Tracking household grocery expenses - what do you spend?

I loved looking at that book - so interesting. There was another HP book showing people’s earthly possessions/homes for the various countries too. Fascinating as well. I’ve seen one book/article about household garbage country by country, but I’m not sure if it was Hungry Planet.

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That German family drinks a lot in a week! Not just alcohol, but many containers of what seems to be fruit juice and milk, and bottled water. Lots of sugary drinks in North Carolina, too.

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When I was in high school we did an exchange student thing where a German student lived with my family for a month and then I lived with her’s a few months later. Her mom was horrified that we drank tap water (my family has a private well). They drank mineral water (carbonated) with lunch and dinner. Their tap water was fine0 but she insisted on buying bottled “still” water for me.


My wife uses tap water in her coffee/tea & pasta/veggie cooking but demands Spring Water only by the gallon for drinking! I drink the tap water here in Portland. It’s fine but not as good the water where I grew up (Greater NYC).


Thank you.
Yes, these clearance items definitely help keep us on budget. Occasionally, I will have to repeat some (sale) items for dinner, but that’s OK.
I’ve received some great advice and gotten new ideas for meals from reading Hungry Onion and the “What’s for Dinner” thread.


@Desert-Dan, I recently added the Too Good To Go app to my phone, and some grocery stores and gourmet shops post deals. Some is garbage, some is a bargain. It has been fun. We started a thread on the Toronto Board, and there are regionals Reddits showing the deals.
[TORONTO] Too Good To Go App
I have found some amazing bargains at the quick sale rack and clearance rack at my go-to grocery stores.

I’m hesitant to buy fresh fish on sale because the fish that isn’t on sale often isn’t fresh enough for me. I like to choose the fillets myself, so I buy fish from fish counters. I am hesitant to buy fish on sale, unless the fish guy will tell me why it’s on sale.

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The problem with Too Good to Go is that there’s no guarantee you will like, or even want to try, what you get in those “surprise bags”. The only ones near me are bagel shops and coffee shops. I don’t want a giant bag of bagels, and I suspect to the coffee shops will be uninteresting pastries (or possibly bizarrely flavored coffee). Maybe if I were in a more urban area the store selection would be better.

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Good thread, and it does make me wonder what I spend. Many years ago I used to keep track, but I’ve fallen out of the habit, and right now I’m clueless.

I think the card I use will let me slice and dice the spending data online by category, so if I’ve got time Sunday afternoon I’ll see if I can tease it out. My wife never gets groceries and the 2 girls who do their own grocery shopping use a different card than I do, so I think I should be able to isolate just this household’s spending.

Right now I’m mostly cooking for 2, sometimes 3, during the week. And some weekends a couple of kids might be home for a few meals, so sometimes it’s 5.


OK, I got too curious to wait.

The Citi card only holds data a couple of years, and was a bit messier parsing it out than I’d hoped, but I was mostly able to figure it out.

For calendar year 2022, we averaged $280 a week in grocery. The past 3 months of this year (Jun-Jul-Aug) we’ve averaged a bit less at $260/week. Some of this decrease may be an artifact of not having holiday meal prep in there. The oldest data available were from last quarter of 2021, in which we averaged $350/week.

The above would be almost entirely food with the exception of Zip-Loc bags and kitchen and bath paper products, which I do buy at groceries. Other kitchen/bath non-foods we get at Target (and I don’t grocery shop there), and my booze habit is cash at the local beverage mart.

My son was still here for most of that “past 3 months 2023” data grab, and 2022 would have included him and a considerable larger amount of daughters’ visit times. So I put a tickler up for end-year to see if our costs go down a lot more if I’m not feeding him/them so often.

I’d have loved it if Citi would have had data going back to 2018 when we were cooking for 6 pretty much full time and 8 a couple of times a month as well.


I have favorited my favourite coffee shops and gourmet markets. I sort by rating and distance.

I see it as a bonus surprise grab bag. I realize I might not like what is inside. For 10 or 20 percent of the regular price, I wouldn’t expect to be able to choose what I’m getting.

You can keep the bakery and baked goods out of your search, and focus on fruits or meats , at least I can in Toronto and London, ON.

I know that my favourite bakery only posts around 4:15 - 4:45 pm each day, and it’s gone in minutes.

So far, I’ve only bought one grab bag. The owner asked if I wanted charcuterie or pandan croissants. I chose charcuterie. The bread sticks were stale, the salami was okay, and the cheese was very generous. I ate the salami and some cheese , and I threw the remaining cheese into my freezer.


We had a long established fruit and vegetable market run by an aging hippy who made and sold tie dye t-shirts, drove an ancient VW van with a brown, dried up balsam Christmas wreath on the front of it. He sold produce from local farms as much as he could, but also had stuff from CA and FL. He would go up to Boston’s Chinatown and resell jars and cans of ingredients with the original price stickers crossed through with black magic marker and his happy price marked instead.

He used to have a few racks of surplus/old breads, produce and canned stuff at one end of the store. Some of the produce was free for people who fed rabbits and carrots for horses. I used to check it out all of the time and got great bargains. Sadly he decided to retire and closed the store about 4 years ago. It was demolished and a developer built condos there.


There doesn’t seem to be any such filter in my app. (I’m in New Jersey.)

If you click on browse at the bottom of your screen, is it possible to sort by distance, rating, etc? That’s how I do it. The app might look different on some other smartphones.

The filter is near the top right.

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I don’t have a clue how much we spend a week here in Toronto on groceries. (I’ll ask cos he’s the shopping fiend of the two of us.) However, we shop at a combination of Loblaws, mostly for the 50% off meat and fish deals we can freeze, No Frills for vegetables and fruit, Farm Boy for herbs and marked down bakery goods, and Chinatown places for our Asian cooking ventures. More or less. Since it’s never all in one place it’s hard to keep track. After ten months in Toronto and our initial shock at the prices, we are finally figuring out how to shop smart, but I love the odd gourmet food store or artisan bakery visit and shopping for European treats we’ve been missing in the ethnic areas of Little Italy and Little Portugal.


I was down to my last pack of ground beef. I told Sunshine we needed to keep an eye out for any sales or clearance packages of hamburger or ground beef. While at the store, the meat dept. guy marked down two 5 pound chubs of ground beef to $7.60 each. We got 10 pounds of ground beef for $15.20, so that is $1.52 per pound. YEA!! I’ll break it down into 1 pound packages and freeze it.


This is a really interesting thread. I wish I had the energy to track my weekly or monthly spend, but I don’t.

I really enjoy food shopping, especially at farmers’ markets and farmstands. In the summer and into early fall, when I’m here in PA, my weekly stops include:

Fridays: main shopping day of the week. A major farmers market trip in the morning before work (local and highly seasonal veg and fruit, local cheese, raw milk, farm eggs, many many lemons, fresh fish, certain meats only available at this market.) This market is all the way across town. During peach season (which is just ending) I also visit a second farmer’s market every Friday for peaches from a specific grower.

Saturday: 2 or 3 farmstands (more farm-grown fresh fruit and veg, fresh flowers) and my regular “country butcher” for all the meat for the coming week (I buy zero meat at the grocery store) and a special treat of red-beet eggs. If it’s berry season, I go picking on Saturdays. I often visit a specific local dairy on the weekends if I need cream or half+half for ice cream.

Once/week: grocery store (staples like yogurt, olive oil and cottage cheese.)

Twice/month: wholesale club (I get my soda there, as well as large packages of baking items like flour, butter and sugar. Mom gets some household items plus processed foods she enjoys.)

Once/month: natural foods store (coconut water, bulk raisins and nuts, herbs and spices, vanilla beans, specialty ingredients.)

When I’m in NYC, my meat comes from a single upstate farmer who runs a grassfed/pastured meat CSA that delivers frozen meat monthly to Brooklyn. A single farmer’s market trip on Saturdays (but this is not a bargain experience like it is in PA.) Grocery shops multiple times per week (because no car, woo hoo) at my local food co-op, and overall more regular eating out/purchased food into the rotation.


You might be able to broadly track the spending if you use a “food/cash” envelope that you refill and write on the outside the refill date and amount. And if you use a credit card, it’s even easier to simply go thru the monthly bill and checkmark the vendor names / dates for the transactions that likely were food; I keep printed receipts to match up against the card statement so something like a Costco run can be split food /non-food.


I am trying to do one big shopping haul a week.

Today, I stocked up. $257 Cdn at my local indie grocery store (including a fair amount of meat, poultry and canned tuna), and $57 Cdn at the chain grocery store.

I also cleaned out my pantry to donate groceries I haven’t been using to the food bank. I think I donated 2 dozen cans of sardines, which we haven’t been getting through quickly, at all.


:bear::honey_pot: image


I’m surprised how cheap the honey is, too. Here’s the receipt:

I found it on Tesco’s Ireland website, the bottle is 340 g (about 12 oz.). The very cheapest at Walmart USA is $3.94 (€3.72) for the same amount of generic brand. Must’ve been on sale?