How much does two person family spend per month in US?

  • Thread starter Borek
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  • #1
Borek
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Assuming you don't have to pay for a house/flat renting?

I understand there is no single value, and a lot depends on the place, but I am looking for some average/order of magnitude...
 

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  • #2
russ_watters
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What about a car? Utilities (or is that part of the apartment?)?
 
  • #3
Borek
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Let's exclude car and utilities for now.
 
  • #5
jtbell
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My wife and I spend about $130 per month at the grocery store (usually at Aldi, if you're familiar with those; I don't know if there are any in Poland). We also eat lunch about half the time in the college dining hall, where faculty get a special price; maybe once every week in a restaurant (including fast-food places like McDonalds); and we stock up on frozen dinners (about $2 apiece) at a factory outlet every few months, and eat those a few times a week. All those might double the total to $260. If we didn't eat in the dining hall or in restaurants, we could get below $200 easily.

This is in a city of about 10,000. It's probably similar in small to medium size cities, and suburban areas where you can find the usual supermarket chains. In places like New York City or San Francisco where land is expensive and store rents are high, prices are higher, maybe by as much as 50%, not to mention the temptation of all those restaurants.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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Edit #3: When are you coming here??!!
It also depends on what city you will be living in...
 
  • #7
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We eat mostly at home{ including food for our pets, 2 dogs 1 cat} we spend 80 dollars a week. I do have a deep freezer, which stores game meats and frozen veggies from the garden.
 
  • #8
Astronuc
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Food could cost between $5 - 10 /day per person, or more depending if one buys food at a grocery store or eats out. When eating out, one could spend between $5 to $10 per person per meal or up to ~$25-50 per person per meal depending on how fancy the restaurant. Of course, in major city like NYCity, LA or Chicago, one could spend $100 (or more) per person per meal at a fancy restaurant.

I've had to plan for dinner meetings at various restaurants in the NY metropolitan area. They typically wanted about $35 to $45 per person (and generally on the upper part of that range), which included appetizer, entre, dessert and tea/coffee. Alcoholic beverages would be an additional expense. Then there is the gratuity (tip) and taxes.
 
  • #9
S_Happens
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Like stated, it can vary widely depending on location and lifestyle. In comparison my income is above average, while cost of living is below average for major metropolitan areas (some rural areas are lower). I'm young, so I enjoy/employ newer technology/gadgets that some might not, but I also save (for both retirement and my return to school that I just started) considerably more than Americans my age.

I'm still sort of confused on what information you want. We have a detailed budget of our expenditures, so if you specify I can answer. Or I could PM you the info for you to sift through, as I'm not going to post all the details here.
 
  • #10
if you're in say, North Carolina you could buy several acres of land and a palatial house for a million or two.

You could pay the same for small apartment NYC, Boston/Cambridge, etc...

It's so variable that only regionality and what exactly you want in terms of rentals or buys for housing. The rest others have covered nicely.

Remember that school districts or a concentration of universities drives prices WAY UP

edit: Never mind, I'm a neolithic ape. *groan*
 
Last edited:
  • #11
S_Happens
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Notice, he was excluding housing.

Although I'm not sure what he's including yet. :biggrin:
 
  • #12
Notice, he was excluding housing.

Although I'm not sure what he's including yet. :biggrin:
Oh lord, I misread that as "including"... I missed the "not".

Thank you S... oh boy... need sleep.
 
  • #13
turbo
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Here, figure about $80 for electricity, $95 for phone, DSL, satellite (no cable out here), $800 or so a year for heat (wood) ($66/mo for heat). Remote location makes gasoline a factor, since you have to drive to get to job, shopping, etc. About $85/mo in property taxes, though we have almost 10 acres. We eat pretty cheaply, because of all the stuff I put up with the canner, and the stuff that I freeze (2 fairly large chest freezers). When my wife shops, she buys meats and cheeses and some fresh vegetables, vegetable oil, pasta, rice, dry beans, flour for bread making, etc. It's hard to put a monthly price on all that, since some of those ingredients are fairly pricey, but the freezers help even out the swings. When there is a loss-leader sale on very good cuts of steak, she buys in bulk, repackages and freezes them. We could eat more cheaply, but food is important, and it is important (IMO) that you enjoy it.

If we had to buy all the salsas, chili relishes, pickles, etc that I put up every year, it would be very expensive and the quality just wouldn't be there.

Anyway, if you live in a rural area and can get somewhat self-sufficient, you can live fairly cheaply here. The closer to cities and creature-comforts, the more you'll pay for about everything. Apartment-dwellers with poor cooking skills had better have jobs that pay well, especially if they want to live in commuting distance of Portland or other popular place. Portland has become a prime "bedroom community" for Boston, and with the addition of the DownEaster runs on Amtrak years back, it's only getting more pricey.
 
  • #14
Here, figure about $80 for electricity, $95 for phone, DSL, satellite (no cable out here), $800 or so a year for heat (wood) ($66/mo for heat). Remote location makes gasoline a factor, since you have to drive to get to job, shopping, etc. About $85/mo in property taxes, though we have almost 10 acres. We eat pretty cheaply, because of all the stuff I put up with the canner, and the stuff that I freeze (2 fairly large chest freezers). When my wife shops, she buys meats and cheeses and some fresh vegetables, vegetable oil, pasta, rice, dry beans, flour for bread making, etc. It's hard to put a monthly price on all that, since some of those ingredients are fairly pricey, but the freezers help even out the swings. When there is a loss-leader sale on very good cuts of steak, she buys in bulk, repackages and freezes them. We could eat more cheaply, but food is important, and it is important (IMO) that you enjoy it.

If we had to buy all the salsas, chili relishes, pickles, etc that I put up every year, it would be very expensive and the quality just wouldn't be there.

Anyway, if you live in a rural area and can get somewhat self-sufficient, you can live fairly cheaply here. The closer to cities and creature-comforts, the more you'll pay for about everything. Apartment-dwellers with poor cooking skills had better have jobs that pay well, especially if they want to live in commuting distance of Portland or other popular place. Portland has become a prime "bedroom community" for Boston, and with the addition of the DownEaster runs on Amtrak years back, it's only getting more pricey.
Knowing how to cook is definitely the key to avoiding bankruptcy, and enjoying food.
 
  • #15
Pythagorean
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Alaska has high living expenses for food and gas.
 
  • #16
Borek
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Alaska has high living expenses for food and gas.
A little bit too far north and west.
 
  • #17
Pythagorean
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A little bit too far north and west.
ordering stuff from the lower 48 is a pain, too. Some people think we're our own country.
 
  • #18
turbo
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ordering stuff from the lower 48 is a pain, too. Some people think we're our own country.
Until your queen abdicated, anyway. People are taking a bit more notice now.
 
  • #19
AlephZero
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My wife and I spend about $130 per month at the grocery store (usually at Aldi, if you're familiar with those; I don't know if there are any in Poland).
Is that the same company as Aldi in the UK? They are near the "bottom end" of the supermarket pecking order here (not quite at the bottom, but way below Asda/WalMart).

The in-store security staff in Aldi start thinking you are behaving suspiciously if aren't stealing stuff off the shelves...
 
  • #20
Borek
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Cooking is not a problem, own produce - in a city, and if one can't start right now - is rather problematic :wink:

But then, how long one can stay in one place.
 
  • #21
Borek
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Is that the same company as Aldi in the UK? They are near the "bottom end" of the supermarket pecking order here (not quite at the bottom, but way below Asda/WalMart).
Quite likely, although for me they were always German - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldi
 
  • #22
lisab
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Until your queen abdicated, anyway. People are taking a bit more notice now.
I seem to remember Pythagorean apologized about her some time ago, we shouldn't bring it up again :tongue2:.
 
  • #23
jtbell
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The in-store security staff in Aldi start thinking you are behaving suspiciously if aren't stealing stuff off the shelves...
I've never seen in-store security staff at our Aldi. Maybe it's because we're in a small town where the crime rate isn't very high by US standards. No bars on store windows here, except for some of the liquor stores. :rolleyes:

Aldi in the USA definitely shows some traces of its German heritage. There are always some German foods on hand, depending on the season, e.g. Stollen and Advent calendars during Christmas season. That's one reason my wife likes it, because she teaches German and knows the German Aldi stores from when she was studying there and her/our trips there since then. The prices are the other big reason, and the fact that the stores are smaller than most supermarkets here so they're easier to get around in and find stuff. The selection isn't as big, but who needs fifty kinds of breakfast cereal?
 
  • #24
Pythagorean
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Until your queen abdicated, anyway. People are taking a bit more notice now.
What a namesake to be noticed for :/
 
  • #25
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Jeez food must be pretty cheap in the US.My wife and I and 2 kids(6+9) spend around $1200
a month on food(if not even more).We certainly don't eat extravagantly and shop around for bargains.We are in Ireland.Must look at what we spend again after seeing everyone elses spend.
 

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