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Have you had a major change in your grocery budget?

Quilter

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I have tried tracking our grocery budget on a spreadsheet but gave up as it fluctuated so much with the budget line for restaurants.

With SIP we haven’t been to a restaurant since early March. We spent March at our timeshare in Florida. The local Publix was always stocked with what we needed. I also got a box of meat from Butcher Box. Since 3/29 we’ve been staying at DD’s in NC. My DD has been doing the shopping once a week. I come up with meal plans and list. We’ve supplemented with another order from Butcher Box.

3 adults, one 8 mo.

I googled grocery budget and found this chart:
1588829514692.gif

I think we’re running under these numbers.

We’re eating really good. So good, in fact, it seemed luxurious because the quality of what we’re eating has gone up without the restaurant meals.

DH and I began breaking into a newer lifestyle of less grains and sugar back in the fall. Beer or wine is more occasional instead of regular at dinner. DD got on board when I came to NC in January when her husband was deployed. Carry out meals and the rare restaurant visit (new baby made those difficult) were still in the mix until our return on 3/29.

Then in March social distancing changed everything and we were preparing all our meals.

We’re all trimmer. Since the fall I’ve lost 16-18 lbs. effortlessly because there’s no counting anything but time. I do intermittent fasting by leaving roughly 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Sometimes a bit more because the collagen in my coffee keeps me from getting hungry. Then I put about 3 hours between the 3 meals. The other 2 follow a similar pattern. DH and I won’t know benefits until we get home and have blood tests. We may need to tweak it towards more percentage of veggies. DD has lost 20 lbs. which was her post pregnancy goal. DH doesn’t weigh himself.

I’m loving the meals. Sure, I go by Chick Fil A and dream of a milkshake. It’s so close....right down the road. However, for the time being it’s not going to happen. I know it’s an addiction and my drug of choice when under stress.

My question to others who are doing home cooked meals, how does that chart look for weekly budget per person? Realistic?
 
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Wow! That's great! Congrats on your progress! I've been tracking my spending. I'm convinced I'll be spending more in retirement. I might be spending a bit less on groceries with the SIP but it's too soon to tell.
Those numbers seem high to me, but every household is different. I've got college credit in used car appraising AND did some grocery price checking for my Economics degree. So, I am thrifty :)
I dropped alcohol after the first of the year. I recently have been reading how bad seed oils are. That's a surprise! Honestly, nearly every eating concept I bought into over the last 50 years turns out to be very, very questionable. Makes sense when you look around and see what we all look like.
IF makes sense! Keep up the good work :)
 

WinniWoman

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Our bill has doubled! I am spending $200+ every single week whereas before this I was spending under$100 plus our quarterly excursions to Sams Club. So we went from $600 to $800 per month! Mostly because we had to stock up because when we moved we used up all our food supplies and were downsizing and changing our lifestyle anyway and thought we would have no need to stock up like we used to. Now in this situation I am overbuying because of what I feel will be the coming Depression. As soon as I open the last of something I immediately put it on my shopping list again.

Also, if I find something I had not been able to get previously I might buy like 2-4 of them at once.

Plus food prices here are high.

We did two take outs but that is going to stop. The only place we will get take out rarely will be where our son is volunteering while he is unemployed.
 

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@Snazzylass Tell me/us about bad seed oils, please.
Generally research suggests the best diet is the Mediterranean diet which is rich in Olive Oil, which is NOT in the category of seed oils. All the research I read uses the term "seed oils," but somehow that doesn't paint a picture for me. Really, they are talking about everything except Olive Oil, Butter, Lard, and maybe Coconut? But I'm not sure about the last one.
So, what I think of as Vegetable Oil, Corn Oil, Canola Oil, the sunflower and safflower (I'm sure I have both in my fridge from my baking days), sesame, margarine, of course, and Crisco. I don't think this is getting enough mention. I hear about avoiding sugar and carbs and processed foods, but that doesn't really eliminate the fried foods which contribute to poor health - the fast foods - French fries!
I will try to post a list of docs so you can do your own research if you are interested :)
 

Big Matt

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I have spent far less on food and beverages overall. Sure, we eat at home now, but eating out is expensive. I never bring my lunch to work so eating at a cafeteria in the building or going out with clients/co-workers costs a lot in relative terms. I'm saving about $30 per day in gas, tolls, and parking. All in, I'm spending way less except for groceries and electricity.
 

Quilter

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@Snazzylass Tell me/us about bad seed oils, please.

Old Hickory may I offer a place to start looking at bad fats? Seed oils are unstable. I’m looking for the podcast that goes into depth on practices that use seed oils. In the meantime you can see a discussion that touches on the damage they cause. It’s an hour long but if you only want to see the bare minimum watch from the 4 minute mark to about
17. It may whet your appetite to know more.


I found another podcast that goes into the history of seed oils and their instability. If you don’t have time for the whole talk start at about the 43 minute mark:

 
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klpca

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Food is the one area where I refuse to cut corners. I am a thrifty shopper and try to buy things on sale, but food is a necessity. Our grocery bill has gone up slightly but I agree with @WinniWoman that it's because we had to stock up on things. We eat fresh so I don't usually keep much on hand besides what we need for the next few days. I used to shop for small quantities every two or three days. With SIP I actually stocked up on some items. Our big savings has been in not eating out. As I've gotten older, I find myself a bit more tired at the end of the day, so sometimes eating out just seemed so much easier. Now that we are at home, it's been pretty easy to throw something in the crock pot or the instant pot. Besides that, we haven't found a lot of takeout that tastes all that good. No matter how hard we have tried, by the time we get home from the curbside pickup it's lukewarm, and most of it can't really be reheated (tacos, anything with a lettuce garnish etc). There have been a lot of disappointments :p
 

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Generally research suggests the best diet is the Mediterranean diet which is rich in Olive Oil, which is NOT in the category of seed oils. All the research I read uses the term "seed oils," but somehow that doesn't paint a picture for me. ...
So, what I think of as Vegetable Oil, Corn Oil, Canola Oil, the sunflower and safflower (I'm sure I have both in my fridge from my baking days), sesame, margarine, of course, and Crisco.

This is what I think of, as well. Except for sesame oil that I still use. And I wonder about peanut oil. Also, I've started using avocado oil.
 

VacationForever

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Our grocery bills are much higher than in the chart. The factors that come to mind are 1) Stocking up more 2) Buying more expensive cuts and types of meat and vegetables, e.g. organic / wild / prime vs. regular. 3) Now we mail order more and mail order is more expensive than going to stores to shop. What has surprised me is that eating at home everyday has not saved us money which I thought it would. In the past we ate lunch out everyday and dinner out once or twice a week.
 

Conan

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Our costs are about the same, with grocery delivery services (InstaCart and Peapod) replacing restaurant expense

2019 Q1 weekly expense
Groceries 171
Restaurants 203
Fast Food 28
Coffee 6
Total 408

2019 Q2 weekly expense
Groceries 177
Restaurants 168
Fast Food 14
Coffee 11
Total 370

2019 Q3 weekly expense
Groceries 153
Restaurants 202
Fast Food 17
Coffee 9
Total 381

2019 Q4 weekly expense
Groceries 253
Restaurants 229
Fast Food 19
Coffee 19
Total 520

2020 Jan-Feb weekly expense
Groceries 164
Restaurants 261
Fast Food 17
Coffee 16
Total 458

2020 Mar-Apr weekly expense
Groceries 429 [includes some serious stocking up]
Restaurants 20
Fast Food 1
Coffee 14
Total 464
 
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bbodb1

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Food is the one area where I refuse to cut corners. I am a thrifty shopper and try to buy things on sale, but food is a necessity. Our grocery bill has gone up slightly but I agree with @WinniWoman that it's because we had to stock up on things. We eat fresh so I don't usually keep much on hand besides what we need for the next few days. I used to shop for small quantities every two or three days. With SIP I actually stocked up on some items. Our big savings has been in not eating out. As I've gotten older, I find myself a bit more tired at the end of the day, so sometimes eating out just seemed so much easier. Now that we are at home, it's been pretty easy to throw something in the crock pot or the instant pot. Besides that, we haven't found a lot of takeout that tastes all that good. No matter how hard we have tried, by the time we get home from the curbside pickup it's lukewarm, and most of it can't really be reheated (tacos, anything with a lettuce garnish etc). There have been a lot of disappointments :p

For the most part, this represents our experiences as well. However, our food bill has gone down a bit as we just are not eating as much. When we do cook, we still try and cook large meals and have some additional future meals covered with leftovers. This is not a new approach since we used to do the same thing to cover lunches at work. I think we are eating less since we are doing less. 2 meals a day is the norm these days - not as a result of any master plan but more an expression of when our typical hunger emerges.

It will be interesting to see if we revert to prior patterns when we both return to work.

The only eat out / take out we have done lately was the recent Arby's promotion (Customer Appreciation Day / $1 Classic Roast Beef) and I have to admit that tasted pretty good!

I have definitely adjusted purchase patterns on produce and fruit and those needs still cause a brief stop at a local store but fortunately, produce and fruit have been in ample supply around here.
 

DaveNV

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Things for us have been so upside-down lately, a food budget has been impossible for us to project, let alone keep. Between my sister unexpectedly moving in last Fall, to my spouse being away from work since mid-March, and my retirement a week later - we don't have any idea what "normal" is for us right now. I made sure the cupboards and freezers were full, and I've kept them that way. But with certain foods being unavailable, I've taken an approach of "buy it when I see it" to keep things stocked up, even if we haven't run out of something. We three are eating well, and we've only had take-out about three times in the last two months. Everything else has been homecooked meals. After this is over and my sister moves out, especially if we relocate to a warmer climate, then we can get things down to a budgetary plan.

I admire anyone who can maintain a budget under the current situation. And @Quilter: Congratulations on your weightloss! Good for you and your daughter.

Dave
 

bbodb1

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@Conan - With respect to your numbers, how many people are you regularly feeding?
 

Conan

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@Conan - With respect to your numbers, how many people are you regularly feeding?
Two plus once or twice a week cooking for/picking up restaurant tabs for adult children
 

bbodb1

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@DaveNW - The 'buy it when you see it' experience is the same here as well. Recently, our meat supplies in this area dropped (again) and with ANY stop at a store, it is SOP to check the meat department in case something desirable is available. Fortunately, we have a decent sized deep freeze but we have not even come close to filling it to capacity at this time.

On a related note to your post, are the signs mounting to get out of Washington state? One of the first COVID 19 hotspots, the murder hornet, the gypsy moth......what is going on in the Evergreen State? :oops:
 

DaveNV

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On a related note to your post, are the signs mounting to get out of Washington state? One of the first COVID 19 hotspots, the murder hornet, the gypsy moth......what is going on in the Evergreen State? :oops:

I know, right? I'm sitting here minding my own business, thinking, "Jeez, what did I do?" :ROFLMAO:

Dave
 

Passepartout

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It seems our grocery bills are up maybe 10-15%, but our eating out bills (now take-out) are down about the same- so it's about a wash. We are burning virtually no gasoline- maybe 10-15 gallons a month and that's almost half paid for from Kroger grocery/gas bonus. We don't budget- if we want something, we just buy it- and that isn't much. I was going through my Amazon orders and was surprised that in April we didn't order anything from Amazon. No deliveries. Nada. And I think there was just one Costco trip for basics- coffee, vitamins, a bag of frozen fish.

Jim
 

bluehende

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I think those numbers are high. I assume it includes a lot of restaurant meals. We ate out little and would say our budget was around 100 at the grocery store that included normal non grocery items. We probably averaged 25 a week for meals out. That is for 2. After the start of this we actually spent less while using our meat in the freezer and stocking up on some staples even with the instacart premium. I am a special shopper keeping our costs down. Also it helps to have no dietary restrictions that can increase costs.

On a side note we spent 700 in the last 2 weeks. This was for meals for the homeless mostly. I have most of what I need for 350 meals. We plan for cheap healthy meals using mostly white meat chicken. Pricing out the per meal cost it came to 1.66 a meal. This includes entree a piece of fruit and a small dessert bag.
 

Quilter

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This is what I think of, as well. Except for sesame oil that I still use. And I wonder about peanut oil. Also, I've started using avocado oil.

I'm also using sesame oil for some recipes. I keep it in the fridge. I have Mark Hyman's "What the Heck Should I Cook" and he uses it in recipes. In his more "dictionary-like" book "What the Heck Should I Eat" he goes deeper into seeds. He's not anti-seed. He commends sesame seeds. He even recommends Tahini. Then there's a quote "Think of seeds like fruit: They're fine for most people when consumed whole. But you run into problems when you refine then and highly concentrate their individual components. Small amounts of walnut, macadamia, almond, flax or help oil are fine." He didn't mention sesame oil. If I really wanted an answer I'd send a message through to his people via his website.

Here's a couple quotes from the ". . .Should I Eat?" book about peanuts and peanut oil:

"Peanuts are Legumes Too, but Not So Good for you". "Peanuts have the same advantages as most legumes. They are rich in monounsaturated fats (but they also have a lot of inflammatory omega-6 fats). Peanut oil is a problem, but a handful of peanuts is not. They have more antioxidants than apples, plus folate and vitamin E, not to mention bean levels of protein. But today, peanut allergies and sensitivities have become ubiquitous. Even more serious is the fungus aflatoxin, which is both a toxin and a carcinogen, and which grows on peanuts when they're improperly stored."

"Peanut oil is highly processed and contains high levels of omega-6 fats. It's fine to have the occasional handful of fresh peanuts, or additive-free peanut butters on occasion, but you should keep it to a minimum."

I look at other doctor/nutritionist but these were easy for me to source for a response.
 

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The food budget is out of control. Part of it is buying whatever I see and plan the meal from there. There are no sales and I believe the prices of staples have gone up. There used to be loss leaders but the ads are not tempting me to shop. I go once a week to one store and try to accomplish it all. There is no price comparison. Since I do not know what is in stock, I figure it out as I go along. I have a teenager who is now eating three meals at home. Oh, the dishes. But, I am saving on gas and the gyms are closed so no expenses there. As for going to take out, we have done it twice, both for special occasions. In total, for us it has broken even or been more expensive. I also tend to stock up when I finish a last pack of anything like @WinniWoman and @DaveNW.
 

Quilter

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Wow! That's great! Congrats on your progress! ......

Honestly, nearly every eating concept I bought into over the last 50 years turns out to be very, very questionable. Makes sense when you look around and see what we all look like.
......

Thank you. It feels good and everyday I’m pleasantly surprised how it feels. With other eating lifestyles I always had to watch “slipping” and the numbers would wobble and begin to climb. I’m still getting used to the change.

I hear you loud and clear about the change of eating concepts through the decades. I’m 67. In the 60’s my regular high school lunch was a milkshake. Rare to have breakfast. Sit down dinners were not regular in our home. No wonder I weighed 115ish. In the 70’s milkshakes were still a go to meal. I began working so I could treat myself to lunch and had a roommate who could cook. My breakfast was regularly a Hershey bar and coke.

First baby was born in 1980. That changed my thought of nutrition. Later as I found out more I told my doctor that I thought kraft Mac and cheese, green and salad was a balanced meal. I thought I was an adventurous eater. Loved veggies. My MIL was glad when I visited because she could share green giant cauliflower or broccoli in cheese sauce. The guys didn’t eat those.

1985 and I had had enough of my 130 lb. post baby weight. Not having ever dieted or understood nutrition and brain health I chose the number of 600 calories for midweek and anything goes for the weekends. 600 calories could come from anything I wanted which usually included a 100 calorie bag of potato chips. I had a 5 yo and was in my senior year at college. It took its toll.

No one around me was able to piece things together enough to completely understand what happened. I had a bit more nutrition education but it was based on the food pyramid. Focus was on low fat.

1998 had major changes with I introduction to organic, supplements, no high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oil. It’s been a constant morph from there.
 
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rickandcindy23

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Rick has never been a person who likes to go out to eat. He is enjoying eating at home for two solid months. We go to Costco and our local store every two weeks to stock up on supplies. We gave our big freezer to our daughter, so the freezer space is limited.

He still does his Taco Bell drive through lunch, and an occasional Burger King meal, but mostly he is eating peanut butter and jelly for lunches. I eat my plan-provided food (62 pounds down) for most meals, except my lean and green dinner, which I sometimes split between lunch and dinner because 7 ounces of protein and 3 vegetables is a lot to eat at once.

We don't keep track of food costs. But we are feeding my stepdad every night for dinner. We are careful to not infect him with anything. That is why we only go every 2 weeks for food, and it's actually been longer since we did Costco. I really need some things, so we will have to go to early senior hours again.

Our local Costco is not letting us shop during regular hours. They are requiring seniors to go during the early morning hours. I don't get up that early, let alone go that early. I need my coffee in the morning.
 

Quilter

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.........I made sure the cupboards and freezers were full, and I've kept them that way. But with certain foods being unavailable, I've taken an approach of "buy it when I see it" to keep things stocked up, even if we haven't run out of something.
Dave

DD and SIL are Army and renting a small house. The kitchen is small but efficient. Not much space for storage. The fridge is a side by side. Our weekly grocery shops fill the freezer with meat, bags of frozen veggies and fruit. Fridge drawers are stuffed with fresh produce. The first couple days after a shop, getting dinner is like manipulating a Rubik’s cube.

What we are buying is primarily organic, grass fed and pasture raised. That’s why I’m pleasantly surprised we’re running under the numbers in that chart.
 
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