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Thread: How much money should/do you spend on your food? page

  1. #1
    lesliek's Avatar
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    Primal Fuel


    I strongly believe food is usually worth what you pay for it (cheap food = not worth much). I struggle, however, with the moral implications of advocating a diet many people cannot "afford." This is a tricky subject. In the 1930's, Americans spent about a quarter of their income on food; today it's less than 10%. Part of me thinks we've become spoiled. We want (and expect to be able to get) cheap food so we can spend money on other things. It bothers me when people complain they can't afford "good" food, but then spend lots of money on eating out, new cars, vacations, etc. On the other hand, there are certainly people who can't afford much more than a grain-based diet. Pasta will always be way cheaper than grass-fed beef.


    There's a scene in the documentary "Food, Inc." that I can't shake. A family of four is talking about how expensive (non-organic) produce is vs. processed food. They get fast food every day, and their meal (breakfast or lunch, I think) comes out to $12 or so for four people. I immediately thought about all the healthy meals that can be made for $12 or less. Certainly time is a big issue that can't be ignored. But is good, real food really out of the reach of most people?


    I think I spend about $50/week on food for myself. I have (non-primal) friends who say they spend less than $20. How much do you spend? How much do you think is reasonable? I'd love to get several perspectives on this.


  2. #2
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    We spend about $110/wk for 2 pple (a 24 year old female and a 23 year old male). We get all our food at Sprouts or Trader Joe's and never get processed food. We are fortunate enough to be able to afford high quality food, but do so b/c we buy high quality meat when it is on sale (freezing extra) and only eat out once a week. I wish that our grocery bill was lower but we both agree high quality food is good for our health and we really love food!


  3. #3
    FlyNavyWife's Avatar
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    We spend about $100/week for me and my husband (25 and 26 years old). Sometimes the $100 includes non-food purchases like toiletry items or paper products (kleenex, TP).

    We rarely eat out - we plan 5-6 dinners/week to cook at home. The other nights we will have leftovers or make something simple like eggs.


    Now that we just joined our CSA (about $24/week) and are about to get a 1/4 cow (not sure how many pounds yet, but $5/pound)... we are planning on trying to plan our meals around the produce and eat beef at least 3 times a week... and we plan to take out $50 cash each week for groceries so we don't accidentally keep spending $100/week in addition to the other food we already have.


    We have a heavily-budgeted household (we have to) but I'm not willing to skimp on the grocery allotment... I've heard people cite "$25/week/person" and that just seems ridiculously low. It basically guarantees low-quality, highly-processed foods. You know, things you can buy BOGO while using 2 coupons and "make" money on the purchase. haha. They don't have deals like that for eggs, cream, and broccoli.

    Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.

  4. #4
    Anand Srivastava's Avatar
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    Our food bill comes out to be easily 50$/wk, and that is in India, with much lower incomes. This when I am the only meat eater in my house, and I eat meat only once a day.


    If the whole family was eating Low Carb I am certain we would be in the same 100$/wk range. India is getting expensive to live in :-(.


  5. #5
    allie's Avatar
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    FNW, "I've heard people cite "$25/week/person" and that just seems ridiculously low. It basically guarantees low-quality, highly-processed foods."


    I agree... really, I tried $25-$30 for myself but I couldn't do it. I ran out of food. =/


    You're right, I imagine the only way one could do it is by eating sandwiches, processed meals etc.


    I also spend around $50 for a week. Sometimes a little more, sometimes less depending on what I have in the freezer, pantry etc.


    The bulk of the cost definately goes to the (organic) meats. My groceries mainly consist of meat/fish or eggs and vegetables... fruits, nuts, coconut milk, yogurt, etc I buy sparingly because it can get quite expensive. Havarti cheese is a super-rare treat I get like to get once in a while.


    Fresh food is more perishable, more dear than packaged food, etc. It's taken me a while to figure it all out - knowing how to feed your body good food, but also shop smart within your budget, and avoid wastage. Of course it's a little harder than popping some bread in the toaster - but it's for your health and wellbeing. It's important.


    I've learned things on the way - i.e. portioning meat and freezing it so it doesn't go to waste, how to consume veggies before spoilage (I usually consume chinese greens, mushrooms etc in 2-3 days because they spoil more quickly than veggies like carrots) and preparing various simple and healthy meals (i.e. roasting a whole chicken can go a long way - you can use the meat in salads and soups).


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    Tarlach's Avatar
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    [quote]

    today it&#39;s less than 10%. Part of me thinks we&#39;ve become spoiled.</blockquote>


    I agree 100%. Why are an internet connection, mobile phone, cable, etc, etc.. considered necessities and quality food is not???


    I&#39;m in Australia and I won&#39;t try to compare our costs to the USA. We might spend more than the average person on food, but I think it&#39;s important and I&#39;m not going to whine about it. The cable, mobile phone and internet goes before the grass-fed beef does.


    If you subtract the costs of soda, snacks, and other incidental rubbish that people consume, eating well doesn&#39;t end up costing much more (if any). We shopped around to find a good butcher. We don&#39;t spend much more for great beef than the average person does on CAFO.


    Buying a side of beef at a time drops the costs even more.

    The "Seven Deadly Sins"

    • Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . • Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . .• Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
    • Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . • Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . • Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
    • Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

  7. #7
    London Mike's Avatar
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    I find this subject fascinating, if only for the psychology.


    I’m fortunate to mix with a small group of like-minded people that between them are doing Primal Blueprint, Evolutionary Fitness, Paleo or combinations of. Some are hardcore, their health and fitness being their number one value above all else and these people wouldn’t dream of putting crap food in their ‘system’. And good for them too, as these guys are seriously fit and healthy.


    However, a significant number who are still on their journey to their ideal health and body composition are struggling with an array of internal conflicts.


    I remember one guy who was complaining about the cost of quality organic meat and how an organic free range whole chicken costs £2-3 more than a conventional chicken. And then without blinking spent £25 buying a round of drinks, including a pint of non-organic mass-market beer for himself.


    One lady said she regularly bought microwaveable ready meals because this was cheaper than buying the raw ingredients. However further questioning revealed that she was simply too lazy to cook.


    Another guy was complaining about the cost of quality sausages that weren’t full of preservatives, and later confessed that he still hadn’t kicked the Friday night habit of Chinese takeaways, spending £20 just for himself.


    Personally, I’ve found that since going primal my food costs have more than halved. I’m no longer buying any confectionary when I’m on the go. I no longer buy pastries as ‘desert’ to the sandwich that I no longer have for lunch. I no longer spend £10+ a day on lattes and cappuccinos. I could go on for ages...


    I think many people are simply comparing grocery bills and forgetting about the many little treats they used to have between meals. These really add up. Not just the calories but the cost too.


    For me, even the ‘weekly grocery’ cost of eating primal is way cheaper than before. I went to the supermarket yesterday and amongst other things, I bought a packet of lamb’s liver for £1.00, a box of eggs for £1.30, a head of broccoli for 85p and two courgettes for £1.15. This will make two delicious, nutritious primal meals at £2.15 each.


    Bargain!


  8. #8
    London Mike's Avatar
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    I find this subject fascinating, if only for the psychology.


    I’m fortunate to mix with a small group of like-minded people that between them are doing Primal Blueprint, Evolutionary Fitness, Paleo or combinations of. Some are hardcore, their health and fitness being their number one value above all else and these people wouldn’t dream of putting crap food in their ‘system’. And good for them too, as these guys are seriously fit and healthy.


    However, a significant number who are still on their journey to their ideal health and body composition are struggling with an array of internal conflicts.


    I remember one guy who was complaining about the cost of quality organic meat and how an organic free range whole chicken costs £2-3 more than a conventional chicken. And then without blinking spent £25 buying a round of drinks, including a pint of non-organic mass-market beer for himself.


    One lady said she regularly bought microwaveable ready meals because this was cheaper than buying the raw ingredients. However further questioning revealed that she was simply too lazy to cook.


    Another guy was complaining about the cost of quality sausages that weren’t full of preservatives, and later confessed that he still hadn’t kicked the Friday night habit of Chinese takeaways, spending £20 just for himself.


    Personally, I’ve found that since going primal my food costs have more than halved. I’m no longer buying any confectionary when I’m on the go. I no longer buy pastries as ‘desert’ to the sandwich that I no longer have for lunch. I no longer spend £10+ a day on lattes and cappuccinos. I could go on for ages...


    I think many people are simply comparing grocery bills and forgetting about the many little treats they used to have between meals. These really add up. Not just the calories but the cost too.


    For me, even the ‘weekly grocery’ cost of eating primal is way cheaper than before. I went to the supermarket yesterday and amongst other things, I bought a packet of lamb’s liver for £1.00, a box of eggs for £1.30, a head of broccoli for 85p and two courgettes for £1.15. This will make two delicious, nutritious primal meals at £2.15 each.


    Bargain!


  9. #9
    Kay's Avatar
    Kay
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    Way before paying attention to diet, I liked to splurge on food and tended to buy the more expensive brands (no I&#39;m not rich). My BF at the begining would argue that it&#39;s a waste until I took him to the supermarket and picked up both versions (cheap and expensive) of the same stuff (cheese, chocolate, yoghurt, sausages and so on). After the blind test, he shut up about it and now is also prone to spending more on quality. In what world is a processed "french cheese" for less than a euro going to taste as good as a raw Camembert for 3€?


    I spend a lot (relative to my friends) on food, around 50 euros per week (does not include eating out), give or take; and I don&#39;t buy exclusively bio at all. Avocado, higher quality ham/bacon/meat, free range eggs, and so on are more expensive. I also indulge in the best cream, raw french cheeses, bio cultured yoghurt for 1 € instead of 30 cents for creamy dead yoghurt.


    It&#39;s all worth it! No one would put crap in a good car, I wouldn&#39;t put crap in my body. If I can&#39;t afford it, then tough luck, I do without.


  10. #10
    Diana Renata's Avatar
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    Because of finances, I think I&#39;ve spent a total of $10 on food this month, if that. I&#39;ve been living on the meat and frozen squash in my freezer, and the surplus eggs we got from the Amish. I would LOVE to go to the grocery store and buy some fresh food. I did get a bit of a break by visiting my non-Primal parents and they had salads. Yay!


    I typically budget $40-$50/week for food for myself, when I have the money.


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