I find with a strict budget I can stay under 2000 RMB a month but usually it’s more like 2500.
I also find that healthy food can be very cheap or very expensive. My 5 RMB home cooked meals are still Western style food。 If I learned to use a wok and cook Chinese style, and was willing to eat rice or (even cheaper) fresh noodles all the time instead of potatoes it would be even less. The lightbulb moment was watching the local shoppers at the market – a good food shopper is internationally recognizable, like someone who is a good cook. Realizing that the shopper carrying a couple of eggs and one spring onion was only getting exactly what he needed for his next meal, the tiny kitchens and fridges here made much more sense.