This is Day 2 of the 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget series. If you missed Day 1, read it here.
One of the questions I get asked all the time is, “How much should I spend on groceries?”
I wish that there was a simple one-size-fits-all answer to this question. But like I said yesterday, what works for one family won’t work for another family.
We all have so many different variables that play into what a good grocery budget amount is for us. I really encourage you not to just pick some grocery budget number out of thin air because it “sounds good” or you “think it’s doable” or you “know someone who has a budget that low”.
That’s a surefire way to set yourself up for grocery budget failure or at least a whole lot of stress trying to stick with a grocery budget that wasn’t designed with your family’s needs in mind.
What To Consider When Determining Your Grocery Budget:
- Your own situation: Do you have young kids or a crazy work schedule which means you need to buy more convenience foods/products?
- Your family’s dietary needs: Are you gluten-free, dairy-free, or eating according to a nutritional plan that might cost more money?
- Your family’s priorities: Do you like to host lots of people into your home or bake/cook for others?
- Your family’s preferences: Do you like certain foods that are more expensive or like to have more meat and less beans and rice?
- What you’ll include in your grocery budget: Will you include hygiene products/pet products/diapers, etc. in the grocery budget?
There are no right or wrong answers to the above questions. Well, okay, I take that back. There ARE right answers and wrong answers! The right answers are what is best for you and your own family. The wrong answers are trying to do what you think works well for another family.
How to Determine a Reasonable Grocery Budget
After taking all of these things into consideration, also look at your recent grocery receipts to get an idea of how much you have typically spent on groceries over the past few months. I encourage you to come up with a weekly amount that you think is very doable to start with.
If you have the wiggle room in your budget, choose a number that feels somewhat high. Why? Because I want you to set yourself up for success from the get-go.
And remember this: Success in the beginning is just setting up a budget and following it. As you get better at it and more comfortable with it, then you can work on lowering it. But for now, just focus on picking a number that you feel is a reasonable number that will not make you feel stressed or frustrated to try to stick with.
If you need a ballpark idea to go off of, I’d say anywhere between $25 to $40 per person is usually a good figure to start with. (But don’t stress if that feels too low for you right now! It’s better to start somewhere and choose a higher number and stick with it, than to just give up because you can’t get it as low as you’d like to get it.)
Our Grocery Budget Evolution
For the first 8 years of our marriage, our grocery budget was in the $10-$15 per person range. That’s really low, I know, but we were barely eeking by some of those years and I knew that our grocery budget was one area where I could really save a lot of money since I had the time, the know-how, and I found it a fun “hobby” to see how far I could stretch every grocery budget dollar.
I was a hardcore couponer and drugstore game shopper + I planned super simple menus that were based almost entirely around what I could get on a really great deal at the store. This worked well for us and saved us thousands of dollars over those eight years.
However, as our kids came along and got older and our season of life changed, we’ve slowly raised the budget to allow more breathing room. I still LOVE finding a great grocery bargain and am always on the lookout for them when I’m shopping, but I’ve given myself grace to not feel like I need to have the grocery budget super, super low or spend a few additional hours of my week going to multiple stores in order to cut my grocery bill by $50 to $75.
A reasonable amount for our family at this season of life is allotting about $25 per person per week. This allows us to eat higher quality foods, purchase a few convenience foods, have more meat, and keep our menus simple and nutritious.
I could still keep our grocery budget really, really low and I could still enjoy doing it. However, it would take me an additional 2-3 hours per week to realistically make that happen. Right now, because we have the wiggle room in the budget, I’ve chosen to spend those hours on the business where I can make significantly more per hour than I could ever save by using coupons.
For me, that’s what wise financial management is. It’s about weight the return on your investment of time versus your priorities and deciding what are the best use of your limited resources in that season of life.
Your turn: What is your grocery budget, where do you live, and how many people are you feeding? Has it changed over the years? I’d love to hear!
Related: 6 Ways We’re Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low — Without Using Coupons!
Wow! This post is great, as are the comments!
We are a family of 5 living in Texas and we spend about $800 per month on groceries, not including toiletries or other miscellaneous purchases.
I see that I need to work much harder on getting our bill down! We do try to eat healthy and buy organic whole foods when possible.
Kristin S. says
I spend about $150/week at the grocery store (around $130 at Aldi, and the rest at other stores for what I can’t get there). The grocery store budget includes eggs and chicken, but excludes pork and beef. Twice a year, I buy a whole pig and a quarter or side of beef from a farmer. It took a while to save up for the first one, but now we save $200/month toward the next bulk meat purchase. We also spend around $100 monthly for other grocery/household items (dog food, vitamins, protein powder, paper products). So total spent on groceries is $900/month for a family of 5 (two adults, a teen boy and two other kids). I always feel like it’s so high compared to frugal bloggers and their followers, but it’s not bad at all compared to the general public!
I am in Canada and I have to say I am envious of the grocery deals you can get at Aldi’s and other discount grocery stores. It is just my adult daughter and myself and we have to eat gluten free from Celiac. We budget 400 a month including all toiletries and household items. So months we don’t spend that but I keep that budget to be able to stockpile items when they are on sale.
I just started seriously budgeting our groceries this month combined with freezer cooking and menu planning. It looks like we’ll spend about $20 per person per week going forward- two adults, one preschooler and one infant whose on formula.
Anyone from the UK here? If so, do you coupon? I’m finding it difficult to here in the UK!
Crystal Paine says
Way to go!!
We live in rural NC in a low cost of living area, which is great…and also means I drive 45 minutes one way if I want to shop at Aldi. When I’m “in town” anyway, I’ll shop there. We have 3 people in our family – myself, a 6 year old son, and my 225 lbs powerlifting husband (he aims for 4500 calories/day). We spend $235/mth on groceries, including all household and personal items. Outside of that we but our meat from Zaycon, which I’ve just started doing, and so far I’m estimating we need to put back $45/mth. So grand total that would be $280/mth. I buy cage free eggs and organic milk, and other organics as I can afford them. We rarely eat out. No couponing, no convenience foods. My son is homeschooled and my husband works mostly from home so that’s three meals a day per person (occasionally hubby will use personal money to buy extra meat to bulk up his lunches). When we were first married (2012 – our son is adopted from foster care, in case you’re doing the math), we made our monthly budget and basically all that was left after bills was $170, so I had to make that grocery budget work! Thanks to initially having no option, and now having years of experience, I’m pretty proud of our grocery budget and I love sharing tips with my friends about how to reduce theirs!
Alex Guglielmo says
My husband and and I live in the Bay Area of California and we spend $300/month on groceries, toiletries and household products (such as cleaners). I also put a few fast food meals on that tab each month for the days on the run. My husband’s company provides lunch for him, and he’ll bring me home a snack each day, so we are really fortunate. The other day, I looked at our first-ever budget from 2012 and saw that we used to spend $600 per month on groceries! I love blogs like MSM and Krazy Coupon Lady because they have enabled us to cut that budget in half! (I don’t even know how I spent that much on groceries five years ago when we have more than enough healthy food and toiletries now! Stockpiling really makes a difference…)
In the last year and a half we have lived in central Texas, the Rio grande valley (Mexico side) and the dessert part of Mexico. When in central Texas i spent about $75 a week on groceries and household supplies for a family of four (me, my husband and two sons 5 and 9). In the Rio grande valley Mexico side I would only spend and $30 a week. Produce was fresh locally grown and super cheap. Now, dessert living even in MX is higher and we have a newborn, so I spend about $55 a week.
We live in Ohio and have a pretty low cost of living. I spend $75(sometimes less) per week for 2 adults and one 17 year old. That includes personal and cleaning items. I coupon, buy in bulk, make most things from scratch, and luckily our local grocery store clearances produce regularly. I also garden, forage, and my husband hunts. I’m working on getting organized and hope to lower it even more.
If that’s $75/week for all three, I’m going to fall over! 🙂 I’m closer to the $75/person/week category (including personal/hygiene and cleaning). (I know partly that is due to our diet choices.) You have me intrigued with the “foraging” comment. We garden, but that is the next level! Kudos to you! 🙂
I spent the better part of a year trying to make our lives fit into a low number grocery budget all because strangers on the internet could do it. Once I let that go, it felt so good! We spend $50-75 per week per person right now. That includes all personal items, diapers, cleaners, etc. I have a hubby and two boys that are meat eaters. My husband would eat only meat if I let him. We don’t eat out since have a list of 14 food allergies to avoid (and unfortunately that list seems to be growing). There almost zero convenience foods that work for us and those that do cost a lot. Some people can pay $.99 for a dozen eggs. We pay $7.99 for vegan eggs – why do they cost that much??? We pay cash to keep from spending more than we do. I stock up during sales, use coupons and apps where I can. I am proud of myself for not spending more than I do. Lol
This was SO helpful! I’ve always wondered about what is the “right” amount to spend and thought that I was spending too much… but the $25 per person is so reasonable and helpful! (And bonus: that’s what I was spending anyway! I’m relieved that I’m on track. 🙂
Thank you for what you do, Crystal! 🙂
We live in the Seattle area. There are 4 of us. We have a teen daughter and a teenage son who has eaten more than me for most of his life. We spend $55/week per person on food. We cook breakfast; lunch is mostly from home. We eat out 3x a week: 2 inexpensive meals as a family and one date.
Lindsey S. says
We live in rural Wyoming. We budget $800 a month for a family of 6. I shop frugally, go to multiple stores, do online deals, and bake from scratch. We eat fairly healthily and simply and only have meat in our meals half the time. However, my kids and husband are very athletic and are all HUGE eaters and so, even though this amount seems like a lot to some families, I have to work hard to keep it to $200 a week.
Debbie B. says
Nice to hear from someone near by! I am in southern Montana and budget $650 a month for a family of 4. The closest Walmart is 45 minutes away and Costco is an hour; the local grocery is overpriced and has poor produce quality. Your amount sounds pretty reasonable to me! I think things are more expensive in rural WY/MT simply because we are not on major travel routes and far from where much fresh food is grown in the winter. Sounds like you are doing a great job 🙂
My budget is $480 per month for 2 adults and one 15 year old boy. This includes all household products, OTC meds, etc. I shop at Fry’s, .99 cent only store and Sam’s Club. I love this blog!
I’m in AZ 🙂
Our budget has changed a lot over the years but the last few years it’s stayed pretty consistent out of necessity. We are a family of 4 – two adults and two athletic “tweens” – living in central Minnesota. We include paper products, toiletries and otc medication in our grocery budget. We budget $50/week for our budget. We spent roughly $40/wk at the grocery stores and save $10 for our CSA basket we purchase every year. That $10/wk gives us enough to do some bulk stocking up at Sam’s club a few times a year for things like flour, yeast, cheese, toilet paper. We also have a small garden (mostly tomatoes, peppers, greens and squash) and receive some venison and fish free from family (about 10lbs total per year).
So summary: $200/month for a family of 4 in central MN.
Thanks for all you do Crystal!
I am in MN, too. Minneapolis, though. 2 adults, one child. Eat out once per week, plus my kiddo has breakfast at school. Excluding those costs, our Weekly food budget is $75 ($300/mo). Lots of grocery store competition up here, which helps to keep costs down. I find I do best at Aldi, Cub Foods, or Hyvee.
We live in central Alabama. My husband and I have two children.. 10 & 13.. my budget is $500 a month. This includes only groceries and occasionally a few household items I pick up while at Publix( which has quit doubling coupons)! I have a seperate miscellaneous budget that includes household supplies , clothes , etc. we don’t have an Aldi . I make a sams or Costco trip every few weeks for some groceries , etc,, but am at Publix almost every week. This grocery budget includes about half of the kids school lunches.. I buy the rest, which is in the separate school tuition. Also , our cvs and Walgreens sells the same national milk brand for almost $2 less than Publix price !
Ashley P says
We shop every 3 weeks for out family of 4 (because the closest Aldi is 45 minutes away so it doesn’t make sense to drive there every week).
We shoot for $210/trip ($70/week) which comes out to $17.50/person.
It used to be $60/week when we lived in FL and Aldi was around the corner, but my youngest was still a breastfeeding baby then. Now, he’s a toddler eating everything in sight. We raised it by $10/week to help cover snacks and making larger portions.
Works for us! 🙂
I’m far from aldi too! I shop every two weeks and would love to decrease that. How do you handle produce, going that long between trips?
Mississippi. We’re at $80-$90/week including household items for a family of two adults plus a three year old and five year old.
The kids’ morning and afternoon snacks, as well as lunch, are covered by their daycare tuition on weekdays.
My husband and I eat out for lunch about twice a week for dates and professional connections, so that’s an extra $40 a week.
We live in a big metro area in Florida, and our food budget is $300 monthly for a family of 5 (parents and 3 children from 4-8). We pretty much never eat out, so this includes 3 meals a day for all of us. Although my kids are young, they are all boys, so they are big eaters!
By far, the biggest thing that allows us to meet our budget is shopping at Aldi, especially because we eat a lot of fresh produce. I buy 90% of our groceries there, then hit the big chain store for BOGO deals and major markdowns. I’m not a big couponer, so we also keep costs low by meal planning, only grocery shopping once a week, and cooking most things from scratch. Except on special occasions, water and milk are the only beverages we buy. We don’t even miss the juice, and it’s great not to waste our calories or our dollars on sugary drinks.
I live in Eastern Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley.
There are 6 in our family. Four kids (12,10,8,7).
We buy organic meat, eggs, and milk always, then buy other organic as it is affordable. I like to buy local, too, in the growing season.
I include hygiene items and paper products in my grocery budget.
I spend $700 per month. I shop first at Aldis, then at Wegmans for what I cannot get at Aldis.
Bethany M says
I budget $500 a month for a family of five. I go to Costco weekly, since our PE class is close to one. I like getting my gas there exclusively, for the savings, but also for the safety. (Has anyone heard of a hold up at a Costco gas station….nope doesn’t happen.) I also pop in at Aldi once a month or so. I try to stock up on canned good when I see them in their flyer. And the rest I buy at WinCo. They have a huge selection and pretty low prices. And since I’m in SoCal, I like to stop at the roadside stands and grab up 25 lb bags of citrus for amazing prices (that is until my new plantings bear fruit!)
I’m pretty good about not meal planning anything new until we have leftovers finished off. I don’t like them sitting in there for long, but I don’t want to waste either.
I don’t do a lot of frozen easily prepared foods, but I do like to get something in there for returning from vacation. When there is nothing in the fridge, it’s nice to throw something together, and skip that extra meal out.
I live in central Illinois. We have a young family of six, the children range in age from 7 months to 7 years. I feel like one of my biggest jobs as a stay at home mom is too cut the grocery bill. Some weeks I do a great job, others don’t go as well if I don’t have the time or if I’m honest, I’m just plain tired from being up with a baby!
To feed our family (5 people currently since the baby is barely eating anything) I usually spend between $100-125 a week. We live in a small rural town so I go to one of the larger towns around us bi-weekly and hit Aldi, Kroger, and Walmart. I feel like as long as I scour the ads and use coupons it does save me money to go to all three. I love getting a deal!
I loved the post; the comments are all very interesting and encouraging too! Everyone is so different. We are a family of six in a remote part of Colorado. I have four kiddos from 3-8. We spend $200 a month on groceries and toiletries, and I feel guilty spending that much because we technically could get by with spending $0. It would be miserable, but do-able. We have a couple of beeves on the hoof, a personable blue-butt Ham, a dairy cow given to us by my grandparents, and a few dozen chickens. We grow a large garden in the summer and I trade homestead products for fruit. I can and freeze and dry everything I can get my hands on. So if someone just asked “what is your grocery budget, they might be shocked at the number (I am sometimes, haha). But we eat more like kings than paupers. And it’s a good life for the kids, growing up knowing where their food comes from and helping out. Blessed in the hard places!
We are a family of 5 in the Seattle area. We have 2 adults and 3 kids age 3, 11, and 14. Our grocery budget is $600 per month just for food and another $200 per month for toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies, etc. I am hoping to decrease this, but find in the pacific northwest everything is very expensive.
I live in SE Texas and prices are pretty nice however we don’t have access to grocery stores like Aldi and Trader Joes like they do in Houston; We do have a Sams Club. We are a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 10 year old) and 4 dogs. We budget between $4-500/mo for everything including toiletries, laundry items, and dog food. I’d like to get it down to $300 but if I go back to work and with school full time menu planning and cooking will be harder.
We are a family of five in a busy season of life and I find I cannot get my grocery budget under $800-$900/month. For one thing, as my children enter their teens, and are involved in sports, they need more food. We also shop and do most of our meals around dairy, egg and nut allergies, so I cannot use those foods. I could shop at Aldi or Walmart, and I sometimes do, but during the winter in Ohio it is dark ealier. I sometimes don’t feel safe to shop in the areas where those two stores are located, especially when day light hours are over, so I just don’t as much during this time of the year. And in all honesty, I find that I can spend pretty close to what I would spend at Walmart or Aldi at my Giant Eagle, to the point that I don’t feel the savings are worth the stress and driving distance in this season of life. ?
We live in NW Ohio and our family of 4 (two adults, two young kiddos) is in the same boat! Usually $800/month includes cleaning and hygiene but not vitamins and pet supplies. We, too, shop and cook around multiple food sensitivities (dairy and gluten – so sorry eggs are on your list! 🙁 ). If you find some tricks to lower the bill, please share 🙂 and I’ll do the same. 🙂
I love this post! I can still remember about 8 years ago when a friend told me that she only spent $180 a month on groceries including diapers. I was spending about $300 and had the same size family and I felt so awful about it. I realize now how silly that was, but at the time I felt like a failure. I actually did need to improve on grocery budgeting, but I’ve found that all my baby steps over 8 years have gotten us to a really great place!
We live in Utah and spend about $515 a month on groceries for 2 adults, a 14 year old son, 10 year old daughter, 7 year old son and almost 3 year old son. I am hoping to raise our budget to $600 a month within the next year as I would like to eat even healthier than we are eating. Here are some details though:
-We don’t eat much meat. We only eat meat about 3 times a week
-We cook breakfast almost every morning. My two youngest sons eat their biggest meal for breakfast and eat very little the rest of the day, so I feel like we do save some money by cooking instead of having cereal (which they seem to eat almost 2 boxes of each morning and then they are hungry two hours later!)
-We eat out once a month out of a different budget
-My hubby and I eat out on date night 3-4 times a month out of our date budget money.
-We do include toiletries and such but NOT diapers and wipes. We typically spend anywhere from 20-50 a month on these. (But we don’t include my expensive shampoo and conditioner which I buy with my personal money)
-I rarely buy snacks for my kids
-The end of the month always STINKS! We are always low on food and usually don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables during this time. I really want that to change, because I am not my best self when I don’t eat well.
I wanted to share something really cool though. Over the years I have implemented a lot of different things to help me have a low grocery budget, meal planning, using up what we have, stocking up during case lot sales, shopping with a list, using a cash budget, not shopping while I’m hungry and trying to only go to the store once a week.
However, even with doing those things I found myself really struggling and feeling very discontent. So I took it to the Lord, I asked how I could stay within my budget as I had been going over about $20 each month and felt that I could do better. Well the answer was shocking. I felt the impression that if I would have gratitude, then I would be able to stay in my budget. So I tried it. The next time I went to the store, as I drove home, I prayed and thanked my Heavenly Father for every single thing I bought, every tomato, every banana, every box of pasta. I was OVERWHELMED with gratitude. I cannot tell you how much that one thing has helped me and helped my attitude! It was easy to stay in budget when I was grateful and not feeling discontent. I realized how much I DO have and how blessed I am. I also felt more accountability and have been wasting less. And so I have been staying in my budget, which is awesome, but also realizing that I would like a lot more fresh fruits and veggies and would like to save some time by having paper plates and paper towels as well, which we currently do not use, so I believe we will eventually go up in budget to accommodate those wants.
I wanted to share that and just share that little changes make a BIG difference. Don’t beat yourself up, just choose a small change you want to make, and then when you have that down, add another. And don’t compare yourself to anyone else, because honestly saving money takes TIME. A lot of it. And in some seasons of life, you may have more money than you have time, or others where you have more time than money. I echo Crystal’s sentiment, Do what works for you! God will bless your efforts if you ask Him for help.
Thank you for taking the time to sharing and reminding me to give thanks. While I do thank the Almighty each day for the food that I eat, I never thought to do so as I shop. What a lovely thought! I have Celiac disease and need to be gluten free. I pray He will restore my health and I know I need to do my part in watching what I eat. Of course, as you may know, gluten free products are more expensive so, I’m trying to stick with fresh fruits and vegetables and meat. I would like to stick to my budget and after reading what you have shared I too will be giving thanks as I shop.
Sandy, what a lovely post, thank you for taking the time to respond. I’m thrilled you are going to try it! Sometimes when I have a particularly long shopping trip with kids, I will give thanks as I put each item away. It is great to stay on budget, but even more great to stay on a realistic budget! I’m working towards that, I sometimes hold myself to a rigid standard that is not working anymore. I wish you the best in trying to eat the way your body will feel best. I can imagine the grocery bill would be much larger with those restrictions. I don’t have Celiacs, but I feel so much better when I eat less gluten. Best to you and God bless.
That’s beautiful! You are absolutely right. Thank you for sharing! God is good.
My budget is $30 a week for a family of 4. I live in NE Oklahoma and our cost of living is very low. I mostly shop at Walmart because it’s the only option besides our over priced small town grocery store. We do keep a large garden and fruit trees so we grow and can a lot of our own produce. I cook everything from scratch including our breads. I plan simple meals and price match and use coupons when it will help. We homeschool so I always try to make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day and I do a lot of freezer cooking.
I live in north central OK. I would like to have a garden once we get a house. What size is your garden and what grows well for you??
Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving says
I live in northern Indiana and spend $260 a month on groceries for myself, my husband, my 2.5 year old and 10 month old. That budget also covers toiletries and diapers in addition to food. Yes, it’s low but I LOVE finding the good deals and it’s one of the best ways I can help our budget as a sahm. I cook a lot from scratch, stockpile and plan my menus around the sales. That said, like Crystal, I also believe that everyone needs to create the budget that is right for their family.
I have been reading here for years and years and making my own budget since my marriage 4.5 years ago. I feel stuck.
We have 1 pregnant mommy, DH, 3yo and 1yo. We live in Cincinnati and can’t seem to keep things under $600 per month. I’ve always felt that that’s really high, but I is rare that I can get it lower, and often, we’re over. My 3yo has a lot of stomach issues and eats constantly. Definitely more than I do.
We don’t buy a lot of packaged snacks, I try to shop around but that’s becoming more difficult with more kiddos, and now we have diet restrictions for DS that we are all following to an extent (GF and DF).
Don’t be discouraged! Your numbers may seem high compared to others , but it is still within the appropriate “range” . I live in the Cincy area also, 2 adults, 1teen and a preschooler. Our totals are around $650-700 a month. This includes any eating out and non food items. Some months can even be higher if we have holidays/special things or need to do a large stock up trip. We eat all meals at home and my husband packs lunch daily. Eating out is usually once a week ($25 or under ) If your numbers include anything other than food you are doing even better than you think. Even if it $600 for food only, still ok:) I just always look for ways to save and do the best I can. If it only feels high because you are comparing to others, switch gears and only focus on your spending. Make small goals like sticking to the actual budget and then chipping $10 a month at a time.
Thank you, Jennifer!
Yes, that’s not strictly food. I know it’s better when I meal plan, but our budget has never been as low as I would like. Now that I’m crawling out of morning sickness I’m hoping to get back to meal planning and possibly shopping at several stores again.
I relate to your last sentence so much– our grocery bill suffered when my “morning” sickness was bad with this and my last pregnancy (didn’t have it with the first one, lol). I could barely stand to be at the store around the food, and never mind cooking anything like I normally do. My husband really stepped it up, but we did a lot of take out / convenience food during those times too. When I finally felt better in the middle of the second tri it felt awesome to start meal planning and all that. I just started shopping at multiple stores again. (in time for it to stop after this baby is born, lol!)
Elizabeth @ Wonder Woman I'm Not says
I’m good to be one of the outliers and admit that we spend about $85/person a week for food and groceries, there are three of us at home. Sometimes it’s even a bit more.
We live in Wisconsin where groceries aren’t to bad. Our per person amount has gone up since we are spending the same amount as when our son lived at home BUT over the last couple of years we’ve significantly cut back on eating out, about once every other week versus the several times a week.
My husband is really into fitness so meat is an important part of his diet. Plus we really enjoy eating meals made with organic vegetables and grass fed meats. We also get a plated.com box every week included in our budget.
I do what I can to come in under budget as much as I can, but given that meal time is an important (and much enjoyed) part of our day I don’t worry to much about it.
My family consists of 2 adults and three kids, 2-13. We are all on specialized diets, eat meat daily, and purchase mostly organic. Our food is an important role in our life since we get sick easily on processed food, sugar, legumes, dairy, soy, and most grains which leaves me having to make everything from scratch and be creative with varying up eggs, meat, veggies, and coconut products. We spend $800 for groceries and I set aside an additional $200 a month to purchase a 1/4 grass fed cow once a year, half a pasture raised pig, and chicken in bulk. I recently discovered Zaycon Fresh for chicken which will probably lower our expenses. I live on the West Coast so I spend $550 every month to buy in bulk from Azure Standard. The other $250 I purchase some items that are cheaper at Costco, online at Vitacost and Thrive Market. I could possibly find cheaper cow and pork, but it’s important to me to support local family farms and get top quality meat in return. We compensate by being ultra frugal on everything else.
Amy f;) says
yes! West coast, azure standard, food allergies, 2 adults, 10, 8, 5 and 6 mo. kids…we get a half a cow and half a pig (local). Zaycon doesn’t come here though. No garden the last few years, (homeschooling and a rough pregnancy), but I can my friends’ extra apples and some tomatoes.
One kid is allergic to both coconut and oats on top of everyone already abstaining from common frugal foods like eggs, dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts, dairy, tree nuts, etc… we cheat and have legumes and corn twice a week because I just feel so, so bad about how much I spend on food. Our health has improved enough that I feel like it isn’t hurting us to have this cheat as long as we keep the rest of our diets/lifestyles really clean.
I homeschool and have a baby so it has been really challenging to cook from scratch but my husband helps in the kitchen daily and we try to eat really simply. I don’t have any family support to help out with babysitting or cooking projects. I keep jerky on hand for the days when we need protein and I get stuck away from home (baseball games or dr. appointments, etc.) although I try to plan to pack meals when I can forsee the need.
We have a $40/mo. restaurant budget that is usually my husband’s man-dates or an infrequent family meal while traveling. We have a different budget for toiletries.
I do save a little by using coupons occasionally and organizing the local azure standard drop. My community has a CSA for fish so I am a drop site for the fish delivery as well and that helps my fish be more affordable. I also participate in a local vegetable CSA because it simply saves so much time and is fresh and reasonably priced. I like to support local and organic when I can. …Ok…its between 1200 and 1300/mo. *cry*
We live in Georgia and are close to aldi where I do the majority of my grocery shopping. I am a sahm of 3 boys (10, 6 and 3). I have been trying to keep my budget at $120 a week for our family of 5. Since hubby travels during the week I have been trying to lower that number. I find that if I make my own snacks and yogurts I can lower my grocery burning am not consistent withholding that. That amount does not include household items which I budget $60/month. I am sidewinder have teens, I will have to budget more for food!
I love that one theme in the comments was reoccurring: where you live I live in Florida. We consistently find that our stores, including Walmart, are more expensive than the same chains in other parts of the country. So where you live will definitely impact what your budget is for food.
Lest anyone who is reading this is feeling bad for having a large budget, please don’t. My husband and I are on a low carb diet. We are buying lots of fresh vegetables and LOTS of meat. We typically spend $50-$60 a person at the grocery store. That also includes cleaning goods and will sometimes include things like vitamins, but it is mostly food. You have to do what is right for your family in your area of the country.
Thank you! We spend about $54/person/week but we (mostly I) have so many food intolerances that I’m pretty much on a meat, fruit, and vegetable diet and that gets expensive fast!
We have a similar issue with food intolerance and man! It sure does make my budget blow up!
We spend $800, month. That is for 5 of us. Two adults. 3 kids age 14-16. That includes toiletries and cleaning supplies. I have lots of shopping options close by. My favorites are Aldi, Sprouts, price chopper, hyvee and an occasional trip to costco. Im planning on experimenting with some amazon shopping for household and pantry items this year. So I would love to hear others opinions and suggestions on that.
I love using Amazon for toiletries and occasional pantry items. I usually buy toilet paper, paper towels, dishwasher tabs, clorox wipes, and kleenex from amazon using the subscribe and save combined with coupons. I occasionally purchase through Amazon pantry for cereal, snacks, soups and lotions. If there is a buy 5 and free shipping promotion I combine that with a $5 credit from choosing no rush shipping to get a pretty good deal on a box of groceries – plus the convenience of not leaving the house.
We’re a gluten free family of five living on the west coast, where food is pretty spendy. We budget $600 a month for food & toiletries. I cook from scratch, and we grow a garden in the summer months, but lately $600 doesn’t feel like it’s cutting it.
We are a family of 10 with two of those being 19 and 23 year old sons who work full time and eat a lot. The rest is mom, dad, and 6 kiddos from 5 to 18. We spend about 800 a month on groceries. We also volunteer at a food ministry and get a free box for volunteering every week. This almost always consists of lots of produce (squash, cabbage, peppers, onions, beets, turnips, etc. There is usually at least one protein and a little fruit). We also belong to a food network where we get meat and dry goods twice a month.
My husband is currently unemployed and so we have been tightening our belts and our budget has been closer to $600.
Our budget is $600 per month for 2 adults, an 11 year old and 9 year old. This is for food only, not toiletries and such. We budget another $200 for that. We live in a low cost area. The grocery store is 2 minutes away, so I sometimes shop daily. I know that’s against the “rules” but it works for me since we have a lot less wasted food that would previously result from changed plans. My husband and I both work (I work part time) and homeschool so I don’t have time to shop around. BUT, we are getting an Aldi 5 minutes from my house soon, so I’m excited to see what they offer! I gave up comparing my budget to others awhile ago. We eat low carb, and it just isn’t that cheap. We both work and have the means, and it works for us.
We moved our family of eight from St. Louis, MO, (where we had Aldi!) to southeast Denver, CO, (no Aldi 🙁 ) a year and a half ago. I’ve managed to keep our grocery budget the same but it required some adjusting. We’re at just under $16 per person per week. Like Crystal from years past, we plan simple meals and I cook mostly from scratch. We don’t grow our own food (we’re in an apartment) but we’ve been volunteering for a food bank and are often able to glean from excess foods there. As of next month we’ll have three teens and three pre-teens so I do anticipate needing to raise our grocery budget in the future!
We budget $550 per month for our family of 4… that includes grocery/household items AND any restaurant outings. Oh, and my husbands protein/supplements/workout drinks (his number one hobby is weightlifting). We are 100 percent debt-free and increased our budget to about double what it used to be three years ago.
We are trying to stick with a $350-$400 per month budget. We have a family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids 6-2 months). That is pretty low, but we are trying to put more money towards paying off our student loans. I am sure it will need to increase as our kids get older and their appetites increase!
We eat very simply and I make most meals from scratch. I try to shop sales and use coupon apps, but not nearly as much as I use to. I stock up when prices are low (we have awesome case lot sales here in Southern Idaho). This number includes basic toiletries, but does not include diapers and wipes.
In my current season of life, shopping at multiple stores in one week is pretty difficult. I try to pick one store with the best deals and shop once a week or once every other week. Then I try to make due with what I have! I have found that I save money by trying to use what I have instead of trying fancy recipes with specific ingredients.
I love this series. It is good to have a refresher! Thanks for sharing!
We live in a low cost-of-living area (Central Texas) and have Aldi nearby, so that makes a low grocery budget easier. We average $20 per person per week for groceries including toiletries/hygiene items (2 adults, 4 kids, around $450-$500 per month total). We can buy in bulk from azure standard, have had good success with meat from zaycon, and have access to bountiful baskets for produce. There’s isn’t time for all those stops too often, but an extra freezer helps with that. We eat some organic, mostly from scratch, and rarely eat out. As the kids become teens I’m sure our numbers will need to increase!
We’re so thankful for our affordable cost of living, and even more so when reading about prices elsewhere!
We are a family of five: two adults ages 37, and kids ages 4, 6 and 10. Our budget is $150 per week. It includes cleaning, hygiene items, multivitamins, OTC meds and cat food/litter.
Everyone except me is a dairy addict. I could take or leave most dairy foods. I like a lot of fresh produce though I choose what is in season.
We live in Ohio.
We live in NW Ohio. Two adults early 30s, two young kids. Our budget is $175/week and includes cleaning and hygiene but not vitamins and pet supplies. Would love to know how with an extra kiddo you manage $150 (including pets!)! We do purchase meat and eggs from local non-GMO farmers as well as local honey and due to multiple food allergies we avoid many convenience foods. In summer we have a small garden. Still, I would love to shave even $25/week off our bill; what a difference that would make! 🙂
I’m working to keep our budget at $100/week for 2 people plus a toddler. We live in Northern California, and my husband REALLY likes meat (and more meat – preferably with meat on top, lol!!). We also work full time so I don’t want to spend my weekends running from store to store, and I don’t know of anywhere around here that doubles coupons. So, the $100/week is very doable for us. I have started shopping at Grocery Outlet rather than the “fancy” grocery stores, and I’ve started working on freezer cooking as well. If I could get our budget down to $80/week, that would feel fantastic! Grocery shopping and cooking has been tough for me over the last year. In that time my commute increased (cutting into dinner prep time) and my daughter started eating “people” food, so trying to balance money, health, toddler preferences, husband preferences, and time is a challenge for sure!!
I’m from Northern Cali too! We don’t have many shopping choices where I live. It’s nice to here what someone else is spending, I am working on setting a budget for our groceries. Do you include toiletries and household items in your number?
No – that figure is just food. I budget around $150/mo or so for toiletries and household stuff- that figure is a bit high because our little girl is still in diapers. I’m hoping to potty train in the Summer!!
Freezer cooking will save you a ton. I buy most of my canned goods at Aldi and when I cook spaghetti, chili, certain casseroles and any other soups, I generally have two stock pots on the stove. It doesn’t take much more time to cook extras and put in the freezer. I buy vegetables in season, blanch and freeze them also very cheap.
I even freeze milk when I get it at a good price.