Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How much do we spend?

I've been collecting some data -- totally unscientific, mind you -- about how much money my family spends on food. That includes eating out (once in a blue moon) and buying at the grocery or produce stand.

The tally comes to around $60 per week for the four of us. I do major grocery shopping only once a month, supplementing with smaller trips when perishables (milk, fruit) run out. Other things to save: I buy in one big trip and either plan meals way in advance (yes, I know I need a hobby) or I make do with what's on hand. Since I find it impossible to walk into a grocery and not drop $20, the fewer trips I make, the better off the bank account.

Oddly enough, the bulk of our money (as in the highest percentage) goes to buy milk, apples, bananas and fresh vegetables (other than potatoes). We eat the most of -- but spend the least on -- pasta, rice, potatoes and dried beans. Thank God for oatmeal; we'd starve without it.

Meat? Not as much as you'd think, but that's largely because I only buy what's in the BOGO free circulars. You know how some fashion mavens say "Never pay retail?" I've got that same approach to buying meat, fish, pork or poultry products. If it's not half-off, it's not going in the cart. Bread is also a big saver for us. I buy at the bakery outlet in six-week supplies and pop them in the freezer.

Sadly, we're at the end of a major shopping cycle, which means we're down to the last of just about everything.