Average Monthly Grocery Bill

Grocery Bill

I’m wondering what’s the median monthly grocery bill for anyone living in North America? I guess the expense will vary, depending on where you live.

I’m a single guy, and I have noticed I spent almost $200 each month on groceries in the past two years (i.e., after I graduated from university). In contrast, I spent around $150 each month when I was in university (2003 to 2007). My grocery bills consist of dining-outs and expenses from anything that I buy at grocery stores, ie, foods, personal hygiene stuff, household cleaning stuff, etc.

Do I spend too much?!?! ò.ó Is there any way to cut down the grocery bill further?

If I alone spend about $200 each month on groceries, how much does a couple spend? Or, a family of 3, 4, 5, 6? Here is an updated statistic for grocery bills across Canada.

Reader Comments on  their Average Monthly Grocery Bill

    1. Rowe on 2015/12/05 at 2:06 pm

      Just curious, Lara, I live in Edmonton now too and just wondering how your grocery bill has changed or not. I am a single mom with a teenage daughter. I really feel I challenged to start tracking how much I spend on groceries. Take Care. And thanks!


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      Denise Feltham on 2015/06/13 at 3:38 pm

      I live in Ontario and shop for my elder mother and myself. Mom insists that I go the same day every week (a mindset left over from the war years and raising a family on a strict budget). However, I am spending way too much money and wasting too many fresh vegetables and fruit. My grocery bill ranges from $100 on the weeks I do not buy meat and $150 – $200 on the weeks I buy it. My goal is to alternate between fruit, vegetables, and staples one week and meat and household products the next; however, that is not working. However, it does seem that the price of food has risen quite sharply within the last one or two years. So I think you are doing a fantastic job!

      I admit I buy meat at Metro because of the variety and quality; when I buy it at other economy grocery stores, it is very tough, and neither my mom nor I can eat it. I have not been one for looking at flyers for specials, and my energy level is relatively low, what with dealing with my mother’s illness, holding down a physically demanding part-time job, and trying to develop my own business on the side, so I don’t have the self-discipline to prepare meals in advance. However, I am doing more baking, especially bread, pastries and homemade jam, so that brings the price down.

      They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I will have to look at ways to balance this grocery budget before it gets out of control.


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      Kate on 2015/03/01 at 7:27 pm

      As a single person, i average about $100 on groceries per month (excluding take-out or restaurants but those are rare events for me!).I make a meal plan at the start of each month. I am a big fan of the crock pot and will spend one Sunday a month making soups and cooking stews/meat dishes that i can then freeze that will last me through much of the month. This has really allowed me to reduce my monthly food bill. The other strategy is buying veg and fruit only when they are in season (big difference in prices!). I also buy bulk on-sale items that have long storage life (i.e. pasta, tin tomatoes, tin tuna etc). I live in BC where grocery prices are more expensive than most of the country but do benefit from the many little fresh produce markets everywhere which sell veg/fruit cheaper than the grocery stores. I feel like i eat really well, lots of delicious meals that i make from scratch. It wasn’t until i started tracking every cent i spent on food that i became more interested in cooking from scratch – and wow, i must say, it has been a gift to myself as quality of meals went up dramatically (while costs dropped dramatically!).


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      Tightwad on 2014/08/19 at 7:14 pm

      When I see totals like $200 a month on groceries it sends shock of panic to my core. To be fair, I am thrifty and frugal and I coupon, a lot. I can’t imagine spending more than we do. I am a single mom with a grown adult daughter at home. (Yes she pays rent, her bills and her half of the groceries!) We spend $100 on food. On my part that includes eating out. For my daughter she eats out more often and she is responsible for paying for it. What do we eat for $50 a month per person? Would you believe new york steak, chicken, pork chops, ribs fruit and veggies milk, real butter and cheese… cheese and butter are expensive but a must. I do want a good lifestyle, I just don’t want to pay high prices to achieve it. We are not rich but we are comfortable. I have a stockpile. We will never run out of shampoo, conditioner, 5 blade razors, shaving cream, body wash, hairspray, gels, mouse, treatments, makeup, hair dye, sunscreen, bug spray, skincare or dish soap in my house. I have a decent food stockpile as well. I run a tight ship. To be fair the $50 a month I do spend is on eating out. I do use coupons sometimes but you do have to live a little bit. Yes that means I am one of the few people who knows how to shop for free. If I do have to spend money it does come out of my fast food fund… but I really can’t express how much I hate spending money on groceries. Not everyone can do what I do… and I don’t tell people how I do it. I will say it is all legal and legit and I spend 20- 40 hours easily a week to make sure it happens. I enjoy it. To me it is a game I am good at and I win!

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          sue on 2014/08/20 at 12:46 am

          wow. i’m not sure how you eat meat every night on that budget.
          in july i had an extra kid for 4 weeks and we spent over 751 dollars. i guess i’m not a tightwad!

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              Tightwad on 2014/08/21 at 2:41 am

              Well it did start off out of necessity. I slowly worked my way up to do this and I just kept getting better and better. Finally I decided to take a leap of faith and last year I challenged a few of my couponing friends to get as close to zero as possible for a whole month, all were advanced couponers. One person joked when I said I was leaving my bank card at home for the first week and asked if I could really do it. I got cocky and said, yaknow I am going to go for 2 weeks. The process was a natural evolution. The first 2 weeks showed me I could do it. My bank card was not used for the month, no money was taken out of my account except to pay for bills and gas. I am happy to say that 4 out of 12 couponers hit zero. Another 4 spent under $80 in a month to feed growing families. The other 4 didn’t really keep track. All of the couponers are quite exceptionally skilled and really at the top of their game with several years experience.

              Please don’t think you can just pick up on couponing and have the same savings right off the bat. On average most couponers in Canada save 30%- 50% off their grocery bill using coupons and price matching. If you ask on a couponing website they will say a zero balance on all grocery purchases is a myth. 30 – 50% is still a fantastic savings rate.

              For the most part, couponing is not for everyone. The reality is a part time job pays way more than the full time hours I tend to put into it. I have time and I enjoy the game.

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              kathryn on 2014/08/22 at 2:06 am

              That’s great Tightwad! I think attitude is half the battle. I don’t use a lot of coupons, but because we use our credit card for our rental property expenses, we are able to amass a lot of points, which gives us free food at the Atlantic Superstore. We are still careful with our purchases, so as to not waste the points, but we love trying new things, when they are 50% off :)
              People who really hate grocery shopping, and do not take the time to look at deals,will miss out.

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      elvinmerij on 2014/05/22 at 2:43 pm

      I spend about 350/month on groceries. I’m retired, living in Eastern Ontario. I have spent under 300/month, when I’ve been careful to scan flyers and get items on sale. Lately, I haven’t been; that’s why it’s getting up well over 300.

      One thing I save big on is buying bulk items when they go on sale, items that I know I use a lot of. 2 examples: orange juice & toilet paper. I like the Minute Maid frozen O/J, so when “No Frills” has it on sale, like half-price, I’ll buy, oh, 15 cans of it.

      Metro puts Cashmere toilet paper on sale sometimes at a big discount. An 8-roll pack normally costs around 9 bucks, but they’ll have it on for $3 about once a month. Then I’ll buy about 10 packs.

      Hey, if you know you’ll use something on a regular basis, might as well stock up. Hoarding? Not if you’re going to use it.


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      Marika on 2014/01/28 at 8:15 pm

      I have been tracking our expenses for the past seven years. When we first got married there were three of us and our grocery bill ran about $650 per month in Lethbridge AB. Currently our family count is 5. Two adults, 11yo, 5yo and 3yo, a dog and a cat. Our grocery bill is now between 700-800 per month.(this includes cleaning supplies, toilet paper, the odd pair of socks, personal hygiene etc.) We have also moved to the Edmonton Area. So we have almost doubled in population but our grocery bill did not.
      I do not buy juice or cookies anymore. I make Kefir and bake cookies or squares once a week. We have also started to butcher meat ourselves ( living on an acreage give us the freedom to do this) Oh and I do not run the store for everything…I make do with out. And do groceries in town twice a month.
      And yes, prices have gone up ALOT in the last seven years. I remember buying a 60% WW loaf of bread. for $1.15. Now you can’t even get yesterday’s’ white bread for that price.

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          Bridget on 2014/01/29 at 1:40 pm

          Great comment, thanks. I’m curious, how much is a nice loaf of bread then?


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      kathryn on 2014/01/25 at 4:30 am

      We spend an average of $50-$60 total a week for my husband and I.We do not make a new meal every night.Sometimes if there isn’t enough left of a meal, we will transform it into another recipe/meal.We also don’t buy too much in the form of frozen food, because fresh is usually just as cheap.We do take advantage of specials/sales/loyalty cards, but rarely use coupons. We usually eat meat every day, but it is not the focal point of the meal. We are not brand name loyal, as long as the lower price tastes good.
      Healthy food doesn’t need to cost a lot.

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          bridget on 2014/01/28 at 2:56 pm

          Hi Kathryn, Cool,. thanks for writing. we would never make it ono 50-60 dollars a week. i think my conclusion is that we eat really well. i don’t dispute that one can eat healthy on not a lot of money i guess the question is ‘what is eating well’. after talking to lots of people it seems that there is eating and then eating and the range is quite large. i just wanted to understand and now i understand. i don’t only eat healthy but i eat well. this is a choice i make, granted. but i think i’m starting to understand better now. i also do not eat frozen food, but, i do eat a new meal every night. i love cooking, i love food, i love food shopping, and i love eating. our milk bill alone is 20 dollars a week. our cold cuts are 20 dollars a week. and our bread is 12 dollars per week. that’s 52 dollars and we have not yet eaten dinner. last night we had fajitas, the beef was 8 dollars, the sour cream was 2,99, the red pepper was 1.58, the lettuce was 2,99 and the avocados were 3,99 for a bag of 5 (we didn’t eat them all), but basically the trip to the store was about 23 dollars. and we had all the other ingredients already in the fridge (onions, tomatoes, cheese, fajitas, salsa, cilantro)


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          andre on 2014/07/14 at 4:18 pm

          hi bridget the name is andre im from south africa got an job offer in the hospitality industry and gona immigrate soon to canada seen that you from canada i would like to know if a salary of C$82.391PM wil be able to support a family of 5 that’s including grocery and school fees and house levy as well.. thanx [email protected]


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      Lara on 2014/01/24 at 3:43 am

      I leave in 30 days! Yay cant wait lol. Anyhow, i have joined a group on facebook, cant remember the name now (sorry) and they have oodles and oodles of info on sales, coupons, etc. I don’t use it often but i did pick up the one tid bit that wal mart does price compare from anywhere in the country….so…

      I will be having my friend mail me these flyers weekly so i can use them there. I know that flyers here are different from there. If this doesn’t work…oh well. Lol. I’m going to try it though to see if it makes a difference.

      To me, its those little things that help!




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      Evelyn on 2014/01/21 at 8:45 pm

      We spend about $1000 per month, which includes cleaning products, cat food and eating out. We are a family of 2 adults and 1 pre-teen boy (plus cat). Would like to reduce this


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      kathryn on 2014/01/05 at 12:18 am

      My husband and split our time between Canada and Australia, and no matter we are, there are always people stating how expensive food is. Well, it can be, but it doesn’t need to be. To keep your food budget down you need to do some research in your area. One store will not be the cheapest for everything you regularly buy.Your job is to find out where to buy what items.
      Fresh fruit and veggies may come from a produce market, or the supermarket..or a roadside stand. Meat may be cheaper at a butcher store.Shopping the sales at the grccery store may be better. yes, you can still get your T-bone steaks, if that is what you like. The great thing about sales/reduced food, you never know what you are going to get. that is why I never shop with a grocery list. I generally shop the sales.
      We buy turkeys and roasts when they go on sale. We buy very little in convenience foods.We generally buy fruits and veggies in season.
      How much food do you throw away every week? Do you try to use up what you bought, before buying more? If
      you are wasting it, you are throwing money away.
      Choices between one type of cheese over another, will also impact on your grocery bill. Just because it costs more, doesn’t necessarily make it better.
      Anyways,many of us who don’t have a high grocery bill, eat a nutritious and varied diet.

      Choices between one type of cheese over another
      We occasionally eat rice and beans, but it because we like them, not because that is all we can afford.

        • 63092daf0888febd8507ebdea49983c8?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          bridg on 2014/01/24 at 9:14 pm

          hi, thanks for the comment. i do not buy convenience food. i made a home cooked meal from scratch, every night. i do not even buy packages of hollandaise sauce or jars of tomato sauce.
          i do throw away some leftovers, but not 100 dollars worth. i am well aware that throwing food away is the equivalent of throwing money away, i have two degrees in science. but, i buy ziploc bags. if i do not, then the lettuce in the fridge goes bad. i do not own a freezer. i do not eat frozen food.
          i do not use up what i bought before buying more: unless you mean using all the spaghetti before buying more, then yes, but, i do not use up all the spaghetti before buying penne, no. we eat a different meal every night. i have never cooked turkey, i don’t like it. you never mentioned how much you spend. do you even know? you might be surprised :-).


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      T. on 2013/04/14 at 4:31 pm

      We live in a rural Ontario town, family of 4 – husband works away so there is usually only 3 of us – we spend $700/mo (includes dog food and other items bought at grocery store like toilet paper,laundry soap etc) but we also spend $300/mo in restaurants etc (these would be mostly my husbands meals)


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      kathryn on 2013/03/14 at 4:10 am

      I was looking at your list. I’m not sure if you are interested, but here are some suggestions i have for stretching your budget even further..if that is your goal. Buy full cream milk, and dilute it, until you notice any significant difference. especially when cooking. If you see a sale on eggs, stock up, as they will keep 6 weeks in the fridge.Go to a thrift store or online(kijiji/craigslist) and buy a cheap bread maker.Making bread is a lot cheaper and very easy.When you cook a roast, slice it up immediately, and portion it out for other meals. Many people overeat, just because “its there..and yumm”. You are already buying quality teabags (I can tell by the price).This may sound weird, but I remember once when i was sick, my husband made me tea and it was the best i ever had. He didn’t remove the teabag from the teapot, but added lots more water and another teabag.We start fresh each day. Cleaners can be simply made with baking soda/vinegar/ammonia/dish detergent.(different combinations, and google is our friend) Also making homemade laundry detergent is simple and easy..and very cheap. Try buying dried beans and
      cooking them yourself. It isn’t hard, and a lot cheaper.


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      Wanda White on 2013/03/12 at 7:15 pm

      My husband and I are both mid 50s, both disabled, non smokers/non drinkers. We have no car and live in the country. We receive $900 per month. We pay lights/heat $350., phone $60, internet $55, taxi to drs, groc etc 2 trips $20/trip, groceries for a 5 week month $*0 per week. We buy: milk @ L $4.57, potatoes $$4.38, eggs $3.67 doz, bread $2.65 per loaf, meat $8.00 for a roast which does us for 2 meals, tea bags $7.00 per 216 bags, coffee $4.00 / 200 gr bottle, margarine $1.69 per pound, sugar $2.99/5 lb bag, bananas $3.00, cleaners $5.00 per bottle, canned pasta, beans-$5.00 for 4 cans, cabbage 42.39, onions $2.99/5 lb, carrots $2.99/5 lb, turnip $3.99 for 5 lb, toilet paper and paper towels $1.89 each, cat and dog food $10.00 every two weeks. This amount per week goes down if we need repairs done, or clothes.


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      Siobhan on 2012/06/02 at 8:23 pm

      I have recently moved from England to BC and the price of groceries here is shocking! I lived in Winnipeg a couple of years ago and the monthly bill for 2 adults was around $400. Here, I spend around $650, which is almost twice what it costs in England!!

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          Bridget on 2012/06/05 at 2:06 pm

          Ahah! I was waiting for someone from BC to join this discussion. I was in BC only once in my life, in 1996. Even at that time, I couldn’t believe the prices in the grocery store. Many things were nearly the double of what I was paying in Quebec at the time.


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          barb on 2013/04/09 at 8:17 pm

          i’ve lived in bc all my life and buy what i want/need. now with our daughter in university, she seems to be going through all her allotted food $. i’ve tried to teach making larger freezable meals, scouting flyers etc and cooking extra chicken for example for many different easy to prepare meals. what is the average university food bill for young adults these days? i give her 300-350 per month and she’s going through it! this is for toiletries & cleaning products as well. is this enough? after all, it is bc! ha!


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      Lara on 2012/04/27 at 5:06 pm

      Fantastic topic! I have been trying to consistently lower our food bill for over 8 months. I track EVERYTHING religiously, even every single Timmies (Can I get a receipt please?) lol. At any rate, groceries alone, for 2 adults (hubby can out eat anybody I think), one very hungry overweight 13 year old boy and a 9 year old every other weekend averages $150 a week.

      This does include the following: Dairy, Meats (we eat meat everyday), FRESH fruits and veggies (I refuse to buy processed and packaged items); Dog food for our 2 dogs, laundry items, health&beauty items; household cleaners and wraps (tin foil, baggies for lunches, etc.)TP and PT. My last report on my accounting software says $603.15 from April 1 – April 24 2012. I still think this is too high – but after reading other peoples grocery bills – I guess I’m doing ok?

      My trick is NOT to shop from store to store – rather I will spend an hour throughout the week, go through my flyers and price compare at Wal-Mart. If we don’t shop there, then we shop at Food Basics and ALWAYS after 7pm. That is when they reduce their meat and you will AWESOME deals – especially on roasts and beef (I’m talking 30-40%). They may expire within a day or two – but who cares if you are going to freeze it right away? That is probably where we save the most of our money.

      Take out on the other hand …. well, that is a different story. For the same time period, we spent a whopping $387.80 (Restaurants, Coffee and Bars. Not too bad I suppose, the month of March was over $600. But still a little too much out of my range of comfort.

      As for buying in bulk – I don’t do it unless I KNOW I will use it up within 10 days. Otherwise it just sits in your cupboard/fridge/freezer and goes bad or gets forgotten about (of course unless its Costco’s muffins … yummmm). We don’t drink pop and we only buy the no name juice crystals and brewing coffee grinds when its on sale. Load up! We will buy $ or more at a time when its on sale for $4.99 – $6.99. That is one commodity in the house you know will get used 😉

      I hope others here will be contributing their saving ideas. This is a fantastic blurb on grocery spending.

      Lara, Hamilton, Ontario

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          Bridget on 2012/05/01 at 9:33 pm

          Lara, Thanks for your post, great details in my quest for knowledge about how other families spend money on food! I am still amazed that you can fit all that in to 150 dollars a week. Do you buy fresh vegetables? Asparagus? Brussel Sprouts? Cauliflower? How about tomatoes and berries? Nuts? What about cereal? In this city, a family size box of Special K is about 5,99! How about milk? Just curious! Thanks


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          Lara on 2012/05/02 at 2:30 pm

          Hi Briget,

          YES YES YES – FRESH veggies always!!! I try to change it up every week. I am looking at my grocery bill here from Sunday. This post may get lengthy but I will list what I bought and cost.

          10lb Yellow Onions – $2.50
          Canary Melon – $1.97
          Sweet Potatoes – 2.94 ( 4 mid sized ones)
          Broccoli – $1.76
          Hummus – $3.29
          Baby Pickles – $1.49
          2% milk 4L – $4.47
          Triscuit Crackers (2 boxes) – $3.98
          12 pack of Sesame Seed Bagels – $3.99
          Multigrain Dempters bread – $1.99
          500g Brick Cheese (cooking purposes only) – $5.44
          Delisso Pizza (2 boxes w/2 pizzas in each – I like to treat the kids once a month) – $11.76
          Mini Croissants (24 in a bag) – 3.49
          Chocolate Brownies – $1.50
          Navel Oranges – $3.60 (5 pieces)
          Polish Sausage (like Kielbasa) – $5.99
          Lean Ground Pork 1lb – $3.76
          Maxwell House Coffee Grinds (lg container x2, on sale) – $15.98
          Ball of Mozzarella Cheese – $1.99
          Oasis Apple Juice x2 – $1.98 (again on sale)
          Family pack of Pork Chops – $5.62 (30% off due date is for May 1st – just throw in freezer)
          Lady Finger Cookies (boy has never had them before? lol) – $0.79
          Single Bunch of fresh Spinach -$1.50
          Green Grapes – $5.04
          Fresh Corn (4 pieces) – $2.00
          and … bad me … 8 grocery bags ( I forgot mine at home … tsk tsk tsk) – $0.45 (w/HST included)

          Grand Total: $99.27

          Some of the things I bought, not realizing I didn’t need, such as the milk bread. But these staple items I KNOW we will use before they expire.

          This bill is an exceptionally low bill because we already had oatmeal, cereal, toilet paper, cauliflower, eggs and apples. Every week, I like to change up my green veggies – this week it was broccoli and spinach – last week it was cabbage and brussel sprouts, bean sprouts zucchini.

          Overall, I star away from packaged items (except this bill oddly enough), name brand unless it is comparatively symmetrical in price, sweet and salty foods as well as prepared drinks.

          If you like, I don’t mind putting up my grocery bill every week for 4 weeks. Maybe this will give other people like you and me a perfect snapshot of grocery expense for a month? For anyone else reading this, PLEASE comment and let me know if I should or shouldn’t post my bills.

          I hope to read more posts from other people on here too. I’m always looking to buy healthy cheap food for my family. We are all overweight and I only make slightly larger than Canada Food Guides proportionate meals.

          But I can’t Stress Enough how important it is to shop at Food Basics (if you can) after 7pm to buy your meat – IT WILL SAVE YOU TONS!!!

          Happy reading – I hope to hear from you soon!


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              Bridget on 2012/05/03 at 4:23 pm

              Wow Wow Wow! I am amazed. Many of those items are not cheap, so yes, I’m amazed that yes indeed, food is very expensive and not only here in quebec. it’s very interesting for me to see how much you paid and for what, that is the interesting part for me, to know exactly what people spend their money on. you cannot read this on any statistic. And, on one salary as well, that must be really tricky. But you have a good attitude and you eat well, so that is the most important! I will post my next food bill as well because I personally find it interesting. Thanks. back to work now!

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          Lara on 2012/05/04 at 2:15 am

          Hi Briget and everyone who is reading this. If I had more time and sensibility, I would create, (if possible) another category on here just for grocery bills. Anyhoot! We went shopping again, I tried to scale back a bit as this is to last us until next weekend (yikes!) I’m not too happy with what we spent because hubby wanted to make HIS chili. so it was a little more out of my budgeting range, but oh well, can’t deny anybody chili now can we? 😉 😉


          Medley Cereal ???g same size as below(kind of like Honey Bunches Of Oats only without the nuts) x2 – $6.66
          Sweet Wheat Cereal 797g (again like Mini Wheats) – $3.33
          Pedigree Vitality Beef Dog Food 16kg (will last us 4 weeks) – $33.88 (including taxes)
          6 Bananas – $ 1.64
          Medium Ground Beef (4lbs) – $6.58 (reduced from $9.87)
          6 Skinless Drumsticks – $3.47 (reduced $5.21)
          6 Skinless Drumsticks – $3.14 (reduced from $4.71)
          1 Small Pork Loin Roast – $3.82 (reduced from $5.73)
          Hot Italian Sausages x2 = 10 pieces – $8.00
          Margarine (Great Value) 2lb – $1.87
          Club House Chili Seasoning packet – $1.34
          Great Value Low Sodium Chicken Broth 1l – $1.61
          Sliced Mushrooms ( package) – $1.97
          Celery – $1.27
          Zucchini 4pieces – $1.34
          Green bell Peppers 2 pieces – $0.88
          Great Value Beans in syurp – $0.78
          Tomato Sauce ( regular pasta sauce size) – $1.78
          Red Kidney Beans (dry) – $0.78
          Large jar of Medium Salsa – $2.97

          This totaled $80.87 + $5.25 ( for his beer ingredient – honestly) comes to:

          Grand Total: 86.12

          ***I want people to recognize if they don’t already know … your grocery store’s prices reflect YOUR demographic location meaning … if your average household income is higher than mine, your “Foodland” Flyer show higher prices than mine. The same also goes for the regular shelf price.***

          Lara, Hamilton, Ontario


    1. 2eb5a5546c5a641117405b9a74f1e900?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      kathrynd on 2012/03/04 at 4:58 am

      If any one is interested in $100 month menus/recipes/ingredient list (per person) send me an email at [email protected]
      It isn’t hard and when there are more than one person, it becomes even cheaper.

        • ac8ee2adeeb2473b9ee8c241e60c2dbd?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          Jen on 2012/03/15 at 4:16 pm

          I don’t know how anyone who wants to eat properly, i.e. sufficient vegetables and fruit in their diet, can get away with less than $150 per week per adult. That is what I spent on groceries at a minimun and I have been refraining from purchasing processed foods for some time now. I personally don’t eat meat so I end up spending more (i.e. cheese is way more exp. than beef). People with low incomes must really struggle. I reside in Hamilton ON.


        • 9b4800ac34138873b5161297f2227f2b?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          Lara on 2012/05/02 at 2:38 pm

          Jen, I live in Hamilton Ontario and we operate on only my fiances income – which is moderately low income ($15/hr). Our bills for the 2 of us, 13 yr boy and every other w/e 9 yr old girl manages around the $150 mark. You just have to be sharp about your buying. Only buy whats on sale, make from scratch everything possible, dinners here only take me an hour from start to table. I don’t buy shake n bake, instead I buy seasoned bread crumbs and use the veggie bags from the store to coat my meat or to top my baked dishes. It is possible. See my post above and follow me for 4 weeks to show you.

          Also, Kathryn did what I did as well. I took a Saturday afternoon and put together 5 sheets with different meal ideas and their total cost for each one. All of them are under $7 a meal. Not per person, for 3 of us. I try my best to adhere to it. Sometimes, its OK to shake it up and splurge, but not too often otherwise you will spoil your self discipline and start craving more expensive, less healthy meals. If you want I can send you my set of meal plans? Let me know.



    1. ebb92e311a4579457efc8520d78e80b2?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Lesa on 2011/11/19 at 1:01 am

      My partner doesn’t believe what I spend on groceries, and I consider myself frugal! Average is between $210 – $240 per week for two adults and two children in Northern BC Canada. That is with no treats, pop, junk food or extras. That is just plain healthy food! That also does not include pet food, paper products or cleaning supplies as I buy those in bulk elsewhere. So that is an average of $60 per person per week, or just over $1,000 per month.

        • 63092daf0888febd8507ebdea49983c8?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          poots on 2012/01/26 at 5:06 pm

          hi there! I am happy to read this. I think most people have NO clue how much money they spend on groceries. I want to know what someone (i live in QC) who spends 100 bucks a month on groceries, EATS. in this town, 60 dollars last me about 3 days. i am very tiny and don’t eat much. i don’t eat any junk food. i eat real food, i.e. pork chops and potatoes, stir fries, grilled vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, salads with tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese, beef and broccoli with rice noodles, pasta casseroles, etc etc etc. this is normal food. eating on less than 100 dollars per week is not possible in this town. so i am happy to read the posts by the folks who like me, also spend 1,000 per month on food. :-)


    1. 5cfc5969eacef911e7d4fdc4522cb3b5?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Robin on 2011/05/05 at 7:09 pm

      Hi to you all.. just reading all the other posts, wondering where my family stands in regards to grocery expenses.
      Because we do not have a lot of money, about 4000 a month to live off, I have found that I am very much limited what is left over, after paying bills and rent and other needed expenses, I have $800 left for food, as well as diapers. So I guess that is not too bad for 2 adults, and 4 kids. ( well the little one is only 1 month old, so he doesn’t count yet;) We also can do this because we get our meat from people who raise the meat, so we buy it it bulk, such as half a pig, and 1/4 of beef, which helps our monthly bill.


    1. af229e66fbabf57cad93dce663ccdab4?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Sandra Taylor on 2011/04/06 at 9:23 pm

      I was reading with interest what folks are spending on grocery, and I live alone, on a fixed income and $200.00 a month if that includes
      personal care and cleaning supplies
      is what I estimate I spend


    1. ef11a700e5549a7329f1ac1e19f96a34?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      birel on 2011/03/25 at 3:44 pm

      This is good info and I often wonder what’s right. We are family, with small 2 kids. My best guestimate is we spend close to


    1. bed356102a618fb62a26ae72c3219952?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Antoine Rogowski on 2010/09/26 at 8:13 am

      You have got excellent content there, Appreciate it, I think that this is fairly intriguing. I’ve genuinely liked reading your articles. Simply marvelous what you’ve here.


    1. 0147381617c799a325a5d563dc9307ad?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Daniel on 2010/09/16 at 2:23 pm

      Single and I spend about 700$ a month in Bethesda MD.


    1. 69edffaa1a28d7466e66cab56c1b2293?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Fernando on 2010/04/01 at 8:14 pm

      I’ve been tracking all my monthly expenses for years. We are two adults, two dogs, no kids.
      We definitely spent too much

      Monthly averages for 2009:
      – Bills (mortgage, house insurance, phone, cable, internet, water, electricity, bankfees): $1800
      – Groceries, Pet Food, Alcohol: $930
      – Restaurant, Takeouts and bars: $180
      – Car, car insurance, gas, repairs, bus: $700
      – Cash: $600

      $200/month sounds very reasonable to me :)


    1. b971684992e106b99b49cc440dd43bc7?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      lisa on 2010/01/25 at 8:40 pm

      I traack my groceries monthly on a chart. Im not the best at being frugal but try. We spend. for 2 adults a 8 year old and 3 year old $800 monthly including diapers and personal hygiene. It seems to be a comfortable amount.


    1. 71fe308bab69eecde1b1190b138c8643?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Kelly on 2009/12/16 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you! I was wondering what I was doing wrong? I have cut back drastically, rarely eat out, make almost everything from scratch including kids lunch box snacks, shop sales, buy in bulk, and still spend around $800 per month for one adult, 3 kids. I must have spent much more before.


    1. 69d62d4c2546db35065e24a619cab7e3?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Monty on 2009/09/09 at 4:25 pm

      I challenge anyone to track their food bill for 1 month. I guarantee you will be surprised. We spend anywhere from $1,400 to $1,600 per month for a family of 5, and that’s doing the Costco runs. When people say they spend under a grand for a family, I suspect that they haven’t actually tracked it in their financial software. Do the math, feel the pain!

        • a2eaba4342b05b1cb30ebf67ae505a25?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          Dave on 2009/11/24 at 2:46 am

          Monty – you are bang on. I track my monthly bill religiously and can’t believe we spend $1200 per month for 2 kids (8 mo and 4 yr old) and 2 adults. And I am always on the lookout for deals on groceries.


        • 127ae49c10154c43d9056572c5bc85ee?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          Rina on 2011/02/17 at 4:07 pm

          Monty, I have been tracking all expenses for 10 years, every little grocery bill, even those under $10. We’re a family of 6, including four kids ages 5-17 and a Great Dane. I do Costco twice a month and buy produce and dairy once a week at the local IGA. I keep our bill under $1000. This includes detergent, napkins, paper towels, things like ziplock bags and aluminium foil. I used to think I wasn’t doing too well and could bring it down lower but now I see we’re doing all right so feel a bit better. I’ve seen posts from people who have 7 kids and spend 800$ – HOW??


        • cb22c8da05718c5e62acabeb915658f4?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          Lorraine on 2011/09/23 at 4:53 pm

          I absolutely agree with Monty. For a family of 5 including Costco runs we end up spending $1500 per month. I do wish some of these sights would be a bit more helpful in cost cutting measures for the average family. (Esp if you have teenagers)!


        • 63092daf0888febd8507ebdea49983c8?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          poots on 2012/01/26 at 6:25 pm

          Monty! I totally agree. I am so relieved to read this. I also think people are fooling themselves. I read all kinds of articles where people say they spend 100 dollars a week on food for a family. I dream of visiting them and seeing what they eat. Even if you ate only rice and beans (which would leave you with scurvey and several other health issues) it would be difficult. In this town anyways. I mean seriously, kids need yogurt cheese and milk and oranges. I don’t eat caviar for breakfast and haven’t had even a tbone steak in months. I have been tracking my food expenses diligently for years and the costs have skyrocketed in recent months.


        • 2fe2eb72661eae721546986513d2339a?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
          Karen on 2013/12/30 at 2:27 am

          I’ve tracked it for years, and keep the receipts for the current and previous year. At the time of your post we spent an average of $423/month. Two adults, two teens, two guinea pigs, one cat. No Costco, very, very few coupons. Also no financial software. I use a dollar store notebook, a pen, a calculator and a couple reused big brown envelopes. We are now all adults and the guinea pigs have died of old age. Our average this year is $528/month, with a week left to go in the year. Kathryn and Lara know what they are talking about.

          I challenge anyone spending $1000 per month for a family of four to give up their individually packaged servings, disposable products, brand names, heat and serve meals and junk food.

            • 9b4800ac34138873b5161297f2227f2b?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
              Lara on 2014/01/02 at 4:52 pm

              Hello everyone!

              Happy 2014!

              I cannot believe this post is still being used! I am thrilled!

              I have, (since my last post), left my husband, which means my budget is now for one. The children were his from a previous marriage.

              Currently i survive off of $250 a month. That is it! Very very difficult to do but i manage,

              I budget for $40 a week for groceries but that means only meat once to twice a week. I still adhere to the price comping and do not use coupons and such.

              I smoke cigarettes, but buy the reallu crappy reserve ones, so again, thay helps cut costs tremendously.

              In two months i will be migrating to Edmonton. It will be interesting to see the difference in food costs.

              I wish everyone well and i still suggest following the tips i made in my 2012 post. I live by them….religiously.

              Good luck!

              Lara from Hamilton…on her way to Edmonton :)

            • 63092daf0888febd8507ebdea49983c8?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
              briidget on 2014/01/03 at 3:38 pm

              Hi Lara, I am also still interested in this subject. I still am bafled by how little some people spend on groceries, and I wonder if the difference in Montreal is that much different. I really appreciate seeing all the prices people post. Let me find a bill and post the details, in case anyone is interested.
              As everyone knows, meat is expensive. i need meat every day because i am hypoglycemic and would need to eat constantly all day if i did not eat meat. I only weigh 107 pounds and I am quite certain that I personally eat more than 100 dollars of food per week. I don’t eat caviar but I don’t eat rice and bean either. i guess blue cheese would be considered a luxury item: actually i guess gruyere cheese would be also. I don’t disagree. however i also earn a large salary, which was my point all along, and, i guess now i have the answer : how do people manage on lower incomes? they do not eat gruyere and they do not eat Tbone steak. i am very sad for them because i love to eat and believe eating is one of life’s greatest luxuries. i hope these people have other luxuries in life, like love and family. :;-)

            • 63092daf0888febd8507ebdea49983c8?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
              Bridget on 2014/01/09 at 12:19 am

              hi Lara, Good luck with your move. It would be interesting to know if you see a big difference in prices between Hamilton and Edmonton. I admit that I am still amazed that you can live off of 40 dollars per week, including cigarettes. I spend at least 40 per day.

    1. fdfbdca533bd7f0553c333f0a3317746?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Ryan A. Smith on 2009/06/06 at 1:26 pm

      How do you manage to spend that little for 4 people? I myself spend $200 per month, and I buy stuff when they’re cheap. Time to diet. LOL


    1. d001c13ed9fd599b62d3e9618bb0f672?s=40&d=wavatar&r=g
      Sue on 2009/06/05 at 6:05 am

      We spend about $400 each month for myself, hubby, and 2 kids. We like to buy things in bulk when they’re at discount.


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About the Author

Tobias Simmons is a personal finance blogger born in Ontario and based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He's no Doctor of Science or financial expert but is a self-taught student giving advice for the average peer.