Cost of Indian Groceries in America – Expensive!

I never calculated how much it would cost to buy the Indian groceries that we buy from Indian Grocery store here in US to cost in India. To compare exact prices, I would have to know the cost of items in India. But, fortunately I had help this time around.

My parents are visiting us here and I took them shopping to Indian Grocery store and total bill came close to $100.

My mom was curious to know the cost of individual items ( Rice, Dhal, Spices, Vegetables, ..) Then she did the conversion.

After 20 minutes of comparison, she said it would have come close to Rs 1000 (About $25). Of course when 1$ = Rs 47, do we expect to pay same $25 for groceries that come from India? [ 20 Lbs (Ponni Raw Rice) rice cost $26]

Most of the items in Indian grocery store comes from India and other countries, they have to add transportation cost and stores profit margin. So, all the cost adds to $100.

Students Grocery Expense

I have posted few article about Food and lodging expense for students, they usually share grocery expense with their roommates unless  you share the apartment with someone from different country.

First few months to 1 year, your grocery bill will be low, but as you get used to  Dollar to Rupee conversion, you tend to spend more.

 

23 Comments

  1. Niveditha on June 4, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Interesting. Will it help if we carry some non-perishable grocery from india itself?! 😛

    • Varun Kumar on June 4, 2010 at 2:38 PM

      Yes… u can carry MAGGIE noodles as much as you can. One of my known person did like this. You can also carry spices. But don't carry pickles or sauces. Make sure carry those things which have negligible water content. Dry foods are allowed usually. Honestly, I know about noodle and spices thing only but am not sure about other foods. Everything thats packed n sealed seems to be allowed.

      • richa on June 7, 2010 at 8:08 AM

        I do not understand why you guys purchase everything by converting it into rupees ? If you are earning in dollars then you have to spend in dollars as well. If you have funding then it should not be a big deal for you. You get funding according to place where you live i.e. if you are studying in a cheaper place like columbia, mo then you will get funding like $ 1200- $1400 per month and all living expense and grocery will cost you not more than $800 in this case you still can save $ 400-$600 what else do you want? And in big cities like columbus, you will get funding like $ 1800-$2200 per month and there you can save approx. $ 600-$800 per month. I have included $ 150 for grocery. What else do you want? I can not understand why you guy think like that. Eat healthy and live healthy. I am tired of you desi people, thinking about a single dollar before spending it. Of course, if you do not have funding than it could be a problem.

        • Varun Kumar on June 8, 2010 at 8:13 AM

          @Richa…. if u tired of DESI people then go and join some other community. Your analysis is very stupid because you are ignoring certain things before making such a brad statement. We DESI's think before spending every dollar because we know how hard is it to earn a single rupee and when hard earned 50 rupees combine then they make a single dollar. We don't start earning right just from the first day we step into United States of America. We bring ours or our parent's hard earned money with us to spend here. Most of us don't get that much financial aid like US residents.

          When we start earning in dollars that time we stop caring about thinking from rupee view point. The post that is posted is for those who are arriving in USA. This is not for those who have been here. So, if someone is going from India to USA then he/she must be thinking the way DESI people think. What kind of funding are you talking about? Can you please explain?

          • Arun on June 21, 2010 at 1:51 AM

            I do agree with varun. Every one don't get funding as she got. We need to spend money according ly by calculating!



          • Venkatesh K on May 14, 2012 at 7:53 AM

            right said kumar.. we have to make each and every calculation coz 1$ = 54 Rs now.. how can we just spent dollars as americans do .. its der currency .. so they spent in dollars.. but to we Indians.. we cannot spent that easily.. or wil think 10 times before spending .. spend but save more.. !!!!



  2. Ravali on June 2, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    hi friends,
    Could someone help me with the information regarding the cost of living in Lousiana. I'm going for fall 2010 to Lousiana Tech University.

  3. Tamil Kadir Rajavel on June 2, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    Are there any "cheap" American food products that go well with Indians? Will altering our cuisine make it any cheaper?

    • HSB on June 3, 2010 at 6:59 AM

      Initially you will not be inclined to eat outside. It will take a while to get used to eating sandwich, burgers, chalupas and burritos.

    • richa on June 7, 2010 at 7:49 AM

      Mexican, Thailand cuisines are similar to indian cuisines and there are many indian restaurants here (atleast 1 per city)

    • Andy on June 8, 2010 at 4:35 AM

      Everyone swears by Maggi Noodles; but have you tried the 'Ramen Noodles' that are sold in (American) stores and supermarkets. Usually, they are at a much cheaper price. Many people do grocery shopping from Indian stores, which are expensive. I go to Indian stores only for buying stuff which I won't get in American stores. Why buy tomatoes, onions, vegetables, legumes from an Indian store if they are available in American stores at a cheaper price? Some people buy tortillas in American stores instead of roti from Indian stores. Try Mexican rice or some other form of rice sold in American stores. Rice is Indian stores may cost up to 1.5 times of what it costs in American supermarkets (but a different variety).

      Try switching your habits towards eating more American food. Salads, sandwiches and subs (submarine sandwiches) are very healthy options too! Check the other food options that HSB and richa have posted as well.

      • HSB on June 8, 2010 at 5:19 AM

        Farmers market is another place to buy fresh vegetables, if there is one nearby your place.

        • Tamil Kadir Rajavel on June 8, 2010 at 6:20 AM

          @all: Thanks for your suggestions 🙂

          @HSB: I think you could write an article on this. Would be really helpful.

      • Varun Kumar on June 8, 2010 at 8:29 AM

        Need not to say that American TOP RAMEN are bullshit noodles. Have you ever seen their quality. They are even worse than anything. They are typically homeless people food or for those who avoid to spend money on their meals. For 1 dollar you get 4 Top Ramens in California. Just imagine how cheap variety they be. On the other hand, MAGGIE is best… its not a cheap food in India. A single pack is like Rs.10 (if am correct according to 2009 when I was in India)

        Rs.10 is a small amount but its not as less in India as what 1 Dollar in USA. So, I will say GO FOR MAGGIE…….. cuz Top Ramen sucks so much. And moreover Top Ramen available here are not necessarily vegetarian. TORTILLAS stink !!!

        Mexican food is so rich in fats.

        • Andy on June 13, 2010 at 9:03 AM

          @Varun Kumar: Please mind your language when you post in public. Words like bu!!shit may sound cool to you, but I am sorry – you are wrong. Please refrain from using abusive terms.

          And about what food is good and not, well, to each his own. YOU feel tortillas stink. Have you tried te whole wheat variety from Trader Joe's? Think twice before you comment on any culture (Mexican culture, in your case). If you want to start this discussion, most of my American co-workers feel Indian food is extremely rich in fat. What's your take on that?

          It depends on what food you opt for. Like I said, I prefer eating whole wheat sandwiches and salads.

          And about 'cheap' food options, Ramen noodles fall in that category. The original poster is probably in India right now and is thinking about saving. Most likely, like a lot of others, after coming to USA, he will stop converting from USD to INR and will start living without thinking about 'cheap' food. But initially, it is obvious to think like that.

          • SANDEEP on August 23, 2018 at 9:41 AM

            Good reply Andy, I respect others opinions, so I think if they really want to live a cheap and reserved life style. I would simply suggest all these brilliant students to stay in India. I believe you deserve more than this. All students who are economically backward and who aspire for greater education and healthier life. please dont put your foot in this country anymore. I dont say that it is bad country but its bad for you.

            Think your options again.

            India-
            1.You get to stay with your family
            2.You get to have way more filling food.
            3.You could probably earn way more than you think, considering the freedom to do anything you want and the amount of time you spent to get residency in US.

            US-
            1.You will feel lonely
            2.Unhygienic diet
            3.Expensive to live
            4.Unsafe in current situations
            5.Your parents always remain in fear.
            6.Imbalanced life leads to failure.



        • Venkatesh K on May 14, 2012 at 7:57 AM

          varun maggie is still Rs 10 in India .. hehehe.. and now maggie chota pack has come .. Rs 5 .. !!!

      • Arun on June 21, 2010 at 1:54 AM

        Hey , could any one plz help me in giving information regarding the vegetarian dishes?? as i am pure vegetarian. plz help in this issue

  4. Praveen on June 2, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    Hi HSB…What ur saying is pretty much true…The first thing my cousin who passed out of clemson said to me is, the moment u step into US soil, stop doing USD to INR calculation. Lol. But it will be hard to eliminate those calculations from our mind at the beginning stages of our stint in US.

  5. Garg on June 2, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    The picture above shows "ORGANIC", 'HEIRLOOM Variety" Tomato. Can't compare that to regular commercial tomato. Regular Plum tomato is about $0.79 – $1.29 per lb.

    • richa on June 7, 2010 at 7:52 AM

      Actually it depends on where you live? In columbus , oh roma tomatoes are $ 1.30 to $ 2.99 per lb but in columbia, mo they are $0.90 to $ 1.99 per lb

  6. Varun Kumar on June 2, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Indian Groceries are really expensive in US. The reason is that most of them are imported. Things like spices, oils, shampoos and all other Indian products are either imported from Middle East or India. Somethings are commonly manufactured in Middle East as well as India, so mostly merchants prefer to import them from Middle east. Stuff like Indian style Mustard Oil (Kachi Ghani) and Desi Ghee are manufactured in US itself. They not expensive but don't compare anything with Indian Rupee because things here are according to US market. Whatever is manufactured in US isn't as expensive according to US markets. Things that are really expensive comparing to US are like Rice, Cereals, Lentils (Dals), steel utensils which are typically Indian (Karaahi, Tava, frying pan etc) Dairy products like milk, butter and yogurt/curd are very affordable even in Indian stores. What an average Indian doesn't like is that water has to be purchased. Drinking water is available in big bottles which vary from $2 to $5….. but its expected that they are much cheaper than having a water installed installed at home or being a single person. Prices of Indian products vary from place to place and nothing can be sure. For example, in Los Angeles you can get a 1kg packet of dal for $25 but in other states it can be even more or less.

  7. Girl83 on June 2, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    I think you wont be able to buy a thing if you start converting into indian currency. That way even a loaf of bread will cost you atleast Rs90.

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