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monthly food budget

I’ve realized I spend WAY too much money on eating out so I’m going to budget myself and eat in/pack my lunch every day. Plus, that should help with the weight loss. However, I have no idea what a reasonable monthly food budget is. Any suggestions? I’m the only person I buy food for.

Tue. Mar 28, 2:58pm

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I am being very frugal and shoot for $6 per day per person.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 3:17 PM

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I love organic fresh fruit and veggies as well as fancy whole grains cookies and prepared tofu stuff, and i manage on my $150 of food stamps each month usualy, which averages out to $5 a day. They key is buying things like brown rice which will complement your more expensive veggies and protein, and canned beans, tuna, etc.!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 3:23 PM

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I wouldn't try to set a budget just yet. I would suggest taking your first shopping trip and making healthy choices and go from there. I would say maybe $100 -$150 or so. It's going to depend on how frequently your eating too. You should really have 3 main meals plus 2-3 healthy snacks throughout the duration of the day- not really letting your body "get hungry" try eating every 3-4 hours. If you are eating fresher produce like you should that will be a little more and also you should choose meats from your deli and not pre-packaged. Hope this helps. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 3:24 PM

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The exciting part about dining in is I get to splurge on expensive foods like foie gras or atisanal cheeses and expensive wine once in a while! No matter what still much cheaper than eating out.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 3:37 PM

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My fiance and I buy pretty much whatever we want to eat at the grocery store, and spend between $80 and $100 a week between the two of us, which usually includes a bottle of wine or something. So, I'd estimate $160-$200 per person per month. But, we eat out sometimes too.

Stick to "perimeter shopping" - hit the produce section, meat, dairy, etc., and skip the "middle" stuff that's boxed and pre-made, unless you're going for something specific. Also, frozen fruits and veggies are great b/c they taste better than canned and last longer than fresh, so you get in your healthy food and don't waste money throwing out food that has gone bad.

Try it for a few weeks, and keep track of what you buy and what you spend; after that time, you should be able to tell what you can cut back on, and what you haven't used, etc.

If you mostly eat out now, your first couple trips to the grocery store will be expensive, while you stock up on necessities that you don't have to buy often, like rice, bags of frozen veggies, spices, etc... Keep track of these things that you won't always need to buy, and don't "count" them in your budget.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 5:07 PM

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Hubby and I spend around $130 every two weeks for groceries. It's different in the summer as I buy all our fruits and vegetables at a farmers market, and it's usually cheaper.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 5:18 PM

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I find myself spending $60-$70 per week just for myself, eating no meals out, and living in the Midwest (which is cheaper than a lot of places). However, I eat a lot of organic foods, which are more expensive.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 5:26 PM

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how do you get on food stamps? do you have to do community service for it? i heard that somewhere

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 8:23 PM

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i spend less than 20 a week, maybe even 15. i make oatmeal in the morning, store brand in the large tubes, usually eat sandwhiches for lunch, and salad and some low fat chicken. i usually get by pretty cheap

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 10:12 PM

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I live on the west coast and between trader joe's and the local grocery I generally spend $75 a week for two people. Almost all meals are prepated/packed and we eat out 2-3 times a week, but that can vary quite a bit, so the cost above is just groceries. I plan my shopping list and menu for the week using the sunday paper and I also have a nearby grocery outlet that has saved me a fairly substantial amount over time in good quality breads, eng muffins, etc.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 1:21 AM

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This varies so much depending on your food tastes, styles. But the great thing is many of the basics are still the cheapest and healthiest foods out there, like oatmeal, beans, brown rice, carrots, celery, onions. Buy in bulk if you can which is hard for one, but works for some things that last. I shop Cosco and Trader Joe's, Grocery Outlet which sells odd lots and stuff near it's due date, and then supplement what I need at the regular store. Coupons generally don't work for me because most of them are for packaged products that I don't generally buy. I swear by my freezer - I can buy lots on sale or large packages and then use it over time. Even the Tightwad Gazette says this is a great investment!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 5:17 AM

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To be on Foodstamps you need to have an income below a certain amount or be unemployed... and just to let you know, this amount is very low (I make $800/month and am only eligible because I'm doing Americorps, a service year which automaticall lets you get foodstamps if you mee the other criteria). Each state's rules are different but in massachusetts you also have to have less than 2000 dollars in your bank account, prove you're a citizen, provide pay stubs, copy of your lease, utility bills, etc. It's complicated, but worth ot for me, ineed that 150 bucks!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 11:13 AM

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Yep, I am just like the poster who said they spend $60 bucks a week on just themselves, not eating out. I also make a point to buy organic and good quality food - it's worth it!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 1:15 PM

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I buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies and often spend $40 a week on produce. I spend another $25 or so on oatmeal, granola bars and some frozen meals.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 1:41 PM

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Some suggestions

1) Make a normal shopping list and then, go price shopping. Take 1-2 hours and check out 3 semi-close stores and price everything on your list. You might be surprised. I found out that it cost $120 to buy at one store what it cost $80 to buy at another local store. I changed stores quickly after that!

2) If eating out is a problem financially, decide how much you are willing to spend on eating out a month for your family, and take that money out in cash. Put it in an envelope. Once the money is gone for the month, it is gone for the month.

Sunday, April 02, 2006, 1:09 PM

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Plant a garden! You are guaranteed high quality ORGANIC produce for far less than if you bought it. A few tomato, squash, lettuce plants with some herbs and you can eat for the summer. It cuts down on our food bill considerably. We also exchange with friends who fish or have chickens for eggs. Gardens also give you the opportunity to work outside, use muscles in ways you can't replicate in the gym, and relieve stress. If you have children, it's a wonderful activity for the whole family. If you live in a city, investigate community gardens.

Sunday, April 02, 2006, 8:29 PM

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