April 6, 2011

Example $5 / day Grocery Budget for One

Lets say you're single and on a budget.   How much is a reasonable basic budget to spend on groceries? 
My example shopping budget would be based on a menu for a week.    Basically I'd eat dry cereal for breakfast, make a sandwich for lunch then have something different for dinner each day.   I'd drink milk or water for meals.   This is very similar to what I would do back when I was single myself. 

The basic menu for the week would be :

Breakfast = cereal and milk every day
Lunch = piece of fruit, 1 oz bag of chips, sandwich of lunch meat & cheese
Dinners = Monday : spaghetti & salad, Tues: TV dinner, Wed : tuna sandwich & can veggies, Thurs : soup & salad, Friday : pork chops & potato, Sat: chili, Sunday : grilled chicken, salad & can veg

This isn't necessarily the most healthy eating possible but I have some fruits and veggies as well as meats and grains.  I think its fairly well balanced.

I found prices at Safeway for the items and figured rough costs per week as follows.    Prices will vary from store to store and week to week.  This is just a snapshot of example prices.  

Here is the shopping list for weekly items :

item cost
Gallon of Milk $2.79
Loaf of bread $1.69
7x fruit $3.50
lunch meat $3.50
cheese slices $2.80
2x can veggies $1.60
head lettuce $2.19
can chili $1.20
can soup $1.67
TV dinner $2.50
can tuna $0.50
TOTAL =  $23.94

You would also need to buy some items every few weeks.  

cost / week weekly
cereal $2.49 2 $1.25
22x 1oz chips $7.70 3 $2.57
condiment $1.88 7 $0.27
spaghetti noodles $1.69 8 $0.21
pasta sauce $1.89 6 $0.32
3 lb pork $6.57 3 $2.19
3lb chicken $4.47 3 $1.49
5 lb potatoes $2.59 10 $0.26
salad dressing $3.99 3 $1.33
butter $2.99 5 $0.60


So between the $23.94 on weekly items and the $10.47 per week for items you buy less regularly you'd have a total weekly cost of about $34.41.   That comes out to $4.92 per day.  Lets round it up to $5 a day.

If you shop around for bargains you should be able to do better. If you shop around a little that would give you extra money to spend on extra stuff like some ice cream or maybe a nice steak once in a while.

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