Check out this graph of our monthly grocery bill over the last decade:
I did a five month moving average to get rid of the noise. To interpret this graph, you need to know that the first few data points are for just me, before Julie and I moved in together. After that,
- Julie and I moved in together June 2002.
- October 2009 we moved to the Bronx.
- October 2010 we moved to the Seattle area.
Here are some of the obvious conclusions to draw.
- Obviously my grocery bill doubled when we moved in together, but it was remarkably stable for the next five years.
- Then, in 2007, our bills increased by more than 50%! NOTHING changed in our lives during that time. So that just reflects the genuine large price increase in groceries.
- New York City is very, very expensive.
- I think it’s too early to tell how much cheaper the Seattle area is than NYC.
My categorization system isn’t exact, either. That is to say that what qualifies as “groceries” is actually store-based. So, anything from Safeway was categorized as groceries… which makes sense. But, for something like Rite Aid, which provided both household goods and groceries in NYC, there could be some categorization issues. Same thing with Fred Meyer after our move to Seattle. Suffice to say, this is only an estimate.