Grocery Money

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Grocery Money
18
Tue, 06-10-2014 - 1:56pm

Do any of you give your CS a set amount each month for groceries, and if so, how much, or how do you decide how much is a good amount?  DD will be in an apartment on her own next fall.  She will get a small meal plan they have available on campus for off campus living students, but will obviously be buying food for the apartment.  I obviously don't want her scrimping and not eating because I'm not giving her enough each month, but I also don't want her thinking she has free license to go out to eat all the time either.  I don't see eating out often as too big of a problem, but still...  Thoughts?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
In reply to: arryl
Tue, 06-10-2014 - 3:13pm
Could you buy her gift certificates to the local grocery store and send one each month? Our local churches have a program where you buy the certificates from them and a portion of the money goes to the local food pantry. She could still spend on soda and chips, but at least it would be 'groceries'.
Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
In reply to: arryl
Tue, 06-10-2014 - 3:57pm

that's an interesting idea that I hadn't thought about.  My mom sends her restaurant gift cards as a treat, though they don't have many chain ones around campus, so IHOP, Pizza Hut and Subway are the only ones my mom can send.  I can look when I take her back up in the fall and see about that idea, I know there is a smaller grocery store close to her apartments.  And I'm not opposed to her eating out at all, she tends to eat out for brunch on sundays after church with friends, but at least this year she's been pretty frugal about not eating out too often at all, or if she does, she tends to get a meal and splits it in half and keeps the second half for lunch or dinner the following day.

I am also planning on spending part of one of the days I am up there dropping her off taking her grocery shopping to "stock" her pantry and do some freezer meals so she can just pull them out and pop them in the oven on some nights that she may not feel like cooking but still has a decently good meal.  She can cook really well herself, but I know being there on her own, trying to "cook" for just one will result in not cooking as often, or doing a lot of quick microwave meals.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 06-10-2014 - 5:00pm

What I did for ds for the last 3 years (freshmen had to eat in the dorms) was to buy a gift card from the grocery store and just call to reload it - he didn't want multiple cards and they provided a customer service number where you could call and charge it and it would update the next day.  (he loves to cook)  The first year I loaded it weekly; after that we moved up to every other week, to get him to budget.

Sue

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Wed, 06-11-2014 - 9:05am
I think it is a good idea to stock the pantry because all that at once adds up. F you are driving her, it might be worth making a list now of the basics, and starting a box and watching for things on sale all summer. This might be a good way to teach her to check the store flyers to choose meat and produce that is on sale, as well as to watch for sales on things you might need in upcoming weeks. If she will be in a small town with one grocery store, you might find that the prices are higher than if you are in an area with multiple stores competing. Of course, the space to Transport belongings can be in shorter supply than cash, but there can be a significant difference between 'on sale' in a competitive area and full price in a non competitive one.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Wed, 06-11-2014 - 9:19am
And I see no one has actually answered your actual question! I live alone, I eat yogurt for breakfast, soup, salad, or a sandwich for lunch, and make a nice dinner which I frequently share with a friend three or four times a week and I spend around $300 a month on groceries. I live in an expensive area, but i shop the sales and have a good size freezer. This total does not include many of my household. Items like cleaning and paper products - I buy those at CVS most of the time. If your daughter doesn't have 'loyalty cards' and you are not opposed to them, make sure she gets those for the places she will shop and show her on the sales slips how much she saves by using them. I know some young people don't think these savings make a difference,but my belief is that the little things really add up over time, and it just takes a few minutes to plan and shop wisely.
Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
In reply to: arryl
Wed, 06-11-2014 - 11:49am

Thanks ladies, those are great suggestions.  There is one Safeway near the apartments and then two more "natural" grocery stores.  I believe there is a walmart that is a ways away that if she wants to,now that she'll have a car would be easier to go to for the occassional stock up trip.  but this year she never went because of the time it took to get there on the bus wasn't worth it. 

Happy, thanks, I hadn't even thought about stocking up for some of the staples.  Yes, room in the car will make a difference, she's only bringing 2 suitcases back with her, but who knows how much stuff she'll dig up to take with her when we leave in the fall again, luckily I'll only need a carry on bag for myself for the trip.  It was just her and I for a long time, so she is really good at shopping for sales and using coupons but we'll do a quick reminder lesson this summer while she is home.  And yes, I think stocking the pantry with staples when she first gets there will go a long way to keeping the overall monthly bills down.  I was orignally coming up with $400 and then I got to thinking, we only spend around $700 a month for our family of 5, she should be able to easily get away with $250-$300 if that includes toiletries and stuff.  We'll stock up on cleaning supplies when we get there also that should last her a good portion of the year as I don't see her doing a lot of cleaning... 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 06-11-2014 - 12:15pm

We do toiletries separate (Target, Sam's) so I was giving ds $60/week for just food and it seemed to be fine.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
In reply to: arryl
Wed, 06-11-2014 - 1:23pm
What I did this year at times was I got drugstore.com credits for buying our contacts so whenever the quarter would end and I'd get credit, plus free shipping, I would have her give me a list of stuff she needed, razors, shampoo, face wash, etc. and I would make an order and have it shipped to her dorm, not only did I get the upromise credit, get to use my credit, but would build up credit towards the next quarter and free shipping. That may be the way to go again this year for things like that at least.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Thu, 06-12-2014 - 11:17am

I never gave my kids allowances or "grocery money".

In September, they would start the school year with money in the bank from their summer savings and government education savings fund.  We would stock up on toiletries each September; toilet paper etc.. If they needed something during the school year, there was a drug store and grocery store  near campus.

They both would buy nominal upper year food plans. And to help them out, each visit once every two months/month and a half included the grocery store and a nice lunch. We also had access to their bank accounts in case they got into trouble.

It worked out very well. The kids were responsible for themselves and their spending, but with a parental "safety line" just in case. They are also both very frugal, low maintance type of people.  All their social activities centred arround the university.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
In reply to: arryl
Thu, 06-12-2014 - 11:24am

mom_iteadrinker wrote:
<p>I never gave my kids allowances or "grocery money". </p><p>In September, they would start the school year with money in the bank from their summer savings and government education savings fund.  We would stock up on toiletries each September; toilet paper etc.. If they needed something during the school year, there was a drug store and grocery store  near campus.</p><p>They both would buy nominal upper year food plans. And to help them out, each visit once every two months/month and a half included the grocery store and a nice lunch. We also had access to their bank accounts in case they got into trouble.</p><p>It worked out very well. The kids were responsible for themselves and their spending, but with a parental "safety line" just in case. They are also both very frugal, low maintance type of people.  All their social activities centred arround the university. </p>

If she were closer to us, and able to work during the school year and not just for essentially 2 months in teh summer, that would be the way we would go.  Unfortunately for us, we are in Texas and she is in Oregon, so we don't visit during the school year at all, though we will her senior year at least once or twice other than graduation for various "senior" activities.  We are considering grocery money as part of our "expected parent contribution".  She gets schoalrships for 40% of her tuition and average room and board costs and the rest of it is paid for by loans right now, so we give her grocery money to help keep down the student loans incurred.  Its not ideal, but I was a single mother for a long time and a college fund was not something that was done, so we are paying as much as we can out of pocket right now and I pay the interest on the student loans while she is in school and she will take over payments after she is out of school and has found a job.

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