner for $1.67?


plenty of frozen foods for <$2, before coupon

I do about 160 a month as a single person, but that's a soft number. I go above and below it all the time depending on what's going on and various months I do Costco shopping. I seperate going out to dinner and extra goodies to about 40 a month, probably in reality a little more. Now I say a single person, but I have a little sister that raids my frig. on more than one occasion and I haven't had a need to tighten my food belt either as there are several areas I could cut back.

I can tell you, as someone else mentioned, buying "family" packs and breaking it up is a lot cheaper than buying those single packs.

About 500.00 per month. 1 person in NY. Fruits, veggies and milk seem to be the most expensive. I now buy by fruits and veggies in bulk at Costco; since it is only now about five minutes away. That should cut down on it a bit. Gas too has been cut to around 240.00 per month. Me and my gf go out to dinner once or twice a week. We switch off paying. Would rather cook than go out, but she likes to go out. She's the spender, I'm the tightwad.

What is reasonable for a house hold to spend it VERY dependent on location, store competition, use of planning, sales and coupons.

It is even MORE dependent on exactly what you define as groceries. Do you include only edibles or does this spending also include paper goods (tissue, toilet paper,paper towels), personal care items (shampoo, deoterant, toothpaste...), cleaning supplies (laundry detergent, furniture polish, bath & window cleaners...) and animal stuff (food, litter...)?

I am a single in a moderatly high cost of living area. Stores here do NOT offer the same deals I see discussed on other shopping/saving forums. NO stores EVER offer double/triple coupons up to ANY amount. I spend $25-30/week (eating out is separate and that is another $25-30/month). For two people I would allow 1.5-1.8x that amount because cleaning & animal stuff remains the same for 1 or 2.

Family of 2 here in NJ and we're probably over $500 a month. We eat out maybe once or twice a month, but eat fairly healthy, not a ton of processed food. We do shop for chicken, vegtables, water, etc at BJs. We make lunch every day for work. Not sure how we could cut down, most of the coupons we see are for fast food type and junk products.

Single here I spend about $30 a week eating/drinking out and about $20 a week grocery or less. So $200 a month ish. The reason grocery is so inexpensive is I have a small garden, cook for myself, use coupons, use CVS freebess (I actually tend to make money on toothpaste and other personal hygene things)So if I wanted to cut out the beer and pork nuggets at LHs I could move a food /supermarket type supplies/budget to under $150 but I like going out with friends for beer after sailing.

zeusrock1 said: Family of 2 here in NJ and we're probably over $500 a month. We eat out maybe once or twice a month, but eat fairly healthy, not a ton of processed food. We do shop for chicken, vegtables, water, etc at BJs. We make lunch every day for work. Not sure how we could cut down, most of the coupons we see are for fast food type and junk products.
I'm not sure you actually want the suggestion but how you could if you wanted to cut down
1. stop buying water buy a few nalgene bottles and refill
2. chicken ect is actually usually cheaper at the regular grocery store on sale so stock up when on sale
3. frozen veggies get coupons all the time
4.personal hygene items soap toothpaste ect are often free after coupons on sale

newlin99 said: two people at $300 a month works out to about $1.67ish a meal.

question: how can one eat a reasonable lunch/dinner for $1.67?


Buy rice in 5lb bags.
Buy Asian noodles in 10lb packs.
Buy pasta in 10lb packs.
Buy basic pasta sauce/bacon/heavy cream/eggs in WalMart or onsale.

Buy beef/lamb/pork in 5-10 lb packs
Buy entire salmon/whatever other fish whole ( you may have to find a fish place vs. going to WholeFoods) - it would run about $2.50/lb for salmon.
Buy entire chickens when they are at $0.69-$0.99$/lb - it happens periodically
When you are at home, cut beef/lamb/pork/salmon/chickens into portion sizes and freeze.
Make chicken/beef/lamb/fish stock, split it in 1/4 quart sizes and freeze them individually.

Buy potatoes/onions/garlic when on sale as it lasts forever.
Buy the rest as you need it.

Buy spices in asian or indian stores - you would be amazed how cheap stuff is.

I'd guess that I spend anywhere from $20 to $50 per week on groceries for myself depending on what I feel like cooking. I know that I could trim that number if I really wanted to, but I enjoy cooking and good food makes me happy so I'm not going to obsess over every penny.

On a somewhat related note, I think that one of the best money-savings skills I got from my parents was how to cook reasonably well. It's unbelievable how many people my age live off of fast food, take out & tv dinners. I don't say this to sound snooty, it's just that that sort of a diet quickly turns into an evil, money eating monster.

EvilCapitalist said:
Buy potatoes/onions/garlic when on sale as it lasts forever.


Much to my surprise garlic does not last forever, and when it starts to go bad it makes the most unbelievable stench in the world.

newlin99 said: two people at $300 a month works out to about $1.67ish a meal.

question: how can one eat a reasonable lunch/dinner for $1.67?


Beans. Rice. Beans and rice.

Back when I was poor, I spent about $15 a week on groceries. This was ~20 years ago.

ppatin said: On a somewhat related note, I think that one of the best money-savings skills I got from my parents was how to cook reasonably well. It's unbelievable how many people my age live off of fast food, take out & tv dinners. I don't say this to sound snooty, it's just that that sort of a diet quickly turns into an evil, money eating monster.

Agreed. I don't consider myself a great cook but I can make basic pasta sauce or stir-fry and it's a huge savings over prepackaged stuff, and healthier than takeout. Thanks mom!

Unfortunately dad passed on his appreciation for wine...not good for the budget...

JennaG said: Unfortunately dad passed on his appreciation for wine...not good for the budget...

Wine prevents heart disease though, and you can buy many bottles of wine for the cost of one angioplasty

Now if only I could get my health insurance company to pay for wine...

The economy is so bad lately that I recently had to stop buying all my meat and ice cream.

Before we had our daughter, we were probably at $125/wk / $500/mo. With daughter we're probably up to $600/mo easy. But we eat healthy. Fruits, vegetables, meat, whole wheat products, etc. etc. The only way to really cut your grocery budget is to do three things:

1. Make bigger meals and use leftovers.
2. Buy generic when it isn't a huge compromise in taste.
3. Buy more processed/boxed/canned/frozen stuff and avoid fresh veggies, meat, seafood.

ppatin said: JennaG said: Unfortunately dad passed on his appreciation for wine...not good for the budget...
Wine prevents heart disease though, and you can buy many bottles of wine for the cost of one angioplasty
Now if only I could get my health insurance company to pay for wine...

Not a chance! But your sailing membership is getting you wine tonight (we have someone bringing cases for a tasting tonightin addition to the normal kegs of beer)
Jenna- I've volunteered for many a charity wine tasting pour a few drink a few occaionally go home with a bottle or two. Also wine festivals usually want a volunteer for a few hours and it is amazing how many bottles you get volunteering to clean up.

ppatin said:
Much to my surprise garlic does not last forever, and when it starts to go bad it makes the most unbelievable stench in the world.


That's interesting - i had some of it for nearly a year in a fridge.

EvilCapitalist said: ppatin said:
Much to my surprise garlic does not last forever, and when it starts to go bad it makes the most unbelievable stench in the world.


That's interesting - i had some of it for nearly a year in a fridge.


Ah, in the fridge it probably does last forever. I kept mine in a tupperware (fridge space is always in short supply when you have a roommate, and if I leave it out in the open then it'll attract mice) which is probably why it got so foul.

newlin99 said: two people at $300 a month works out to about $1.67ish a meal.

question: how can one eat a reasonable lunch/dinner for $1.67?


It's more like .25-.50 for breakfast, 1.00 for lunch and 3.50-4.00 for dinner.

About every other night I eat something that's filling and tastes great, and costs about $1-2 to make (examples below). Then it averages out to $5 a day and allows me to splurge on something like steak or fish several times a week. Plus it doesn't hurt your health to eat fresh home-made vegetarian dishes every so often.

Examples:
Beans and rice, with some cheese, chilies, tomato, or frozen veggies
Potatoes - baked/pancakes/fries/mashed/whatever cheap filling and tasty
Eggs - add to almost anything for extra cheap protein and flavor
Anything baked from scratch: pizza, cornbread, bran muffins, banana bread, cookies, brownies, waffles, all this stuff is dirt cheap if made from scratch
From scratch soups - ingredients are about $1/pound, but 60% of the mass is water <-- I think this is the biggest saver, it costs about $3 for 10 servings of lentil soup and it fills like a main dish

IOW a good cookbook is the key to eating cheaply

marketingmike said: newlin99 said: two people at $300 a month works out to about $1.67ish a meal.

question: how can one eat a reasonable lunch/dinner for $1.67?


Beans. Rice. Beans and rice.


No joke. I knew a guy our senior year of college who would cook up a pot of rice and beans, spread it on a cookie sheet, freeze it, and then eat rice and bean chips. He claimed he was eating for $0.15/day. Of course, that isn't the most balanced diet.

Skipping 16 Messages...
mahlax said:
Anybody else seeing this phenomenon where they live? Or have a guess at the reason?


Not here - we have tons of hipster friendly places replacing super-special, hipster-friendly products with something more reasonable.

Hippies/hipsters used to buy those goods with parent's paid credit cards or parents financed lifestyles. The local market charged what hipsters...errr... hipster parents were able to afford to pay for the goods. Since hipsters ran out of money they stopped frequenting local market and the local market had to find the next acceptable price to entice other people to come in.

I can't wait until the fake "organic" farmer markets go bust - it is absolutely amazing how easily people who are skeeved to cut a whole chicken into pieces can be convinced to part with $4/lb for organic/never sprayed/picked yesterday apples with traces of wax and PLU labels on some.



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