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Author Topic: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?  (Read 2632 times)

tcs5384

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What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« on: March 27, 2006, 04:29:45 PM »
I got my financial aid award offer from Vandy today, and included in it are $46,000 in loans.  Only $26,000 is going toward tuition, so I'm trying to figure out how to save money and not have to take out as much in loans.  My question is, how much can I realistically expect to be spending on food each month?  I'll certainly be eating out sometimes but not all the time, but since my only experience living away from home has been four years of college (and eating on a meal plan all four years) I don't really know how much I should be budgeting for food.  Any thoughts?

queencruella

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2006, 04:43:59 PM »
It varies wildly depending on the area. In my hometown I can probably spend $30 a week comfortably, but I lived in a more expensive area where it was almost impossible to get away with spending less than $90 a week just on grocery shopping.

gwenkern

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2006, 07:02:08 PM »
This is a good exercise for me to go through, too, so I'll try to figure it out for myself.

For groceries, I'd probably go through this in a week, roughly:

A box of cereal - $4
Half a gallon of milk - $2
Half a pound of coffee - $5
A loaf of bread - $3
A pound of cheese - $4
A pound of deli meat - $6
A couple of pounds of fresh fruit - $3
A pound of ground beef - $3
A pound of chicken breasts - $5
Various vegetables - $10
Snacks - $10

Throw in $10 a week for the couple of staples I always seem to need -- flour, peanut butter, etc.

So my weekly grocery budget comes to $65, which is $260 a month.  Then say you spend $2 a day on coffee or pop every day that you're at school: another $10 a week, which comes to $300 a month altogether.  Grab a sandwich twice a week, and that's another $10 -- $340.  Go out for brunch or dinner once and that's probably another $20 -- now we're at $420 a month, or about $13 a day.

That kind of sounds like a lot, but I think it's fairly realistic for me.
LSN

Virginia Law '09

Typhoon Longwang

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 07:26:05 PM »
Back in the 60s when my father-in-law was in grad school he ate nothing but frozen peas, rice, and some god-awful part of the cow for 25 cents a day.  It's probably a little more now but with fiscal restraint and bulk purchases you could probably eat for $50 a month; I use "eat" loosely to mean consuming nutrients.  If you're a vegetarian you could probably make it rice and liquid egg...CostCo has a pretty good deal on liquid egg.  Maybe someone on the internet sells powdered egg really cheap.  Dried beans in bulk might be a good deal.  The fruit/vegetable part of the meal will probably cost you the most.

queencruella

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 07:34:55 PM »
Agreed on fruit- a couple of pounds of fresh fruit will cost a lot more than $3. You can get a relatively small container of fruit salad for $3 and maybe 3 grapefruit for $3, but certainly not enough fruit to consume a fruit everyday unless it's a local seasonal item. 

However, I agree that going to costco and getting things in bulk will save you a bit. You can get some bulk foods in a regular grocery store though- like frozen chicken breasts/tenderloins that should last for several weeks and cost about $8-10 for a big bag, and there are some frozen meals like Michelina's that you can get that cost <$1 per box.  If you have those for lunch and toast for breakfast, you're probably looking at less than $10 for both of those meals and you'd really only need to splurge on dinner.

HippieLawChick

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 07:37:01 PM »
I would say about 300 a month for food is average. (that includes eating out sometimes and a trip or two to the bar a month)

If you want to live like a Monk, you can do it for far less

law123

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 07:41:05 PM »
Back in the 60s when my father-in-law was in grad school he ate nothing but frozen peas, rice, and some god-awful part of the cow for 25 cents a day.  It's probably a little more now but with fiscal restraint and bulk purchases you could probably eat for $50 a month; I use "eat" loosely to mean consuming nutrients.  If you're a vegetarian you could probably make it rice and liquid egg...CostCo has a pretty good deal on liquid egg.  Maybe someone on the internet sells powdered egg really cheap.  Dried beans in bulk might be a good deal.  The fruit/vegetable part of the meal will probably cost you the most.

This sounds like the gulag

gwenkern

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 07:45:14 PM »
I shop sales, so my $3 for two pounds of fruit is not unrealistic.  A pound of bananas goes for 49 cents around here; apples are 99 cents to $1.29 a pound in season; grapes are 99 cents a pound; oranges are 99 cents a pound in season.
LSN

Virginia Law '09

HippieLawChick

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2006, 07:46:14 PM »
Learn to love coupons!

wunder

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Re: What's a realistic amount to expect to spend on food?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2006, 10:20:22 PM »
I live in Ohio and we spend $70 a week in groceries for both me and my husband - $280 a month I guess.  We shop sales and buy store brands or in bulk when we can.