Ramit Sethi · July 19th, 2005

Ok, I just moved into a new place so I had to buy food. This is after a long vacation where my mom asked me what I wanted to eat every morning and cooked gourmet food for every meal. So I went to the grocery store to get set up.

I watched with mounting horror as the checker rang my food up. After everything…IT COST $186.00!!! WHAT THE HELL!? I only bought things like bread, milk, eggs, BASICALLY JUST PRISON FOOD. PLEASE KILL ME

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  1. Wait until you cook it… then it’ll taste like prison food. 🙂

  2. Welcome to the “real world”. 😉

  3. Jeff O'Hara

    Ok, grocery shopping is an art. 2 tips, only buy stuff if it’s on sale if it’s not a necesity, clip coupons, but only clip coupons on products you use as the coupons are to entice you to buy something you do not normally need. Granted the first time you go shopping when your stocking a new place is always the most expensive as you have to stock up on condiments and things you buy maybe once or twice a year. One thing to help out with grocery bills are membership clubs like Sam’s Club or Costco, but you have to shop there smartly as well. Once again only buy things there you use regularly as you get a whole lot because your buying in bulk. I usually buy things like trash bags, laundry detergent, soap, Ramen :), liquor, dog and cat foood. You have to tell yourself, do I really need a lifetime supply of mayonaise. Some of the stuff is just two big for one or 2 people to consume. Perishable stuff, stay away from at discount clubs, cause you’ll just end up throwing it out. One last thing, don’t forget to shop multiple grocery stores and look at sale fliers. I have 4 in a 2 mile radius from my house and can find great deals on different stuff at all 4. You just have to shop smarter.Just some friendly grocery. I learned these tips from my mother who is one of the most frugal people in the world. She knows how to save money like no other. Enjoy.

  4. Two things to watch for: too much processed food. The more processing the food has, the more it costs. Check out for cereal, for example. Raw oatmeal, 3.24 for around 24 servings. Cheerios 4.00 for about 8 servings.

    Same thing goes for others. Uncle bens rice: $2 for three servings. Regular white rice, $4 for about 50 servings.

    Also compare groceries with eating out or the extra cost of excercising because of all of the fat eating out.

  5. JLP at AllThingsFinancial

    yeah, then try buying for a family of five with one of the five being in diapers! It’s much fun!

  6. Stephanie

    I don’t know where you were shopping, so maybe this isn’t helpful. But The Milk Pail Market on the back side of the San Antonio Shopping center (corner of San Antonio and California) has better and less expensive produce than Safeway or Albertsons or anything like that. Also really good, really cheap cheese and other dairy products. Better selection than Trader Joe’s even.

  7. Joe Bassett can tell you how to eat breakfast for .4 a serving. Processed foods will kill you. Buy in bulk. The Costco and Sam’s Club’s aren’t cheap. For one thing you pay them to shop there. That is bullcrap. They aren’t cheap because they sell only name brand foods and it’s all in bulk. You can save buying bulk anywhere. Those places are a rip off. Foster Grant sunglasses $15 a pair at Wal-Mart. On the Internet you can buy several pairs for $3 a pair. Harbor Freight magazine sells 1lb. claw hammers for $4. At Wal-Mart $15. The Internet has made those brick stores obsolete. Wal-Mart has to build the stores. Pay all the help to stock the shelves. They lose so much because of shoplifting. They aren’t cheaper than the Internet. People shouldn’t buy anything processed. Actually, you should only buy canned, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and nothing else. People waste so much time going to the grocery store every week. Also, all name brand groceries are marked K or U which means they have poaid the kosher tax and they are always more expensive. Save-A-Lots are a lot cheaper.

  8. Gretchen

    To be able to eat well is one of the reasons I intend to be rich. I love good food and I don’t mind paying for it. I like real triple cream French brie, Italian champagne, filet mignon, wild caught Alaskan salmon, fresh home-cooked vegetables with Irish butter, cream from Straus, organic cage-free eggs, and my own fresh herb salsa alongside all of it. My grocery budget is $180 a week and I’m happy to pay it.

    I remember what it was like to have nothing but rice and dried beans for a week when rent was due, and it sucked. Now that I can afford it I am happy to pay for the best. And here’s another clue: the very best, highest quality, most delicious food leaves you satisfied with smaller servings. Since I started earning the money to eat well, my waistline is smaller.