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Grocery Bills

I found an older thread on this topic, but since it was from 2008, I wanted to get updated 09 estimates, since at least here in Northern California I've seen quite a difference in grocery store prices recently.

In just a few days of transitioning, I've already had to go to the store a few times. I keep underestimating how hungry I'll be or how much I should buy and it frightens me to see the bills keep stacking up. I'm a struggling full time college student on a part time budget and I'm not really sure I can afford to be this healthy >.< I know I'll need to plan better and focus on simplicity, but I was just wondering what you folks are spending per week or per month




  • Hey there! I've found that when we first started up raw foods, the bills were a little higher. But once I really started planning ahead and getting more of a feel for what I'd need, it's come down a bit. You'll find if you're doing raw, you won't eat out as much, so you have to know you're saving a good deal of money there, so even if your grocery bill is a little higher, you're probably making up for it by not eating out so much, etc.

    Another thing is, maybe you could go only 70 percent raw? I've heard that if you eat 70 percent and higher, your body is healthy enough to flush out the rest. So if you eat a little cooked food, which tends to be more lasting, it may save you a little. That of course depends on how you feel about doing that personally.

    Hope that helps!

  • J AJ A

    I live in Europe, our family spends the equivalent of approx. 1600 $ / month on food. We buy organic only and in bulk from wholesalers. We are 2 adults, 2 kids (5 and 2 years). Fresh fruits & vegetables probably are quite a bit more expensive here than in the US for example.

  • keewikeewi Raw Newbie

    If you can get food stamps they really help. I know some people who are too prideful and would rather buy conventional fruits and vegetables to save money. But they don't realize they are promoting the destruction of the earth by buying food filled with pesticides and herbicides, which ends up in the land and in the ocean. So try to get food stamps and buy organic, that is your best bet.

  • AVLAVL Raw Newbie

    neskalee, I can completly symptahize with you. I live on my own and I can spend $700-$800 a month on food, and I don't buy all organic either. Seriously that's a lot of money! I always look out for good deals and shop at various grocery stores. For example, one grocery store might have berries on sale, i.e. 3 half-pints of raspberries for $5, or magoes for $0.69 each, and another one has cantaloupes for $1.49. So you kind of have to shop around. I feel like my life revolves around finding deals. Sometimes I go to Costco and buy in bulk, but I find that it's not always the best deals.

    I also go to the store almost every day, in order to have the freshest food. And just like you I tend to underestimate how much hungry I really am. I am still transitioning into raw and have had more than a few slips in the past 8 weeks, but I am determined to do it.

  • coconuttycoconutty Raw Newbie

    I second the food stamp recommendation. There are a ton of people out there who are eligible and they don't even know it... and I know this because I get food assistance (and I am 100% proud of it), anyhow I was shocked to learn about the income requirements. I get the full amount and I can honestly say they give me more money than what I need... enough money that I can even shop at whole foods, can you believe that?!? So yes, anyone and everyone who thinks they are tight on money and can't afford to eat raw should be looking into their states food assistance program ASAP!

  • I totally hear you on the grocery bill front. When I first decided to start transitioning into a raw detox lifestyle, I found the following problems:

    - I had to completely restock my cupboards with new foods and spices

    - Some recipes called for expensive ingredients and didn't turn out right

    - I'd buy coconuts, open them up, and find that they'd gone bad; at $3 per coconut, that was a loss worth crying for

    - I had to buy new utensils to use in the kitchen: food processor, a cleaver, blender, juicer (and I haven't even picked up a dehydrator yet or invested in a blender that can handle ice lol)

    I've also found myself at the grocery store every single day or every other day for fresh ingredients. I've coped a couple of ways, but I'm still learning. So far, I try to plan as far ahead as possible; any new recipes, I see if I have some alterations i the cupboard that I can sub in before buying a whole new one. I've also stocked up on local produce and fruit when in season, it's so much cheaper. I look out for sales and eat cheaper fruits for breakfast like canteloupe, grapes, watermelon and bananas. The watermelon here is pretty cheap if you can get it on sale.

    My next stop is the farmer's market to see what kind of deals I can get. I can almost always score loads of good produce when the season is right since the farmers have tons of extra to send home.

    Just keep trying hun, and remember that YOU are worth some of the cost, and you're also intelligent enough to find your way around these steep prices!!!




  • swayzeswayze Raw Newbie

    Right now, about $288 per month. During the winter months, about $350 on average.



  • 288 a month???? wow I'm jeaouls.

    Im looking into farmer's markets in my area.

    I don't qualify for foodstamps unfortunately. Not struggling enough!

    Currently I'm avoiding the more advanced raw recipes and so forth for cost concerns and just because I'm really busy and kind of scared of most of them.

    But at my weight I have to eat a lot of calories so my bill is high from all the produce!

    Thanks for all the tips though. I'm taking them all under advisement!

  • superfood2superfood2 Raw Newbie

    Yeah, you have to search around for deals. Sadly, produce is more expensive than processed *hit.

  • AVLAVL Raw Newbie

    swayze, how do you only spend $288/month? I spend about $700 and I live by myself. I don't even buy all organic, because I can't afford it. Seriously you have got to tell me how you spend so little!

  • There are certain foods that you can get away with out buying organic and still not get the toxins and what not, there is a list online that you can look at but I did make a copy of it and would like to give a little run down of what I have found but I will say that organic is always the best direction to go if at all possible...

    Items you must buy Organic

    coffee, peaches, apples, Bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strayberries, cherries, Kale, All leafy greens, grapes

    carrots, pears, tomatoes

    Item that dont need to be organic

    Onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avacados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangos, asparagus, peas, kiwi, cabbage,

    Eggplant, papaya, watermelon, brocolli, oranges

    Also to get better rates on organic foods you can also join CSA and save alot of money in the long run, of course Farmers markets are great too

  • joannabananajoannabanana Raw Newbie

    avl, i'm like you!!! luckily, my mom still buys some of my groceries but they only last 4 days. i usually end up spending $50 for the rest of them. i'd say it's around $600 a month for me. wow that is a lot of money. i think when i'm living on my own, i will become much cheaper with food and won't eat as much.

  • keewikeewi Raw Newbie

    It's not that hard to spend around $300 and eat comfortably on raw food. The best way is to start a garden, anyone who has access to the sun can do this, but you can still eat organic raw food on $300 a month. I used to shop at whole foods, you just have to buy the cheapest raw produce. It is kind of a drag not being able to buy berries and other high priced fruits but there are a lot of other great fruits for cheap. Also try to buy things at the farmer's market and don't overeat. There is no reason to eat a lot of calories as long as you're getting all your vitamins, minerals and essential fats. If you eat cheap fruit in variety and only buy kale and a couple other greens, and buy really raw cashews and flax seeds then grind up the flax seeds fresh every time you use them, then you should not spend too much and definitely spend less. Overeating is like throwing your money into the trash can.

    As for buying organic normal produce versus conventional poison produce some fruits do not have that many pesticides, such as avocados because no bugs really go after it, they use herbicides but these are not as harmful to you. As for that list christianmomof5 gave she pretty much bases everything off of whether the fruit has a peel or not. Pesticides are meant to soak into the fruit and are in every cell of the fruit. Pineapples are super duper sprayed with pesticides because of the pineapple bug, do not eat non-organic pineapples as they may contain neurotoxins. If you want to be safe look up which fruits use pesticides and which one use herbicides and which ones and that they do, you will be surprised.

  • pixxpixx Raw Master

    Wow, and I was thinking it was a lot! You guys are saying it's getting off cheap! ha.

    I spend between $45 and $65 a week locally, and every other month or so, an additional $100 (roughly) in mail order.

    Before "going raw" I ate a lot of pasta, rice, beans, and frozen fruit...and spent about $85 a month. No kidding.

    Edit: Of course, cost-of-living has a lot to do with this, and seeing as to we are all scattered all over the place, these figures may not mean what we all think they do! ;)

  • joannabananajoannabanana Raw Newbie

    okay. i've thought of something fun for us to do. i don't know how many of you write down your spendings, but we should do that starting today. i've made a chart to see exactly where all my grocery money is going (the only other thing i buy is gas). maybe this way we can see if we are spending smart or if we are wasting money on things that we don't really need. at the end of the month, we can see how we all did.

  • LilEarthMuffinLilEarthMuffin Raw Newbie

    joannabanana thats a great idea - ill do that too! :)


  • AVLAVL Raw Newbie

    Ya I've been doing that for the past few months, and A LOT is going toward food. It does help though to see how much you spend and where you are spending your money. By the way, I went to a Farmer's Market today and got AMAZING tomatoes and nectarines! (I know...more money spent on food!)

  • swayzeswayze Raw Newbie

    Well, I stick to bananas for my first meal, which costs me around $3. Then my dinner meal, peaches or cantaloupe or watermelon or pineapple usually, is another $3. Cucumber is about $9 per week. Tomatoes are around $21 per week, which should go down significantly when my home-grown toms are ready and the ones at the market are good. That's $72 per week, $288 per month. :)

    Also, I have a couple articles on my blog about wasting and saving money while on a raw food diet. Check 'em out:




  • christianmomof5: I never even considered the fact that some plants require more pesticides, etc than others. That's a really helpful way to look at produce shopping on a budget. I live in a very high end neighborhood currently (because I live with my dad) and everything is overpriced just because. Esp organic or health food items. It's pretty trendy to look/act green around here. Anyways thanks for pointing that out. Im learning so many new things just in general about plants and food and budgeting from trying to go raw haha.

    Im moving to Sacramento soon and there are farmer's markets in every little niche of town on all days of the week so I'm really looking forward to having easy access there. And I need to eat less too!! argh

  • Blue_EyesBlue_Eyes Raw Master

    When I am 100% raw for the week my cost is half of what I spent on SAD. But then I do not use alot of nuts and seeds, they are for special and occasional use. I do use alot of avacados tho. And I dont have access to much that is organic, I buy what I can get a hold of.

    And yeah cutting out the eating out saves tons never have found a raw place anywhere near where I go!!

  • troublesjustabubbletroublesjustabubble Raw Newbie

    I spend roughly $70 every two weeks for my husband and I. I don't buy everything organic but where I can I do. My husband eats alot of veggies and he's off wheat and dairy so the only thing I really buy for him is brown rice, corn tortillas and meat. The rest is the same stuff that I eat.

    I'm able to do this because I just choose whatever is on sale, I eat alot of bananas......

    I grow greens and eat loads of them and am growing alot of other things that will be awesome later in the summer for cost. My aunt has a berry farm so I have free access to loads of berries in the summer which I freeze for the winter and also she has an orchard and my parents have an orchard. I eat organic fresh apples til december!

    Anyway, there are always ways to cut down on food costs but you have to be resourceful and willing to put time into it.

  • troublesjustabubbletroublesjustabubble Raw Newbie

    I should mention that my husband goes out to lunch fairly often but I don't know how much he spends.....he's a stinge so I doubt it's very much.

  • We spend so much money on food- probably about $200 a week, not including eating out. But that's mostly on expensive processed vegan foods, like veggie burgers, chocolate soy milk, tofutti, etc. I don't eat those but the my fiance does- he eats a ton ;) I try to pick and choose the organic foods and love to go to Price Rite for my tropical fruits (they're half the price as at other stores), but that's definitely our biggest expense. It's worth it though because we eat really well. And I'm getting into gardening which cuts cost in the summer. And I think once I start eating less from being 100% it'll go down too. My mom has been outraged that we spend so much money on food (not like it's her business, necessarily) but she's gradually getting into raw as well, so I think she'll come around. The price of the food seems to come back in health benefits, so it's worth it. I'm going to start getting into superfoods I think so we'll see how that works into the budget. I really like the idea of tracking money spent- I'm in for the month of July :)

  • rawlizardrawlizard Raw Newbie

    Having your own veggie garden is a real money saver, and you don't even need to have a yard. The picture from my profile shows how much lettuce I got from two plants that I grew in a long but small container last year. I was able to harvest a wonderful crop (enough salad for two people) every thre-four days, only with two lettuce plants! I also grew cherry tomatoes, small peppers, and two plants of steak tomatoes in the front yard. They yield lots of tomatoes all summer long!

  • delalunadelaluna Raw Newbie


    i thought about this question today and did a search and found this thread. would like to know how much are you spending on raw food weekly? just groceries, not including raw restaurants, or organic personal hygiene stuff. if you buy superfoods, please list it separately.

    i'm asking this because right now im in china, and having certified-organic veggies delivered to my home is really expensive. so i settle with eco-green veggies. i just wanted to know what ppl are paying in US right now :) thanks~~

    oh if you buy for more than 1 person, please state that too.

  • I'm not sure my exact cost of food for the week, but I DO find that when I'm buying local, I save a lot more money. Lately I've been eating lots of papaya and that is where my money is going.

    Yesterday, I went to a local fruit stand and got

    1 very large watermelon $3

    1 very large eggplant $.075

    two lbs of grapes $3.00

    3 early season local apples $1.00 (they weren't great - I'm glad I only got three of them)

    and at the grocery store, I spent about $20 on watermelon (this was before I went to the fruit stand), three Hawaiian Papayas, yellow bell pepper, spinach and a small bunch of bananas

    I do this every few days. I live with my parents and they buy the foods that everyone in the house eats, but I eat so much fruit I try to pitch in. My mom and I both buy bananas because we eat so much. and we just found a local farm that has the best grapes I have ever eaten in my entire life - and they're organic, and they're just over $1 a pound, and yesterday, I ate a ton of them.

    I grow my own kale and tomatoes, we've also got peaches coming in soon. My grandma, who lives next door, grows peppers, tiny eggplant (they're done for the season), and herbs, so I save a lot growing food.

    I probably spend around $200 a month on food (when I'm not eating cooked vegan - prices definitely go up when I buy tofu, veggie patties, vegan milk etc). I definitely recommend looking up local growers, buying with them has helped me save a ton of money.

  • Lol, I had heart attack when I read $700 dollars a month, I forgot dollars is like double UK money lol *wipes forhead* I was panicking thinking I could never afford completely raw.

    I think once you've got the staples - it's just a matter of topping up. I like with my folks but If im buying for myself I buy daily so I only buy what I need and dont waste it.

    I've also (as someone else mentioned) started my own garden - though it wont start producing till next year.

  • RawKidChefRawKidChef Raw Newbie

    you can plant lots of wild fruits outside. you don't even need a garden if you don't have a house (if you live in an apartment) because you can plant food in the woods or sunny grassy areas (make sure it's an area where no one will find out). Fall is a good time to plant for spring. You can buy wild plants at oikostreecrops.com and there are certain fruits that will produce this upcoming spring. Wild blueboy blueberries, I believe wild strawberries, regular spinach takes about 4 weeks to grow. You can also go foraging for wild food. wild food is much more nutritious and better for you than cultivated food because it hasn't been tampered with by humans. sometimes you can buy fig trees that are ready to produce fruit.

  • This time of year, I use about 200$ per month as forests are full of berries and mushrooms and I get some greens, fruits and veggies from our garden. I freeze and dehydrate a LOT of berries and mushrooms for winter but in winter fresh fruits, veggies and greens are very expensive here in Finland, so the bill will grow to 500$ per month.

  • RawNibblerRawNibbler Raw Master

    When I was in college I worked and so I was eligible for food stamps. All you have to do is get a form the proves you work on campus (I'm not sure about off campus) and set up an appointment. Wish you the best.

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