What is a realistic food budget for 1 person? We’ve put together a few tips, and an example shopping list to get you started.
What is the food cost per week for 1 person?
Stats NZ says that the average one-person household in New Zealand spends $66.20 on food every week (not including beverages and restaurant meals).
But, is this a reasonable budget?
The Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago estimates a minimum weekly food cost for New Zealanders in the four main cities to meet basic dietary and nutritional needs.
- For a single man, this averages to about $69.25 per week ($277 per month).
- For a single woman, it’s about $59 per week ($236 per month).
So, generally speaking, 1 person needs to spend a minimum of $59 - $69 per week on groceries to ensure a proper, balanced diet.
But what if you don’t just want the bare minimum? For a more varied food shop, with a greater range of meat, fish and fresh produce, budget $90 a week if you’re a man and around $77 if you’re a woman $77.
A more expensive shop with convenience items and imported produce would likely cost around $108 for a man, or $91.50 for a woman.
What can I buy with these budgets?
A weekly food budget of $66.20 for one person should be enough to ensure you can buy a variety of lean meats, fresh produce, whole-grain carbohydrates, and dairy.
Because meat is often the most expensive part of any grocery shop, it pays to only buy what you’ll need. A great idea is buying a whole chicken to roast. You can then eat some for dinner, and have the leftovers for your lunches throughout the week.
Find out about saving money on meat and meal prepping
Root vegetables like carrots, onions, and potatoes are helpful for padding out meals healthily. When pumpkin is in season, it’s a great idea to buy a whole one and use it throughout the week — it will keep for ages and easily feed one person for a full week.
A pack of lentils is useful for bulking up casseroles and mince dishes, as it adds lots of cheap protein. Likewise, eggs are helpful to have handy because they’re cheap, healthy, and appropriate for any meal of the day.
Get recipe inspiration with our Budget Meal Planners
Shopping list for 1 person
We’ve put together this example shopping list to give you an idea of what foods you could buy with your budget.
Download the list and take it with you to the supermarket. Or use it as inspiration to make your own.
*All prices are indicative only and may vary according to seasonality, sales, and demand.
Looking for more ways to save?
Check out our tips on food budgeting or take a look at our other food budget guides.
- Food budget and shopping list for two people
- Food budget and shopping list for a family of 3
- Food budget and shopping list for a family of 4
- $20 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
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