Food Inventory Costed Up

Photo from:

Photo from:

As part of my home inventory, I decided not to include food or other consumables. Then I started wondering how much food is in the house during an average week. So of course, I had to find out!

It has been more than a year since I posted about what is in my cupboards, fridge and freezer, and I’ve become a vegetarian since then.

Here are pictures of all my food storage. Can you guess how many food items are here and how much they would cost to replace?

The answer is: 280 items with a replacement cost of $1149 (not including 20 items which were either gifts or homemade or things I wouldn’t replace).

To put that in perspective, my usual grocery spending per month, for our family of 2 people and 2 cats, is:

  • $398 for food
  • $23 for cleaning supplies and paper goods
  • $31 for personal care / toiletries
  • $24 for cat food and litter

for a total of $476 a month. So it would appear that I have on hand, at any given time, almost 2.5 months’ worth of groceries. That wouldn’t be true, though, because a lot of the items I have are condiments and seasonings and specialty items that I might only buy once  a year, such as chutney or cardamom. I have some high-cost items that I buy regularly, such as coffee and goat cheese, and some low cost items that are staples of my diet, like lentils and beans. Sometimes I seem to run out of all the good stuff at once and have an expensive month, but it evens out.

My store of food fits easily into the fridge, freezer and 3 cupboards (7 shelves) and I don’t have stashes anywhere else.  I would guess that the amount of food we have may be on the low end compared to other couples, because we don’t have meat or very much packaged food, we don’t have a second fridge or a chest freezer, and we don’t have a vegetable garden. I’m sure it’s all relative and some will think we have a lot!

One thing you’ll notice is that I can’t go into the fridge or cupboards and pull out something for dinner (other than leftovers) because we committed some time ago to making meals from scratch – although there is that emergency box of Kraft Dinner…

We usually go out to a restaurant about once a month (or maybe 2 lunches) and have treats at a café once or twice a month, adding another $85/month to our food budget.

I’ll leave you with an example of how one area was costed up.

Cupboard 2

Cupboard 2

Cupboard, top shelf: $32.90 (12 items)

  • Leftover Pocky — didn’t count
  • Annual box of Girl Guide cookies $5
  • Pirate cookies $3
  • 3 bags candy $10
  • 2 pkg gum $1.50
  • Almond extract $3.10
  • Maple extract $3.10
  • Chocolate chips $3
  • Shredded dried coconut $2.50
  • Not seen: mini marshmallows (for making fudge) $1.70
  • Sprinkles, all colours (from Bulk Barn, would not replace)

Middle shelf: $92.20 (21 items)

  • Falafel mix $2.30
  • Israeli couscous $4
  • Couscous $2.60
  • Dried fruit $6/pkg
  • Dried cranberries $4
  • Dried apricots $5.70 (in tin)
  • Raisins, 1 kg $9 for 2 kg
  • Candied ginger $3.70
  • Almonds $5.50
  • Cashews $5.80
  • Walnuts $11
  • Sunflower seeds $1.30
  • Baking powder $4
  • Baking soda $1.50
  • Salt $2
  • Sea salt $5.20
  • Vanilla extract $6
  • Yeast $4.40
  • Rye flour $3.50
  • Bran flakes $1.50
  • Molasses $3.20
  • Extra sugar and brown sugar (included elsewhere)

Bottom shelf: $37.20 (15 items)

  • Coconut oil $2.10
  • Barley $1.50
  • Mung beans $2.30
  • Millet $2.30
  • Bulgur $2.30
  • Red quinoa $4.90
  • Red lentils $2
  • Green lentils $2.40
  • Chick peas (dried) $3.50
  • Whole wheat and white rotini $2 each
  • Sugar $2
  • Brown sugar $2.80
  • Icing sugar $2.80
  • Corn starch $2.30

Total for this cupboard: $162.30 (48 items)

I must confess that the prices are all accurate (local, current, non-sale prices) because I know prices on my usual purchases, I have been keeping grocery receipts for quite a while and can look things up, and I stopped by Sobey’s on my way home to scout out a few missing numbers!

If anyone has an exceptionally inquiring mind, I have included An Exacting Life Food Inventory as a document, listing all items and all prices – which might help you identify any strange things you see lurking in my fridge!

Thanks to Economies of Kale’s posts here and here, Eco Cat Lady and Live to List who have recently listed the contents of their cupboards and fridges.


  1. Thanks for the link. I can’t believe you costed it all out – I’m sure I’d get stressed out about working out the % left and then then percentage of the price. At least I have boundaries to my ‘crazy’ tracking it would seem! Great to see other people’s stashes and how they organise things, thanks for sharing

  2. Fiona

    Isn’t it remarkable how quickly it adds up? I never look in my pantry and think “there’s a thousand dollars” but the itemized costing really shows what’s there. I’m also amazed at how similar the individual items’ prices are to Australia!

    • I suspected that was the case! One of the reasons I went through with this is that my insurance company will only pay out $200 for the items in your freezer if there is a power failure, and I wondered if that would cover it – in my case it would, but not if you had a chest freezer or a side of beef!

  3. We have a similar emergency stash of KD. It’s still better than grabbing take out on a night when you don’t have time or energy to cook. Marginally better, maybe, but it’s what I tell myself. 🙂 I’m impressed that you costed it all out. I wonder hat price I’d put on the freezer of garden produce? The cost of the seed?

    • I couldn’t figure that one out – I don’t have a garden harvest or any home canning left, but I do have gifts from other people, and I didn’t count them. If it were a significant part of my diet or greatly affected my budget, I would. For example – 20 jars of roasted tomatoes equals 20 jars of spaghetti sauce I don’t have to buy at $2 each!

  4. I love it, so much detail!
    This is an interesting experiment to do….now it’s got me wondering how much our ‘stock’ is worth. Perhaps after my hols I’ll cost it up.

  5. My gosh! I can’t even imagine trying to calculate the value of everything in my pantry! I think it might depress me – on the other hand, it could motivate me to eat it all up!

  6. todadwithlove

    I’ve really enjoyed this…now I’m looking inside my fridge and pantry and wondering whether I might do the same…except I’ll first have to perform a major re-organisation and move some things from the pantry to the fridge or the other way around.

  7. Wow I never really thought about the cost of the food we have in our home. This post made me look at our pantry in a whole new way!

  8. I’m really impressed that you costed everything. It’s interesting to look at the pantry and see it as assets, I always look at my food waste like money, but hadn’t thought to do it with the food I have in the house. Like Fiona, I’m surprised to see how similar in price everything is to Australia.

    • I was thinking about the replacement cost of food for insurance purposes – there are strict limits on what they will reimburse, and nowhere near what the typical pantry is worth!

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