How do you stick to a food budget?

June 4, 2013

Just another day at the park with Brooke’s posse.  She had a whole park at her disposal and yet she still prefers playing with my keys.

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Brooke likes to take her nap now right around the time that Billy gets home from work and when we eat dinner so I do cool things like hang out on the deck and take a picture of B$ as he is walking by.  

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He requested spaghetti and meatballs for dinner last night and I added to that request some garlic bread (one piece is never enough) and steamed carrots).

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We finished and then Brooker woke up.  She now claps about 70% of the time that she is awake.  I am worried about her hands that they may blister.  Another new thing is that she wakes up very sweaty from her naps… 

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For weeks Billy and I have been talking about trying Wendy’s new Frosty Waffle Cones so we decided to walk there last night to grab some.  I underestimated how far away Wendy’s was from us.   I will run for miles every day but heaven forbid I go for a long walk.  Maybe I just really wanted my ice cream and it was taking too long to get to it. 

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I went with vanilla on the bottom and chocolate on top so that I could really tell you what I thought of the cone because you all know that most of this blog’s content is about ice cream.  They were $1.50 each and delicious.  I liked the vanilla way better than the chocolate.  

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Speaking of money, I have officially made a goal to finally stick to a grocery budget.  Not that I go overboard or anything but I don’t ever keep track of how much we spend on groceries and I think we could definitely save money if I paid more attention to it.  When we lived in Utah we were very mindful of our food budget (plus we ate a lot of our meals at my mom’s house) so I want to get back to that.  

The only problem is that I really don’t know how much to set aside for food (eating out budget is different… we eat out together about once a week and then I usually go out to lunch once a week).   This month will be kind of an experimental month where I stick to not buying random extra things, buy things on sale and keep track of every thing that we spend for the month so that I can make a goal for July to stick to.  Make sense?  (PPS I have a separate donut category outside of the grocery budget)

Do you have a monthly grocery budget? Are you good at sticking to your budget?

If you don’t mind sharing how much your grocery budget is and for how many people that might be helpful for people like me that are clueless:)

Who else has tried Wendy’s Waffle Cones?  Any Frosty fans?

Elizabeth @ My Neon Running Shoes June 4, 2013 at 5:03 am

I had no idea Wendy’s made waffle cones! I don’t do a specific budget bit I’d guess to feel our family it’s about $75 a week. My bills are usually around there.

Ps. Did you know it’s national running day tomorrow???

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Jen June 4, 2013 at 6:14 am

National running day!!! That’s awesome!

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Wendy @ New Moms Talk June 4, 2013 at 5:05 am

Our grocery budget is $200/mo for the hub, myself, and our 6 mo old daughter. We figure $25/week is plenty and it keeps us in check.

We allocate another $33/month for Costco and $50/month for meals out.

We’ve bought local grocery gift cards to help us keep to the budget (when it’s gone, it’s gone. If there’s a great sale, we’ll consider adding to it.).

We’re still trying to figure out how to work farmers markets into the grocery budget. Is it a separate category or not?

Oh, and BK has vanilla cones for 50 cents right now. Not the 25 cents of last summer, but for $1.08 Scott and I enjoyed a wonderful treat on Sunday!

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Presh June 4, 2013 at 5:16 am

I guess I just suck. $200 a month. I think I go over that and it’s just me! You are awesome lol. I need to do better. I like the gift card idea!

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Wendy @ New Moms Talk June 4, 2013 at 5:27 am

Our food/money discussions (and all discussions) are compassionately brutally honest.

On what do we want to spend money? Is there a better alternative? Why are we eating out? Can we make it for less? What are our financial habits? Why are we spending money on this now?

If we had a spare $50, $5, $100, what would we do with it? Etc.

On Sunday, we spent $4.65 on: 1 coffee, 1 bottle of Gatorade, 2 bagels, 2 power bars.. aka fuel for an open water swim and a hike. It was at the local grocery store.

My hub is used to spending a LOT more, but has come far since we’ve met and married on eating more at home, etc. I had to be patient or we would have battled respectfully. Not my idea of fun at times.

At the same time, if there’s a moment when it feels best to go out, there’s money there for it because it’s less frequent and our habits have changed.

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Sharisse June 4, 2013 at 8:14 am

Wow! I must commend you on your budget of $200/mo. I really like the questions you ask yourself and would love to start doing that with my own spending habits. I think it’s hard to face the root of your reasons why you spend so much and you found a good way to deal with that- being very honest.

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Wendy @ New Moms Talk June 4, 2013 at 9:47 am

Thank you for your kind response.

I’ve always loved getting to root causes of matters. I once asked a professor, “who are you?” because she didn’t introduce herself. I wound up doing my Master’s with her as a result!

It’s not always easy, but I find it very beneficial. Being honest saves me time. It probably saves me a bunch of money, too. It takes courage to do it, and it also takes patience.

Sometimes we might not be consciously aware of the answer(s), and that’s okay. During those times, I’ll write the question(s) down and put them in a box or send them to myself in an e-mail. Eventually the answer(s) surface(s).

All the best to you,

Wendy

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Megan June 4, 2013 at 5:05 am

I definitely have a budget and attempt to stay at it every week. I buy most of my produce at trader joes and normally spend around $20-$25. Then I go to harris teeter, which is the nice chain around here and spend another $20 or so on meat and anything on the inner isles. I am only buying for one!

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Kari @ Running Ricig June 4, 2013 at 5:07 am

We don’t really have a budget, but we do spend between $70-$90 a week on groceries. It’s enough food for two endurance runners. We go out to eat maybe once a week on top of that.

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Emma @ Culturecopia June 4, 2013 at 5:09 am

Even though I’m not an ice cream fan I do love frosty’s! Weird, I know :). I haven’t tried their new cone though, so once I’m back in Canada I think I must. I don’t stick to a certain food budget, but I usually spend around 30-40 dollars per week, but that’s just for me!

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Julia B. June 4, 2013 at 5:11 am

I have tried to budget for food in the past but have struggled with keeping it. I am not good at planning meals so I end up buying more stuff “just in case”. I think we (me +husband) probably spend $75 per week in food. I’ve never tried those waffle cones before…I can’t remember the last time I went to Wendy’s!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. June 4, 2013 at 5:11 am

Vanilla ice cream will always, always beat out chocolate ice cream for me. I’m a huge chocolate fan, but when it comes to ice cream, I just find that it’s never quite chocolatey enough, whereas vanilla makes me weak in the knees.

And I wish I could offer some advice on budgeting, but that’s something I kind of struggle with as well. I know I probably spend a little too much on food, which is probably why I avoid thinking about it… aaaand saying it that way makes it sound horrible lol. I’ll probably end up taking a closer look at how much I spend weekly and see where I can cut back, though.

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Sarah @PickyRunner June 4, 2013 at 5:11 am

I shop for just myself and my parents have a grocery budget for me of $75/week. I feel like I live pretty well though and go out for dinner and buy pretty much whatever I want with that money. So it could definitely be stretched further than one person. I prefer vanilla ice cream to chocolate any day but chocolate is still one of my favorite flavors for other things. It’s so good but for some reason, vanilla based ice cream just tastes way better.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey June 4, 2013 at 5:13 am

For the two of us, we stick to a $300/month budget. That is not including lunches/dinners out. We typically eat out once a week and during the school year I have my own spending money for going out to lunch twice a week. I think our budget is really doable – but I’m sure when I have two hungry girls to feed, we’ll have to increase it to at least $400/month.

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Emma @ a mom runs this town June 4, 2013 at 5:13 am

I’m awful at setting budgets but will read everyone’s suggestions! I get yelled at all the time for unnecessary necessary purchases!

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Wendy @ New Moms Talk June 4, 2013 at 5:38 am

Just something to consider… or for me to share… perhaps it will help.

I’d get frustrated with myself for unnecessary purchases, too. My Dad was a tremendous budget man (he does it for work..eek!). I learned as a kid to ask myself “do I need it or do I want it?” Sometimes it sucked being responsible as a kid for money, but it was good.

My hub and I will often wander through stores, hold onto items, and then decide later “want or need?” The holding onto it makes me feel good, as if “hey, this is cool” and as we walk sometimes I go, “oh, but I don’t really need it.”

It takes more time and might sound completely bizarre, yet it works for us. Even in thrift shops. Just because it’s flashy/catches my eye/etc. doesn’t mean I need it. Sometimes slowing down while shopping also means I remember what I have at home.

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Presh June 4, 2013 at 5:15 am

I sometimes hate walking. I think because I walk so slow. I’d just rather run lol.
Those cones look good though! I use to love chocolate frosty’s but haven’t had one in literally yearrsss! In my head I have a budget. I don’t stick to it well but I need too. It’s suppose to be $100-$125 every 2 weeks. But that quickly goes out the window. I think I spend like $75 every week roughly. Party of 1. lol.

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Presh June 4, 2013 at 5:18 am

I’ve come to the conclusion from reading everyone else answers that I spend way too much lol.

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Rileigh July 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

I feel you. I’m a party of one and I’ve spent from $50-$80 a week. I’d started out with a budget of $50. I guess part of it is the fact that I get a lot of pre-made food. I don’t have any pots and pans where I am for the summer, and working 9 hours a day, commuting an hour, and running more than 50 miles a week leaves me with a lack of time and causes me to be really hungry.

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Alisha @ Gluten Free Perspective June 4, 2013 at 5:20 am

I actually don’t have a grocery budget, but I probably should! It’s just me and my husband and we spend anywhere from 50-100/week.

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Kimberly @ Keeping up With Kimberly June 4, 2013 at 5:21 am

I’m just 1 person and I spend about $150/month at the grocery. I try to limit eating out – I usually have 1 dinner and 2 lunches out per month. I keep ice cream and froyo runs separate!

I love frostys but haven’t had the waffle cone yet. I think I’ll add that to my to do list for this weekend!

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Karen @ Runner Girl Eats June 4, 2013 at 5:21 am

I NEED to do this. I know that we waste so much money on groceries. I think I will make this my goal for this month. And I’m sorry, but chocolate Frostys will always be the best.

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Jenn June 4, 2013 at 5:22 am

People who can feed 2/3 mouths on $20-$25 dollars a week amaze me! I think that is such a skill! I am rubbish at budgeting on stuff like that… I live in the UK and have often gone to buy food for dinner that night on the way home from work, and have easily spent £15, so those spending $20 for the week is brilliant! I just got back from lunch where I had a sandwich and a coke and that cost me £10 (I live in London so things are super pricey), so budgeting for food tends to go out the window when hunger strikes!

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Annie June 4, 2013 at 6:36 am

I hear you! I’m in france so things are a little cheaper than england but I can easily spend the same as you on just a lunch out (sandwich and a drink). I came back earlier this morning from my grocery and I spent 60€ (approx 50£) on groceries for just me. That shop will last me about 1.5/2 weeks. I did have to stock up on things like peanut butter, butter, flour, oats… which added to the bill but on a basic week I never spend less than 35€

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Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama June 4, 2013 at 5:23 am

FYI, Katie at Running4Cupcakes is doing a grocery challenge right now and tracking her family’s monthly grocery expenses. She’s got lots of great tips and practical advice!

We don’t really track our monthly grocery spending, but I do know it has gone up over the last few years. We buy a lot more produce and fresh food now, so that has definitely contributed. Plus we’ve got two more hungry mouths to feed, and our girls can really put a hurtin’ on food! The Farmer’s Market is a great way to get lots of fresh fruits and veggies at great prices while support local farmers. Win-win!

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Ashley @ OurPersonalRecords June 4, 2013 at 5:24 am

I do not have a grocery budget. I could really be better about groceries, but I hate grocery shopping so much that I refuse to go to more than one store to get the things that are on sale. It’s pretty lazy. For myself and my boyfriend we spend around $500 a month on groceries, but that’s including some expensive gluten-free items. After reading the other comments that sounds like a lot! I’m sure there is an app to help organize all your grocery information.

Also, love that Brooke only has the one jelly on in that first picture!

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Lorraine@runbuns13.blogspot.com June 4, 2013 at 5:24 am

I really have no idea of what we spend per week on food. We just buy whatever and never kept track. Maybe I should try it too?

I like Mcd’s cones. at $1.00 they taste better then DQ.. but I might have to try Wendy’s cone… yum! I’m an ice cream addict too!

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Kim @ hungry Healthy Girl June 4, 2013 at 5:26 am

Thise Wendy’s cones look amazing! I’m sure they were totally worth the walk!

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deirdre | Oh Well Whatever June 4, 2013 at 5:31 am

Ok I obviously need to learn to cut back then after reading the above comments. I try to stick to $120 a week, this is for myself, husband and toddler and that budget doesn’t include diapers/wipes.

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Bridie June 4, 2013 at 5:33 am

Ours has varied over time. I have a monthly budget for Costco ~ $250, then for Hy-Vee (local grocery store) ~ $50 / week and Target – monthly $75, and we get an organic produce bin delivered weekly for $40 / week, but lately I haven’t been spending that much at Target. That is for 2 adults and 2 boys (4 & 8) and we rarely eat out and the 8 yr old takes his lunch to school / summer program every day. Two years ago I went through a major couponing phase and got a good pantry and freezer stash going. So now, I only buy staples like pasta, frozen veggies, snack foods, when they are on sale for dirt cheap and I stock up. I use the Costco coupons and stock up on snack foods and gatorade, cleaning supplies only when they have coupons for it. So my grocery $ include paper towels, toilet paper, detergent, etc. Hope that helps!

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Erin @ GoBananasBlog June 4, 2013 at 5:34 am

The hubby and I do $200/paycheck (i.e. $400/month) and it is just us two. That is our eat out budget and grocery budget combined. What we usually find is that it determines how we eat. If we find ourselves eating out a lot, we usually don’t have a lot of food at home. If we go on a big grocery run, it forces us to not go out to eat because we don’t have the extra money.

I carry an extra wallet with our food money in cash. We find that we track better when we use cash and it is a finite amount. It has really worked for us. We are also getting better at ending up with some leftover cash each pay period.

We do say that if there were a special occasion, it does not come out of food money since most times those aren’t planned. For example, if we have a friend from out of town come and want to go out to eat, we pay attention to how much we spend but don’t take that out of food money. Same applies to birthdays and anniversaries. Since those are pretty infrequent, it doesn’t impact us too much.

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Jamie June 4, 2013 at 5:37 am

We spend about $50 a week for two of us, but I’m always trying to bring that number down! We eat out probably once a week, too, but keep it cheap ;)

This is the USDA’s official cost of food plan. Based on the number/ages of people in your family, it gives you several numbers of how much you can expect to pay for food. I think that even the thrifty plan is a lot of money per week, but it may help you start your budget!

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2013/CostofFoodApr2013.pdf

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Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles June 4, 2013 at 6:34 am

That was very useful and actually made me feel better about what we spend! Thanks.

The Kidless Kronicles

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The Hungry Runner Girl June 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

Wow that is so cool! Thank you so much!

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becka June 4, 2013 at 8:35 am

Wow. That chart is fascinating. There is no way I could afford to spend that on food. The “low cost” plan is 20-25% of my take home! What.

Interesting, thanks for sharing!

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Julia June 4, 2013 at 9:36 am

Wow! I was thinking we spend a TON for two people but according to that we’re in the low-moderate range.

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Kendra June 4, 2013 at 10:21 am

thanks for this. after reading the above comments, i thought i spent a TON on food for two people. but after looking at this chart, we are probably juuuust over the ‘low cost’ plan (including most paper products, toiletry items, etc.). phew!

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Elise @ Expeditions of Elise June 4, 2013 at 5:40 am

I’ve started keeping track of my food spending just recently! I’m living in an apartment this summer, so I’m actually buying my own food as opposed to living on campus during the school year (I’m an RA and we get a meal plan). When I’m at home I can spend however much money I want, but I feel like I should be more attentive when it’s just me. It’s going to be a challenge!

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Hailey June 4, 2013 at 5:40 am

I’m experimenting with this too. Cutting costs, not corners. I have a family of three (myself, boyfriend, and his soon to-be 7 year old son). We eat A LOT!

If you haven’t started with meal planning, I would suggest starting there. Plan out everyone’s meal for each day of the week. Do that for a month or two and you’ll give yourself a baseline for how much money you spend. Then you can challenge yourself to make a weekly menu spending less.

I’ve been menu planning since I was 7 with my mom. It’s natural for me. So now I get to search for deals and quick meals. With Riley into baseball after school, the boyfriend and I in leadership and networking groups, I’m constantly challenged. On average we spend $100/week on food. That’s usually 5 meals on the table for dinner and lunch. Breakfast is at home everyday.

There are weeks that it’s impossible to get dinner on the table between everyone’s schedule so we eat out more often. Generally speaking though, if you take the time to make a menu, you will spend less because you don’t have to think about it.

Good luck and happy saving!

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated June 4, 2013 at 5:41 am

Our grocery budget (for two of us) is around $350. But now that I’m becoming a stay at home mom, we may need to try to get that number down a little … since we’ll only be having one income. But my husband eats A LOT (you wouldn’t know it to look at him!), so it adds up quickly!

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Samantha @ 24 to 30 June 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

When it was just my husband and I most of the time, I could do $60 a week but that was several years ago. My household is myself, my husband, two teenage boys, and a two year old, and I try to stick to $150 per week. I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Aldi (not sure if it’s nationwide), and it saves a ton, especially on produce. I also do the best I can to pre-plan meals and buy things on sale. With that being said, with teenagers in the house I feel like I could easily spend $300+ a week if I was buying everything they wanted. I do not buy pop, chips, very many specialty items, etc. I can already tell that this number may be higher in the summer since the boys are home all day (but, we’re not giving them lunch money so it evens out) and we will be grilling a lot more instead of having casseroles, etc which are typically cheaper to make. I get lunch from the Kroger salad bar one day per week and my husband usually gets lunch out one day per week.

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Mary @ minutes per mile June 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

I live in dc which is very expensive and I eat A LOT and maybe go out once or Ero times a week. I try to stick to $75-$90 a week on groceries. Some weeks I have to buy thi g like olive oil or coffee which pushes it closer to 90. Good luck!

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Deana June 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

We are also trying to work on this. We are a family of 5 (with 3 of them being younger boys). When I do happen to make it to the grocery store for a week supply we tend to spend ~130. This is not buying anything ‘extra in the grocery store. However, we tend to eat out a couple times a week, and daycare feeds our boys breakfast/lunch. If we were all home during the week, it could quickly go higher.

I do have a decent pantry supply of side items, and I really want to try to start working through that more.

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Ali June 4, 2013 at 7:43 am

I stock my pantry so that it has enough for about 1.5 months and at the end of that time, I restock. I buy canned foods in bulk and pastas/rice and it really saves $! I also have an emergency pantry that I don’t touch unless it’s an emergency :)

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Kelly in Canada June 4, 2013 at 5:52 am

I am in the process of tracking/cutting down unnecessary food costs. Here in Canada food does tend to be more expensive, so my $50/week does not go very far. With that, I have enough for what I bring for lunches, staples for breakfasts (steel cut oats and berries), and usually something for dinners. It does not really allow for any extras like snack foods to have around the house, packaged dinners, or extra food to have people over for large meals. It feeds me all right when I’m training, but I am looking forward to being able to budget more for food.

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Noelle June 4, 2013 at 5:53 am

In Boston it’s expensive but still we like our food so we are ok having our budget a little on the high side. I try not to go over $100 a week but we also add to our food storage every week. Also, the most expensive items are my fruits and vegetables and I just refuse to cut back on those! I’m impressed with everyone budgets!

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jillian June 4, 2013 at 5:59 am

We have a family of 5, a middleschooler, and two in elementary. we rarlery eat out . I spend about $180.00 per week. And that includes everything from food to toliet paper toothpaste, cat litter ect.. school lunches and snacks. I make alot of things homemade, and try not to waste. Buying in Bulk is key for our family of 5, but only the things that you see yourself buying everyweek. that can save lots of money.

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Nicole @Pink Elephant on Parade June 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

I have two budgets: a grocery budget and a cupcake budget. The two are completely separate and totally independent of each other, but I do go to Sprinkles to save money when they have a buy one get one free cupcake “secret phrase” posted to facebook.

I’m one person and I can live off of $100 a month for groceries and eating out in DC. I shop at Trader Joe’s usually ’cause it convenient and cheap and eating out usually consists of an $8 falafel burger every other week. Unlike everyone else I work with, I pack my lunch and bring it from home, which saves me about $40-$50/week.

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Leah @ Running with the Hayneses June 4, 2013 at 6:02 am

I think you better have a separate ice cream budget, too! ;)

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Lindsey June 4, 2013 at 6:03 am

We kinda do, but its easy to stick to. We only really try to stay within in after a couple months of going way above.
Ours is $600/month which includes household items as well. Usually that is $50-70 a week plus two Costco trips, then the other misc stuff.
I LOVE Frosty’s! Had one the other night and hadn’t in a long time so when the asked chocolate or vanilla I was confused, I did not even know there was vanilla. I had godd old chocolate in a cup.

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Katie @ running4cupcakes June 4, 2013 at 6:04 am

Brooke and Luke are stroller twins! Love that umbrella stroller. I am doing a grocery budget challenge on my blog right now and it is going really well. . . The things that have been the most helpful are 1. cash in an envelope and 2. no impulse buys!!

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Lauren @ The Highlands Life June 4, 2013 at 6:07 am

Grocery budgets are hard I think. I try to stick to $200 or less a month for my husband, baby and I. Obviously making A’s baby food is super cheap compared to our food but we also have a bi-weekly date night and that seems to be where we spend more money (obviously that doesn’t come out of the grocery budget) but I feel like it’s totally worth an extra $50-100 a month on top of our grocery bill to have date nights.

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Andrea June 4, 2013 at 6:08 am

When we were working on a grocery budget, I started by keeping track on what we were spending on average for a couple of pay cycles. That helped to create a realistic budget, instead of just assigning a random number, and breaking the budget b/c it wasn’t attainable. Also, to save money, I stopped buying things that were ridiculous and unnecessary (like endless coconut water?, buying whole sweet potatoes instead of pre-made sweet potato fries), meal planning, and using what we have on hand, not wasting food. Also, def keep eating out budget separate from grocery budget–when I try to mix the 2, I also go over budget. Hope that helps! :)

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Emily @ Running for Boston June 4, 2013 at 6:08 am

Hm, I don’t have a food budget but I probably need one or at least should start thinking about budgets in general. I live with the folks at the moment as I’m trying to save money for my own place. Life transitions are sometimes fun and sometimes….not. My folks are great people, thank god.

I just went to Wendy’s the other day, I had NO idea they had waffle cones. How in the world did I miss that one?!

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Colleen June 4, 2013 at 6:10 am

I have our food budget/plan down to a science. I cut/upload coupons Wed pm, create meals/shopping list Thur pm, shop Fri am, and meal prep Sun pm. We eat out once a week and it usually costs $22….yep, down to a science. It’ll be interesting to see the budget changes once we get the baby we are trying to adopt.
You should compare grocery shopping trips pre and post Brooke.

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Ali Mc June 4, 2013 at 6:10 am

Oh man I saw those cones on a commercial and I’m prego so this post just makes me need one ASAP!!!!! Looks like I know where today’s walk will take me ;)

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Caitlin June 4, 2013 at 6:11 am

I make a list every week and I stick to it- the only exception being when something we regularly use is super on sale and I can freeze it, so I buy several. It’s just me and my husband, but I always cook for 4 and we eat the same thing two nights in a row. I also make sure to plan a cheap meal every week- grilled cheese sandwiches and soup or veggie burgers and steamed veggies to help save money. I avoid buying prechopped items and instead will buy a whole head of cauliflower or broccoli. I’ve shopped at several stores, but I go out of the way to shop at Trader Joe’s ’cause I seriously save $$ by shopping there.

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Erin June 4, 2013 at 6:13 am

We spend $150 a week for our household of 5 people.

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Leah @ Running with the Hayneses June 4, 2013 at 6:15 am

My husband and I spend about $50 a week on food, though I don’t have a budget or keep track of things religiously. We have a huge garden, which provides us with all of our vegetables for about half the year, plus we raise chickens for meat and eggs. I make a lot of things from scratch, like bread and tortillas. And we just generally eat really simply.

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Tracey @ Life Is Different Here June 4, 2013 at 6:15 am

Wow. Our grocery budget is around $1000/month. I feed 7 people 2 meals a day and 6 of us are here all day, everyday. Three teenagers that would eat even more if I’d let them! I can only imagine what will happen when the 10 & 12 year old boys hit their growth spurts! Ahhhhh!

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Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles June 4, 2013 at 6:16 am

I am struggling with a food budget right now as well. We are just two people, how do we spend so much on food? I was going to try a cash envelope for food, but that was blown away by a trip to Costco. Although I should just subtract that and start with the lower amount. It was food related.

Right now, we are eating through the freezer to try and reduce what I have stockpiled and then start from there.

The Kidless Kronicles

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Becky June 4, 2013 at 6:17 am

There are 6 of us (me, hubby, 4 kids) and we spend about $80 a week, plus we go to Costco about twice a month and spend probably $50-$75 each time. But Costco runs include diapers, paper products, etc. I also get most all my produce at Costco. We also go out to eat about once a week.

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats June 4, 2013 at 6:18 am

Oh I’m so awful about spending money on food. I probably spend at least $100 a week… On myself.

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Jen June 4, 2013 at 6:20 am

I try to stick to a budget…..but I am not very good at keeping up with it. We went to Wendy’s the other day and didn’t see the cone till after we already got our frostys but we plan on trying it in thievery near future!!!

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Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy June 4, 2013 at 6:21 am

I have a family of 4 (and the two of us Adults are long distance runners that eat very healthy and not much processed foods.) I TRY to stick to $100 a week but it’s really hard. I usually end up spending $150 a week because we buy so many specialty items, (grass-fed.. ect) eat so much, and I cook and bake a lot from scratch. I try to buy as much off brand as I can though.

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Laurel June 4, 2013 at 6:23 am

Wow i love reading these comments! Everyone has such different numbers. We spend ~$85/week on groceries for 2 adults. We don’t eat meat but we eat a ton of fruits and veggies! We also eat out dinner 1-2x/week but never lunch.

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Erica June 4, 2013 at 6:28 am

For 2 of us, I spend between $60-75 a week at the grocery store. In fact last week my total was 69.69, and the check out man (who was probably 65) chuckles and says “it never stops being funny does it”

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Renee @ Renee Runs Miles June 4, 2013 at 6:28 am

I spend probably $150/week on food, diapers, baby formula, toiletries, household items etc for a family of 5 (with boys 4, 2, and 7 months). This doesn’t include eating out…and that’s about $15/week. I would love to not eat out to save that money ($60ish a month!) and to just eat better, but it’s so easy to eat out after church.

I know that meal planning saves me a ton money.

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Kattrina June 4, 2013 at 6:29 am

I don’t know where all your readers live, but I’d like to move there! I live in the DC area and I menu plan every week and have a food budget of $100 a week for groceries. I was able to stick to that a while ago but I feel like food keeps getting more and more expensive so it’s practically impossible these days. A couple of weeks ago I spent $179 and then the following week I spent $150. This week I spent $125 but I didn’t get everything I needed. Boo. So much of my salary goes toward food and it’s just my hubs, our 9 month old, and me. And I don’t buy much process foods and cook almost everything from scratch. So frustrating!!!

P.S. I do try to eat organic as much as possible, especially for the baby’s sake…so that makes it a bit more expensive. But still – people above me said they spend $75!!!

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kathryn December 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Here’s a suggestion:
If so much of your salary goes towards food, if you worked on lowering your food budget you could quit work. By the time you figure in childcare, transportation,work clothes, eating out because you are tired, how much are you realling making by working?
My husband and I spend about $50 a week, and we eat very well.We also buy treat food.All toiletries, paper products are included too. There are so many ways to reduce/reuse/recyle.
There is also a lot of waste. How many times have we tossed an apple out that had a bruise. Instead cut off that bruise, chop the rest up and toss into the pot of oatmeal on the stove.Add some cinnamon…yummm.

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Katie June 4, 2013 at 6:30 am

Oh man, I’m not even going to say what our grocery budget is after seeing everyone else’s. it’s embarrassingly high and I still go over nearly every month! Clearly I am terrible at it. I’m super impressed by you guys.

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries June 4, 2013 at 6:30 am

There’s two of us and then our little newborn (which really doesn’t matter except for the fact that he makes me a hungry beast from breastfeeding!), and we spend about $50-60 per week on groceries. Some weeks are slightly less and some are slightly more. We have a Costco membership and get our staples there – bread, milk, eggs, peanut butter, etc, but make a conscious effort to rarely buy any extras because it’s easy to go broke there! Then we do the rest of our grocery shopping at Smith’s or Wal-Mart.

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Chelsea @ LittleOneRuns June 4, 2013 at 6:31 am

About $400 for 3 grown people, what can I say, we like to eat :)
I use to get their frostys, and always wished they would make a strawberry flavor, not sure if they ever did or not, but I did always like the vanilla and adding PB M&M’s to it :D

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Elizabeth @ Positive Changes June 4, 2013 at 6:52 am

For my husband and myself we allocate $80-$100 per week. We do our shopping on Sunday and really search for sales and things on managers special. We eat a lot of produce so the bulk of our money goes to this. We don’t eat out really and if we are, we typically go to Chipotle. We love to cook and we don’t really like spending money on food if we have food at home! We are pretty good about sticking to that budget, if we do need something throughout the week we will go get it however! This is also including paper towels, soap, dishwasher supplies, hair/body wash.

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Lindsey @ OneMotherofaDay June 4, 2013 at 6:53 am

We do have a weekly budget that includes all grocery, misc expenses and that is $150, but I will tell you it is very hard to stick to that number every week. Since going Paleo we buy a lot of fruits, veggies and meats and that does add up. I know we are probably spending more money than before because we don’t eat out anymore (maybe once everyother month) so we are spending more money to make meals at home. I would much rather spend more money on whole foods than fast food/restaurants. We go to Costco either weekly or every other week to get: spinach, berries, ground beef, chicken breasts, eggs, salmon, etc.

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Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots June 4, 2013 at 6:55 am

its hard to stick to a food budget but my fiance and I try to spend less the $100 each week on groceries and go out to eat once a week. We love to shop at trader joes and I think its more affordable most of the time, the only downside is that they never have buy one get on free deals or anything.

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nerri @LaPetiteRunner June 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

I’m totally with you on the running vs walking. my feet get so tired with walking and somehow I can go so much longer with running!

I used to be stricter about my budget and it was $50/wk for groceries and not counting dining out, for one person. I’ve been dining out a ton – what with traveling and having friends in town. I need to get back into the grocery store and start eating in again!

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Alyssa @ See This Girl Run June 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

I have a really hard time sticking to any sort of budget. I probably spend way more on food than I should. Oh well.
Sweaty, clapping Brooke is the cutest!

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Dara June 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

We have had a grocery budget for years now and there are just two of us in the household (until the end of October!). When comparing to most of our friends our budget is really low so I don’t think our amount would help you. But we do $260 a month for groceries and $120 for dining out (we live in the Midwest so I’m not sure how prices compare to your area). We also have another separate category for household items, like laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc. and that amount varies each month. But I think what helps us is that we use only cash. We withdraw cash twice a month and when it’s gone, it’s gone. That really helps us stick to it. I would advise you to take several months to keep track of your spending and that will help you determine the amount you will need. You also have to look at the calendar and plan accordingly in case you have any events (like a cookout) that might require you to spend a little extra that month. We have found that once you get in the groove of doing a budget you can’t imagine not having one! Good luck :)

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Ashley June 4, 2013 at 6:59 am

About $100/week for my husband and me in Charleston, SC. I shop at Trader Joe’s mostly, and Harris Teeter for things TJ’s doesn’t have.

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Cori @ olivetorun June 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

I definitely plan on giving the Wendy’s cones a try since 1. I LOVE ice cream and 2. I love CHEAP but delicious ice cream :)

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Amanda June 4, 2013 at 7:02 am

We have a monthly budget for everything including food. It was really hard to stick to at first but now we’ve gotten much better about it. It just takes patience and discipline

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Cate June 4, 2013 at 7:03 am

Uuummm…. Frozen yogurt is a separate budget too, right???

I wish I had tips for you, but I buy what I want and don’t have a budget. Then again, I’m only buying for one. I do find it harder to stick to a budget in the summer since all the farmers markets are open and they have such fresh produce!

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Ani June 4, 2013 at 7:05 am

We set a goal to average less than $200/week for our family of five (our kids are 5, 4 and 2). We usually come in around $170/week, unless there is a major holiday or someone’s birthday that requires buying extra special food :) I shop at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and a local produce market. I only buy organic produce, grass-fed/free-range sustainably farmed meat, eggs and dairy, fish from sustainable sources, and fair trade coffee and chocolate. It’s definitely more expensive, but we’ve decided it’s worth it to spend more money to shop in a way that is better for the environment and for our health. We usually go out once during the weekend, but not for a big meal- either for bagels after church or for an ice cream! I make a weekly meal plan, make a list based off of that, and only buy the things on my list…it definitely helps me stay on track!

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Julia June 4, 2013 at 7:05 am

My husband and I have a grocery budget of $500/month. However, that includes all household items (cleaning supplies, paper products, office supplies, etc.) and items we buy for entertaining. I would estimate that we actually spend about $350 on food, and we could definitely trim that down if necessary. We think we can cut it by $100 if we need to just buy planning better and buying fewer treats.

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Julia June 4, 2013 at 9:42 am

I should add that we live in Alabama, so our grocery prices are probably less than those on the West Coast.

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles June 4, 2013 at 7:15 am

I set my (Canadian) grocery budget for the boy and myself at $80-$90 per week, which also covers household things, like cleaning products and toilet paper. One of the biggest things to help me stick to it is to take out cash when I go grocery shopping – it’s a lot easier to stick to the budget if I can physically see the money disappearing from my wallet!

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char eats greens June 4, 2013 at 7:20 am

We totally need to set a food budget as well. I think sometimes we can up to over $200 a week which is crazy!! I think it’s about $125-150 this week so far. But I always feel like there’s little things we need (read: me) during the week as well!

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Abby June 4, 2013 at 7:27 am

I live right next to the grocery store so I constantly run over for one or two things I need to make dinner at night. It’s a terrible habit, as I end up spending $20 randomly on things I want when I see them. It will be really interesting to see how much you spend! I usually spend around $75-80/week for two people (yikes!). My husband and I are really trying to cut back on going out to eat- it’s expensive and usually bad for you. Not worth it!

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Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom June 4, 2013 at 7:28 am

I am seeing all this hype about Wendy’s waffle cones and I had one last year in October? Maybe they were just test-running them then, but I’m seeing them everywhere now and they’re being advertised like crazy.

I don’t really set a food budget, but I am mindful about what I purchase and I typically purchase the same things every trip, so I know how much I am spending. Once a month, it’s typically larger because I buy things that I don’t normally buy (like oatmeal or cereal) and that adds a little extra to my bill. I shop for myself and I spend about 50-60 and that usually lasts me about a week to ten days…and I hardly ever eat out. I tend to buy my items that I use frequently (fruits, Greek Yogurt, some snacks) from Sam’s Club because it’s more economic, but other than that, I shop at Publix and they are priced pretty well and always have sales going on!

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Candice June 4, 2013 at 7:37 am

My kids use to nap sweaty too.. I got a little fan to clip by their cribs and it seemed to help. They even napped longer!! (white noise?)

I haven’t had a wendys waffle cone? There is a new shaved ice place in town and is all the rave.. its packed every time we drive by! I can’t wait to go! the line is literally at least an hour wait.. maybe one day..

Brent tries to get me to stick to a budget.. its. so. hard. –Especially because I like to create new recipes and I’m always needing random ingredients.

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Cathryn @ myheartscontent June 4, 2013 at 7:37 am

I feel a little decadent reading everyone’s comments but I’m fascinated by people’s attitudes to grocery shopping! We are two adults and a pre-schooler and we spend roughly $150 per week. We buy a LOT of fruit and veg, and very little processed food – so I don’t mind spending money on healthy stuff. I do agree though with others that I could cut back easily and may well try to do so this week! Thought provoking stuff.

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Irene June 4, 2013 at 7:43 am

I think it isn’t that helpful to compare your budget to the budgets of people in other parts of the country and with very different lifestyles. I live in a city on the East coast and there is no way I could buy food on the budgets some people are describing. I pretty much let myself buy anything healthy at the grocery store because having a variety of convenient healthy foods helps me not eat out (saving money and also promoting my health). For right now, while my husband and I are both working long hours, paying extra (and yes, it is a lot extra) to save time by not cutting coupons or going to multiple stores for the best deals is worth it, but it is likely that will not always be the case. I think it is really a matter of thinking about your priorities as a family and keeping an eye on things and then adapting as necessary. Good luck!

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Sarah June 4, 2013 at 7:51 am

Totally agree with this.

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The Hungry Runner Girl June 4, 2013 at 8:40 am

Love your comment! Thank you!

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Sarah June 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

Holy cow, I’m reading all these responses and wondering, how are three grown people only spending $400 a month on food (and she said they like to eat?)?! That seems SO low to me. We buy a lot of organic and I have a lot of food allergies so the only bread that I can eat costs $6 a loaf…I know I could make it cheaper, but working 12+ hours a day, caring for a toddler, it’s just not something I have time for. I make all of son’s food, organic still. So the pantry items are always more expensive because I can’t have the cheaper stuff that typically has corn syrup or soy products in it (allergic to both of those among other things). So in our monthly budget for 2 adults and a 2.5 year old, we include eating out, groceries and anything else that would be household, i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, baggies for lunches, hand soap, etc. We spend about $1200/month. I have to add that we don’t really think about how much stuff is that much, I try to buy fruits on sale, but if I really want it I’ll buy it. Again, with my food allergies we’re constantly having to buy organic, gluten free (even though I can eat gluten, but they tend to not have any preservatives it in) stuff, which is just more expensive in general. Good luck with your budget. We’ve been doing the Dave Ramsey method of budgeting and it’s really working for us…you should look it up.

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shelly June 4, 2013 at 7:54 am

For just me & my husband, we usually stick to about $200/month. Then, we usually eat out about once a week, as well. Nothing crazy (maybe pizza or something).

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Amy N. June 4, 2013 at 7:55 am

I am the worst at budgeting in general. I just spend money until my husband tells me I’m out and then I kick myself for the next week until payday. I should work on that.

He’s a lucky guy. ;)

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Michele @ Nycrunningmama June 4, 2013 at 7:55 am

We spend about $200/week at the grocery store for P, AJ, R, and me (this includes some non-food items though). We eat out about once a week for dinner and sometimes 1x for lunch. We often have to make one stop at the local supermarket for more fruits/milk/meat(for dinner) and that’s often another $50. We also try to hit up Costco about 1x/3 weeks for larger items and drop a TON of $ there (some food related, some not food related). So when it’s all said and done maybe closer to $300? Having said that, I am eating enough right now for 2 large men and AJ eats about half as much as I do – so we are basically feeding 4 grown men + R. HAHA =)
Its a lot of $ and I feel sick every Sunday when I get the bill at the cash register. I do try to find things on sale and use coupons when I can, but it just adds up. We go through a TON of fruits/veggies and I try to buy the important things organic even though it’s pricey. UGH.

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Laura June 4, 2013 at 9:50 am

Something needs to change when it costs more to eat healthy than junk food!

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Lauren June 4, 2013 at 8:01 am

My mom spends close to $150 a week for the three of us, but she also makes small trips after work sometimes. I believe it would be about $200-$250 a week!

Don’t forget about frozen yogurt budgets!!! Those are separate, too! ;-)

I used to love Wendy’s frostys as a kid, but I think I liked Dairy Queen Blizzards better!

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Christina June 4, 2013 at 8:02 am

I am embarassed to admit that I don’t follow a food budget. I just shop according to what I have left after paying the bills and putting some away. I don’t eat a lot of meat so I know we save that way. The only meat I do eat is from Whole Foods which can get really pricey. So we find ourselves spending anywhere from $100 to even $400/week on groceries. It all depends on what we are out of. That amount includes dog food. Obviously $400 isn’t the norm. That only happens when we are out of almost everything. I have tried to shop according to a budget but that doesn’t usually last. I need to have more self control!

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Heather June 4, 2013 at 8:02 am

My budget for a family of 5 (myself, my husband, and 3 girls aged 14, 12, and 6) in Orange Count CA is $75/week. My husband and I are both runners, and my oldest is as well. We have a separate eating out budget, and try to limit that to 2x per month, with an occassional stop for lunch on a weekend or dessert out.

I blogged about this years ago here: http://365awesomedays.blogspot.com/2011/09/my-75week-grocery-budget.html

Our biggest cost savers:
Buying seasonal produce
Shop for what is on sale, and build a meal plan around that
Cook from scratch – we use minimal convenience foods
Keep a well stocked pantry – if something is on a killer sale, stock up

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Natalie @ Free Range Human June 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

I do about $350 a month for two of us, but I think that’s probably a lot. I buy a lot of produce, and I do a lot of cooking so I think that’s why.

We tried the new waffle cones last week, and I was a little disappointed. Although I love waffle cones, I thought they kind of took away from the Frosty experience!

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MartinaNYC June 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

We don’t have a budget we need to stick to but we do have an excel spredsheet for all our expenses that we update daily. Overall, I’d say we spend $300 per month for grocery shopping for the two of us (that doesn’t include eating out, which happens twice per week at most). I do 80% of my shopping at Trader Joe’s and unfortunately, I cannot go to Costco because I don’t have a car.

PS: I’ll always take vanilla over chocolate ;)

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Sharisse June 4, 2013 at 8:10 am

We only keep track of our expenses, so I can look back each month and see how much I spent for two adults on groceries, eating out, etc. I don’t think I could stick to a budget. The most I do is look back on the previous months and tell myself, “Ok, why is our eating out category more than groceries? Let’s cut back!” or, “We did really well last month! Let’s keep shopping smart and eating in!” =P

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Katie @ Live Half Full June 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

We spend about $400/month for my husband and I but we have been down to $70/week in the past. We try not to eat out, so that’s including ALL meals. I wrote a post on it last year: http://www.livehalffullblog.com/2012/02/20/balling-on-a-budget

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Erika June 4, 2013 at 8:16 am

Lately we’ve been spending about 370-380 a month for my husband, myself and our 15 month old. Our costs went up considerably for groceries when My kiddo started solids, started cooking more (so we would eat out less!) and I started making lunches for my husband. We don’t really have a specific budget, but I have recently been trying to go the the grocery store less and make a meal plan every two weeks to cut down on food related stress and costs.

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Randi June 4, 2013 at 8:19 am

We spend about $100 per week for me, my husband, and our toddler. We live in Canada and the food here is much more expensive than in the US (at least where I am anyway). There is even a cheese limit at the border because people will go to border towns to buy cheese and chicken and bring it back haha. I could be better about grocery money but I find when I spend less than that our food quality goes way down.

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Fizz @fizzsbizz June 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

We have budgets for pretty much everything in the month (thank god for my husband, I am useless with budgets)!

Between the two of us we have about $400/month for groceries including stuff for our dog/toiletries/cleaning products etc.
Then we also have a monthly gas budget, eating out or ‘fun fund’ budget and savings for vacations etc.

It can be a pain in the start and getting it all figured out but it’s so worth it to know how much you’ve spent, what you have left etc.

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Kay June 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

I’m planning on trying the waffle cones soon too, can’t wait!

Good luck with the food budget! I think once you have things set up it’ll get much easier than right in the beginning. I try to be careful about bringing lunch to work because I tend to eat out a lot on weekends.

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Lora @ Crazy Running Girl June 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

You don’t want to know our grocery budget since we live in NYC and it is severely inflated since a box of rice is like $5… :)

But, to stick to a grocery budget, I do a lot of menu planning which helps a ton. It helps me figure out which ingredients I need to use up so I’m not just buying to use once and then leaving it go bad. And for us, buying some staples on Amazon.com is a huge money saver (plus I don’t have to carry it down the street!).

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court! June 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

never walk to get a frosty again. make them yourself! this is such a good knockoff!!! http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/08/22/healthier-wendys-vanilla-frosty/

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Annette@FitnessPerks June 4, 2013 at 8:30 am

Haha. Love that she wakes up so swetaty–big dreamer?!? ;)

We spend around 75$/week but we don’t really go out that much either. Probably 2-3x/month? We don’t really have a food budget though-I buy what we want plus a few extras here & there. Gotta eat! And I buy a loooottt of produce!

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Danica @ It's Progression June 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

We don’t necessarily have a grocery budget but I do pay attention to what we spend each week. I aim to spend around $80 for our family for a full week, plus we’ll eat out maybe 1 or 2 times. The less we eat out the more money we save though so we try to make a point to cook at home as much as possible!

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becka June 4, 2013 at 8:46 am

I do not have a food budget. I have no idea what I spend. I buy for myself and my 7 year old daughter. If I had to guess… Probably $300 a month? Including eating out? I buy produce at the grocery store and everything else at Target. So since I never just buy FOOD at Target, I can’t really narrow that number down.

Maybe I should consider looking at that…

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Melissa June 4, 2013 at 8:49 am

I am curious to hear how you do with your grocery budget. I definitely overspend on my grocery shopping. I would love to be able to stick with a budget. I hope you keep us updated with the progress.

ps- that cone looked delicious. I don’t know if we have them here in Canada, but I will be in the states in July so I might just have to try one!

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Liz @ The Girl on Fire Now June 4, 2013 at 9:18 am

I love Frosty’s, especially with French Fries :) I try not to have them too often, though

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Nicole @KnitRunBakeRun June 4, 2013 at 9:20 am

We stick to a budget of $150/week for me and husband. When we’re on a CSA schedule, I deduct the CSA from that amount. Some weeks are less (this week I came in at just $101) and I know next week will be more. It all evens out!

From that, I make my own bfast and lunch to bring to work (I hate going out to lunch, I know, it’s weird) and then we have one date night a week and we go out to eat then. :)

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Lisa @ Live and Be Awesome June 4, 2013 at 9:22 am

I used to have a grocery budget, and I really need to get back to it. I think that’s where I’m hemorrhaging money the most. I can’t help it if everything is so delicious!

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Krystal @ Arapahoe Ave June 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

We allocate $100 per week towards groceries (eating out is above). I would say on average we spend about $75/week for two of us (but my husband eats like he is 2.5 people ;)). I like to set aside the extra that we don’t spend to do something fun; for example if we saved $25 per week that’s an extra $100 to date night, buying something for house, shopping etc. It gives you an incentive to find the steals.

The $100 also gives us enough flexibility when we have to buy all the extra stuff. It always seems to work out that you have to get TP, paper towels, conditioner, shampoo, razor blades and hair spray in the exact. same. week. How does that always happen?!

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JC June 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

if its not toiletries is basic stuff like flower, and olive oil, stuff you only buy once in a while anyway, all need refilling at once. Suddenly your grocery bill is double what you normally spend and you only got enough to make one actual meal this week. :/

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Ashlee@HisnHers June 4, 2013 at 9:36 am

I’ve been dying to try Wendy’s Frosty cones! I hope they are delicious as they look!

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Sharsti@theblondehaiblueeyedrunner June 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

I have a grocery budget, but I could do better if I used coupons.. It just takes so much time ha! Those cones look good, I wanna get one today!

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Laura June 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

We are a house with 5 people, 3 of which are little girls with big appetites. I spend about $1,000 a month on groceries! I struggle every month to buy fresh, organic items at the lowest cost. We also spend a ton on protein powders, bars, and things like chia seeds, supplements, and organic meats like chicken and turkey (no red in our house). It frustrates me that it costs so much to eat healthy!

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Sonia the Mexigarian June 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

budgeting is very hard for me. that is why i am in debt. ha. and so is food budgeting rgh. but this month I have mapped things out and am STICKING to it. i have to. ^_^;;

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JC June 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

I typically spend 35$/week/person, so for me and my BF it is rounghly 275-280$/month.

I could definately do it for less, but I really like fresh baked breads, specialty cheeses seafood, and playing with wierd imported foods; those add to the budget alot. Fortunately I’m wicked cheap in every other part of my budget so it’s not so bad to spend a little extra on food.

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Kristen June 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

Wow! I wish I could learn how to cut our grocery budget to $200! For our family of 4, I budget $100 a week for everything…food, toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies, etc. I do try to shop the sales and use coupons, but working full time sometimes makes it hard. We eat out once or twice a week and that comes out of our entertainment budget.

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Kim June 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

Menu plan
Shop weekly
Cash only

Plan a weekly menu. Grocery shop once a week to match that menu. Only use cash. We have two very active boys ages 8 and 9. Our 9 yr old is a Type 1 diabetic. We have to have a well rounded (healthy) menu with plenty of sugar (candy) around to treat low blood glucose. Our food budget is $250 every two weeks and that has to include our paper products and drug store type items. I also try and watch the grocery ads and menu plan to items that are either on sale or in season.

Good Luck, Janae! I just love watching Brooke grow! Seeing her sweet face daily on your blog, makes me happy.

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Angela June 4, 2013 at 10:27 am

I was so good about sticking to our budget, but now that I am pregnant again, I spend way too much money on guacamole. That’s what I want every.single.day. :)

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Kami June 4, 2013 at 10:34 am

I don’t really have a budget, but I do obsessively track all of my spending (its in my nature, I am a CPA). I know I spend too much on groceries (approx $125 per week for my single self). At least $25 of that is for watermelons and Fage yogurt….I can’t help it, it is an addiction! I could probably get better deals on groceries, but one of my happy places is a Texas chain by the name of Central Market. I do a big trip on the weekend and then stop by at least 1-2 more times during the week to either 1)pick up more green veggies or 2)buy another watermelon. I justify my $125 a week because cooking is one of my hobbies and I know it is going to fresh and healthy meals. That includes all breakfasts, most lunches, and most dinners. I probably eat out once a week for lunch and twice a week for dinner.

A Trader Joe’s is opening near my house soon and I am looking forward to checking it out!

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Kate June 4, 2013 at 10:57 am

We try to stay around $75 a week (and this includes eating out). We have a monthly food budget set to $325 for two adults and a 15 month old.

When we were strapped a year and a half ago, we ate at $40 a week (including toiletries). It all depends on your priorities, needs, and desires. We eat mostly from scratch, and during the spring/summer seasons our farmer’s market is cheaper.

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Carrie June 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

I think when noting how much you spend on groceries it also depends on where you live. I live in an area that is on the pricier side. It also depends on if you try to buy all organic. I typically spend 80 to 100a week for our family of 4. Sometimes it is slightly less and sometimes it is over. I am a thrifty queen and I just can not seem to lower it. I do some amazon grocery items such as freeze dried fruits and applesauce squeezes for snacks at school. We limit eating out (usually take out) to 1 x a week to cut costs. I am sort of in a rut as far as trying to cut the cost of groceries. Once I buy the produce (my girls eat a ton of fruits and veggies) it seems like that is most of our expense! When I can get to Trader Joes I do find that their produce is sometimes cheaper and their breads are cheaper. My husband does not like leftovers so that complicates things!!

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Anissa Angelosante June 4, 2013 at 11:16 am

Wow! Reading everyone’s budget made me very depressed. Between my husband and me we spend about $100 to $120 each week. We never go out to eat mainly because we currently live in the middle of no where and I have celiac disease so going out is not really even an option. I try to keep our budget close to $100 but then I have a husband you makes pit stops at the store from ice cream all of the time. I don’t mind because I love ice cream.
Maybe I should start an ice cream budget. We are moving to Arizona in 23 days and I am sure our ice cream consumption will increase!

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Sarah June 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

We don’t have a budget per say, but I DO keep track of all the money that we spend in different areas, one of them being food. Things like laundry soap & shampoo & cleaning supplies & pretty much anything that you buy at a grocery store gets lumped into that though. So we spend about $500 a month on “groceries”. Probably about $400 of that or so is on actual food.

I use a giant color coded spreadsheet to track all of our expenses & categorize them (grocery, eat out, personal, household expenses, bills, entertainment, work/job (for tax purposes), IRA/retirement, cars). I also add up all of our accounts at the beginning & end of each month to see how much we have & how much we made/lost that month. It’s great to be able to look back at last year or last month & compare our spending & it’s an easy way to see where all your money is going or discover places you could cut back.

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Nicole June 4, 2013 at 11:29 am

I wish I was smart enough to have a monthly budget. Going to the grocery store for me is fun….I go too often (probably 5 times a week?) because I’m a poor planner.

I’m DYING to try the new frosty waffle cone! The boyfriend and I have it in our plans, but right now, we’re big fans of the plain McD’s cone. Thanks for the review…I’ll have to stick with vanilla and let the BF suffer with his favorite, chocolate.

P.S. Brooke’s sweaty hair and her expression in that picture is adorable!

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Krista @ Krista Runs For Chocolate June 4, 2013 at 11:48 am

I need to create a food budget, I really have no idea how much we spend each week! We’ve been meaning to try the Frosty Waffle cones! My fav Frosty flavor is Chocolate!

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Brooke June 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

I spend abount $680 per month on groceries. There are 3 of us. We also end up spending like $200 a week dining out. Omg. That is so bad.

#foodie

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Steph F June 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Yikes, I think I have some work to do! I spend about $225 a week for a family of four, though we probably eat out less than once a month so at least I really don’t have “eating out” costs on top of our grocery expenses. Still, as the other poster with allergy issues mentioned, buying specialty foods does add up. My husband has a dairy issue and I don’t eat much meat, so we buy a lot of alternative products like soy yogurt, tofu, almond milk, etc., as well as a ton of produce which isn’t always cheap!

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Nicole June 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm

JANAE! have you ever thought of coupponing? I’ve gotten hundreds of dolalrs worth of free stuff from looking at grocery store’s deals on coupon websites! You should try it out!

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Runningwithscissors June 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I’m saw the commercial or those waffles cones….definitely a must try!
I don’t have a food budget although I know that I should. I usually go to the store with a list and end up getting about 100 more things than what was on the list. And of course…..forget about 10 things that were on the list.
My best guess is $120 /week for my husband and I.

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Kathryn June 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I budget $100/week for my husband and I but we usually don’t spent that much. Keep in mind that $100 includes other random stuff we might buy at the grocery store that isn’t food (cleaning supplies, shampoo, toilet paper, Advil, etc). Usually we eat at home every night and both of us often pack lunch too.

I’m an insane planner so we plan out the week’s meals and I make a list that I try very very hard to stick to. Generally this works, but if my husband is along for the shopping trip, he always ends up adding in extra stuff!

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Emina June 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Wow, so many comments, so many different people and habits.
My suggestion would be to track what you buy and spend on eating out for 2-3months. So you have an overview of what you need and how much you are spending. And after that you can try start to budget and save.
At least that is what I would do :)
My daughter is always sweating while sleeping and I also have no clue why…

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Liz June 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Ok, I’m starting to feel really bad about how much I spend. It’s myself, husband and 2 and 4 year old daughters. We eat one dinner out a week, otherwise all meals at home for all of us. We also juice daily. We spend about $300-400 a week on groceries.

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The Hungry Runner Girl June 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Don’t feel bad at all! There are so many different factors that go into the number and it sounds like you guys eat super healthy which is awesome!

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Odette June 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I like to think I budget, but some food is just too good to put a limit or price on :)
http://www.sherbertdreams.wordpress.com

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Jessica June 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I spend $150/mo for just myself and I eat a lot (I run a lot so obviously I like to eat;) It’s totally doable… you just have to be cheap and get used to eating the “off-brands” ;)

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Danielle June 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

We’re a family of 5: 2 adults, a 9 year old, 5 year old and 9 month old. My budget is $300 per month. This would include: food, diapers, cleaners, shampoos, paper products. This does not include eating out, that’s a separate budget item. However, since I’ve been dieting, I’m finding it more and more difficult to get what I want and stay within the budget. I always stick to the fruit that’s on sale, but we can just put it away. But we never ever use all the eat out budget, so I’ve been robbing it… We eat out once a week, at the most- and it’s usually cheap order in pizza or pick up Chipotle and I warm up something for the kids.

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Kim@Runrules June 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Our grocery budget is $600 per month. Family of four, which includes two adults, a 9 yr old daughter and a 13 year old son with a bottomless pit for his stomach! This includes anything that can be bought at one of the “Super” stores (Walmart/Target)… food, paper goods, household items, etc.

We are a “cash only” family which tremendously helps stick to budgets… hubbie is a CPA…

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Jordan June 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I spend about $100 a week for 2 adults and 3 cats (I include the cat food and cat litter in my weekly grocery run). I think I spend an insane amount but I have yet to figure out how to make it lower on a regular basis – even right now I’m doing a farmers market where I just go and pick up a basket of produce weekly, which should save me $30 a week, but it is not working. I eat salads every day for lunch, so I make a dent in the produce, but the only times my boyfriend has eaten anything I’ve gotten from the farmers market is when I cook the veggies for dinner. Which leaves me with a lot of kale, lettuce, and strawberries! I do make a list every week, but my boyfriend likes to keep a lot of food in the house (for when he’s still up at midnight and wants nachos or Mac and cheese with hot dogs). He’s also a firm believer in “each meal needs meat in it”.

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Gracie (Complicated Day) June 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I spend more on food than I used to, but I eat better now than when I was a starving college student :)
While I do spend a lot on fresh produce, I make sure to buy local seasonal items to decrease costs, and I think the extra cost for fresh tomatoes over canned etc is worth it. One way we keep costs down is eating legumes once or twice a week – red beans rice, pintos, etc – and eating lots of “less meat” meals: we aren’t vegetarian, but meat is not the main focus of the meal.
We generally spend $250 per month for the two of us. This includes some splurge items – every week we try a nice wine, a nice cheese, a nice fruit or veggie, or a new ethnic seasoning or sauce. Without that our costs would be much lower but our meals would be less fun :)

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anne June 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

full time working mom and dad plus twin 12 year old boys. I spend $125-$150/wk on groceries and we probably spend $75/wk eating out (2 meals/wk). Growing boys are expensive!

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Tiffany June 4, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Whatever you decide to budget for food, the best way to stick to your budget is meal planning! I spend $80 a week at the grocery store (just hubby and I), but it includes cleaning products, detergent, etc. not just food.

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LosingLindy June 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

From what I have heard the farmer’s markets in Cali are really much cheaper than going to the grocery store. (keep in mind I am not there, this is what I have heard)

I clip coupons, shop from ads, and build a small stock pile. I am not an extreme couponer, but we really try to cut corners. I also know that as much as I love Costco, the prices on many things are more expensive there than you can buy at a local grocery on sale.

I also follow some local couponing bloggers, so they do the work for me, including on linking coupons, etc.

Finally, you should also try your best to buy for Brooke in advance. When I go to Kohls, Children’s Place, Crazy 8, etc, I hit up the clearance racks first. I then take the super cheap clothes and put them into totes for future wear. I never buy clothes for V for full price. There are certain times of the year that The Children’s Place will have their jeans for $10 a pair. That is really a good deal.

Also, as Brooke continues to wear diapers, you should know that some of the cheaper priced diapers work great for day time hours. If you notice that she is leaking through diapers, put her in a size up only at nap/bedtime. Continue using the size that still fits during the day, because you get more diapers for the same price until you move up a size.

Another thing to try is to give yourself a set amount to spend in case for the week. If you go over, you have to take the cash for eating out for instance, to make up for the difference of eating in.

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Yolande June 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Wow I amazed at those who spend less than $100 per week on groceries! Here in Canada things must be pricier – I spend about 200 per week (including protein powders) and eat out about once or twice a week. This feeds my hungry growing bf and myself – we eat all organic and high plant based diet. I am going to attempt to budget this week and see how I do :)

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katie June 5, 2013 at 7:09 am

Hey girl do you mind me asking where billy got his bag? I’m looking for one to get my hubby for fathers day!

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J June 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

We are a family of 5 (soon to be 6). We are a very athletic family and I have 2 high school aged kids that are very active year round in sports. The 5 year old eats her fair share. When my husband and I sit down and decide the monthly budget for different areas each school year, we take into consideration our eating style. We tend to go through a lot of veggies and fresh fruits weekly (6-8 full heads of romaine, 5-8 lbs carrots, 6-8 large cukes, tons of bell peppers – oranges – pears, etc). We have set up different checking accounts that get $$ transferred into them on the 1st and 15th of each month. Each account has a debit card that we mark with a G for groceries, E for entertainment (eating out , movie rental, etc), F for fuel for the cars, etc. Our grocery account is for food only. The shampoo, napkins, and other home items come out of the regular account (card marked C). X for Christmas account that gets a monthly amount deposited in it each month, so come November we know what we have to spend and there is no outlandish debt in the new year. For our family we spend $500 on food – $250 is deposited on the 1st and 15th of each month. This amount includes our monthly Sam’s club run. Entertainment is $50 a month that is just deposited on the 1st of the month, and so on for each of the different accounts. If there is any left over at the end of the month it goes towards the paying off any incidentals (doctor bills, car issues, unexpected things, etc). This works great for us because I can get online and check our spending regularly and know how much I have left to spend before I head to the grocery store.
This way isn’t for everyone. I like it because I have a card for each specific purchase so there is not mix up. I like to be organized and know where the $$ is going. My husband is still in residency so $$ is tight. I don’t drive 5-6 places to get what I need (that takes gas $$). I do make a list of items that we have as staples each month and then mix up the meals every couple weeks. We get our protein mostly from beans, white meats/fish, dairy, and sweet potatoes. We don’t do fast food really so the entertainment card is mainly used on activities the last few years.
Good luck on figuring it out. Best to sit down with Billy and hash it out. It is important to be honest AND realistic. Stick to what you have set and be creative with your purchases.
J
**can’t believe it has been almost a year since we have seen each other, crazy!!

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Jamie June 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Vegetarian food can be cheaper than meals with meat. A couple times a week I try to make vegetarian — which surprisingly works out despite my husband being a huge carnivore. Here’s an example recipe that costs very little to make: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/wolfgang-puck/dal-recipe/index.html
Beans + rice = complete protein, I believe.
You just have to eat more or add in healthy fats to feel full for as long as you would after a meal with meat (at least I do).

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Melanie June 13, 2013 at 6:48 am

I spend 600-800$ a month on food for a family of 6: DH, MIL, me, 7yo, 4yo and soon to be 3yo. I am trying to reduce this now to maybe 500-600$ max, we’ll see how that goes!!! I know that I pay more because I only buy fresh produce from Costco and IGA (Canadian store) and the farmers market in the summer and meat/fish from Costco/IGA!

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