@seaermine Oh the thing I had though I forgot from that grocery run were a thing of eggs and 2 packs of crab cakes (two cakes in each pack). And the artichoke dip was from the week before, not from this run. You get the idea though!
@KimO I spend $50 a week (I shop every Sunday) and this was what I bought last week: 1 lb ground beef, marinated chicken leg and thigh (x2), panko breaded frozen tilapia box of 4 fillets (x2), mango sorbet, box of peppermint tea, bag of frozen spinach, bag of frozen grain and veggie mix, bag of frozen brussel sprouts, bag of frozen leeks, bag of dry angel hair pasta (x2), bag of dry penne pasta, jar of tomato basil pasta sauce, bag of frozen chicken cilantro wontons (x3), frozen spinach and artichoke dip, small jar of crushed garlic, 4 fresh tomatoes, 1 avocado, bag of fresh basil. There may have been one or two small things in there that I forgot about but the total was $49. It's heavy on frozen foods right now partly because I got used to buying frozen veggies when I was single and living alone (fresh one's always went bad) and also because I've been very busy and wanted things that would be quick after work (ex. stir fry). But even when I stay away from frozen things it always comes out to about $50. I try to not buy bulk goods or spices all at once. About 5 years ago is when I started my spice collection and I would just add one jar onto my regular grocery bill until I had a full set of everything I use. Now I rarely run out of more than one at a time. Same thing with bulk produces, the two I usually use are rice and olive oil and I avoid buying both of those at the same time.
These charts are so amazing.
@kbn22 I haven't tried this but I heard Whole Foods can actually be cheaper than a lot of grocery stores (like Safeway and Giant) if you buy from their 365 brand and their bulk grains. It may also depends on where you live? I live in NYC, in Queens, but I go into Manhattan to grocery shop because fancy neighborhoods get Trader Joes which has good food (excluding the produce) and a lot of it is half as much as my neighborhood grocery store. Maybe also see if you can get into a Costco or BJs? Also google tells me that there is an Aldi in Atlanta and if it's within driving distance definitely go because it is super cheap. You have to bring your own bags though but it's worth it.
@emmabee So before I answer that I should mention that it's not so much that the grocery stores in Manhattan cost less than Queens but that the cheap one's are there. Overall though Manhattan groceries probably cost way more than Queens. Anyway so I do almost all of my non produce shopping at Trader Joes. Which I think is where the big savings come from because it's basically all store brand, and they have good deals (like $2.80 a pound ground beef and $2 for a 5 lb bag of flour). You have to know what to look for though. Trader Joes is good for plain meats (by plain I mean not already marinated in some sauce, with the exception of the olive oil and rosemary chicken thighs), organic meats, frozen veggies, pasta, canned foods, and flour. So, the basics. It's also good for smaller quick items like healthy/tasty frozen foods to have on hand for work lunches or for if you're too lazy to cook. There is a Trader Joes in Queens so technically you can save as much on food there too but it's far away from a subway and I don't have a car (generally if something is cheaper for me in Manhattan it's because public transportation makes it accessible to me). I get my produce from a random stand in my neighborhood because Trader Joes produce is nasty (exception: those little bags of mandarin orange things they have in the winter) and also one of the things that isn't cheap. Going back to Manhattan, while I mostly shop at Trader Joes (too lazy to go to too many places) I know people who get good deals at Big Apple Meat Market, and find good cheap produce in Chinatown. Apparently there is also a market somewhere on the east side (maybe Kips Bay?) with great deals on specialty foods and things like Tahini. I'm also told that the 365 brand at Whole Foods is way cheaper than regular grocery stores for things like flour and dried beans, same with their bulk goods. Also how cheap it is depends on what you have near you. The two grocery stores on my block (in Jackson Heights) are Met Foods and Trade Fair. There is also a Mi Tierra supermarket a little farther away. Shopping there would double my grocery bill. But if you have better selection in your neighborhood you might not need to go to Trader Joes. HOWEVER there is one place I go to get food in Queens and that is Target (the one in the Queens Mall by the Grand Avenue M and R). I go there for things where I want a brand name (ex. French's mustard) as well as for baking products (like food coloring or mint extract) but in general I'm fine with generics or making my own. The other cheap place in Queens is Aldi (it's near LeFrak City, between the Woodhaven Blvd and the Rego Park M and R stops). I haven't had time to go but it's by the same company that owns Trader Joes and supposed to be even cheaper.
@seaermine Oh and the sauces, spices, condiments, etc. part also includes canned and dried foods like canned tomatoes and canned or dried beans and things like that. Sometimes I'll also buy eggs but mostly for my boyfriend (I don't really like them).
I think a lot of American elite also call themselves the middle class, or at least say that they feel middle class.
I spend $50 a week + $20 for myself and my boyfriend (I buy all of the groceries). So $220 for two people. The $50 a week is for regular groceries (meats, grains, frozen veggies, pasta, condiments, etc.) and the $20 I take out in cash at the beginning of the month to spend on fresh produce and herbs. Before my boyfriend moved in with me I spent $50 every other week + $20. So, $120 a month. I bought the same kinds of foods and ate healthily but I didn't go out to eat and I packed all of my lunches and didn't go to the vending machine ever. Now that I live with my boyfriend I still pack all of my lunches and make all my own food but we will typically go out to dinner 2-4 time a month. However, I don't count this in my food budget because that comes out of my 'fun' spending, so if I go out to dinner I don't go to the movies or to a concert. I like to always shop as if I cooked everything myself so if I need to cut back on fun I can still eat healthy foods. I live in NYC, in Queens but I do all of my grocery shopping (except fresh produce) in Manhattan because it's cheaper. I typically buy 2-3 meat items(ex. two pounds of ground beef and a beef tenderloin, or a pack of chicken breasts and a can of crab meat, or some fish fillets and a pound of ground turkey), a few bags of frozen produce (always a bag or two of spinach and then usually 2-3 bags of some other vegetables (leeks, brussel sprouts, peas, etc.). After that what I buy depends on what's already in my kitchen, since certain things (like grains or pasta sauce) last for more than a week. Usually my diet involves some kind of grain or wheat things (pasta, quinoa, rice, etc.) and the rest is smaller items that I think will bring the meat, veggies, and grain together (sauces, spices, condiments, etc.). I am allergic to diary so I don't buy butters or cheeses. I tend to eat more veggies and grains and less meat. Also, one thing that helps keep my grocery costs down is I don't buy drinks. I drink water at home and I get it from the tap and put it in a britta filter. Once a year I'll buy booze (usually a bottle of gin for me, a bottle of rum for my boyfriend, and a bottle or two of something else for guests) but that's about it. I will buy wine if I'm having friends over or going to a friends house and bringing a hostess gift but it's not a frequent purchase and I stay in the $12-15 price range. ETA: The reason that $20 on produce is the same with or without my boyfriend is because he eats the stuff that would normally rot when I was living alone.