I'd love your say on this

As many of you already know, I'm on a mission to prove that you can eat healthily and ethically without needing to spend a hideous amount of money. As part of the process, I've been researching average spending in Australia and getting some quite detailed info on what people spend their money on it. It's fascinating I tell you. But I want to know how you relate to the 'average' Australian. How much do you spend on food each week?

Not that I think of you as a client, it's just the cutest pic I could find. Image by David Saracino.

And so I'm asking you, as a reader and as part of the little econest community, to share your weekly food budget with me, including how many people it covers, either in the comments below or by emailing me at econestblog@gmail.com, if you prefer. If you like, feel free to break down your budget a little too, eg, "I spend $15 a week on dairy products", etc.

I want to know so that I can be relevant and useful and meaningful when I hammer on about this sort of issue. So please don't feel like "Oh crap, I spend $18 a week on salt and vinegar chips, how can I confess that??" Just do it. Be anonymous if you prefer. I'm not here to judge. I'm here to be useful.

Thank you!

P.S Have a sweet weekend.

P.P.S As a(nother) side note, next week, I'll be sharing a ripper of a sugar-free treat for you all, courtesy of a lovely friend of mine. Excited!

17 comments:

  1. Love to support you on this as we made the switch to buying from our local organic grocer a few years ago and we definitelyspend less now - even with a toddler in the house. I will email you!

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  2. Over the past 52 weeks, our family of four spent an average of $263 per week on our Groceries budget category - but that also includes most petrol, parking and pet stuff that we've bought. Our budget isn't very detailed! If we pay cash for it, it just goes under Groceries. I have no idea what the food component would be...

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  3. I would spend $150 a week on groceries, this is for two people, but I do buy locally and any meat I buy is the best, though I am eating less meat. I try to buy everything I need at once i.e at the Sunday markets across the road from my house, but I always forget something and end up picking up extras during the week. It may seem like alot for two people but we rarely ever buy our lunches and almost never go out for dinner. If we do eat out for dinner, even a quick cheap chinese is going to cost $50. One thing I love doing is buying a whole chicken, take the meat off, this gives me eight pieces which I use for various meals, then I use the carcass to make chicken stock - its great no waste.

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    1. I love your chicken strategy, thanks for sharing.

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  4. I would spend $200 max for the two of us each week - it maybe used to be a little bit less but we have started eating more protein and cutting back on carbs which I think makes it more expensive. I am vegetarian so a lot of my spend is on tofu, eggs and vegetables (and protein powder atm) where as I will by organic meet for my boyfriend to have.

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  5. In feeding two adults and two littles (2.5yrs and 9months) we spend a average of 250 a week. We live in a rural area so we do pay a bit more for certain groceries. On the plus side we live in a region renowned for food ( barossa valley) and our local supermarket is community owned IGA - in which we are shareholders. This IGA makes a massive effort in stocking local produce as a result we eat seasonally and I'm happy to pay 5bucks for two litres of local milk if the money goes back into the local farmers pocket thereby back into my community. We are big meat eaters ( raised and killed locally) spending about 60 bucks a week on meat. About 50 bucks on dairy and a ridiculous amount on fruit and veg (even tho i have a rather productive vegie patch - we are fruit eating machines!) We rarely eat out (only twice this year!) generally eating at home 7days a week so I feel this balances out our rather large grocery bill!

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  6. We are currently reviewing our budget as I feel we are going over it a bit to regularly. Our budget is $320 per fortnight for a couple with a 15 month old. Im struggling to stay within that as I move towards more organic living and making all our food from scratch. I buy probably about half fruit and veg organic. Meat is always grass fed/organic but we only eat meat maybe once or twice a week. I have recently started buying a lot of dry goods in bulk through a co-op (nuts, seeds, grains, flours, dried fruit etc. This allows me to be able to afford a lot more organic.

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  7. Our food budget is $350 per fortnight for two adults and two kids (5 and 2). This includes about 75% organic fruit and veggies, organic milk (not much though as we aren't big milk drinkers), organic flours, nuts,seeds, dried fruit and non-dairy milk (through a co-op). Also eco-friendly cleaning products. We are getting meat from the butchers, but are currently trying to source more ethical meat choices in bulk. We have two raised garden beds which occasionally provide some herbs or veggies but aren't currently doing much!

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  8. We spend $150 per week for 2 adults and 1 child. We buy all our veg organic, but buy bananas and pears mainstream and only eat meat twice per week (organic chicken, and even then its bulked out with lentils and veg so minimal). As a PP said, I prefer to buy a whole chicken, use it all and then make stock from the carcass as a base for soups (I get 12 litres). I make everything I can from scratch. No pre-bought processed snacks etc here. We have a lot of food allergies in the house so it rules out a lot of stuff anyway. We buy our eggs locally and have met the chooks so know they are happy well fed and free range.

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  9. I spend about $50 a week at the Vic markets on all my fruit, veg, meat, fish and dairy. $50 covers most my meals (I always pack lunch and only have three meals a week with either fish of meat in them for the sake of my budget) and I limit myself to a maximum of two meals out a week. I make everything from scratch to save on the cost of processed food to my wallet and health. I don't bother spending more on organic because I can't afford it, but I do use healthy grains like brown rice and quinoa. If it weren't for my student budget I'd probably buy more organic stuff but it doesn't seem worth it at this stage.

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  10. We spend around $230/week for 2 adults, buying only local & organic (except for coconut products), and making everything from scratch.
    Both of us always have packed lunches, and on (very) rare occasions when we do eat out we try to splurge and have a really nice experience. There is absolutely no food waist in our house - any surplus veggies are made into a creamy soup on Friday evenings, and leftovers frozen for quick meals. All our meat is pasture-raised; we don't eat much of it but prefer the secondary cuts and use the bones to make weekly bone broths.

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  11. Hi Maria,

    I'm a Pescatarian and mostly eat vegetables, lentils and rice... I do eat a fair bit of dairy too.
    I try to shop at our local farmers market and the veges are so fresh they usually last me 2 weeks. I would usually spend $60 - $70/fortnight there and then there are some things I buy from the health food shop (raw milk, dried beans/lentils etc) which would equate to about $15 per week. I'm shopping for myself and my boyfriend who lives with me part time.
    If I run out of time of a Saturday and don't get to the farmer's market, I have to shop at Coles/Woolies and end up spending $60 for the week there.

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  12. Hey Maria,

    My circumstances have changed quite significantly recently so I'll give you an idea about my weekly budget when things were more regular and stable; bearing in mind that we humans are notorious for underestimating things like this and I've never really paid much attention to my shopping expenditure or shopped in a regular, methodical way.

    Until fairly recently i worked a day a week at an organic market so I sourced my fruit and vegetables there. This was my only income, approximately $160, from which $50 would go toward rent. Here I might spend, on average, with staff discount, 20 dollars a week, but this could fluctuate to as little as $15 or as much as $30. This could depend on whether I bought a loaf of sourdough bread with that or still had a few frozen ones I got for nothing the week before. Most times fading, but free, fruit and veg were available at the end of a shift too.

    The rest of my food shopping expenditure is harder to pin down. I would shop for most of my staples at a wholefood shop. I don't eat meat or buy dairy (but will eat dairy if offered it) so this shopping concentrated on things like (organic or non-organic depending on availability and my financial situation) lentils, beans, rice, chickpeas etc, which would last many weeks. My meals tend to alternate between vegetable curries and chickpea, bean or lentil salads - breakfast, lunch and dinner - cooking 3-4 nights out of 7 for a housemate. i might spend say $70 a fortnight here, but it is hard to say, as i've said, my shopping has never been regular so I might not do my wholefood shopping for as long as a month and then do a big $100 spend or I might do smaller weekly spends, depending on financial constraints.

    So with no absolute certainty lets say I would spend approximately $60 a week on food for 1 and 1/4 people, maybe more maybe less, but not much more as it had to come out of a weekly budget of $110, which had to pay for bills and things as well.

    I'm probably forgetting something. Oh I would offen buy a coffee or two a week, but as far as eating out that just about covers it - the rest was usually with family and very rarely friends. I don't buy alcohol so that saves a lot of money, which many Australian households, I suspect, spend a significant proportion of there budget on.

    I'd grow a little bit in the garden but only things like silverbeet, kale, herbs etc. That's a big area that needs improving - maybe a bit of foraging thrown in wouldn't go astray as well.

    If I've overlooked anything I'll let you know. How much of that would change with more income I'm unsure. Perhaps I would buy a larger diversity of food, which could increase my spending.

    Feel free to ask for any clarification.

    ph

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  13. Between $150 - $200 a week for two adults (this isnt JUST food, its also toiletries etc) not organic or super healthy stuff, but lots of veges and generally healthier options (burgen grain bread instead of white bread etc) as we are vegetarian and try to be generally healthy.
    We're trying to cut back to $150 a week but finding that pretty difficult.

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  14. Wow, this is fascinating - I would spend a minimum of $500 a week on groceries (2 adults and 1 toddler), which does include grass fed meat, pasture eggs, activated nuts and cultured veg (attempted to make myself but unsuccessful!). I don't even buy 100% organic veg, 70% of the time I suppose. But I don't buy anything packaged, processed or with chemicals. Every month I try and cut back/find cheaper alternatives but I can't seem able to do it. Plus, extraordinarily bad at budgeting ...

    Interested to know how people afford organic on $150/$200 a week! I don't eat legumes or grains so that would probably make things cheaper. Great survey though Maria, look forward to results and tips!

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    1. Anon May 3, it would be interesting to break that $500 down. For instance what percentage of that goes toward meat etc. No packaged products is a fair effort though, well done.

      I can't speak for the others but this is a little bit about how I keep my spending low, others may do some of these things too.

      Because my budget is so small I'm very selective in what I buy. For instance, I choose to buy 2nd apples (many times just have superficial blemishes), juicing carrots, and other staple root vegies which are generally cheaper by the kilo. I'd never buy varieties such as kipfler or charlotte potatoes etc. Usually 2nds if possible, and generally never more expensive items like red capsicums, snowpeas, squash, stonefruit, strawberries etc, etc. Also only getting stuff in season means that I generally pay much less than i would if it was bought out of season. I can generally get enough greens from the garden, though a narrow selection.

      Theres a lot of other non-f&v stuff which i forgo too, which if i didn't my spending would quickly sky rocket. I'm vegetarian who doesn't buy dairy either, which helps.

      So there are some of the ways I keep my organic spending low. But this doesn't make for an interesting gourmet experience (I'm definitely no foodie) so few people would be willing to have the lack of variety I accept.

      One advantage of having to be more careful with how you spend your money is that you realise there are offen ways of spending less that you would not have discovered otherwise, like finding local fruit trees to source lemons or figs instead of buying them, or realising there is an in season alternative variety vegetable that your just not accustom to, but is just as good.

      Some of the people above may be a part of a box scheme, which cuts out overheads and means they would be getting better value for their money; or they might be buying directly from local farmers or from farmers markets; or they may be part of a wholefood cooperative; or they could even be part of local food swaps.

      But when I worked in a organic market (which had many perks) I saw many customers regularly spending over $100 on fruit and veg alone, and thats at a place I considered had some of the most affordable prices around. I personally don't need the variety that they got, nor the more exotic or heritage f&v - though it would be a treat.

      How much food do you let go to waste, if any? I have family who I offen notice throwing out food that has gone bad, so they're spending more. How much of the the vegetable do you consume too, eg. just the head of the broccoli or the stalk as well.

      You don't eat legumes and grains. These actually can be very good value for money in the long run, especially if bought non-organic (which i sometimes unfortunately do) and in bulk. They make you feel fuller for longer, and I find that you feel less inclined to snack or have a substantial lunch - even one at all. BUt I'm no guru about these things, others will know much more than me.

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  15. Reading about what others spend their money on is very interesting - it's got me thinking. I don't feel like we spend much per week. (Just me and my partner) I've been slowly but surely editing out different parts of our diet and replacing them with healthier/better options. Re-jigging (as you say)...

    I guess about $40pw on veg/and a bit of fruit from the local market. Pretty much all organic Veg but not the fruit. So about 60% organic produce. We sometimes top up from supermarket if we run out. All up I'd say including meat and other bits & bobs plus eating out once or twice a week we'd spend about $200pw. Meat we eat about 4 times a week but my partner buys that from our local butcher (which is supposed to better but I'm a little sceptical). I always buy free range poultry from Woolies (however from what I've read on Sustainable Table (fantastic info on there!) I could be doing much better by buying Organic...

    We used to eat more meat, but since attempting to seek out the truth of what goes behind closed doors I have been very put off buying any meat that isn't at least free range. Honestly, I'm a little unsure about Organic meat - I understand that it is obviously a much better process - but why is it soo expensive?? My partner thinks we are being ripped off - but in a way I'd rather be ripped off in that way, by buying better, that have our world destroyed...

    Since finding this blog it has been INCREDIBLY easy to make the 'right' choices. Being educated about environmental issues/health issues/global issues/animal rights issues/gm food etc that are impacted by our mass production approach is very empowering...

    So THANK YOU Maria - you're blog is amazingly informative and fun to read.
    If you've just stumbled upon it, welcome, you've found a rare gem!

    It's very encouraging to read the posts on here, it shows that a lot of people care, and more importantly are DOING SOMETHING rather that just talking about it...

    When I get frustrated with how overwhelming some of todays issues are I just think: If I can't do it myself, how can I expect anyone else to? It spurs me on...

    Thanks guys,

    Peace and love to you all x

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