How A Family Of 4 Feed Themselves On $487.9/mo – Oct 2017

I am happy to announce after after an all time high of food expenses ($1,106.2 in September and $844.26 in August), our food budget has officially gone down to less than $500 in October.

Many of you noted that we had bought so many groceries in September and asked if we could finish them all.

The answer is that we couldn’t.

Mr. FAF stocked up on so much food and stored them in the fridge.

We have two fridges in the kitchen, so that might be one reason why we just keep buying more stuff without even realizing they were getting packed.

After the first week in October, we realized that we had so much veggies and frozen meat, and that some of the veggies were starting to go bad.

We were caught in a dilemma. On the one hand, we are frugal and don’t want to waste food.

On the other hand, eating rotten veggies also poses health risks.

We didn’t buy any groceries at all in the second week of October.

Mr. FAF has also been more conscious about buying less food. And our food expenses have gone down by 50%.

We will see if we can maintain this level of food spending and maybe even lower it even more.

I really hope that we will. I’m all about saving money and not wasting food.

If you missed my previous food expense reports, you can check them out below:

September 2017 Food Expense Report – $1,106.2 (I know!)

August 2017 Food Expense Report – $844.26

July 2017 Food Expense Report – $511.93

June 2017 Food Expense Report – $467.21

May 2017 Food Expense Report – $777.26

April 2017 Food Expense Report – $80.39

March 2017 Food Expense Report – $87.52

October 2017 Food Expenses: $487.9

WEEK 1 (Oct 1-8) – $208 

GROCERIES – $146 

Vietnamese store – $73.81

Chinese veggie roots, dried fotu skin, water chestnuts, cucumbers, salted duck eggs, bean sprouts, cilantro, bell peppers, enoki mushrooms, clear noodles, water melons, radish, smoked pork, tomatoes, bok choy, and green beans

Chinese veggie roots, eggplant, mackerel, Asian pears, tofu, string beans, sweet potatoes, bell pepper, and jalapeno 

Costco – $39.5

Apples, eggs, potatoes, bananas, croissant, and dinner rolls

Asian supermarket – $12.01

Hoisin sauce, tomatoes, dates, apples, longan, chives, and noodles

Safeway – $6.84

Mandarins and bananas

Target cereal – $6.58

I bought two boxes of Cheerios for Baby FAF to eat as snacks.

Wegmans –  $6.70

My MIL bought chives, Chinese broccoli, and bananas.

WHAT WE ATE AT HOME

Lettuce, tofu and cilantro soup, egg & onions, chives, cucumber salad, pork stir-fried with string beans, and glass noodles

EATING OUT – $33.82

BBQ pork takeout – $6.93

Grandma FAF likes BBQ pork from the Vietnamese grocery store, so she bought some for the family.

BBQ pork

Meatball sub & French fries – $28.20

One of my colleagues was transferred to our field office in Asia, so I took her out to lunch.

Beef meatball sub & French fries

Fried chicken sandwiches – $15.89

I went out to lunch with my colleagues as a farewell party for our co-worker, who was moving away.

Mr. FAF’s Chinese buffet – $11

Mr. FAF eats out with his colleague once a week.

***

WEEK 2 (Oct 9-15) – $10.5

GROCERIES – $0

We didn’t buy groceries for this week because we had so much food in the fridge and pantry. I was really happy to see our grocery expenses for week 2 went all the way down to $0.

I don’t want our family to starve, but it’s nice to see a super low food budget sometimes.

WHAT WE ATE AT HOME

Napa cabbage soup, egg and chives, pork stir-fried with onions, stir-fried cauliflower, and steamed yam

EATING OUT – $10.5

Mr. FAF’s Chinese buffet – $10.5

Mr. FAF went out to eat with his colleague.

***

WEEK 3 (Oct 16-22) – $127.36

GROCERIES – $73.58 

Good Fortune – $46.3

Tofu, spiced tofu, zucchini, green peas, mandarins, dried tofu skin, and noodles

Pork bones and shimp

Costco – $2.78

Bananas as snacks for our family

Giant – $4.5

Bananas & milk

Great Wall – $20.00

Mr. FAF bought some noodles & veggies from Great Wall on his way to running errands.

WHAT WE ATE AT HOME

Pork stir-fried with edamame, steamed yam, tofu skin stir-fried with veggies, braised mackerel, and tomato and egg drop soup 

EATING OUT – $53.78

Sushi and seaweed – $34.7

Mr. FAF and I went to a Halloween potluck. We didn’t wear a costume, but Mr. FAF dressed up as a baby lion, a costume we got from Target for $25.

Delicious sushi!

Seaweed

Mung bean slush & Buble green tea – $9.08

Mr. FAF went out with his friend and got bubble tea for both. His friend treated Mr. FAF to lunch that day.

Lei’s Chinese buffet – $10

Mr. FAF had a weekly lunch date with his male colleague.

***

WEEK 4 (Oct 23-31) – $142.02

GROCERIES – $102.57

Green peas, Chinese veggies, napa cabbage, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggs, seaweed, zucchini, radish, carrots, chives, baby bok choy, and mandarins

Pork bones, shrimp, fish balls, bean sprouts, cabbage, napa cabbage, Chinese veggies, tofu knots, bananas, and yam

WHAT WE ATE AT HOME

Pickle cabbage, shrimp, eggplant, tofu skin stir-fried with veggies and mushrooms, and braised mackerel

EATING OUT – $39.45

BBQ pork – $16

My MIL and Mr. FAF bought some BBQ pork from the Vietnamese food court for the family. I think this might be one of my MIL’s favorites (I haven’t confirmed with her yet).

The meat is juicy, and the skin is roasted to the point where it has lost most of the fat and is very crunchy and flavorful.

BBQ pork

Honey ginger tea – $3.45

I went to a Meetup event and got a honey ginger tea. It was good, but I think I can make it at home for less than $1.

Conclusion

After seeing our food budget go through the roof in September ($1,106.2), I am glad that it has gone down to below $500. I was literally holding my breath every time Mr. FAF came back from a grocery trip to see what the final bill was.

We had talked about trying to keep our food expenses down. Although Mr. FAF said everything was ok, I could tell from his facial expression that he also thought we needed to lower our food budget.

He’s bought fewer groceries and is more conscious about not eating out as much. When he eats out, he usually picks inexpensive restaurants.

Mr. FAF doesn’t go to a bar or a club to drink. He also doesn’t have any expensive hobby. I am fine with him eating out once or twice a week as a form of entertainment. After all, he brings his lunch to work and eats dinner at home almost every day.

I hope that our food expenses next month will also stay around $500. Stay tuned!

How was your food budget last month? The holiday season is here with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner. Do you have any plans to keep your food expenses down on those special holidays?

Related:

Food Expense Reports series

5 Similarities Between Weight Loss & Debt Payoff

Eating out v. Home-cooked Meals – The Dilemma

Why We Don’t Order from Blue Apron

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20 thoughts on “How A Family Of 4 Feed Themselves On $487.9/mo – Oct 2017”

  • It’s great that you are able to keep your food budget in check. I on the other hand loves food and probably am spending more than I should. Seeing some of your expense reports help motivate me to be more budget conscious. Recently, I am actually bringing more lunches to work and eating out a bit less. I am hoping to keep this up. Can’t wait for your next update.

    • Thank you, Leo! As you can tell, our food expenses last month were over $1,100, so we’re no example to follow @_@ But I think packing lunch to work will help us save lots of money. 😀

  • Congrats on getting your food expenses down. Very inspiring! Since you identified the second fridge as a factor in overbuying groceries, have you considered taking it out of commission. I imagine that would also cut some of your electricity bills as well.

    • Thank you! We inherited the fridge from the previous homeowner. Mr. FAF and my MIL love the extra space in the fridge, so I think it’ll be a big challenge to get rid of one of them >_<

  • I am always fascinated to see what others eat every week. It looks like y’all eat EXTREMELY healthy, tons of fresh veggies and greens and not much meat. Regardless of the cost now, you are waaaaaaay increasing the likelihood of saving yourselves from crushing medical bills & debt later in life. If ever you’re in NC, I will totally foot the bill at an Asian grocery if you’d cook for me!!!

    • Aww thank you for the kind words! Mr. FAF and my MIL are in charge of buying groceries, and yes, they buy lots of veggies hehe. My cooking is not that great, so I doubt if I’d like what I make >_<

  • I was waiting for this report! As a South Asian and lover of frugal blogs – it is so nice to see food reports that are not typical American food. If I had to do this report – it could we lots of Indian food! Thank you Mrs FAF for your blog.

  • Yay big decrease in food! There’s a lot of yummy variety.

    I’ve been busier lately but did I tell you I’m taking the snap/foodstamp challenge this month to lose weight?! We’ll see how that goes! I’m not eating out until December. November is going to be so miserable…..

  • I have tried so many strategies to keep our grocery bill down- buying for two weeks at a time, buying for a day at a time and everything in between. Right now I buy for two meals at a time, try to keep meat in the freezer, and then try to use up odds and ends for lunches and sometimes a dinner each week. It’s working out okay, but still so much room to improve. I am impressed at how your family of 4 is eating well on $500/month!

  • I have not heard of tofu skin (googles). I like seeing the food you make, asI am trying to expand the Asian meals in our household so I can buy a majority of our groceries at the Asian market. So far I’ve maid Pad See Ew and Mapo Tofu. Next up, mapo eggplant… need to do more research.

    Nice job getting the grocery budget down. Food posts are the best.

  • $500 for family of 4 is amazing! Recently found your blog and I love it! Do you plan to have a kitchen tour or house tour? Always interested in how other frugal friends organize their house. Thanks!

  • Congrats! That’s such a huge decrease! We also have two fridges and one of those large freezes at home, and I think my in laws feel the need to fill up every cubic foot in there, lol, so we sometimes have food that goes to waste. My husband also doesn’t drink or go out much, maybe once every two weeks with his co-workers got lunch. I keep thinking to try Tracking our food expenses to see we are at. Maybe one of these days!

  • Wow! Your food budget was less than half of mine for October! Ugh! If I send Mr. ThreeYear to the store, he buys so much food! 🙁 Me too, though. Maybe we will make 2018 The Year of Spending Less on Food! Because this is our biggest expense by far!! I love to see the pictures of your grocery purchases and what you eat. It’s so cool because it’s so different from what our own family eats. Thanks for all the great details!

  • Great job!! Roast pork/ BBQ pork is delicious and can be made at home but probably costs about the same as buying it from the butcher/ grocery store. Inspired by your food reports, I looked at what we ate last month and for a family of three (including a baby who isn’t eating solids yet) we spent $500 on groceries and $100 on eating out! $50 of it was my husbands red bull though lol. So you’re doing great!

  • Nice work! Our tab approaches $850 each month. The twins aren’t even five yet for Pete’s sake! Love the tips here. We need to scale it back a bit somehow.

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