We did some quick number crunching of this year's grocery expenses thus far. Thought it'd be interesting to share what a frugal grocery bill looks like.
Total Grocery Spend this Year
$1,424.30 over the last 6 months.
That amounts to an average grocery spend of just $230 per month. We are after all just 2 vegetarian people with no kids. We eat out maybe once or twice a week tops.
We include household purchases in grocery as well, stuff like shampoo, conditioner, Tide, etc, and not just edibles and perishables. We don't buy any meat, alcohol, tobacco, or coffee. We also get 2-4 meals for free at work each week.
Breakdown of Purchases
As you can see above, the majority of our grocery expenses come from Costco (58.2%). This is a deliberate choice. Unit pricing at Costco can be insanely cheap if you know how to shop there effectively without getting suckered into buying stuff you don't need or shouldn't be buying. Read some of our frugal Costco hacks here: How to Hack Costco like a True Frugal Hacker.
Foods Co. (~20% of our grocery spend) is a discount store with just 2 locations here in San Francisco. Most of my affluent software engineering friends have never set foot in here since it's beneath them to visit discount stores. But we don't care. We hate to waste money on flash factor, better lighting, impressive displays, online presence, people to bag our groceries (we can do that ourselves!), or people to polish our produce for us.
Duc Loi Pantry is a locally owned grocery store that's on the ground floor of our condo building. Their produce is reasonably priced, but their dairy/pantry items are heavily marked up. Foods Co is our #1 choice, but when we're constrained on time, we love the convenience of having a grocery store downstairs in our building.
India Cash & Carry is a discount Indian ethnic store in Sunnyvale, CA where we go once in a while to replenish all our Indian-specific groceries such as spices, powders, seasonings, etc. The store is so crowded that the checkout line wraps around the entire store. The wait time for the checkout line can easily be 20 minutes or more on weekends, so one of us typically has to get in line as soon as we enter the store as the other person works down through the shopping list. Here's what the line looks like (picture from Yelp). This photo is from the back of the store, the checkout counters are at the front:
If you found this post interesting, check out the rest of our mid-year expense review in categories outside of groceries: Frugal Hackers Mid-year Expense Review - June 2017