Average Monthly Household Grocery Bill

Find out how much Canadian spend on grocery each month.

About three months ago, I posted an article on Average Monthly Grocery Bill. I was hoping people would comment on that article, sharing how much they spend on grocery with me and the readers. Sadly, people in Canada don’t like to share their thoughts, I suppose. :( I know a lot of people come to my site for this info, but are unwilling to share. :(

So, I decided to find this information on my own, and certainly I found it. So should I share it here??? 😯

The data include average annual household expenses for all provinces & territories in Canada: Yukon (YT), British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), Saskatchewan (SK), Manitoba (MB), Northwest Territories (NWT), Nunavut (NU), Ontario (ON), Québec (QC), Nova Scotia (NS), Prince Edward Island (PEI), New Brunswick (NB), Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).

The average annual food expesne for family in Canada ranges $6000 to $7000 (monthly $500 to $600). :) The statistics does not indicate how many people in each household, but my guess would be for a family of 2.5 persons. According to StatCan, the average number of persons per private household in year 2006, 2007, and 2008 is 2.5 persons. So, you can calculate the expense for families of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, so on. My monthly grocery bill for me alone (I’m single still) is around $200; however, I include personal care and some health care as part of my grocery expesnes. So I guess I’m doing alright.

Example for the average Canadian:
$7305 ÷ 12months ÷ 2.5 persons = $244 per month per person

See how much Canadian pay for the government (tax) in relation to food/shelter!!!! 😯 😯 😯

National Average Annual Household Expenses Year 2007

To read more on Monthly Grocery Expense for Year 2009,
click and comment.
Total expenditures 55,007 55,574 59,987 58,205 57,308 76,654 73,747
Total current consumption 40,332 40,922 44,145 42,285 41,100 53,938 54,400
  Food 6,463 6,629 6,640 6,602 7,321 7,383 14,057
  Shelter 8,985 10,137 10,815 10,031 10,167 16,341 11,547
  Household operation 2,968 3,097 3,304 2,945 2,601 3,666 3,445
  Household furnishings & equipment 1,719 1,424 1,784 1,567 1,543 2,136 2,082
  Clothing 2,588 2,112 2,412 2,312 2,368 3,420 3,345
  Transportation 8,392 8,039 8,820 9,137 7,542 9,600 5,456
  Health care 1,582 1,994 1,868 1,817 2,067 1,721 874
  Personal care 1,008 1,027 1,048 1,000 1,089 1,239 1,123
  Recreation 3,305 3,019 3,329 3,215 3,055 4,133 6,855
  Reading materials & printed matter 179 250 249 234 245 281 201
  Education 579 797 1,055 1,005 633 1,220 N/A
  Tobacco & alcoholic beverages 1,636 1,474 1,628 1,426 1,354 1,459 3,506
  Games of chance (net amount) 247 195 253 191 178 283 465
  Miscellaneous 681 727 939 804 936 1,055 1,144
Personal income taxes 10,466 9,504 10,585 10,610 11,739 16,403 13,312
Personal insurance payments and pension contributions 3,171 3,694 3,550 3,811 3,595 4,177 4,742
Gifts of money and contributions 1,038 1,454 1,708 1,499 874 2,137 1,293
To read more on Monthly Grocery Expense for Year 2009,
click and comment.
Total expenditures 63,303 63,944 85,912 72,621 76,997 89,075 69,946
Total current consumption 44,701 46,089 59,288 53,394 53,929 63,369 49,766
  Food 6,518 6,073 7,491 7,745 7,078 9,096 7,305
  Shelter 10,852 10,711 14,955 15,056 14,058 18,249 13,643
  Household operation 3,063 3,161 3,768 3,357 3,831 4,110 3,287
  Household furnishings & equipment 1,715 1,873 2,608 2,036 2,707 2,466 1,964
  Clothing 2,482 2,434 3,548 2,818 2,915 3,844 2,948
  Transportation 9,651 10,412 12,678 9,896 10,775 11,439 9,395
  Health care 1,786 1,738 2,259 2,177 1,603 1,306 1,932
  Personal care 1,102 1,082 1,288 1,135 1,193 1,351 1,167
  Recreation 3,607 4,387 5,387 4,577 4,860 6,132 3,976
  Reading materials & printed matter 267 218 291 233 415 312 260
  Education 869 804 1,176 1,215 739 503 1,017
  Tobacco & alcoholic beverages 1,441 1,615 2,124 1,624 2,236 2,792 1,536
  Games of chance (net amount) 311 286 340 223 308 653 251
  Miscellaneous 1,037 1,293 1,374 1,303 1,212 1,116 1,081
Personal income taxes 12,411 12,215 19,766 13,297 16,437 17,751 14,447
Personal insurance payments and pension contributions 4,003 3,923 4,331 3,850 4,961 6,228 3,946
Gifts of money and contributions 2,188 1,716 2,527 2,080 1,670 1,727 1,788

Reference: Statistics Canada

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137 Responses to Average Monthly Household Grocery Bill

  1. Lella on 2016/05/12 at 3:12 pm

    We are a family of 2 adults living in Toronto.
    I make sure everthing we drink and eat is on sale.
    We still on average pay between $800-$900 a month in groceries. I make everything from scratch, including home made bread once a week by hand no bread machine.
    So what am I doing wrong? No process foods. I’m a flyer shopper.

  2. ib on 2016/03/16 at 5:34 pm

    We are a family of 6 with 4 kids (4,5,8 and 16) in Winnipeg. We both work full time and sometime additionally on-call, so not a lot of time left for meal prepping. We spend on average $725/mo for groceries/toiletries including OTC drugs and paper products, etc. We prefer to have meat everyday, so I usually plan for that. Plus we buy fresh/frozen veggies and fresh fruit. We don’t buy much pre-packaged food. I shop mosty Costco, then the loss leaders @ Sobeys and No Frills. My kids know if it’s not on sale, we are not buying it (now they look at the flyers lol). We stock up on items, then I prep and throw in freezer. For example, I typically will buy ~15lb ground beef, then cook it all adding carrots, onion, garlic, let it cool and bag in Ziploc bags and freezer. We use this for stroganoff, taco, spaghetti, chili, sloppy joes. I pre-season my chicken before it goes it the freezer, so I can just take it out, put it in crockpot frozen and let cook all day. With the carcass I make stock in my crockpot that night, then strain the next morning, then freeze the stock. I cook enough for leftovers for lunch or next day. We always take leftover for lunch except for the kids in school, they prefer sandwiches. For breakfast it is cereal/oatmeal or toast, pancake on weekends. I do buy the pack of instant oatmeal but only on sale and stock up, then I add extra plain instant oatmeal to stretch it. Bread and tortilla is cheap at Costco, so we stock up. I have a price list I keep, if I see it this price or lower I buy lots (cheese $1/100g, butter $3/lb, oatmeal packs $2/10pk, tuna $1/can, whole chicken $3/lb, pork $3-4/lb, lean ground beef $3.99/lb, etc.). We do not grow our vegetable/fruit as I have tried in the past and apparently I can even kill green onions. We have $100/mo for eating out, which means we rarely go out and if we do it’s a mom and pop’s place.

  3. Mike on 2016/02/23 at 7:10 am

    If your spending $200 a month on food, your purchasing very little produce and all processed shit!! Get real folks, average family of 4 to eat healthy costs $800-$1000/month. Who ever wrote this article is living in 1950!!

    • kathryn on 2016/02/24 at 2:51 am

      Most of all the produce I buy is packaged for ‘reduced to clear’. Nothing wrong with it, and many times I get to try new things,at a fraction of the price.Usually it is a big tub of whole mushrooms, bags of peppers, cantaloupes etc…for $1.49. When you buy cheese and other fav foods, when they are on sale…and stock up, you can slash your grocery in half. If it’s not on sale…I probably don’t need it.

    • Mary Foley on 2016/04/16 at 12:53 pm

      Really? $1,000 a month for four? I spend only $600. for four and we eat healthy and do not buy anything processed.

      • chantal on 2016/04/16 at 5:41 pm

        We are a family of three who live in Ontario. That is three adults and spend 400 a month on food. We hardly buy process foods. It is possible. We buy all are meats on sale and buy for three months worth when they are on sale. The fruits and vegetables we eat depends always on sales. If you follow the sale and know your prices you can bring down your bill.

  4. Harry on 2016/02/02 at 4:25 am

    Montreal, QC. Single. Spend about $400 monthly on food including groceries, eat-out.

  5. Donna on 2016/01/06 at 12:54 pm

    I spend $150-190 per week in groceries for one person. Gas for my vehicle is $80 per week for six months then it’s every two weeks. My utility bills for 7 months runs from $120 to 300 depending on the weather. Cable is $113 per month. Rent runs from $900-1900 per month. I don’t have a mortgage so I am safe there. Newfoundland is far from being the cheapest place to live in Canada.

  6. deb2000 on 2016/01/01 at 1:10 am

    Most people only have a small fraction of the so called average amount to spend on food. We have to feed the two adults on about $200 per month total. There is no choice but to shop the specials. Even then there are items like milk that do not ever go on special, at least not where I live. Prices in BC seem to be on the high side. It’s getting to the point where, with I have to spend, I can’t even afford a lot of items even when they are on special.

    • Mary on 2016/01/03 at 2:24 pm

      We are two in our seventies. On pension day, I buy about $300.00 worth of groceries. I have to have a lot of meat as I am on dialysis and this is when I load up on nonfood items such as soap, tissue, etc. I also will get my fresh fruit but I do buy frozen vegetables as I know they are flash frozen at their peak. If cooked properly they taste just as good. In fact, I served frozen asparagus to some dinner guests and they thought it was fresh. During the rest of the month I will buy milk, cream, lettuce, tomatoes, bread and things that we run out of and that don’t keep. Altogether, I figure we spend about 400-450 on food. I never buy junk food or prepared food except for the odd frozen pizza. I have always cooked from scratch and enjoy cooking so it is not a burden. I would love to be able to cut down on my grocery bill but it is impossible. I went grocery shopping a few days after Christmas and the prices had increased – A LOT. 2016 will be even worse.

  7. Geraldine on 2015/12/31 at 10:44 pm

    We are a family of 3, all adults and I’ve spent on average $160 a week in 2015. This includes toiletries, pain killers, vitamins, prepared food and a lot of juice. I also buy water.

  8. Matteo Grdina on 2015/12/16 at 5:43 pm

    whats the avarage food costs for 1 person in bc?

    • Catrina on 2016/03/16 at 6:34 pm

      If you’re making all your own meals (no fast food or eating out) and eating a healthy diet (5 f&v a day etc) then the cost (in BC) is an average $20/day per person . If you eat organic then this would be alot higher of course.

  9. Gee on 2015/12/02 at 2:23 pm

    We are a family of 4 (2 kids under the age of 7) in Oakville, ON and we spend $650-800 on food which I think is reasonable. I wish it could be a little less but I use the app flipp to price match EVERYTHING and then I also use CO51, Zweet to claim back money.

  10. Robert Pennant on 2015/10/27 at 6:54 pm

    I’m a long-term unemployed single male in Toronto and my average monthly grocery bill is around $180. I have to shop using a calculator and record each purchase as I make it so that I don’t go beyond my $45 weekly limit. As my savings continue to deplete, I’ll have to find a way to bring this amount down even further, which is unfortunate because that will make me less able to take advantage of economies of scale.

    • mary on 2016/01/04 at 1:55 pm

      45 a week is very low. what kind of food are you buying and do you think you are able to get the nutrition you need?

  11. kathryn on 2015/09/11 at 2:56 pm

    For the past 4 months, I have kept a record of our groceries + toiletry purchases. This is for 2 adults (6’1 210 lbs & 5’1 115 lbs)
    May= $330.26
    July= $227.20
    average of $246.58 month or $56.90 a week

    We waste very little food.
    Yesterday, for example I had 1 apple, a handful of blueberries, and 1/2 of a too soft mango…added a crumb topping,popped into oven
    Well, I made a fruit crisp for dessert.

    I wanted to make a tuna casserole, as we had some leftover mac and cheese and canned peas. I just didn’t have any cream soup or enough mayonnaise for the recipe.Instead I took 2 mushrooms and cooked them with some onion, added butter, flour, and milk and made a sort of mushroom soup…and I added some ranch salad dressing to the mayo. I had a handful of uncooked elbow macaroni and cooked it with the boiled eggs. When finished, I stirred in a spoonful of cheez whiz. Mixed the stuff all together.popped it in the oven. Turned out great. :)
    ….substitute and get creative.

    Stocking up on sales, really lowers your grocery bill. ..and cutting down on ‘convenience’ foods. They really aren’t good for you. Instead of buying frozen pizzas, make your own.

  12. chantal on 2015/08/04 at 10:55 pm

    We are a family of three. Myself, husband and nineteen year old daughter. We live in the Ottawa valley. We spend 400.00 a month on all food and toiletries. Most of are meals are made from scratch but we do buy some process food. Some of are months are as low as 250.00. Last year we spend an average of 340,00 a month. We follow all the sales and hardly buy anything unless it’s on sale. The only hard thing to get is fresh fruits and veggies in the winter at a good price. I am starting to have a hard time to find beef at a very good price. So we have been eating more chicken and pork lately. If you follow the sale you can lower your grocery budget by so much.

    • GM on 2015/09/10 at 6:01 pm

      family of 4 in Calgary. 2 kids age 5 & 10. We spend about 600-650 a month, only groceries. We buy on sale compare prices, shop mostly at Superstore and No-frills. my numbers are EXACT as I’ll keep all the receipts (item by item) since 2002 and have a database off expenses.

      • Nelson on 2015/11/11 at 3:53 am

        We are a family of 4 in Ottawa and we spend at least $1300 per month! My son eats mostly gluten free, we often buy organics, local, fresh fish and a lot of French pastries. We often invite family and friends. It is time to make some savings but it’s tough as food prices keep on increasing.

  13. Emmanuel on 2015/07/28 at 7:43 pm

    Im not sure where your stats come from (Im presuming statscan)? I recently moved from Mississauga to Halifax and I can assure you the food prices (except fish and especially beef) are at least 20-30% higher. Match that with a depressed economy, high unemployment and lower wages it’s tough. I believe that food prices are somewhat fixed at some level. Transportation costs must of gone down due to oil, so where is our break.


  14. susan brown on 2015/01/13 at 2:35 pm

    For the lady who thinks we don’t have points cards for grocery in Ontario, look up PC points which you can use at any Presidents Choice including No Frills. I shopped at No Frills a couple of weeks ago and used my points and I paid $30.00 less.

    • k1029 on 2015/01/14 at 2:03 am

      I have a points card now. I looked into it after seeing it on this site. :)

  15. Dizel on 2015/01/11 at 11:38 pm

    We are a family of 5..kids 14 (6ft 2inch ), 10 and 3. All very active boys. We live in Toronto, Ontario and I usually spend about 1000 to 1200 a month on food which includes cleaning amd laundry, toilet paper, too the paste ect. And I find that pretty tight. I cook around what is on sale, and I make lots of home made deals with enough for lunches the next day. We usually ray out once a week about $40.

    • Dizel on 2015/01/11 at 11:39 pm

      Oh and I forgot I shop at no frillls, I price match and use coupons.

      • Carmen on 2015/05/11 at 11:58 am

        If you dont mind me asking, how much do you work on a month for total expenses, not just food? your average cost of living, including phones, cable, mortgage (average) transport etc. Just trying to get an idea if a monthly income of 4000 initially would beable to sustain a family of 5.

  16. Chris on 2014/11/22 at 7:54 pm

    We use mint.com and it helps us keep an idea of where our money goes. We appear to be spending about $1000 for 2 ppl. But almost half of that is not groceries but coffee, fast food, and restaurants. But we occasionally pay for our friends that are of lesser means when eating out so that bumps the bills out. So if we didn’t eat out we would probably be close to the writers avg. grocery spend. We shop at Safeway only in a pinch and you have to watch save-on-foods for deals or you’ll get hosed. No frills is hard to beat, and local asian markets for veggies are the best combo for us.

  17. Al on 2014/11/02 at 8:00 am

    I think i’m going to need some of you to tell me how you manage to keep your grocery expenses so low. I regularly spend around $600/month on groceries (which includes toiletries, cleaning supplies etc) – just on myself. Just today, I went to Safeway, picked up some breakfast foods (ham, hashbrowns, eggs, bread, butter, bag of coffee), some mouthwash, a box of cookies (on sale) and dinner for ONE NIGHT and spent $75. I’ll spend another $75 before the week is through. I’m in AB.

    • Ryan A. Smith on 2014/11/02 at 8:43 pm

      Groceries in Safeway is relatively more expensive. Try Superstore, No Frills, and Loblaws. Buying bulks and generic products is usually cheaper; eg, $8 for 2 bags of frozen no-name veggies (2kg/bag), $3 for 6 bagels or $2 bread, $5 for 6-lb bag of apples, $4.50/kg lean ground beef (on sale), $5.98 for 1.3kg mini-wheat cereal (on sale), $1 pasta in 900g bag (on sale), $4.99 yogurt 100gx16 box, etc. Shop around and stock up over time, and eventually the cost will be less. I stock up foods and toiletries that I use most often when they’re on sale. I go to restaurants, including McDonalds, on average once per month.

      In your case, if you go to No Frills, you can buy hashbrowns $1 (on sale), $1.80 dozen of large eggs, a loaf of bread from $1.50 to $2.50, coffee Maxwell 200g $2.97 (on sale). Stock up coffee and non-perishable items when on sale; pay attention to expiry date whichever grocery store you go to. Check the receipt to verify prices before leaving the store door.

    • Connie McLaren on 2014/11/03 at 1:40 am

      That’s about what I spend per month on groceries – combo of Farmer’s Mkt, organic and Co-op (not including toiletries etc)….just groceries for one person. I also spend between $100 to $300 a month on eating out … this includes occasional fast food, family restuarants and higher end restaurants. I make my own lunch during the work week as well.

    • cheryl on 2016/04/15 at 5:37 pm

      I am a family of 7 – 3 adults, two teenagers and two kids under 7. I usually spend around $2000 a month on groceries and live in AB as well. It is not cheap and most stores have taken away their regular dollar days or BOGO sales. It makes it even harder when the economy is in the toilet and people have to pay $8 for broccolli or cauliflower. I wanted grapes a couple of weeks ago and they wanted $16 for a small bag. It’s ridiculous. You would think they would be giving us a break with the way the economy is and they wonder why so many more people are homeless, on EI or income support….its because nobody can afford to live anymore.

  18. Tracy G on 2014/10/31 at 3:08 am

    When the kids were home 1 boy and 1 girl, and the 2 of us, the grocery bill never was over $300 a month. That was up to last year, I always save $60 a month to get a side of beef every year and $20 a month to get a side of pork, poultry, or fish I buy when its on sale, and repackage it with my food saver. Fruit I bought by the case, and canned what ever is left into jams, syrup and sliced fruit. Everyone knows that each family is different, and my son ate for the whole neighborhood lol. When bread reached over $2 a loaf, I went back to making it from scratch, which the family loves, and it only takes 2 hours out of my day to do it, and the cost is .67 per loaf, I’ve even calculated in the electricity. In between, when my husband became ill, the income was gone, so I learned a few couponing tricks, when coupons come out, everything stays the regular price, the expiration dates are usually 1 year, so I’d grab a ton of coupons, toilet paper being so expensive, and waiting for it to go on sale, usually at least a month after, that’s when I’d stock up and apply the coupons. You can still eat very well, importantly healthy on a very low budget, but it takes time. So if there is 1 that stays home, take the time, bake from scratch and consider buying meat by the half or quarter, nothing kills me more to see that steak in the summer time runs up to $30/kg when you buy a half a beef it’s $3.75 a pound cut and wrapped and you get all the cuts for such a low price. Summer time I grow my own vegetables, 1 tomato plant produces about 10 lbs of vegetables. So grow 1 or 2 plants, a package of seeds runs around $3 or buy it in the store at $1.50 per lb. If you don’t have garden space, pick up a couple of deep pots, most people give them away over winter on kijiji, grow peas in one and tomatoes in the other.

    • Sara on 2014/12/15 at 7:20 pm

      I am family of 5, n I would love to know where I can find side of beef for $3 at?

      • Tract on 2015/04/24 at 8:53 pm

        i live in Saskatchewan, there is couple I bought from between dalmeny and warman 3.75 per lb cut and wrapped for beef

  19. susan brown on 2014/09/20 at 5:02 pm

    We are on a very tight budget having a pension of 19,000 annually after taxes and I am on dialysis so have to eat a lot of meat. Beans, lentils, etc are not an option for me nor is cheese. I am looking for a way to cut expenses and pay down our debt. I do not and never have cooked anything prepared – always from scratch. I must admit we eat well but not extravagantly. Never go out for dinner as we cannot have the salt, sugar, etc.

  20. Mimi on 2014/08/17 at 2:25 pm

    We’re in QC (off the Island of Montreal) and we spend $1400 per month on our family of 5. (kids:11, 8, 3) All boys, so that’s a tight budget lol. This amount also includes toiletries and pet food. Our resto budget is $160 per month. We go to the farmers’ market and buy whatever is in season and we eat beans and rice, poached fish and chicken mostly. We buy rice and dried beans in bulk and make a big pot of lentil soup weekly to stretch the budget. We only eat out on very special occasions. This is our method of staying on track budget wise, but not sacrificing our children’s healthful diet in the process. Like some of the other comments, I too find it impossible to stretch the budget further. We use coupons, stock up during sales etc., etc., how in the world do low income families manage! The obvious answer to that is tragic.

    • kathryn on 2014/08/19 at 12:45 am

      Having raised 3 boys and 1 girl, spending more, does not equate healthier. Buying produce at most farmer markets is not cheaper.
      For your size of family you don’t need to spend more than $15 per day.
      That would include fruit, dairy,vegetables, and meat.That equals $450 month.Throw in another $50 for miscellaneous products.

      You need to train yourself to shop for sales. When you can, stock up.Dollar cost averaging will reduce your budget.
      For example, today (I live in Nova Scotia) lean ground beef was on for $2.99 lb.(pkg was $7.00) Mushrooms were on an instore special for $0.50 a pkg (about 1 lb) A 10 lb bag of potatoes was $4.99. A 600g block of cheddar was $4.88. Last week the local pharmacy had 1.36L apple juice on for 3/$1.00 (I bought 9).
      Our meal today for 3 people was $2.33 hamburg,(made into a meatloaf….we ate half)= $1.65
      $0.50 worth of potatoes, and $0.25 of mushrooms
      apple juice for a drink ($0.17)
      total= $2.57 for 3 people

      Breakfast was homemade cream of wheat porridge with fresh cherries. Homemade bread, using our bread machine. Jam made from leftover berries that I stewed up…cost $2.00?

      Pet food wouldn’t be more that $50-$60 a month.
      Cleaners and toiletries would need to be more than $15 a month.

      In all honesty, unless everyone is overeating, and eating lots of treat food and/or throwing a lot food away..I can’t imagine anyone wasting that much money on food.
      Portion size is very important. meat shouldn’t be any larger than the size of the palm..of the person eating it. After than you fill up on veggies and salad.

      • k1029 on 2014/08/20 at 11:52 am

        Kathryn, by your calculation the cost to feed a person per day should be no more that $3 a day per person. That is breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and drinks. While I think it is amazing that you are able to feed your family for that amount most can not. Just looking at your meal outline I have to ask what else went into your meatloaf? Ketchup, soup mix, bread, tomato sauce, an onion etc.? The homemade creme of wheat, what ingredients were used? No cost included there. How much $ were the cherries and how much did you all eat. The jam reduction, how much sugar was used? What was the cost of the ingredients in the bread that was made in the bread machine? How much yeast, flour, salt, sugar etc. How many slices per meal, did you have butter on the toast? What was everyones lunch and what was the cost? Does anyone have anything else to eat throughout the day?

        Most people try to eat well rounded meals of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy etc. according to the Canada food guide. And when following the food guide for recomended serving of fruits and vegetables children need 4-5 serving of fruits and veggies and adults 7-10. A serving size is 1/2 cup of fruit or veggies per serving and 1 cup for leafy greens or 1 whole fruit like an apple or orange. So 1 pack of raspberries that they sell here would give you 1 cup so 1 serving each for 2 people. Respectfuly your meal plan does not does not include the recomended daily fruit and vegetable recomendations. I see 5 “servings” in your meal plan, cherries, fruit presserve, mushrooms, potatoes and apple juice. Just by the amounts you suggest in your cost analysis it does not appear that serving sizes were proportionate to the food guide. I also do not see dairy or dairy alternative listed. 6-7 grain products are required i see 2 listed. 2 meat and and meat alternatives required for men it is 3, I see meat loaf and assume each had 1 serving. Grains you probably have it covered white the cream of wheat and bread.

        So while I get what you are saying about cost and shopping for sale items etc. I think you are being a little judgemental towards others and what their families consume. To eat a well rounded balanced diet low in starches and corbohydrates with plenty of fruits and veggies and leafy grean at the recomended serving sizes for a family of 5 is costly regardless of how well you shop for deals. That is approx 35 servings of fruits and veg per day, 30 servings of grains, 10 servings of dairy, 10 servings of protein. Follow the guide shop for deals and come back with a cost per person.

      • kathryn on 2014/08/21 at 2:29 am

        It is just my husband and myself now, as the 4 kids are grown, and on their own. I’ll try to answer your questions, as best I can. I’m not trying to come across as judgemental,rather impress upon the naysayers, that it really is possible to eat healthy without spending a lot of money.
        I’m 5’1, 115 lbs and my husband is 6’1 and 210 lbs.Just average people.If I was to eat all the food amounts suggested by the food guide, I’d be double my weight.I eat an average of 1200 calories a day, and my husband eats around 2200-2500 cals. To monitor my nutrient intake, I input my food intake into my Cron-o-meter (download it) I’m not perfect, but when eating a varied diet, it balances out pretty good.

        When you start buying food at reduced prices,and stock up when prices are low, it brings down the price.What I buy this week, I may not eat for several weeks, because what I’m eating this week, what I bought a few weeks ago.When 750g peanut butter was on sale for $2.88, I bought 6…you get the idea.

        Meatloaf consists of ground beef, egg,cracker/bread crumbs,ketchup,onion…with brownsugar and ketchup topping.
        Cream of wheat is cooked on top of the stove with water…then topped with a sprinkle of sugar and whatever fruit I happen to have available.The 3/4 pint of cherries was given to me,.I put about 3 cherries on top.The 800g box makes 26 servings at .07 (I paid $1.88 box). The jam did use 4 cups of sugar and a box of pectin.However I used apple juice to extend the fruit.Still gives all the flavor.It made 3 big bottles. The fruit was a handful of bueberries/strawberries/cherries/raspberries that we didn’t eat ,and saved in a container in the freezer.

        Homemade bread is very cheap to make.Costs maybe 50c a loaf and gives 12 big slices. We buy our margarine in 6lb tubs, at $8.99. It was the best price available. I have one slice of toast and hubby has 2.
        Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is essential to get the proper nutrients. It really doesn’ take a lot, to get what you need.
        Lunches are usually a salad or homemade soup or a chili.I use a large variety of vegetables and beans, when making these.A sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of greek yogurt on the chili is yummy.

        Snacks are usually fruit and/or yogurt. Nuts can be sprinkled on your salad/porridge/yogurt or just as a snack.
        We don’t go the grocery store with anything on our list. We let the specials and discount guide what we buy.
        Sweet potatoes are very nutrient dense.Again, portion control.Juices should be limited, as they are very high in sugar, and low in fiber. A cubic inch of cheese is a serving.

        Buy the largest amount, for the cheapest price. If you cannot eat it fast enough, freeze them. That may mean cooking meals and then freezing them.
        Bags of salad greens are always on sale for $1-2. (kale/spinach/romaine). Make your own dressing.

        What puts up the grocery bill? Boxes of pizza pockets, bags of cookies,frozen pizzas,chips,doritos,Buying brand name instead of no name/store brand. Sliced sandwich meats.(.but a roast and cook it.)
        Snackables and single portion packets of treats.

  21. k1029 on 2014/08/05 at 2:11 pm

    We are a family of 3 living in the Ottawa Valley, our grocery bill includes, laundry supplies, toilet paper, vitamins etc. We do have an older daughter her child and spouse frequently eat at our place and we have a dog. We can easily spend $1300/mth, we rarely eat out or buy prepared foods. The cost of groceries is astronomical, it is $6.00/lb for ground beef and $12 for a small whole chicken I often make soup with my carcass, and I plan every meal to make another meal out of it. The “extra meats like bacon is up to $7.00/lb. If you have diet restrictions it could be even more expensive. A family size spaghetti sauce with ground beef, sausage, tomatoes & sauce, garlic, onions, peppers, celery, mushrooms and your pasta can easily cost $40, you can get 2 meals out of it but it still works out to $20 a dinner. 5 years ago I could make the same meal for around $15. I do not understand how low income families are able to keep their families fed, Even kraft dinner is $1/box on sale.

    • kathryn on 2014/08/06 at 2:56 am

      Groceries are not that expensive, if you don’t want them to be.If you want to reduce your food budget, you need to shop sales and buy discount. I bought a 1.2 pkg of extra lean ground beef this week. It was $8.69 a kg. It was further reduced $1.80 because I have joined the store’s ‘points’ program. I will make a pot of chili, a meatloaf, and a casserole with this package of meat. This will provide 6-8 meals for my husband and I.
      Meat should not be the focal point of a meal. A serving is the size of your palm.
      When a store has a sale on broccoli,you buy that, even if you planned on buying cauliflower. When something you regularly buy goes on sale, you stock up.
      Portion control is important.

      • k1029 on 2014/08/07 at 1:43 pm

        Kathryn can I ask what province you live in and what supermarket you shop at to use a points program? I have not seen anything like that in Ontario. We do not have any grocery store with a points program locally that gives any reduction on the items you are purchasing. We have a few credit cards that collect points that you can use later to buy products like Walmart or Canadian Tire. Or gas vouchers when you purchase fuel from No Frills gas station that you can use against your grocery bill at their supermarket. I have never in the 20 years I have been shopoing throughout Ontario seen a points program that you are talking about.

      • kathryn on 2014/08/08 at 1:44 am

        We live in Nova Scotia, and PC Financial offer us points at the Atlantic Superstores,(among others) but in Ontario it would be at Loblaws (and other stores too) I believe NoFrills also have this ‘points’ program.You need to join, to get the extra personalized offers, and then ‘reload’ it each week to your card. It doesn’t cost anything. The stores are tracking what you buy, and then give you offers to buy it again.I have only joined in the last year.
        It seems like a hassle at first, but it is well worth it.

      • k1029 on 2014/08/08 at 11:35 pm

        That is very interesting. I am 99% positive we do not have a points program like that. Ours you collect points on certain offers, say Loblaws, PC blue menu cheese worth 200 points. You may cash in your points for merchandise after you have 20 000 points. It is like air miles somewhat. And many stores offers air miles points like Metro. No Frills does not have any programs it is a discount store only fuel coupons, that I know for sure. Ontario is really missing out on a lot, would be curious to understand why. I would love to compare food costs accross Provinces because Ontario has skyrocketed steadily the last 2 years. I work with the local food bank and the situation has been bleak. Great info, thank you Kathryn.

      • kathryn on 2014/08/10 at 4:18 pm

        Yes, it is this program you are referring to…but there is an extension to this program, which you need to sign up for, that will give you extra offers. Check it out.

  22. DJ on 2014/07/23 at 9:03 pm

    Southern BC, our budget is $700 a month, including all cleaning supplies, toilet paper, laundry and dish detergents, batteries and home office supplies. We are a family of four big eaters. If we eat out, it is once a month, which is rare. We grow our own produce (fruit, vegies and nut trees) I bake and cook a lot. I am now into canning. We are now discovering wine making. We would like to get our own chickens. I do live in the kitchen. It is nice a web page like this exists. Sites like this motivate budgeting and saving money. I am now motivated to cut my amount to $650. Thank you to everyone who opened up and shared a very personal stat.

  23. Cory on 2014/07/20 at 3:42 pm

    $200 a month? What do you eat? That is like 50 a week? I just bought groceries for this weeks breakfast and spend almost $50.

    • Ryan A. Smith on 2014/07/22 at 1:10 am

      I don’t go to restaurant or fast foods very often.

      For just me:

      Breakfast: cereal ($6 jumbo box 1.3kg of mini-wheat for 1 to 2 weeks)

      Lunch: bagel/toast ($4 biweekly) with cheese ($3 biweekly), yogurt ($5 for 16 x 100g biweekly), fruit, coffee

      Dinner is soup (easier to make for one person)
      —meat (beef stew, chicken breast, fish, etc), buy bulk and freeze it in smaller portions in sandwich bags; cost about $10-$15 per week (?)

      —frozen veggies ($4 for 2kg bag of carrot, broccoli, cauliflower that lasts about 1 to 2 weeks)

      —spinach ($6 for 2kg bag that can last more than 2 weeks, so freeze the rest and it won’t go bad)

      —noodle or pasta in the soup. Sometimes add egg.

      Snacks: chips, cookies, trail mix, etc.

    • kathryn on 2014/07/22 at 11:50 am

      That’s what my husband and I spend on average too.The other day as we were walking around checking out specials/discounts at the grocery store, and I noticed 2 steaks on the shelf..for $25!!! My first thought was “who would pay that???” Obviously someone does….certainly not us.

      Our breakfasts are varied, but generally home made pancakes,waffles,oatmeal or cream of wheat porridge, cereal, eggs,toast or bagels…usually served with fresh fruit too.

      Lunch is usually a salad, sandwich, or leftovers.
      Dinner is usually a potato (baked, mashed) 2 vegetables, and a meat.

      We buy a lot of whole chickens, and that meat will last for several meals. Then we take the carcass, and make a delicious soup. Ground beef for meatloaf,meatballs, burgers,casseroles.Steaks for stews, stroganoffs, stir frys.
      Snacks are usually almonds, yoghurt, puddings,salsa/tortillas, occassionally a cookie.

      • Ryan A. Smith on 2014/07/23 at 1:50 am

        Beef is getting more expensive these days, but $25 is not the most expensive. The ridiculous beef is Wagyu Beef at $200!!! It’s very famous in Japan. Recently Loblaws introduces this beef on its self. Better be delicious for that $200 steak!

        Fish and chicken seem cheaper more often, I found.

  24. md on 2014/06/24 at 3:22 pm

    We are family of 4 with 2 kids 12 & 10 We spend about $1500 per month including Groceries, fast food and resturants. We try to buy Oraganic produce and meat from farmers market whenever possible.
    We dont buy any canned produce or meat and 80% of the time eat home prepared meals.

  25. sen on 2014/06/06 at 2:29 pm

    i am a university student in ottawa and i spend 100 weakly on food only i buy mostly fruits and veggies and eat very healthy i do buy some packaged foods but a lot of the money goes to buy over priced fruits and veggies eg: 4 small eggplants 4.99 (that is one meal for me put in the price of rice and onion total 7 dollers for a nutritious home cooked meal produce should be cheaper!!!!!!!!!! 7 times 4 meals a day (i am a tall male) times 7 days in a weak is 196 preposterous i even try hard to eat cheap

    • kathryn on 2014/06/07 at 1:30 am

      I would suggest you start checking out other places to buy your produce.Most people get into a rut, and shop at the same places.
      For a while it might seem like you are running all over the place, but it will probably be worthwhile.
      Consider adjusting your meals to eating ‘in season’ or at least choosing foods when on sale or they have been reduced.
      Take advantage of all points/incentives that stores offer.

      • susan brown on 2014/09/20 at 5:04 pm

        It is not saving money if you are spending it on gas to get these bargains. You have to figure that into your spending.

      • Rebecca on 2015/04/02 at 10:39 pm

        Kathryn, I read most of your replies and I think things may be different where you live. The closest store to me is a Metro (I can walk there). If I were to go to a different store, I would spend more on gas to get there than I would save.

        I’m in Ottawa and spend about $600 a month to feed my family of 5 and the only way I can feed everyone with that amount is by buying everything on sale. We have similar body stats (I’m 5’2, 105lbs) and also far from an overeater.

        You’re very fortunate to be able to spend soo little per month. Unfortunately, in Ontario, it seems you can now only dream of such a small grocery bill.

  26. Cindy on 2014/04/18 at 5:09 pm

    We are a family of six. Mom, Dad, and kids are 21, 15, 13 and 8. We have 2 pets(cat and a dog). We average $1600 monthly give or take. We live in southern Ontario and shop at Fortinos but get all of our meat at Lococo’s to save money. I collect pc points at Fortinos and cut coupons. I cook homemade meals daily and BBQ alot. We try to eat healthy things like salads and breakfast smoothies. If we were to go out(which we never do) our bill would definitely go up. I find a healthy meal at home costs way less. For us to go out to a place like a family diner, we would spend over a hundred dollars easily. How do people afford to go out and why?

  27. hsmith on 2014/02/06 at 9:06 pm

    We are a family of five, living in Mb. Living on one income.( $38,000) Kids ages 1-6. I spend $600 a month on groceries, including all household products and clothes and diapers, bathroom stuff… we grow and can our own veggies and butcher locally bought meat. We buy eggs, milk and honey locally and eat only homemade from scratch food. We are anti processed and gmo based foods. We are blessed to have these options and hope to be fully self sustainable within five years.

  28. Karen on 2013/12/30 at 1:52 am

    Family of 4, South Central BC, now all adults (2 do outdoor physical work) plus one cat. Average is $525/mo. Toilet paper is the only paper product I buy, cloth handkerchiefs, cleaning cloths etc., personal care items – soap, shampoo, razor blades – bought in large quantities at usually annual exceptional prices. Fem hyg. is Diva Cup. Deodorant is crystal type – Walmart, SDM, etc., has them for about double the price of conventional, but they last years. Use Country Save laundry det., vinegar rinse, hang dry outside in summer, inside in winter. Buy dishwasher det, plus dish liquid bulk, vinegar as rinse agent. Use vinegar, baking soda, etc plus microfiber for cleaning.

    Small veg garden, 2 small freezers. Meats, some organic, but almost always discounted (go early and often), stockpiled in one freezer. Buy whole chickens, not boneless skinless breasts, make stock (and use it) from bones, pay attention to portion sizes. Produce frequently marked down, some organic, only in season. Buy garlic in bulk or grow it, separate cloves, bag and freeze. Peels fall off frozen cloves. Thaw about 10 seconds to crush. Always use butter, never marg, stick to basic, real food. Dress it up yourself when you can afford extras. Lots of home canning/freezing/dehydrating. Make my own greek style yogurt (2.5L/$3.91) from discounted milk (SDM, 55+) Cook from scratch. Next to no processed foods. It’s all just a cheaply made and inferior copy of something you can make better at home for less. Some eggs are pastured, most conventional. Rice, oatmeal in 20# or more bulk purchases. Bake bread etc yourself. Baked goods are very expensive to buy, but not to make.

    Most important – Make a price book!!! Google it. Sweat the small change – it adds up fast. Took about 3 years of slowly stockpiling at best prices, now only ever have to buy at lowest price. 75% weekly budget is for stocking up at low prices, 25% for fresh produce/dairy (could live on about $30/week for several months if needed). Rarely eat out, budgeted as entertainment. Yes, I am a SAHM. Used to have a “well paying” job. After deducting job related expenses and dividing salary by hours involved in work related activities, we’re much further ahead, healthier and happier now.

    • Eva on 2014/09/30 at 3:46 am

      I make my own yogurt, wear a diva cup, grow tomatoes, bake, I buy pretty much everything in bulk. I am one person, and believe it or not, it actually costs more to eat for one person. I don’t know how much I spend per month because I make so many little grocery trips. I don’t have a car, so I’m very limited in where I can shop.

  29. R on 2013/11/17 at 1:43 am

    Our family of six spends about $900/month on food and other stuff you get at the grocery store such as laundry liquid, toothpaste, paper towels, bathroom tissue, etc. We cook most meals from scratch and buy some organic food.

    • R on 2016/05/13 at 2:25 am

      Fast forward to 2016. I reported in 2013 that I spend about $900/month on groceries and other stuff you get at the grocery store such as toiletries, laundry stuff, etc. We now spend about $1300-1400/month on food for a family of six adults. I buy lots of organic and natural foods, and cook lots of things from scratch.

  30. Tim on 2013/08/30 at 6:50 pm

    I don’t know how those stats are calcuated. Family of five in Southern Ontario. One income. We try to buy healthy food but with two teenagers and an eight year old, groceries are, by far, my biggest expense. 1200 – 1400 a month. For me groceries is everything, so food, soap, toothpaste….whatever you buy to keep the house going. That does not include going out (which we can’t afford anyway) or alcohol (we don’t drink and couldn’t afford it anyway).

  31. Morgan on 2013/08/09 at 7:59 am

    We live in western BC, and have been carefully tracking our expenses for the last 8 months. Our family is 2 adults and two picky elementary school aged kids. We tend to eat a lot of processed foods and meats, but shop very carefully for prices. We eat out 2-3 times per month, ranging from Mcdonalds to Red Robin, and get Tim Hortons coffee and timbits 2-3 times per month also. When I average everything out, we spend $197 per week on food (nothing but stuff we can consume…) I work hard to keep under $200 a week, and thought we were doing well, until I read some of these posts…must be all of the prepared food we eat. While our food isn’t organic, there’s plenty of it, and everyone in the house is in reasonable physical condition.

    There you have it…Lazy (food prep) but thrifty family of 4 on the west coast, eating for $200/week. Hope this helps someone.

    • BB on 2013/09/12 at 3:44 pm

      At $200 a week, you are filling your kids with pesticides and hormones…..better rethink you ‘real’ value

      • Natasha on 2015/02/15 at 1:12 am

        We are a family of 4 ( 2 adults and 2 kids age 7&5) from ON. Our monthly food bill is around $1350.00. I am on the healthy side.That means buying mostly organic veg.& fruits from the dirty list and what ever I can not find local; naturally raised meats, eggs, milk products.We do not have a car.Therefore all my shopping is mostly done at the same butcher store, local natural food store and occasionally I would travel to No frills to safe on org. apples, org. frozen blueberries… One of my kids has lots if allergies since birth.I can only feed him meat and milk products from protein group. No beens in our family.We do eat lots of greens in our family, but kids are picky with fruits, so often I give in and by org strawberries for $4-5.00/box.I mostly cook from scratch and that food bill does not include eating out which is really.We do not buy cakes or other junk food.we do not have a back yard to grow something, and I do stock up on some non perishable foods, by salads and veggies on sale which is not that often for organics. Honestly I have now idea how to make that bill smaller.

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