Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Because I Wonder. . . . .

The other day I had this conversation with fellow pre-school Mom while waiting for the bus:
Her: Man, I think I blew the food budget for this week. I spent close to 5000 yen.
Me: Oh, if you don't mind me asking how much do you usually spend a week? For the four of us we average about 8000 yen.
Her: Wow, what are you eating steak everyday? I hardly ever spend more than 3000 yen a week. (There are also four people in her family.)
(Thinking to myself- how in the world do you do it?!?!?)

So, my question is this, am I crazy for spending about $100 a week (give or take) for groceries for a family of four? Any thrifty secrets to share?

10 comments:

Ame said...

i would LOVE to only spend 100 a week on groceries ... for just three of us. we have special food-needs and allergies, though, which require special foods. and i shop at the least expensive grocery in town. the cost of food is so exasperating!

Midori said...

Not at all. I tried REALLY hard to cut our food budget when I lived in Japan but I still never managed to spend much less than 9000 yen. I would spend more than 1000 yen on milk and juice alone, even when I bought stuff at the really cheap shops when they were on special. I bought lots of those "live for a month on 10000yen" magazines but never actually managed to follow it! Bearing in mind there were only 3 of us and Joey wasn't eating much in those days. I have no idea how Japanese women do it.

Lulu said...

OMG. I am a really bad food shopper...I spend about 10,000yen a week for just the two of us. And we usually eat out on Saturday night and Sunday lunch....

I want to know hw you do it!

Do you children have there lunches provided? Or do you make them both everyday?

I take my lunch everyday to work, but my partner eats out.

i have no idea how the Japanese women do it either....

Claire said...

My nextdoor neighbour is really thrifty. It takes ages to go shopping with her, as before she buys anything she has to check out both supermarkets nearby to compare prices and special offers - then she'll buy only the cheapest things from both. She's amazing at finding yogurt at 100 yen a large carton, or carrots for 80 yen a bag. I just don't have the time to do that! With me it's a quick in-and-out of the supermarket on the way to meet the yochien bus, so though I do try and shop cheaply it's more important to grab what I need and get back on the bike before the bus goes past our stop. I treat it as a tradeoff - because I work in the time my neighbor spends shopping for bargains, the money I earn pays for the extra I pay in food costs.

Jerri said...

We definitely spend over $150.00 a week not counting the $50 or $80 a week eating out.

Kim said...

There are just the three of us, and we throw all the incidentals like rice and TP and diapers and any (not much) eating out in the food budget, and 10,000 yen usually does not cut it. We joke about fasting the last week of the month.

Tigermama said...

I`m sure we spend at least $100 per week on food. I`m also sure we could cut it down but then I`d have to start cooking more "Japanese style" and that is not what we (I) like to eat. So, I splurge on cheese, good (dark) bread, and other imported items. I think it`s impressive that your friend can spend 3000 yen per week on food but not impossible. It really depends on what you like to eat and how much time you want to spend shopping.

Heidi said...

I guess I would be the last person to give tips considering that I spent 2,500 yen last night on dinner (and that is not including extras like the strawberries we had after dinner and snacks). It's a good thing I don't prepare dinner often as usually my MIL supplies it. She is very thrifty and I guess she would not spend very much a week too on food. My guess from the dinners that she brings would be that to save money: make lots of udon with 2 slices of kamaboko and a sprig of leaf; make rice and grill 1 tiny slice of fish, and use lots of furikake; she also makes a big pot of 1 side dish (like hikiji) and that side dish will accompany the rice for the whole week too.

My efforts in saving money are to go to the supermarket later and there is lots of stuff at 50% off. I usually use it immediately, but I guess some of those stuff can be frozen for use later.

Heidi

Sherry said...

Technically I think I could live on 3000 yen a week as a food budget. But why would I want to if I didn't have to? The people I know personally who are so cheap like that eat cuts of fish and meat and food that I basically consider garbage. (not garbage as in junk food, I mean garbage as in things that I won't buy or throw away if I get stuck with them somehow) Their kids are also always walking around complaining they are hungry and their cheapskate mothers just tell them to "gaman." (again the ones I know personally!)


We have four in our family too, and I would say that we spend 10,000 -15,000 a week on food. If you add in other household things like pull-ups, cleaning supplies, soap, shampoo, etc. it is probably about 20,000 a week. We also eat out occasionally and order pizza and that sort of thing from time to time so I think a rough total of 25,000 yen week is a good overall estimate.

I would probably be more careful and frugal in my home country, but in Japan money is only worth the convenience and comfort it buys me so I use things like the co-op to deliver food and so forth. If I can find a company that will deliver something to my door, I will use them, even if they do charge a little more. I am not interested in biking all of the city in all manner of weather with two little kids in tow to save 20 yen on milk, you know.

Also, I am sure you have noticed there is a weird Ketchi Culture among some Japanese wives/mothers. They seem to think that the more cheap and stingy they can be the better wife/mother that makes them. They even have magazines just for them with money saving tips that I think are just insane - example; take 2 ply tissue out of a box, separate them, refolding them and put them back in a box. Those that are in a hurry can just cut the box of tissue in half to double the supple. No offense to anyone reading this, but who does things like that?

I get that some people really are so poor they have to do things like that, but most Japanese people aren't. They are just cheap.

Sorry, didn't mean to go off on a semi-rant there the first time commenting on your blog. LOL!

I also think her remark to you about eating steak was rude.

mariko said...

Trisha, I remember when I lived in Japan by myself and would spend 5000 a week on groceries alone. Plus, we ate out a lot, didn't we!!

I've been trying to cut down our food budget here but darn Costco always spoils it. I'm lucky if I can get out of there with a bill under $300. That lasts 3-4 weeks but I also have to go to the local supermarket every week or so and spend $75 to $100 there. Of course, a lot of that is diapers!