Grocery breakdown

Trader Joe's produce
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This isn’t a post about reducing the cost of groceries. In fact, we’re more likely to be a little more lax about our grocery budget having returned to two incomes. What’s the point in living if you can’t buy feta or blueberries or garlic mussels or ice cream?

Vegetarians often say they save a lot of money by not eating meat. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true (I guess if I ate lots of filling carbs with my veggies, it could be), but I was interested to see just what portion of our spend is actually on fresh produce and meat.

I know that our total spend is about $130 a week, so this is definitely a smaller spend than usual. T didn’t go to the butcher/grocer when he was meant to, so I had to make do with the shops within walking distance on my day off. Also,  we had a bit of food left over from last week (and may run out a day early), but it’s a decent representation.


$16 rib roast and two pieces of smoked hickory spare ribs. $11 also got us one massive size 20 chicken, which we’ll roast and use for several meals.


$18 got a bunch of silverbeet, three onions, three apples, half a cauliflower, one capsicum, a couple of kumara, and 1.5kg of washed potatoes. (Okay, so the potatoes alone were $4.50. I wanted to make baked potatoes, so I paid for the convenience…)

Vanilla essence – 1.39
BBQ sauce – 3.35
12 long rolls – 3.38
Small tuna can – 1.59
Canned pineapple – 1.29
Dried shiitaake mushrooms – 2.29
Canned lentils – 1.68
Pizza tomato paste – 3.49
Glass cleaner – 3.19
Pasta sauce – 2.99
Toothpaste – 1.99
Aloe vera drink – 3.99
10 eggs – 3.28
Hokkien noodles – 1.99
Rolling pin – 8.25
Sour cream – 2.29
6 pack yoghurt – 3.39
Margarine – 1.99
6 litres of milk – 10.35
Parmesan (125g) – 3.79
Frankfurters – 6.34

That’s just over $70. About $13 of that is on household stuff that isn’t food. I’d say on most weeks we’d probably spend another $5, maybe $10, on splurgey foods, or more if we need to stock up on staples. At the same time, we’d probably also spend another $10 on meat.

So at $45 for “fresh” vs just over $55 for “not”, we’re almost bang on an even split – which is about as good as I could possibly have hoped for.

What does your grocery bill look like? Are you happy with the proportions?

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3 thoughts on “Grocery breakdown

  • Reply Kara September 9, 2010 at 19:02

    We do a grocery shop once a week (usually on Sundays) and it can cost us anywhere from $35 to $100 depending on what we need.

    The majority (from what I can remember) is spent on essentials: produce, meat, dairy, and bread, but a lot of non-essential junk like pop, chips, cookies and packed meals make its way onto the bill.

    I’ve never actually broken down a bill like that before! I may have to try it and see what we actually spend our money on.

  • Reply The Asian Pear September 10, 2010 at 05:41

    Don’t take this the wrong way… But holy! $10.35 for 6 liters of milk? That’s pricey! A 4 liter bag here is $3.99 for 2% milk. I know in Australia, food is a bit expensive. Is it the same way for New Zealand too?

    We’re a family of 4 so our bill is huge. But now that my brother’s married and moving out, it’ll be smaller by a bit.

    • Reply eemusings September 10, 2010 at 11:09

      Hey, I’m the one who’s always harping on about the price of food. I’m not offended!

      That is the price of milk. Cheapest generic brand.

      You can possibly get milk slightly cheaper from certain dairies, but none in my area that I know of.

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