I have been reading lot on your site — especially about deals, target trips etc. and grocery budgets. I’m wondering when you describe grocery budgets — are you talking about food exclusively? What about things like dish soap, shampoo, and sponges etc. etc? We have 3 kiddos and wondering what you think is a reasonable budget for all that stuff? -a reader
Great question! And it’s one I get asked a lot. I figured it was high time I wrote a post answering this question!
1. Do What Works For You
First off, what works for one person won’t work for someone else. Some families will find it works best to lump all of their food and household purchases under the Grocery Budget category. Other families will find it works best to have multiple categories — one for food only, one for household items, one for diapers, etc.
Try a few different methods and then figure out what works best for you and stick with that. And don’t feel guilty if you’re doing things completely different than another frugal friend of yours!
2. Start With a Reasonable Figure
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lower their grocery bill is starting out with an unrealistically low budget. You can’t overhaul your grocery bill overnight — unless you want to find yourself frustrated and exhausted!
Instead, pick a realistic-for-you amount. For most people, this will be somewhere between $20 to $40 per person per week. The amount will vary based upon where you live, what your dietary restrictions are, and whether you include non-food items in your budget.
The best thing you can do is to pick a number that is actually doable — even if it feels a lot higher than you’d like it to be. It’s better to be reasonable and actually stick with your budget, than to try to adhere to an impossibly-low budget number and end up overwhelmed and stressed.
3. Slowly Shave 1-3% Off Per Month
Once you’ve picked a grocery budget amount that is realistic for your family, challenge yourself to shave 1 to 3% off of it every month. This might seem like it won’t do much good — and it won’t really make a difference at first.
But over time, if you continue to consistently shave an additional 1 to 3% off your grocery budget every month, you’ll start to see significant savings. And when you approach it at a slow rate, the savings are much more bound to be lasting.
What advice and suggestions do YOU have for this reader’s question? I’d love to hear!