Jump to content

Menu

Grocery Budget


Elizabeth86
 Share

Recommended Posts

Whats yours and for how many people. Do you try to be frugal or is this amount just buying what you want?

 

I dont have a budget and Im not sure how much we spend. I do know its a lot and I do know it might be a good place for me to cut back. We live so frugal in so many ways. Food and kid stuff is really the only areas we splurge in and could cut back on.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For several years I've been averaging between $850 and $875 per month for 5 people. With 4 teen/adult girls, I'm sure our bill is less than those who have to feed boys! This includes paper products, toiletries, farmer's market, U-pick/farmstand purchases but it doesn't include pet food. Some months are way more, some less. I go to Costco every 4-6 weeks, so there are a few months a year without a Costco trip and those tend to be cheaper. Stock-up months are higher, like over $1000. In July I will spend over $100 at a local blueberry farm, freezing enough for the year, so July is a stock-up month. November and December run high also--some stock up (baking supplies), some just holiday celebrations.

 

If you don't know where to begin, I would suggest to just start tracking. Enter every receipt into Excel for a few months to see what you're spending.

Edited by Ali in OR
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Food is one area I'm glad we never really had to worry about.  I guess I did in our more frugal days by buying less expensive things (Ramen, Mac & Cheese, Frozen Cheap Pizza, Beans & Rice, etc), but we cut other things instead of food.

 

I still don't keep track of how much we spend on food TBH.  I buy what we want, when we want it.  An average trip to the grocery store can range from $30 - $130 for 2-4 people (pending who's home and how much we've been traveling).  One note... we use a lot of veggies from our garden, eggs from our chickens, and deer for meat in season.  It definitely assists with our budget.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Food is one area I'm glad we never really had to worry about. I guess I did in our more frugal days by buying less expensive things (Ramen, Mac & Cheese, Frozen Cheap Pizza, Beans & Rice, etc), but we cut other things instead of food.

 

I still don't keep track of how much we spend on food TBH. I buy what we want, when we want it. An average trip to the grocery store can range from $30 - $130 for 2-4 people (pending who's home and how much we've been traveling). One note... we use a lot of veggies from our garden, eggs from our chickens, and deer for meat in season. It definitely assists with our budget.

Yes, we are too blessed to be able to buy what we want when we want. Im hoping to trim the budget to get us out of debt. We are so close to beig in a better spot I just want to push faster.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a food budget.  We are now at the point where we just buy what we want.  So while it means we may buy wild caught Soho Salmon, it doesn't mean we are eating only expensive food like that (it was originally 27 a pound, we bought it when it was 17).  But I do still tend to do things like buy fruit on sale, buy more of something when it is on sale then when not.  However, I do not buy the cheapest foods in general- though we do eat probably a larger quantity of beans then average.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a budget. We spent $300 to $400 when kids were younger. Nowadays we spend $500 to $600 for two adults and my kids (11 and 12 year old boys). My 12 year old boy cost more to feed as he is prefers salmon and cheese. None of us eat beef so that does bring down our grocery costs. We eat a mix of non-organic and organic vegetables and meat. For us even in season organic fruits and vegetables would cost us a lot more than the non-organic variety.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I aim for $250/wk for 6.5 people. (Two and a part-time teen, two adults, two younger)  It's a bit of a game for me.  Yes, I will buy a dozen boxes of pasta and a flat of canned beans when they are on sale.  I can't stand the idea of paying full price for anything. (Except things like raw milk, which never go on sale.)

 

I could budget more if I really wanted to, but we eat pretty darn well, and doing so for as cheap as possible is almost like a hobby for me, lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do have a budget, but if we go over, that's fine. Budget is $750/month for three of us. It includes food, toiletries, paper products, etc. It does NOT include eating out. Current budget for that is $600/month. The majority of our eating out is social, so no, not trying to reduce that by cooking more. We have a group that we do Mexican & trivia with weekly. Plus outings with neighbors or friends about once a week. And we like to do trips into the bigger city for activities & dining. If we did reduce that, then the food budget would go up but not by as much as we spend eating out.

Edited by QueenCat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We budget $150 a week. I make food from scratch, we only drink water, we don't buy sweets (but I make smoothies and banana ice cream), and I buy very little meat, which is for my husband and kids. We eat very clean & this budget is enough. For household cleaning, soap, and detergent, I make it myself, which is very inexpensive.

 

ETA - we are a family of 4

Edited by mytwomonkeys
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We budget $150 a week. I make food from scratch, we only drink water, we don't buy sweets (but I make smoothies and banana ice cream), and I buy very little meat, which is for my husband and kids. We eat very clean & this budget is enough. For household cleaning, soap, and detergent, I make it myself, which is very inexpensive.

 

ETA - we are a family of 4

 

I was shocked at how cheap and easy DIY laundry detergent is.  I wish I could find a good one for dishwasher.   Every one I've seen is concerned about getting the absolute lowest cost or the lowest perceived environmental impact.  Which is fine, but I want it to actually clean too.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Too high, about $1000 for 4 people. I have a teenage son who eats nonstop! We eat healthy, lots of fresh veg and fruit. I buy organic apples and meat, and grassfed milk, but we don't eat a lot of meat or drink a lot of milk. We live in a high COL area so groceries are just expensive :(

 

ETA that includes everything one would buy at a grocery store, as in paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning products, health and beauty stuff. But it doesn't include dog food, which we buy at Agway.

Edited by whitestavern
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know where I really want to do better so that my bill is in fact a bit lower?  

 

Food waste. Throwing away stuff that is not even eaten that went bad.  Stuff we forgot about in the back of the fridge or whatever. 

 

 

We spend 150-200 a week.   Not being frugal. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know where I really want to do better so that my bill is in fact a bit lower?  

 

Food waste. Throwing away stuff that is not even eaten that went bad.  Stuff we forgot about in the back of the fridge or whatever. 

 

 

We spend 150-200 a week.   Not being frugal. 

Same here. $150-$250 is me not trying for our family of 6 eating whole foods/ gluten free.

 

Right now I'm trying to cut back, this month our budget has been $600 for 5 grocery trips (I shop on Fri/Sat), which is an avg of $120 per week. I want to see how low I can get it while keeping it pretty relatively comfortable. 

 

Planning is such a big part- so you only by what you need and don't end up with food that is thrown out

 

Price comparison- What stores are cheaper? What proteins/fruits/veggies etc are cheaper?  What foods fill you up easier?

It isn't just price per ounce but price per calorie, if it takes 3x as much of something to fill you up then it isn't worth it to save 20 cents an ounce over something else. Beef is more expensive than chicken and turkey (here anyway) so we eat more chicken than beef. Beans and pulses are an even cheaper source of protein, if you tolerate and like them (even cheaper if you buy them dry and cook them yourself). Apples and bananas are consistently cheaper so they are staples, berries and melons are only bought in season because they taste better and are cheaper. 

 

Making from scratch.- this is especially the case with snack foods/ anything single serve. I can make broth for practically nothing using the carcass from a roasted chicken and it is ridiculously easy in my IP. Gluten free pizza homemade is a steal compared to store bought, about half the cost of Aldi's frozen and as little as a fourth the cost or less of take-out or other brands. How much are single serve pudding cups vs. instant pudding vs homeamde? I don't make everything home made, sometimes it isn't worth the effort, sometimes I just don't want to but if you are looking at saving costs it is something to consider. Anything that you buy that is not a single ingredient is processed in some way, can you make it yourself and is it worth it to do it?

 

Some people get deals with coupons, I used them way back when but don't have the patience today. I do nearly all my shopping at Aldi's, quick and easy and their prices are across the board nearly always better (usually by a good margin)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are too many variables in peoples' budgets/expenses for this to be helpful.  Some go by just food, others include everything bought at the grocery store, etc. There are also differences in cost of living.   When I moved to PA from OR, I was stunned by how much more fresh vegetables and beef were. 

 

Starting the next time you shop, log all your expenses. Decide what you mean by groceries and track that expense for a month.  If it is a typical month, great, you have a starting point. If it is not a typical month - say you have a big splurge of a dinner party, or you cleaned out the freezer and didn't buy a lot of what you typically might - you still have a starting point but be aware it is going to be a bit off. 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend a little over $1000/month for 3 people, in a high COLA, for a family with many major food restrictions. I don't specifically budget, but I do shop strategically, at a variety of supermarkets including Whole Foods. 

 

I buy a lot of the same things over and over, but I stock up on individual items when the price is right. For example, I buy Teddie All-Natural peanut butter, which generally costs more than other brands. We use a jar a week, but I don't buy it weekly. When I see a really good price on it, I get 6 jars.

 

We waste very little food. I cook from scratch a lot, and am very flexible about what goes in the pot, as long as it is safe for Dh to eat it. I made a couple of jars of broth while I was cooking other stuff yesterday, and will use that in various things. Dh takes leftovers for lunch almost every day. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I don't budget monthly, I budget annually.  For everything.  But it doesn't matter bc I am ALWAYS over food budget.  I love love love eating out and that's what really kills it.

 

I think if we cut out eating out, we could totally do it around $600 for 5 people.  That would include a lot of organic items and local beef.  I do not include anything other than food in my food budget.

 

Cleaning and paper products have their own separate category and usually run about $600 annually.  Although this year I bought cloth napkins so we are not using paper towels or napkins as much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't ever eat out.  Ever.  There's no vegan pizza place in town, so really zero times a month.

 

We do spend an insane amount of money on groceries.  There are 8 of us, and some of us are very small, and we have a somewhat restricted diet.  Also, our rent is cheap.

 

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if we spend 5-6x the rent on groceries.  I would be happy to get it down to $2K/month.  I don't buy a lot of processed food, but when I do it is super pricey (again, largely because of food restrictions).  When we lived in a town with vegan pizza and a Whole Foods it was worse, though :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't ever eat out.  Ever.  There's no vegan pizza place in town, so really zero times a month.

 

We do spend an insane amount of money on groceries.  There are 8 of us, and some of us are very small, and we have a somewhat restricted diet.  Also, our rent is cheap.

 

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if we spend 5-6x the rent on groceries.  I would be happy to get it down to $2K/month.  I don't buy a lot of processed food, but when I do it is super pricey (again, largely because of food restrictions).  When we lived in a town with vegan pizza and a Whole Foods it was worse, though :)

 

I spend more on food than my mortgage.  Yeppers...and there is only 4 of us.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are in Massachusetts right now, a really HCOL place. I've been spending $300-400 a WEEK on food for 7 people - my husband and I, a 14 year old girl, a 12 year old boy, a 9 year old girl and a 7 and 5 year old boy.

 

I think this is actually pretty impressive for your family size and area.  I'm in NY now, but grew up in CT.  So I am familiar with the area and the cost of food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is actually pretty impressive for your family size and area. I'm in NY now, but grew up in CT. So I am familiar with the area and the cost of food.

Thank you, this makes me feel better! We are from a very LCOL area in Louisiana, where I would spend $200 - $250 a week max for groceries. Spending $400 weekly makes me cringe, but hearing it's not unusual does give me a little solace! We don't ear out, ever. We are in the Berkshires, far from town and stores. Going grocery shopping is an all day thing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend about 80-120 a week on a family of five including two teenagers (one boy, one girl) when I meal plan. I spend a lot more when I don't have a plan and even more if my husband goes shopping with me. Instead of trying to determine your budget, try meal planning. It cuts waste, saves time, and you always know what's for dinner. Once you have a system down, it should only take 20 minutes to make a plan. Plus, my grocery store gives gas points for shopping there when I use my shopper's card. So, I get gas discounts, too. win-win  (I do buy organic and antibiotic free chicken and grass fed beef when available.)

I can share my meal planning tips if you are interested.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend about 80-120 a week on a family of five including two teenagers (one boy, one girl) when I meal plan. I spend a lot more when I don't have a plan and even more if my husband goes shopping with me. Instead of trying to determine your budget, try meal planning. It cuts waste, saves time, and you always know what's for dinner. Once you have a system down, it should only take 20 minutes to make a plan. Plus, my grocery store gives gas points for shopping there when I use my shopper's card. So, I get gas discounts, too. win-win (I do buy organic and antibiotic free chicken and grass fed beef when available.)

I can share my meal planning tips if you are interested.

I'm interested!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend about 80-120 a week on a family of five including two teenagers (one boy, one girl) when I meal plan. I spend a lot more when I don't have a plan and even more if my husband goes shopping with me. Instead of trying to determine your budget, try meal planning. It cuts waste, saves time, and you always know what's for dinner. Once you have a system down, it should only take 20 minutes to make a plan. Plus, my grocery store gives gas points for shopping there when I use my shopper's card. So, I get gas discounts, too. win-win  (I do buy organic and antibiotic free chicken and grass fed beef when available.)

I can share my meal planning tips if you are interested.

 

I probably could not spend $80 a week for one person where I live. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are in Massachusetts right now, a really HCOL place. I've been spending $300-400 a WEEK on food for 7 people - my husband and I, a 14 year old girl, a 12 year old boy, a 9 year old girl and a 7 and 5 year old boy.

I've only ever lived in Massachusetts, so I've never thought about it being a HCOL place. I'm feeding 7 people (me, DH, and sons 21, 8, 5, 3, and 9mos) and spending +/-$800 a month, not including pizza Fridays. Do you have a Market Basket nearby?

 

ETA: Oh, the Berkshires... Sorry. I'm just north of Boston, on the NH line.

Edited by Noreen Claire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to my credit card spending tracker thing, I've spent $816 so far this month at Costco, Aldi, and the third local store I fill the gaps with. That includes some non-food items (Scotch tape, dry erase markers, undershirts at Costco), "food-related items" (aluminum foil and paper plates - things that make my hunky 6' tall dishwasher happy), and some vitamins and meds. It doesn't include anything I've picked up at Target or Walgreens while I was already there, or the McDonald's I treated the kids to on our first day back to school work (adults never eat out of the house, kids only for special occasions).

 

I try to stay under $1500/month in total consumable spending (groceries, toiletries, gas, movies/entertainment, medication). I usually fail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How I meal plan for the week:

 

First, using my chart that I’ll attach, I look at my calendar and write down any APPOINTMENTS that will take me out of the house and add those to my weekly plan. Then, I look at this schedule and any day that I’m out for extended amounts of time or interferes with meals will either be marked with a ‘C’ for crockpot or “IP†for you Instant Pot lovers to avoid having to eat out.

 
Next, TAKE INVENTORY. Look in your refrigerator and write on your plan any vegetables, fruits, meats that you already have. Instead of letting them spoil, use them up. If you have meat in the freezer, use it first before you buy more.
 
PLAN YOUR MEALS
Now that you know what you have, it’s time to start filling in your chart with meals that can be made using those ingredients you already have. No more letting them spoil and having to throw them away. Plan those items early in the week if possible. 
Once you’ve used those perishables and your meats on your chart, and you still need to make a few more meals, pull out your grocery store flyer and find what’s on sale to plan the rest of your meals. 
 
(During this step, seasoned meal-planners will have a master list of go to recipes that they eat often that are divided into categories such as Breakfast, lunches, and dinners which are broken down into beef, chicken, seafood, vegetarian, soups, and if you eat a lot of a particular cuisine then Mexican, Asian, etc.) You can work on this as you go.
 
As you are planning your meals, write down any ingredients you will need to buy to complete the meal on your shopping list also provided on the chart.
 
NOTE: Grocery stores often cycle their sales. It’s the same every year. Certain things go on sale at certain times of the year, so if your budget allows, stock up at that time when it’s cheapest. I just did a quick Google search and found this list: 
I’m not affiliated with this blogger, but you can just do your own search for grocery store sales cycles to see what you find.
If you are really enthusiastic, you can garden or go to local farms for your produce and freeze the excess. 
 
BTW, I have a friend who loves Jet.com. I haven’t tried it yet, but she says the prices are cheap and they have organic produce. She has 4 kids (a set of twin toddlers) and she said they saved her when she was sick and unable to go to the store. So, there’s an option to check out if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
 
HTH

Meal Plan.pdf

Meal Plan.pdf

Edited by Mona
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are too many variables in peoples' budgets/expenses for this to be helpful. Some go by just food, others include everything bought at the grocery store, etc. There are also differences in cost of living. When I moved to PA from OR, I was stunned by how much more fresh vegetables and beef were.

 

Starting the next time you shop, log all your expenses. Decide what you mean by groceries and track that expense for a month. If it is a typical month, great, you have a starting point. If it is not a typical month - say you have a big splurge of a dinner party, or you cleaned out the freezer and didn't buy a lot of what you typically might - you still have a starting point but be aware it is going to be a bit off.

What I was going to say has already been said here. No one can effectively budget without knowing first what they are actually spending on something. Then you can determine if or how much you can dial back.

 

I agree meal planning helps a lot. And if your family can stand it, recurring menus.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I probably could not spend $80 a week for one person where I live. 

I was surprised that I could get away with that myself until I started meal planning. I don't meal plan all the time, so it's low if I have extra meat in the freezer that week since that's $$. If the 5 of us go out to eat once, forget about it. 

Edited by Mona
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was surprised that I could get away with that myself until I started meal planning. I don't meal plan all the time, so it's low if I have extra meat in the freezer that week since that's $$. If the 5 of us go out to eat once, forget about it. 

 

I meal plan.  Pretty much always have. 

 

I eat a low carb diet though so that probably adds a bit to the cost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've only ever lived in Massachusetts, so I've never thought about it being a HCOL place. I'm feeding 7 people (me, DH, and sons 21, 8, 5, 3, and 9mos) and spending +/-$800 a month, not including pizza Fridays. Do you have a Market Basket nearby?

 

ETA: Oh, the Berkshires... Sorry. I'm just north of Boston, on the NH line.

I have never seen a Market Basket. I shop at Walmart mainly, and there is a Big Y store.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the tips. I meal plan. I think we buy ttoo much random junk. Dh said we spend about $1000 a month for our family of 5. This is everything not just good pet food, cleaning stuff, diapers (150 a month), any random thing at walmart ,socks, underwear, a new meat thermometer, medicine ,sippy cup, greeting cards, crayons, new toy, birthday gift, canning jars you name it..it gets bought while we are grocery shopping. I guess not too too bad. We both know we could cut waaaaaay back , easily and not even miss a thing, its just easier buying what you want. sigh, I do want to cut back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We began trying to be more Frugal, 2 weeks ago.  We are now buying and trying, some Store Brand things in a "no frills" store where they sell out of cartons. No bags to put what you buy into, no person to put what you buy into the bags. No Credit Cards, etc.  Bare Bones... One block from the supermarket where I do most of our shopping. The differences in prices (laundry detergent, bar soap for the bathrooms, Cooking Oil, etc.) are  astonishing.  The quality of their products seems very good  so far.  My SIL told my wife that she uses their Cleaning products, a couple of weeks ago, and that they are very good, so we began with me buying their lowest price laundry detergent, which is much less than the FAB detergent we've purchased for many years.  My wife and DD spoke with a couple of our neighbors in the Zumba class and they also shop there.  We are trying their Canola Spread instead of the Margerine we have used for years. My wife says Canola is more expensive and it is about 1/3 less than the same size tub of name brand Margerine we previously used....   I think in a month or two with the cleaning stuff and food we buy there, we will save approximately USD $50 per month. Not a huge amount of money, but that would be $600 over 12 months.  We are also trying to reduce the number of eggs we buy. Some days my wife cooks something different for Breakfast and on those days we use about 50% of the eggs we use on other days.  Their packaged Brownies are quite good (ask me, I ate most of them...) and the little packages of Potato Chips, etc.  The 3 ply toilet paper seems fine.

 

We are also not going to buy loaves of bread that are packaged in the supermarket, and began buying Baguettes in a bakery, which are much fresher and taste much better.  No $ saving there, but a step up in the quality of what we are buying.  

 

I believe the supermarket offers the greatest possibilities for being frugal. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, "grocery bill" is more than just food and planning dinner. It's everything involved in feeding a family. It's the emergency food for when you get ill and can't cook, or you have to take a spouse to the ER and get a sitter, or what you bought was spoiled, or the food burned. It's backups for lunches where there's no leftovers. It's replacing dishes that shattered, cups with cracks, measuring spoons that went down the garbage disposal, molding cutting boards. It's the dish soap to wash up, the charcoal or propane for the grill, the water filter or ice trays for the fridge. Restaurants pad the price of those things into your bill, it should count in the grocery budget too.

 

We're gluten free/celiac and we eat every meal at home or take it with us (including DH). No restaurants, no pot lucks, and extended family meals are rare. My grocery bill looks tiny after I plan meals... and then I have to add all the other stuff and it explodes.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...