Monday, June 10, 2013

Grocery Budget

I've been trying to figure out how to budget for my new apartment and the things I need to buy for it--and me.  Like I said before, the nice thing about living alone is that you can really control your circumstances, even to the point of being a bit crazy.  To that end, one of my big plans is to really rein in grocery spending.  I'm going to spend the summer at the Farmer's Market and the winter crockpotting--it's going to be awesome!

But I started thinking about it, and I don't even know what a reasonable amount of money per month is to spend on groceries.  BF and I were spending $300+ each month, which always seemed really high to me, but maybe that's just typical for two people?

Thankfully, I found this awesome chart from the USDA that breaks down what a person or family should roughly be spending on food.

That's obviously a little small, but click the link to see the full chart.  Man, I just love charts.  This is the part I'm most concerned with though:

As a female in the 19-50 age bracket, I can expect to spend ~$163 per month on food, if I'm on the thrifty plan.  That actually sounds really high to me, but that's going to be my grocery goal for living alone--at least to start.

I'm lucky in that I don't like meat and therefore don't eat it, I like lentils and most of the food that I actually want to eat is pretty cheap.  Hopefully I don't develop a taste for truffles in the coming months (yummy truffles), and I'm also planning on buying less food overall, and hopefully wasting less too.

Wish me luck!


  1. I think this also depends on where you live. You probably live in a higher cost part of the country, so you might not be able to stay much below the $163/mo. For us (2 adults, 7 yr old and 9 yr old), it says $612/mo for the thrifty plan. We budget $350/month and don't always spend it all. But we live in the part of the country with the cheapest groceries, and I also buy larger amounts of things on sale b/c I have the pantry space. We eat meat probably 5 xs a week; usually 1/2 lb of whatever meat is on sale is part of our dinner for 4. Also we almost never eat out, which makes a huge difference, and we don't buy much alcohol.

  2. This is certainly true, and I noticed just yesterday that while the grape tomato tubs at the store cost the same amount, they have gotten noticeably smaller.

    At least even though I can't have a garden, I have a lot of friends who do and certainly will need to unload some produce later on this summer ;)

  3. My grocery budget is $200/month, but that also includes toiletries and cleaning supplies because I get most of those at the grocery store (yay double coupons!). I try to aim for the overall total every month rather than $50/week because I stockpile when there are sales (especially on meat because I can freeze it), some some weeks I might spend closer to $75 or $80, but others I only spend $30.

    Oh I'm feeding myself plus my boyfriend, who I cook for 2 days a week.

  4. I feed my family of 3 on $35-50 a week. The key is stocking your pantry when things are on sale. On thursday I'm writing a blog post about stockimg tips.